People Want to be Heard

The story of the Bible is full of people who were oppressed and who found themselves in a land that was ruled and controlled by others. This comes to a climax with the birth of Christ. The Jewish race found themselves yet again under the oppressive reign of a world power found in the Roman Empire. Living in Israel, if you were not a Pharisee or Herod himself, you would have found yourself having a…

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Too Conservative, Yet Too Liberal

I often find myself too conservative for my liberal friends and too liberal for my conservative friends. I think of Jesus words in Matthew 8:20, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” As I reflect on the call I feel God has placed on my life to live in the middle, in the tension, with secure relationships on both sides working…

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Open Letter to my Congregation

The apostle Paul writes in the often quoted thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians, “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal” (NIV). Last week, as I first saw the video of George Floyd being murdered, I was cut to the heart. As I sat in my bedroom, numb to what I had just witnessed, I had no…

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Sin, Love, Compassion, Forgiveness, Satisfaction, and Substitution

In the wake of Easter and Good Friday, and in the continued reality of the global pandemic we find ourselves in, I have continued to think much on the death of Christ. In the last two decades there has been a concerted effort to downplay the cross and instead trade it for an emphasis on the teaching and life of Jesus – at least in what I have read, observed, and experienced in popular Christian…

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Anti Schism

This last month I have reflected on Augustine, particularly his words and work around the Donatist controversy and schism in the fourth century. Donatist argued that the clergy must be without fault in order for their ministry to be effective and valid. If they were with fault then God in fact would not hear their prayers and when they administered the sacraments it would not have been valid. I remember reading about Augustine’s conversation with…

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Life After Falling

On May 26, 2018, I had an accident that would forever change my life. I attempted to ski from the summit of Mt. Hood (in Oregon) and ended up falling about 450 feet to what should have been my imminent death. A 10-hour rescue, involving about thirty individuals from five different organizations, and a week-long hospital stay later, my life trajectory had taken a serious turn. I was 35 years old. A year prior I…

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Life

Sunday, April 1, 2018 TEXT: John 20:1ff FOCUS: Resurrection of Christ   SETTING Creation. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. He made the sun and the moon and the stars. He made the land and the sea. He made the fish and the birds. The creatures that roam the land. He made the trees, the flowers, the mountains, and the rivers. And then he made humankind. Man, and woman he created…

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Love and Power

Sunday, March 25, 2018 TEXT: Mark 11, 14 & 15 FOCUS: The Passion of Christ Today is traditionally celebrated as Palm Sunday. In years past we have had palm branches and have sang songs like Hosanna, Blessed is He Who Comes in the Name of the Lord, You reign. We celebrate the fact that Jesus was the Messiah who came to save us. We like to celebrate. We like to celebrate the victory we have…

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