Martin Luther was a 16th century German cowboy with a one-trick pony called "Gospel." Utterly obsessed with the subject, this firebrand monk once wrote that “the truth of the Gospel is the principal article of all Christian doctrine . . . Most necessary is it that we know this article well, teach it to others, and beat it into their heads continually.” If you went to dinner with this guy, you could depend on coming away with a greater sense of why Jesus matters.
I have never been a very athletic person. I was on the soccer team in high school, but in all the time I was on the team we never won a game! Of course, that wasn’t ALL my fault. Let’s just say I was not the only one on the team that did not excel in sports. But at least I can say that I lettered in a high school sport … sort of.
Greetings from the campus of Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island, where my husband and I, along with a staff team of about 25 young (and some old) adults, have moved into the dorm apartments that will be our home for the next week. We’re here for CrossWalk, and we must really love it, because many of us have been coming back year after year for almost twenty years now.
Being a Christian in today’s cultural context takes courage and commitment. When we are talking with friends, relatives and neighbors about something as personal as what will happen to them after they die, it can sound strange and offensive to them that Jesus is the only way to heaven.
But it will help us hold firm to our convictions if we remember that each of us frequently trusts other people to have absolute certainty about life-or-death situations.
I have loved photography since I was a teenager. I’ve enjoyed taking photos of nature, quirky items, events, friends and ministry.
There was a time when taking a group photo mean everyone would line up by height or standing next to their friends. It wasn’t unusual for someone to have their eyes closed or be looking the other way. And there were plenty of people who didn’t want their photo taken, so they would hide or cover their face.
The words of a song can inﬂuence you. Lyrics can shape you and mold the way you look at the world. They can also teach. The message gets buried deep down inside of us, and I think God purposefully designed music to be that way. And like everything in this word that teaches, music will either teach something that brings glory to God or it will teach something that doesn’t.
Ministry is difficult. Those of us who are pastors understand this. We have the responsibility of shepherding God’s people and live with the burden that one day we will stand before God and give an account of how we have stewarded this blessing (Heb. 13:17).
Consider this statistic provided by Pastoral Care, Inc. They reported that only one out of ten pastors will actually retire as a pastor. Now, this may not describe you, your network of friends or your context, but one thing is true: pastoral ministry is difficult and, if we’re not careful, we can burn out.
In May our church plant celebrated our second baptism service, baptizing two men as well as my son.
In addition to our regular attenders, friends and family to support those being baptized, and some of our Charlestown neighbors even came to watch out of sheer curiosity, having never seen an immersion baptism.
The king groaned and closed his window to shut out the jubilant roars. Responsibility weighed heavy on his shoulders, and now heaps of ingratitude from those people – God's people! – nearly drove him to his knees. Nearly. Here he had been faithfully serving (for the most part) a nation of unruly souls with no one to lean on but the God who seemed bent on taking away his crown.
My forehead was hot and a little scratchy. But, that's what normally happens when I wear a Santa Claus hat. I took it off and threw it on the dash of the church minivan as I motioned for two of the teenage guys that I disciple to hop in. We were just leaving our church's Christmas party; it was dark, and they both needed a ride home. As we headed down Cranston Street, the guys talked about the food we’d eaten and the games we’d played. We came to a stoplight. That's when I saw them and knew what I had to do.
Last December, while away on a marriage retreat with twelve or so other couples from church we discovered that a new family in our congregation had to call an ambulance to take their three-year-old to the hospital due to breathing difficulty. We knew they had no friends or family in the area, since they had recently moved from another state. It was late, the evening session was about to start, and the hospital was an hour and a half away.
Father, help us to see You. We are spiritually blind without Your Spirit giving us eyes to see (Eph. 1:18), and we need to see You, first and foremost. If we can see You in all of Your glory, all of Your power, all of Your justice and all of Your grace, then we will know that You are at work in us, for us, around us and through us.