Unity Without Uniformity

Some of my pastoral colleagues and I have been having discussions lately about unity within the body of Christ. This is a touchy subject because as you probably know, every Christian denomination has several distinctive doctrines that can become quite divisive. Unfortunately, these differences have become major stumbling blocks in our attempts to attain unity. But here is where I think we often get it wrong. When the Bible speaks of unity, I don’t think it means we all have to agree on everything. I can’t even agree with myself half the time! No, I think it means we put aside our minor differences and focus on the majors – the fact that we believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ and his saving power to change a life and bring eternal life to all who call upon him. We call it unity without uniformity.

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Beating a Dead Horse

Yes, that’s right. I know I’m beating a dead horse. And all the millennials out there (If they took the time to read this blog) would say I’m just a cranky old man. Okay, I’ll accept that I am a bit cranky on this Monday morning. (And I’m definitely old!) As I write this blog, I look out my office window and see an absolutely marvelous spring day with the sun shining and the temperature in the 70’s. So why am I so cranky? Well, if you must know, keep reading…

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Tear Down This Wall!

I will never forget the memorable speech given in West Berlin by President Ronald Reagan on June 12, 1987 when he implored Gorbachev to “tear down this wall”, referring to the wall separating East and West Berlin. Although most historians say the speech had little to do with the wall actually coming down, the truth of the matter is, the wall DID come down, and I happen to believe that speech from my favorite president did play a role in bringing it down. Yesterday, I preached a sermon about walls, which reminded me again of Reagan’s speech. Walls are usually not a good thing. They divide, they hide, they separate, they isolate and the enemy uses them to reek havoc in all our lives.

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Do I Have to Change?

Recently, we’ve been doing a sermon series called “Spring Cleaning”. No, we’re not promoting a thorough cleaning of our church facilities. This spring cleaning needs to take place in each of our hearts. You know how it is. Life has a way of happening and as it happens we get into a routine (some would call it a rut!). Before long, we’re not reading our Bibles much, we’re not praying and communicating with God much, we’re not living life on mission by sharing our wonderful faith with others. We’re just getting out of bed in the morning, getting ready for our day, going through our day, doing all the things on our “To do” list, getting home later than we’d like, going to bed exhausted, and then doing it all over again the next morning. What’s wrong with that, you ask? Well, let me tell you.

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Your Convictions are Okay!

It seems like everyone I talk to and everywhere I go, I am being berated because of the convictions that are important to me. These convictions admittedly are conservative in nature and therefore not very popular in our current culture, but like it or not, they are my convictions and they matter to me. I also happen to believe they line up with scripture, at least my interpretation of scripture. So what are we to do when our biblical convictions are considered obsolete or even antisocial? 

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I Am Concerned

Like all of you, I was horrified to hear of another school shooting in Florida last week. My heart breaks as I think about the senseless loss of so many lives and the families left to mourn those losses. It breaks for those left wounded and hospitalized. It breaks for the trauma that all of those children had to endure and now live with for the rest of their lives. And it even breaks for this broken, disturbed young man that carried out this heinous crime. I know many people are demanding stricter gun laws, and who knows, maybe that could help. Certainly, we need to do something! But what is the answer? I must say that I am very concerned. Here’s why.

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Our Mission is Working!

Well, it’s been two years since I started here at FBC, St. Clair as pastor. Even though my first three months were as interim pastor, I was treating it as a full time position from the outset putting in 40+ hours each week. I must say, these two years have gone by quickly and I have enjoyed the journey very much! One of the first things the church did when I came was map out a new direction and vision for our congregation. Part of that process was developing a new Mission statement. We weren’t the same church anymore and we needed new direction. After much prayer and discussion, we came up with this. Our mission is to glorify God in worship, make disciples of Jesus, and love our community. So, how are we doing?

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How Closely Do We Look?

I was reading a book by one of my favorite authors, Jared C. Wilson, and he was talking about how we often don’t pay much attention to the things we’re familiar with. He used an example of a penny. How many of us could say (Without looking) whose face is on the penny, which direction that face is looking, what is on the other side of the penny, and any other words or letters on either side? We have all seen plenty of pennies over the years so we don’t pay attention to the details of it. Maybe it’s because a penny isn’t worth much, or maybe it’s because we just don’t care, or perhaps a combination of reasons. The point Mr. Wilson is making is that the things that are familiar to us, we tend not to look at very closely. Is it possible that we do the same with Jesus? 

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Faith Is Essential

I’ve been preaching in our church about faith at the start of 2018. As I was contemplating what to preach after the holidays, the word “Faith” kept coming to my mind. I believe that this word was given to me by the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit. The more I thought about it, the more it made sense to start the new year off with a series on faith. After all, faith is essential to all things pertaining to life. Maybe you thought oxygen was, or a steady heart rate, but the Bible tells us it’s really faith.

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Government Shutdown?

You’re probably expecting this blog to be a political statement. Well, even though our Congress has had it’s myriad of problems lately and yes, our government temporarily shut down, that’s not what’s on my mind today.  I’m sorry to disappoint but I don’t like politics at all and I just used this title to get your attention. (Yes, I’m a little mean sometimes!) What I do want to talk about is what we might call Christian Shutdown. What happens when a follower of Jesus Christ quits growing, quits learning, quits following the Lord? Well, if you’re interested, read on.

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