Pastors' Notes

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Attention!

Alan Jacobs' famous essay "Attending to Technology" begins with this simple point: "Everything begins with attention." A breathtakingly broad and absolute claim, and more true than Jacobs lets on. Paul writes in 2 Cor. 3:18, ". . . beholding the glory of the Lord, [we] are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another." Beholding is seeing with ...

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The Contemplative vs. the Concrete

The pursuit of holiness is tricky. We don't help ourselves when we pit truths against each another that were meant to complement each other. When we isolate one truth, separating it from another, complementary truth, the power of the Word is weakened. Two apparent "poles" that we can separate and pit against each other: contemplating God and "seeing" Him, versus laboring...

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YOU ARE NOT TOTALLY DEPRAVED: How to Recover Positive Self Image

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The Right to Not Be Disagreed With

Today's "Pastor's Note" is a guest post, by Fred Larsen, one of our members. Fred wrote the following for no one but himself, for the sole purpose of getting his own thinking straight on this subject. However, he let its existence slip out; I read it; I thought its quality and clarity demanded a wider audience; Fred relented; and now I share it with you. I'm thankful for t...

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Hospitality, Friendship and God

There has been a groundswell of interest in our church lately for connecting with one's neighbors in an authentic, useful way. This groundswell wraps three cords into one rope: the desire to live "outwardly" (you can find our "Outwards Living Plan" here); the desire to talk about God and his gospel in ways that are intelligent to the culture but do not dilute the truth; an...

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A Sandwich for Fear

Every writer in the Bible is Spirit-inspired yet still has a characteristic style. Here is one example of how grasping a writer's style can point you to his intended, rich meaning. Mark characteristically writes in "sandwiches" - two slices of bread, with the meat in the middle. The first "bread" sets up a problem; the "meat" often puts forth some kind of example that pre...

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Sports and Hikes on the Sabbath

Thinking about this past Sunday's sermon, and questions and comments that either I did not anticipate or left on the cutting room floor, about the Sabbath: 1. My kids [play a sport, do this activity, etc.] on Sunday's. I can't change the schedule. What do I do about that? First things first: the important thing is to carve out time with God, to encounter Him, in unhurried...

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Bettering the Netflix Solution

The CEO of Netflix, Reed Hastings, told the Wall Street Journal in 2016, "Fundamentally, we're about eliminating loneliness and boredom."⁠1 What is lost, when the "solution" to loneliness and boredom is entrusted to entertainment? Reed Hastings is right: solitary confinement, for us humans, is torture, because we are more than rational beings: below our reflective, rati...

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Kennedy and the Kingdom

The news that the President will add another Justice to the Supreme Court shocked everyone. Many on the conservative side cheer, hoping that this might bring new advances for the kingdom in our nation. On the one hand, we should rejoice and thank God when it seems He is rolling back injustice, through the means of human leaders. On the other hand, our perpetual temptation...

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Bleak Kids

With the end of the school year and summer, it seems good to reflect on the state of kids, and our kids. Recently a CDC report labeled teenagers' inner lives in America as "bleak"⁠1 - beyond the normal ups and downs of adolescence. Experts point to a handful of culprits: perfectionism - that life is not worth living if perfection cannot be achieved; performancism - that...

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