Pastors' Notes

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Why Don't We Pray?

She was grieving, and telling me what she so desperately wanted in her marriage. "Have you prayed for that?" I asked. You know the answer: no. But not just "No", but "no" accompanied with a look of puzzlement - "Why have I not asked for this? Huh . . ." I can relate to the feeling. Why don't we pray? When God is so near, and so powerful. When God is so full of love towa...

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Why Church Membership?

Why church membership? Those words are in no verse of the Bible. So why do we practice it at EFree? Because it's biblical. No, it's not in any verse, not those words, but the practice is implied in the early church. In Acts 6:3, the elders tell the congregation to choose from among themselves seven men to be the first deacons. Implied there is that there must have been so...

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Mindfulness

"Mindfulness" is the self-help of our day, and for good reason: we are bombarded by messaging from all kinds of sources. We can barely hear ourselves think. And much of world is dehumanizing: take the statistical analysis one can do on anything now with your phone, or take a trip on an airplane - dehumanizing. We have to stop and put down our screens and force ourselves to...

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Changing My Floozy Heart

Want to grow, and change? Me too. But I frequently have trouble identifying what exactly it is that I'm trying to change. Like a black hole, I know something's there - I feel its gravitational pull, but I don't have light to see it. My heart does worship the way a black hole does gravitation: it is automatic - and profligate. It can't not worship, and it pulls anything int...

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The One Thing: Intolerable Prayer

In the coming year, I believe there is one thing that, in all our doings, we should do. Beneath this is the assumption that the gospel is working, from the pulpit, in our groups, and in our conversations. While we can always grow, we are on a good trajectory here. I also assume that our community is on a good trajectory. Again, while we have room to grow, we are on a good ...

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"I'll pray for you."

"How can I pray for you?" This is perhaps THE most important question we can be asking ourselves, as we live our life together. Even if we don't overtly ask the question, if this question is guiding our thoughts, concerns and other questions to each other, we will inevitably be steered by the Spirit to the most important priorities in life. IF, that is, we rightly define ...

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The Blameless Heart

In Christ, the deepest problems have the simplest solutions. Two Sundays ago, we saw that King Asa did not finish well; his prosperity shielded from himself and others the bent of his heart, away from God. God responded by calling him to faith: "For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless towa...

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Your Place in the Sunday "Dinner Party"

In the evangelical world, churches grow through "assimilation" - a process from the world of marketing that "converts" guests into "customers". I sneeze at that. Nevertheless, when we peel away the inedible husk of that buzzword, there is still something useful underneath. Much of what is labeled "effective assimilation" is simply gracious hosting. For instance: Invite: ...

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Bible Reading - Part 3

I have written recentlyabout Bible reading plans (here and here). A few more thoughts: The first is from Robert Murray M'Cheyne, to a friend: "You read your Bible regularly, of course; but do try and understand it, and still more to feel it. Read more parts than one at a time. For example, if you are reading Genesis, read a Psalm also; or if you are reading Matthew, read ...

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The Post-Christmas Doldrums

Why the post-Christmas doldrums? What to do about it? 1. Realize that it may be partly a physical problem. We are embodied souls. After eating our way through the holidays, and sleeping differently, and catching germs on a plane or from your niece, you may simply be tired. Getting back into a more healthy rhythm may help. 2. Understand, however, that you may have spent t...

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