Friday, September 29, 2017


Why do we need a weekly time set aside for confession? Because we need to repent of our sins. For Christians, to maintain a mature relationship with the Lord, we need to clean up our act and repent of our sins.

Luke 13:3 says, “Unless you repent, you will all perish.” Harsh, isn’t it?  No diminishment of the cost of Calvary. Repentance is so much more than regret. Even remorse does not capture the essence of repentance.

In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word SHUB is use for repentance – it means turning back, retracing one’s steps to get back on the right track. In the New Testament, the Greek work METANOIEN is used for repentance – it means a change of mind that culminates in a new way of thinking.

Repentance for the Christian today means an about face, a 180° turn. There is nothing temporary about it. In the eyes of Jesus, we are all sinners, in need of repentance. It is important for the cleansing of our psyches. It leads to forgiveness.  In order for our Christian faith to have credibility, we must turn away from our sin. Repentance is an ongoing prerequisite for peace of mind – for that peace that only the Prince of Peace can provide, that surpasses human comprehension.


Friday, September 22, 2017

"World Communion Sunday - A New Beginning"

The sacrament of Holy Communion has a variety of names; The Lord’s Supper, The Agape Feast, or The Eucharist.  On the first Sunday in October, the Christian community around the planet celebrates World Communion.

The elements are carefully prepared, presented and served.  The Holy Table is set for us.  The Lord is present and ready to welcome us with love and forgiveness. To break the bread and drink the cup means laying aside the cycle of condemnation.

The body broken and the blood shed remind us of the costly grace through the cross of Christ extended our way.  By the power of the Holy Spirit we are accepted, forgiven, and granted peace.  The raw material of our future is transformed, shaped into something “significant and splendid.”

The first Sunday in October, World Communion, is a new beginning, a fresh experience of unconditional love.  We dare not live apathetically with these riches.  Hoarding leads to moral deterioration.  We cannot build a different world with indifferent people.  The good news of the gospel of Christ must be shared.

Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

The Holy Table is a healing place, physically and spiritually.  We dare not leave the table the same as we came.  We conclude the celebration of Holy Communion with the experience of Christ at work in us.  The Lord does make all the difference in this world.  Because of him, we live with more conviction, with transparency, and with authenticity.

Can the Lord make a difference?  Only if we invite and allow him to make a redemptive difference through us.


Friday, September 15, 2017

"How Important is Preaching?"

To be a successful pastor, one must have the mind of a scholar, the heart of a child, and the hide of a rhinoceros.” - Stuart Briscoe

There are days in ministry when I am convinced Briscoe is right! There is a price to be paid emotionally, spiritually, and physically, to be a successful pastor. The confession of sin is a prerequisite for pastoral leadership. As leaders in the Body of Christ, we must be candid about our need for grace, forgiveness, openness, and flexibility. Pastors are constantly working on an accurate understanding of God’s calling, self, and circumstances. In ministry, we must remember that not all flack is routine criticism. In truth, it may be a gift, a fresh opportunity to reflect, retool and reinvigorate.

How important is preaching? There are at least three ways people absorb knowledge:              
1.  Visual
2.  Auditory, and
3.  Kinesthetic

Adults can listen with understanding for ninety minutes, but can only listen with retention for twenty minutes. Studies indicate that after three days, recall is down to about ten percent of the message. I always say that after Sunday’s sermon, by Tuesday, the congregants cannot even remember the humor or the illustrations.

What does all that say? The sermon is important! Communication is 10% words, 40% tone, and 50% non-verbal. To expect retention and application – that demands creativity and diligent preparation on the part of the pastor.

Yes, all of us pastors need your affirmation, counsel, and prayers.


Friday, September 8, 2017

"Getting the Ratios Right"

Rich Karlgaard said, “Success is often a matter of getting the ratios right.”  The creator of the universe certainly understood that.  Edward Wright, the astrophysicist from UCLA said the Big Bang would have fizzled in the first second had the neutron-to-proton ratio been just a wee bit more or less than it was.

Ratios are important to each of us.  Life is a matter of key ratios being exactly right.  We live with a perfect balance of water, nutrients, gases, gravity and solar radiation to sustain the inhabitants of planet Earth.  Those ratios must be precise.  We are just the right distance from the sun so that we do not freeze or fry!  Could it be that these ratios do not exist anywhere else in the universe?

Could it be that ratios are not only important for us economically but also physically?  We need to check our ratios regarding work-to-play, prayer-to-pace, calories-to-exercise, strength-to-weight, and isolation-to-community.

Sabbath rest is not just Biblical.  It is also logical.