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Blog Entries from 2014

November

Pastor's Perspective on Nov 12, 2014

Breathe on Me, Breath of God: Meditations on the Person and Work of the Holy Spirit  A Person We Need to Know Part 2

This week we continue our discussion on the Holy Spirit. You may recall that last week we addressed the Spirit as a person who says “me” and “I.” He speaks, sets apart, and he calls. The Spirit of God...

Pastor's Perspective on Nov 5, 2014

Breathe on Me, Breath of God: Meditations on the Person and Work of the Holy Spirit

A Person We Need to Know

Judged by the standards of modern marketing techniques, the Holy Spirit has a PR problem. The idea of God the Father and of God the Son is one to which we can relate. We have analogies and parallels that help...

October

Pastor's Perspective on Oct 29, 2014

This coming Sunday will be our stewardship Sunday for our 2015 budget. To discover what the Bible says about stewardship, the best place to start is with the very first verse of the Bible, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” As the Creator, God has absolute rights of ownership over all things. Nothing else in the Bible, including the principle of stewardship, will make...

Pastor's Perspective on Oct 22, 2014

Breathe on Me, Breath of God:  Meditations on the Person and Work of the Holy Spirit

There are a number of reasons why we ought to give renewed attention to the ministry of the Holy Spirit. First, and supremely, we ought to attend with care to His person and work because he is, as the Creed reminds us, “the Lord and giver of...

Pastor's Perspective on Oct 15, 2014

New Life in Christ: The Beatitudes for Today 9 

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets...

Pastor's Perspective on Oct 8, 2014

New Life in Christ: The Beatitudes for Today VIII -“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”(Matt. 5:9) When anger flares up inside us, more often than not we trace its cause to the fault of others. They would not listen! They wronged me! It’s their problem, not mine! But James has a different perspective: “What causes quarrels and what causes fights...

Pastor's Perspective on Oct 1, 2014

New Life in Christ: The Beatitudes for Today VII - “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”(Matt. 5:4)

What will heaven be like? It’s a good question that almost every Christian asks at some point or another. In the sixth beatitude, Jesus gives his answer. Heaven will be the beatific vision of God opened to the eyes of redeemed and purified...

September

Pastor's Perspective on Sep 24, 2014

New Life in Christ: The Beatitudes for Today V -  “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” (Matthew 5:7)

Calvin famously said, “Our wisdom, in so far as it ought to be deemed true and solid wisdom, consists almost entirely of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves.”1 The Westminster Shorter Catechism echoes that conviction when its third question asks, “What...

Pastor's Perspective on Sep 17, 2014

New Life in Christ: The Beatitudes for Today V - “Blessed are the those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Matt. 5:6)

Knowing what we do not have is vitally important to the welfare of our souls. That has been the point of the first three beatitudes. Poverty of spirit (v. 3), mourning for sin (v. 4), meekness...

Pastor's Perspective on Sep 10, 2014

Notice, too, that there is a certain logical progression in the beatitudes. Poverty of spirit (Matt. 5:3) is a clear sight of our personal bankruptcy apart from Jesus, so essential to the beginning and progress of the Christian life. It is an attitude that in turn requires and issues in spiritual mourning. As we see how much we need, we mourn for our sin and poverty, for our...

Pastor's Perspective on Sep 3, 2014

New Life in Christ: The Beatitudes for Today III -“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”(Matt. 5:4)

Two weeks ago we began to consider the second Beatitude, pronouncing blessing on those who mourn. We noted what this mourning isn’t: it isn’t joyless sorrow; it isn’t the sorrow of bereavement; and it isn’t superficial regret. But if we are to begin to live...

August

Pastor's Perspective on Aug 20, 2014

New Life in Christ: The Beatitudes for Today 2 -“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”(Matt. 5:4)  

In this second beatitude the radically counter cultural ethic that governs life in Christ’s kingdom stands out in sharpest relief.  

“Our civilization is devoted to fun. The ideal life, it seems, is one continual party. Drink hard, play hard...

Pastor's Perspective on Aug 13, 2014

New Life in Christ: The Beatitudes for Today 2 -“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”(Matt. 5:3)

In Luke’s account of the Beatitudes Jesus is recorded as having said, “Blessed are the poor” (Luke 6:20). Matthew’s account (5:3) makes Jesus’ meaning clear. The poor in view are those whose poverty of spirit demonstrates their blessed status. The blessed are the...

Pastor's Perspective on Aug 6, 2014

New Life in Christ: the Beatitudes for Today Part 1

Today we begin a short series looking at the Beatitudes. In an age when there are a multitude of voices claiming our attention and offering us ‘wisdom’, we badly need clear direction in the way we should go. How shall we live in our world in a manner that is both pleasing to God and good...

July

Pastor's Perspective on Jul 30, 2014

Dear Friends,

“Salvation belongs to the LORD!” These are the climactic words of Jonah’s famous prayer from the belly of the fish (Jonah 2:9). Standing at the very heart of the book, they rise, like a mountain peak, above every other theme in the landscape of the story, driving home the big idea: God, the sovereign Lord, alone saves sinners! These words of a runaway prophet are...

Pastor's Perspective on Jul 23, 2014

Dear Friends, 

In Philippians 4:4 we read Paul’s famous exhortation, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” There are three things worth considering here. First notice that it is a command. Paul here commands joy. The word for joy, or one of its cognates, is used some sixteen times in the letter to the Philippians. It is a major emphasis of the apostle’s message...

Pastor's Perspective on Jul 16, 2014

Dear friends,

There is currently a debate within the Reformed community on the great doctrine of sanctification. It’s an important discussion with far-reaching implications for our Christian lives, and it’s worth taking a few moments to consider it together. It should immediately be said that the issue under discussion is not whether Christians are called to be holy. Thankfully, on this all agree. Rather, the issue...

June

Pastor's Perspective on Jun 11, 2014

Some Advice on Evangelism (Part 2)

This is part two of  the Pastor’s Perspective. Part one of “Some Advice on Evangelism” ran in the June 4 issue of The First Epistle.

Don’t tell them everything at once. It takes a whole gospel to make a whole Christian, as the saying goes. But if you are sharing that gospel in the context of a relationship, you do...

Pastor's Perspective on Jun 4, 2014

Some Advice on Evangelism

This is part one of a two-part Pastor's Perspective. Look for part two in next week's First Epistle.

All Christians ought to share the gospel with those around them, if for no other reason than that we are called to love our neighbors, and what kind of love is it that helps with lesser, temporal needs while assiduously ignoring the greatest...

May

Pastor's Perspective on May 28, 2014

Dear Friends,

As I’ve studied the epistle to the Philippians I was once again struck by the attitude of the apostle Paul when, in the wake of his incarceration, the churches found new boldness to preach the gospel. “Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry” he wrote, “but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here...

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