June 25, 2024

I often get asked this question: Is believing the Bible important? Given the general skepticism about religion today, it’s a fair question. There is controversy about different translations, interpretations, and even the historical accuracy of the Bible. So, how do we even begin to answer the question? The Basics Let’s start with a few basics. The Bible is comprised of two parts for most of protestant Christianity. Catholic believers also include a third section known as the Apocrypha. The Old... Read more

May 9, 2024

Is living a life of faith really worth it? It seems like so much trouble: reading your Bible, praying, attending church, being nice to people…what’s in it for me? This is the sentiment of so many people. And in some ways, you can’t blame people for being burnt out on faith. What’s the Trend? I teach at the university near my home. It is a Christian school, but obviously, having a Christian faith is not a prerequisite for attending the... Read more

February 28, 2024

I’ve had some significant conversations lately. After 50 years, I’m no longer pastoring. So now, it seems people are more comfortable asking me questions. Here’s one I get a lot.  “How do I survive the disappointments and hurts inflicted by professing Christians and church members?” It makes me very sad. My wife and I crisscrossed America in full-time evangelism for seven years. We then walked (literally) from California to Washington, D.C. We talked with dozens of people whose most significant... Read more

February 14, 2024

The Question: Contextualization or Compromise? A few days ago, I taught my Church History class about the difference between contextualization and compromise. Contextualization is the process of communicating an idea in the language of a particular culture so that they can understand it. At this point in the history of the Church, it’s crucial to consider: “Should we contextualize the gospel?” I posed this question to the class. We live in a culture that speaks a different language than our... Read more

January 11, 2024

Beginning or End? Dare I ask? How old are you? I’m 68 years old. I often find myself tempted to ask, “Is this the beginning or end?” I deduce that the end is near in response to achy muscles, crackling bones, and dull memory. My wife calls me an eternal optimist. When it comes to anticipating the future, however, I’ll be the first to admit that, at times, I see the darkness rather than the light. By all calculations,  I... Read more

January 2, 2024

A Few Observations Parishioners who have fallen away from the Church often ask me: “Should I return to Church during the holidays?”  I would never discourage anyone from returning to the Church. I might, however, question whether this is the best time to give the Church a second (or third) chance. It may depend on why you left the Church in the first place or your motivation for returning now. Perhaps individuals think like this: “If I attend a crowded... Read more

December 13, 2023

Is it that time already!? The calendar says yes, but my emotions scream, “No-o-o-o-o-o!” When I resign myself to the reality of another new year, I immediately hear the haunting voice that questions, “How will you begin the New Year?” Will it be with new resolutions and goals, or will I be honest enough to admit that in decades of trying, I’ve yet to see one through to the end of the year? I am tempted to throw up my... Read more

December 8, 2023

Retailers spend millions of dollars on advertising campaigns every Christmas to encourage us to experience joy and happiness. Despite their best efforts, do you find the holidays painful? That is not usually the case for me. I love the holidays. I have over six decades of fond memories with family, friends, and churches that still make me smile. Painful Memories This year, however, will be hard. My wife and I were caught in the Christmas Day airline debacle a year... Read more

December 8, 2023

As we begin celebrating Christmas, we are tempted to think that Christmas happens under the tree or around the table. And although family gatherings and gift-giving are undoubtedly essential elements of the holidays, the truth is that Christmas happens in the heart. Christmas Behavior Modification So many of our spiritual practices can become meaningless habits. We learn to modify our behavior to fit the season. We go through the motions like decorating the tree, setting up the nativity scene, and... Read more

September 15, 2023

I’m Not Sure I Can Go Back To Church This is a typical response when talking with someone who has left the church. Perhaps they were ostracized because of something they did or how they looked. The church may have fired a pastor they liked, or the church split over some insignificant issue. Sometimes, the reasons are more profound and stem from a grudge against God. For example, when a family member dies unexpectedly or tragically, they may vow never... Read more

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