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The Practice of Christian Prayer in a Multi-tasking Age

We live in an age in which multitasking is the norm. Much of our technology these days, especially computers and smart phones, are actually designed to help us do many things at once. Computers allow us to have several programs open and running at the same time. Thanks to smartphones, we can now drive, listen to music, talk on the phone, have a text conversation, and be ru...

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What Does it Mean to be "Pro-Life?"

In January our nation remembers two important anniversaries that as Christians we don't want to forget. The first was this past Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The second is January 22nd, which is the 45th anniversary of Roe v Wade. As Christians these anniversaries not only remind us of the moral tragedies that mark our nation's history, but of the ongoing need to co...

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What does it mean that "Christ Descended into Hell?"

Every week as we recite the Apostles Creed we confess that Jesus Christ, after he was crucified, died, and buried, "He descended into hell." What biblical passage(s) are the basis for this statement, and what exactly do we mean when we say it? As far as the biblical basis,19th century reformed theologian Herman Bavinck gives a helpful overview of the many passages that ha...

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Why Come to Sunday School?

This month, like many churches, we come back from our summer hiatus and begin again our Sunday School ministry. This year features many exciting topics, talented new and returning teachers, a streamlined youth curriculum, and a completely new high school curriculum (co-taught by Pastor Scott and Chris). It should be a good year, and I'd like to invite and encourage you to ...

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What's the purpose of a Benevolence offering?

Every Christian church has the God given responsibility to care for each other not only spiritually, but materially as well. Our love for one another must go beyond pious talk and prayer, and when needed must involve practical acts of care, mercy, and generosity. Any church unwilling to do this faces the warning of the Apostle John: 1 John 3:13-18:"Butif anyone has the wo...

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The Art of Neighboring

I recently finished a short but helpful book entitled "The Art of Neighboring." In this post I offer a brief summary of the major points of the book, and then a couple of personal takeaways. Book Summary: The main point of the book is that Christians should think of their actual, geographic neighbors, as people who are included in Jesus' command to "Love your neighbor."...

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Traverse City is "Dechurched," so now what?

Last week I was made aware of the most recent Barna release of "Church Attendance Trends Across the Country." The trends reported are based on a sample size of over 76,000 telephone and online interviews done over a seven year period, ending in April 2016. Based on this sample, Barna breaks down the most churched cities, most unchurched cities, and most dechurched cities i...

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On Pastoral Robes and Supreme Court Justices

This week, at the beginning of the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse gave a remarkable 10 minute address on the significance of the Supreme Court Justice robe. As I listened to him explain the meaning of the simple black robe to the Senate, I was struck by how relevant his comments are for understanding why mini...

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Some concerns about the top 50 best selling "Christian" books of 2016.

The Evangelical Publishing company in January released a list of the top 50 best-selling Christian books of 2016. I'm not sure what the right word is to express my reaction: Disappointment? Discouragement? Disgust? Concern? Shock? Truth be told, I felt some mixture of all of these as I scanned the books on this list. One Christian author put it well when he called this l...

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What's missing in your worship service?

Tim Challies wrote a short article this past week that got my attention, "The Missing Elements of Modern Worship." His point is simple: elements that used to be hallmarks of Christian worship over the centuries have gone missing in many contemporary American churches. What are some of these missing elements? He identifies five: prayer, scripture reading, confession of sin ...

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