Monthly Archives: August 2017

Can I help you?

As a pastor for the past 21 years, I would LOVE to be able to see exactly what my listeners in the congregation are thinking… and where they are in their faith journey to help steer my praying (my private praying mostly, but also the public prayers) and to guide my sermons to help where people really are. HOWEVER, we can’t see these thought bubbles in real life! We only have two resources in this: people sharing directly with the pastor about concerns, questions, and struggles, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. 
Because of the Holy Spirit, we do “get it right” quite often as we follow the Spirit’s leading and “nudging.” But what JOY when people talk directly with us and we can work directly with the Spirit to meet needs, offer clarification, provide comfort, extend a listening and caring ear, and pray personally with someone. 

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Filed under Bible, Church Leadership, Grief, prayer, Reflection, Response, sermons, worship

King Arthur and the Great Courses

I just finished the course titled King Arthur: History and Legend published in 2015 by The Teaching Company as one of their Great Courses series. I thought I already knew the basic story/chronology of King Arthur and his knights, wife, court, and kingdom. HA! I was pleasantly surprised as I watched and listened to these 24 course lectures by Arthurian expert Dorsey Armstrong of Purdue University.

I have often appreciated the Great Courses series, but most have been connected to my “job” as a pastor either in some administrative role, public speaking skill, counseling or philosophy background, or some connection to the church or religion in general throughout history. This was one of the few where I “took” the course just for the fun of learning something new.

I was able to do that because The Teaching Company has come up with a pay one price and get access to all their newer streaming video courses… And they offered a one month free trial, which is how I connected! Check it out!
https://www.thegreatcoursesplus.com

(And no, they didn’t reward me or give me something to get me to give them a positive review.)

While I’m in this trial time of their Great Courses Plus program, I’ve also been learning about How to “Read” (and write) Egyptian Hieroglyphs, hearing some of the behind the scenes stories about the American Founding Fathers, and the basics of playing guitar.

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Filed under Education, Response, The Teaching Company

Faith AND Works?

When I grew up, many people tried to claim that all I had to do was believe in Jesus and pray the sinner’s prayer and I was good to go… forever. While that’s a great starting point, I was challenged by James’ words: “So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.” -James 2:17 (NLT)

And today, I ran across this Christian writer from antiquity who summed up the knowledge part of faith and the role of the “works” of faith really well:

“Even though knowledge is true, it is still not firmly established if unaccompanied by works. For everything is established by being put into practice.” – St. Mark the Ascetic, Philokalia, vol. 1, p 126, #12.

Maybe “faith put into practice” is a better way of thinking about faith and works! If our faith is based on on our head knowledge, it’s dead! But if we can put the faith we believe into practice, then we’re REALLY living out our faith!

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Filed under Bible, Church Leadership, Devotional, Reflection, Response