When God Takes a Faithful Servant Suddenly and Unexpectedly

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Pastor Jim Barrick (Feb. 9, 1948 – Aug. 11, 2017)

As my wife and I were boarding our flight from Gatwick Airport in London my cell phone buzzed. It was not a good time to answer it and I knew if it were important, the call would be repeated when we landed in California. Sure enough, as soon as our plane touched down in Los Angeles I turned on my phone and the call came immediately. The news rocked me—my brother Jim had died at home in his sleep—suddenly and unexpectedly. Memories flooded my mind as I expressed to his wife my sorrow for his family.… Continue reading

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“Song of the Bow”: A Biblical Meditation for Memorial Day

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Each Memorial Day our nation takes time to formally recognize the ultimate sacrifice of our servicemen and servicewomen who died in battle. In 1868, a few years after the Civil War, General John A. Logan called for a nationwide day to remember fallen soldiers of that conflict. He selected May 30 as the day to decorate the graves of those soldiers who died in defense of their nation. No particular battle had taken place on that day during the war. The observance became know as Decoration Day. On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield (later to become President), spoke at Arlington National Cemetery.… Continue reading

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Bearing Grief through Truth and Worship

We all—hundreds of us—asked God for something good: a baby’s life. Something that would give us an opportunity to magnify his mercy and exalt Jesus together as a church family. Instead, he let baby Tahlia die just a few hours after she was born. Instead of a telling miracle story, we are grieving with our friends who have been left with empty arms.

Every grief is different, and it’s usually unfair to compare one loss with another. But most people seem to acknowledge that grief over a lost baby is in a special category.

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Truths to Remember in Pursuit of Contentment

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I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:11-13 ESV)

Do you struggle with finding contentment in the life God has assigned to you?  I sure do.  I, unlike the Apostle Paul, have not yet learned how to be content in whatever situation I am.  Indeed there are days in my life when dis-contentedness so fills my heart that not a single pleasure in this world could even begin to drive it out.… Continue reading

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God’s Bottle of Tears: Walking with Unseen Sorrows

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You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? (Psalm 56:8)

man-in-fogIt’s the most wonderful time of the year.  Or is it?

Even for those who celebrate the fact that two millennia ago God became a man and dwelt among us in the person of Jesus of Nazereth and that this Jesus will one day return to the world in victory over sin and death, Christmas time is not an entirely joyful season.  For some, the holidays are a very difficult time, characterized (for various reasons) by bouts with discouragement and even depression. … Continue reading

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