I pastor a small church in the Northern Virginia town of Haymarket. It is an insanely financially prosperous area. The average household income in our zip code is north of $150K a year. Everything around here is shiny, upscale and new (unless of course it’s historical). Even the side walk in town is new, they tore up the perfectly good (and seemingly not very old) sidewalk along the main street to install a brand new and more aesthetically pleasing red brick walkway. I grew up on the Northside of Pittsburgh, and even though we moved to a small apartment “out where the rich people lived” when I was in high school, none of this is familiar.… Continue reading
For believers the Lord’s Day worship service is the centerpiece of the week. It is the time when they gather with their church family to praise and worship their King. It is a time of sweet fellowship and of edification. The cares of the world are left behind, songs of praise are sung, prayer requests and praise reports are shared, and spiritual batteries are recharged. But there is one believer in the church who experiences Sundays much different from all of the rest, the preaching pastor. For a pastor it is equally a sweet time of worship and fellowship, but it feels much different.… Continue reading
Being a pastor is a high calling, but a very strange job. And one of the strangest things I do is to read bad books. Not bad in the sense that they are poorly written, but bad in the sense that though they purport to be Christian resources they are so deeply flawed they are not just non-edifying, they are dangerous to the believers who read and are influenced by them. And I just read a doozy, Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis (published by Thomas Nelson).
I know that there was more buzz about this book a few months ago, but I actually wanted to take the time to read it, and besides, it is still the best selling Christian book according to the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association.… Continue reading
As we move through the Christmas season, so often despite our best intentions, we can lose the proper focus. We know that there is no Christmas without Christ, but we can become practical secularists, worried about making sure there are enough cookies baked, that the house is ready for the arrival of out of town guests and of course that the right presents are purchased, wrapped and delivered to the right people.
But as we celebrate Christmas, it is of the utmost importance that we remember the first Christmas gift ever given. I am not referring to the gold, frankincense and myrrh brought to the Christ child, but to the Christ child Himself.… Continue reading
I recently finished up the first part of a two part preface to a planned verse by verse exposition of the Gospel of John and this past Sunday, I started on part two. I don’t think that is so unusual, especially among churches where preaching and teaching is taken seriously. In churches devoted to expository preaching introductory messages are often preached before a new sermon series. What is unusual is that part one of this preface was a verse by verse exposition of all of the Servant songs of Isaiah and part two will be an exposition of all of the songs of ascent, Psalms 120-134. … Continue reading