Finding Community

Community.  It’s a buzz word right now, especially among the 20- and 30-somethings. What does it mean in our walk with the Lord?  How can we truly live out the sort of community described to us in Acts?

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A Balance Beam Believer

Our society is too comfortable.

Not only that, our society thinks it should, by whatever means necessary, push us in all areas of our individual lives towards being comfortable.

The only problem is this: The other side of comfort is complacency. The side effects of a life of safety and fulfillment are an abandonment of our Kingdom purposes and an idolatrous relationship with having our needs met that is, in essence, cheating on God.

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Keep Your Assets In The Chair

Two weeks ago, I attended the Apprentice Institute held in the booming metropolis of Wichita, Kansas. One of the keynote speakers is a dear friend of mine, Mindy Caliguire. Her presentation was entitled “Hounded by Heaven Living into Personal Transformation”. I got settled into my seat as Mindy began her presentation. She’s a gifted speaker and writer, and I was ready to hear whatever she had to say.

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Images That Stick

Over the years, we hear hundreds, then thousands of messages, talks or Bible studies. Of course we don’t remember them all. The ones that stick for me have usually been profoundly simple, and often involved a memorable metaphor.

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Preaching the Book of Creation

It had been a rough night in the little cave I’d slept in.  The ground was bumpy and angled at a slope.  Last night the allure of sleeping in a rocky mountain cave seemed worth the inconvenience.  But, I didn’t anticipate the hours would be filled with sleepy visions of a lost bear stumbling upon my borrowed patch of earth.  I don’t think I’ll ever sleep in a cave again.

It was a Sunday morning and all around the world countless faithful sheep were stumbling into sanctuaries, with worn hope and the fresh wounds of the week’s chaos.  I thought of them as I knelt beside my little fire and brewed the morning coffee.

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A Living Sermon

My wife, Alice, and I were visiting our daughter’s new church. Like most church visitors we were tentative in knowing how to respond to the various parts of the worship service. We were certain a sermon would be coming but we weren’t prepared for what would happen right before the sermon – a blessing of the children.

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A Confession About Illustrations

A confession:  Illustrations have been my downfall.  I used to use a story about myself that brought the house down but I began to see that I was showing off.  I was making my speaking about me.  It took me a few years to give it up because people loved it. Once I did, I was relieved.

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God’s Song

Several years ago, when I first started at George Fox University, one of my colleagues asked me to preach at the church where he was serving as interim pastor. It was to be a Thanksgiving message. I gladly agreed. A few days before I was to speak, I started to prepare the sermon—but was promptly interrupted by the demands of my new job.

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The Molten Moment

While they were with him in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus’ disciples missed opportunities to grow in awareness, faithfulness, and love of their Master. They fell asleep while he was in anguished prayer and in need of their companionship. They, in turn, missed opportunities to grow spiritually. Consider the possibilities they had to grow in prayer, in faithfulness, in pleading with God for the welfare of his kingdom.

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The Harpooner

Editor’s Note: In honor of Clergy Appreciation Month, the Conversations blog will be focusing on memorable sermons, tidbits, ideas or inspiration that our bloggers have gleaned from their pastors over the years. We hope you enjoy, and we’d like to offer you a 20% discount on a gift suscription for your favorite pastor, minister, spiritual director or mentor. You can take advantage of this offer by clicking here.

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I heard it from Eugene Peterson. Peterson “heard” it from Herman Melville, who lived in the 19th century. The whaling vessels of his time are a thing of the past. But harpooners, according to Peterson, are still important people today.

On a whaling ship there were men who manned the ship, expending enormous amounts of energy moving forward, keeping afloat, getting to the destination.  But the harpooner did “nothing.” He remained poised, alert, and attentive, watching for the whale.

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