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Would they be welcome?

Last Sunday, I made a statement during the course of my message that could have made our church family a little uncomfortable. However, when I said it, not a single eyebrow was raised. It was as if what they heard was expected, or commonplace, or already understood. For that, I am profoundly grateful for the church family I have the privilege of serving, North River Community Church. I pray God allows them to see fruit from the ease with which they readily embraced this.

I shared with them a question I was asked a few weeks earlier during our Tuesday morning men’s Bible study. We are a small bunch, and while there is a structure to what we do, it is not particularly rigid, allowing for discussion, debate, encouragement, and questions, sometimes (ok, often) tangentially related to the text we are studying. That was the case when a brief discussion about a hot topic came up, leading to the question – “If a homosexual couple came to this church, would they be welcome?”

I answered that question for our church family on Sunday, and am expanding it a little here: Continue reading


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Five for (late night) Friday

Really pushing to avoid this becoming a Five for Saturday…

An impending marriage. I pray that when the day comes for me to launch my daughters into marriage, I respond as well as Dr. R.C. Sproul, Jr has.

Christ’s victory is our victory. YES!

Are you competent to counsel? “Do you care enough to ask when someone seems troubled? Are you wise enough to point to Christ and His Word, not your opinion? Are you humble enough to pray on the spot for their struggle or burden?”

Where did all these Calvinists come from? Fascinating (and well-researched) infographic from Josh Byers and Tim Challies about the New Calvinism.

Dear future mom. Beautiful, moving message to a future mom of a child with Down syndrome.

And with 10 minutes to spare, got this done on Friday.


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Confident otters

My day to day demeanor has been described in a variety of ways. Some have labeled it as having a crisis meter perpetually pegged on low. Others have wondered if my rejection of a Chicken Little mindset has swung to the opposite extreme of being an older, masculine Pollyanna. Pejoratively, it has been described as having a basis far from reality. Those with a more encouraging bent have categorized it as remaining hopeful in all things.

There exists a personality test that measures an individual’s thoughts, beliefs, and actions and makes comparisons with members of the animal kingdom: Lion, Otter, Golden retriever, and Beaver. Based on that metric, I am off the charts Otter. The summary statement of the Otter is “It will all work out.” If only I had a nickel for every time I said that…

Unfortunately, it rarely shows up in my facial expressions. I’m not much of a smiler, I have never considered myself a good smiler, and it has not crossed my mind to practice smiling. Accordingly, there are more than a few who, when looking at my face, think I am irritated or troubled, when more than likely the exact opposite is true. The Otter’s summary statement is precisely how I go through life. It will all work out.

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Photo by “Mike” Michael L. Baird [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Polar exploration and worship leaders

In December of 1914, Sir Ernest Shackleton set sail for Antarctica, with the goal of being the first to cross the continent. Called the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, Shackleton considered it to be the last great polar journey. The story of this trip, the crew’s ordeal of being stranded when their boat was crushed by the ice of the seas, and their subsequent rescue is simultaneously frightening and inspiring.

What captures the attention of many about Shackleton’s expedition is how he recruited men to join him. It is alleged that prior to the journey, he posted an ad in the London Times which said…

Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in event of success.

It is believed that some 5000 men responded to this advertisement. 27 men were selected, and if I can ruin the end of the story for you, all 27 of the men survived the astounding hardship of what began as a dream in Shackleton’s mind. He had a vision and a plan, and needed others to join him in order to see it come to fruition. He put out what seemed to be an impossible request, and found eager volunteers.

“What does this have to do with worship leaders?” is what you may be asking yourself while gently mocking me for the possibility that I may be taking an illustration too far. Perhaps I am. But, I have your attention thus far, so I’ll keep going. The church we serve at is in a relatively remote location. Someone counted it up and along 18 miles of paved road, there are 130 homes in what makes up the North River valley. Small population, small church, few resources. For the past 9 months, we have been without regular, committed worship leaders for our Sunday morning gatherings. We have been extraordinarily blessed by friends who have led us in music once or twice a month, for whom we are profoundly grateful. Most Sundays though, we are a capella. Do you need to have musicians in order to have a church? Absolutely not. Is it a gift and blessing if you have them? You betcha. With that, I now put forward my best Shackletonian request…

Men wanted to lead a grace-filled journey, serving through music. No pay. No fame. Remote location. Uncertain lodging options. Eternal recognition is guaranteed, as is the great appreciation of a church family. Opportunity to serve among the unknown and unremembered, to lift praises to the One who can be known, and to lead His people to a corporate remembrance of Him.


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Five for Friday

Well, gee-whillikers. I hoped to have some original stuff up this week. Alas, circumstances, distractions, and the inability to overcome both prevented that from happening. Much more reading than writing, and of the things I read, here is what most got my attention…

Big ambitions, small church. As you (hopefully!) know, we serve with Village Missions. Village Missions recently linked to this post. If you are trying to get a grip on the struggles, challenges, and opportunities for the small church pastor, take a look.

Spiritually flabby church attenders. The story may not be true, but the reality is.

Psychiatry admits it has been wrong. Links are provided, including several written by Dr. Bob Kellemen on depression, medication, and biblical counseling.

Northwest Ministry Conference. Very privileged and honored to be able to lead a couple of workshops at this conference coming up at the end of March. If you happen to be in the area, drop in and say hello!

Penalty declined. As a fan of soccer, fair play, honesty, and integrity, this story (and accompanying video) blesses me. Well done, Aaron Hunt.


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Five for Friday

Recovering from being out of town, and recovering from picking up a wicked head cold while being out of town, means new, fresh, and original content will be re-appearing next week. Until then, feast your eyes on these…

Encouragement for small churches. I have thought these same thoughts, and have often needed the same reminders of God’s call and God’s grace.

Is it a sin to be afraid? A quick (2 minutes, 10 seconds) response to a common concern.

A hero in a minivan. “If we would be heroes indeed to our children, then that burden must drive us to our knees. If we would impress our children, let us impress upon them humble and contrite spirits.”

145 John Newton Tweets. Tony Reinke has been working on a book on John Newton, and as he did so, he tweeted out a pile of quotes from him. Here they are all in one place.

MLS means more than just Multiple Listing Service. Our household (at least the males) are pretty stoked that tomorrow begins the new MLS season, and specifically, the new Seattle Sounders FC season. If you are not familiar with MLS, consider this a quick primer. In case you need help answering the question, “who should I root for?”, the answer is in the sentence which precedes this one.