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.

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Five for Friday

Five links that I think I worth your time…

Exploitation and a call to pastors. You need to get to know Raleigh Sadler. Not just because of who he is (he really is a swell guy) but because of his passion to see human trafficking come to an end. This post is calling pastors to action, but it applies to everyone. As an added bonus, he quotes a friend, groomsman, and college roommate of mine.

Then God showed up. It was one of those Sundays. Bob Kellemen provides a God centered view of how to respond when nearly everything does not go according to plan.

Has Jephthah been maligned? Admittedly, I have viewed Jephthah as a scoundrel, foolish, and unwise. Dr. David Murray takes that view to task in convincing fashion.

Location, location, location. Paul David Tripp invites you to see how location matters to followers of Christ.

Lent to Maundy Thursday. Page CXVI is mere days away from releasing their new album “Lent to Maundy Thursday”.  You  will know most, if not all, of these songs. But, they are slightly tweaked and/or repackaged. Consider it a refreshing of some songs. This is the latest in their series of albums following the church calendar, their previous album was “Advent to Christmas.” A really well done album leading you to the cross. Here’s a behind the scenes look at the making of  “Lent to Maundy Thursday.”

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Cursory prayers

On Sunday mornings we are slowly, bit by bit, methodically working our way through the letter of James. I’ve never preached through the entire letter before, so this has been both challenging and enjoyable. Two weeks ago, we looked at James 1:2-8, paying careful attention to verse 5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” We should actively seek God for wisdom to endure, navigate, withstand, conquer the trial. (Feel free to supply your own action word).

As I prepared that week’s sermon, I was challenged repeatedly about my prayer life. We have difficulty in rightly assessing our personal prayer life because it is, you know, personal. It is far from the inspecting, evaluative eyes of others. It is easy for us to make charitable appraisals about the quality of our prayer life. No one is listening in on our prayers to provide us feedback.

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Five for Friday

Five posts worth a read on: pastors’ salary, emotional dysregulation, the Psalms and depression, catechism songs, and figure skating not being a sport.

How well should pastors be paid? Favorite line of this post from Dr. R.C. Sproul, Jr. “There is nothing spiritual about driving a rundown car, or eating beans and rice, nothing unspiritual about going out to dinner or owning a well made suit.”

Experiencing a little emotional dysregulation? You may not be familiar with the term, but you’ve likely seen it in action.

The Psalmist’s rich view of depression. “It’s interesting to ponder the Psalms and how they view “depression.” It is such a rich view. Honestly, it makes a DSM-V view of depression seem quite flat and shallow by comparison.”

Songs for Saplings. Okay, not really something to read, but too good not to share. They say music for kids, but I enjoy the songs as much as my kiddos do (if not more).

Is figure skating a sport? If ever I felt compelled to write on this topic, most of what is contained in this post is almost exactly what I would have said.

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Unremembered places connecting with unreached people

What does a rural, rainy, timber community have in common with a dry, sandy, tree-less one?

Based on external criteria, nothing. Other than the fact that both the North River valley in Washington and the Republic of Niger occupy space on earth, there would seem to be little to connect the two. Yet in my mind, and now in our church family’s mind, that connection has been made.

When we began our journey with Village Missions, I wrote here about how a trip to Niger was one of the things God  used to nudge us toward pursuing Village Missions. Village Missions serves rural churches and rural communities that are unremembered. We are grateful to be serving with Village Missions and the people of the North River Community Church family, and the people that make up the North River valley. But, as a church family, we know that we are called to look and pray beyond just our community. Our family’s relationship with our sending church also means that we are in some measure of relationship with other missionaries that have been sent out from that church.

Our sending church has adopted an unreached people group in Niger, and they support a couple of missionaries and organizations that are serving there. Their newest missionary to Niger is a family that North River Community Church (our Village Missions church family) has decided to support. They are currently in language school in France in preparation for moving to Niger. The Durigas will be serving university students in Niamey (the capital) with SIM- for more on them, be sure to visit

With this partnership, an unremembered place gets to watch as God works among unreached people. Our church family now knows where Niger is, and is regularly reminded that not only does God work here in our remote valley, but He is working around the world. Our partnership with SIM gives us windows to look through to see God’s handiwork, and particularly in Niger. There are lots of words I could type to show you the needs in Niger, but instead I’ll let a short video do that work (big thanks goes to the Durigas for posting this on their blog!) Please take the 3.5 minutes of your time to watch this, and join us in praying for God’s grace and power to be shown in extravagant ways.



I need my crutches

By now, you are likely aware that two nights ago, Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis and Bill Nye “The Science Guy” participated in a live debate, tackling the issue “is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era?” Three hours later, at its conclusion, viewers were left with a mountain of information to sort through. Both gentlemen provided solid reasons for their positions, they both prepared and performed well, and despite the intense difference of opinion and interpretation of facts, they were gracious with each other. Perhaps they can offer lessons to future politicians in how to disagree without attacking. 

I enjoyed the parts of the debate I was able to see (while navigating dinner preparation and youngster management/containment). During the debate, most of the information presented by both sides I have heard before. Nothing presented by either side really shocked me – they said what I thought they might say. But, what I found most interesting is what happened after the debate. Continue reading