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Have You Ever Abandoned Your Vocation--or Been Tempted To?

David, a member of Jesus' family, was “a man after God’s own heart.” Great Big Sea sings in one sad song, “Time makes the strongest tree to bend. Kings and queens have no defense. Time brings all things to an end.” It could be the end for David in 2 Samuel 11 and 12: He QUITS being king. We read, “In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war . . . 

Pastors
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Hopeful, Sensitive Words about Muslim-Christian Relations

If you are interested in reading charitable, honestly Christian comment on the issue of Christian-Muslim relationship—especially on the topic of Koran burning—today’s issue of Evangelical Fellowship of Canada's Virtual House News will be helpful. Pass this around to members of your congregation, council members, friends. Encourage prayers, calm, gentleness and generous portions of Christ’s love. If you don’t have time to read all the items editor Daina Doucet refers to, I particularly recommend at least Geoff Tunnicliffe’s record of his conversations with Pastor Terry Jones.

Pastors
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A Word from the Library

We are “people of the Book and of the Word.” All good books, all good words derive from the Word of God, living eternally in the Word made flesh before time began. We as preachers and members have a happy duty to train ourselves in good words used carefully—not just in sermons, but in reading, promoting literature. Church libraries can help. Can we help church libraries?

Pastors
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Two Books--Reviews: Both Bouquets and Near Brickbats

Over the last month or so Mars Hill pastor Rob Bell’s Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived has garnered much pre-publication attention. A colleague told me that it has been discussed on page one of CNN.com and that it is vying with none other than Justin Bieber for attention.

Pastors
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The New Old, Old Story

This is the time of year when we start (or ought to!) thinking about planning for preaching, worship and teaching for the school/church year starting in September. I invite you to take a good look at the website for The Story to learn about what I think is a very worthwhile potential preaching, worship and teaching

Pastors
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Lenten Meditation: Praying in Lent--and Always

Many say Lent’s 42 days mesh with Jesus’ 40 days of desert temptation by the devil. He was sustained by praying. Lent is still a time for praying. When do you pray? Isaac Bashevis Singer, Nobel Prize winning novelist, was once asked when he prayed. Singer famously answered, “"I only pray when I'm in trouble. But I'm in trouble all the time, so I always pray."

Pastors
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Easter Meditation: What Good is the Resurrection?

Denying Jesus' resurrection started the day he arose. It’s natural to deny the resurrection. We modern folks like to get to the root of things. And at the root of all things biological is that life will end in death. That's all there is, folks. There ain't no more.

Pastors
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Work, Overwork, Stress: When Does a Vocation become a Job?

How many of us preachers feel overworked, stressed out? (I have never complained about being underpaid, though some colleagues are. In fact, I often say, “You can’t pay me enough for what I do, but I’m not complaining, because this pastoring business is more than a job; it’s a vocatio.”)

Pastors
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It's Closin' Time

Leonard Cohen sings a long, complex song called “It’s Closin’ Time.” It’s full of varied images and scenes that evoke life’s excitement, unpredictability, the rare possibility of controlling much, but dealing with it without anxiety. Sort of like The Network. 

Pastors
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Back Atcha!

I hereby solemnly pledge NOT to make this blog a soapbox for my own opinions about issues before Synod 2012--though opinions will not be entirely absent either.  I am glad to be back with you. I invite your attentiveness and comments, disagreements and invitations to dinner or free tickets to Tigers or Blue Jays games.

CRCNA and Synod
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Synod's Agenda in the Brussels Airport

I sat in the Brussels Airport with dozens of different nationalities and more languages. Soon we all boarded one plane, made in Europe, run by an Indian company, and headed to Toronto. Among us we are all able to communicate basically. If we had spent a long time together, we’d have to learn to live together deeply. That's what this year's diverse Agenda begs us to do ...

CRCNA and Synod
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Name Change: Will It Be a Relief to Be “Renew?”

So, what’s wrong with the name Christian Reformed World Relief Committee? Nothing’s wrong with it. It just doesn’t fit as well as it used to.  Sometime in the next few days Synod will be faced with a significant decision about Christian Reformed World Relief Committee...

CRCNA and Synod
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Belhar—Up, Down or Sideways?

The overtures display a wide range of well-argued thought surrounding Belhar. There does not seem to be any clear line-up of opinion following geographical lines within the CRC. The positions  argued are literally “all over the map.” 

CRCNA and Synod
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Living Confessionally in Covenant

The voice vote was unanimous and, apparently, enthusiastic. I (along with my committee colleagues) was a little stunned. After all this time and after the near rancor of last year’s discussion at Synod—now unanimity and applause? Whatever! And most of all, thanks be to God.

CRCNA and Synod
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A Process That Worked

In a few years, perhaps Belhar will have taken root in our hearts and minds, worked on our consciences and souls as it could not have had the advisory committee never daringly and faithfully followed God’s Spirit and decided to stay united. Remember my paraphrase of the old hymn: “God moves in a mysterious way—our blunders to reform.”

CRCNA and Synod
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From “neat and tidy” to “graciously messy”

As the church order implications of our recommendation were discussed in 2011, a motion was made from the floor to delete one sentence from article 59 of the church order: “This public profession of faith includes a commitment to the creeds and confessions of the Christian Reformed Church.” That motion was discussed and approved without comment from our committee, but the instant it was passed we realized that we had blundered in our silence.

CRCNA and Synod
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Time to Pack ‘er In!

Synod and Summer 2012 have come and gone. Where I live the weather was hot and dry. Some synod discussions and debates surely may have been hot, in committee, over mealtimes and in plenary sessions. But from what I heard and gleaned, they were never dry. Nor was the Synod Network conversation.

CRCNA and Synod
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REAL Creation Care? Or Just More Words and Trees Gone?

Weighing in at 114 pages, the Creation Stewardship Task Force Report is the physical heavyweight of all reports this year. I wonder if anyone else picked up the irony that the issue it carefully deals with also results in using more natural resources in its publication than any other on the docket.

CRCNA and Synod

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