Yesterday I preached on the parable of the prodigal – with emphasis on the elder son on the story. This morning I read Psalm 1. The two passages provide an intriguing intersection of ideas. Psalm 1 celebrates the Law of the Lord. It is a source of life and hope. Such a life of righteousness is a place of abundance. Yet the elder son who did everything commanded stands on the outside of the celebration of redemption.
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This coming week at our fall classis meeting we will discuss an overture to make some changes to Article 17. The request comes out of a concern for the ministry of the church: we have been given a ministry of reconciliation and yet in our practice of Article 17, reconciliation and healing seem so problematic.
It is around this time of the year that the demands of community life add up. From school to sports, social life to planning for upcoming events, from regular commitments to unscheduled sickness, the moments seem to press in on us. There is a simple consequence. In busy times I default to the urgent.
Would reminding people of the Ten Commandments keep people honest? Would reminding people of commitments made keep people honest?
Most of us are busy. We hardly have time to keep up with the relationships around us. That is not surprising. The simple math of relationships – family, friends, coworkers, church attendees and a host of other regular passing acquaintances – are enough. With these we fail to keep up. Most busy people are not looking for more.
I just finished hearing Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely. I couldn’t resist the title. For those who confess that all people are “inclined toward all evil”, a book on irrational behavior might just provide an interesting take on the human heart. And indeed it did.
As I woke up this morning, I was having imagined conversations with some people in the church and who were once members of the church. I wanted reasons for their actions. I was asking the question every young child asks: Why? For instance: why do you attend that other church? Why have you stopped attending church altogether?
According to the church order, “The sacraments shall be administered upon the authority of the consistory in the public worship service…” and “The Lord’s Supper shall be administered at least once every three months in a manner conducive to building up the body of Christ and in keeping with the teachings of God’s Word.” While not providing details, there is some direction...
The range of what we think or do Is limited by what we fail to notice...Failing to notice is a strategy we use to avoid truth that demands change. We all believe that we ought to love our neighbour. In fact most of us think we are doing alright in this regard. Of course we tend to surround ourselves with...
Christians have always remarked that contentment is rooted not in the circumstances of our lives but in God who gives life. We would do well to ask: what is my source of contentment? How do the habits of my life display that I find more contentment in the Lord than a trip to the mall?
In speaking about the Japanese struggle with its nuclear reactors, Peter Goodspeed wrote “But the nuclear danger may also be a direct result of human hubris.” ( National Post · Mar. 15, 2011) I suppose at least part of the reason I paid attention to this comment is because of other reading I was doing. The book is named This Time is Different...
Over the years I have noticed that many times the kind of supervisory conversations that take place on a council level, look more like feedback. Supervision requires guidance. Supervision suggests that there are standards to be met for which the supervisors are held accountable. But in council, supervision is often handicapped.
Recently we watched a marvelous movie, Of Gods and Men. It is a powerful story of a monastic community in Algiers that is caught up in the civil war of the 1990’s. These monks were faced with question: do we stay in the community and continue our service among these people or do we do flee to the safety of France?
As we head into May, we are approaching the end of the church year. Now is a good time to review the work of the past year. We usually like to gloss over this moment. After all, some are coming to the end of their terms of office and are fading out of the job. Others feel a little guilty about what they failed to do. Hopes and ambition
Over and over again, I hear of elders – especially first time elders – struggling to get acquainted with the tasks before them. Not everything can be overcome through good planning. Some tasks simply have to be done the first time in order to learn the dynamics of the ministry. But there is no question that planning
In a given week there are probably more Christians listening to the words of Oprah than the words of God. More people probably pay attention to TV makeovers than pay attention to God’s invitation to transformation. Elders – in working for God – have a tough job.