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Of Rob Ford and Pastors

For two decades ever more frequent scandals involving clergy have surfaced in many communions. Many of those crimes were covered up by bishops or other denominational judicatories. Small wonder that surveys that measure trust in people in public positions of authority have ranked clergy as low or lower than politicians...

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We Believe. Help Our Unbelief.

I still cannot comprehend these facts three weeks after it all began. They've been playing in my head like a wicked song I can’t turn off. My response is not unique. Why does this young man’s death and his family’s grief make such a deep impact on so many who never knew Tim Bosma?

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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. 

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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.

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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."

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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

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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.

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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?

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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 . . . 

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Pastors Losing Family Members to Death

How do churches and pastors carry on after an immediate family member has died--whether suddenly or after an illness? I know two colleagues whose wives have died in automobile accidents and another whose young daughter died after a long illness. They were all faithful servants. Their congregations treated them well before and following those tragedies but . . .

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The Love of God in Belhar?

The Belhar Confession IS important—isn’t it???? Are we quiet about this because we’re thinking? Or are we quiet about it because we’re not really engaging in the discussion except to say we’re “fer it or agin it”? I pray it’s not the latter . . .

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A Bit More on NOT Tweeting

Early on in the stone age of The Network (about ten months ago), I blogged about why I did not tweet and rarely use my Facebook page. My use of those social networks has not changed appreciably since then.

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An R-Rated Epiphany Story

The names in Matthew 1:1-17 give a thumbnail sketch of Jesus’ family. Don’t skip them; look up their names and stories in the Bible. All in some way point to or reveal Jesus, who redeems people and the world from sin. But some point very crookedly. 

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Jesus in Every Book of the Bible--and on the Internet!

We hear a lot about wicked and dangerous stuff on the internet. But God is the Lord of all technology, including the internet, which can be used for much good. I'm going to invite you to check a four-minute video below of an enthusiastic eleven-year old boy powerfully declaiming in a service at Salem Lutheran Church, Tomball, Texas. (If the introductory frame actually introduces the speaker, he is Jack Stockton.) Here young Jack he names all 66 Bible books, mentioning briefly how each book reveals Jesus.

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Conflict: Inevitable, So Learn to Understand and Lead Through It

On the Church Administration Network colleague Sheri Laninga has posted a blog with this fine article from the Alban Institute about understanding and managing conflict in churches. er you read that article and chew on it a bit, let me suggest that you go to this remarkably closely-related YouTube video about understanding leadership and being a "differentiated leader."

Pastors
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See Change

How many pastors does it take to change a Christian Reformed church? The best and right answer is probably “None.” But that hasn’t kept many of my ilk from trying. Some try wisely, some foolishly. We all pray we’re faithful to God in building up the church and serving in God’s world.

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Christmas in the Rear-view Mirror

The week before Christmas was supposed to be easy. On my Monday off I took a pick-up load of scrap metal to Adelstein’s Recycling and pocketed $129.60; more than paid for stocking stuffers for the children and grandchildren who would start trickling in on Wednesday. They’d stay till December 27. Menus were planned, groceries bought.

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All I Want for Christmas

With decades-long help from books, friends, and the Scriptures, I am realizing that thoughtless consumerism is daily paying us ever more mini-deaths. How long can God’s world survive our consumerist acquisitiveness?

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Twelve Years of Christmas in Chicago

Christmas really is about giving and receiving. One Christmas gift I never thought about receiving till Army time was the forgiveness that the Christ child was born to give by giving up his life.

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More on Mall Music--Hallelujah, Amen!!

As some or many of you know, that YouTube video I linked in this blog two weeks ago of Chorus Niagara singing "The Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel's Messiah has "gone viral," as they say. With over 13,000,000 hits and counting, this stirring piece has captivated millions for a few minutes--or more; 13,000,000 is more than one-third of the population of Canada.

Pastors
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Mockery? OR a Lesson in Gospel Translation?

One of my all-time favourite songs—Christmas or other times—is “Ere zij God”/”Glory to God” (Psalter Hymnal #214). We’ll surely be singing it again during Christmas Day worship, perhaps other times as well. I had never heard this song until we moved to Canada from Venezuela in 1986. Now, though, to take a seriously comical (or comically serious) turn, I’ll relate the story of “Ere zij God” that I recently heard from the spouse of a second-generation Canadian of Dutch heritage.

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Going to the Mall for Christmas?

On November 13, unbeknownst to the denizens of the shops and stores, members of Chorus Niagara scattered themselves about the Food Court of the Seaway Mall in Welland, Ontario. Several members of CRCs in St. Catharines sing in this chorus. Some crafty (and I hope legal) camera and sound work captured this marvelous happening. This is not Muzak! It is my early and free (just like the Gospel!!) Christmas gift to Networkers.

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