Sometimes preaching can have unintended consequences. I recently had the privilege of preaching through the David and Goliath story, and it illustrates an important distinction in biblical interpretation. Bible stories like that one can be either descriptive (describing the world and the Lord who created it) or prescriptive (instructive toward the way God’s people should behave). There are strong elements of both in 1 Samuel 17.
This summer a controversy raged over the White House administration’s decision to separate children from parents at border crossings from Mexico into the United States. People were outraged that young children were incarcerated, away from their parents, in circumstances characterized by some as “prisons” and others as “concentration camps.”
The standing name for this column has been “Compass Bearings.” The metaphor may be lost on a GPS generation, but the imagery hearkens to the old seafaring maxim “Whoever has the discipline of the compass has the freedom of the seas.” When we have tools for navigation, we progress on course, even in the face of heavy seas or tricky currents that could otherwise cause perilous drift.
On Sunday, August 19, Andrew Stoecklein preached a sermon called “Mess to Masterpiece.” It was his second Sunday back at Inland Hills, a church in Chino, California, after taking a four-month sabbatical to address his struggles with anxiety and depression. […]
I love poetry. Nearly every morning I read one or more poems to begin my day. I love the evocative images and startling metaphors. Poets have a way of bringing us up short, of making us look at an overly familiar world anew.
Count and report. Count and report. My initial days as a church planter felt urgent. Not only was I full of vision, I was eager to prove that the vision my co-pastor husband and I shared was a vision that could reach a lot of people.
Two years ago, I wrote in this space about the erosion of meaning that has befallen the term “evangelical.” For a variety of reasons, I was ready to toss it out. I believed then, as I do now, the term has become relational kryptonite. Its negative connotations make true evangelism all but impossible.
A recent meeting with the Finance Committee of the Executive Board served to remind me of the privilege we experience daily in serving the ECC. Each committee member, bringing remarkable and varied gifts in real estate, finance, business ownership, and entrepreneurship, commented on their own personal connection to our work.
American church historians trace the beginning of the evangelical movement to the early ministry of Billy Graham. His evangelistic crusades were transdenominational and open to anyone open to his proclamation of the gospel. […]
Recently my husband and I tried an experiment with our preadolescent middle child. She has been resisting our authority to the extent that we decided that for two weeks we would give her liberty to make more of her own decisions. […]