Church at Work

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Many articles and books make the judgment that the church is “not working” or is “out of touch”. I have the privilege of visiting a number of churches and I want to share a story about seeing a church (actually two churches) at work. Maranatha CRC is located in Cambridge, Ontario. This church was organized in 1958 and experienced growth initially due to migration and … [Read more...]

Boomerang Wisdom

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I write this Medenblog as the United States sits on a fiscal cliff.  (On January 1, the United States avoided this particular cliff, but there will probably be another one in the near future.)  There is enough “blame” to go around at the fiscal cliff, but is there enough “wisdom” to see beyond and beneath the cliff? Michael Lewis is the best-selling author of Moneyball, … [Read more...]

Broken

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Broken.  Newtown, Connecticut is broken.  Families are broken.  Sandy Hook Elementary School is broken.  We are broken. In this Advent Season, the plans of many for a simple celebration of Christmas have been drastically altered.  This past Sunday, I sat in a church where songs were sung and prayers were prayed and words were spoken in an attempt to frame tragedy and … [Read more...]

The Value of “Compromise”

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Compromise.  What is your immediate reaction to this word?  Does your heart rejoice or sink at the thought of needing to compromise?  Compromise seems similar to being “luke-warm” and we wonder if it would be better to be hot or cold. At the Edge of the Precipice:  Henry Clay and the Compromise that Saved the Union by Robert V. Remini is a book that challenges our … [Read more...]

Covenantal Continuing Education

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Lawyers do it. Doctors do it. Accountants do it. Auto-mechanics do it. All of them participate in mandated continuing education or additional certification. We can list other fields of learning where it is expected that those in the field know they will need to continue to learn to “keep up” and to be effective. Why not pastors? A few years ago, Calvin Theological … [Read more...]

A Liturgy for Deleting Numbers

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As many of you know, I was an attorney for Southern Bell, one of the “Baby Bells” from the break-up of AT&T.  I used my background to help cajole busy service personnel to get memorable telephone numbers for New Life Church (462.0202), fax line (462.0505) and even for our home (485.1333).  With our family having an increased reliance on cell phones, we gave up our land … [Read more...]

Lessons from Eiffel’s Tower

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This past summer, my wife and I with our two children took the trip of a lifetime. With the help of a farewell gift from New Life Christian Reformed Church (where I was Senior Pastor for 16 years), we went on a three-week trip to Europe from late June until mid-July. This was my first ever trip to Europe. We flew from Chicago to Amsterdam and traveled by Eurorail to … [Read more...]

Increasing Cabin Pressure – Synod 2012

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This past summer, I attended the Christian Reformed Church Synod for the first time as President of Calvin Theological Seminary. I had previously served as a delegate in 1990, 2002, 2006 and 2010, but for this Synod I was in a new role. Because of that role, I have been asked by a number of people about my impressions of this past Synod and this is my usual “overview” … [Read more...]

Getting Ready to Meet God

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Genesis 35:1-14 So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him. “Get rid of the foreign gods you have with you, and purify yourselves and change your clothes.” Genesis 35:2 Growing up on a family farm meant that after chores, it was time for Saturday night baths and for getting ready for Sunday. Peeling potatoes on Saturday night so that this work … [Read more...]

The Power of a Word

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On a recent trip, I completed reading Miz Lil & the Chronicles of Grace by Walter Wangerin, Jr. and Rise of a Dynasty: The ’57 Celtics by Bill Reynolds. (I usually have a couple of books going.) What does a memoir of a pastor in the early days of ministry and a book about the first championship won by the Boston Celtics have in common? The power of a word. In Miz … [Read more...]