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...]

News from Ripon

Historic Ripon

Classis is an ecclesiastical gathering of a region of churches. It is considered a middle-judicatory by those who know of such things. People usually yawn or cringe about classis meetings, but I love these gatherings. I especially loved going to the one for Classis Central California. Or maybe I should say I love the two classes that met as one. I have recently returned … [Read more...]

Reading for the “Whim”

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Plane travel is something I actually look forward to in my schedule. It is not the destination, but the possibility that causes this anticipation. On a plane, I can catch up on some reading. I don’t download emails. I may listen to music. Sometimes, I can catch a movie, but what I look forward to most is having an uninterrupted hour or two for reading. What do I … [Read more...]

$14 for Valentine’s Day

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Valentine’s Day has come and gone again. There are lots of stories that surround that day, but this past year was particularly eventful for our family. On February 14, a young man came to our home with a stuffed animal and chocolates and asked our young daughter to be his “girlfriend.” (She said – “Yes” and she would want me to note that she is nearly seventeen years … [Read more...]