The tension of the green season

Sunday begins the long season after Pentecost with the green liturgical color. As a young child, I remember that we called it “the growing season.” Which fits both with the color and with the orientation. We call this season “ordinary time,” that is, there is nothing special. No Christmas, no Easter, no Pentecost. No specialContinue reading “The tension of the green season”

Wait…Where are we going?

Sermon originally delivered to the Calvary Reformed Church of New Berlin, Wisconsin. Text: Genesis 15:1-18. It is one thing to hear about the promises of God, or to read about the promises of God. It is another thing altogether to really feel and understand the promises of God. Especially when you are in a difficult place.Continue reading “Wait…Where are we going?”

“Do you love me?” – Sunday’s Sermon

It has been quite an emotionally exhausting few days for the disciples. The entry into Jerusalem was followed by extraordinary events in the temple, a Passover meal unlike any other, an intense experience in the Garden of Gethsemane, and unexpected betrayal from one of their own, an armed arrest, a series of denials, a proContinue reading ““Do you love me?” – Sunday’s Sermon”

When the loss feels more significant than the gain

“I can’t do this anymore,” I told my beloved. “Can’t do what anymore?” she said. “I can’t do any of this — alone — anymore,” I replied. * * * The preaching moment is a fantastic example of the consequences of pastoral ministry. During the preaching moment, regardless of whether the sermon is delivered fromContinue reading “When the loss feels more significant than the gain”

Is This What it is Like?

I spent about two and a half hours yesterday over a sausage and pepperoni pizza and a steaming cup of black coffee. I was with another pastor. I, just finishing my first year as a pastor and he, coming into his last year as a pastor. I was able to express some of my painsContinue reading “Is This What it is Like?”

A Cross in my Hand

I have a cross which is designed to be held in one’s hand. It was given to me when I was installed as pastor and teacher at my church. It has rounded corners and it is smooth to the touch.  It is unfinished and it is designed to absorb the oils from hands over time.Continue reading “A Cross in my Hand”

The Minister as Particular Theologian

I have not been very faithful the last couple of weeks in my writing.  The reason for that is largely because I have been immersed in writings by and about Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758).  Jonathan Edwards is most known for his sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.”  This is, of course, in aContinue reading “The Minister as Particular Theologian”

How the Teacher Becomes the Student

The highest assembly of my denomination, the General Synod, meets annually in June. There are delegates which are elders and ministers, and there are corresponding delegates which can speak but not vote. Corresponding delegates are often people with particular expertise or particular experiences that make them valuable additions to General Synod and the denomination valuesContinue reading “How the Teacher Becomes the Student”

Examining Students of Theology

Yesterday we had our Spring classis meeting (the classis is the regional assembly of ministers and elder delegates from churches [If you’re interested in the governance and structure of my denomination, there is information on its website), and at that meeting we have the opportunity to examine our enrolled students of theology.  These students areContinue reading “Examining Students of Theology”

Ministry is terrific…or is it terrible?

There is someone who would often ask me, “so how was work with God today?”  This was of course referring to the fact that I am a pastor and with the assumption that I get the ability to spend every day in some kind of special divine fellowship.  This is true insofar as we all,Continue reading “Ministry is terrific…or is it terrible?”