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Confessions of a Small Church Pastor

Easter Podcast: “I Have Seen The Lord”

Mary Magdalene encounters the risen Christ at the tomb of Jesus.

On Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014, I preached an Easter message from the Gospel Reading for the day, John 20:1-18. Mary Magdalene’s testimony to the other disciples was, “I have seen the Lord.” In this message I explore the idea that it isn’t enough to have seen only Jesus the baby of Bethlehem, or Jesus the miracle worker, or even Jesus the crucified. We must also see Jesus the risen […]

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Palm Sunday: A Service of Lessons and Prayers

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For this Palm Sunday, we took a different approach. We combined elements of the Liturgy of the Palms about the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, with elements of the Liturgy of the Passion. This enabled us to move from the joyous crowds which greeted Jesus on his entry into Jerusalem, to the vengeful crowd that cried, “Crucify him!” We took this approach because many in our congregation will not […]

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Losing Our Religion Online

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The more we’re online as a society, the less religious we are. That’s according to MIT’s Technology Review which features a new study by computer scientist Allen Downey of the Olin College of Engineering. Downey concludes that “Internet use decreases the chance of religious affiliation.” Downey’s study analyzed statistics from 9,000 respondents to the University of Chicago’s General Social Survey in 2010. In 1990, only about 8 percent of the U.S. […]

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5 Evangelical Trends for 2014

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In keeping with end of the year predictions, here are mine. Of course, several years ago I predicted $5 per gallon gas. Thankfully, we never got to that point. But in light of my obvious fallibility I’m framing my prognostications in the familiar “what’s in and what’s out” categories. Here’s what I think (and hope) are in and out for 2014: 1. Out: Celebrity Christians. In: Communities that model love […]

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Duck Dynasty and The Beverly Hillbillies

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The Christian outrage over A&E’s dust-up with Phil Robertson missed an opportunity to protest the media’s portrayal of Christians as freaks. I am not saying that Phil Robertson and the Duck Dynasty cast are freaks, despite their ZZ Top beards and relentless camo attire. What I am saying is that Duck Dynasty is just another media portrayal of Christians as bizarre, redneck, and unsophisticated. Duck Dynasty is the reality TV […]

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The Ethics of Outreach

‘No Muslim Parking’ Sign Angers US Muslims

I have read lots of articles on church outreach in my thirty years of ministry. I’ve even written a few myself. However, I have never read an article on the ethics of outreach. Maybe it’s time for a look at the ethics of outreach. Here’s why. In Hibbing, Minnesota, according to the KSMP-TV, the local Fox affiliate, a Muslim woman who had registered for a September 28 conference was asked […]

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