This blog is the combined effort of four senior pastors of different churches. Their desire is to point you toward living a God-centered, gospel-focused, Christian life.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

On Being a Pastor for 30 Years

Today, I have been a pastor for exactly 30 years. 
I have a profound sense of joy.  Joy at the privilege of being a preacher of the Gospel and God’s Word.  Joy at how I have seen the Lord hold fast on to me, when dangers, toils, and snares were within me and all around me.  Joy to see God at work and to see glimpses of His glory.  Joy to witness people place their faith in Christ alone for eternal life.  Joy for the way God’s people have allowed me to share in their lives.  Joy for the way that God’s people have been the vehicle of God’s supply to my material needs.  Joy for the opportunities to encourage God’s people in His Word in distant lands.  Joy for a wife who has built up a sometimes broken husband with remarkable grace and fullness of the Spirit.  Joy for children who love the Lord Jesus AND love His church too.

Here are some verses that I have thought about today, as I thank the Lord for the privilege of being a pastor:

Luke 17:10--So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’”

2 Corinthians 3:5 Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God,

2 Corinthians 4:5-6 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ

Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

When I first became a pastor, I looked too young for the job.  Today, I look too old for it.  However, there does come a freedom with that.  As Charles Spurgeon once remarked, “My good looks are gone, and none can damage me much now.”

For all whom I serve or have served as your pastor, I thank the Lord.  Onward to the next 30 years, as the Lord wills.  :)

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Moral Courage

I was a student years ago at the University of Illinois.  (To reveal how long ago, Illinois has won three Big Ten football titles since I was student.)  There was a young man in our dorm who publicly identified as homosexual.  In my judgment, this was an act of courage, for he suffered mightily for that revelation.  The men on his floor shunned him and even did acts of hazing.  The man was isolated and ostracized, except for some Bible believing Christians who befriended him and welcomed him to eat with them at meals.  This happened, even though there was a great divide of belief on some pretty fundamental questions.  The Christians sincerely believed in God; the student was an atheist.  The Christians believed homosexual behavior, like many other behaviors so described in the Bible, to be sinful; the student believed such behavior to be celebrated.  What was interesting was that the only group actually to welcome this fellow into their community was the group that seemed the most different from him in the larger university community.

Today, the situation is changed, but not by as much or in the way one might imagine.  People who publicly identify as homosexual are more likely to be celebrated in the university community, while those who would publicly identify as a Bible believing Christian are belittled.

What is my point?  Courage is required of any person whose views are not popular.  We live today in an environment of moral intimidation.  Human resource departments in corporations set expectations on what is and what is not correct thinking in diversity training.  Universities, which have traditionally been open to wide varieties of discourse over almost any topic, are becoming places where people are learning just to keep quiet and get along.  Get your degree; get your job; keep your head down, and keep quiet, especially if you disagree with the predominant politically correct consensus.

According to Pew Research, 40% of today’s Millennials (ages 18-34) believe that the government should be allowed to outlaw freedom of speech, if that speech is “offensive.”  Ignoring the obvious issue of who decides what is “offensive,” what is clear is that moral courage, the courage to speak up against the tide of popular sentiment, is going to get harder in years to come.

 Where are the men and women of moral courage?  Who will speak up, if not you?

(This article first appeared in the Pantagraph.  See:

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Gold Rush Is On: The Trick Play of Fantasy Football

You cannot avoid it.  No matter where you turn, there are ads for fantasy football schemes.  The two largest, Fan Duel and Draft Kings, spent $32 million on one week of advertising for the first week of NFL games.  There is huge money at stake here.  What is interesting is that all of the players with a stake in making that huge money are in league with one another.  Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, and Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, are shareholders in Draft Kings.  Draft Kings has also made a commitment to spend $250 million in advertising on Fox Sports alone.  Of course, it comes as no surprise that Fox is also a shareholder in Draft Kings!

Let’s be clear.  Fantasy football of this sort is nothing more than a sneaky way to legitimize gambling.  And where there is gambling, there will be cheating.  So, it comes as no surprise that an employee at Draft Kings recently won $350,000 playing fantasy football on Fan Duel.  There is a pretty clear cut evidence trail that suggests that this employee used insider information to extract money from other players.  However, since it is in the interest of neither fantasy football competitor for this to become common knowledge, they are both working hard at damage control.

The Gold Rush is on.  During gold rushes in the 1800s, everyone lost money, except for the folks who were in the business of selling supplies to the miners.  These fantasy football sites will die from their own exhaust fumes.  But in the meantime, don’t play these games.  They are trick plays.  It marks you as a fool.  It enriches wicked people.  It feeds and expands greed.  And I don’t want to see one more of these idiotic ads.

Ecclesiastes 5:10 He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.

1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Note to defenders of fantasy football: It is likely that nothing but a consistent streak of losses will dissuade you from your folly.  However, here are some websites for you to see proof of what I have written.