Category Archives: faith

Heroes Remembered: John Mason Peck

Harvard University does not single out many Baptist preachers for honorary degrees.  But in 1852, they did such for a Baptist preacher and missionary named John Mason Peck. Let me tell you a little of the story of this fascinating man in the hopes that his life will inspire you to leave a similar legacy and impact.

John Mason Peck (1789-1858) lived in Connecticut and New York state in his early years. He heard the message of the gospel and was saved while young. Personal study of the bible led him to leave the Congregationalist church over the issue of infant baptism and become a Baptist– despite the arguments of his pastor, Lyman Beecher.

Peck grew deeply in his faith and felt a call to preach. Time spent with Luther Rice led him to a deep interest in missionary work “out west”. So Peck loaded Continue reading

Did God Really Say?

A disappointing conversation reminded me that some problems never fully go away.

I recently spoke to an older pastor. Now I love older pastors. They have some experience and wisdom from which I can benefit. And, they can make me feel young– a sensation that doesn’t happen as often as it once did!

But this conversation was not so edifying. It served more as a warning. In the course of our conversation he said that not all of the bible is God’s word. Some of it is, but some of it isn’t. Some of it, he felt, was just some cultural baggage Continue reading

Adopt a New Attitude

“Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:5

So much of behavior begins with attitude. If you have a wrong attitude it will likely result in wrong behavior. And, conversely, if your attitude is right you are likely to get to the right actions.

I’ve tried to teach this lesson to my children and now to my grandchildren. I am working to help my church see this. And, I’m especially trying to get myself to see this truth. Attitude matters.

Here are two important lessons I want to teach myself and others about attitudes. Both come from this beautiful verse found in Philippians 2:5, “Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus.”

1.Your attitude is a decision. Attitudes, like actions, come out of your own choices. The bible tells us to “adopt” the attitude that Jesus has. I love the word “adoption”. Our family is in the process of adopting even now. Adopting a child means that a child who was once not part of your family now is part of your family. You choose to adopt a child and the status changes. Continue reading

The Curious Case of Demas

“Demas has deserted me.” 2 Timothy 4:10.

I am curious about this biblical character, Demas. His name is only mentioned three times in the New Testament. But there is intrigue and mystery and disappointment surrounding him. What happened? Where did it go wrong?

Demas is mentioned in Philemon 24. Paul mentions him along with other, more prominent names like Mark and Luke. He is one of those Paul calls a “coworker.” It suggests Demas traveled with Paul, shared the gospel with Paul and planted churches with Paul. It leads us to believe that he started well in ministry and made a valuable contribution to the kingdom of God.

Colossians 4:14 says, “Luke, the dearly loved physician, and Demas send you greetings.” It seems just a bit odd Continue reading

Less Whining, More Praying

It is a simple goal boiled down to a sound bite. Simple, but profound. “Less whining, more praying.”

I want my future to have less and more. I want less whining, less complaining and less caterwauling. I want less grumpiness, irritability and fussiness. But, I want my future to have more and more of one thing: prayer.

Here are three reasons to join me in this goal.

Praying is more Christlike than whining. We are not very Christlike when we whine. Complaining is not a spiritual gift. (I just checked again. It isn’t in the list of spiritual gifts. Really, I checked this quite thoroughly!) Continue reading

The Best And Worst of Christmas

My favorite opening line to a novel is “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” (Followed closely by, “It was a dark and stormy night.”) Christmas can be the best and worst of times.

We see the greatest examples of generosity at Christmas and terrible, soul-stifling stinginess.

We see acts of forgiveness and deeply rooted bitterness at slights of years gone by.

Christmastime leads to great joy and happiness and fits of road rage and public meltdowns.

Many people celebrate Continue reading

In Praise of Encouragers

Encouragement is one of the most beautiful gifts we can receive. A kind word, a helping hand, a warm smile, an appreciative hug– these things are the currency of encouragement. And this currency is never devalued.
I officiated the funeral of a great encourager recently. In more than twenty years of being his pastor he encouraged me countless times without a single hint of discouragement. Amazing.
I cannot tell you how grateful I am for that wonderful gift. In a day when snark Continue reading