News


16
Sep 2019
7 Key Challenges for 21st Century Christianity

I recently gave a talk about the church of the future. This is a subject that I think about often and it’s on the mind of many church leaders. Within mainline Christianity, denominational decline and statistics are depressing. Many churches are aging and struggling to reach younger generations. However, some churches are thriving and bucking the trend. What have these churches discovered that needs to be shared? I’d like to identify seven key challenges that represent opportunities for growth and change. First: Authenticity matters. Younger generations can sniff out phoniness and superficiality.......

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29
Aug 2019
Religion, Hope, and the American Dream

Columbia University professor Andrew Delbanco published a fascinating book in 1999 titled The Real American Dream: A Meditation on Hope. In the book, he gives a spiritual history of our nation and how each generation has worked to create a culture of meaning to make sense of life’s challenges, suffering, and purpose. In the early years, Delbanco says that the primary focus was on God. However, unlike in Britain, Christian faith became a free choice and was not forced upon the people. The role of the pulpit in those early years was......

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22
Aug 2019

In his most famous sermon, Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” To that, he added, “If you are angry at a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment.” In the gospel of John, he tells the disciples, “My peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you; I do not give to you as the world gives.” I often wonder how many people are truly serious about peacemaking. It’s certainly not the same thing as “peace-loving” or even “peace-keeping,” both......

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15
Aug 2019
What Mass Shootings Reveal About Our Culture

I was a freshman in college when the Columbine massacre occurred in 1999. I remember watching the news coverage in my dorm room, completely dismayed that somebody would do such an evil thing at a high school. If you remember, the killers asked some of the young victims to renounce their faith in God on the spot. When they didn’t, they pulled the trigger. I was a few years out of seminary when the Virginia Tech shootings took place in 2007, taking the lives of thirty-two people on a college campus. Sandy......

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09
Aug 2019
Dealing with Life’s Disappointments

We pray for the families who lost loved ones this past weekend in El Paso, TX, and Dayton, OH. Gun violence and rage continues to be a problem in this country. Ever since Columbine 20 years ago, mass shootings have taken the lives of far too many! Every time it happens, this is an absolute tragedy. There is too much loneliness, rage, and divisive rhetoric in this culture. Rabbi Harold Kushner once wrote a powerful book titled Overcoming Life’s Disappointments. The book is based on the story of Moses, a pivotal figure......

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30
Jul 2019
5 Things You Need to Know

Summer is winding down, and we are finally getting ready to break ground on our new building. August 18th will be a very BIG DAY in the life of our church as it will be Homecoming Sunday, Promotion Sunday (for the kids), and Groundbreaking (10:45 a.m. – South Lawn) all rolled up into one. The Woodmont Construction committee, led by Dr. Tom Gormley, has been working very hard this summer to oversee the final design and keep this project as close to budget as possible. We should receive our building permit any......

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17
Jul 2019
When Values, Character, and Politics Collide

Much has been written about the Evangelical Christian embrace of Donald Trump. Many are perplexed and do not understand it. There was an interesting article published July 5th in The Atlantic by Peter Wehner stating, “The enthusiastic, uncritical embrace of President Trump by white evangelicals is among the most mind-blowing developments of the Trump era. How can a group that for decades—and especially during the Bill Clinton presidency—insisted that character counts and that personal integrity is an essential component of presidential leadership not only turn a blind eye to the ethical and......

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11
Jul 2019
Seven Habits of Highly Spiritual People

Exactly thirty years ago this summer (1989), Steven R. Covey published his now famous book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. It has become a classic in the business and leadership communities, challenging and influencing millions of people across the globe. What are the seven habits? First, be proactive. Take initiative and don’t live life in a reactive mode. Second, begin with the end in mind. Know where you want to be in the future and then move towards it. Make decisions that move you towards your goal. Third, put first things......

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02
Jul 2019
The Essence of Spiritual Leadership

We have started a new church year and have installed a new class of church leaders. Leadership in the church is essential on every level. Former Roxbury Latin headmaster Tony Jarvis once made the following observation about the challenge of leadership: “Whatever power a leader has is overshadowed by the second-guessing and criticism he receives for the decisions he makes. Leadership does not confer happiness…. at the heart of all leadership, at any age, is character; the courage to cling tenaciously to a vision, the grit to exhaust yourself in helping others......

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10
Jun 2019
America's Need For "Big Tent" Churches

It is now cliché to point out that we live in a time of deep polarization. That is stating the obvious. We have members of our church who believe Donald Trump is saving America and others who feel very differently. We have members on the far right and on the far left. They worship together on Sunday mornings and may even be in the same small group. The conversations are always interesting, lively, and yes, can become awkward. At this particular point in American history and in American Christianity, there is a......

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