On September 24, 2017, I had the amazing privilege of being ordained for ministry in the American Baptist Church (ABC). God’s grace, faithfulness and gentle leading has brought me, and my family, to this point. I also had the privilege of putting together the ordination service. I used a traditional order of service, yet I selected the readings, hymns, and people who participated. Each has a special place in my heart, so here are a few thoughts on each part of the service. [See below for a video of the entire service]
The following is a review of the most helpful book I’ve found on the Christian perspective of suffering. I highly recommend it to you.
In Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering, author and pastor Timothy Keller guides the reader through a Biblical understanding of suffering. He does so using multiple approaches: by examining our cultural responses to suffering, by taking a close look at the philosophical responses over the years, and by looking closely at the Bible to see how God addresses our suffering.
Keller is a conservative presbyterian minister, and is widely known as a compelling author. Before he began to author books such as The Reason for God (which became a bestseller), he was, and remains, the founding pastor of a large church in New York City. Many of his books originated as sermon series, so they are all Biblically based, and, as he likes to say “gospel-centered.” He takes on issues such as vocation, marriage, and justice, and tends to look at both the liberal side and the conservative side, finds the strengths and weaknesses of both, and then ultimately offers what he sees in the scriptures. He is clearly well-read, offering perspectives from a wide range of voices from ancient to contemporary, and yet he weaves in practical illustrations and personal examples. He writes from an unapologetically Christian perspective, holding up what he sees as the truth and grace found in the Christian faith, thereby comforting those who share his Christian beliefs, and exhorting those who do not share his beliefs to consider what they may be missing. All of these characteristics are present here in Walking with God.
“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!” (Psalm 100). Please pray for our continued search for a suitable pianist. Unfortunately, a suitable regular organist has been very difficult to find, so we have discontinued our search for an organist. Michelle has graciously agreed to fill in at times on piano, but only occasionally. We will still worship God with “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” (Ephesians5:19) both old and new, with guitars and other instruments as we’re able, and we hope to find a regular pianist soon. If you have questions or concerns about our music ministry, please see Pastor Bob, who also would very much like to know: “What is your favorite hymn or song?”
This fall we’re taking a close look at the New Testament book of Colossians: a little letter to a struggling church about our awesome Christ. Come join us each Sunday at 9:30!