Feasting & The Lord’s Supper

By | Pastoral Letters

Beloved in Christ, As I begin my letter to you this month, I want to take a moment to simply communicate the gratitude Ami and I feel because of the way you have cared for us before and after Tristan’s birth. You remembered us in your prayers as Ami neared the end of her pregnancy, you brought us meals even before Tristan was born, you were ready to answer the phone in the middle of the night if we needed someone to watch our kids in order to go to the hospital, you cared for our children while Ami was in labor, you celebrated with us and brought us gifts and so many more meals after our son was born. Thank you. Thank you for all of the material help you provided, but even more, thank you for being a family for us when our parents and siblings are so far away. We are grateful! And glad, of course, to now have a native Texan in our family. One of my closest friends from my lifetime pastoral group is planning to come up from Houston on November 22nd to baptize Tristan—we look forward with you to that day. Along with…

Read More

Church Calendar

By | Pastoral Letters

Beloved in Christ, Though at times we may instinctively divide our lives into categories titled on the one hand, “spiritual,” and on the other, “everything else,” the reality is that the spiritual life is not something that we can relegate to only a part of our experience as human beings. Rather, to grow spiritually means that whatever it is we do—eat, drink, pray, sing, speak, rest, work, play, etc., should be done under the guidance of, and by the power of, the Holy Spirit. Not least of these human activities that we seek to bring under the Spirit’s direction is the way that we mark time itself. Since they are made in God’s image (he who made the passing of the seasons and marked one day out of seven as holy), human beings in every culture have always practiced different ways of keeping time. The question is not whether we will distinguish one day from another, and mark the passage of time with special (or holy) days, but how we will do it. Our culture keeps time in its own way, of course—a calendar that is centered on official “national holidays” (or holy days) when we are encouraged to rest…

Read More

February 2016 Pastoral Letter (Overview of 2015)

By | Pastoral Letters

Beloved in Christ, This past month marked the first full calendar year of our life together as pastor and congregation (a relationship for which I am so grateful!). For those of you who may have missed our meeting in early January, here are some of the highlights of our ministry in 2015: -We faithfully gathered 52x for worship and provided word & sacrament to all who came seeking Christ. Let’s be careful not to skip over this! -We meditated on the life of Jesus together on Sunday mornings by preaching through the first 14 chapters of the gospel of John. I know this has been a rich experience for me and I hope it has been for you as well. -We performed 9 baptisms (!) and added 29 new members to our body. In addition, 2 of our covenant children who were baptized in this church made professions of faith and are now communing with us. -We faithfully memorialized and buried Pauline Dumas, one of our longtime members, with full Christian funeral rites after her death in August. -We supported the work of the gospel in Ukraine and Peru, as well as Wycliffe Bible Translators in Dallas, with regular prayer…

Read More

2016 Post-Election Pastoral Letter

By | Pastoral Letters

Beloved in Christ, Like many of you, I spent last evening watching the election returns and slowly adjusting to the reality of an event I had considered as a possibility, but not necessarily expected – the election of Donald Trump as the next president of our nation. Now that twenty-four hours has passed and we’ve all had a little time to adjust to what God, in his providence, has ordained for this election, I wanted to write you with a few thoughts. First, this has clearly been one of the more divisive elections in American history (though perhaps not the MOST divisive, consider the Thomas Jefferson – John Adams election of 1800, for example). This divisiveness and the way that has shaped the rhetoric on both sides is one of the most concerning aspects of this election season to me. There is a way to have strong political disagreements without demonizing your opponent or his or her supporters, but I am not sure that kind of righteous and loving disagreement has characterized much of the rhetoric we’ve heard on the airwaves, websites or social media over the last year. Each us should consider our own words and actions in this regard and remember the power of…

Read More

Pastoral Letter in Response to July 2016 Dallas Shootings

By | Pastoral Letters

July 8, 2016 Dear Colleyville Family, Last night we experienced what is probably the greatest tragedy in our metropolitan area since the murder of President Kennedy more than fifty years ago.  Men of violence plotted together and then sat and waited in cold blood to ambush and murder innocent police officers – five of whom are now dead. This kind of wickedness and evil is terrifying, and it’s almost unimaginable that something like this could take place so close to where we live and work.  I don’t know about you, but I still feel almost in shock this morning, as though all of this is a nightmare that isn’t real and I will soon wake up from. But it is real, and it is terrible. And so today we grieve. We grieve for the loss of innocent human life. We grieve for the women who are now widows. We grieve for the children who are now fatherless. We grieve that we live in a world where wickedness and evil seems to so often have the upper hand. We grieve because although the power of death has been broken, death has not yet been fully defeated. But today, in your grief,…

Read More

Thoughts on Lent

By | Pastoral Letters

More and more evangelical Christians these days are seeking to engage in the season of Lent in the church year. Here are some brief thoughts offered regarding these practices. This is not all that could be said, nor is it intended as a rejection of the season (which is clearly part of the historic tradition of the church) — merely pastoral advice in response to how some modern evangelicals seem to keep Lent. — In the Old Testament, God gave Israel a “church calendar,” describing how she was to live in community as the people of God during the year. In that calendar, the Lord commanded Israel to keep something like 80-90 days of feasting (52 Sabbaths, the feast of Passover, the feast of Unleavened bread, the feast of Firstfruits, the feast of Weeks, the feast of Trumpets, and the feast of Booths), and only one day of fasting (The Day of Atonement). Read Leviticus 23 to feel the weight of this ratio. If we emphasize the entire season of Lent as a season of fasting (40 days), we may be in danger of reversing the biblical ratio of days of feasting to days of fasting.

Read More

One Year Anniversary (August 2015)

By | Pastoral Letters

Beloved in Christ, I don’t know how it seems to you, but it is very difficult for me to believe that it is now one year since my family and I moved from St. Louis to the Colleyville area so I could begin serving as your pastor. At the time, moving to this place and leaving behind friends and parishioners we loved to take a new pastoral call seemed like a huge risk to Ami and I — a step into the unknown. And I suppose that in some ways, it was. But the truth is, all of you know what it is to take that kind of risk, even if you have never moved across the country to do it. I know that because I know that Christ, the hope of Glory, is at work in you and there is no way to follow Jesus other than to follow him into the unknown. In any case, I can hardly begin to tell you how grateful I am that God has given us the opportunity to knit our hearts to yours over the past year. One of my favorite moments during our worship each week is during the offertory, because…

Read More