Anger Regarding Umpqua

I’m angry. Angry that nine more lives were lost because some deranged man was infatuated with death. Angry that many of these lives were snuffed out because they were believers in Jesus. Angry that too many of the voices of influence in the public square do not seem to care whatsoever about that detail. I cannot help but imagine if these […]

Doing Good; Planning Harm

Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand. And they watched Jesus, to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man with the withered hand, “Come here.” And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good […]

Anatomy of a Legalistic Hack

The Apostle Paul is brutal in his assessment of those who believe themselves to be the self-appointed masters of everyone’s spirituality. Remember, my definition of a religious legalist is one who measures everyone’s spiritual success not by the work of Jesus Christ but by his or her own spiritual efforts and expectations. For people like this, the Apostle Paul has […]

I Lift Up My Eyes to the Hills

Psalm 121 is one of my very favorite psalms. I have read it at the graveside of a teenage friend killed in a car accident. I have read it at the bedsides of innumerable hospital patients. I have repeated it to myself when anticipating a tough conversation or a difficult sermon or entrance into a hostile nation. It has a […]

Write This Down: Envy

“Write This Down…” provides a restatement of selected points or observations from various teaching venues at which Pastor Matthew speaks. The following material is from Pastor Matthew’s sermon entitled, “Envy,” part of the series called “The Seven Deadly Sins,” the weekend of September 26, 2010 at Bethel Church: Envy is when I, disregarding God’s blessings in my life, and threatened […]

Climbing the Dusty Trail

It was that time of year for the elderly priest from Judea’s hills to join ranks with the other priests of his division and travel to the glorious city of Jerusalem. With all of the gumption he could muster, gumption only the younger ones were expected to have, he placed a tender hand on Elizabeth’s small chin, lifted it up […]