pastor’s corner


Tired, but hopeful

I don’t know about you but I am tired.

I am tired of turning on the news and seeing another tragedy unfold-the shooting in Paris, the bombings in Brussels, the nightclub massacre in Orlando, the boy pulled away by an alligator at Disney World, the most recent attack in Turkey. Our world-this world that God created and for which Jesus died-seems to be in a constant state of panic and disarray.

I suppose one option would be to resign ourselves to hopelessness and despair; to throw our hands up in the air and declare, “Well, this is how things are always going to be!”


God’s preferred future for COF

In about a week, I’ll be approaching the end of my first year at COF. (Hopefully our time together hasn’t felt longer than that!)

One of the things they teach you in seminary is not to change anything in your church during your first year. Now, obviously, that’s an overstatement; change is inevitable and can’t always be avoided. But what they mean by that is to really spend your first year listening, learning, building relationships, and getting a sense of what the culture’s like.


Amazing Women . . . and pirate ships

It’s great to be back in town! Amanda and I had an awesome time in Cancún, Mexico soaking up the sun (or in my case getting burnt) and relaxing on the beach. But we’re even happier to be at COF, serving God with the motley crew here.

This weekend, we have two different things happening. First, I begin a new series of messages called “Behind the Veil.” I’ve been wanting to do this series for a while now, and I’m excited that it’s finally here.

The important, communal nature of Baptisms

A few months ago, somebody placed a call to the church about having her infant daughter baptized. A little to my surprise, this person had already picked out the date for the baptism and contacted out-of-town relatives about visiting that day. The problem was this family had never attended our church nor been to one of our services.

I talked to the person on the phone and tried to explain, as best I could, the communal nature of all baptisms, but particularly, the baptism of infants. I suggested this family attend our services for a little while and then meet with me in person to talk about the baptism. After I got off the phone, I felt a sense of peace.


“Fitting” In with the Unfit

On New Year’s Eve of 2011, the Chicago Tribune ran a story about a health club that has a different kind of niche: they reach out to people who normally don’t feel comfortable joining a health club. The article opened with the following story:

Tara Lawton says she quit going to her health club in part because she sensed she didn’t fit in. People always seemed to be staring at—and silently judging—her 280-pound body. Then Lawton stumbled on the Facebook page for Downsize Fitness, a discreet new gym in Chicago’s West Loop that’s designed exclusively for people who want to lose at least 50 pounds.

“I want to cry sometimes at how it has changed my life,” said Chicago’s Lawton, 42, who now works out five days a week and has lost 20 pounds since joining in October. “My body is responding positively to being pushed …. The hardest thing [was] getting through the door. But now I’m moving forward, and there’s no way I’m going back.”


Great news for the COF Children’s Ministries!

Two weeks ago, I sent out a note to inform you that we had hired our new Director of Youth Ministries. Well, I also want to let you know that we’ve hired a youth intern. This person will basically serve as our interim Director until David Stump, our permanent Director, arrives in July. We’ll announce who our youth intern is going to be during worship this weekend. He already made a visit to youth group last weekend and will begin his internship on May 22nd.


Great news for our Youth!

As our Staff Parish Relations Committee Chair, Beth Berner, shared, we’re also in the process of hiring an intern who can plan activities and programs for the summer as well as serve as an interim Youth Director until David arrives. Depending on how interviews go this week, we will likely announce the name of that person in worship on Saturday and Sunday.


Slowing down the pace

I like to do things fast.
I like to read fast. I like to type fast. I like to talk fast (I try to slow down when I preach, but it’s hard!). I like to eat fast. I like to get to where I am going fast, to name just a few examples.

Maybe that’s part of the reason God called me to the ministry- to teach me to slow down, be still, and know that God is God (Psalm 46:10). One thing I’m learning, as I’m growing in my walk of faith, is that God rarely does things according to my timetable, but the timetable God chooses always seems to be just right.