Beyond the Bulletin

First Things First

Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar. (Genesis 8:20) Consider Noah. When Noah and his family disembarked from the ark, Noah built an altar (the first altar mentioned in the Bible) and made burnt offerings upon it. Noah’ »

Books About God: Honesty, Morality & Conscience

After fighting in World War I, George Stadsklev went to Bible college to become a missionary. He married another Norwegian-American, Mable Hansen, and they soon sailed to Africa. Two of their five children died there as they ministered among the Baoulé people of the Ivory Coast. In 1941, missionaries there had to flee the Nazi occupation. After seeing his wife »

All Glory Be to Christ

Quietly sitting behind glass on a bookshelf in my office is a little first edition hymn-book entitled The Christian Lyre. Compiled by Joshua Leavitt and published in New York in 1830, The Christian Lyre was the forerunner of the modern American hymnal. Prior to Leavitt's work, "hymnbooks" in America contained only lyrics (often compilations by a single author, like Isaac »

Books About God: Knowing God

“If there were a god, it would be nice and tame, and it would fit neatly into this little ‘god box’ here, which (in my brilliance) I have designed. I have examined the box, and it’s empty. Plus I have a PhD, so trust me: God does not exist.” With numerous insults and blasphemies thrown in, this is basically »

Believing Is Seeing

Hunting elk, I spend most days sitting on a log near where four game trails intersect. An hour before dawn, a flashlight guides me through a mile of dark timber to that log before I turn it off and silently wait for daylight. Even at full moon, night in that forest is so dark I might as well be underground. »

In the Bleak Midwinter

Some folks have the self-control to withhold listening to Christmas music until December. Pop culture dictates an early diet starting the day after Halloween. As a music pastor, Christmas music listening and service planning starts in September. Besides the advantage of avoiding pop Christmas music for at least the first two months, what usually keeps me upbeat (and sane) in »

Gospel Centered Prayer

What do our typical prayer requests reveal about our personal faith? Do they reflect a love for the things of God and a heart that trusts in God’s good and gracious plan for the believer? Or do they reflect something more materialistic and a heart that is anxious? One of the greatest sources of encouragement and conviction when it »

Thanksgiving Hymns of Praise

I love to sing the Doxology. As in many churches, we sing it monthly at the close of Communion. Praise God, from whom all blessings flow. Praise Him, all creatures here below. Praise Him above, ye heavenly host. Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The Doxology is actually the shared, final stanza of three separate hymns all written by Anglican »

Man of Sorrows

As I put fingers to keyboard, millions of pumpkins are making their way to landfills and the airwaves are already beginning to chime with the sounds of Christmas (in particular, 24/7 Christmas radio). For those who would take a moment to step back and survey the landscape of our culture, the malaise that usually precedes cynicism might settle in. »

Books About God: Mere Christianity

David Wood liked kung fu and communism, and he hated America and Christianity, so China seemed like a logical destination. But he was hugely disappointed — nobody he met in China knew kung fu or believed in communism anymore. And the only other foreigners in town were American Christians! To make matters worse, he liked us. In four years, David and »