Pastor's Blog

No Fake News

March 16, 2017

“No Fake News” Although it’s fairly early in 2017 yet, I’m guessing “Fake News” might make a run to be the word(s) of the year. Rarely a day goes by that this moniker doesn’t get some airplay. If it’s not an accusation used against a specific brand or network, then some other network is trying to defend itself from being labeled as such. One political persuasion uses it as proof of presidential incompetence. The other “side” sees it as comeuppance against an entity, which has been privileged by years of people fearful of upsetting the machine. During some personal reading... View Article

“A Renewed Spirit”

March 9, 2017

“A Renewed Spirit” Have you ever wondered “Why am I here on this earth”? This question is usually found in a Triad with “Where did I come from” and “Where am I going”? They have been lumped together and classified as the questions of life. How you answer these questions sets the course you navigate your life by. In the last weeks, I’ve been asked to ponder with people “Why am I still here”? The desperation is clear in both the content and intent of the question and presents some unique challenges in answering. Usually the person asking the question... View Article

Grace Chapel, Pampanga, Philippines

March 5, 2017

Grace Chapel, Pampanga, Philippines Hillcrest is raising funds to help build a church in a provincial area outside of Manila. There are five public high schools and over 100,000 people within walking distance of Grace Chapel and it could easily reach 1,000 Philippine people with the life-changing message of the gospel each week. The project will be comprised of a “Gymatorium” with two NCAA regulation sized basketball courts. (A Gymatorium is a roofed building with open sides which can be used year around.) This will serve as a multi-use ministry center during the week and the church’s meeting area on... View Article

Repentance

February 27, 2017

Repentance as a way of life The topic of repentance occupies considerable bandwidth in some spheres of evangelicalism. The tension is most palpable in the works v. faith argument. If repentance is something I can gin up, then it serves towards my salvific end and must be considered a work (a thought that Ephesians 2:8-9 repudiates). But if I have no “skin in the game”, why bother to worry about the behaviors of my life. The usual definition of repentance requires a “turning from something and going the other way.” The given in this working definition is the expectation of... View Article

How about the weather

February 24, 2017

How about the weather? If you were able to get of the house last week you enjoyed some spectacular weather. As I put these thoughts to paper, the windows in the sanctuary and surrounding areas are all open in an attempt to freshen up the air. And then some silly forecaster wants to tell us snow is in the forecast 48 hours from now. I’m guessing that most of us are praying the forecast models have it wrong. One of the sessions during our Youth Snow Camp Retreat last week focused on the place of prayer in our lives. The... View Article

“It’s Not over until it is”

February 9, 2017

Last Sunday Evening, Fox aired the biggest spectacle on the sport’s calendar. The game featured a matchup between that Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots that has been dubbed the greatest football game ever played. The favored Patriots spotted their opponents a 25-point lead before they began to make their move. How many of us shook our heads as the momentum had shifted so forcefully that all Atlanta could do was hang their helmets in bewilderment. I know that a lot of New England fans were hopeful that they could secure the title, but I’m fairly certain that with... View Article

Distracted Living?

January 21, 2017

Distracted driving is a term that has become commonplace in modern society. States have enacted all sorts of rules and fines to reduce the occurrences of drivers focusing on activities other than driving. If you cross the Mighty Mississippi into Illinois, you need to put your phone down. Here in Iowa, if a police officer catches you texting and driving, you might receive a “you owe us” from the state. Even with all these safeguards in place, there are people who continue to drive distracted. Although the desire to save lives and prevent accidents is a noble cause, let me... View Article

Filling a Stadium

January 5, 2017

I recently read a blog that caused me some pause as the writer suggested each Christian person will meet somewhere between sixty and eighty thousand people in their lifetime. The math is based on human contact with 2-3 different people per day over an 80-year lifespan. All of a sudden, the math makes sense. Now look at it this way. Jack Trice Stadium in Ames seats a little over 60,000 while Kinnick seats 70,000. At the end of a well-lived life, the people you’ve had interactions with will fill one of these venues. That includes the cashier at the convenience... View Article

Thoughts on a gift

December 18, 2016

It only happened one time and I remember it vividly. I was 9 years old and there was a present under the tree with my name on it. It didn’t feel or rattle like anything on my wish list. So I began to devise a scheme to figure out what was hidden behind the newspaper wrapping that my family used. It didn’t take long and I was able to talk one of my brothers into telling me what it was. The knowledge brought relief, but also a conundrum. How would I act surprised when I opened it even though I... View Article

Elvis has left the building?

December 9, 2016

Today, the political and media establishment will do a lot of soul searching, algorithm restructuring, and perfecting of their “we never saw this coming” apology. As I write this, many of us are basking in the glow of an unexpected political victory overnight, while the rest of us are fairly certain that the horror movies we used to watch have nothing on this nightmare. Regardless of what side of the political spectrum you’ve planted yourself, we realize that America will never be the same. Perhaps we could say, “America has left the building.” This thought causes some to celebrate the... View Article