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Pastor Column-Seated in heavenly places

“... And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:” — Ephesians 2:6 In our modern day efforts to make the Gospel palatable, inclusive and relevant, we have shortchanged ourselves of the holiness and majesty of God, particularly in the area of music. That which from old time went before the battle and ushered in the presence of the Lord (II Chronicles 5:13; 20:21) now has itself become the battle, even repelling the very presence of the Holy Spirit in the church.

Pastor Column-Fear can keep us from our destiny

Cattle guards. We had a cattle guard at our driveway entrance when I was growing up. My foot got caught in it a few times when I wasn’t paying attention. Our cow wouldn’t cross over the grate, but she had no problem pushing over the split-rail fence in her pasture to go see other cows down the street.

Pastor Column-Even a little girl's shoes can help a fisher of men

Virginia and I arrived in a little Washington “dam town” for our first mission pastorate in midsummer 1954. In just two weeks, we were fully occupied with our first Vacation Bible School. Daily we packed 90 kids into a small storefront building.

Pastor Column-Amazing grace: Do we see it as cheap?

God’s amazing grace — His generous forgiveness — is offered to all who believe in Jesus’ atoning sacrifice on the cross. Being a gift, it cannot be earned or purchased. According to the Apostle Paul, “by grae you have been saved through faith ... it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8)

Pastor Column-Are you stuck? Work at getting unstuck

A mother writes to Dear Abby about her mentally ill son, who is becoming more dangerous and controlling. She fears leaving her house. Friends and therapists have told her she must put her son in an institution, but she is reluctant. Her letter is an indication that she’d like a different answer. Abby gives her the same advice: “Institutionalize your son.”

Pastor Column-Today we're liberated; tomorrow, we free others

Today many Walla Walla people of faith celebrate Easter and Passover. All of us reflect on our relationship with God the Creator, deepening our memory of how we are connected to that source of life and godliness, and looking ahead to how that memory can strengthen us in the coming months.

Pastor Column-Jesus was resurrected; we will be, too

A mother whose son fell through the ice and drowned does not soon write a song. She does not smile sweetly at a surviving child when her soul is wracked with grief. She may reach for her other child’s hand, but she is not pretending a strength she does not own. A man whose wife died of pneumonia cannot sing at her funeral.

Pastor Column-Transitions are like seasons of life

This is certainly one of the most beautiful times of the year to be in one of the most beautiful places. The Walla Walla Valley is blooming on every corner. Every day it seems as though a new tree or flower wakes up and begins to bloom.

Pastor Column-Redemption remains a holy mystery

As we approach Easter, there will be a lot of talk about redemption, but what does redemption mean?

Pastor Column-Following Christ in a post-Christian world

Much has been written in the past few years about the massive cultural shift in the United States today. Headlining that writing is that “Christendom” is dead or dying. The “post-Christian” era that replaces it is characterized by a secular value system, which tells us “all truth is relative and all forms of faith are equal.” In other words, we are told “what works for you may not work for someone else but as long as it works for you it is fine.”

Pastor Column-Jesus made the hard choice — for us

I was a little suspect when Larry suggested we trade bikes for the ride. But, I agreed, not giving it enough thought. It wasn’t until I began to pick up speed going downhill and had tapped on his brakes that I realized why he wanted to trade. The brakes didn’t work.

Pastor Column-There is only one God who is able

Three young men have been summoned to appear before the most powerful man on the planet. They are guilty of refusing to obey that man’s command: to bow in worship before a great golden image he has erected.

Pastor Column-Friendship helps make life worth living

Some time ago there was a popular bumper sticker that read, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” Although this may represent the measure of a successful life for some, I recently had an experience that helped me understand that there is, perhaps, a better measure of success.

Pastor Column-Surgeon finds Jesus in little girl's heart

The doctor was confused. After explaining to his little patient the general details of the heart surgery she was to have the next day, she said, “And when you do my heart, you’ll find Jesus there.”

Pastor Column-Is justice ever really achieved?

t’s Black History Month, a time when we think about a huge group of immigrants who came here — not to improve their own lives, but those of others — because they came as slaves. Watching the movie, “Twelve Years a Slave,” provoked a lot of pondering for me. One man works 12 years and gains nothing personally for his time and labor. Although he is freed at the end of his story, millions of others never were. Their entire labor went to enrich people who considered them property. For some descendants of