Pastor’s Column

Final Reflections on the Book of James

I recently came across a series of questions that I believe are an excellent summary of the teaching we’ve encountered in the book of James. I hope you will join me in prayerfully reflecting on these during the month of August. These will help further root the practical and straightforward lessons on spiritual maturity James intended for us to learn. The author of these questions is Warren Wiersbe, a well-known and respected Bible teacher and preacher. Dr. Wiersbe taught for many years at the Moody Bible Institute and lived in the Edgebrook neighborhood for much of the time that he ...
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The Violence Within

Around 9:15 PM on July 4th, I was leaving Swedish Covenant Hospital when I found myself in the middle of one of the loudest celebrations of our nation’s birthday that I can remember. All sorts of high grade fireworks were being launched from River Park, and it was quite a sight (and quite a sound)! But in other parts of our city, all too familiar and deadly blasts were ringing out: gunshots, a familiar sound in too many Chicago neighborhoods wounded 102 people, 15 of them fatally over yet another violent Fourth of July weekend. But Chicago is not alone ...
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A Report from Detroit

It’s been a few weeks since I last wrote my “more or less weekly” column. Over that time, much has happened in our world, most prominently the June 14th attempted murders of Republican congressmen practicing for the annual Congressional Baseball Game. I will share some thoughts on that horrific event in next week’s column, as a prelude to our remembrance and celebration of the 241st anniversary of the founding of our nation on July 4, 2017. For this week, I want to share a brief reflection on the 132nd Annual Meeting of our Evangelical Covenant Church, which I took part in as your ...
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A Service of Healing

In the Covenant Book of Worship it states: “Healing is primary ministry of the Christian Church. Jesus was known as a healer and sent his disciples out to preach good news, cast out demons, and heal the sick (Mark 6:12-13)….Throughout the history of the Church, healing has been a core ministry and commitment. Mystery surrounds our prayers for healing. That not all are healed is evident….As Hebrews makes clear, some in spite of their faith are not delivered (Hebrews 11:35-40). Yet the Church is commanded to minister to and pray for the sick and cry out for their healing.” (“Service ...
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Get to Know…Our Vision

Quick! What’s our church’s vision statement?! Not on the tip of your tongue or in the forefront of your mind? No worries…. You’re not alone. As pastor, I haven’t done a particularly stellar job of reminding us or unpacking for us our new vision statement. Vision statements are a useful tool for distilling the essence, in a memorable way, the aspirational purpose of a group or organization. So here’s Edgebrook Covenant’s current vision statement. We adopted this new vision statement just over a year ago at our congregation’s Annual Business meeting in January of 2016: Edgebrook Covenant Church’s vision is ...
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We Appreciate You!

National Volunteer Week (also known as Volunteer Appreciation Week) was instituted in the United States by a Presidential proclamation issued by then President Richard M. Nixon in 1974. Its purpose was to honor and celebrate all the many volunteers who offer themselves in service to others. Well, your church staff at Edgebrook Covenant Church certainly appreciates all you do and the many hours you devote to the Lord’s work thru our church! You serve with faithfulness, humility, consistency and love. Thank you! National Volunteer Week is April 23 through April 29, 2017. However, we decided to celebrate Volunteer Appreciation Sunday ...
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Partners in Great Work!

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to lead our spring Newcomers/Inquirers’ Class. It is always a joy of mine to explore faith in Jesus Christ with others and to share about our particular expression of the Christian tradition, both our denomination (The Evangelical Covenant Church) and our specific church, Edgebrook Evangelical Covenant Church. I always get excited when I think about our shared ministry with other Evangelical Covenant Churches. Though small in North America (some 800 congregations) our impact for the Kingdom of God is tremendous! We partner with our Covenant brothers and sisters through prayer, participation and financial ...
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Why Reading (and Wrestling) with the Old Testament Matters

This past Sunday evening, I dropped in on the Community Bible Study small group that John & Debbie Ranieri host in their home. After feasting on Debbie’s homemade lasagna, the group began to discuss the previous week’s readings from 1st & 2nd Samuel. During our discussion, one of our group spoke about the struggle he was having with all the destruction and killing that was ordered by God in what we had been reading. He shared how many of the accounts he was reading in the Old Testament didn’t square with his understanding of who God is. It’s a sentiment ...
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Let’s Walk This Road Together

Today (Wednesday, March 1) is Ash Wednesday. Today we begin an intentional journey with Jesus through the cross to the empty tomb. Let’s walk this road together by: Worshipping together on Ash Wednesday tonight at 7:15 PM in our Chapel Daily reading the devotional, “Moving Toward the Cross,” given to each household by our deacons Attending each Sunday morning worship during this Lenten season (more on that in a moment) Many people find it helpful to try a new spiritual practice (“giving up something for Lent” is one expression of this) as a way of reminding them of Christ’s sacrifice on their behalf. Let ...
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How We Read the Bible

Our denomination, the Evangelical Covenant Church, believes in the centrality of God’s Word. One of our foundational Covenant Affirmations is the conviction that states that “the Holy Scripture, the Old and New Testament, is the Word of God and the only perfect rule for faith, doctrine and conduct.” It is our conviction and deep desire that “in all we believe, do and say, we place ourselves under the authority of God’s written word and seek its direction.” The above quote comes from a resource paper, commissioned by our denomination’s Annual Meeting entitled The Evangelical Covenant Church and the Bible. I ...
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