Undercover Pastor

This is my blog on whatever I happen to feel like writing about. I’m not planning on writing every day – probably more every week or two. I hope you like it, but more importantly, I hope it helps you see some part of life in a new way.

Welcoming Families: Four Laws of Childcare in Churches

Churches often scare away exactly the people they’re trying to reach. These four laws of childcare in churches can help you effectively care for young ones and welcome their families into the life of your church. Continue reading »

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Humility: No other option for Christians (including me)

I’m becoming less tolerant of arrogance these days – especially from Christians. But then today I had to step back from my own arrogance. Continue reading »

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Developing Diversity: Part 1 – Prioritizing

Sometimes, diversity just happens.  That’s wonderful!  But what if it doesn’t?  This series of blog posts is about how leaders can choose to move ahead in developing diversity when it doesn’t arrive of its own accord. I’ll be opening discussions on six different topics, all of which I’ve shoehorned into words that start with the … Continue reading »

Categories: Church Leaders, Diversity, Leadership, Reaching Out, Undercover Pastor | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Does your church or organization need more diversity?

A couple of months ago, one of my neighbors had a party.  Frequently when someone has a party in our neighborhood, all of the available street parking fills up, and this one was pretty typical – with one exception.  There was a certain sameness about the vehicles.  Here’s what the street looked like:   It … Continue reading »

Categories: Church and the World, Church Leaders, Church Transformation, Diversity, Reaching Out, Undercover Pastor | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Actually, Appearances Do Matter at Church

In the church, we talk a lot about the need for authenticity and inviting people just as they are.  It could be tempting to extrapolate from that and say, “Appearances don’t really matter.”  Well, they do.  This isn’t just true for churches.  It’s true for businesses and individuals with goals too. I just got a … Continue reading »

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Everyday Evangelism: Seeing with Jesus’ Eyes

Evangelism literally means bringing the Good News to someone. Everyone can do it. One way is simply to keep your eyes open for need or pain around you. Continue reading »

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How do Christians look to others?

I recently went to a seminar and was able to be helpful to the presenter. He asked me what I do and I told him that I’m a pastor and software developer. Then he sighed and said, “Why do the kind and helpful people always turn out to be Christians?” I don’t think ALL the … Continue reading »

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“Practicing Peace” a practical guide to anxiety reduction

Preparing to preach at my home church this Sunday, I realized that I hadn’t shared the message I shared last time I preached there. I find Paul’s advice on how to live a low-anxiety life really helpful!  He shares 6 simple practices that we can all use. Here’s a really practical message on practicing peace … Continue reading »

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Thanksgiving Smoothie Fun

The Jamba Juice near our house is into the Thanksgiving spirit. Here’s the sign announcing their holiday specials. (I’m giving thanks that I haven’t tasted the mashed potato smoothie 🙂

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“Look for Jesus!” a post-Easter Message for post-Easter people!

When life gets rough, look for Jesus! Continue reading »

Categories: Discipleship - learning from Jesus, Preaching, Undercover Pastor | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Self-Driving Cars and Older Adults

Some people avoid the driving test even when they know they’re having trouble because of the implications of giving up that license. Could an autonomous car make all the difference? Continue reading »

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Fear vs. faith – which will decide our future?

Fear blocks much of what God seeks to do in our churches and lives… When we choose fear, we miss out on God’s blessings. Continue reading »

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Unplugged, Quiet, Set Apart – The Power of Time “Away”

Jesus spent time apart. (Just check the gospels. I’ll wait.) Spending time “unplugged,” quiet, and “set apart” from the things that occupy and distract us is good for us too. That kind of time sets us free to understand what we really think and feel and to listen to God. It means time without iPods, … Continue reading »

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A New Habit for an Amazing New Year

In this message, Steve shares how God got his attention in 1997, what God promises to tithers in the Bible, and what it’s been like to be a tither for 14+ years. Continue reading »

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We had a database error (and I haven’t posted since May so I didn’t notice). It’s fixed now!

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Time to Say Goodbye

Friends, this is a letter to the congregation at Trinity, but anyone interested can read it to find out more about what I’m doing and why. Background I’ve been pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church in West Sacramento for almost 8 years now. And in that time, God has done many amazing things in us and … Continue reading »

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Digesting a Rock

Life includes a lot of painful stuff. I used to knee-jerk react to it. Then I’d end up some combination of angry, anxious, depressed or bitter. But lately, I’ve been thinking of those situations as being like digesting a rock.
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Prisoners Set Free!

From Charles Spurgeon’s “Faith’s Checkbook” From Fetters Free March 7 The Lord looseth the prisoner. (Psalm 146:7) He has done it. Remember Joseph, Israel in Egypt, Manasseh, Jeremiah, Peter, and many others. He can do it still. He breaks the bars of brass with a word and snaps the fetters of iron with a look. … Continue reading »

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God is STILL faithful and strong

This word from Charles Spurgeon is quite timely for those of us facing challenges right now.  Try not to be bothered by the King James English.  The message is still fresh – God has delivered us in the past and will deliver us from today’s fresh threat. From Charles Spurgeon’s “Faith’s Checkbook” Past Deliverance Begets … Continue reading »

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The devil waits for an “opportune time,” but God’s people act in God’s time

The devil and those working against God wait for an “opportune time”:  “When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left [Jesus] until an opportune time.” (Luke 4:13 NIV)   “From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand [Jesus] over.”  (Also see Mark 6:21, Romans 7:8,11, Mark 14:11/Luke 22:6, Jeremiah 46:17 and many others.) But God’s … Continue reading »

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