Author Archives: Steve

My Post-Christian Son

I’ve noticed a big difference between the assumptions my 6-year-old son makes and the ones I made at the same age. I used to assume that everyone went to some kind of church. Johnny is surprised to learn that someone goes to church. He realizes that he lives in a post-Christian world. I hadn’t realized … Continue reading »

Categories: Church Leaders, Daddy log - parenting, Following Jesus, Reaching Out, The World We Live In, Undercover Pastor | 1 Comment

163440 Bible Content Exams served

The annual Presbyterian Church “Bible Content Exam” happened again today. And as of this evening, my web tool for studying the Bible – mainly for people taking that test, has been used 163440 times! I never would have imagined that 9 years ago. It’s very cool that I get to help so many people learn … Continue reading »

Categories: Bible, Church, Undercover Pastor | 2 Comments

Come, Labor On!

I have the week off from church so we were planning to worship at another church as we generally do.  but t his week, Lydia is sick with some kind of stomach flu.  Rather than leave Eleanor and Lydia at home alone, we decided to have “home church” today. I put on some recorded hymns … Continue reading »

Categories: Following Jesus, Undercover Pastor, Worship | 1 Comment

Speaking of habits…

Looks like I kicked the blogging habit. Let’s see if I can get back into it. I’ve been learning a whole lot in the last few months. More soon, God willing!

Categories: Undercover Pastor | 1 Comment

Keeping Habits

People talk a lot about breaking bad habits, but keeping good habits can be just as hard – sometimes harder. I know this because I just did my old weight program at the gym for the first time in just about a year.  Now I could make plenty of excuses.  I stopped last year because … Continue reading »

Categories: The Good Life | Leave a comment

Why would God confuse us?

In his well-known daily devotional book, My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers writes “Ye know not what ye ask.” Matthew 20:22 There are times in spiritual life when there is confusion, and it is no way out to say that there ought not to be confusion. It is not a question of right and wrong, … Continue reading »

Categories: Church Transformation, Faith, Listening to God, Undercover Pastor | Leave a comment

Busy-ness vs. Thankfulness

I’ve been busy lately. There are a lot of big things happening at our church plus we have three kids, two of whom are starting new schools this year (one at preschool and one at kindergarten) plus one eight-month-old!   I’ve been working really hard and feeling tired. Sometimes exhaustion can rob you of your joy.But … Continue reading »

Categories: Thankfulness, Undercover Pastor | Leave a comment

In memoriam: Edith Whitney, 102 years of life and faith

My grandmother died almost two weeks ago now at 102, and I now have the bittersweet task of officiating at her memorial service.  My grandmother didn’t have an easy life.  As a polio survivor, her reaction time was slow and her sense of balance was unreliable.  She lived with a lot of pain at various … Continue reading »

Categories: Church Transformation, Discipleship - learning from Jesus, Faith, Family, Undercover Pastor | Leave a comment

Pain and Pastors

The word pastor comes from our job as shepherds.  Of course, Jesus is the real shepherd, but we pastors try our best to represent him well as we seek to care for his flock.  Jesus taught us that he’s the kind of shepherd who cares if a single sheep goes astray and wanders into danger, … Continue reading »

Categories: Church, Discipleship - learning from Jesus, God's love, Leadership, Pastor to pastor, Undercover Pastor | Leave a comment

Dreams vs. Reality

Tomorrow is the fifth anniversary of my first day as pastor at Trinity Presbyterian Church.  I can still clearly remember talking to the pastor nominating committee at my face-to-face interview with them back in 2003.  After they asked me their questions, I asked them a few, including what would you to see happen in the … Continue reading »

Categories: Church Transformation, Leadership, Pastor to pastor, Undercover Pastor | 1 Comment

Flu and Thankfulness

I’ve got the stomach flu, and it has completely ruined my plans.  Sure, I should have been prepared when my son Johnny got it a few days ago, but I lived in denial.  I’ll spare you the unplesant details, but the part of this that’s interesting is that on Wednesday, someone in our Revelation Bible … Continue reading »

Categories: Thankfulness, Undercover Pastor | 1 Comment

Crossing the Stormy Lake

During my vacation this year, I had the good fortune of being able to spend a week at my grandmother’s cabin at Donner Lake.  And this year, my aunt had left a kayak for us to use.  The previous night I had tried it out and taken my sons on a short loop in the … Continue reading »

Categories: Daddy log - parenting, Discipleship - learning from Jesus, Following Jesus, Undercover Pastor | Leave a comment

The front or the back of the line?

Eleanor and I were headed for a rare cup of coffee without the kids and during the five-minute drive, we encountered two different people who were angry over someone getting into the lane of traffic ahead of them.  Eleanor and I actually let a couple of people in and then found a great parking place!  … Continue reading »

Categories: Church, Church Leaders, Church Transformation, Leadership, Smaller Church Ministry, Undercover Pastor | Leave a comment

It’s official – I’m my father

I believe I’ve blogged about this before, but lately in Northern California, we’ve had high heat and smoke everywhere from the many fires burning in our state.  This, along with high energy costs, leads to a new urgency to…  wait for it… keep the door closed! I don’t want to cool the neighborhood!  (Of course I took … Continue reading »

Categories: Daddy log - parenting, Ethics and Holiness, God as Father, Undercover Pastor | 1 Comment

Put my crayons up high, Dad

Lately, my son Joshua has had some trouble with drawing on the floor, walls, furniture, and windows with crayons.  We’ve always had an understanding that crayons are only to be used on paper, and he can answer the question, “Where do we used crayons?”  “On paper, Dad.”  But temptation strikes, and our little artist feels … Continue reading »

Categories: Daddy log - parenting, Ethics and Holiness, Following Jesus, Undercover Pastor | Leave a comment

The ultimate water cooler for really lazy people…

When I was a kid, my dad had to make a rule that you could never take the last ice cube from the little ice bin on our freezer drawer without opening and refilling a fresh tray of ice.  So my sister and I always left exactly one cube.  Then Dad changed the rule to … Continue reading »

Categories: Random, Tech, Undercover Pastor | Leave a comment

Worship space decisions revisited

In response to my earlier post about the difficulty of making space in a smaller church, Becky made this suggestion: Have you thought of starting a new (small) church? I love the idea of small churches being so appealing that they multiply like bunnies. It’s really a reasonable thing to think about too – a … Continue reading »

Categories: Church, Church Leaders, Church Transformation, Smaller Church Ministry, Undercover Pastor | Leave a comment

Thankfulness: Not So Obvious

Yesterday afternoon, my kids were starting to get a little bit of cabin fever. It was hot, and the air had been smoky for most of the day, but by late afternoon, the air had cleared a bit and a cool breeze was blowing. “Why don’t you go outside and play, Johnny?” I suggested. “There’s … Continue reading »

Categories: Daddy log - parenting, Following Jesus, God's love, Thankfulness | Leave a comment

Small churches have a unique call

I had a wonderful opportunity to address pastors and elders from small churches at the Presbyterian Church’s biannual General Assembly on Monday.  I really do believe in the ministry of small churches.  By their definition, we are Trinity are now a medium-size church, but we’re still a lot smaller than many of the churches around … Continue reading »

Categories: Church, Church Transformation, Smaller Church Ministry, Undercover Pastor | Leave a comment

Decisions, decisions!

The past couple of weeks, I’ve been troubled in my spirit…  Is that good Bible language for spiritually messed up? Our church has experienced a lot of growth lately and we’re having growing pains.  That’s partly because our building is way too small.  It was built in a time when a) churches didn’t have parking … Continue reading »

Categories: Church, Church Transformation, Following Jesus, Smaller Church Ministry, Undercover Pastor | 2 Comments