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.

Christmas Consumerism Overload

We try hard not to give our kids a lot of stuff at Christmastime.  We let them get stuff they need like shoes, backpacks, and jackets.  They also get a few fun things.  It’s not extravagent, but somehow there’s always enough to blow the kids’ circuit breakers.  And I guess my circuit breaker blew this year too. … Continue reading »

Categories: Christmas, consumerism, Thankfulness, The Good Life, The World We Live In, Undercover Pastor | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

A beautiful Spurgeon devotion about God’s amazing love.

From Charles Spurgeon’s “Faith’s Checkbook” The Reason for Singing September 19 The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his he, he will joy over thee with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17) What a word is this! Jehovah God in … Continue reading »

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Charles Spurgeon on Waiting for God.

From Charles Spurgeon’s “Faith’s Checkbook” A Strong Heart September 6 “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord. (Psalm 27:14)” Wait! Wait! Let your waiting be on the Lord! He is worth waiting for. He never disappoints the waiting soul.  While waiting keep … Continue reading »

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Bible Detox for Preachers

One of my sabbatical goals was to read through the New Testament this summer – the church leadership called it “scriptural immersion.”  I was surprised by my resistance to doing it.  My significant burnout was one factor, but that wasn’t the whole story. When I started seminary, I read an article that talked about the danger … Continue reading »

Categories: Bible, Church Leaders, Listening to God, Pastor to pastor, Prayer, sabbatical, Undercover Pastor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spurgeon on the challenges of ministry

This devotion was particularly timely as I contemplate the road out of burnout: From Charles Spurgeon’s “Faith’s Checkbook” Choice Men (women too, -ed.) August 27 I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. (Isaiah 48:10) This has long been the motto fixed before our eye upon the wall of our bedroom, and in many … Continue reading »

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What does a 20-year-old Twinkie look like?

Many of us expected the Twinkie to survive 20 years with few ill effects. Apparently there are natural ingredients in a Twinkie after all! Continue reading »

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The Church’s Mission from Romans 10

Romans 10:8-15 “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with … Continue reading »

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

Love the Church (from Charles Spurgeon)

My friend Eric gave me a copy of C. H. Spurgeon’s Faith’s Checkbook, and I’ve been using it as a daily devotion lately.  Today I happened to peek ahead at the July 10th entry and thought this was worth sharing.  (It’s in the public domain so copy away!) You can find more at www.eternallifeministries.org/fcb_toc.htm In … Continue reading »

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Bacon Salt

Sorry vegetarians, I have to agree with J&D’s – “Everything should taste like bacon.”

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Extravagant Love for Crazy Kids

My kids are crazy.  Really, they are.  Apparently, they’ve been domesticated to the point that they no longer have any kind of survival instincts. We had the opportunity to spend a couple of days in Santa Cruz with Eleanor’s family, and someone in the group wanted to check out the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.  After getting … Continue reading »

Categories: Daddy log - parenting, God as Father, God's love, sabbatical, Undercover Pastor | Leave a comment

Reindeer Roadkill

Saw this on a walk yesterday.  Poor Rudolph!

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Roadside Memorials – Filling in for the Church?

Are the currently-popular roadside memorials a sign that the world has rejected the church or an opportunity to reach out to meet people’s needs? Continue reading »

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Morning Prayer for Night People

I have to admit it.  For years, people have talked to me about the importance of morning prayer, of starting out each day by dedicating it – and myself – to God.  I have tried a bunch of times to do it too.  But I find it hard. Here’s the deal.  I’m not a morning … Continue reading »

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

Public Restrooms and the Church

On a recent coffee run I saw a sign at a local restaurant located near a major freeway.   “No Public Restroom (Customers Only),” it read. The sign was posted on the front door where everyone would see it – in fact, that and the hours were the only things posted there.  It reminded me of … Continue reading »

Categories: Church Transformation, Hospitality, Marketing, Reaching Out | 2 Comments

Denny’s Big Breakfast Gamble and the Church

I saw the Super Bowl ad for a free grand slam breakfast at Denny’s on February 3rd.  And I was planning to take the family.  Only each Denny’s we visited had a line around the block.  Apparently, Denny’s served 2 million breakfasts that morning.  They estimate that they got $50 million worth of free (positive) publicity … Continue reading »

Categories: Church Leaders, Church Transformation, Current news, Marketing, Undercover Pastor | 4 Comments


I’m about halfway through a three-week vacation from my position as pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church.  After 5-1/2 years as pastor with no more than two weeks off at any one time (except to have kids!), I started to feel tired, and it was taking more and more to recover.  I later learned that psychologists … Continue reading »

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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