I’d like to take you on a trip to the Holy Land, but you don’t need to leave your house! My latest book, A Pilgrim’s Journey to Israel, just arrived. Marcia and I have taken literally hundreds of people on tours of Israel. Through this book—104 pages of more than 300 photos—you can come along with us on a tour.
My purpose for writing this blog is to communicate with church members and others about a variety of topics. Since Henderson Hills is a large church, I simply cannot speak with everyone individually. Yet often there are times I’d like to give additional clarification about something mentioned in a sermon, provide answers to questions that have been asked, share personal thoughts about current issues in the church or world, or write whatever else God is impressing on me. Thank you for taking time to read these blog posts, and feel free to leave your comments.
Dennis Newkirk, Lead Pastor
Was he a liar or just a man with a vivid imagination? That’s the question I asked myself that summer day in 1959 while riding in the backseat of my parent’s ’55 Chevy Bellaire as we drove down a narrow, tree-lined street in Carlyle, Illinois, my dad’s hometown. We had just left Grandpa’s small house, where the old man spent his time when he wasn’t playing cards and drinking beer at the VFW. I was confused. What had just happened?
This is a time unlike any other in Henderson’s past twenty-five years. The elders are seeking God’s will in the selection of the next Lead Pastor. What can I give to you now, that I haven’t offered during our relationship as pastor and church? I considered some key times in Jesus’ ministry and what words He chose to say to the apostles.
As I sat in the worship service last Sunday morning, I could clearly see we had come to an unanticipated end of our “Jesus for President” sermon series. Chris’s sermon summed it up perfectly. Evangelical Christianity has become too politicized in our day. Some seem to forget that our hope does not rest on the government or a president. Our purpose of this series was to challenge each of us to understand the Christian’s relationship to government and how to think biblically about politics and elections. Never forget that our hope is in the Lord and Him alone.
As I’ve mentioned and written recently, I’ve thought a lot about retirement for some time. I am overwhelmed by the hundreds of Facebook messages, emails, texts, and calls I’ve received in response to our announcement. I would never have dreamed of such a response. It is humbling and tremendously gratifying to know God has used a person like me to bless the lives of others. Some of my dear friends have reminded me that I can never retire from the ministry, and to that I say a hearty “Amen!”
I’m looking forward to getting back to the pulpit this coming weekend. Chris, Matt, and this past weekend Wally, Rob, Tony, and Pete have served our church well through their preaching during the past month. I’m grateful for these faithful men. Obviously, this is a highly controversial—and to many, frightening—political season. How are we to navigate these turbulent waters? What are the political and social responsibilities we have as believers? My hope is that we’ll let the Bible show us the way to think and act at a time like this. That’s why this coming weekend we’ll begin a new sermon series, “Jesus for President.”
While reading Psalm 35 this morning, I was especially blessed by a portion of it. David called out to God for many different needs, but assurance was his greatest need of all. Isn’t that true for all of us? If we have the assurance of God’s love, acceptance, forgiveness, presence, and help, we can face the most daunting tasks or cruelest disappointments. But doubt and apprehension erode the foundation of joy, freedom, and good testimony. How do we find the treasures of grace we yearn to hold when so much wears away our confidence?
What are your greatest weaknesses? Do you struggle with dishonesty, worry, or fear? How about envy, pride, or lust? Do you find it easy to make an idol of possessions, recreation, people, or even yourself? Here’s a truth that’s often not understood: your greatest weaknesses can become some of your greatest strengths in the Lord. That’s right. Prevailing sin can become paths to great blessing.
Off-roading is good for one’s prayer life. I found myself this past week having stepped over that delicate line that separates fun from terror. I’m sure you know what I mean. It’s when your “Hey look at me!” turns into “Oh, NO!”
Like many of you, I watched the Republican National Convention on July 20. Senator Ted Cruz walked to the platform and delivered his speech for constitutionalism while the delegates grew increasingly insistent that he “give us Trump.” They were longing for the words “endorse” and “Trump” to force their way out of his opened mouth. Well, that didn’t happen, and they were mad about it. I’ve watched a lot of presidential conventions through the years, and I don’t remember anything that compares to this.
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