Pastor Chris (Page 3)

Pastor Chris (Page 3)

All blogs written by Pastor Chris Clarke.

Mass Shootings and an Old Promise

You may or may not know that I have two boys 6 and 3 and another due in a month, and a foster child (age 6) in my house. What sort of world are we making for the children, we being us, the adults? I am as biased and confused and frustrated as anyone about the goings on in the world today, the number of news stories I struggle to explain to the boys makes me feel small,…

4 Keys to a Vital Congregation

People seem to dig the list when it comes to blogs and ministers and lay folks alike seem concerned about the decline of the church and wary of the future. More important all of us are trying to figure out how not only to lead the church but also how to be the church. Many people have pointed out that these days feel a lot more like the church of the Book of Acts than…

3 Reasons Pastors Struggle With Comments

No one really likes criticism, especially if it’s not constructive, not given in a manner meant to help. We have all received feedback that was meant to demonstrate the intelligence of the one offering the criticism, or meant to tell us about what they value, that contains nothing on which we can build. I want to do my job well, and so do you, whatever you do. I…

I Used to like Writing Sermons

I used to love writing sermons. It was one of my favorite aspects of ministry and one that I very much looked forward to as I traveled my way through seminary. I suppose that’s because I have always loved books—loved ‘em so much I bought a whole bookstore and ran it for a few years—loved ‘em so much I even had a few poems published in some places—this lead me to think I…

Fire Up Your Faith Life

“You may not know how badly you needed silence and solitude until you get to know them.” Quiet time has been among the most important keys to my health in ministry thus far. I begin my day either first thing in the morning, or first thing in the office, with bible reading, reflection, journaling and prayer. I use the SOAP method I wrote about it here. I am always looking…

We Labor Not in Vain

In my currently preferred sport, running, one of the really nice things is the culture of acceptance. If you go to a running event the absolute elites can be there, and you and I can be there too. A recent running magazine issue was dedicated entirely to what it takes to finish last…but to finish. To be in the running community is to receive grace and acceptance,…

Too Many Christian Books

This morning I attended what I imagine is only the first of many school concerts I will attend as my boys grow up and work their way through the schooling system. I was as proud as any parent in the room (every seat was taken) as I sat beside my wife and younger boy Thomas and watched Oliver sing and try to do the actions on time (especially proud that he wasn’t the kid…

Michael Wittmer

Michael Wittmer’s 2015 book asks a question that is dear to my heart as a millennial pastor who grew up middle class with plenty of accouterments: Can you serve Jesus and still enjoy your life?  I may be a Calvinist but even I still think the answer not only needs to be but is YES. Here’s the thing, I spent a time outside the faith, a time when I snidely looked down on…

A Funny Book on Prayer

I struggle with prayer. I pray a lot, but never as much I would like to. I’m over the concept of guilt at not praying but I haven’t managed the art of prayerfully doing everything I do in a day. It’s something I would really like to learn over the years. And I think it takes years to learn much about prayer and I like to read books, old and new, about prayer. Jared…

From Tablet to Table

“From Tablet to Table”  by Leonard Sweet didn’t exactly live up to my expectations. I am so on board with the topic I read it as a sort of fluffy read where I was going to just sit in the choir loft mumbling “preach on.” For the most part that is what I did, but the language was not as clear or poignant as I would have hoped, this isn;t Wendell Berry writing.…

God Fulfills His Promises

This past weekend I was reminded of how frustrated many of our churches are these days. I sometimes think I create bogeyman in my head when it comes to the troubles we are facing as a denomination; I pay too close attention to the numbers and the seeming struggles of my brothers and sisters in ministry. I want so badly to help them. Despite what one woman said to a member…

Walking a Dog…What’s That Smell???

What’s that smell? It’s spring here on Vancouver Island and the flowers are budding and many tulips have already blossomed and many others stand sentinel straight waiting for just the right moment to grace the earth with their blooms. I was walking my dog this morning amidst the splendor and…

I Worry Too Much, How about You?

Sometimes I feel like I am a real sentimental guy. There are days when I look at my boys (aged 5 and 3) while they are climbing on me, asking for hugs and running around, yelling in high pitched joy-filled voices that hurt my ears.  At these times, I feel compelled to think about the future; the times when they are going to be quiet, the times I will have more time on my…

Feeding the 5000 Requires Making Space

Do you remember the story of the feeding of the 5000 in Matthew? Jesus suggests that he and the disciples ought to feed the people, all of them. It is a monumental project, the feeding of so many people in the middle of nowhere. Such meals are huge deals today, just ask anyone trying to organize a wedding with 100 guests how they would like to handle the logistics of what…

A Letter on the Great Overture

Dear Presbyterian Brothers and Sisters, How are you? I thank God for you whenever I think of you. I’ve been thinking a lot about you lately and trying to listen to you and I must ask you if you are tired of splitting up? Tired of the threats? Tired of seeing people speak out of both sides of their mouths? Saying one thing in public and another in parking lot? I am. I bet…

Walking Through the Motto in Lent

It’s Ash Wednesday and the internet is a flutter with what people are giving up (cheese, chocolate, booze, saying no, television, Facebook), and what people are picking up (saying yes more, saying I love you more, praying, meditating, running, scripture reading, small groups). What the Pope says we should do (love others better), and various other takes. Common among them…

H3 Leadership. Reviewed.

“Be Humble, Stay Hungry, and Always Hustle”, says Brad Lomenick in his new book. I received the book thanks to the Carey Neiuwhof leadership podcast that I listen to when I walk my dog and, man, I am happy I did.  This book contains loads of good advice, helpful questions, ideas and plans for changing not just the organization involved, but the leaders themselves. As…

Do I Need to Check My Brain at the Door?

Frederick Faber once wrote about one of the most challenging paradoxes of the holy life; that God is best known in the heart rather than the intellect. Darkness to the intellect/But sunshine to heart, wrote Faber. It is a paradox that I, like Jacob, have been wrestling with. I am someone who grew up in a largely secular culture and was mostly schooled in secular halls. I…