Bob Stevenson

Pastor. Can’t get enough of the gospel.

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The Fearless Fear

It is axiomatic that the Christian must fear God. A cursory reading of Scripture makes this clear, without question. Though axiomatic, this doctrine is frequently misunderstood and unpracticed. In other words, fear does not always lead to knowledge and wisdom (Prov. 1:7), but often paralysis. Fear often causes us to respect the wrong subjects.

In Matthew 10:26ff, Jesus makes it clear that there is One we must fear: God. Not people. Now, there is justifiable cause to our fear of man: people hurt us. People can and do kill other people. To not possess a healthy respect for the damage people can do smacks of an innocent ignorance of the way things work.

Jesus, however, provides perspective. “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul.” The best people can do is end our physical life. They can’t touch our soul.

“But that still seems rather bad,” you may...

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Why Missions?

At Village, missions support makes up approximately 25% of our church’s budget. Why do we invest a full quarter of all that we receive from the people in this church into work that is fully outside of this church? Why should we care about missions at all?

 1. The Glory and Goodness of God

The first and central reason must be the glory of God. If we treasure God in worship, then it follows we will eagerly seek to participate the spread of the knowledge of his glory. Think of what we see in Romans 15:8ff:

For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.” And again it is said, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.” And again,...

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Renewal and Prophetic Distance

Let’s consider an important question requiring a complex response for which I intend to provide a woefully brief answer: “how should the church engage culture?” It’s an important question because the culture is at war, and we’d better know where we stand when the roar reaches its fever pitch.

What follows is nothing new, but nevertheless important.

 The Church as Prophet

Let’s begin with the assertion that the church should maintain a prophetic stance in the world. Now, when we think about prophets, we typically think of those odd Old Testament fellows who dressed up in strange clothing and saw the future. That, of course, is only part of the picture. A prophet, at his core, was someone who authoritatively proclaimed the word of the Lord: “thus says the Lord.” Prophets revealed the transcendent truth of God to a culture constantly changed and confused by its own desires.


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When Christmas is On a Sunday

This Sunday, Village will celebrate the third week of Advent. One of our families will light the third candle out of four, and our corporate anticipation will deepen. We will strain forward a bit more for that day when we rejoice that the long expected One has come. And the expectation is especially sweet this year because Christmas falls on a Sunday.

But Sunday Christmases bring dilemmas: Will there be church on Sunday? Will we go to church on Sunday? These are fair questions, as Christmas is a special day, steeped in family traditions, and we’re not all that accustomed to spending time at church on Christmas day.

But, for good reasons, Village will be gathering together, and you should join your fellow saints. Here are four reasons why:

 1. Christmas Day is the Climax of a Long Season of Expectation

We don’t celebrate Advent because it’s just “what you do” this time of...

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Grieve and Stand

I awoke Monday feeling like I was stuck in a bad dream. After last week’s “revelations” and the debate, I found myself deeply troubled. Embarrassed. Baffled. Over the last few months, one thing has become clear: the future looks rather grim.

But it’s not just the future. This moment feels like a bar room brawl.

I look around and see a great deal of fear in the faces of Christians around me. I hear it in the blog battles and Facebook arguments. Fear of what may come. It tears at seams of trust between believers. It draws out bitter words between brothers and sisters. It is driving us into panic mode.

This breaks my heart. It should not be so.

I also see the gory political train wreck unfolding in grisly detail before our eyes. No wonder we have fear. Do we choose a progressivism that stands in opposition to so many of my convictions? Or a secular, angry...

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Voting When There’s Simply No Good Option

It’s been quite the election cycle. I began watching the preliminaries with interest, then amusement, then a sinking realization that the ironic prediction I made earlier this year the beginning was becoming reality. And I’m not alone. I’ve been asked a few times, “So…who are you voting for?” It’s a knotty one, to be sure. What do you do when there’s no good option?

There’s no quick and easy answer for this one. These are sticky questions that require wrestling down. I can, however, point out a few of the things you, as a Christian, need to wrestle to the floor.

 1. Recognize the Privilege and the Responsibility of Voting

The New Testament was written to people living in an empire that relied on social stratification and the subjugation of inferiors for its success. Guess which levels of society many Christians lived in? That’s right: the bottom. Which meant life was hard...

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Gospel Reverberations

There’s this interesting passage in Romans, where the apostle Paul writes, “I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you–that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.” (Rom. 1:11-12, ESV)

We fully expect the first bit; that Paul would be interested in imparting a gift to the Romans. His explanation takes us back, however. The gift he has in mind is not just a one-way bestowal. It is a mutual interaction. He wants to encourage the Roman Christians by his faith, and he is eager to be encouraged by theirs.

On one level, this is an astounding reality. Paul, the powerful apostle, author of much of the New Testament, worker of miracles, authoritative proclaimer of the gospel – this Paul, encouraged by the faith of a standard-issue, run-of-the-mill Christian? But on the other, it is not quite so surprising...

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Thoughts on Orlando

The recent mass shooting in Orlando is another dark mark in a long line of brutal current events. Many of us are wrestling with confusing (and sometimes conflicting) emotions as we try to sort through what happened, and what it means for us. This tragedy is especially poignant as it brings several cultural priorities to an intersection: terrorism, sexuality and national security. How should we, as Christians, understand and untangle this knot? Here are a few thoughts.

 Who’s to Blame?

Senseless tragedies are disorienting, because we are not wired to experience senseless suffering. We need to find meaning. It’s part of who we are. So it makes sense that, when a tragedy like this occurs, we scramble to find some meaning, to assign some kind of blame. If we can somehow peg responsibility somewhere, we can, perhaps, cope with the fact that it happened.

In this situation...

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Rhythms of the Word

This is a follow-up to our conversation on disciplined spiritual rhythms this Sunday. I will be posting more on the rhythms of prayer at a later date.

When we think about developing disciplined rhythms of the Word, we should keep three ideas in mind: encounter, internalize and apply. Let’s briefly revisit each.

 Encounter the Word

This is the first step. If we are not encountering the word regularly, we’re effectively cutting ourselves off from God’s voice. But there are multiple levels of encounter.

Hear. We hear the Word when we listen to a sermon or attend a Bible Study. Hearing requires the least amount of engagement with the text because we are listening to someone unpack the significance and meaning of the text for us. But this doesn’t mean hearing is unimportant. We need to listen to those who have studied deeply. And if we are not regularly joining the saints in...

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Light Breaks

It was dark. In so many ways.

Those who have experienced sudden and tragic loss know the feeling: numbness; a leaden heart; anger. The ambush of tears. The growing realization of loss – oh the loss!

What did the disciples feel on that Friday? After the shock wore off? What did they awake too? The terrible sinking reality that their beloved friend was gone. But He was more than a friend – they had hung their future, their identity on Him. They believed in Him.

But all these dreams, hopes, expectations, yearnings, joys were wrapped up in grave clothes and entombed in blackness. Blackness like their future.

And yet, they could not see what Jesus had been telling them for so long. He entered that darkness for them. He took their hopes, expectations, yearnings and joys into the grave – not to bury them, but to bring them to life.

On Sunday, Mary goes to grieve...

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