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The Down-to-Earth Duty of Radically Normal Hospitality

In light of our 2018 Year Verse and my recent series in Colossians 3, we've been emphasizing hospitality as a baseline expression of Christian fellowship and love.  I challenged all of us as a congregation to commit to having, at least once a month, one or more families in our homes for a meal.  

McIlwain member Austin Brown has written a great piece on this "radically normal" exercise that I believe will be helpful.  You can find the original post on his blog here).--Pastor Looper

Hospitality is the fertile soil in which relationships grow. This is true for friendships both new and unexpected as well as old and established. Show me a gathering of believers where there is warmth and love expressed through hospitality, and I will point and say, “Look there! On that hill! Shining brightly, as if a lamp, or a lighthouse, or a great kingdom with many feasts and festivals, the Church radiating!”more...

Session approves core values to guide McIlwain ministries

Every organization, in order to have a sense of purpose and a guide for direction, must know not only what it is striving for but also what that striving should look like in the life and mission of its people.  Purpose, vision and mission are not simply about achieving an end result; the development of both individual and corporate integrity, character, and responsibility are indispensable to true and satisfying success.more...

Worship Matters

McIlwain’s Purpose: Equipping Worshipers Recently the Session crafted a new Vision and Mission to focus us as a church as we seek to fulfill what we believe God has called us to be and do as his people here in Pensacola.  We have summarized these in this Purpose Statement: For the glory of God alone and by his grace alone, McIlwain Presbyterian Church equips believers to worship God by proclaiming Christ from the Word and in the World. more...

Session commends Dennis Louis as Associate Pastor

It is with great joy and affection that I share with my dear McIlwainians and our community that at its June 5 Stated Meeting, the Session of McIlwain Presbyterian Church approved commending to the congregation Dennis G. Louis to be called as an associate pastor of McIlwain Presbyterian Church.  The date of the congregational meeting in which this vote is to be taken will be announced shortly, in time for a subsequent call to be approved by the Gulf Coast Presbytery.more...

McIlwain Priorities 2016: Prayer and Evangelism

On Saturday morning, April 16, McIlwain’s Session gathered for a Half-Day Retreat.  Though the primary agenda of the retreat was to reevaluate and affirm or, if necessary, modify our Mission and Vision statements, the Retreat was structured around discussing Flight Path, the biography of Frank Barker.  Barker, of course, was the founding pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, AL.  He served as Senior Pastor for 40 years, and was succeeded by Harry Reeder, long a friend of and, in many ways, a pastor-at-large, to McIlwain.more...

Don't Turn Away--Do Something!

The truth can be horrifically ugly. Though we turn our heads, for example, from grisly historical images of genocide and recent videos of ISIS beheadings, we cannot deny the truth that men can and do inflict incredible evil upon other human beings. The recently released videos from the Center for Medical Progress have revealed this same evil is at work among us by exposing the ugly truth that the abortion industry is just that—an industry.   more...

Playing with Jesus

Many people “play” spirituality. Playing spirituality operates in pretty much the same way as does playing a game or engaging in a fun distraction or taking up a weekend activity: Your participation is voluntary, light-hearted, with minimal discomfort and enjoyable.  It’s fun while it lasts, there is no pressure for a long-term obligation and, when it’s time to clean up for supper, get ready for bed or head back to reality after the weekend you put it down until the next time you want a little harmless, positive fun. more...

Knee work

In the early 90s Lisa and I helped lead a Missions trip of high schoolers to London.  We were serving in a working-class part of the city and staying in the rectory of an Anglican church whose pastor was Reformed and evangelical.  It had been a busy week and we had seen some exciting things happen.  It was exhausting, to be honest, and, alongside my initial jetlag I am sad to admit that I began to neglect my prayer time in favor of a little bit more sleep.  I justified my lack of prayer time as a “special circumstance” and not a pattern.  After all, what good would an exhausted chaperone be? more...

Read the Bible!

Few things are as satisfying as a good story. From the time we incessantly begged, “Just one more before bedtime, pleeeze!” to “I think I can get this next chapter done before I have to get some sleep”—stories have captivated us. Although different people are drawn to different types of writing, the common attraction among all is, I believe, the development of the story itself. It’s what keeps us reading. Heroes in impossible predicaments, sleuths combing through the scenes of “perfect” crimes, thawing of frozen relationships, tripping through the twists and turns of international intrigue—whatever the situation, we both love the story and want to see how it ends.more...

A True Story

Exactly 28 years ago, sometime between 11:00 pm, October 31 and 2:00 am, November 1, I was converted.  Though I understand now that what happened then was the working out of God's foreordination before creation through his wise and inscrutable hand of providence by multiple means; and though I understand I was likely regenerated some weeks or even months before (or else I would not have begun to seek as I did)--the bottom line is that during that late night and early morning I experienced the reality of conversion.  It was nothing less than the conscious engagement of my mind with the reality that I was at one moment one thing and then, in the next moment, I was something else; at one moment I did not trust in the grace of God in Christ and then, in the next moment I did.more...

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