Monthly Archives: October 2008

10.31.08 Friday Insights from Pastor Dagney Pullin

What is the “this” not yet obtained? If we go back a few verses, we see that the author is talking about the power and righteousness of Christ. This power is so great that Christ could suffer even unto death, and yet regain life. And his righteousness, his perfection, is such that can only come from God.

So, if this righteousness and power come from God through faith, why do we strive? It is critical to note that, according to this passage, we press on not so that Christ Jesus makes us his own, but because Christ Jesus has made us his own.

Life is not a try-out; we’re already on the team. As vital members of that team, it is our task to give our very best effort so that we may reach the goal. What is that goal? It is our “citizenship in heaven” (vs. 20), citizenship that begins here and now.

We press on, as a team, to live as citizens of heaven, striving to bring the qualities of heaven to this earth below.

Rev. Dagney Pullin is the pastor of community life in the adult discipleship department. She can be reached at and you can read her blog at

10.30.08 Thursday Ingishts from Pastor Jeff Clinger

Facebook is one of many social networking tools available online and is arguably the most popular.  It is definitely my favorite.  To confess, I am a Facebook junky.  I have updates sent to my phone, I check statuses way too frequently, and I love connecting with people from different times in my life. 

Earlier this week I received a message out of the blue from a woman that I have known for many years now.  We attended seminary together at Garrett-Evangelical and then worked through the Ordination process together in the North Indiana Conference.  I’ve edited a bit for length, but the essence of her message was this:

Jeff, I was thinking of you today and just wanted to say thanks for being a friend. With all the political conversations and such these days, I realized that in the last 7 years I have moved from a strong right to a moderate. Part of that is because of you. Most “liberals” would attack anything I had to say and make it very personal against me. I always appreciated you in that even though we had different ideas, you would speak civilly about it and even asked my opinion from time to time. Through your kindness and good attitude, I became receptive to your thoughts and ideas. In the long run, it has made a big difference.

What this friend didn’t know (until I wrote her back) is that through those conversations I came to have a greater understanding of those who think differently than me and grew in my own beliefs as well.  Small exchanges in class and over meals, patient and loving questions asked when we differed in opinion, taking the time to listen to one another and to engage in relationship even though we disagreed on many things – it seems to me that these might all be mustard seeds and yeast, small things that are planted as a foretaste of what the kingdom of God truly can be.

I continue to be grateful for this friendship and the many others that have stretched me to think more about the kingdom of God than about being right.  I hope and pray that I can continue to plant seeds of the kingdom in ways that will grow beyond what I can even imagine and I invite you to do the same – to engage with friends, neighbors, and family members in loving ways that can begin to make God’s kingdom a reality.

Rev. Jeff Clinger is the pastor for members of the Resurrection family whose last names begin with D-I.  He can be reached via email at and he blogs regularly at Changing to Bring Change.

10.29.08 Wednesday Insights from Pastor Russell Brown

Imagine yourself facing the following task: a twenty foot long, 2×8 plank is placed between two cinder blocks in front of you. At the opposite end of the plank is a brick. The brick holds down a $100 bill. You are told that if you walk the entire 20 foot length of the plank, you may have the $100 bill. You practically skip to the other end of the plank thinking, “This is the easiest $100 I’ve ever made!”

Then you are offered the opportunity to make another $100, if you are game. Fail this test, and you not only don’t get the second $100, but you have to give back the first. You have to walk the length of the exact same plank to retrieve another $100 bill except this time the plank is 300 feet above the ground between two towers.

Think you could do it? What would you be thinking about as you walked out on the second plank? How would you feel? Would you be scared? I know I sure would be!

The difference in the two scenarios is a great parallel to today’s scripture reading from Numbers. In the first scenario, you are like Caleb. When Caleb returned from spying out the Promised Land, all he could see was the reward… taking the nation of Israel in to settle the land that God had promised them while they were slaves in Egypt. In the same way, your attention was only on the reward of the $100 bill at the end of the plank.

In the second scenario, the focus changes. Your attention is diverted – just like the other spies – to the DANGERS that lie ahead. You can’t keep your mind off the prospect of slipping and falling off the plank. Somehow the $100 at the other end doesn’t seem nearly attractive enough to take that kind of risk. No one can calm your fears by pointing out that it is exactly the same plank you just sauntered casually across a moment before. Suddenly it is the PLANK OF DEATH!

We learn a vitally important lesson from this amazing story from Numbers. Of course, Caleb saw exactly the same people – the Amalekites, the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites – that the other spies saw. No doubt he was impressed with their size, too. (The other spies said, “There we saw the Nephilim and to ourselves we seemed like grasshoppers.” Num. 13:33). What we learn from this story is that Caleb did not see the task of entering and taking possession of the land as depending solely on his skill and strength. As he exhorted the rest of the Israelites, “The Lord is with us; do not fear them.” (Num. 14:9). Caleb COULD focus on the reward because of his faith in God’s promises. The other spies, when they looked at the challenges ahead, lost heart because the obstacles were larger than they could surmount by themselves.

I need to look back regularly at this story and remind myself to follow Caleb’s example when I confront a challenge that seems larger than I can possibly face on my own. Caleb knew that with God, nothing is impossible. He also knew that without God nothing is possible.

10.28.08 Tuesday Insights from Pastor Molly Simpson

Why didn’t Jesus just do it? 

“Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 

Surely Jesus could have set the world right and restored not only power to Israel but also the full redeption of kingdom of God throughout the world.  He could have done it.  But he didn’t, and instead he said, “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.”  Jesus is talking to his first century followers, but he is also talking to us.  We will be his witnesses in our city, throughout our region, and to the ends of the earth. 

How are we living into this?  as a church?  as individuals?

I talked to a man at church on Sunday that stopped me after worship and offered his house to the church as a resource to help someone in need.  I was awestruck in the moment.  His family is moving, and instead of selling their current house, they are going to hang on to it and would like to work with someone in our church that is trying to get back on their feet and needs an interim place to live.  This family’s compassion and generosity is a witness to God’s love.

I noticed that one of our high school girls has been using her facebook status to point to God’s love.  Instead of telling everyone how practice was or how she is sick of math homework, she’s writing things like, “the day will come when every tongue will confess and every knee will bow,” and “Lord empty me of me, so I can be filled with You.”  She’s being one of Jesus’ witnesses.

So, Jesus doesn’t make restoring the kingdom his final grand act on earth… he uses us.  He thinks you are talented and valuable and worthy of being his witness.  That seems like a big task… and it is, but the Holy Spirit gives us power. 

In the little things and the big things… how are you, as one of God’s followers, involved in making our corner of the world a better place? 


 ~Molly Simpson is the Campus Pastor of Resurrection West and can be reached at

10.27.08 Monday Insights from Pastor Andrew Conard

It is refreshing to read the scripture from Matthew 5 again this week with another question in mind – Where are we going? Today, I want to focus on verse 16, which in the TNIV translation reads:

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

I think that this verse points to two different viewpoints from which we can consider the future. This verse asks us to let our light shine before others. If we are asked to let our light shine before others, it suggests that there are some who are living in the darkand looking for the light. Where do yourself today – as one shining light to others or as one needing light in the darkness?

No matter how you feel about where you are right now, I believe that we can all move toward being God’s light to others through knowing, loving and serving God. If you are in the place of shining light to others today, ask God to show you more places to shine light or ways that God’s light can shine brighter through you. If you are in the place of needing light in the darkness, seek out those people and places that can help shine God’s light into your life. This may be in worship, small group, a family member or friend.

Where are we going? Toward becoming the light of the world.

10.25.08 Insights from Pastor Laurie Barnes

Of all the prayers in the Bible, Paul’s prayer for the Church at Ephesus found in Ephesians 3:14-21 is one of my favorites.  An entire book could be written about all we can learn from this prayer.  For now, we’ll mention just three:  (1) The Posture of Prayer; (2) The Provision of Power; and (3) The Promise of Potency.


The Bible teaches that there is no one posture that is always expected from one who is in an attitude of prayer.  Among other postures, the Bible tells of people praying while they are lying face down on the ground (Job 1:20-21); while they are lying in bed (Isaiah 38:2-3); and while standing (Luke 18:11-13).  Here Paul says that he is kneeling as he prays (Ephesians 3:14).  Kneeling, standing or lying on the ground, the posture of the body in prayer is not as important as the attitude of the heart.


Within the main portion of the prayer itself, the word power is found several times.  The Greek work for power, dynamis, is the word from which our English word dynamite is derived. Dynamic Holy Spirit power is available for us as believers!  The power that God provides through his Holy Spirit will strengthen us (Eph 3:16) and will enable us to begin to understand the wideness of God’s mercy and grace.


Finally, the doxology found in verses 20 and 21 reminds us of the potential for God to do much, much more than we can ever ask or imagine.

And, amazingly enough, this potent power of God’s is at work within us – right now!  Our only response to this is to give glory to God (vs. 21)!


Try praying this prayer found in Ephesians 3:14-21 for a friend of family member who needs a reminder of God’s power and grace.  You might find yourself, as I do, returning again and again to this prayer.


Laurie Barnes is the Pastor of Prayer and Congregational Care.

10.24.08 Friday Insights From Pastor Dagney Pullin

Our mission as a church is defined by Jesus’ mission, which he makes clear in Luke 4. The answer to the question, “Why am I here?” on a personal level, though, is still challenging. How do you, as an individual, fit into the larger picture. What is your unique calling?

I played basketball in middle school and high school, and there discovered that every player excels in some areas, while lacking in others. My own strengths included fighting for strong position in the paint, rebounding, and defending the inside, but I couldn’t bring the ball down the court to save my life. The coach used to tell our guards, “If you’re trapped while bringing the ball down, and you have no other options, you still shouldn’t throw it to Dagney.”

The way our first coach discerned our strengths and weaknesses was by giving all of us an opportunity to work on all the skills. We would practice in various positions until we found the place where we played best. Then we would focus on developing the skills unique to that position.

If you’re wondering where to begin in our service to God, where you might fit best, where your passion might be, sometimes it’s best to just start somewhere. The opportunities for service abound, but most of the time they will not come knocking on your door. Take the time to look for service opportunities both within and outside the church, and then commit to one, even if for a short time. Try something new, or look in an area that you already know pulls at your heart.

You may find a few places that are not a fit for you, but that’s ok. Try again. There is nothing so exciting or rewarding as finding the place to serve where your greatest strengths are used, challenged, and increased. It’s the place where you can say with confidence, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me.”

Rev. Dagney Pullin is the pastor of community life in the adult discipleship department. She can be reached at and you can read her blog at

10.23.08 Thurday Insights from Pastor Jeff Clinger

I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that there are fewer and fewer commercials for anything but political candidates on TV these days.  And as I listen to rhetoric from candidates in both parties, I’m reminded of something that Jim Wallis said when he was at Resurrection a few weeks ago, “On November 4th, the Kingdom of God will not be on the ballot.”

The kingdom of God is not on the ballot.

The text that we read today contains words spoken by the prophet Zechariah to the people of Israel at the end of their 70 years in exile.  The people of Israel were concerned with how they should behave on individual levels – how they were supposed to worship, what they were supposed to eat, when they were supposed to fast.  But the word of God that comes through the prophet is not about individual behavior as much as it is about what it means to live in community…

Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy to one another; do not oppress the widow, the orphan, the alien, or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another.

Verse 11, which was not a part of today’s reading, tells us how the Israelites responded – they refused to listen, and turned a stubborn shoulder, and stopped their ears in order not to hear.

The biblical call to justice is the same for us today as it was for the Israelites centuries ago.  May we be open to hearing and may we respond.  Politicians will not be able to fix all that is wrong with the world, it is up to us as people of faith to step up, to speak out, and to partner with God in the work that is closest to God’s heart. 

This election season, as we remain engaged in all that is going on in our country, may we even more so be engaged in working for the coming Kingdom of God.

Rev. Jeff Clinger is the pastor for members of the Resurrection family whose last names begin with D-I.  He can be reached via email at and he blogs regularly at Changing to Bring Change.

10.22.08 Wednesday Insights from Pastor Nicole Conard

Three verses from 2 Corinthians 5:14-21 come to my attention when I am reading today’s Scripture.  Often times when I am reading, I find words or phrases that make sense to me.  These are verses that may be applicable in my life, helping me understand more of who God is, who I am, who the church is and how we all work together. From these three verses, I find three points to be helpful.

The first verse is:

“So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!”(2 Cor 5:17)

We are a new creation when we are in Christ. Our perspective changes on who we are and how we view others.  As Paul says, we do not see with human eyes anymore.  This is good news and a faithful promise! God works in us. We are a new creation.  Everything old has passed away and everything is becoming new.

This is helpful when in at a crossroads in life and there is a need to take a step in a new direction. Knowing that the old has passed away and it is God who makes things new.  We, then, can be called a new creation.

The second verse is:

“So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” (2 Cor 5:20).

We are ambassadors for Christ. After living in Washington DC while going to seminary, I have a new appreciation for the name and work of the ambassador.  Ambassadors represent the country in perspective, viewpoints and policies. As Christians, we are Christ’s ambassadors. People see Christ through us.  God makes an appeal through us to others.  Paul encourages the Corinthians to be reconciled to God through their witness and life. So are we called as the church to be ambassadors and live a life in such a way that people may be reconciled to God by our witness and life.

The third verse is:

“We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.” (2 Cor 5:20-21)

God’s friend….we are God’s friend. God desires to be our friend and a friend to those we know.  I often enjoy introducing two friends of mine with one another so that they may know each other. Reminding ourselves that we are friends of God reminds me that God is completely and totally available to us.  Our friendship with God can be talked about with other friends in regular conversation like introducing them to one another.

Throughout the day, remember that you are a new creation, an ambassador for Christ, and a friend of God. May these perspectives shape your day today and the days to come.

10.21.08 Tuesday Insights from Pastor Molly Simpson

I sat down to work on this post over a cup of coffee with my husband Ben in the cafe at Borders.  I read through these seven verses then went back to the beginning to start making observations on the text, and I couldn’t get past verse 9.  If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  There is so much going on in this one verse!! 

Ben and I began to discuss what it means to declare or confess “Jesus is Lord.”  Personally, it is a statement about Jesus’ position of authority and rule in one’s life.  It is a statement of reverence and submission.  In fact, this simple statement may have been the first confession of faith.  Beyond the personal, it is a statement about the ultimate reality, about truth.  It states one’s confidence that Jesus is the one with ultimate power (not Caesar or any other earthly ruler), and that Jesus is divine (Lord, adonai, refers to God, Yahweh).  What impact does it have on your life to call Jesus “Lord”?   

On to the second part of the verse…  It’s important to understand “believe in your heart” as it would have been heard during the time Paul wrote it.  The heart was understood to be the power center of one’s body–“the center of the physical, mental and spiritual life of humans” (thank you Bible Dictionary).  The heart was the seat of one’s intellect and will, not just one’s emotions or feelings.  Perhaps this gives new meaning to “believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead.”  Paul is calling on us to believe that God resurrected Jesus not only with our emotions but with our whole being, including our mind, our intellect, and our will.  And, we not only wholeheartedly believe that the resurrection happened, but that God raised Jesus from the dead.  It was by God’s action, God’s agency, and God’s power.    

And in this last part… you will be saved.  Seems simple enough, right?  For me, declaring Jesus is Lord and believing in my heart that God raised Christ from the dead isn’t a simple assent.  It is complex and life-altering.  My worldview, my behavior, my though process and my relationships are changed by these beliefs–not only the first time I declared them–but day after day.  

How has this declaration and belief change your life?  How will it continue to do so?     


Rev. Molly Simpson is the Campus Pastor at Resurrection West, and can be reached at