It’s that time of year again! When articles lamenting the pagan origins of Christmas—held in queue since August the 17th—flood the feed of discernment bloggers nationwide. When the condemnations of stodgy pastors fly like brimstone from dusty pulpits onto the supposed Sodom of JC Penney’s one-day-only holiday sale. (“Do you see the materialist hordes, church? Walk not in their counsel!”). When Christmas trees and mistletoe find themselves unmasked as nothing more than the green groves and high…Read More
I have the privilege of pastoring a wonderful church out in Ogden, Utah—home of the Wasatch Mountains, the Utah Jazz, a large number of well-dressed men on bicycles (if you know what I mean), and a very small number of Evangelical Christians. One implication of my pastoral role is that I often find myself sitting across from a married couple for counseling. Sometimes there’s a catastrophic issue to deal with; the couple is clinging to their covenant with…Read More
Last week at Refuge, I preached on a major decision that our plurality of elders came to with respect to our corporate worship gathering. We decided—after over a year of prayerful deliberation—to lower our kid's ministry age on Sundays to 6, meaning all children 7 and up will be in the service with us. If you have 55 minutes to spare, you can watch or listen in on the biblical bedrock that led us to…Read More
In the last year, I've preached, podcasted, and penned articles about the glories Complementarian theology at home and at church, the necessity of holding the line on LGBTQ issues, the tragic farcicality of transgenderism, the beauty of Calvinism, the dangers of Dispensationalism, and the inhumanity of abortion. In spite of the fact that the aforementioned topics are the verbal equivalent of Claymore mines, none of those things have been the most controversial thing I've said this year.
This is astonishing to me, but the single most argued about, eye-rolled-at, and disagreed-with thing I've publicly spoken about is…Read More
Emotion is one of our culture's favorite currencies. Emotion sells cars and churches, lawn care and luxury vacations. Marketers and ministers use it like salt in every sentence, seasoning the most mundane of things with emotionally-supercharged jargon. Maybe you've noticed this already; we pastors and church leaders often feel the need to use the word "excited" and its synonyms for literally everything the church does.
"So excited to gather this week!"
"Pumped for the new sermon series we're about to kick off!"
"Stoked for worship…
Church is hard. What did you expect when you redeem a people from every tribe and tongue and age and slam them together into one body, one building, one family? It's hard because people are hard, and that's what the Church is. This has been true at Refuge; we've had many difficulties. We've had adulteries and we've had gossip. We've had our doctrinal divisions and our spiritual valleys.
But one difficulty that I didn't consider—yet which we've faced in just about every stage of our church's existence—is actually much more innocuous looking: Keeping our church looking like...Read More
One of the deepest wells of delight in my life at the moment is located in the fact that I am the father of a daughter. Lexy and I have been enjoying the ruckus of parenting boys since 2013—and man, is it a ride! We've found that boys are like the wilderness: Often loud, never safe, and mostly comprised of dirt.
But being the daddy of a daughter? So good. I can't wrestle the English language into an adequate shape to tell you how...Read More
We are big on the Gospel at Refuge Church. In fact, you could say it's our thing. We aim to herald it in everything we do and in every passage of whole books of the Bible. We've been trying to figure out how much weight it can hold since this thing was the size of the average Mormon family meeting in an apartment. So far, it can take (checks figures) all of the weight. I know there are churches out there that only blow the dust off of the Gospel on Easter and Christmas, but we are about as interested in that sort of thing as gluten-free doughn...Read More
Nearly 60,000,000 die every year on planet Earth. This is one of the things that makes human beings so bewildering. I'm not talking about the fact that they die, but the fact that they take so little time to consider death.
Human beings will do nearly anything to avert their eyes from death; it's a pathological and universal impulse. You can think about it abstractly and in others, but try to turn your mind to the thought that your body will one day...Read More
One of the great projects of progressive Christianity is to fix those parts of the Bible which run afoul of its own highly developed sense of morality. You know, the moral code over there in the corner, waiting in quivering anticipation to strain out the gnats of microagressive males and swallow a handful of black-market baby parts. In this noble project, Jesus is often called in to help—at least, a big sieve with "Jesus" written on the handle, perfect for straining out...Read More
Long before I began teaching the Bible as my primary pastoral duty, I served as a worship leader. You know, the guy with the Taylor guitar and the poor stage presence? The one who talks too much between songs, occasionally forgetting that he's not the preacher? Yeah, that guy.
As I look back over those years of leading the gathered church in song, one emotion tends to dominate. I'm not sure what to call it, but it is the feeling you get when you are cringing in embarrassment at your 17-year-0ld self. Some of this cringing comes from my own vanity, (remembering how dumb I looked with shoulder-length hair and a Led Zeppelin...Read More
We all have that one friend. You know, the one with the mouth that seems permanently arranged in a smirk. The one who is fluent in two languages: English and sarcasm. The one with battery acid under his texting thumb. The one with a singular gift for the cutting...Read More
Where to start, daughter of mine? Do I try to wrestle these 26 characters and 14 punctuation marks into a two-dimensional sculpture of my joy at your arrival? Such a thing is beyond me, I confess; I've never been much good at...Read More
In the last entry here at Mouse & Mane, I wrote about my family's nightly practice of catechesis, hymn-singing, Bible reading, and prayer. As mentioned, we are currently making our way through Solomon's Proverbs—instruction from a father to his son in wise living before God. Pondering his proverbial wisdom has lately caused me to consider the man himself. The conclusion I've arrived at after pondering his life and words is somewhat of a contrariety; Solomon was the wisest idiot...Read More
Most evenings, should you peer through the front window of the Sauvé homestead, you would see our two little men gathered around mommy and daddy on the living room couch (with the addition of one little lady in Russian-nesting-doll-mode) having a lively of discussion. We gather thus to look to Jesus for grace...Read More
I love words. This singular fact travels most of the distance in explaining my general and undisciplined prolixity. It also explains why I just used the word "prolixity" in a sentence, a word which would serve you well should you ever find in your heart a desire to insult me with some accuracy...Read More
Today is as good a day to be disliked as any, I suppose. Herein, I plan to opine on LGBTQ issues, transgenderism, and, if I'm feeling especially cranky, maybe women pastors. I can hear the internet creaking in protest already. I hit "publish" on this one with a trepidation born of not being a masochist—but also with the pronounced suspicion that many will energetically prove my forthcoming point with regards to the location and criticality of the battle lines drawn by the secularist generals...Read More
In a previous post, I presupposed that we humans are somewhat obsessed with physical beauty. We wrap up the firm and the youthful in the stretchiest and clingiest fibers the modern textile industry can manufacture, photograph the result, photoshop it for good measure, then publish it with all our might and to every available channel. In that post, I was referring to both men and women, and I believe it is true for both. However, I believe there are several amplifying factors...Read More
My wife, Lexy, and I recently attended a local marriage conference. We were able to do this without our kids (thanks, Mom!), which makes this the equivalent of a two-week, all-inclusive cruise for you single people. The conference was led by Bill Farley, who happens to be the father of one of the men I serve with on the Elder team at Refuge.
It was a very simple conference. It wasn't focused on the psychology of marital communication, conflict resolution, or childrearing. Nor did it consist of an arbitrary number of tips to spice up your sex...Read More
You're probably familiar with the concept of searing your conscience, that is, holding it under the flame of unrepentant sin until it's medium rare. It is a scary reality. Probably the worst judgment you can receive from God on this side of the wedding supper of the Lamb is being given over. No more grace. No more pleading. Just, "Thy will be done" to a conscience that is seared to well...Read More