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Welcome to the LPC e-pistle!

The LPC e-pistle is designed for the friends and families of Langhorne Presbyterian Church and any others who happen by. Pastor Bill Teague shares weekly comments on the world, the life of faith and Langhorne Church. A weekly e-mail, sent by request, keeps members up to date on news and prayer concerns within the congregation. Langhorne Presbyterian Church is a warm, Christ-honoring congregation, and we’d love to have you stop by for a visit if you’re ever in our neighborhood. You can get directions to LPC here.

October 18 – Does Nagging Ever Work?

Becky and I are out of town this weekend – a little fall getaway into New England.  In the meantime:
 
One Sunday a long time ago I used the intersection of Bellevue and Richardson Avenues as a sermon illustration.  The point had something to do with obedience with that corner in Langhorne as a good example of not-quite obedience.  The Bellevue and Richardson intersection is one of those places where we tend to roll through rather than come to a complete stop.  I remember at the time of the sermon a number of people shared their own Bellevue and Richardson stories or nominated other intersections as places of even worse offense. The point of the illustration was that a lot of us live roll through Christian lives.
 
Some of you may have seen the new sign that’s been posted just below the stop sign at the southeast corner of the intersection the Bellevue and Richardson.  “Stop Really Means Stop,” it shouts at us as we pass the First National Bank. 
 
The Really Means Stop sign is professionally made and well mounted – by the borough or the police or the vigilantes, I don’t know. 
 
While I applaud the intentions of those who have posted the sign, I wonder what good it will do.  It reminds me the irate parent in Walmart yelling at a child three aisles away.  “Come here right now! I’m going to give you to three. One, two, two and a half…” 
 
Does the nagging spouse ever get the other to lose weight or exercise or quit drinking? Does the lunch room become neater when the nagging boss sends memos about it being everyone’s responsibility? Do people quit drinking coffee in the this or that room in the church when the elders forbid such sin and post signs to remind us so? (Ouch!)
 
Except around eight in the morning or five in the afternoon, the intersection of Bellevue and Richardson in Langhorne is pretty quiet, and chances are a roll through stop will work just fine.  Once in a while, though, you’ll roll through to a nasty little fender bender.  Even if you’re pretty sure all’s clear, you might as well stop anyway. Just because that red octagonal sign says so. 
 
Chances are that when we roll through some of the Ten Commandments, everything will seem to be just fine.  A white lie, a tiny covet, a not very vain taking of the Lord’s name, a slight dishonoring of parents, a small graven image. Roll through violations may have surprising consequences, though, if in no other way than in our boldness to roll a little faster next time. But even when we’re pretty sure all’s clear, we might as well obey the Word anyway.  Just because God says so, and he loves us. 
 
I won’t see you this Sunday, but if you come to worship driving south on Bellevue, remember stop means really stop when you get to the intersection with Richardson Avenue. 

October 11 – The Measure of Love

LPC people know the names of the people and the place. John and Jess Cropsey. Kibuye, Burundi, East Africa.  For eight years we have heard the names and have gotten to know John and Jess just a little bit. They visit with us from time to time.  We have learned about the wonderful work they are doing in that little town we had never heard of before – in a country few of us could have found on a map.

John is an ophthalmologist serving as part of the medical mission team at Kibuye Hope Hospital.  This video was shot five years ago, but still captures the heart of what John is doing.  Indeed, the blind are made to see.

The Kibuye team is building an amazing center of healing in what may be the poorest place on the planet. Continue reading

October 4 – Why the Other Side of the Road Matters


A week ago, I was off to a Presbytery meeting where, among other things, LPC’s own Casey Huckel was examined and received by the Presbytery as a candidate for ordained pastoral ministry.  Of course, Casey’s examination and reception were the highlight of the meeting for our LPC delegation, but not the only highlight.  Yes, we are Presbyterians and sometimes it seems we are just a bit taken with our “decently and in order” ways.  But debating procedural minutiae or hearing reports of God’s astounding work in the mission field, there was a good spirit and strong hope in our meeting together.

I like this Presbytery of the East.

We met at the Bethlehem Stetz Reformed Church, EPC, mailing address in Glen Rock, PA.  The church’s website says, “Just four miles west of New Freedom, PA, on State Route 851.”  No offense meant, but it felt pretty much like the middle of nowhere – the rolling hills of the southern York County farmland.

It turns out that this nowhere location for a church building has meant something important, and maybe in its time something to give offense. Continue reading

September 27 – His Sweet Voice Soundeth


Jesus calls us.

According to the old hymn,
Day by day his sweet voice soundeth,
saying, “Christian, follow me.”

Jesus calls – not to be confused with Jesus Calling, the title of a phenomenally popular devotional and dangerously wrong book of the same title. The book is a particularly good (or bad) example of American Christians’ tendency to outsource the hard work of reading Scripture and praying diligently.  Why not let someone else do it and have her work in your inbox every morning. More here.

Jesus call us.

I will be heading out to Glen Rock, PA, this morning for a day and a half of presbytery meeting.  I am looking forward to it, and none of it more than that item of business that comes mid-morning on Saturday.  The Ministerial Committee will call Casey Huckel to stand before the assembly with these words from its report to the presbytery:

Casey comes before the Presbytery with the recommendation of the Ministerial Committee, which examined him on September 9. The presbytery will examine him as to Christian experience and growth, the motive for seeking ordination, and a statement regarding the person’s call to ministry. Continue reading

September 20 – The Pros and Cons of a Robopastor

You may have seen the story from Japan about the Buddhist temple where they have asked a robot to serve as their new priest.  So far Mindar, the robot, mostly just preaches the same sermon over and over, but its designers are hoping that developments in the field of artificial intelligence will lead to a cyber priest whose programming and the use of algorithms will allow it to offer spiritual advice and pastoral counseling. I would think it could be really good at balancing budgets and keeping calendars.

With my retirement planned for next year, I think I may be getting out of the clergy business just in time.  But, also what an opportunity for LPC to be on the cutting edge of pastoral technology.  It’s not too late for us to change the call for our October 6 congregational meeting from electing a pastor search committee to electing a pastor programming committee. Continue reading