Author Archive

Exploring Hope: A joyless Christmas?

Joy is one of those words that has become a “Christmas cliché.” We see it plastered everywhere from Christmas cards to wrapping paper. We sing about it in our carols but simultaneously feel very little "joy to the world.”  So why all this talk about joy at Christmas? Well, it wasn't invented by a marketing team at Hallmark or a clever carol writer. Rather, everything ...

 
 

Exploring Hope: Believing the virgin birth

If a pregnant woman came up to me and said, “I’ve never had sexual relations with a man, but I conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit,” I’m not sure what I would think. After all, women don’t generally get pregnant without a man’s sperm, even in the age of science. So, based on Occam's razor (the idea that the simplest solution tends to be the correct one), most ...

 

Exploring Hope: A tale of two stories

As a pastor, part of my job is helping people connect the dots between two true stories. The first story is the nitty-gritty reality of our individual lives. Every single person has joys, struggles, and hopes for the future. Within my congregation, I know people who are struggling with profound health conditions. I know other people who are mourning the loss of loved ...

 

Exploring Hope: ‘Fruit of the Spirit’

At the church I pastor in Garnet Valley, we preached through books of the Bible section by section (you can hear sermon audio on our website). Currently, we’re at the end of the apostle Paul's letter to the Galatians. It's a fascinating work that was written only 15 years after the events of Christ's life, death, and resurrection. Today, I have the privilege of ...

 

Exploring Hope: Flattery versus truth

Scientific America, Business Insider, and the Harvard Business Review, all confirm that flattery works. Through extensive research, it has been proved that people respond to flattery even when they know it's insincere. For example, a car salesman might tell the customer that she looks fantastic in a new sports car and that it makes her look 10 years younger. The ...

 

Exploring Hope: Pessimism or optimism

In the second book of the Bible, called Exodus, the people of Israel are fleeing Pharaoh. God is doing the "impossible-according-man" so that "[his] name may be proclaimed in all the earth” (Exodus 9:16). Despite God's display of power and love, the people are facing two terrifying prospects. In one direction, they see the menacing horde of Pharaoh bearing down on ...

 

Exploring Hope: Freedom in Christianity

If you are skeptical about the truth claims of Christianity, I wonder if you associate Christianity with freedom. Probably not. You may associate Christianity with giving up freedom. You believe that Christians only want to tell you who you can sleep with or what you should do with your wallet. So, what does Christianity teach about freedom? In Galatians chapter 2, ...

 

Exploring Hope: Humanity’s dream

Have you ever noticed that history classes seem to focus almost exclusively on war? Yet we could never list every war in human history because there are simply too many. Violence and conflict have characterized humanity since the beginning. For this reason, peace has been called “humanity’s eternal, elusive dream.” We see this “eternal, elusive dream” in the Bible’s ...

 

Exploring Hope: Reasons NOT to visit a new church this Easter

My name is Will Stern. I’m the pastor of Hope Presbyterian, a new church launching regular services this Easter at the Darlington Arts Center in Garnet Valley. I could tell you about myself or our new church, but today, I would like to discuss three reasons you may not be interested in visiting a new church. 1: “I don't want to be the new person.” I completely ...