Weapons

Good morning. It has been a while since I have posted here. Occasionally I have gone through some dry spells when this blog was less active. Hopefully this new Buffalo Center Tribune article will kick things off again for this blog. So without further ado, here you go. To God be the glory!

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In reading through 2 Corinthians last week, I paused on verses three and four of chapter ten, which read, “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.” I think of these verses whenever a national tragedy takes place, like a mass shooting, natural disaster, etc. Especially during an event like a school shooting, social media lights up with political finger pointing, blaming this and that party for their policy actions (or inaction) and beliefs. And then amidst the finger pointing there is another form of attack. This is directed towards Christians who wield a different kind of weapon in response to the tragedy. Their (our) calls for and commitments to prayer are met with mocking and anger as nonbelievers criticize Christians that prayer is not enough, or prayer is pointless in stopping a bullet or prayer is just being lazy and irresponsible when people are dying. I have seen all of these attacks on social media, and it saddens me. But it also reminds me that as a Christian, the battle, indeed, is not against flesh and blood and therefore the weapons we wield are different than the world’s weapons. For those fighting flesh and blood, the weapons include the political system, words, and actual real-life weapons. The world wields these and thus, to them, anyone who does not is weak and irresponsible.


As a Christian, the greatest weapon we can use is that which carries a different and greater power. It is a power that cannot be overcome by the world. It is a power that is unmatched by anything and anyone. It is a power that WILL destroy every stronghold. It is the power of God Almighty. And thus, the greatest, not the least, thing you can do is PRAY. It does not mean that Christians should not do something in this world in response to a tragedy, like engaging the political process, but do not let that be your only weapon of choice. We have to remember, as a child of God, the enemy is not of this world. But God our Creator is the victorious King, a victory won on the cross of Jesus.


The enemy, Satan, though defeated, keeps on fighting in this world. He keeps on trying to drive people to despair and to fight among themselves. What Satan sees on social media after a national tragedy is something that brings a smile to his face. Brothers and sisters, keep on wielding the weapons of the Spirit and never let the world convince you that you are being lazy. Rather, remember the divine power and grace that has saved you through Jesus and thus bring him glory through your faithfulness. Keep on fighting and trust God. HE is powerful and HE has won the Day. In Jesus name, Amen.

Happy Father’s Day

The following is the annual posting of my Father’s Day Prayer. It is a prayer that is loosely based on some wording from a Mother’s Day Prayer I received from a colleague over 10 years ago. It also includes suggested petitions I have received from others over the years, This prayer goes through revisions each year and thus has morphed into what you read today. To God be the glory.

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God our Father, in Your wisdom and love You made all things. You have created and ordained men to be heads of their household. Give them the faith to be godly teachers and examples to their family, leading them in holiness.

Bless those new fathers, who have been called and accepted the responsibility of parenting.
Bless those men who have lost a spouse to death or divorce.
Bless those men who, through various circumstances, find themselves parenting their children alone.
Bless those men who have been called to parent children through adoption or the foster care system.
Bless grandfathers who share their wisdom and love with multiple generations.
Bless those fathers who have had to bear the grief of burying of a child.

We pray for fathers who have made the decision to abort a child. Bring healing and reconciliation through Jesus.
We pray for those men who choose to remain without biological children, may they continue to show fatherly love with the world in many ways.
We give thanks for uncles and godfathers and neighbors, who share fatherly love with so many children; and for far too often overlooked stepfathers.
We pray for those men who struggle with infertility, whose desire for a child is met with frustration.
We pray for the fathers of children with special needs and chronic illness, who know anxiety and exhaustion better than most.
We pray for those men who were given abuse and heartbreak by the ones called to love them.
We pray for fathers who have made the difficult and loving decision to entrust a child to adoptive parents.

Strengthen all these men by and through Your love that they may be the loving and caring persons they are called and meant to be as they reflect Your love and glory. Grant this, Father God, through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Jesus Knows

The following is my newest article for the Buffalo Center Tribune. To God be the glory!

Occasionally, I get inspired to write poetry. Sometimes it comes in bunches and at other times it is just one here and there. And sometimes they happen very suddenly and with little warning. The poem I have shared below is one such poem. I was preparing a sermon for Sunday, May 1 on John 21:15-19, a post-resurrection account of Jesus questioning Peter three times, “Do you love me”. The point of their interaction was that even though Jesus knew Peter was going to deny him three times; even though he knew the disciples would desert him, Jesus loves them, forgives them, and restores them. Jesus knew and still died on the cross for them, and for you and me. Jesus knows. That thought is just amazing. So, one day as I was traveling to Cabin Coffee in Forest City to sermon write, God spoke. He spoke the first stanza of the following poem. It was so captivating that I had to stop along the road in Thompson to write it down. I did not want to forget. As that stanza continued its swim in my heart, the other stanzas eventually fell into place. And so, to the glory of God, I share with you, “Jesus Knows”:


Jesus knows your joys
and sorrows.
He knows all your needs
and your tomorrows.
Jesus knows.


Jesus knows, and loves
to bestow
his grace and mercy.
You he won’t forgo.
Jesus loves.


Jesus loves, and heals
your hurting;
he restores your soul.
This I’m asserting.
Jesus heals.


Jesus heals, and reigns.
Reigns on high,
and now death is gone
with no more goodbye.
Jesus reigns.


When God speaks, sometimes you just need to stop what you are doing and listen. And if necessary, write it down. Amen.

In response to the Uvalde school shooting…

I posted the following in a private Bible reading Facebook group I lead, but wanted to make this more widely available. To God be the glory.

It is Wednesday morning. I went to bed last night with a heavy heart as I pondered the news of elementary school kids in Uvalde, TX slaughtered by an 18-year-old gunman. I have seen different numbers but it looks like 14 kids (2nd, 3rd or 4th graders – the ages of my kids) and a teacher. I am sure numbers will be updated as time goes on. As I pondered this news, praying and wondering, I was preparing to schedule our morning devotion for today. I had it written and ready, but I couldn’t do it. Instead I am writting this. I felt I needed to stop and acknowledge those who died, and to acknowledge the evil in this world that took their lives.

I am tempted to say something politcial right now, but instead I am turning my attention to the One who is in control. You see, God is still God. Jesus still reigns. Satan is still defeated. And death? Yes, that too will be gone someday. In the mean time, we live in a world of evil as sin fills our hearts and Satan works to drive a wedge between people. And I see that Happening today. With every tragic event like this, the rhetoric ramps up, people fire their attacks at one another and the divide gets wider and wider. Solutions seem to be simple and straightforward.  The only difference is who you ask. Ask people of this world and the answer is stricter laws. Ask those who find their peace under the Lordship of Jesus, the answer is right in front of us: Jesus. Does this mean we just sit back and be push overs? No! We stand up and fight. But more than that, we pray, pray and pray some more. We appeal to God in the name of Jesus and find our hope in the One who made all things and all people. In the words of Job, who’s world was falling apart around him, “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!” (Job 19:25‭-‬27) Yes, my heart does faint within me today, but my Redeemers lives, thus my hope is not lost.

And so, I say it again and again: Pray. Remember the families who lost loved ones. Remember the grieving community. Remember the emergency workers who can not unsee the things they have seen. Remember and pray. Lord, in Your mercy…

Mother’s Day Prayer

I have posted the following Mother’s Day prayer often. Each time there have been small edits as it continues to evolve. Happy Mother’s Day to all you women out there. I give thanks to God for you.

Let us pray…

This Mother’s Day, we give thanks for loving, wonderful mothers, who have given their children and others so many invaluable gifts. We give thanks for new mothers, welcoming new life into the world. We give thanks for those who choose their children; adoptive and foster parents, who model the adoptive love of God. We give thanks for aunts and godmothers and neighbors, who share maternal love with so many children; and for far too often overlooked stepmothers. We pray for grandmothers who show a special love with grandchildren that forms connections that run deep. We give thanks for those who choose to remain without biological children, sharing love with the world in countless ways.

Together we pray for the many mothers who have had to bear the unimaginable burden of burying a child, and those who have born the silent grief of stillbirth or miscarriage. We remember those who have seemingly had hope ripped from them through a failed adoption. We pray for those who struggle with infertility, whose desire for a child is met with frustration. We pray for women who have made the decision to abort a child and continue live with that painful decision. Bring healing and reconciliation through Jesus. We pray for the mothers of children with special needs and chronic illness, who know anxiety and exhaustion better than most. We pray for those who were given abuse and heartbreak by the ones called to love them. We pray for mothers who have made the difficult and loving decision to entrust a child to adoptive parents. We remember mothers who parent alone for a variety of reasons, who deal with challenges that many can not understand but do so with grace and love.

We remember all women, who function in motherly roles even though they may not have children as the world defines it, yet they are mothers to so many by showing a motherly love that is tender, compassionate, caring in a way that only a mother can show. Lord, we thank you for the gift of mothers, of all kinds. Lord, in Your mercy…

Dead Things

The following is my article for the Buffalo Center Tribune that was published yesterday. To God be the glory.


Why do you seek the living among the dead?” (Luke 24:5)


The women, in the post-resurrection verse above, were looking for a dead body, Jesus. They were there to perform an act of love by anointing his body per Jewish custom, but their hearts were breaking. Their Lord, teacher, friend was dead. All hope was lost, even though they should have expected the scene they found. But as it is, they are looking for a corpse as they were mourning. For you see, they were looking for hope and thought they found him. They were looking for life and thought Jesus was it. He was supposed to establish his kingdom, but now he’s dead, nothing more than a rotting shell. What a seemingly tragic end on that “bad” Friday. And now, they are at a tomb looking for his dead body. This was not how it was supposed to be. But it is not the end. Jesus had told them, three times, that he was going to die and then rise on the third day. And so, the angles blow them out of the water with their rhetorical question – Why do you seek the living among the dead? Remember how he told all of this, that he was going to die and then rise? And then it began to click. You see, this is not admonishment. The angles are not condemning the women for their unbelief, but rather proclaiming good news, THE Good News. They were proclaiming the “It is finished” that Jesus uttered before he died. He is not dead. Jesus is alive.


I think about this scene, and also see it as a commentary on our own lives. Whether we admit it or not we are looking for the living among dead things. In the act of sinning, we are looking for that which makes us feel alive, happy, satisfied, and fulfilled. And when we do not find what we are looking for or when the good feelings fade, you keep on sinning; keep on looking; and keep on finding “dead things”.


No life. No happiness. No fulfillment. The seeking continues.


But in Jesus there is life. In Jesus there is joy. In Jesus there is a future. In Jesus there is hope, for through his death and resurrection your sins are forgiven. And so…
In what “dead things” are you looking for life?
In what “dead things” are you looking for happiness?
In what “dead things” are you looking for fulfillment?


Look to Jesus and see your life unfold. Seek him in scripture. Seek him in prayer. Seek him in worship. Seek him with your whole life. But as you seek, know that you seek not because Jesus is hiding but you seek him as a way of turning away from the “dead things” of this world that can only promise death. When you seek Jesus, you will find him. Seek Jesus for he is the Way, the Truth and the Life. He is the very one for whom you are looking. Seek THE Living One. Jesus. To God be all glory, honor, praise and worship, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

You’re Being Watched

Here is my newest article for the Buffalo Center Tribune that was published today. To God be the glory!


Have you ever gone through your day thinking that someone is watching you? Do you ever look over your shoulder to see if someone is following you? Unnerving thoughts to say the least, but that is reality. For you see, your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). But many people (maybe even you) don’t even give this a second thought. But the fact remains, Satan is prowling around waiting for an opportune time to attack. And then, when you least expect it, he pounces on his prey.


Now, maybe you’re thinking, “My faith is strong”; “I read my Bible”; “I pray every day”; “I go to worship”; “I attend Bible study”; “I hang out with Christian friends”. Basically, “What do I have to worry about?” Well, let me tell you, that is the opportune time for which Satan is waiting. A mentor of mine once told me that Satan likes to attack us where we are the strongest, where we feel the most comfortable. He likes to pounce on our strengths in order to tempt us to misuse them. If you are a strong orator, then the temptation will be to use your words to your own advantage through a distortion of the truth. If you are charismatic, then the temptation will be to use your personality to lead people astray. If you are good with numbers, then the temptation might be to embezzle. And you get the point. But the weak are not safe from the lion. They are just easier prey.


So, what is the hope? How do we stay strong? How to we withstand Satan’s attacks? Well, first you must admit that you are the problem; sin living in you. You were conceived in sin, born in sin and now live in sin. You cannot pass the buck here, “The Devil made me do it”. But there is Good News. The father of lies, Satan, has been defeated through the cross of Jesus. Jesus rose from the dead for the forgiveness of your sins. You have been redeemed from the power of sin and death. You have been set free from the taskmaster, Satan. Yes, you are still a sinner, and yes, Satan still stalks his prey. But God has won the battle. Look to him, not just in weakness but also in strength.


And so, I invite you to attend Holy Week services this week. There is a community Maundy Thursday service at Bethlehem Lutheran Church (also live streamed on our YouTube channel) and a community Good Friday service at the United Methodist Church. Both services are at 7 PM. And then on Sunday, attend Easter worship at the church of your choice. Here at Bethlehem we have a 7:00 AM Sunrise and 9:30 AM Festival service. Both are also live streamed on our YouTube channel.

Hear the Good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection and give thanks and praise for the salvation He freely gives to sinners. All is not lost, but rather, everything has been gained for you. Seek Jesus. Know Jesus. Praise Jesus. To God be all glory, forever and ever, Amen.

The Word of the Lord

Another poem for you. This was written with Jonah 1:1-2 and Jonah 3:1 in mind. Jonah has been my Lenten preaching series this year. The focus tonight is the power of God’s Word, not man’s word, to save. To God be the glory!


The Word of the Lord is powerful;
It is holy, awesome and true.
The Word of the Lord is mighty,
It’s my Father making me new.
It is a word of redeeming love,
of a Savior who died for me.
It is a word for wayward sinners,
from our God who has set me free.

Speak Life

The following is my newest article for the Buffalo Center Tribune. To God be the glory!


As I write this article, it is Wednesday, March 23. The reason I mention that is because it is the two-year anniversary of the first “shelter in place” order that was issued in the state of Washington (where we were living at the time). I remember that first day well, driving to my church office. It was a 20-minute commute, and the roadways were eerily quiet. I almost felt like a fugitive sneaking around and wondering if the police would stop and question me and then take me to pandemic jail. That never happened, of course, but the feeling remained for a long time as life changed in a big hurry. Masks became common apparel, and some became accessories to match with outfits. Hand sanitizer and toilet paper flew off the shelves, and panic ensued when neither could be found. YouTube worship services, Zoom and video calls became the way we stayed connected with people. Remote/virtual school started to challenge family schedules. Working from home became the norm. And as time went on, and the curve did not flatten, other changes began to happen. Political discourse became more feisty as lines were drawn in the sand. Mask vs no-mask groups squared off and did battle. Protests began as people resisted “emergency powers”. And then the Church got more involved and vocal, which lead to more division. The world changed in drastic ways, some for better and some for worse.


Today, many would say that this pandemic is over and that the “all clear” needs to be officially sounded. But no matter where you fall on that issue, for many it is not “all clear”. I have a dear friend who has many health challenges and because of this virus, I have not seen her in-person for over 2 years. Hopefully that will change soon. Now, I do not want to get into a political discourse over this, but I bring this up for the very reason that I marked March 23 on my calendar. Whatever the reasons (I am not judging, and I hope you will not either), many have not returned to in-person worship and/or in-person social life. And whether you agree with how this pandemic has been managed there are real people involved and they need you. Sometimes I forget as I rarely see masks or hear about this virus every other second on the news. But my calendar reminded me today that there is much work and ministry to be done.


Instead of drawing lines in the sand, we need to wash those lines away and come together. We need to remember people and accept the fact that life will never be the same as it was in early 2020. And so, do not forget about those for whom it is not “all clear”. Reach out to them and offer your hand of friendship. Let people know that they are not alone. Let’s stand in the sand together without any lines drawn and share the love of Christ. This pandemic has divided too many people and caused too much damage. Let’s not be willing parties to its destructive work. Let’s speak life, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

A Prodigal Poem

I wrote the following poem for a sermon I wrote and preached on 03/27/22. The text was Luke 15:11-32, The Parable of the Prodigal Son (you probably figured that out from the poem title). I haven’t written a poem for a while but when I wrote the sermon title, “From Pig Slop to Fattened Calf”, the poem began to flow. I share this with you for the glory of God.


From pig slop to fattened calf
Jesus died on my behalf.
Spotless lamb he’s true and right.
Suffered, died, was raised by might.
Sinner I am, prodigal yes
Father God I am, such a mess.
Father God, You run to me.
Restoration by decree.
You’re full of love and mercy too.
Embracing me You make me new.