Holy GPS

Make me to know your ways, O LORD;
teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all the day long.

[Psalm 25:4-5]

How did we ever survive before Google Maps? I mean, seriously, we had to actually hold a paper map in order to navigate ourselves through unfamiliar territory. Things did get a little better when we had access to the Internet and could consult MapQuest and then print turn by turn directions. But even then, we still had a piece of paper to consult, and the only voice telling us where to turn was our backseat driver nagging us. And then, if you got lost, a paper map was little help if you did not know where you were; if you had no reference point.

Nowadays, not only do we have GPS guidance but a friendly voice to give us turn by turn directions, traffic updates, and rerouting us if necessary. It can even warn us of heavy traiffic, construction, accidents and speed traps coming up. Paper maps can not do that. Oh the joy of being guided like this 🙂

In Psalm 25, the psalmist is asking for guidance: Make me know your ways, teach me your paths, Lead me in your truth. And it never ceases to amaze me how often I try to figure things out on my own. It is almost like trying to navigate myself across the country using a paper map when I have my GPS right there. Why in the world would anyone do that? In the same way, why would anyone try to navigate this life without the Creator. Better than the most advanced GPS, God knows this creation and your life “like the back of His hand”. He is your salvation and thus He is infintely in love with you. And being that much in love with you; Jesus suffering on the cross the way he did and then rising from the dead, how can you not trust him to guide your life? Therefore…

for you are the God on my salvation;
for you I wait all day long.

Wait for the Lord. He will never lead you astray.


Infants crave their mother’s milk. Yes, it is by necessity since they are unable to process anything else. But they also crave that milk because it is what nourishes them. Studies have shown that infants instinctively know what they need and how much. It is what helps the infant grow and develop. Yes, some are raised on formula and do just fine, but the sense is still the same here. Infants need what they need to grow. For you see, it is not good enough to simply be born, like that was some grand accomplishment in their short life. You are born, by the grace of God, and then grow and develop. That is the way of things. Who ever saw an infant stay an infant all their life.

if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good” (1 Peter 2:3) IF indeed. Peter is talking to those who HAVE “tasted” the Lord. They have seen God’s grace through Jesus Christ. They know the forgiveness of their sins. They have hope in the resurrection to eternal life. They have been born; born again. They are alive and well, but it is not good enough to simply be born (again).

Like newborn infants, long for pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation” (1 Peter 2:2) Being born again, do you crave the Word of God? Do you crave to know more of God? Do you crave Jesus? Or, do you crave malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander? Nonsense! Those who are born again should not crave those things, but like most people, sometimes our sweet tooth takes over. Put them away. Throw them off. The more you do so, the more you crave what is good. And inversely, the more so drink in the Word of God, the more those evil vices become adhorant to you. This works literally with food choices and when it comes to one’s faith.

It is all about cravings.

The Lord IS good. He is oh so good, so drink up.


The following is the article I submitted for publication in the Buffalo Center Tribune, published on Tuesday, April 25, 2023.
To God be ALL glory!

Following the resurrection of Jesus, two disciples leave Jerusalem and head towards the town of Emmaus, about 7 miles away. As they were walking along, trying to make sense of this wild news that Jesus may not actually be dead, that he has risen, this “man” comes along to join their journey. And then it says in Luke 24:16, “But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.” The “man” is Jesus, but those two disciples were kept from recognizing him. So many questions here about why this happened; why they could not recognize Jesus, but one important truth about God. The space provided for me here does not lend itself to an extensive discussion on those questions so allow me to jump to the truth.

But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.” This was not a biological response; their brains refusing or unable to accept the fact that Jesus was alive. Secular professionals could make that argument and have done so, but they are WRONG. The truth is, God did this. God is the one who prevents them from recognizing Jesus, and this points to the truth that our awesome God is sovereign.

Sovereign is a word you probably do not use a whole lot in everyday language. When you do hear/see it, or maybe even use it yourself, it refers to some kind of world leader such as a king/queen or a dictator. Sovereignty refers to supreme power with no one who can get in the way. We use this term in reference to some world leaders, but it is not entirely accurate. True enough, there may be no ONE who can get in their way in a political sense, but they do not have ALL power. Death is the great equalizer and can bring down the mightiest of rulers – well, not the mightiest One.

The word “sovereign” can only be correctly and fully used to describe our creator God, Father almighty. There is no power greater than God, not even death, for God destroyed the power of death through the resurrection of Jesus. And because God is truly sovereign in all things and in all ways, God is also sovereign when it comes to your salvation.

God kept those two disciples from recognizing Jesus because God was not ready for them to see Jesus. He had another agenda in the works as you can see played out in the following verses. God kept their eyes closed so Jesus could lead the world’s best Bible study and thus cause their hearts to burn within them. God worked salvation in their hearts and when He was ready, HE released their eyes and they saw the Truth; Jesus. What a comfort that He takes care of that which we could never obtain or earn on our own, because we are sinners. GOD works salvation through Jesus. GOD does the hard work for you. GOD gives you amazing mercy via his grace. GOD is merciful. YOU are a sinner, but God’s love overcomes. And therefore, praise be to God, always and forever, Amen.

Walking With Them

The Gospel for Sunday, April 23 is Luke 24:13-35, “The Road to Emmaus”. This is a story that I have always been drawn to when it comes to ministry. It takes place “that very day” meaning, the day Jesus rose from the dead. This is the day that chaos had broken out among Jesus’ followers as the women had told them that they had seen Jesus alive; risen from the dead. What were they to make of this? What does all of this mean? What now? And so, two disciples decided to head to Emmaus; chatting along the way. What catches my attention is that when Jesus shows up, they are kept from recognizing him. Jesus just walks with them, enters their conversation through an inquiry and then leads history’s best Bible study with them. When they arrive at Emmuas, they urge Jesus to stay with them. When he breaks bread with them their eyes are opened to who Jesus is and then they make a beeline back to Jerusalem to tell the others.

But here’s my question: Why not make himself known right away and tell them to go back to Jerusalem where all the action is? Jesus certainly could have saved them the long walking trip to and from Emmaus. The answer is contrary to popular evangelism tactics today. And the answer is not necessarily what a lot of people want to hear because it requires effort and participation on their part. You see, it is not about the pastor coming up with strategies to attract people to come to a location. The answer is about people going out and walking with others in their journey. And this take time. Evangelism is not measured through the number of people you conviced to come to worship. Evangelism is about discipleship; leading people to know Jesus and what he has done for them.

In short, you need to walk with people, not drag them to you.

Household gods

A little background information for you. Since February 2022, I have been writing daily devotions for a Facebook group that I started dedicated to encouraging people to read through the Bible. Together we read and I wrote through the New Testament. Now we are studying the book of Genesis. Recently, I started sending these devotions to people via email for those who did not have Facebook but still wanted to receive these. Devotions are made available at 6:30 AM (central time) each morning.

The following devotion is the one I wrote for today. If you would like to receive these daily devotions via email, contact me at: grillmaster89@gmail.com and I will add you to my group.

To God be ALL glory!

Friday devotions
Genesis 35

So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods that are among you and purify yourselves and change your garments.
Genesis 35:2

When Jacob and his family fled from Laban, we read in Genesis 31:19 that Rachel stole her father’s household gods. And then living in the land of Shechem it appears that they may have adopted some of the gods of the land. Whatever happened and when, there are foreign gods among Jacob’s family. This is something that needs to be rectified before they enter the land of Canaan and the place where God revealed Himself to Jacob after he fled from Esau. So obviously they did so, and once there, God blesses Jacob and officially changes his name to Israel as God reaffirms the covenant with him.

But to be in a covenant relationship with God, means God being your God and that is it. No other gods. It means putting away whatever household gods you have.

Wait a second, Pastor, I do not have any household gods.

Well then, let’s explore this a little bit. The First Commandment, from Exodus 20:2-3, is “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me.” In Luther’s Small Catechism, he says this about that First Commandment, “We are to fear, love, and trust God above all things.” And so, anything that we fear, love, and trust over God is our god.

Okay, I fear, love and trust God above ALL things.

Really? Has there ever been a time that you chose to worry instead of praying to God about it? How about choosing another activity instead of reading your Bible? How about sleeping in on Sunday because Saturday was a late night? How about choosing to remain angry with someone instead of forgiving them? I could go on, but hopefully you get the point. Anytime we place our needs, feelings, desires first, we have made that object or even ourselves a god before God.

Convicted yet? I am, and I am the one writing this. As sinners, we possess “household gods” and it should not be so. And so, put away your household gods and come before God our Father in the name of Jesus. Put away your household gods and praise the One who gives you life; eternal life. Put away your household gods, and know true peace, joy and love. Put away your household gods, confess your sins in the name of Jesus, and God our Father will purify you through forgiveness. No other god can do that. No other god shows grace and mercy like that. None. Zero. Zilch. Put away your household gods and enjoy God your Father.

WHAT NOW: Scripture says that God is a jealous God. He does not share His glory. In essence, He does not share His sandbox with others. When God claims you through the gift of the Holy Spirit in your heart, He has put His mark on you forever. Isn’t it nice to know that God wants you all to Himself?

LET US PRAY: Holy God, what a comfort to know that through Jesus I am Yours. Forgive me of those times when I have put household gods on display in my life. Grant me repentance, for You are my God. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

Never Nothing

The following article was written for the Buffalo Center Tribune for Febraury 15, 2023. To God be the glory, always!

Have you ever had something and then lost it, and then had to cope with not having that something? Sure, you have. In some cases, it can be disturbing or frustrating. Sometimes it can be scary or just downright annoying. Just recently I recovered from my second bout of Covid. My first time was just minor symptoms that lasted only a few days. This time around it was similar except for one annoying difference. This time around I lost my sense of taste and smell. I had heard the stories of what that was like, but it was hard for me to imagine. Now I was there and let me tell you, not tasting my coffee was super annoying. Thankfully this loss only lasted a day or so. Now I am tasting every delicious sip of my coffee.

Then there are those moments when your brain seems to freeze up and you lose some information you once had. I was recently responding to an email to someone and wanted to give them my cell phone number. As I started typing my brain froze and I could not remember the numbers after my area code. There was a moment of panic, but thankfully that only lasted a few moments. And then there was last week. I was sitting at my computer wanting to type an article for the paper and I had nothing. I did not even have a first word to type. But obviously that passed since you are reading this article.

Wow pastor, you still have nothing.

Well, here’s something – In Christ, you never have nothing.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:1-5)

I just love those words because it points to “something” that I have that will never be taken away by the failings of my body or the fallenness of this world. Through God’s amazing grace, He pours His Holy Spirit into His people so that they can see the truth; the truth that through Jesus there is forgiveness of sins and thus the sure and certain hope of eternal life. You may lose everything and everyone in this world, but when you have the Holy Spirit, you never have nothing.

So, if you feel lost or feel that you have nothing, turn to God and know a love like none other. Turn to God and place your trust in Him. Turn to God, for He is everything. And it is a “everything” that will never be taken away or lost. To God be all glory, in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Not Irrelevant

This past NFL season, fans from across the country got to know the name Brock Purdy. Whether you are an Iowa State or San San Francisco fan or not, it was hard not to be impressed with what he did following the injuries to the quarterbacks before him on the depth chart. It is especially noteworthy when you consider the title Brock carries – “Mr Irrelevant”. This is the title given to the last player selected in the NFL draft (#262). Nobody expected much out of him, yet, he went on to win seven games in a row while leading the San Francisco 49ers to the NFC championship game. Irrelevant? Not anymore.

As sinners, many consider themselves irrelevant when it comes to serving in God’s kingdom:
“I’m just a _____”
“I do not know enough”
“I do not speak very well”
“I am too young”
“I am too old”
“If there were a draft in God’s kingdom, I would be the last overall pick, Mr/Mrs Irrelevant.”
Those in the Bible that God called used similar excuses and more, but God’s response was and always is…

I will be with you.

That truth, that promise, means that NO ONE is irrelevent when God calls you to serve. It makes no difference what the world thinks of you. It makes no dfference if you would be picked last for the team. When God chooses you, you are VERY relevent, because…

God is with you.

Remember, God does not call the qualified, but rather, qualifies the called.

The King We Need ~ Philippians 2:5-11

This Sunday (April 2) is Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. This is the Sunday we join the masses as we read/hear about Jesus riding into Jerusalem as a victorious king. People were shouting “Hosanna!” which means, “Save us”. The crowds laid cloaks and palm branches on the road for Jesus. The Pharisees were disstressed about the scene unfolding before them, so much so, they demanded that Jesus silence the crowds. But if they were silent the rocks would cry out. This is, after all, our victorious king, but not one you or I, or the crowds expect.

This king is not riding into town to unseat Caesar and claim his royal throne. This king is different. In the words of Philippians 2:5-11, this king is coming to “empty himself“, to take “the form of a servant“, “humble himself“, and be “obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross“. This is not a king that anyone today would expect, but it is the king we got because he is the King we need.

And what king do YOU need? Well, that all depends on the god(s)/God ruling your life. If god(s) are ruling, then your king is weak and impotent, only giving you what you need to live now. But, if God is your God, then the king you need is Jesus, giving you what you need to live for all eternity with him.


An Active God

Surprise!!! Here I am. I have not posted an article on this blog for a while and I need to get back to doing that, so here I am. I am not going to dump a whole bunch of articles on you at once, but I am going to start getting caught up. The following article is one I wrote for the Buffalo Center Tribune on March 15, 2023. To God be the glory!

As I contemplated the topic of this article, a particular concern came up twice in one day; one that invited more reflection. The first time was during my sermon preparation for our Wednesday night sermon series titled, “Call Stories in the Bible”. This particular sermon was on the call of Gideon from Judges 6:11-16. When the angel of the Lord showed up and greeted Gideon with the words, “The Lord is with you”, Gideon said, “Please, my lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?’ But now the LORD has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.” And so, the concern is the apparent silence and inactivity of God.

The second time this came up was in Bible study, later that day, when someone was talking about how God appears not to be as active today as He was in the Bible, especially the Old Testament. I then reflected on a confirmation lesson recently when I asked the kids if God still does miracles today. They struggled to think of anything. But this observation on God’s apparent silence and inactivity is not an isolated one. Have you ever thought about this?

Granted, I have not heard of God parting any waters for people to cross or calling anyone out of a sealed tomb, but God is alive and well (and always will be) and very active today. God speaks. God calls. God is doing stuff.

Did you just say, “doing stuff”? That doesn’t sound too theological.

Granted, but God is still “doing stuff”. I see God’s handiwork in the beautiful Iowa sunrises and sunsets. We will see God’s handiwork in creation as Spring (hopefully) springs soon. We see God’s handiwork in each and every person we meet, for He formed each of us and knit us together in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139). I see God active in healing people (I can tell you a few stories here). I see God doing amazing things in people here in this community. God is not absent or silent. God is not taking a break or being lazy. All you need to do is open your eyes and pay attention.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, including you and me. And therefore, God is never to going abandon His creation or ever be done with you. God is never going to ghost your prayers or leave you wondering indefinitely. God is faithful and true, and through faith in Jesus, He will be your God forever. God doing stuff? YES! Every day, every hour, every minute and every second. God is for you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Hummingbird Revelation

Silent little friend
of very few words;
just a hum here and there.
No words needed,
just sitting quietly;
in each other’s presence.
Words are not needed.
Just silence.
Being still.
Enjoying the moment.


Is this describing worship?
Be still and know.
Spirit interceding.
Thank you, my little friend,
of very few words.