On May 4, 2006, this blog,¬†The Heart of a Pastor, was born. I didn’t pick this day because it is Star Wars Day. You know what a I mean, right? “May the 4th be with you“. Dorky I know, but even though I like Star Wars, this day was completely arbitrary 11 years ago.

Eleven years ago my wife showed me this thing that the pastor at her former church was doing. I had never heard of a blog before so I explored this “thing”. I liked what I saw so I decided to give this blogging thing a whirl. I started at Type Pad and wrote there for a while. I liked it but I had to pay for it, so when I eventually discovered WordPress, I transferred everything over.

My blogging over the years has been up and down, and this blog has gone through a number of changes. Through it all, though, I have grown with this blog. Even though the readership of this blog may not be all that large, I do enjoy writing; even if only for one person. So if you’re reading this, thank you for stopping by. I hope and pray that God is glorified through my writing. How long will I keep this up? I don’t know. As long as God keeps giving me things to writing, I will write.

So there you have it. The eleven year anniversary of this little blog. My God bless your day and May the 4th be with you.

Sorry, I had to say it ūüôā

The Pastor -|—


An Anniversary Prayer

Here’s another humble and feeble attempt to express myself through poetry as I give thanks to God for 11 years of marriage to my wonderful wife and 11 years of ordained ministry (yesterday). Let us pray…

Dear Lord,

You called me on this journey and promised to hold my hand.
You called us on this journey and promised to hold our hands.

You started something great but not because of me.
You started something great because You are holy.

You joined two people together as husband and wife.
You joined two people together because it was right.

So I give You thanks this day for this holy journey started.
I give you thanks this day that with us Your love never parted.

Through Jesus’ most holy and awesome name. Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Eleven Years

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
[Colossians 3:16-17]

Eleven years ago today I made some promises. Nope, I’m not talking about my marriage promises; that is eleven years ago tomorrow. I am talking about eleven years ago TODAY when I was ordained into the ministry of Word and sacrament. It was a wild weekend to say the least, but one filled with promises that are¬†important, and even more so today, as I have grown in my call as a pastor and a husband.

Eleven years ago I promised to assume the office of pastor as God’s call in my life. I promised to hold scripture as the sole authority of faith and life; holding it high and never to water it down. I promised to preach and teach the Word of God in all faithfulness and truth. I promise to care for those under my charge. I promised to be diligent in my study of scripture and the use of the means of grace. I promised to pray for my congregation and the world. I promised to be an example of faithful and holy living. I promised to serve God in this vocation.

I will, and ask God to help and guide me.

Eleven years ago I made these promises.
Eleven years ago I began this journey.
Eleven year ago God began to shape and mold this pastor,
And now eleven years later, God continues to shape and mold this pastor, as I continue to serve in the congregation who first called me.

Wow, eleven years. Where has the time gone?

I have indeed grown in so many ways and I look forward to seeing how God will continue to shape and mold me for the world that is today and into tomorrow. In the mean time I will continue to dwell richly in the Word and proclaim Christ in everything I do. I know I will fail and fall short (as I have may times before) but may God help and guide me; forgiving and restoring me, for to God belongs all glory and honor and praise and worship

Eleven years and counting.
Praise be to God!

Holy God, I give you thanks for these past eleven years. I thank You for shaping and molding me; for using me; for sending me. Continue to grant me Your Spirit that I may be faithful with all you have made me to be and with all You have blessed me with. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

The Pastor -|—

New Year’s Eve 2009

Well…2009 is coming to a close and part of me feels this slight, little tug to write something profound to wrap up 2009; a kind of year-in-review with some final words of wisdom before the onslaught on 2010…

[“Profound”…what in the world is this part of me thinking…”profound”?]

In any case…here is my last post of 2009 (profound or not):

As I write this I am sitting in my most favorite chair in the world (a chair my wife despises…but that story is for another time).¬† During this time of the year I am on vacation…recovering from a busy Christmas season.¬† My wife is still working so we generally do not go anywhere, but that is fine…sleeping in and doing absolutely nothing is still good for my soul as I refuel for the drive towards Lent and Easter…after which I will take another vacation (this time getting out of town with my wife).

So as I sit here (refueling in my favorite chair drinking coffee) I find myself reflecting on the past year (funny how that happens when a year or anything comes to an end).  So listed below are my top ten highlights from the past year (in no particular order):

(10)Washington vacation РAfter Easter my wife and I enjoy heading out to the state of Washington (where I did my internship) and hanging out with friends and seeing the sights.  This year we did a lot of hiking and exploring new things.

(9) Losing 65 pounds РThis took place from March through October in an effort to get into better running shape for 2010.  I have maintained my weight since then and am enjoying my new, healthier lifestyle.

(8) “The vote” – This is of course referring to the ELCA Churchwide assembly vote about homosexuality in August.¬† This is not a “highlight” but it sure is memorable.¬† It created a lot of discussion and soul-searching to say the least.

(7) Three weddings – Two of these were people from Salem and one couple is a friend of mine and Connie’s.¬† They were a lot of fun to do and be a part of.

(6) Release Time and confirmation classes РI have some really fun students this year.  They are active and willing to learn.  A highlight within this one is one of my Release Time students reading scripture at the Christmas Eve worship service.  It has been fun watching her grow up over the last few years.

(5) Christmas snow storm (“Winter Storm Eric”) – This was a little annoying but once again memorable.¬† I think this snow storm will be talked about for a long time.¬† The highlight here is that this snow storm caused us to slow down and therefore we got a chance to spend more quality time with family; celebrating.

(4) New patio and new bathroom – This was a long time in coming but we barely got these done before the church’s big 125th anniversary celebration (more on that coming later).

(3) Running – This is directly related to my weight lose.¬† I am training for 2 marathons in 2010, but the highlight here is breaking a 20 minute 5K and breaking 42 minutes for 6 miles…both very exciting for me.

(2) Salem’s 125th anniversary celebration – This was a fun weekend.¬† A lot of planning went into this and lots of people came out.¬† Many memories were shared.

(1) Five year anniversary Р2009 was the 5 year anniversary of my ordination and wedding.  The congregation planned a special recognition for me during worship (which I knew was happening but did not know details).  It was a very special time of affirmation for Connie and me.  After worship there was a reception and then after that Connie and I hosted a party for our wedding anniversary with our family; having a renewal of vows for all the couples.  A very fun and memorable day.

2009 was indeed an eventful year.¬† I made healthy changes in my life; had my call here affirmed; celebrated ministry milestones; and continued to enjoy people growing in their faith.¬† Many other items could have been added to this list…Praise be to God!

So as we close out 2009…blessings to you as you finish off the year and dive into a brand new year.¬† God has been and always will be faithful.¬† Hold on to that and enjoy the promises we have from God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Let’s see what God will do in 2010…

Happy New Year!


The week in review

<Deep breath>

I have been trying to stop and to that from time to time…stop and take a breath…but it has been tough this week.¬† Here’s my week in review:

Monday: Relaxing day with a hint of stress and anxiety over what was coming up during the week.

Tuesday: A do-to list that looked a mile long.¬† I would check one thing off and add two others (one step forward and two back…all day).¬† But in the end I did get all the Tuesday items checked off plus 3 for later in the week (a minor victory).

Wednesday: A day that was a little more low-keyed (since I got so much done on Tuesday).  Ministerial meeting, out-of-town hospital visit, and council meeting.  All the while overseeing the new patio that is going in at the parsonage next door.

Thursday (today): Plan two worship services for Salem’s 125th anniversary weekend, sermon prep, parents coming through to have lunch with me (I can hardly wait), and an out of town Shetek Lutheran Ministries board meeting this afternoon/tonight.¬† And sometime today I need to get to a building supply store to buy some retaining block for the patio landscaping.¬† This should be an interesting day.

Friday: This is supposed to be my day off but I got a feeling it might not be.¬† At the very least I will sleep in, but beyond that…who knows.¬† It all depends on today.

Saturday – Sunday: Salem Lutheran Church’s 125th anniversary celebration.¬† If you hear from me next week it means I survived the weekend.¬† I am looking forward to the celebration but part of me will be glad when Monday arrives.

Now that you know my calendar for the week I what to share something with you that was written on my Facebook site the other day by a friend and reader of this blog.¬† He wrote:¬† “Live within the limits of the day.¬† God is also the Lord of the undone.”¬† Thank you, Patrick, this has been helpful this week.

God bless all of you and take care!



It’s hard to believe that our (mine and Connie’s) big weekend was only four years ago.¬† Four years ago today friends and family from all over came for a long weekend.¬† The festivities started on a Friday¬†with my ordination (by that time I had been serving at Salem for about a month).¬† Representatives from Salem made the 2 1/2 hour trip up to Dawson to be there for the ordination service as well.¬† The council president processed in with Salem’s processional cross and recessed out with it (I had heard of that idea from a classmate of mine).¬† My grandma read scripture (she said she was almost in tears as she read, which misted up my eyes).¬† My mom and dad presented my stole to Bishop Jon (a stole my mom had specially made for me). Then Bishop Jon did something that¬†I will always remember.¬† After the pastors came forward to lay hands on me, Bishop Jon invited my family to come forward to do the same thing.¬† It was such a powerful moment for me.¬† It wasn’t just¬†one select person laying hands on me, but the Church; the community of believers; my family.¬† I will forever remember that moment and day.

But I would be in a lot of trouble if I did not mention the BIG part of the fun weekend.¬† July 2 is my ordination anniversary, but July 3 is my wedding anniversary (4 years married to my lovely bride).¬† Like I said…it was a big and fun weekend.¬† Connie figured that since family was coming for the wedding anyway that we might as well have my ordination that same weekend.¬† And of all the people involved, I think my mom was the happiest about that arrangement.¬† Since my mom really didn’t have much to do with the wedding planning, my mom took charge of my ordination planning (I planned the worship and mom took everything else).¬† And my mom did a great job.¬† Before the service, my folks hosted a BBQ at the house and after the worship service, mom arranged a ice cream social outside the church on the sidewalk.¬† Leave it to my mom to get creative like that.

But as I look back…the past four years have flown right by.¬† Connie and I have had some wonderful moments here and we can definitely see having many more years of wonderful moments here in Jackson.¬† We have made some lifelong friends here and the longer we are here the more Jackson feels like home.

How many more years will we be here?¬† That’s a tough question to answer.¬† The litmus test for me is this:¬† Does God have work for me to do here?¬† And as of now the answer is “Yes”.¬† So with that I continue my ministry and our life here in Jackson at Salem and Belmont Lutheran Churches.¬† And hopefully…in a year…you will find me writing about a wonderful five years of ministry here in Jackson, MN.