Happy New Year

That’s pretty much it – wishing you a blessed 2022. And for my resolutions? Well…none of the typical clichés but rather to continue following Jesus and placing my trust in him in all things and in all circumstances. I fail a lot but my God is faithful. And I thank God for that.

But what else…

~ There will continue to be articles from the Buffalo Center Tribune.

~ There will continue to be random poems.

~ There will continue…

…well, you get the picture. It’s a new year but the same me. So there you have it. To God be all glory in 2022.


Jumping off into 2013

…and just like that, life is returning to “normal”.

The hustle and bustle
The frantic gift searching
The multiple sermon writing sessions
The celebratory aroma in the air
The ugly Christmas sweaters
My wife’s delicious homemade fudge

…all seem to be gone with the wind.  The warmth of the Christmas season has seemly been replaced with a Wind Chill Advisory; reminding us of the cold tundra that we live in here in the upper Midwest. And even though we are technically still in the Christmas season, it seems a distant memory in the rear view mirror. The calendar has now crept up to the precipice of a new year where we are forced to jump off and see what 2013 will bring us.

And even though I enjoy Christmas, I am looking forward to jumping off this proverbial cliff (and not the fiscal one).  I am excited to see what this new year will bring.

I am looking forward to:
~ (God willing) Welcoming a new baby into our family.
~ Running some more 1/2 marathons.
~ Reading more books.

I am looking forward to seeing:
~ What God is going to do here through Salem and Belmont Lutheran Churches?
~ How God will continue to mold and shape and use me in the body of Christ?
~ What kind of father I will be?
~ How our lives will change with a baby in the mix?

I am looking forward to continuing:
~ My spiritual discipline of writing (here on this blog).
~ My spiritual discipline of scripture reading.
~ My spiritual discipline of prayer.
~ My spiritual discipline of worship.
~ Etc…

And if you need a New Year’s resolution allow me to suggest that you chose a spiritual discipline for yourself to focus on.
~ Start a Bible reading plan.  Maybe it’s not a one year through the Bible plan but commit to reading scripture everyday.
~ Pray daily.  When you wake up in the morning start your day conversing with God. Praise him for what He has done; thank Him for what He has done for you; offer up your petitions and listen.
~ Worship…daily. Worship God through how you live and respond to the needs of others…daily. Worship God with your whole life; everywhere and at every time. And of course, worship with the body of Christ on a weekly basis.
~ Write. Jot down your thoughts as you pray and/or read.  Record what you hear God speaking to you.

…and that is just the start 🙂

So…as you jump off this proverbial cliff into 2013 remember that we are never in control.  You never are as you free fall.  But as you do make that leap (or I guess I should say as you are pushed over because we are going over into 2013 whether we like it or not) place your trust in God’s grace.  Remember that his mercies are new everyday and that his love is never ending.  And remember that God is faithful (even when we are faithless).  In the end God will be glorified.

So here we go…ready or not.  God bless us as we “fall” into a new year.  See you in 2013 🙂

All praise, glory and honor to God.  Amen.

The pastor -|—

Happy New Year

I am returning from yet another prolonged absence.  The past week and a half I have been on vacation.   The days after Christmas Connie and I did our yearly routine of three Christmas’ in three states in three days (Iowa, Minnesota,South Dakota).  This past week I have been home being a bum.  One would say I had plenty of time to blog, but I was taking a vacation from nearly everything (not my wife of course).  I did some odd jobs around the house.  I took down the Christmas lights (taking advantage of the warm weather), I ran outside for a change.  Watched some movies.  Slept in late.  And hung out of the coffee shop.  All in all I had a very restful vacation.  I just hope my body didn’t get too used to sleeping in.

Since my vacation officially ended today I had to do some sermon prep and writing today…something I am not too used to doing on Saturdays.  In any case, I got my sermon done.  The text I am preaching on is John 1:1-18 (focusing on verse 10 where it says, “He (Jesus) was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.  He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.”)  Jesus is all around us but yet we do not see him.  Jesus reveals himself through other people; through those needing help, though those needing to hear the Good News.  Jesus is with us in the waters of baptism.  Jesus is with us in the bread and the wine.  Jesus is with us in our low times and high times.  Jesus walks with us as we enter worship, he walks with us while we work and play.  Jesus is all around us, yet we often do not see him.  Not much has changed since John 1:10 was written.

As we make New Year’s resolutions, maybe we should make a continuing resolution to get to know Jesus better.  But be careful…because this is a resolution that will never be completed.  We can make a resolutions to lose 10 pounds or quit smoking.  If you do this you will know when you accomplished this goal but you still have to continue working at it otherwise you will revert to where you were before you made the resolution.  Getting to know Jesus is something we need to continuing working, and it is a resolution that does not have an identifiable point where you can say “I know Jesus”.  Our relationship with Jesus needs to keep growing.

Look and see Jesus in your neighbor.  Recognize Jesus in every aspect of your life.  Know Jesus as your friend, Savior and Lord.  Resolve to know Jesus better.


New Year’s resolutions…I suppose

For some reason I have been resisting this urge…the urge to make (and publish) New Year’s resolutions.  The problem with resolutions is that they get front page attention in our lives for only a short period of time and then soon get forgotten (can anyone name their resolutions from last year…without looking at a list?)  I did hear a resolution on a New Year’s Eve show that caught my attention, though.  The reporter was going down a crowd of people on the street asking for their resolutions.  The first guy she talked to said his resolution was to read the Bible every day.  I hope he follows through with that.

Something else that has caught my attention:  It seems that every other TV commercial is talking about fitness centers or fitness equipment.  I guess it doesn’t take a genius to see what the number one resolution for people is.  Wouldn’t it be nice if TV commercials were being dominated by Christian book stores and Bible ads?

But even though I am growing skeptical of the usefulness of resolutions, I have made a few of my own (reluctantly).  This list is one I am going to print out and place by my computer in my office.  I want to be reminded each and every day so my resolutions won’t be forgotten.  Maybe I should write a post in June giving a mid-year update…Hmmm….  Anyway…here it goes:

(1) Get into running shape for the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon.  I started this resolution back in August and so far so good.

(2) Lose weight.  I also started this in August.  As of January 1 I have lost 24 pounds.  Another 20 pounds or so would be nice.

(3) Manage my time better.  After a careful inventory (wasting time?) I discovered I have a number of distractions built into my daily routine (i.e. Facebook applications, Internet games, TV)  My resolution is to limit (and in some case eliminate) these distractions and get more done.  For example, my wife and I are going to be moving our TV upstairs into our new "TV room".  Now our living room can be used for visiting and other "constructive" activities.

(4) Eat some fruits and vegetables every single day.  I know a healthy diet is suppose to include this, but I don’t always do it.  I too often take the easy way out.

(5) Read my Bible everyday.  I know as a pastor one would think I already do this, but there are days that I do not.  I guess I am human after all.

Okay…that’s it.  There are my resolutions…I suppose.  I think five is enough.  Too many more I risk overwhelming myself and thus throwing these resolutions into the New Year’s breeze.

Maybe this exercise was a waste of time.  Maybe I will forget these, but setting goals is never a waste of time.  After all, if you don’t know where you are going, how will you know if you ever get there.  And…if along the way plans change…and new goals are set…that is okay.  So…in June…(if I remember)…I will give a resolutions update and (maybe) we’ll see where I am at.

Resolutions are just resolutions between you…and…well…you.  So in the mean time set your goals high knowing that no matter the out come you will never separate yourself from the love of God in Christ Jesus.  So there you have it…resolutions with a dose of Gospel…you can’t go wrong with that.

Happy New Year, take care and God bless!

P.S.  And resolution or not…READ YOUR BIBLE EVERYDAY!