If you are like me, you want the best for your children/grandchildren. You have dreams for them and pray for them. You try to point them in the right direction and teach them. You want them to avoid the mistakes you made but want them to learn from mistakes that they will make. You want them to be happy, healthy, and successful. Above all, you want them to know peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord. But we know this is all out of our hands, and thus we pray and entrust them to our Father’s hands.
The following prayer is from a father’s heart entrusting his children to the Father…
Father God, I pray that my children:
Will learn their ABCs and develop a love for reading.
Will learn to play a musical instrument and appreciate the arts.
Will know right from wrong and live morally upright lives.
Will respect everyone and serve the needs of others.
Will be humble yet be willing to boldly take a stand when called upon.
Will be a lifelong learner and a seeker of wisdom.
Will seek to know and love the heart of a person.
Will appreciate the simple things and not lose their child-like wonder.
Will not lose their sense of humor and never be afraid to cry.
Will know that I will always love them no matter what they do.
Will know that You will always love them no matter what they do.
Will learn to forgive and forget.
Will value in-person relationships over social media relationships.
Will love, value and respect themselves.
Will strive to know Jesus and live out loud in his name.
Will be comfortable in their skin and know they are beautiful in Your eyes.
Will pray, pray and then pray some more.
Will seek Your will for their lives and listen to Your voice.
Will know, crave and desire Your Word.
Will know that I will always be there for them.
Will know who they are and whose they are – a sinner redeemed by the blood of Jesus.
Will know that I will always pray for them.
All that I hope for and all that I wish are nothing but a father’s dream. But all that they are and all that they will be is in Your hands, Father God. And so I raise this prayer to You, And entrust them to Your sovereign care. I pray this prayer, in the name Jesus, the Lord and Savior I pray they know. Amen.
Ministry should never be a solo endeavor. LIFE should never be a solo endeavor. We were molded, shaped and designed by our Creator God to be relational creatures.
It is not good for man to be alone. (Genesis 2:18)
Some try to do things on their own but I can’t imagine how they thrive – how they survive. As for me, I need connection – I need the flock. And especially as a pastor, I need my brothers and sisters in Christ.
I recently had coffee with a brother in Christ. He is a godly man and pastor who has been and currently is on the front-line of ministry. He has seen a lot of action and is a man of wisdom and integrity. In my former call I had such men in my life and I still call on them from time to time. This particular morning, I met with my brother and he instantly knew I had something on my mind. I know that my brother is dealing with his own ministry challenges, but he sat and listened to me. He offered encouragement and hope. He offered wisdom and suggestions. He offered his heart and experience. He prayed for me. It was something that I sorely needed. I went away from that coffee shop energized and ready to do battle again. Satan is hard at work to drive despair and hopelessness in people’s hearts and that is why we need each other. That is why I need my brothers and sisters in Christ.
And you, too, do not have to do life alone. You should never have to do life alone. I am not suggesting you run out and get married if you’re single. What I am suggesting is that you find a godly person to walk along side of you. Someone who will pray with/for you. Someone you can talk to. Someone who will listen and to whom you can listen. Someone who understands. Someone who intimately knows Jesus. Someone who loves you as a brother or sister in Christ. Someone who will preach the Gospel to you. Someone who will join you in the “battle”.
Life is too hard to do on your own so do not let pride tell you that you can. It is not good to be alone – for those are the ones that Satan, the prowling lion is seeking to pick off from the flock. Keep near the flock AND to the Shepherd – Jesus Christ. Be the relational creature that God designed you to be.
The following is a confirmation blessing I wrote in honor of my niece, Meara, who is professing her faith today. I had the privilege of baptizing her in 2004 (my second ever baptism) and now I am here in Minnesota to be part of her big day. I pray that God may work in her heart to bring glory to his name through her life.
Today you profess your faith, In Jesus Christ our Lord. May your light shine ever bright, With him you are adored.
Stand firm and never back down, Though Satan push against. For God is your strong fortress, Through Jesus he’s dispensed.
You are His beloved child, Forever in His arms. So don’t ever fear or fret, With Him will come no harm.
So proclaim your faith boldly, And never be ashamed. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, You are forever claimed.
Fifteen years ago today (July 2) I was ordained into the ministry of Word and sacrament. It was a wild weekend. I started my first call about a month prior in Jackson, MN. Fresh out of seminary, I was wide-eyed and still trying to figure out what I was doing. I was ordained, Friday, July 2 and then married the next day, Saturday, July 3. We thought, oh well, we have people coming for the wedding, why not plan the ordination for the same weekend. It was a fun weekend as Connie and I started our married lives together.
Never did I imagine that the scope of my ministry would lead me to Western Washington, writing a blog, writing articles for a city newspaper twice a month, and a host of other things. God has indeed blessed my life and ministry that He could be glorified through me and for that I praise God.
15 years — Wow — 15 years. To God be the glory! Here’s to many, many more making much of God through Christ Jesus my Lord. Amen.
It’s hard to believe that my daughter is graduating from kindergarten. It feels like just yesterday that I first held her in my arms. And now I blinked my eyes and here I am — my little girl growing up. I am afraid to blink again because then it will be high school graduation, then college graduation, then her wedding day, etc. I’m not ready for that. Where are the tooth picks to hold my eyes open? I don’t want to blink again.
The following is a poem I wrote in honor of my daughter’s special day…
Here we are, my little one, This first year is sadly done. You have grown up oh so fast, Time has flown by right on past.
I am very proud of you, You’ve worked so hard, that is true. Numbers, shapes and letters too, Reading stories you can do.
What is next, God only knows, In His love He always shows. Bright and shining star you are, God will use you near and far.
Keep it up my little one, Your first year was lots of fun. Now it’s First Grade, here we come, A shining light you’ve become.
I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord , who made heaven and earth.
[Psalms 121:1-2 ESV]
We have family staying with us this weekend and because of that, my 4-year-old son has been displaced from his room and is sleeping in our room. He usually ends up with us in our bed each night but is not accustomed to starting in our room.
Anyway, an hour or so after he went down, my wife hears something upstairs – it’s our son, whimpering at the top of the stairs. She scopes him up and brings him back to our room. After a little while she returns downstairs saying that he wants daddy. I rush up there and he’s crying. I ask him if he’s scared and with a crying whimper he says, “Ye-e-s”. I laid down next to him and held him close. Within minutes he was out. All he needed was to know daddy was near.
“From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord , who made heaven and earth.” Isn’t it nice to know that your heavenly Father is always there for you? You are never alone in the darkness. You are never alone in your fears. You are never alone in trials. You are never alone in tribulation. Cry out to Him and know your heavenly Father is there.
I thought I would share with you a portrait of myself drawn by my 6-year-old daughter. Notice my (out of season) Lenten stole (my daughter’s favorite color). Arms out-stretched (as I can be animated in the pulpit). And of course, “God is good“. Behind me is the cross (a very happy daddy here that my daughter included that). Apparently I am a ghost since I have no legs, but far be it from me to critique a 6-year-old’s artwork. I am not sure what the red is at the bottom. Maybe I am jumping out of the flames because the Holy Spirit is red hot that day. Who knows, but I love it. But the following is my favorite…
This one is titled (in her own words), “God’s radiance”. Yup, I like that. No further commentary needed.
During the week, I get the pleasure of waking up my children for school.
[I use the word “pleasure” very loosely here.]
Anyway, yesterday at 7 AM, I made my first attempt to wake up my 6-year-old daughter. There is usually protesting when I go in and so most mornings I end up giving her a couple extra minutes, but not yesterday. That morning was different. As I entered my daughter’s room, I noticed she was already in the process of sitting up. Maybe she heard me in the hall, I don’t know. Whatever the case, when I said, “Good morning sweetie.” She immediately reached out her arms and said, “Daddy“. I went over to her and she climbed into my waiting arms, buried her face into my chest and clung to me with everything she had. I reciprocated by wrapping my arms around her and carried her down stairs; enjoying the snuggle time. I could definitely handle that routine every morning. What a great start to the day. But regardless of the reception I get from my little girl in the morning, my love for her won’t waver.
Our heavenly Daddy also desires that routine every morning; waking up and immediately reaching out to Him in prayer saying, “Daddy“, and then falling into His loving arms. For you see, He loves you with an amazing love, even though you may protest and go to your phone first or the coffee pot or the refrigerator or whatever. Or maybe Daddy doesn’t even get a mention until later in the day. Whatever the case, His arms are waiting for you with an unconditional love that doesn’t make sense to this world.
Try it sometime. When you wake up in the morning, raise your arms and say, “Daddy” and then fall into His waiting arms. What a great way to start the day 🙂
It is hard to believe that my little girl is now 6 years old. Wasn’t it just yesterday that she was placed in our arms after going through a painful failed adoption 1 1/2 months prior? How time flies. From the moment God gave us Mayah, she has been a daddy’s girl and our bond has grown stronger every day.
Happy birthday, my sweet. No matter how old you are, you will always be my little girl. Daddy loves you 🙂
Here’s a poem for my little girl…
I can not deny it, you have captured my heart, it’s beats are aflutter, for you are my sweetheart.
LOVE that is ever true, and never will it fade, always persevering, and never will degrade.
YOU are my little girl, that will always be true, no matter where you are, I will always come through.
MY dearest sweet Mayah, the apple of my eye, you are kind, that is true, for no one can deny.
SWEET and precious you are, to Christ Jesus our Lord, forever in His hands, and forever adored.