Desire

Let us praise and worship our awesome God.
Written for the Great Thanksgiving in our Holy Communion liturgy…


To give You thanks and praise, oh God, is indeed our delight, for through Jesus Christ, You have fulfilled our deepest desire. Our desire is to live life to the fullest and that cannot be done outside of You. You have redeemed us from sin and death. You have filled us with Your Spirit. You have defeated every enemy. You have placed us upon the Rock. Oh God, our Father and Creator, our Strong Fortress and Shield, our Hope and Salvation. Draw us closer and closer that we may delight more and more in You. And on that Day, may we be taken up into the loving arms of our bridegroom, Jesus Christ. And so, in our joy that is only from You, we join with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven in singing Your unending praise…

Let Us Ascribe

It is Sunday.

The Lord’s day.

Let’s us join together – raising our hands to God our Father through Christ Jesus our Lord…

Yes, oh yes, it is right and our duty and our joy to ascribe worship, praise and glory to You, oh Lord, our Rock and Redeemer. You are full of majesty. You are full of power. And You reign on high. You sent Jesus to live and die and rise for us – that we would have the hope of everlasting life. There is so much to You, oh God. To probe Your depths would be a never-ending task, but oh the joy in trying. And so, we join with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven in singing Your unending praise…

Bless the Lord, oh my Soul and all that is within me. Bless His most holy name!

It Is So Right

Psalm 122:1 (ESV) ~ I was glad when they said to me,“Let us go to the house of the Lord!”


Oh God, it is so right and salutary. It is indeed our joy and privilege to give you thanks and praise at all times and in all places – in every moment and with every breath. You are worthy. You are so worthy for You have given us a King to reign over us that we may never fear anything or anyone. You have given us a Savior who has saved our very souls. You have given us a Shepherd to feed and nourish us. You have given us a place at Your Banquet Feast – a place of honor – so we may longingly and lovingly perpetually gaze our eyes upon You. Yes, oh God, yes, it is right and our joy to worship You. And so, we join with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven in singing Your unending praise.

It IS right

Here’s some liturgy I wrote for Holy Communion this morning.


Is it right to give You thanks and praise? Of course it is, oh God. You are our Loving Father,
God almighty,
Creator,
Sovereign Lord and King,
Redeemer and
our Strong Fortress.
You came down at Christmas time and flooded Your creation with Love.You dwelt among us in Jesus Christ, died and rose that our sins would be forgiven. You have obliterated the reign of the Father of Lies; smashing his head as You promised. You have washed us clean with the blood of the lamb and through faith, have clothed us with Christ’s righteousness. Oh God, there is much to thank and praise You for and so we continue our efforts by joining with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven in singing Your unending praise…


To God be the glory, always and forever. Amen!

Never Over

The following is the article I submitted to The News Tribune (Tacoma, WA) for Saturday, Dec 21. To God be the glory.


In a couple more days it will be Christmas. It is what we have been waiting for since sometime before Thanksgiving. Decorations slowly were slipped into department stores around Halloween and Christmas aisles were set up. As Black Friday inched closer, Christmas ads ramped up and then – BAM! – we finished our Thanksgiving dinners and Christmas unofficially started. The mayhem of shopping, decorating homes, planning parties, rehearsing for Christmas programs and baking all those delicious goodies commenced. The hustle and bustle of the season has worn many people down, yet, at least for me, it has been a good tired. The calendar may say that Christmas is almost over but know this – It is NEVER over.

Once the family Christmas gatherings end, the cleanup begins. Lights around town slowly come down and there is almost a depressing quality to the whole process. The festival atmosphere slowly gives way to the dreariness of winter. The Christmas music ends. The bright Christmas cheer fades. Life returns to a sense of normalcy. But why does this have to happen?

Yes, I understand the lights and decorations coming down but why end the Christmas cheer? Why the embracing of the winter doldrums? Christmas is not a secular holiday that shows up on the calendar. It is not just an excuse for an extended family vacation. Christmas is the Good News of a Savior being born for you and for me. Christmas is the love of God blasting its way into the world through the humblest of means. Christmas in a word: JESUS. And let me tell you something, Jesus NEVER ends.

For centuries, Jews were waiting for a Messiah to come. Isaiah, Malachi and other prophets foretold his arrival. John the Baptist appeared and prepared the way of the Lord. Then Jesus appeared in a big way. He performed miracle after miracle but most notably, Jesus was crucified and then rose from the dead for the forgiveness of sins – your sins. Jesus now reigns and lives forever, and since that is the case, how can we say Christmas ends? Christmas does not end, just the decorations, music and presents. The Spirit of Christmas, however, is year-round and the Good News of Christmas is eternal.

I encourage you this Christmas to find a church that faithfully proclaims this Good News – the Word of God – for the true joy of Christmas is only found through the Love that came down at Christmas time. The true joy of Christmas is only found in Jesus. Don’t get caught up in all the secular hype but get caught up in the Holy Spirit through faithful preaching of the Word. With that, I invite you to check out Living Word this Christmas (see the accompanying ad). If that doesn’t work for you then stop by our website and you can watch/listen to the sermons.

May the joy of the Christ child fill you with peace this Christmas season and beyond. To God be the glory, always and forever. Amen.

Christ-Drenched Joy

Today, Living Word Lutheran Church is excited. We are excited that we are redeemed by God our Father through Christ Jesus our Lord. We are excited that through faith in Jesus, our sins are forgiven and thus everlasting life is ours. We are excited to be serving an awesome God. We are excited that we live in a kingdom that cannot be shaken. We are excited that Satan has been defeated. We are excited that we are children of God. We are excited and drenched in joy.

…and oh by the way…we are excited that we are worshiping (for the first time) in our new building 🙂

To God be the glory!!!

The following is a little something I wrote for Holy Communion on this 3rd Sunday of Advent — JOY.


Yes! Oh Yes! It is right and our pleasure to worship you, to give You thanks and to make much of You, oh God. It is our joy to sing of Your mighty deeds. Through Jesus Christ Your son – the Messiah – You redeemed a lost and broken people through his death and resurrection. You reconciled us back to You and gave us Life. You healed that which the serpent broke and restored that which was lost. Holy Father, Your power is great. Your mercy is wide. You grace is abundant. Fill us again and again with your Spirit to overflowing that Joy may exude from us without end. May the world be drenched in love and be swept away in Your never-ending life. And so, it is our pleasure to join with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven in singing Your unending praise.

The Pillar of Cloud Has Lifted

On Sunday, December 8, the congregation that I serve – Living Word Lutheran Church – held it’s final worship service in a space that we have rented for nearly 10 year. On Sunday, December 15, we begin a new chapter of worship and ministry in our newly purchased building. It was a bitter sweet day for us but we are excited to see what God is going to do through us. And so, as we closed worship on Sunday, I led the congregation in the following prayer/blessing/benediction that I wrote for the occasion. To God be the glory!


Psalm 122:1 (ESV) ~ I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD!”

For nearly 10 years, Living Word has been echoing that sentiment – joyfully coming into this building to worship God our Father through Christ Jesus our Lord. This has been our house of the Lord – our place of worship. Joyfully we came here to hear the Word of God. Among other things: baptisms were done to the glory of God, men and women were joined together in marriage, people confirmed their faith, families and friends mourned – with hope – the death of loved ones. We enjoyed meals together, watched our children present the Christmas story, we met together to discuss and debate issues but always with respect and we gifted the community with the Living Last Supper a number of times. So many memories with much laughter and tears. This place has meant a lot to so many people. And even though we are excited to begin this next chapter of our lives in Graham, we sadly say goodbye to nearly 10 years together in this house of the Lord. We’ve been glad to enter here, but now we are glad to enter a new house next week. Please join me as we pray and bless this place:

Holy and awesome God, ten years ago, this congregation embarked on an unknown adventure of faith. Faithful men and women followed You into a brand-new mission field. Very quickly You gifted this congregation with this place to worship. For that we thank and praise You. Now You have said it is time to move and thus we follow You boldly and faithfully. Whatever congregation moves in here next; may You bless them mightily as You have blessed us. Bless their pastors and leaders. Bless their ministry. Oh God, we give You thanks for the many Meridian Habitat staff people that have hosted us over the years. Bless the staff that work here as they serve as hosts to others. Thank You for the opportunity to get to know them. And now, oh God, I ask that Your Spirit continue to move in this place as it has moved among us for 10 years. Yes, this is a secular building and location, but it has been holy ground for us. Thank You, God, for the memories here and the memories yet to be formed in Graham. And now, as the pillar of cloud lifts from this holy place this day, we pack up and follow You. Bless our journey, as You have done for 10 years, that You and You alone are glorified. In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior we pray, Amen.

And now, for the final time in this place, receive this Benediction:

As a pillar of cloud and fire led the Israelites by day and night through the wilderness without fail, may the Holy Spirit guide and bless you in through your wilderness. As their resources and strength never failed know that God will never fail you. As God fought for them, know that God fights for you. As God brought them into the Promised Land, know that through faith in Jesus Christ, you will enter His Promised Kingdom. As God remained faithful to them, Go in peace knowing God will always be faithful to you.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.