You Are

You are holy,
we are not.
You are perfect,
we make mistakes.
You are love,
we are anything but that.
You are strong,
we are weak.
You are right,
we are wrong.

We have good intentions,
but Your plans always succeed.
We think we’re in control,
but You sit on the throne.
We try to take control,
but You rule over all.
We look to our knowledge,
but You have all wisdom.
We plot out our course,
but You are the Way.

Oh God,

We fall short.
We hurt one another.
We go astray.
We forget about You

On our own we are lost…

[Father God, in Jesus name, forgive us]
[My child, you are forgiven]

Oh God,

YOU are…

AWESOME!

The Pastor -|—

A Prayer

I am just going to leave this right here…

A Sacristy Prayer
by Martin Luther

Lord God,
You have appointed me as a Pastor in Your 
Church,
but you see how unsuited I am to meet so great and difficult a 
task.
If I had lacked Your help,
I could have ruined everything long ago.

Therefore, I call upon You:
I wish to devote my mouth and my heart to 
you;
I shall teach the people.
I myself will learn and ponder diligently upon 
Your Word.
Use me as Your instrument —
but do not forsake me,
for if 
ever I should be on my own,
I would easily wreck it all.
This text was translated in 1999 for Project Wittenberg by James Kellerman and has been placed in the public domain by him. You may freely distribute, copy or print this text.

The Pastor -|—

Small Church, Big Spirit

On Sunday, I got to lead worship and preach at this little church in Elbe, WA; Historic Elbe Evangelical Lutheran Church. What a neat place and what an incredible privilege and honor to be invited.
~ This is not a mega-church
~ There are no projection screens inside
~ There was no fancy multi-colored bulletin
~ There was no loud worship band
Just people, from different congregations, worshiping our awesome God; people who traveled a distance to get to this beautiful part of our beautiful state.

This worship service brought me back to my roots; back to SW MN. I grew up in a small town but in a large church. I eventually moved to a larger town but served in two small churches; one being a small county congregation. Even though I love serving where I do; at Living Word Lutheran Church, is was nice to reminisce with myself and be reminded of an important aspect of the local church.

You see, the size of a church does not equate ministry success. Too many people think that if you have a small church then there’s something wrong. Hogwash. It’s not quantity but rather quality, and I humbly believe quality is what we had on Sunday afternoon. It wasn’t because of me but rather the Spirit working through me and the many volunteers that are responsible for this little church in the mountains. There is a reason that this church in Elbe is still operating. There is a reason that people come here on Sunday afternoons to worship. The Spirit is alive here.

So thank you to those volunteers and for the opportunity to worship with you. I hope to be able to come back again sometime. May God continue to bless the ministry of the Historic Elbe Evangelical Lutheran Church.

The Pastor -|—

Men, Enough is Enough

The following is my latest article in the Tacoma News Tribune, published on Saturday, Nov 18…

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. [Genesis 1:27]

Please indulge me as I go on a little rant. Ever since accusations of sexual misconduct began to surface involving Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein, accusations from various other women have surfaced left and right. You can’t login onto social media or turn on the news without hearing about someone else coming forward. Don’t get me wrong, I am not blaming these women, but rather I am embarrassed for men in general. This is not right and we, men, need to step up and do something. We need to say something and raise the bar for the next generation. There is something definitely missing in people to cause them to think that it is okay to treat people as just sexual objects to satisfy one’s own desires. I am not saying I am a model man; “Look at me and see perfection”, but something needs to change in this culture. Something has to give.

Treating people as something less than what God created them to be is a sin. God created men AND women in His own image; both equally precious in His sight. Men and women are both equally loved and loveable. They are created for a purpose but not for the purpose of being abused or harassed or treated as an object. I imagine God, the Father, being saddened to see His daughters (women) treated like this. For men to treat women like an object is to disobey the creational purpose of God. God created men and women and then brought them together in marriage. Through marriage, God is putting the relationship of Christ (bridegroom) and the Church (bride) on display. Ephesians 5 says, Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

Sexual abuse and harassment of women is so contrary to God’s purpose for men and women. Godly men ought to be angered and offended to see and hear other men acting so immature and irresponsibly. Godly men need to stand up and say, “No more!” Godly men need to be shaken to the core and be determined, more than ever, to be godly examples to our sons and to the rest of this world. Godly men need to teach our daughters what it looks like to be treated with respect. Godly men need to take the reins and write a new narrative for our culture; that harassment and abuse of women is no longer welcomed. Men, let’s be the men God created us to be and glorify God through our example. Let’s take back our godly roles.

Rant done. All praise be to God. Amen.

The (feisty) Pastor -|—

Fear? Be Still!

“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

[Psalm 46:10-11]

Texas church shooting: “So many babies” among those slain in Sutherland Springs

A Family Was Praying in a Texas Church. Then 8 Were Dead

At least 26 dead in South Texas church shooting, officials say

Those are just a few headlines that I found concerning the shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Not knowing any more details, those headlines are enough to send chills up and down anyone’s spine. What a scary event; Christians gathering in a sanctuary to worship God almighty through Jesus Christ our Lord. Satan has definitely fired a shot across our bow and has gotten the attention of many. But God says…

BE STILL, AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD!

This is not a suggestion to try. This is not a request. This is a command. For Satan is not god. This world is not god. I AM God, He says. Period. So…

BE STILL, AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD!

Many people were killed and injured, but God is still God. Satan would have you turn in upon yourself for safety and security. Satan would have you turn to the world for peace. Satan would have you put your hope in locked doors and armed guards. Satan would have you take your eyes off the prize. But God says…

BE STILL, AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD!

Satan would have you live in fear. Fear?

“Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!”
The Lord of hosts is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
The Pastor -|—

 

I Will Not Live in Fear but in the Fear of the Lord

Living in fear is never the answer unless, of course, we are talking about the “fear of the Lord”. In that case we aren’t really living in fear, per se, but rather in reverence and awe of our amazing God through Jesus Christ. It isn’t a fear that sends us running away. It isn’t a fear that causes us to cower and shake. It isn’t a fear to cause us to look over our shoulders. The fear of the Lord sends us running INTO the mighty arms of our Lord. We worship him. We revere Him. We stand in awe of Him.

Satan would have us do the opposite. So many people are fearful, today, as we process the horrific events in Sutherland Spring, Texas. People are wondering how to protect themselves, now, as we enter and worship in a sanctuary; a place that, by definition, is a place of refuge and safety. Do we need armed guards? Do we install metal detectors? Do we have bag searches at the visitor’s center? Do we lock the church doors after worship starts? Fear, fear, fear.

But I refuse to live in that kind of fear. I refuse to let Satan steer my eyes away from the One we ought to fear; God almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. No, I am not going to bury my head in the sand and pretend everything will be alright; that this will never happen to us, but I am not going to be held captive by Satan; by evil. I am going to enter my sanctuary each and every week with reverence and awe, and worship our awesome God through Jesus Christ. I will be aware of my surroundings but not at the expense of my God. Besides, if I die while worshiping, well, so be it. There are definitely worse ways to go and worse places.

Through Jesus Christ we are THE Church. We are his bride. Jesus died for us. Jesus redeemed us with his very blood. My friends, what is there to fear, then, outside of God almighty? So I am NOT going to live in fear, only in the fear of the Lord.

So with that said, there is only one thing left to do: Tell Satan to take his fear and go to hell.

The (feisty) Pastor -|—

Announce!

Loving Father,
You sent Your Son,
Jesus Christ,
to die and rise for us that we would have forgiveness of sins
and thus the hope of the resurrection.
And now we wait
excitedly and
patiently
for Jesus’ return;
knowing that at any moment the trumpet will blast,
and our Savior will ride in triumphantly,
and bring us into the great wedding feast.
May we not be found wanting when he returns,
but also,
may we not be quiet until then.
Therefore,
may our preparations also include
announcing to all that Jesus WILL return.
In Jesus name we pray,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—