To Know You, oh God

I’m preaching on John 17:1-11 and this is the Prayer of the Day I wrote for worship:

Holy God,
through faith we know Jesus,
and because we know Jesus we know You,
and because we know You we have eternal life,
so therefore,
all praise be unto You,
oh God.
Now may our words and deeds
make You known
that others may come to eternal life
through faith in Jesus,
and together,
we praise Your holy name forever.
All praise and worship be unto You,
holy God,
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

To Be a Witness

Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
[Luke 24:45-49]

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
[Acts 1:8]

Holy God,
through Jesus Christ
You have called me to be Your witness
to the ends of the earth.
And why not, for…
I have seen your glory,
I have heard the truth,
I have tasted that You are good,
my sins have been forgiven,
I have been given hope,
I have been redeemed.

This is joyous news, so…

May the Good News of Jesus,
that has transformed me, now,
always be upon my lips.
Reveal to me opportunities to witness to the resurrection
that those who see and hear
may be drawn to You.
May I never hold back.
May I never seek self-glorification.
May I never twist the truth.
May I never judge.
For I am called to be a witness,
to all the world;
to all people.
All worship, praise, honor and glory
be unto You,
o
h God,
through Christ Jesus my Lord,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Rejoice and Be Glad

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
[Psalm 118:24]

There is much in this life in which to be depressed.
There is much in this life in which to be angry.
There is much in this life in which to be frustrated.

I recently read a blog post (I won’t get into details as they aren’t important here) that made me frustrated. Nearly ever day I watch/read something in the news that makes me roll my eyes. Each morning I wake up in some degree of back pain as I deal with arthritis. There is much in this life in which to complain.

But…

…there is much in this life is which to rejoice.

Namely?

God made this day.
God is in charge.
God has redeemed this creation through Jesus Christ.
God has created you for a purpose.
God is sovereign.

When one reflects on that (and the many other truths that could be written) how can one’s heart not rejoice?

This is indeed the day that the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it 🙂

Praise be to God!

The Pastor -|—

A Mother’s Day prayer

I know there are a lot of them out there, but here’s my humble submission to the bunch. Happy Mother’s Day and may God be glorified.

Holy God,
on this Mother’s Day,
we come first and foremost to worship You.
May we not lose sight of that.
For we are especially reminded,
on this day,
that it is You, though the love of mothers of all types,
who show what it truly means to love a child.
For it is through the death and resurrection of Your one and only son,
Jesus,
that we have eternal life.
That is love
and that right there is deserving of our worship and thanks.

But also, Lord God almighty,
we honor those women
You have used as instruments of Your love in our lives.
In whatever form they come,
we thank You, oh God.
In whatever role they have played in our lives,
we thank you, oh God.
Therefore,
it is not only the passage of DNA that determines the motherhood of a woman
but rather the love that they show.

May You continue to nourish Your children
through the self-sacrificing love of a mother.
May you continue to bless these women
that you may be glorified through them.
To You,
oh God,
be all worship and praise this day and always.
In Jesus name I pray,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Birth Mother’s Day 2017

Some of you who stop by here regularly may (or may not) know that I am a proud daddy. My wife and I adopted our daughter, Mayah, in April 2013 and then adopted our son, Malachi in November 2014. They did not come from our DNA but we love them as if they did; for this was God’s plan for our lives. Some may be tempted to think that we adopted because we were unable to have children biologically ~ Yes and no. We weren’t able to have children in that way; not because of physical reasons (both of us were perfectly able to conceive children), but rather, God intervened, and praise be to God for that. After years of “trying” we finally answered God’s call. Long story short, 10 months after starting the adoption process, Mayah came into our lives. Eighteen months later, Malachi joined the family. God’s plan for our family, after He refined us through the fire of a failed adoption, was for us to parent these two beautiful children.

Why am I writing about this now? Well, today is an often forgotten day for many. Tomorrow is Mother’s Day. So much hoopla goes into that day, and rightly so. Our mother’s deserve this kind of attention but today is Birth Mother’s Day. This day is always the day before Mother’s Day with the purpose of remembering those loving mother’s who made a decision many of us can not even fathom. They may not be mothering a particular child today, but they showed an incredible love in deciding that it was in the best interest of their child to be raised by someone else. For whatever reason, these mother’s, instead of aborting their baby, carried them to full term in order that their baby could have a chance at life; a life given by God. These mother’s saw the baby in their womb as a living being who deserved to live, even if they couldn’t support their child. They recognized that their were others who were very able and willing to raise children, even through it was not happening for them biologically. These mother’s are special people who had the forethought and insight to do what they did and thus deserve their day.

Each night, during our prayers, we pray for Mayah and Malachi’s respective birth mommies. We don’t hide the fact that they are adopted. We celebrate this. We talk about their respective stories and we honor their birth mommies. So if you know of a mother who has made this difficult but loving decision, make sure you honor them as Mother’s Day may be a difficult day for them. Thank God for these special people. We certainly do, and not just today, but each and every day.

Happy Birth Mother’s Day 🙂

The (daddy) Pastor -|—

To Know You

Holy God,
You are sovereign and mighty.
You are perfect and wise.
You are holy and awesome.
You are loving and faithful.
Oh God,
I am overwhelmed by You;
for the depths of who You are
cannot be probed through our understanding.
All we can do is continue to seek You
with all our heart
and desire to know You better and better.
Therefore we pray that
the desires of our hearts be in seeking Your will,
that we would strive to know You better and,
our hearts be in tune with You.
Oh God,
overwhelm me,
transform me,
fill me.
I want to know you better.
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

 

Avoid One and Done

I have discovered a proliferation of door to door sales people here in Washington as compared to rural Minnesota where I lived for 44 years. I’ve had people come by trying to sell me home security services, pest control and lawn services. I listen to their sales pitch but I tell them that I am not going to buy anything now but rather I want to do my own research. I want to get to know their company and what they are selling. I want to trust them before I make an investment. They usually don’t like this response as they want the sale now.

The same mentality is often seen among Christians. One presents the Gospel to someone and then wants to see the fruits of their efforts now. They want to make an instant “sale” and then move on; feeling good that their numbers are going up. This tactic, though, is rarely effective in the long term, especially for the one “buying the product”. One and done evangelism is often more damaging to the one being evangelized. It’s like selling someone a whatchamacallit without an owners manual.

Instead, we need to spend time with people and develop relationships with them.  We can’t have a “one and done” mentality. We need to invest in people, provide for any needs, be a guide and help them along the way as they grow in Christ. When you look at the early church in Acts, the apostles spent time in the towns in which they planted churches. They didn’t just preach and go. They weren’t one and done evangelists. They invested in people.

Door to door ministry can be effective, but only if a relationship eventually ensues. Leading people to Christ can be a time consuming thing but it is important work as we are called and commanded to “Go therefore and make disciples…”. Spend time with people and live out your faith. Show them Christ’s love through your words and deeds. Be a “little Jesus” to them. Walk with them and when the opportunity presents itself, tell them about Jesus. Basically, earn the right to be heard.

So all you door to door sales people, don’t expect me to buy what you’re selling until I get to know you. Make an investment in me and earn my trust. Not practical for you, I know, but for you, Christian, it is. It’s what Jesus and the apostles did. Follow him and walk AS Jesus did and don’t be a one and done evangelist.

The Pastor -|—