Peace-filled Night

Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.” [2 Thessalonians 3:16 ESV]

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” [John 14:27 ESV]

The sun is racing across the sky trying to reach its finish line.
There is no stopping its advance.
It will finish its course.
It will dip below the land.
Its purpose none can confine.

Soon darkness will appear on the scene seemingly covering the light.
There is no stopping its advance.
It will darken our doors.
Giving shadows center stage.
Its presence can cause some fright.

But the darkness will not win,
for Jesus is within,
and much to its chagrin,
it will take it on the chin.

So rest your weary head and your fears you can release.
There is no stopping His advance.
God our father reigns on high
His kingdom will never end.
May His love give you peace.

Child of God

Oh, most blessed child of God,

Arise and meet the new day.

Know the love of the Creator,

Know His amazing grace.

Oh, most blessed child of God,

Arise and meet the new day.

Go and make disciples,

Go with confidence and strength.

Oh, most blessed child of God,

Arise and meet the new day.

Remember that God is for you,

So therefore who can be against you.

Oh, most blessed child of God,

Aside and meet the new day.

Though God reigns on high,

He is always close to you.

Oh, most blessed child of God,

Arise and meet the new day,

The Lord will be your shield and fortress,

He will be your God.

The Pastor -|—-

The River

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.
Psalms 46:4 ESV

Oh child of God, as this day draws to a close, drink in the Word of God and soak in the River of Life. Bask in the knowledge that this River is overflowing with grace. No sin is too big. No darkness is too dark. The River flows and nourishes, if only you would drink from its refreshing waters. Come with your sins and be washed clean with God’s mercy through Jesus Christ.

Oh child of God, close not your eyes this night without gazing at God’s beauty and hearing His voice calling to you. Rest not you head upon your pillow without finding your rest in Him.

Oh child of God, come and drink. Come and be healed. Come and be washed. Oh child of God, the River flows. Come…

The Pastor -|—

God’s Got This

As you rest in darkness,
may you know the light of Christ around you.
As you sleep in vulnerability,
may you know the shelter that is the Lord.
As you drift of to dream land,
may you know the reality of your salvation through Jesus.
As your body rejuvenates,
may your soul be guarded and sustained.
As you live in a world that must be on guard during the darkness,
may you rest secured that a Kingdom is coming where the gates are never shut.
Oh child of God,
the Lord is your refuge;
His Kingdom is everlasting;
and His holy angels have charge over you.
Take comfort and be at peace…

…God’s got this.

The Pastor -|—

Bedtime Blessing

The following is the bedtime blessing I speak over my son each night I get to lay him down:

Good night my sweet boy.
Mommy loves you and Daddy loves you,
but Jesus loves you more.
May God bless you with sweet dreams
and a peaceful sleep.
And God willing, may I see you in the morning.

Nothing fancy, just a daddy blessing his son.

Good night.

The Pastor -|—

Worship prayers ~ God’s Awesome Kingdom

Grace, peace and love to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.

Below are the prayers I wrote for worship for Sunday, June 7. The text for preaching is Mark 10:23-31; talking about entry into the Kingdom of God. This is something that is impossible for man but not for God; for anything is possible with God.

And so I commend these prayers to you for the glory of God.

Opening prayer
Holy God, we anxiously await the arrival of Your glorious Kingdom as it comes in power and might; a Kingdom where Your children, through faith in Jesus, will reside in eternal joy. A Kingdom where death and sin are not even a distant memory. A Kingdom where You reign eternal. And so in the mean time we look with longing eyes for the consumption of Your glory. We listen with attentive ears for the life saving Gospel. And we worship You with thankful hearts. Receive our praise and hear our prayers as we fall at Your feet in humble submission. Turn not Your servants away but bring us close that we may be filled with Your love. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Prayer before preaching
Holy God, loving Father, Your Word tells us that if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. And so I humbly ask that You may send Your Holy Spirit to enliven the words that I speak; the words of Good News of Jesus Christ, that those words may create or strengthen faith in those who are hearing. And as Your Word brings life to Your children may they be so bold to speak words of life to one another; giving You the glory. And so guide now, your servants, into Your Word and reveal to us the glory of Your Kingdom. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Post-Communion blessing
May the body and blood of Christ strengthen your faith and make you so bold to live as forgiven sinners; proclaiming the Kingdom of God until he comes again. Amen.

Prayer after Holy Communion
Holy God, you are mighty to save; and through Jesus Christ you have announced Your Kingdom. May You grant Your Holy Spirit to establish Your Kingdom in Your children now and send us forth to boldly proclaim the death and resurrection of Your Son and our Lord. In Jesus name I pray, Amen

Benediction (from “Benedictions: A Pocket Resource” by Robert Vasholz)
May the Lord grant you to see where you are lacking, that you might have everything;
May the Lord grant you vision of you poverty, that you might be rich beyond measure;
May the Lord show you that you are destitute so that you may be filled with the fullness of His supply.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

May God bless you as you bring Your worship to God as a thank offering for the blessings God has already bestowed upon you.

The Pastor -|—

Food for the dogs

The sermon text for this morning is Mark 7:24-30 (The Syrophoenician Woman’s Faith) and the following is the prayer I wrote to precede the message. Let us pray together…

God of glory and wonder, we seek you this morning as dogs unworthy of even a morsel of your grace from your holy banquet table.

We scavenge this life for self-fulfilling food while ignoring the fact that you have sent Jesus to give us the bread of life. We ravage others of dignity through selfish pursuits.

But holy God, you don’t turn your backs on us. You don’t withhold the glorious morsels of your grace. You don’t treat us as the dogs we are.

Rather, you wait for us and offer your forgiveness.

Loving God, may we curl up in the arms of your grace and bask in the glow of your love. May we be filled with the Bread of Life and may we find all we desire in you. Heal us of pride. Restore us to Life. Strengthen us to live a life of repentance.

All glory to you, holy Father, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

May this Lord’s Day bring glory to God as you offer your worship and praise; and while doing so, I pray that the Word take root in your hearts. May faith be created or strengthened. May you be send forth to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ crucified and risen for the forgiveness of sins. And may you be at peace as you cling to the hope of the resurrection.

God bless you this Lord’s Day and beyond.

Praise be to God!

The Pastor  -|—

Christmas blessing from The Pastor

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From my home to your home…

We hope and pray that your Christmas is one filled with joy and great expectation as you worship this awesome God of ours. May the Holy Spirit strengthen or create the faith in you to see Jesus as your Lord and Savior. And May the God of all creation, create in you the passion to shout from the mountain tops that Jesus has been born for all. Let us pray…

Loving, holy and amazing God, I thank you for this incredible gift, Jesus Christ our Lord.
May those who are grieving find hope.
May those who are lost be found.
May those who are oblivious come to know.
May those who hunger be fed.
May those stray be carried back.
And may the hope of Christmas be our strength as we cling to the hope of the resurrection. All praise to you, O God, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Have a very Merry Christmas!

The Pastor -|—

What a blessing

I feel incredibly blessed…

Yesterday the congregation I serve celebrated the 5 year anniversary of my ordination (which is on July 2).  There was a special recognition of this occasion during worship in addition to a number of other surprises my wife and others cooked up (and let me tell you…as a pastor who is used to leading worship, it was a little uncomfortable not knowing what was going on in worship…but I still really enjoyed and appreciated what they did).  Connie’s very musical family was there to provide special music and brass accompaniment during the hymns and offering.  My mom read scripture and the church presented me with a gift.  After worship there was a cake/coffee reception for me (something the community was invited to, along with worship).  These were all things I was truly unworthy of, but it was nice to experience this affirmation of my call here.  I feel incredibly blessed for God has done amazing things here through all of us.

So many people were involved to help make this a special day and they tried so hard to keep things from me (which was tough considering we live and serve in a small town and small congregation), but they did a great job.  So if you are one of those people reading this…THANK YOU!…yesterday will be a day I will always remember and treasure.  But the main we all need to remember (and something that people highlighted yesterday) is that through it all…in everything that happens good and bad…PRAISE BE TO GOD!

Thank you to Salem and Belmont Lutheran Churches and to the community of Jackson.  Connie and I are very happy to be part of these communities.  PRAISE BE TO GOD!

-edh-

“I want that”

I had a neat thing happen to me while serving Communion this past Sunday.  As people come forward I typically serve the bread and one of my deacons serves the wine.  For those who have not been instructed or for those who choose not to receive the bread and wine, I offer a blessing.  In this case it is typically children younger than 5th grade.

On Sunday I was serving communion as usual and offering a word of blessing for the children.  For the blessing I place my hand on the person’s forehead and say, “The Lord guides you as a sheep of his own pasture.”  And while making the sign of the cross on their forehead I say, “You are a beloved child of God“.  On Sunday I gave this blessing to a child but when the adult behind this certain child approached me to receive the bread she said, “I want that” (referring to the blessing).  She wasn’t refusing the bread…she just wanted both.  So I gave her the bread and then gave her the blessing.  She walked away with a big smile on her face.

I will never forget that phrase…”I want that“…it still makes smile 🙂 …and gives me hope.  There are still people that desire to have God’s blessing on their lives.  There are still people that value the words of promise that Jesus offers us.  There are still people that want God’s guidance.  Watching the news I sometimes wonder if allegiances are shifting from a dependence on God to a dependence on government.  I don’t want to politicize a beautiful moment from worship but these are things that are weighing heavy on my heart recently.

Let’s, as a people of God, announce and proclaim a blessing upon all our leaders, hoping they are faithful to God’s call and responsive to God’s guidance. Let’s announce and proclaim a blessing upon ALL people who are searching for meaning.

I look forward to our next communion service.  I look forward to inviting people to receive a blessing and I look forward to seeing how many people respond.  In the mean time…I hold my hand out and say “The Lord guides YOU as a sheep of his own pasture” <making the sign of the cross> “YOU are a beloved child of God, Amen

-edh-