The Redo

I don’t know who is reading this but I am writing this anyway. Maybe this is more therapeutic than anything else but hopefully the beginning of something. I was reading my devotions this morning and could feel something stirring in me; a stirring to explore and write. I am not sure where this is going so we’ll see what God is up to.

So why am I writing this morning?

Today got off to a bad start. First, I over-slept, which is something I rarely do with two young children. One of them is usually up early. Second, I got so caught up with being on time that I didn’t see the needs of my family. I was rushing to get myself ready while trying to get the kids fed and ready for preschool. I got flustered and impatient when I should have been more composed and compassionate. It was no one’s fault but my own that I over-slept (my Fitbit alarm has now been set for tomorrow, hopefully that problem solved).

After a moment of conviction I had a little heart to heart chat with my son; seeking forgiveness for being impatient and not there for him. I received a big forgiving hug and a smile from him. I was then ready to go, but still unsettled. I dropped the kiddos off at preschool and made my way to the office. Once settled in I turned to my Bible reading plan. What I read first got my attention and thus the motivation to write this morning. From Psalm 145:1-13…

1 I will extol you, my God and King,
and bless your name forever and ever.
2 Every day I will bless you
and praise your name forever and ever.
3 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
and his greatness is unsearchable.
4 One generation shall commend your works to another,
and shall declare your mighty acts.
5 On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
6 They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds,
and I will declare your greatness.
7 They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness
and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.
8 The Lord is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 The Lord is good to all,
and his mercy is over all that he has made.
10 All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord,
and all your saints shall bless you!
11 They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom
and tell of your power,
12 to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds,
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures throughout all generations.

The underlined parts grabbed me and convicted me. This is our awesome God but doesn’t it also point to how a father ought to relate to his children? Granted, this psalmist probably wasn’t thinking of parenting when he wrote this, but it still works. I mean, think about it. A parent ought to…

~ Commend God’s mighty works and deeds to his children…every day.
~ Be gracious
~ Be merciful
~ Slow to anger
~ Abound in steadfast love
~ Be good to all

That right there is the call for ALL Christian parents and thus I am going to be reflecting on this more and, God willing, be writing more about these actions. Once again, I am not sure where this is leading. Maybe it is more of an outlet for my own thinking and exploring. Who knows (well…God does), so we’ll see. For now, I am anxious to get home and have a redo with my children; to do better. I am anticipating some hardcore playing in the backyard. Hopefully my bad back will hold up 🙂

The Pastor -|—

Another One

Another school shooting 😦

In Freeman, WA yesterday, (about 5 hours to my east) someone opened fire at Freeman High School. As I know now, one student died and three are hospitalized in Spokane, WA and many more people have been affected.

Later on that day, I heard that the middle school in the town I live in was in shutdown mode for awhile because of gun shots that were heard nearby, but off campus. Nothing has come of that as of now and the school was back in normal operation later that day. Happy to hear that the school took swift action to ensure the safety of the kids, even if nothing came of the perceived threat.

And now this morning, schools in northwest Montana are closed due to threats that were texted messaged to officials. I don’t know the nature of the threats, but scary all the same.

How long long, oh Lord!

Please be in prayer for Freeman, WA. I am praying for the family of the deceased student, the three that were hospitalized, the professionals in town caring for survivors, families, students, teachers, staff, etc. I am also praying for the shooter (who is in custody). Yes, pray for them. It is easy to be angry with this person but they need prayers as well. I don’t condone their actions and they need to be punished, but I pray they may confess and repent of their actions. This shooter needs healing. I pray that God changes their heart.

Oh God, we live in evil; sinful times; we always have, but it just seems to be intensifying. Send Your Spirit that we may live our lives out loud that proclaims the life-giving message of Jesus Christ. May we seek peace, not hate. Make we seek reconciliation, not division. May we seek Your glory. Oh God, bring healing to this land. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Turn Me Back

Father God,
I am ever mindful
that You are holy
and I am not.
I go our own way
and chase after other gods.
I am a sinful creature;
seeking my own glory.

Oh God,
heal my heart and turn me back to You,
in the name of Jesus,
for I am a miserable sinner.

And as I seek after You
may I always find a rich mercy
and an abundant grace
to fill my heart and heal my soul;
overflowing to Your glory.
May the joy of Your forgiveness ooze from my being
and infest the lives of others.

Through Jesus Christ I pray,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

To Think of You

To think of You,
oh God,
is to be reminded of my sinful estate;
my fallen nature;
and my constant disobedience.

To think of You,
oh God,
is to run to You in confession;
to seek Your mercy;
and to fall at Your feet.

[Enter Jesus]

To think of You,
oh God,
is to hear forgiveness;
to know grace;
and to feel Your love.

To think of You,
oh God,
is to know peace in chaos;
hope in despair;
and tranquility in upheaval.

To think of You,
oh God,
is to know everything will be alright;
to be reminded that You are in control;
and to be filled with joy.

To think of You,
oh God,
is to know that I am Your child,
wrapped in Your arms,
and keep safe for all eternity.

To think of You…
🙂

The Pastor -|—

Worship for 08-02-15 ~ Amazing God

Good morning and a blessed Lord’s Day to you all. This morning the text for preaching is Mark 12:1-12 with an emphasis on verses 10-11:
Have you not read this Scripture: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?” This is God’s Amazing Grace. The sermon will focus on these verses as I quote and use the 7 verses of “Amazing Grace”. And so the prayers have that theme.

For the Confession/Absolution I am using words from the hymn “Lord Jesus, Think on Me” from the Evangelical Lutheran Worship book. For the Benediction I am using words from the hymn “Oh, for a Thousand Tongues to Sing”. I like to connect things to hymns we are singing to help people think more about the words they are singing instead of just flying through them.

May God be praised in your worship and may the Word of the Lord dwell in you richly.

Opening Prayer
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound indeed, holy God, for it has saved a wretch like us. For we were once lost but now through faith in Jesus, we are found. We were once blind but now we see. And it is because of this amazing grace that we gather to worship you. We unleash the joy within us and pour it out as a fragrant offering to you. And as that sweet aroma rises to you, may you fill us with Your Holy Spirit; filling us more through adding joy unto joy. May we see and feel and know the presence of Your love and may our joy spill out for others to enjoy and know. To You be glory and honor as we lift our praises to You, holy God, through Christ Jesus our Lord, Amen.

Confession and Absolution
All have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God.
All have sinned and failed to keep God’s commandments.
All have sinned and have hurt our neighbors.
All have sinned and have failed to honor God as He is worthy.
And so we gather together as a church to lift our prayers and confessions to God. Let us pray…

(ELW #599, “Lord Jesus, Think on Me”)
Lord Jesus, think on me, and purge away my sin; from selfish passions set me free and make me pure within.
Lord Jesus, think on me, by anxious thoughts oppressed; let me your loving servant be and taste Your promised rest.
Lord Jesus, think on me, nor let me go astray; through darkness and perplexity, point out your chosen way.
Lord Jesus, think on me, that when the flood is past; I may the eternal brightness see and share Your joy at last.
Lord Jesus hear our prayers and confessions…

[PAUSE]

Lord Jesus, You are awesome. You are love. You are grace. Through faith in you renew our strength and keep us on the narrow way.

In the mercy of almighty God, Jesus Christ was given to die for us and for his sake God forgives us all our sins. So as a called and ordained minister of the church of Christ and by His authority, I therefore boldly and confidently announce the complete forgiveness of all your sins; in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Prayer before Preaching
Amazing and awesome God, we have spilled out our joy through worship because of Your grace and now it is our pleasure to hear a word from You; for You have the words of eternal life. These are not mere words of man, spoken to make people feel better, but these are holy words spoken to create, build, maintain and/or strengthen faith. These words have power not because of me but because of Your Holy Spirit. These words are awesome, not because I formulated, crafted and organized these words but because they are inspired by You. So may the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable to You, amazing God, through Christ Jesus our Lord, Amen.

Post-Communion Blessing
May the body and blood of Jesus Christ give you a greater appetite for him, a stronger desire to proclaim his life-saving love, and the boldness to speak into the darkness of this world. Let us pray…

Post-Communion Prayer
Loving Father, You have fed us with a holy food, Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Strengthen our faith and send us out to proclaim this life saving word through our words and deed, that people may run to glorify You. Through Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.

Benediction
Now may your tongues sing our great Redeemer’s praise, the glories of our amazing God and the triumphs of his grace. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

The Pastor -|—

God, Help Us and Have Mercy

Holy and merciful God,

ALL of scripture is breathed out by You.
ALL of scripture is inspired by You.
ALL of scripture is authoritative.
ALL of scripture is useful for teaching and rebuking and correcting and training in righteousness.

ALL of scripture is life-giving and holy and blessed, but yet, as Your Church, we don’t run to and grasp Your holy Word as we should. We more often than not toss Your Word around as just a tagline or a sound bite or as an arrow to be fired off in an argument/debate. The awe of Your Word is more times than not, lost on us and thus we are lead to actions and thoughts and words that are anything but glorifying to You, oh God.

For this I confess on behalf of me and the Church, but only I can declare my intent to repent and receive Your Word as Your almighty, authoritative Word. My hope is that the Church would too, so I ask that Your Spirit may be sent into Your Church. Bring about repentance and a deep desire to speak Your Word of truth with passion and conviction and honesty and boldness; yet doing so out of love for ALL of our neighbors.

Oh God, have mercy.

May we flee judgmentalism
May we flee idolatry
May we flee hate
May we flee worldly passions
May we flee cultural acceptance

May we see the way of Jesus as our way; fearing nothing but You, oh God. And as curves and bumps and deadly ravines appear along the way, may we cling to Jesus.

We do not live in heaven on earth, far from it, but Your kingdom is coming. May we look with longing expectation for that Kingdom; proclaiming this truth and calling all people to repentance; ALL people.

May Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven and help us to see this through Your most holy Word.

In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Confession/Absolution ~ Hate Evil

The beauty of Charles Spurgeon’s faith, as expressed in his words, is something that never ceases to touch my heart and lead me deeper into God’s arms. I have enjoyed reading his sermons and taking a peak at his heart through some devotional reading.

This morning’s devotion was titled, Ye that love the Lord hate evil. Beautiful words that talk about the ugliness of sin in our lives and therefore the admonition to flee from it and hate it. So I took  some of these words (the ones italicized) and wrote a Confession/Absolution litany for worship this morning. Below is the product of the Spirit’s inspiration this morning. Feel free to use this as you will for the glory of God.


Confession
In the words of Charles Spurgeon ~ Thou hast good reason to “hate evil,” for only consider what harm it has already wrought thee. Oh, what a world of mischief sin has brought into thy heart! Sin blinded thee so that thou couldst not see the beauty of the Saviour; it made thee deaf so that thou couldst not hear the Redeemer’s tender invitations. Sin turned thy feet into the way of death, and poured poison into the very fountain of thy being; it tainted thy heart, and made it “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.”

My friends, forgiveness is at the heart of the Gospel, but to get there we first must admit and confess our sinfulness. Nothing is hidden from God so don’t even try, for we are indeed wicked. But also don’t be afraid but rather boldly go to our heavenly Father through faith in Jesus; confessing Your sins.

[Silent prayer and confession]

Holy God, the ugliness of sin draws us away from You. It stains our souls and causes us to run to that which is evil. But in the name of Jesus Christ we run to You with our confessions; seeking to be washed in the blood of the lamb. Make us whole again that our eyes may see Your awesome beauty. It’s in the name of Jesus Christ, our risen Lord and Savior I pray, Amen.

Absolution
Jesus Christ was given to die for you that your sins would be forgiven. So as a called and ordained minister of the Church of Christ and by his authority, I therefore boldly and confidently announce to you the complete forgiveness of all your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. So, Therefore “hate evil,” O Christians, unless you desire trouble. If you would strew your path with thorns, and plant nettles in your death-pillow, then neglect to “hate evil:” but if you would live a happy life, and die a peaceful death, then walk in all the ways of holiness, hating evil, even unto the end. If you truly love your Saviour, and would honour him, then “hate evil.” We know of no cure for the love of evil in a Christian like abundant communion with the Lord Jesus. Dwell much with him, and it is impossible for you to be at peace with sin.


May God bless your day as you live as forgiven sinners.

All praise be to God!

The Pastor -|—