Steal Me Away

Father God,
Steal away my affections from the world who holds me captive.
Steal away my affections from myself who clings to the lies sold to me.
Steal away my affections for false gods and worldly pleasures.
Destroy my misguded sense of obligation to satify the flesh; to pay it back for promises on which it cannot deliver. The flesh can only deliver death, but through Jesus Christ You are life.
Steal away my gaze that I may know You more intimately.
Steal away my heart that I may desire You more passionately.
Steal away my mind that I may long for you more deeply.
O God,
I am lost without You.
I am weak without You.
I am defeated without You.
Father God almighty, sovereign Lord of Creation, the great shepherd of the Sheep,
Steal me away and hide me in Jesus.
Secure
Safe
Forever
Father God,
Steal me away.

Blind

It is You that I seek,
O God,
It is You.
I search and fumble.
I trip and fall.
I reach and grasp.
I seek and can’t find.
I am as a blind man in an unfamiliar room –
a fool seeking my own way.
O God,
I desperately want You.
Lead me by Your Spirit and may I not grasp with my flesh.

When I stray,
bring me back.

When I fall,
pick me up.

When I become conceited,
knock me down.

When I am lost,
show me I am found.

When I pull away,
pull me in.

When I get tired,
carry me.

When Satan comes for me
may I know that You are for me –
hidden in Jesus.

Yes!

Hide me in Jesus.
May I live by the Spirit

being lead

for that is the only way.
In this life I am blind;
on my own I am lost.
Find me and lead me,
for It is You that I seek,

only
You

More

I gaze at the glass-like beauty as it,
Reflects it’s surroundings
Hosts the song of birds
Teams with life unseen
Yet,
It is just a glimpse.
There is so much More that I haven’t experienced – More to be known.
I can’t take it all in with a single gaze.
But I know there’s More,
and I want it.
I want to gaze at Your full beauty.
I want more than what I know now.
This world reveals Your handiwork now,
and I praise You.
But it is not enough.
I know there is More
and I want More,
More of You.

Royal Guard

I am in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho for the LCMC Northwest District Gathering. This year we get the joy of being at Camp Lutherhaven Bible Camp – A beautiful camp on the shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene. This afternoon, as I was sitting outside during a break, I began to gaze at and enjoy the plethora of Pondarosa Pines surrounding me and I wrote this poem. The words speak for themselves. To God be the glory.


Tall evergreens all around.
Majestic beauty
Strength
I feel enveloped in Your love – a royal protection as
surrounded by an army of soldiers protecting a treasure.
I feel safe
At peace
Close to You
For the first time in long time I feel –
Untouchable.
I see the lake through the Royal Guard.
Serene
Calm
Tranquil
I need this.
I need this reminder –
That Your Royal Guard is not stationed here.
It was revealed here.
And it’s always around me.
It is Love
It is Grace
It is Jesus

Read

O God, You are not silent, for You speak through Your Word.
Open my ears to hear.
Open my heart to receive.
Transform me and remake me that I may better glorify You.

[From my prayer journal]

I wrote that above prayer because of a quote that came to mind. I forget the source and the exact quotation, but the spirit of it was that if you think God is silent or does not speak to you, then open your Bible and read. The Bible is God’s inspired, infallible, inerrant Word.
Read and hear, for His voice is speaking to you.
Read and listen.
Read and obey.
Read and remember.
Read and be excited, for our creator God is speaking.
Read and wonder.
Read and read some more.
The Bible is timeless and relevant. As Dr Steven Lawson has said, “The Bible is more relevant than tomorrow’s news.” And it will always be relevant. It will never go out of style for it is the Word of Life, Jesus Christ, crucified for your sins and raised for your salvation. Everything of this world will eventually fail and fall away, but the Word of God is FOREVER.

So…

Read, read, read…

God is speaking.
God is speaking — TO YOU.

Connected

Good morning! This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it 🙂

Below is the article I wrote for The News Tribune (Tacoma) for this morning. To God be the glory!


What is your typical impulse when you see a pretty flower? The impulse for some is to either smell it or pick the flower. The reason behind this impulse is generally because of the beauty of the flower and the desire to maintain closeness with that beauty. My children, my daughter especially, loves to pick flowers (weeds) and give them to Mommy. Every once in a while I will get some but Mommy gets more because she usually responds better than I do. That aside, when you pick flowers (weeds), if you want to preserve them you must put them in water relatively soon, and so that is what Mommy does. Rarely a day goes by that we do not have a Dixie cup of dandelions or some other “flower” in our kitchen. And we all know what will eventually happen, right? In a day or so the “flower” begins to wilt and eventually dies. Actually, the dying process began as soon as the flower was picked. But the one who disconnects the flower from the vine does not or refuses to see this because it is the beauty, now, that they want.

In the Gospel text for today from John 15:1-8, Jesus reveals himself to be the “true vine”. He goes on to proclaim that to abide in the vine is something that happens through the spoken word. It is all grace. He follows this with a call to continue to abide in him that you may bear fruit that glorifies God. All of this to say: Stay connected to Jesus. It is one thing to say, “I am a Christian” but a completely different thing to live a Christian life day in and day out. But living a Christian life is not just doing “Christian things” and saying, “Christian stuff”. Living a Christian life is living a life worthy of the Gospel (Philippians 1:27). You do this by staying connected to Jesus. But pastor, what does “staying connected to Jesus” look like? [That is a great question. I am so glad you asked.] Staying connected to Jesus is living in an active relationship with him. It is staying in constant prayer. It is living with his words in your heart. Not just memorizing scripture but knowing it and what it means for your salvation. Living a life worthy of the Gospel is living in union with Jesus, a life given, empowered and sustained by God Himself.

Living a life worthy of the Gospel – staying connected to the true vine – is a gift of God. Without God’s grace and His strength, we would, no doubt, pluck ourselves from the vine and try to water our own so-called beauty. And without Jesus, you will die in your sins. Without Jesus you cannot glorify God. Outside the vine, any so-called beauty will die. It is only in Jesus that you are, and will be, sustained forever.

So, abide in Jesus, now and always. Abide in him and give glory to God. Abide in Jesus and live. To God be the glory, always and forever, Amen.

Worship Prayers ~ Your Perfect Word

Holy God,
Your Word is mighty to save.
Your Word never fails.
Your Word is powerful;
it kills and it gives New Life.
O God,
Your Word is perfect and alive and thus there is nothing we can do to improve it.
Yet,
many try.
They tinker and distort the Word;
making it something that it is not.
They turn it into a lifeless word;
useless for salvation.
O God,
may we as a Church be faithful with the Word;
proclaiming it in all its truth and purity.
May we always take heart and trust the power of Your Word;
rejoicing in the fact that the results of the Word are squarely in
Your mighty hands,
because it is about
Your glory.
In Jesus name I pray,
Amen

Worship Prayers ~ Those Who Are Homeless

As temperatures dip and snow falls,
I remember before You,
O God,
those who have no homes –
Precious ones of Your creation who are forced to scramble to find shelter and warmth.
O God, have mercy.
Send resources and people into their lives.
But,
may weather not be the only reason I remember those who are homeless,
rather,
may they always be on my heart,
leading me to search for ways to show mercy and compassion
in practical ways.
May I never turn a blind eye or a deaf ear.
May I never dismiss them as someone else’s problem.
May I never judge them as lazy, irresponsible or as troublemakers.
O God,
transform my heart that I may have a heart for
PEOPLE,
who happen to find themselves homeless.
Transform my heart to love and care
for Your children.
In Jesus name I pray,
Amen.

Worship Prayers ~ Hear My Prayer

Father God,
Lord of heaven and earth,
King of all creation,
Redeemer and Sustainer,
I praise Your great name.
You are worthy of all worship and then infinitely more.
Your great name is holy and therefore I seek honor it.
Your majesty is awesome, it leaves me speechless.
You reign on high and know every last star,
every grain of sand,
and every hair on my head.
You know all of this and yet You know the desires, joys and sorrows of my heart,
and not only know them
but deeply care about every last one.
O God,
I give You thanks and come before You with my prayer,
knowing that You hear me and give according to Your perfect and holy will.
You give me daily bread
and sustain me for Your glory.
And so here I am, O God in the name of Jesus.
Lord in You mercy,
Hear my prayer…

The Director’s Chorus

Carbon River in Orting, WA

The chorus of creation makes the most beautiful music
under the direction of
the Director;
perfect music for a weary soul.

I sit down and the concert begins;
shielding me from the noise out there,
giving peace to my noisy heart.
I sigh a happy smile,
and enjoy.

The Director leads the way,
cueing every sound.
Soon I’m lost in perfect harmonies,
the world out there is forgotten.
But soon a person jogs by
and startles me away from the creation chorus,
my heart races,
but I quickly reengage the concert.
Again I am lost,
and my heart is calm.

Birds sing their melodies.
The wind adds its part.
The trees applaud with joy.
The flow of the river keeps everything together.

The Director’s composition is perfect.
Nothing did He miss.

As I stand to reenter the world;
I applaud, praising the Director.
I am ready now,
ready to reenter the world,
with a heart that is at peace.