In Love

Holy and awesome God,
In love You created the world and all that exists.
In sadness You watched this world plunge into darkness through sin.
In compassion You sent the prophets to warn Your people.
In patience You waited.
In grace you sent Your one and only son to this world.
In mercy Jesus suffered and died for me.
In power Jesus rose from the grave for me.
In love You give me salvation through faith in Jesus.

Holy and awesome God,
I am humbled and blown away
when I reflect on this story.
I am grateful and thankful
when I reflect on what You did for me.

Oh God,
You are indeed holy and awesome.
May You receive all
worship,
honor,
glory,
and praise;
for in love You have given me hope;
in love You have given me peace.
Oh God,
I am so in love with You.
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Pulling Him Close

I want to share a story with you quick before the moment passes too far.

It was a moment that took place around 11 PM last night. My wife and I were getting ready for bed when I heard our little girl, Mayah, calling out for mommy and daddy. I went into her room; bent over her crib and said, “Sweetie, are you alright? What do you need?” She said nothing. I asked again but still nothing. Then I noticed that she didn’t have her mookie in her mouth so I searched and quickly found it under her pillow. I then asked, “Sweetie, is that better?” Still nothing. Then she stood up which meant she wanted to be rocked. Normally when I come into her room at night she tells me, “I want to rock” But no words this time. Just actions.

So I picked up my little girl, grabbed her blanket and sat down with her in the rocking chair. She then quickly curled up on my lap and snuggled in as close as she could possibly get, and peacefully went to sleep.

A huge smile formed on my face 🙂

I sat there staring down at my sweet little girl, as happy as I could be; not wanting the moment to end. I then gently leaned over and planted a soft kiss on her cheek as to not disturb her peaceful slumber. But upon receiving my loving kiss, Mayah started moving her arm. She was trying to free her arm from her cozy blanket. Upon her arm breaking free, Mayah reached up and placed her hand on the back of my neck. She then pulled me in so my cheek was next to hers, and then held me tight. A gentle but firm hold as to say, “I want you close.” And with that she drifted off to sleep with tears of joy welling up in my eyes. After a couple of wonderful minutes, Mayah’s arm went limp and fell to her body. I then stood up, kissed her again and gently laid her in her crib. I leaned over and stared at her for a few more moments; watching her sleep, and then left her to her peaceful slumber.

What a moment, but now leave it to a pastor/.daddy to make a connection to our heavenly Father:

Oh that we would call out to God more and more; longing to be held by him and then pull God close for an intimate moment. Sometimes words are not necessary but rather just a few moments, basking in God’s love. Oh that we would call out to God and seek him; as God is always there, ready to show you incredible love. Oh that we would call out to God and know his grace; something that never fades and is never distant.

Oh that we would call out to our heavenly daddy…

The Pastor -|—

Open Letter to the Doyle Rices of the World

[From a story posted on Kare11 in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN; written by Doyle Rice from USA Today. This is in reference to the winter solstice (first day of winter).]

And why is the Earth tilted? It’s probably the result of collisions with various proto-planets and other massive objects during the formation of the solar system billions of years ago, according to NASA. Just a bit unsettling to realize that the reason the Earth has the perfect temperature for life to form is a few random collisions with other space rocks a few eons ago.

Oh Doyle Rice, if only you knew that the reason the earth is perfectly tilted isn’t due to “random” collisions. If only you knew that this perfect planet was created and put into perfect motion by God Almighty, our Creator. If only you knew that the only “unsettling” part of all of this is that your very life (and ours) are in the hands of an Almighty God.

But…

The Good News is that your very life (and ours) are in the hands of a loving, Almighty God who came to us on Christmas Day in Jesus Christ. And through faith in Jesus Christ, redeemed a lost and sinful people.

Therefore, when you look at creation, it should send you to your knees in humble worship of an awesome and powerful and loving God. There is NOTHING random about God. Creation is NOT a fluke. Life DIDN’T just happen. There are hundreds (maybe thousands) of details about our universe, galaxy and planet that have to be perfect in order for life to exist. That is NOT random. That was NOT an accident. Collisions DIDN’T just happen and bump things into perfect place. Nature doesn’t work that way. If any collision is responsible for the earth being tilted PERFECTLY then God’s mighty hand guided that collision to make sure it was perfect; as God guided and formed all of creation.

One CAN NOT just pass off life as a cosmic accident.

And so to all the Doyle Rices in the world, I appeal to you to meditate on creation and consider the perfectness of all those thousands of factors and then look to God Almighty and worship HIM through Jesus Christ; for you are not random but rather wonderfully created.

So don’t be “unsettled” over randomness and accidents and chance, but rather worship and praise this awesome God of ours as we live in this perfect masterpiece called creation.

All praise and glory and honor and worship be to God, always and forever.

The Pastor -|—

 

Hold Me Tight ~ A Prayer

Holy Father,
Your wisdom is awesome.
Your timing is perfect.
Your faithfulness is great.
Your love is boundless.
Your grace is limitless.
Your compassion is comforting.

And it is in these qualities that I find peace for a restless soul.

And so I,
appeal to Your wisdom;
wait for Your timing;
bask in Your faithfulness;
cling to Your love;
give thanks for Your grace;
and rest in Your compassion.

May I always know this peace.

Holy Father,
in the midst of turmoil,
I am thankful for a peace that surpasses all comprehension.
So hold me tight,
and shake me awake when I mindlessly wander from You.

All praise and worship and honor and glory,
be unto You,
Holy Father,

forever and ever,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Oh God, You are…

Oh God,
You are the God of the past.
You are the God of the present.
You are the God of the future.
You are the God of my everything and for all time.

Oh God,
You hold me securely.
You hold me lovingly.
You hold me faithfully.
Therefore I shall never fear and tremble before this world.

Oh God,
You are present with me in the bad times.
You are present with me in the good times.
You are present with me in all times,
and therefore You are to be praised always and forever.

Oh God,
You reign over uncertainty.
You are faithful despite my anxiety.
You are calming in my anxiousness.
You are healing.

Oh God, You are many things,
and therefore,
all praise to You.

The Pastor -|—

Loving God and Neighbors ~ A Prayer

The following prayer is in preparation to preach the Word of the Lord from Mark 12:28-34. This is the account of a Scribe asking Jesus what is the greatest Law; which loving God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength AND loving your neighbor as yourself.

So may God speak to Your heart this morning and send you out to serve Him through loving your neighbor out of your love for Him.

Holy Father,
we would not know love outside of You
for You are love.
We would not know how to truly love our neighbor outside of You
for You are love.

Many who do not know You, love others
but not in the way that brings You glory.
And so I ask that those here gathered,
who do not know You,
may come to know You in Christ Jesus our Lord.
And in knowing You,
love others with a love that only comes from You.

May You fill hearts,
so much so,
that we are driven to learn and live You holy Law;
obeying You and thus
showing love to our neighbor.
May our obedience bring You glory
and may our love of our neighbors point them to You.
I pray this through Christ Jesus our Lord,
who loved us all the way through the cross and through the grave,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

No Separation (Romans 8:38-39)

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. [Romans 8:38-39 ESV]

There is nothing more horrifying than that thought of being separated from the love of God. And that separation would be the definition of hell. Even among the flames; in the midst of pain and suffering, if God’s love were still there, there would still be hope of rescue and healing and restoration; even if not in this life. Without God’s love, though, there is:

No hope
No rescue
No healing
No restoration and…
No God

THAT is hell and THAT is something that no one would ever want a taste of for even a second. So when people say things like, “That was just hell going through that” or “I’ve been through hell and back” or other such sayings; people have no idea nor do they want an idea. I think we too often minimize hell and therefore we don’t take it seriously enough. Hell is separation from God. The Good News, though, is that through faith in Jesus, you have never, ever been separated from God and never will be.

death
life
angels
rulers
things present
things to come
powers
height
depth
anything else in all creation

None of these things will or can separate you from God’s love. You may think your suffering feels like hell, but it is not. Your suffering here is for but a moment and believe me, you are not alone. If Jesus is your Lord and Savior, you are not alone; you are not in hell; you are not separated from God. Granted, I don’t know what your suffering is like. I don’t know how you may be feeling. I don’t know exactly how I would respond in your position. But the one thing I do know is that in Christ Jesus…

GOD LOVES ME

and God loves YOU.

Cling to this wonderful promise in Jesus Christ and rejoice that hell is not your place but rather God’s love is your reality and hope.

God of life and salvation, we praise You that Your love over comes the powers of this world and therefore gives hope through Jesus. May those who suffer know Your love and may they know they are not alone. Give them hope. Give them strength. In Jesus name I pray, Amen

The Pastor -|—