In the Moment

Below is my article for The News Tribune (Tacoma) that was published today. To God be the glory!

Are you one of those people who live in the moment, or are you one who worries about what is/may be coming down the road? I often find myself looking ahead much of the time. As a pastor, I am trying to be in the moment during this busy Lenten season, but I also find myself living in Holy Week and Easter, which is still a couple weeks away. Sure, we have to plan for the future, but there is a fine line between planning for the future and living in a future moment; worrying about what may or may not happen. During this pandemic – O great, there he goes talking about this pandemic again – sorry, I am not trying to beat a dead horse here. I really do have a point. During this pandemic I found myself living in the future a lot of the time, looking forward to a time when I did not have to worry about getting sick or someone else getting sick. I mean, seriously, will that time ever come? If that be the case, I would be living in a fantasy world, wasting these current moments.

So this morning while driving to my office the song, Keep Me in the Moment, by Jeremy Camp was playing on my radio. It is a song I have heard dozens of times, but it affected differently today. Here is the chorus that captured my attention:

Singing oh Lord, keep me in the moment
Help me live with my eyes wide open
‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me
Singing oh Lord, show me what matters
Throw away what I’m chasing after
‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me

It is here in this moment that God is working in your life. God knows all of your tomorrows and thus all of those tomorrows are firmly in His hands. It is not for you to obsess about those moments, but rather to trust and follow where God is leading in this moment. Matthew 6:33-34 says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Isn’t it a relief that you do not have to live in a future moment, trying to protect a desired outcome? Your desired future moment may just be a fantasy; thus if you obsess about it, you will miss real life ministry that needs to be done in this moment. But with our sovereign God, you can leave all your moments in His mighty hands. And with those moments being in His hands you are free to “live with your eyes wide open”, not missing what God is doing in the here and now to bring you to HIS desired moment.

And so I pray: O Lord, keep me in the moment. Help me live with my eyes wide open. Help me to see you in the here and now that I may glorify You in this moment. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Monday morning check in — Post-Sonshine post

Here I am…in my office…post-Sonshine…procrastinating on writing my newsletter article (of course, by the time my secretary reads this I WILL be working on my article, I promise).

Anyway…we had a great time at Sonshine Festival.  We heard lots of great music from the likes of Jars of Clay, Third Day, Jeremy Camp, Toby Mac, Hawk Nelson, Peder Eide, Barlowgirl, David Crowder, and much more.  That list is definitely not listed in order because that would be to hard to do.  But Hawk Nelson is a group I never really listened to before but I am now developing a new appreciation for them.  All the groups were (and are) great examples and very open about their faith.  It was fun and inspiring to hear them and worship with them.  And for $68 for the weekend…for all that music…you just can’t beat that.

Our group consisted of my wife and I along with one senior high girl from Salem with a group of 10 from Our Savior’s.  There were more adults than youth in our group, but everyone had fun.  We camped in tent city where there were thousands of tents crammed in together.  It is hard to describe the scene but trust me, it was a zoo.  The “city” never really completely died down.  There was activity all night long for all four nights.  My wife and I came home on Saturday and let me tell ya…a shower and my bed felt great on Saturday night.  But over all it was a great experience and we are already looking forward to next year.

Ramp update
I haven’t said much in this area for a while but here’s a quick update (just in case you were wondering).  All the cement is poured and now they are on the brick work.  Red-ish (basic brick color…whatever that is “offically” called) bricks will be placed on the side of the ramp and a brick wind break is currently being built on the north side of the ramp by the sanctuary door.  The time table for completion is still mid-August sometime.  I will get some pictures posted soon.

One week to go…
After this week I will be out of the office for a couple weeks.  On Sunday I fly to Chicago for a special meeting on evangelism and outreach.  I was invited by the synod office to attend this meeting (I will discuss this more in another post this week).  After I get back on Tuesday I go on vacation until Sunday.  On Sunday I am still out of the office but for continuing education.  The week of Aug 3 – 10 I am at the Okoboji Lakes Bible and Missionary Conference.  A free conference in the Okoboji Lakes area (about 20 miles from here).  That too I will write more about later.  So this week I have a lot to get done before I head out.

With that…I leave you with this quote I came across…one I used in my sermon yesterday: “We are not in the land of the living, but in the land of the dying — someday we shall be in the Land of the Living.”  What a great reminder of the hope we all have in Jesus Christ.

Take care and have a great day!