Desire

Let us praise and worship our awesome God.
Written for the Great Thanksgiving in our Holy Communion liturgy…


To give You thanks and praise, oh God, is indeed our delight, for through Jesus Christ, You have fulfilled our deepest desire. Our desire is to live life to the fullest and that cannot be done outside of You. You have redeemed us from sin and death. You have filled us with Your Spirit. You have defeated every enemy. You have placed us upon the Rock. Oh God, our Father and Creator, our Strong Fortress and Shield, our Hope and Salvation. Draw us closer and closer that we may delight more and more in You. And on that Day, may we be taken up into the loving arms of our bridegroom, Jesus Christ. And so, in our joy that is only from You, we join with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven in singing Your unending praise…

Child-Like Praying

Holy God, it is not long, beautiful, poetic words that impress You or are more effective, but rather prayers that come from the heart of one who trusts You. It is like a child coming up to their mommy or daddy asking for a glass of water and fully expecting to receive it. They trust their parents. May I, Your child, learn to come to You as my holy daddy – opening my heart and humbling myself before You in the name of Jesus – trusting that You will give to me as You see best. May this great privilege of prayer not become routine or rote. May it be an intimate time with You. May I never take it for granted or view it as a to-do list item. May prayer be the very air I breath. And so, with that in mind – my holy daddy – hear and receive my prayer…

~ Give our nation’s leaders wisdom so they won’t act stupid.
~ Give our nation’s leaders a heart of compassion so they won’t be mean.
~ Put out the fires in Australia and protect those who are fighting them.
~ There are a lot of homeless people. Please help them.
~ May church leaders teach and preach the Bible correctly.
~ May people in the church forgive one another and work together.
~ Help me be strong and not afraid to tell Satan to go back to hell.
~ Protect our men and women serving in the military.
~ Those who are sick, please heal them.
~ Those who are hurt, help them feel better.
~ Help me to talk about Jesus with those who don’t know him.
~ Please help the United States and Iran get along.
~ Please help Democrats and Republicans get along.
~ Please help me get along with people I don’t like or who are mean to me.
~ Please help me be a better pastor.
~ Please help me be a better daddy.
~ Please help me be a better husband.
~ Bless each and every member of the congregation I serve.
~ Bless LCMC (Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ).
~ Thank you for our police, fire fighters, paramedics, first responders and other emergency personnel. Bless them as they protect and take care of us.
~ Bless my children. Continue to help them grow to know you.
~ Bless my wife. Continue to shape her into the godly woman, mother and wife You want her to be.
~ Give me better eyes to see You and give me better ears to hear You.
~ May I never lose my child-like faith.

There is more on my heart, but You already know that. And so here you go.
I know You hear ALL of my prayers.
I know You respond to ALL of my prayers.
I know You never dismiss my prayers as silly or stupid.
Oh God, my heaven daddy, I love You and want to know You better. As You respond to my prayers give me the faith to see that I may draw closer to You and give You the glory. You are awesome!

Well, that is all for now. I’ll talk to you soon 🙂

In Jesus name I pray,

Amen.

Twelve Days for the Whole Year

The following is the article I submitted for The News Tribune (Tacoma) for today. I have been thinking recently about this secular sense of the “season” of Christmas. In reality, Christmas is not a season but an everyday reality throughout the whole year. That is the inspiration for this article.


January 5 will be the twelfth day of Christmas – and no, it is not about drummers drumming and ending with a bird in a fruit tree. The twelve days of Christmas is just the prelude to the rest of the year as we live in the promises of God through Jesus Christ. And so, with that, I offer this new rendition of the popular Christmas song: The 12 Days of Christmas. Enjoy and to God be the glory.

My true Love doesn’t give me things like partridges or turtle doves, French hens or pipers piping, dancing ladies or egg-laying geese. My true Love does not give me silly things like these.
But my true Love gave to me…

(1) Instead of a partridge in a pear tree, I have a Savior who died for me.
(2) Instead of two turtle doves, I have His love that came down from above.
(3) Instead of three French hens, I have the faith to boldly pray my amens.
(4) Instead of four calling birds, I have His inspired, infallible, inerrant holy Word.
(5) Instead of five golden rings, I have a Spirit-renewed heart that sings.
(6) Instead of six geese a-laying, I have confidence that with Him I will be staying.
(7) Instead of seven swans a-swimming, I have a joy that is more than brimming.
(8) Instead of eight maids a-milking, I have His promises fulfilled that He’s not bilking (yes, that’s a word – and used correctly).
(9) Instead of nine ladies dancing, I have a place in His holy court, at whom I won’t be just glancing.
(10) Instead of ten lords a-leaping, I have security in His hands in which I have safekeeping.
(11) Instead of eleven pipers piping, I have the sure and certain hope that my tears He will be wiping.
(12) Instead of twelve drummers drumming, I have excitement that my Lord Jesus will soon be coming.

My true Love gave me everything I need for all that I need is Him through Christ Jesus my Lord. Amen.

Prayer for Christmas Preaching

This is the prayer I wrote that I will use before I preach tonight. May all preachers grab hold of the opportunity to boldly preach the Gospel as there will, no doubt, be people in attendance who don’t know Jesus. Don’t drop the ball. Give them Jesus.


Holy and awesome God, when sin fractured Your perfect creation You immediately proclaimed hope to a fallen world. Jesus is that hope – Your Son and our Lord. We praise You for Your faithfulness to rescue a lost and fallen creation – and may Your mighty power continue this night.

If there are hurting hearts present who are mourning the loss of a loved one – comfort them. If there are un-convinced hearts present – show them the Light. If there are lost hearts present – claim them. If there are searching hearts present ~ reveal Your Truth to them. Holy God, use my words this night and may they not return to You empty, but continue to work in order to rescue lost people. Awaken hearts and enliven souls as only You can do, oh God.

And now, Father God, as the shepherds made haste to find the Christ-child, a Savior born for all, may we too join in the joyous procession – living in the joy and love of Christmas all year round. To You be all glory, honor, praise and worship through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

It IS right

Here’s some liturgy I wrote for Holy Communion this morning.


Is it right to give You thanks and praise? Of course it is, oh God. You are our Loving Father,
God almighty,
Creator,
Sovereign Lord and King,
Redeemer and
our Strong Fortress.
You came down at Christmas time and flooded Your creation with Love.You dwelt among us in Jesus Christ, died and rose that our sins would be forgiven. You have obliterated the reign of the Father of Lies; smashing his head as You promised. You have washed us clean with the blood of the lamb and through faith, have clothed us with Christ’s righteousness. Oh God, there is much to thank and praise You for and so we continue our efforts by joining with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven in singing Your unending praise…


To God be the glory, always and forever. Amen!

Shepherds

Shepherds came at Christmas time
to a lowly manger stall.
A sign proclaimed by angels bright,
Good News the angels did chime.

With all haste they ran to see,
a Savior born for all.
Wrapped in cloths for them to find.
They gazed at him with glee.

All who heard them wondered much,
But Mary treasured it all.
As they left they praised our God,
For their hearts had now been touched.

What say you of this Good News?
You sinner condemned to die.
Jesus Christ was born for you.
Receive him and be renewed.

Will you come at Christmas time,
To hear of Love being born.
This is Life for you my friend,
And not just a cute little rhyme.

Never Over

The following is the article I submitted to The News Tribune (Tacoma, WA) for Saturday, Dec 21. To God be the glory.


In a couple more days it will be Christmas. It is what we have been waiting for since sometime before Thanksgiving. Decorations slowly were slipped into department stores around Halloween and Christmas aisles were set up. As Black Friday inched closer, Christmas ads ramped up and then – BAM! – we finished our Thanksgiving dinners and Christmas unofficially started. The mayhem of shopping, decorating homes, planning parties, rehearsing for Christmas programs and baking all those delicious goodies commenced. The hustle and bustle of the season has worn many people down, yet, at least for me, it has been a good tired. The calendar may say that Christmas is almost over but know this – It is NEVER over.

Once the family Christmas gatherings end, the cleanup begins. Lights around town slowly come down and there is almost a depressing quality to the whole process. The festival atmosphere slowly gives way to the dreariness of winter. The Christmas music ends. The bright Christmas cheer fades. Life returns to a sense of normalcy. But why does this have to happen?

Yes, I understand the lights and decorations coming down but why end the Christmas cheer? Why the embracing of the winter doldrums? Christmas is not a secular holiday that shows up on the calendar. It is not just an excuse for an extended family vacation. Christmas is the Good News of a Savior being born for you and for me. Christmas is the love of God blasting its way into the world through the humblest of means. Christmas in a word: JESUS. And let me tell you something, Jesus NEVER ends.

For centuries, Jews were waiting for a Messiah to come. Isaiah, Malachi and other prophets foretold his arrival. John the Baptist appeared and prepared the way of the Lord. Then Jesus appeared in a big way. He performed miracle after miracle but most notably, Jesus was crucified and then rose from the dead for the forgiveness of sins – your sins. Jesus now reigns and lives forever, and since that is the case, how can we say Christmas ends? Christmas does not end, just the decorations, music and presents. The Spirit of Christmas, however, is year-round and the Good News of Christmas is eternal.

I encourage you this Christmas to find a church that faithfully proclaims this Good News – the Word of God – for the true joy of Christmas is only found through the Love that came down at Christmas time. The true joy of Christmas is only found in Jesus. Don’t get caught up in all the secular hype but get caught up in the Holy Spirit through faithful preaching of the Word. With that, I invite you to check out Living Word this Christmas (see the accompanying ad). If that doesn’t work for you then stop by our website and you can watch/listen to the sermons.

May the joy of the Christ child fill you with peace this Christmas season and beyond. To God be the glory, always and forever. Amen.