Questions

The following is my most recent article for the Buffalo Center Tribune. To God be the glory!


I am not sure how it started or when and where, but somewhere along the way I had developed a fear of asking questions. This was especially true in school and something that was exasperated while in seminary. Early on in seminary I perceived what I deemed a disadvantage. Many of my classmates were younger and coming straight out of college. But that was not the key disadvantage on which I dwelt. Many of my classmates were coming straight out of private Christian universities (i.e. St Olaf, Augustana, Gustavus). Many had taken religion classes, and some even had religion majors or minors. They had studied many of the theologians that we were studying and reading in seminary. And many of those theologians were ones of which I had never heard or read. Coming out of a state university with an accounting degree, seminary was not even close to my future plans. I felt unprepared and intimidated. So, when questions arose with me, I was afraid to raise my hand in class out of fear of looking ignorant or stupid and so, I kept quiet. Sometimes I worked up the courage to ask my professor after class, but always in their office, away from prying eyes or ears. But even then, I feared what my professor thought of me. And so, through unasked questions, I was left to search for the answers myself or just let it go.

In the Gospel text for Sunday, Sept 19 from Mark 9:30-32, Jesus is teaching the disciples privately saying, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him. And when he is killed, after three days he will rise.” But they (the disciples) did not understand the saying, and were afraid to ask him (Jesus).” Maybe this fear stemmed from Jesus’ rebuke of Peter when Peter challenged Jesus about this earlier. Whatever the case, they kept the matter to themselves, but later would understand. But how many people today, “keep the matter to themselves” and never come to understand. Often it is not because of a fear of asking questions (it could be) but rather not knowing the right questions or even realizing that they have questions. Too often, we just assume that fellow worshippers or others are Christians. They never ask questions, and we never press the issue, but maybe we should.

Have you ever asked someone, “How’s your relationship with Jesus doing?” This may make you or that other person uncomfortable, but it could just be the question they or you need to hear. They could be looking for that right person who will not think less of them if their relationship with Jesus is lacking. You should never assume faith. In all places and in all situations, give them Jesus. As a follower of Jesus, I would love to hear that question from a brother or sister; someone who cares for my eternal wellbeing. Never assume faith and always assume there are unasked questions lurking out there that need answers. Become a safe place for someone to get the answers they need. To God be the glory and Amen.

Okay

My God hears me when I pray,
each and every day.
He hears me when I cry,
til the day I die.
He knows my very heart,
and yet He’ll not depart.
He knows my every sin,
the darkness there within.
He’s ready to forgive,
through Jesus I will live.
He’s ready to remake;
my heart He’ll not forsake.
So hear me when I say,
with Jesus you’re okay.

Uncomprehending Grace

Jesus my Lord, my Savior, and my friend.
With me always all the way to the end.

He heals me, saves me, and delivers me.
He holds me, loves me, and in him I’m free.

I’m disobedient and obstinate.
He’s always and ever compassionate.

Jesus my Lord, my Savior, and my friend.
Oh God, Your grace I’ll never comprehend.

Glory in the Cross

Oh, in the cross of Christ I glory,
For it tells my salvation story.
A sinner,
dead,
lost,
and condemned;
floundering,
here and there,
and going nowhere.
Seeking pleasure,
worth,
all here on earth.
Striving after wind,
and Breath,
and gaining only death.
But on the cross my Savior died,
taking all my sin,
this life,
my strife.
Then Jesus rose from death for me,
taking all my self,
my soul
now whole.
And now I live, I mean, really live,
a life unending,
all transcending.
For, now its Jesus,
only Jesus,
now and forever,
He will never sever.
And so I’ll glory in the cross of Christ.
Oh Jesus my Lord,
it’s you I adore.

Confession in the Morn

I rise in the morn and raise my prayer,
Seeking earnestly to clear the air.
My sins are great and many are they,
But Jesus died and for them he did pay.
He paid for my sins so lovingly.
He saved my soul so amazingly.
Redeemed am I and thus I will live.
Redeemed am I my life I will give.

Raise Your Hands

Raise your hands to the Lord,
and all that is in you.
Raise your hands to the Lord,
for He is faithful and true.
He has redeemed your life from the pit.
He has saved you from death.
The Lord is mighty to save.
So praise Him with your every breath.
In Jesus you have a new family.
In Jesus you are not cast away.
In Jesus all hope is secure.
So raise your praise on this day.
Why wait? Why wait, to praise the Lord?
For He is worthy of praise now.
Look into His Word and know,
I promise that you will say “Wow!”
Raise you hands to the Lord,
and all that is in you.
Raise your hands to the Lord,
For all praise to Him is definitely due.

Without Ceasing

Holy God,
my prayer rises to You in the morning,
and at the noontide.
My prayer rises to you in the evening,
and as my eyes close to hide.
I can come to You in any moment.
though I am thoroughly unclean.
I need to come you in Jesus,
for my sin is not unseen.

You have commanded me to pray without ceasing,
You have commanded me to run to You.
You have commanded me raise my petitions.
All glory to you is due.

And You command me so because,
well,
You love me.
You want fellowship with me.
You want me to draw closer to You.
You desire me – a sinner.

Through Jesus I am forgiven.
Through Jesus I am Yours.
Through Jesus I have hope.
Through Jesus Your love ensures.

Father Almighty and Holy God,
draw me closer for I want more of
You.
In Jesus holy and awesome name I pray –
continually,
Amen.

I Am Yours

I am Yours and not my own.
I am Yours and not alone.
I am Yours and not exposed.
I am Yours and not opposed.

I belong to You,
A tender, little child.
I belong to You,
On me You have smiled.
The world trips me up,
Trying to hold me back.
But I am Yours,
Thus they'll always attack.

But I shall not fear,
Nor will I fret,
For I am Yours,
thus I am set.

I am Yours and not my own.
I am Yours and fully known.
Through Jesus Christ Your dear Son,
I am Yours and I have won.

Air

As air fills the earth,
so Your love surrounds me.
Never a moment passes that I am devoid of it.
It gives me life and sustains -
     remove it and I die.
Every waking and sleeping moment -
     I am surrounded.
It fills me.
I do not have to seek it.
     It seeks me.
Never can I hide from it,
     for it is relentless.
Never does it run out,
     for it is abundant.
You are the air I breathe.
You are the life I live.
You surround me - 
     with love.
O God,
in Jesus' awesome name,
     I praise You.

[Breathe]