Time

Where did the time go?
It was whisked away,
like a feather tossed in a stiff breeze;
a hurricane blowing it to God knows where.

Time melted away as a child’s ice cream cone,
in the heat of a muggy summer day;
evaporating into nothingness,
drifting away as steam.

Time is an elusive creature,
not willing to be tamed,
wild and free,
and impossible to be caged.

One minute I feel rich with time,
but the next minute I am in poverty;
begging for more,
but with none to be found.

Time can’t be borrowed, purchased or stolen.
Some say time is money,
but time is time
and thus worth more than gold.

Time is to be used now.
It can’t be banked or stored up.
It can’t be saved for a rainy day,
for time refuses to wait.

When you have time,
spend it — spend it or lose it.
Spend it on someone, now,
for someone needs your time, now.

When you have time,
don’t wait long;
for it will tick tock down its path,
merrily going its way; never looking back.

The time is now.
Tell someone about Jesus,
before time runs out,
never to return again.

Its time…

Gordon ~ Homelessness Sucks

We met Gordon recently.

I don’t know his story other than he’s a black man who is homeless in Sumner, WA. My family and I were in town for an event when we saw him sitting on a downtown bench with his stuff. We all felt the God nudge so we stopped the car. We just needed to do something. In the back of my car are these bags…

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These bags came from the brain and heart of my 5-year-old daughter. She wanted to do something to help people who find themselves homeless and so she came up with this. We are incredibly proud of her. So my wife and I helped her put these together and now the two of us have these in our vehicles. We are currently in the process of adding to these bags and now others in my congregation want to help too. To God be the glory.

Anyway, we stopped and interrupted our evening activities to meet Gordon. My 4-year-old son wanted to get out with me so we grabbed a bag and walked across the street. I introduced the two of us to Gordon and shook his hand. Gordon’s eyes lit up as he smiled and introduced himself to us. We chatted for a bit as I handed him the above bag. Gordon thanked me and my son and we parted ways.

And now…

…my thoughts and prayers continue to be with Gordon. I wrote about Sofia’s story recently and I wish I knew Gordon’s story. So many regrets with my encounter with Gordon. I wish I had taken more time to listen but maybe God is teaching me. Maybe each and every encounter is one more step in my education and discipleship. I don’t know. What I do know is that I haven’t forgotten about Gordon; I can still see his face in my brain. And that’s good. I have a feeling that when the next opportunity comes around God will nudge me more.

God help me. God help us.

I/we have much to learn.

Remember Gordon and join me in praying for him. I/you don’t know his story, but God does. And God willing, I will see Gordon again so I can learn more of his story.

So, remember and pray. Learn and grow. Respond and act. To God be the glory.

The Pastor -|—

Time to Reap

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”
[Matthew 9:37-38]

Have you prayed about this? Have you noticed what Jesus is saying; that the harvest is plentiful? Have you asked Jesus to send people into the field to reap the harvest? Well, have you? Now, have you included yourself in that prayer? No? Well, why not? I bet you’ve said something along the lines of, “I’m not qualified“, “I’m too old“, “I’m too young”, “I’m retired”, or any number of other lame excuses. Yes, I just said that, “lame excuses‘, because that’s what they are. If Jesus sends you into the mission field then Jesus will qualify you. And Jesus has sent you because your mission field are the people in your immediate social network.

What social network? I’m not on Facebook or Twitter?

I’m not talking about social media but your social NETWORK; those people you interact with on a regular basis. They are your family, friends, neighbors, restaurant servers, child’s teacher, UPS delivery person, coworkers, etc, etc, etc. You get the point, right? You are already smack dab in the middle of the plentiful harvest. And the workers that are needed?

YOU!!!

Pray not only that God would send workers into the harvest but pray that God would use you. Don’t just pray for revival in the church but pray that revival begins with you. I guarantee you that if you pray boldly like this; for God to send you into the harvest, God will do something amazing through you for His glory. Besides, those people closest to you, why wouldn’t you want them to know about Jesus?

So go ahead, pray the prayer and then hold on. The harvest is ready. Will you go for Jesus?

The Pastor -|—

The Mission

Holy God,
what a relief it is that my
strength,
abilities,
knowledge,
credentials,
and the like
are not what you are looking for
to advance the kingdom of heaven.
As Luther said in his sacristy prayer,
“if it were left up to me I would surely bring it all to ruin”.
That is so true.
Rather,
you call the unqualified to proclaim Your Good News;
qualifying us through the Holy Spirit.
May we keep our eyes on You
and not turn inward; thinking either
“I am not qualified” and thus turn away from the mission,
or think,
“I am pretty good” and thus focus on our abilities; derailing the mission.
Holy God,
through Jesus Christ You redeemed us and empowered us.
May we not abandon the mission
but rather proclaim from the mountain top,
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”.
All praise, honor, glory and worship be unto You,
oh God,
through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Amen!

The Pastor -|—

Four Months Ago

Four months ago today, my family and I arrived in Puyallup, WA after a three day journey from SW MN. What made that journey even more remarkable is that this journey was completed with a 3 and 1 year-old, but to their credit, my kiddos did great.

Four months ago today, my family and I began this new chapter in our lives. We were in a hotel anxiously awaiting the moving truck to arrive at our Orting, WA home the next day. We could hardly wait to get settled in.

Four month ago today, my family and I entered a “foreign country” to follow God’s call in our lives. We were scared and excited, happy and sad; as we left family and friends behind in the Midwest to enter an exciting mission field.

Four months ago (tomorrow), my family and I were welcomed with open arms as my new congregation descended upon our home to help us move in. We felt so loved.

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Four months ago (on the 29th), this pastor began serving a congregation in a box (we don’t have our own church building, yet).  I stood up to lead worship that morning, almost feeling like I was a visiting pastor, but this congregation quickly made me feel at home.

So many memories have been made these past four months. So many exciting things have been happening. So much for which to be thankful. I praise God for my first 12 years of ministry but now I continue to look forward to what God will do through me and my family here. Living Word Lutheran Church is a church on the move; not because it’s physical property is stored in a trailer but because it’s a church that knows that it can not remain stationary. They are on the move in this mission field; working hard to expand the Kingdom of God.

Four months ago today, my family and I joined the sinners and saints here to proclaim the Living Word of God in Jesus Christ. Four months that have been filled with blessings. I can hardly wait to see what the next four months will hold.

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Me (left) and my friend, Pastor Dan (right) on the day of my installation.

Praise be to God!

The Pastor -|—

Glory to God

On my desk I have a picture frame that houses our family’s 2014 Christmas card. The card proudly shows off six pictures. Five of the pictures are of my two beautiful children and the sixth picture is a shot of our family of four. I find myself staring at this picture often; in awe that that is my family.

But as I stare at that beautiful arrangement of pictures; my eyes drift to the bottom left side of the card. There, in that corner are the words:

Glory to God

The words are meant to be a Christmas greeting and proclamation to our family and friends but they also remind me of God’s grace and faithfulness in our lives.

You see, about two years ago, my wife and I were wondering if we would ever be parents (especially after our painful failed adoption in March 2013), but now we are the parents of two beautiful children (both under the age of two, crazy, I know). Life has definitely changed for us, and in more ways than one:

~ Our house is now chaotic as our living room has turned into one big toy room.
~ Our Schedules are more complex.
~ Sleep is a premium.
~ Children’s songs now ring in my head.
~ Packing and traveling is stressful.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way 🙂

But also, our faith in God through Jesus has been strengthened (and I definitely wouldn’t have THAT any other way).

Glory to God

You see, I was a Christian before the failed adoption, but afterwards, something “more”. And that’s the best way I can describe it. My wife and I became so much closer to each other and especially to God. We began to look at God differently (and in a good way). We began to lean more on God, especially during the healing process following the failed adoption. God was great before, we just noticed it better after we thought our lives were falling apart. God never deserted us; He was just doing something amazing.

Glory to God

Now I wonder how people do it. How do they navigate life without God? How do they deal with loss without God? How to they deal with tragedy without God? How do they face death without God? All of these questions perplex me and drive me to proclaim the Good News of Jesus. I don’t want anyone to deal with the crap of this world on their own.

I want people to lean on God through faith in Jesus.
I want people to know the peace of God that surpasses all understanding.
I want people to see their sinfulness and need for a Savior.
I want people to see their need to confess their sins.
I want people to hear God’s forgiveness through Jesus.
I want people to know the hope of the resurrection.
I want people to know Jesus.
I want people to give…

Glory to God

So in case you wanted to know what drives this pastor to serve and minister and write all these blog posts, well, there you go. It’s about Jesus. It’s about the Gospel. It’s about Life. It’s about giving…

Glory to God

…always and forever; for He is worthy.

The Pastor -|—

Off your butt

In a few moments I will be leaving this closet I call an office and heading out into the community to do something I thoroughly enjoy…

Visit people.

My first stop will be The Pines (the assisted living facility here in Jackson).  On the first Tuesday of every month I meet with the Salem members living there to bring them communion and to visit.  Next, I will go to what many people call my second office: Coffee Choices (I think the title of the place is self-explanatory).  In addition to getting my afternoon coffee I hope to run into people to visit with; if not customers then the staff.

And after my coffee stop I will see where the wind blows me.

To some, this may look like I am being lazy and not working, but on the contrary, this is extremely important work.  To be a minister of the Gospel; whether a called pastor or a lay person, you need to go out to where people are at.  You need to engage people in their context.  You need to listen to people and relate to what they are going through.  And to do this ministry you need to get out there.

You can’t just sit and wait for people to find you; you need to find them. You need to take the initiative.  You need to take advantage of opportunities that God gives you. I am not saying that as a Christian that you need to have a sermon ready to preach to everyone you meet.  What I am saying is that you need to be ready to show love to everyone and to do that you need to get off your butt.

It’s really simply ministry when you think about it; you get some exercise and maybe a cup of coffee or two.

So here I go.  My butt is leaving this chair. Will I see you out there?

The pastor -|—