Wading in the Word: Open doors

As I was wading in the Word this morning, these verses from Colossians splashed me in the face:

Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.
Colossians 4:2‭-‬4 ESV

What got me wet this morning was Paul’s request to pray for him; that God may open doors for the Word. We pray with our children every night and go down the “list” of people in our lives. We thank God for our many blessings. We recount our day. We praise Him. But one thing I have not done was pray for God to open a door for the Word as we go about our days. Paul was in prison and had a captive audience (so to speak); the guards who were guarding him. But why not us? We encounter people nearly everyday and thus, when we encounter them, there is an opportunity for the Word – whether they are a believer or not. Pray that God opens a door for the Word, but also pray for that holy nudge to walk through that door. Pray also for the faith and courage to share the Word, but all the while, giving glory to God.

Holy God, open doors for me this day to share Your Word of life. Give me that nudge to walk through and the words to say in that moment. To You be all glory, honor, praise and worship, through Christ Jesus my Lord, Amen.

The Sound

Sitting in the silence,
with only a trickle of light,
teasing the darkness.
A cup filled with liquid pleasure
warming my hands.
Listening.
The silence is loud,
yet,
small, insignificant sounds distract me,
pulling me away from the moment,
the Sound.
I must silence the sounds –
wading through the clutter –
and return to the Sound,
the Voice,
the One.

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.

Pray, Pray and Pray Some More

The following is my final article for The News Tribune as today is my final Sunday at Living Word Lutheran Church. On Sunday, August 29, I begin my new (3rd) call at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Buffalo Center, IA. I have thoroughly enjoyed writing these article over the years. My hope is that I will have an opportunity to continue writing articles for the local paper there. Either way, I will still be here. And so here you go…to God be the glory, always.


In my five years serving as the pastor at Living Word Lutheran Church, one of my favorite taglines has been, “Pray, pray and pray some more”. This is not just a take off from 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 where the Apostle Paul encourages us to Pray without ceasing. Yes, it definitely inspired this tagline but there is more to it. Far too often, prayer is only something people resort to when all else fails. Life is falling apart, a big decision looms and you do not know what to do, you have lost your job and wondering how to make ends meet, a cancer diagnosis has turned your life upside down. Whatever the case, prayer is that “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” lifeline. You call up God, give Him the situation and look for the million-dollar answer to make everything better. But that is not what prayer is all about. It is not about making your life better now.

Prayer is a relationship. It is not phoning a friend, but intimacy with the Creator. It is a relationship with your heavenly Father. It is curling up in the loving arms of your Good Shepherd. Prayer is not about changing God but rather being changed by God. Prayer is a way of life, not a portion of your life that you do in the morning, evening, at meals and sometimes throughout the day when “needed”. Prayer is not just simply listening and talking to God, but just being with the Father and living a life worthy of your calling – your calling to be a child of God through faith in Jesus Christ.

Prayer is done in all circumstances, in all times, in all places and in all stations of life. Pray, pray and pray some more, and when you have done that, pray. Live in fellowship with God with your eyes firmly fixed on His will, His purposes and His glory. Pray, pray and pray some more, seeking to know Him better. Pray, pray and pray some more, not for comfort in this life, but because of the hope you have been given for eternal peace with the Father. Pray, pray and pray some more, knowing that I will be praying right along with you and for you.

Today, marks my final article for The News Tribune and my final Sunday as pastor of Living Word Lutheran Church. I will begin serving my new call in northern Iowa on August 29. But these articles will not end. There are many talented and godly people at Living Word who are ready to pick up the mantle, thus these articles on the 1st and 3rd Sundays will continue. It has been a joy to write these articles over the years and I will miss them – I will miss you, even though I never met many of you. But know this, no matter where I am, I will be praying, praying and praying some more, with you to the glory of God our Father through Christ Jesus our Lord. Take care, my friends and brothers and sisters in Christ. Until we meet again, Amen.

So You Are

A mother cradling her newborn baby.
A hen spreading her wings over her brood.
A father’s provision for his family.
A king’s army guarding the city wall.

So You are to me,
O God.
So You are to me.
For,

Without You I am vulnerable and dead,
But in Jesus I am victorious.
Without faith You are hidden and ordinary,
But in Jesus You are glorious.
My Life.
My love.
My everything.

A rock solid foundation.
A fiercely strong and mighty warrior.
A tender hand and warm embrace
A grace-filled and merciful Lord.

So You are to me,
O God.
So You are to me.

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]

Prayer in Weakness

Whatever weakness or vulnerability you are facing, may You know the grace and love of God through Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. He will never leave you nor will He desert you, leaving you to deal with your affliction alone. He is faithful and will be your strength. Praise Him in the storm. Praise Him always and forever. Praise Him. Let us pray…

Oh God,
I feel weak and vulnerable, frail and helpless. My strength has been melted away. But, You never promised the easy way in this life, but Jesus did promise to be with us to the very end of the age.
Oh my God,
sustain me in that promise.
For that promise, in the midst of affliction and weakness, is what gives me strength and hope. It cheers my heart when I am down and lifts me up when it feels I am at rock bottom.

May I not forget Your faithfulness.

Though my body feels frail, you are my strength.
Though I feel vulnerable, You are my Helper.
Though I feel useless, Your Spirit still works through me.
Though I feel pain, You are my Comforter.
Though I feel hopeless at times, You never desert me.
Though I feel overwhelmed, You are in complete control.

Oh God, my Father, Sustainer, Good Shepherd, Sovereign God, Lord and my Rock,
I praise You in the storm.
Though the waves are crashing into my boat,
You hold me tight
and will not let me be swept away.
Though the winds are blowing hard against me,
You hold me firm
and have placed me upon the Rock.
And so I beseech You,
Oh my God,
bind Satan that he may not drive me to despair.
Cast him away that my strength is not in fighting him,
but rather,
spent glorifying You,
knowing that my strength is from You.
And so,
as I sit here,
may You be glorified despite and though my weakness,
for You are worthy,
and my Good God almighty.
It is in Jesus name I pray,
Amen.

Steal Me Away

Father God,
Steal away my affections from the world who holds me captive.
Steal away my affections from myself who clings to the lies sold to me.
Steal away my affections for false gods and worldly pleasures.
Destroy my misguded sense of obligation to satify the flesh; to pay it back for promises on which it cannot deliver. The flesh can only deliver death, but through Jesus Christ You are life.
Steal away my gaze that I may know You more intimately.
Steal away my heart that I may desire You more passionately.
Steal away my mind that I may long for you more deeply.
O God,
I am lost without You.
I am weak without You.
I am defeated without You.
Father God almighty, sovereign Lord of Creation, the great shepherd of the Sheep,
Steal me away and hide me in Jesus.
Secure
Safe
Forever
Father God,
Steal me away.