Happy Father’s Day

The following is the annual posting of my Father’s Day Prayer. It is a prayer that is loosely based on some wording from a Mother’s Day Prayer I received from a colleague over 10 years ago. It also includes suggested petitions I have received from others over the years, This prayer goes through revisions each year and thus has morphed into what you read today. To God be the glory.

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God our Father, in Your wisdom and love You made all things. You have created and ordained men to be heads of their household. Give them the faith to be godly teachers and examples to their family, leading them in holiness.

Bless those new fathers, who have been called and accepted the responsibility of parenting.
Bless those men who have lost a spouse to death or divorce.
Bless those men who, through various circumstances, find themselves parenting their children alone.
Bless those men who have been called to parent children through adoption or the foster care system.
Bless grandfathers who share their wisdom and love with multiple generations.
Bless those fathers who have had to bear the grief of burying of a child.

We pray for fathers who have made the decision to abort a child. Bring healing and reconciliation through Jesus.
We pray for those men who choose to remain without biological children, may they continue to show fatherly love with the world in many ways.
We give thanks for uncles and godfathers and neighbors, who share fatherly love with so many children; and for far too often overlooked stepfathers.
We pray for those men who struggle with infertility, whose desire for a child is met with frustration.
We pray for the fathers of children with special needs and chronic illness, who know anxiety and exhaustion better than most.
We pray for those men who were given abuse and heartbreak by the ones called to love them.
We pray for fathers who have made the difficult and loving decision to entrust a child to adoptive parents.

Strengthen all these men by and through Your love that they may be the loving and caring persons they are called and meant to be as they reflect Your love and glory. Grant this, Father God, through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Mother’s Day Prayer

I have posted the following Mother’s Day prayer often. Each time there have been small edits as it continues to evolve. Happy Mother’s Day to all you women out there. I give thanks to God for you.

Let us pray…

This Mother’s Day, we give thanks for loving, wonderful mothers, who have given their children and others so many invaluable gifts. We give thanks for new mothers, welcoming new life into the world. We give thanks for those who choose their children; adoptive and foster parents, who model the adoptive love of God. We give thanks for aunts and godmothers and neighbors, who share maternal love with so many children; and for far too often overlooked stepmothers. We pray for grandmothers who show a special love with grandchildren that forms connections that run deep. We give thanks for those who choose to remain without biological children, sharing love with the world in countless ways.

Together we pray for the many mothers who have had to bear the unimaginable burden of burying a child, and those who have born the silent grief of stillbirth or miscarriage. We remember those who have seemingly had hope ripped from them through a failed adoption. We pray for those who struggle with infertility, whose desire for a child is met with frustration. We pray for women who have made the decision to abort a child and continue live with that painful decision. Bring healing and reconciliation through Jesus. We pray for the mothers of children with special needs and chronic illness, who know anxiety and exhaustion better than most. We pray for those who were given abuse and heartbreak by the ones called to love them. We pray for mothers who have made the difficult and loving decision to entrust a child to adoptive parents. We remember mothers who parent alone for a variety of reasons, who deal with challenges that many can not understand but do so with grace and love.

We remember all women, who function in motherly roles even though they may not have children as the world defines it, yet they are mothers to so many by showing a motherly love that is tender, compassionate, caring in a way that only a mother can show. Lord, we thank you for the gift of mothers, of all kinds. Lord, in Your mercy…

You’re Being Watched

Here is my newest article for the Buffalo Center Tribune that was published today. To God be the glory!


Have you ever gone through your day thinking that someone is watching you? Do you ever look over your shoulder to see if someone is following you? Unnerving thoughts to say the least, but that is reality. For you see, your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). But many people (maybe even you) don’t even give this a second thought. But the fact remains, Satan is prowling around waiting for an opportune time to attack. And then, when you least expect it, he pounces on his prey.


Now, maybe you’re thinking, “My faith is strong”; “I read my Bible”; “I pray every day”; “I go to worship”; “I attend Bible study”; “I hang out with Christian friends”. Basically, “What do I have to worry about?” Well, let me tell you, that is the opportune time for which Satan is waiting. A mentor of mine once told me that Satan likes to attack us where we are the strongest, where we feel the most comfortable. He likes to pounce on our strengths in order to tempt us to misuse them. If you are a strong orator, then the temptation will be to use your words to your own advantage through a distortion of the truth. If you are charismatic, then the temptation will be to use your personality to lead people astray. If you are good with numbers, then the temptation might be to embezzle. And you get the point. But the weak are not safe from the lion. They are just easier prey.


So, what is the hope? How do we stay strong? How to we withstand Satan’s attacks? Well, first you must admit that you are the problem; sin living in you. You were conceived in sin, born in sin and now live in sin. You cannot pass the buck here, “The Devil made me do it”. But there is Good News. The father of lies, Satan, has been defeated through the cross of Jesus. Jesus rose from the dead for the forgiveness of your sins. You have been redeemed from the power of sin and death. You have been set free from the taskmaster, Satan. Yes, you are still a sinner, and yes, Satan still stalks his prey. But God has won the battle. Look to him, not just in weakness but also in strength.


And so, I invite you to attend Holy Week services this week. There is a community Maundy Thursday service at Bethlehem Lutheran Church (also live streamed on our YouTube channel) and a community Good Friday service at the United Methodist Church. Both services are at 7 PM. And then on Sunday, attend Easter worship at the church of your choice. Here at Bethlehem we have a 7:00 AM Sunrise and 9:30 AM Festival service. Both are also live streamed on our YouTube channel.

Hear the Good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection and give thanks and praise for the salvation He freely gives to sinners. All is not lost, but rather, everything has been gained for you. Seek Jesus. Know Jesus. Praise Jesus. To God be all glory, forever and ever, Amen.

The Word of the Lord

Another poem for you. This was written with Jonah 1:1-2 and Jonah 3:1 in mind. Jonah has been my Lenten preaching series this year. The focus tonight is the power of God’s Word, not man’s word, to save. To God be the glory!


The Word of the Lord is powerful;
It is holy, awesome and true.
The Word of the Lord is mighty,
It’s my Father making me new.
It is a word of redeeming love,
of a Savior who died for me.
It is a word for wayward sinners,
from our God who has set me free.

Opening Prayer ~ Power and Authority

Holy God,
all authority and power resides with You
for You are power and authority;
sovereign over all creation.
You are mighty and merciful,
full of grace and truth.
You are the very breath we breathe.
You are our life.
No heart beat goes by without Your knowledge and guiding hand,
and what a wonderful place to be –
in Your hands.
We do not have enough words or the capacity to glorify You as You deserve,
so we ask
that Your Spirit may intercede for us
and through us
so that Your praises ring loud and clear.
To You be all glory, honor, praise, worship and thanksgiving, through Christ Jesus our Lord,
Amen.

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.

My Amazing God

Your eye is upon me O God
As You reign on high.
Never distant
Never silent
On You I can always rely.

You hear my cries all day and night
Not turning a deaf ear.
Always listening
Always caring
I love that You are always near.

Your grace receives this sin-filled life
Washing me white as snow.
Always forgiving
Always restoring
Through Jesus You’ll never let me go.

Praise will always be lifted high
Raising my hands to You.
Always worshipping
Always glorifying
For to You all honor is due.

Worship, Part 2

The following article is was published in The News Tribune (Tacoma) on Sunday, June 20. It is part two of my two-part series about worship in a post-pandemic era. To God be the glory!


Does a Christian have to go to worship? In my June 6 article, I posed this question and then two inferred questions from it, (1) Does a Christian have to worship (which I answered on June 6), and now today, (2) Does a Christian have to go to worship.

Wait a second pastor, it sounds like you are just repeating the question. Yes and no. The difference today is whether a Christian has to go somewhere, to a particular place, and worship corporately with other Christians, in-person. So that is what I am going to address today.

For over a year now, the pandemic has forced churches to get creative and to step outside the box (i.e online worship). It has forced pastors and leaders to learn new skills (i.e how to live stream). It has forced congregations to invest in new technologies (i.e. video cameras). And now, as we appear to be on the back side of this pandemic, we are asking the question, “What now?” How do we do church in a post-pandemic period? What is the new normal? As more and more people get vaccinated, I am seeing more and more people begin to return to in-person worship, but not everyone. Some are still leery which I respect. Some still have questions.

There was no question that at the beginning of this pandemic stepping away from in-person activities was prudent, for a time, but it was never supposed to be the norm, nor should it. As creatures, God designed us to be in communion with one another. We are relational and online cannot satisfy the communal nature God gifted us with. There are indeed exceptions to the rule (i.e. health, distance), but online should never be the norm if you are able to be present. You see, it is within the body of believers that one another’s praises are heard and compounded with ours. It is with others that sins are confessed, and absolution is received. It is with brothers and sisters in Christ that we are held accountable. Separated by distance and protected by a computer screen, it is too easy to hide and thus conceal sins.

We are not made to be apart. As the body of Christ, we are made to be together, building each other up. When you are separated from the body of believers, the body of believers no longer benefit from the Spiritual gifts God has given you. Your gifts were meant to be used and expressed with others. Your love for God is meant to be shared and meant to be seen by others. Yes, I get that this pandemic is scary, but our God is bigger. It is time for the Church to reunite and get to know one another again. It is time to face these challenges together. It is time to exert ourselves and march into battle together, carrying the banner of victory that God won through Jesus Christ.

Does a Christian have to GO TO worship? My prayer for you is that (if you are physically able) you will want to in order to magnify God’s glory in this world. To God be the glory, always and forever, Amen.

Worship ~ part 1

The following is the article I submitted to The News Tribune (Tacoma) for Sunday, June 6. It is part one of two focusing on worship in what looks to be a post-pandemic period. Part two will be published on June 20 so keep your eyes peeled. To God be the glory!


A question was posted on social media recently; a question that harvested a number of responses. Mine was not one of them, but I was tempted. I held off to carefully consider my response and not risk a full-scale social media debate that rarely produces anything constructive. Rather, I am choosing to share my response with you as a way to discern what is next for the church in what looks like a post-pandemic world. So first the question:

Does a Christian have to go to worship?

There are a couple things being inferred in this question, intentional or not – both of which are beyond the scope of a 500-word article I am allotted each time in this paper. So, consider this article part one, with part two coming on June 20. I realize the suspense may be difficult but please hang with me. I believe it will be worth your time.

The two inferences to the above question are, (1) Does a Christian have to worship, and (2) Does a Christian have to go to worship? I propose these two inferences because “going to worship” can imply the act of worship or a place where others gather for worship.  And both of these questions are important to consider in a post-pandemic world.

The first inference question, “Do I have to worship?”, has two responses from me. The first is that everyone worships whether you admit it or not. Worship is simply whatever or whomever you give utmost importance and attention. The second response is this, the question is un-Christian. What I mean, is that a Christian, one who has the Spirit of God living in them, bearing witness to their spirit that they are a child of God (Romans 8:12-17), does not ask this question. Why? Because worship of God the Father is a natural outflow because of what you know of God and what He has done for you. Through Jesus Christ, you are made righteous and thus are no longer under condemnation. God condemned sin in Jesus, that you may live. And when the sinner realizes this through the gift of faith, one’s heart explodes in worship. Worship takes many forms, but however it looks, it is done joyfully and without asking, “Do I have to?”. For a saved sinner, worship is as natural as breathing.

Can you see how this is an un-Christian question? Therefore, the only proper response to the question is this: NO! A Christian does not HAVE to worship. A Christian GETS to worship this awesome God. But the issue is definitely not settled because the next inference is this, which I will deal with on June 20, Does a Christian have to “go to” worship?” Is corporate worship – worshiping with others – important?

This is my response to part one of this question. More can be said, but that is enough for now. Prayerfully consider this question: Do you have to or do you get to worship? So there you have it. I’ll see you on the 20th. To God be the glory, Amen.

Worship Prayers ~ Hear My Prayer

Father God,
Lord of heaven and earth,
King of all creation,
Redeemer and Sustainer,
I praise Your great name.
You are worthy of all worship and then infinitely more.
Your great name is holy and therefore I seek honor it.
Your majesty is awesome, it leaves me speechless.
You reign on high and know every last star,
every grain of sand,
and every hair on my head.
You know all of this and yet You know the desires, joys and sorrows of my heart,
and not only know them
but deeply care about every last one.
O God,
I give You thanks and come before You with my prayer,
knowing that You hear me and give according to Your perfect and holy will.
You give me daily bread
and sustain me for Your glory.
And so here I am, O God in the name of Jesus.
Lord in You mercy,
Hear my prayer…