Category Archives: Worship

Wonderful moments

I had a wonderful moment in worship yesterday (in addition to the hearing and preaching of the Gospel).  It’s a moment that I suspected would come eventually but I was still caught by surprise when I saw it.  It was so uber cute and I’m glad I got to share it with the congregation (at least with those who were sitting along the aisle and could see).

About half way through the final hymn I got up and approached the altar to silently pray.  I thanked God for sustaining me through a busy morning (2 worship services) after a night where Mayah (my 1 year old) did not sleep much.  I asked that His holy Word would continue to work in the hearts of those who heard it this morning and I praised God for His awesomeness, love and grace.

Upon turning around to walk out my wonderful moment happened; my little girl was excitedly walking down the aisle towards me.

[Mayah just started walking this past week so we are still smitten with the cuteness of it all]

My heart melted as I got down on one knee with my arms open wide; waiting to receive my little girl.  I could see smiles cascading down the aisle of those privileged enough to be able to witness this moment. When Mayah got to me she lunged into my arms as if she could hardly wait to get there.  I scooped her up and proudly walked up the aisle with a huge smile on my face.

For me it served as another great reminder of God’s blessings in my life.  It was extremely difficult to get out of bed on Sunday morning after only sleeping a couple hours and the coffee was barely able to give me the boost I needed.  With a lot on my mind, God was faithful to send His Holy Spirit to give me what I needed to lead worship and preach the Gospel.  And to top it off (like icing on a cake), God sent my little girl down the aisle as if to say, “You are loved“.

What a moment :-)

I do feel blessed and not just because I have a wonderful little girl and loving wife, but that I have an awesome God who loves me so much.  God was faithful so that He may be glorified through this weak and tired body of mine.

So many wonderful moments and blessings all around.
What a great day.
What an awesome God!

The pastor -|—

Summer Top Ten List

Yesterday (May 7) was the last day of confirmation for the school year; and what a great year it has been.

The following is a top ten list of things I gave my students, at the end of class, to do over the summer. Not requirements but things to think about as they continue their faith journey; a journey that never ends.  And as I read through this I thought I would share this with you.  They are things that apply to all of us and ones that I will be posting in my office as a constant reminder for me.

So here you go (in no particular order)…
(10) Worship (God the Father, almighty, Creator of heaven and earth)
~ Worship is not a requirement but something that flows out of your faith. We don’t worship because we have to but because we get to.

(9) Read your Bible
~ Bible reading should also be a joy.
~ If you want help staying on course find a partner to read with and hold each other accountable. Talk about about what you read and explore together.

(8) Pray
~ You can’t have a vibrant, healthy relationship with someone if you don’t spend time together.
~ Know that I will continue to be praying for each of you by name.

(7) Make the most of opportunities to share your faith
~ I dare you to ask God to give you an opportunity to share your faith with someone. I have found that God is more than happy to give you opportunities. What you do with them is your choice, but remember, it could be a matter of life or death for that person.

(6) Memorize scripture
~ And not just your “required” memory work. I challenge you to memorize Bible verses as a way of life. You just might be surprised by how God will use those verses in your life to bring Him glory.

(5) Do random acts of kindness
~ Mess with people’s heads (in a good way) by showing the love of Christ.

(4) Deflect praise
~ When someone praises you for something, remember who gave you the ability to do the thing you are being praised for.  Instead of saying “thank you” say, “praise be to God”. I am willing to bet that you will catch their attention; and what a way to share your faith.

(3) Quiet time
~ Take time out of your busy schedule to just think about God, talk and listen to Him, journal and enjoy God’s company.
~ When you are day dreaming about God you are never wasting time ~ but be careful about this if you are supposed to be working :-)

(2) Be brave
~ When your faith is challenged, stand strong. You have the God of all creation by your side. Even if everyone around you is against you and says your wrong; be brave. God is not wrong.

(1) Remember
~ Remember that God loves you beyond anything you can possibly comprehend.

Blessed be the journey :-)

The pastor -|—

A Christmas reflection and blessing

Oh boy…my least favorite day is coming up tomorrow.  Oh well…I have one more opportunity to proclaim the Christmas Gospel this morning before the post-Christmas blues hit.

Last night (Christmas Eve) was wonderful.  We were greeted with a couple inches of that beautiful white stuff; a sanctuary full of family and friends; wonderful music from our organist and my wife’s family on brass along with a confirmation student of mine. We had the privilege of former students reading scripture along with two of my release time kids and two of my confirmation students. I also got finish leading worship while holding my little girl (who celebrated her first Christmas).  And all of this while worshiping our awesome God who came to us at Christmas time in Jesus Christ.

A wonderful night!

Now I am preparing to head out to my country congregation (Belmont Lutheran Church) to lead Christmas Day worship.  And that will be wonderful in it’s own unique way.

Looking back on all the preparations, family time, worship, etc, I just don’t understand how someone could possibly look forward to Christmas being done.  I will welcome the rest but I will be anxious for next year. In the meantime receive this Christmas blessings from me to you as you worship and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ:

May the joy of the Christ-child fill your hearts.
May the joy of the shepherds lead you out to glorify and praise the Lord.
May you ponder with Mary all the things that God has done.
May you have the tenacity of the Magi to follow Jesus each and every day.
And may you bask in the awesome love of God.

Have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!

The pastor -|—

Words

Most holy and awesome God, with simple but powerful words, you created the heavens and the earth.  
With spoken words you called your servants to prophesy and proclaim.  
With words you called forth Lazarus from bondage in a tomb.  
With words you proclaim forgiveness, life and salvation.
 And with words you create, build and maintain faith.  

How I am in awe of your Word, for your Word is lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. Thank you God for your holy Word through Jesus Christ our Lord and King.

But Lord, I also ask that you may bless my words.  Too often we use words to bring people down through gossip and bearing false witness.  May our witness be true as it blesses and praises your holy name.  May we defend people, speak well of them and explain their actions in the kindest way.  May people see our worship of you through our words.

Dear Lord, may your name be praised throughout the whole world and may your word go out and do what it set out to do.  Bless this day and may our worship be pleasing to your ears.  In Jesus name I pray…

Amen!

Worship the Lord with all your heart for God is worthy.

The pastor -|—

Worthy

“Loving God, you are worthy of worship, praise and glory. May our song be pleasing to your ears. May our lives reflect your grace. May your Spirit fill our hearts. In Jesus name, Amen.”

Changes and adjustments

I must admit…this new daddy role has taken some getting used to but it is sinking in more and more with each passing day.  There are many things I knew would change and others I didn’t know exactly how they would change.  I guess that just goes with the territory.  I keep learning and keep adjusting.  Eventually I will develop the illusion that I know what I am doing :-)

Anyway…

One of the big things I have been trying to get use to is working from home.  The congregation gave me the gift of working from home during the month of May so I could spend more time bonding with Mayah.  A couple days a week (when my wife is home) I do go into the office.

When this schedule first started I got a little frustrated because I didn’t anticipate how difficult this working from home would be.  I had big plans on how much I was going to get done while Mayah was sleeping.

Silly daddy…

The biggest problem was that I didn’t plan very well; so the first couple days at home not much work got done.  Now…I have planned my week out better and have set more realistic expectations for myself.  I have also adjusted my hours so I can get done everything that is expected of me by others and myself.

Wednesday was worship prep and sermon prep day from home.  I planned worship for Sunday and did some sermon prep reading and research.  Today (Thursday) I am home again but this time I will be fully ready to write the sermon while Mayah is sleeping…despite the fact I didn’t get much sleep last night.  Oh well…that’s what coffee is for.

So here we go…another day at home bonding with my little girl and doing ministry here in Jackson.  The best of both worlds.

The pastor/new daddy -|—

Hungry sheep

A prayer for you as you prepare for worship this morning.  May God be glorified in your song and may you be fed by the Word:

Holy God, we enter this place as lost sinners; those who have denied you through our selfishness and sin. We, like Peter and the other disciples, have fled from you when given a chance to proclaim your Good News. We are lost sheep, but you have come looking for us.  Through the cross you have brought healing.  Through your grace you have restored us.  Through your command you have sent us.  We come now to offer our thanks and praise to you.  Hear our song.  Receive our worship. And feed us at your table that we may go out and feed the lambs and sheep you bring to us.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior we pray, Amen.

And…as we leave worship let’s remember Jesus’ command to Peter (and us) to feed his lambs; take care of his sheep and to feed his sheep.

May God bless your day :)

The pastor -|—

Questions in need of an answer

This will be short and to the point…at least for now:

Why do you attend worship with the Body of Christ (that is if you are one who does attend worship)?

Is there anything that would keep you from worshiping with the Body of Christ?

I am curious.  Please leave a comment here.  I will not judge you.

More to come about this later…

The pastor -|—

Satan attacks but God wins

It’s Monday morning and I have been doing some reflecting on the events of yesterday (Easter).  I feel like a bus has run me over but God was faithful.  Satan did his best to stop the proclamation of the Word of God but God was victorious (in more ways than one). Satan took his best shot but it wasn’t good enough.

Allow me to explain to the glory of God

Attack #1:
I woke up Easter morning after only about a couple hours of sleep.  A head cold started attacking me the night before.  I thought I was holding it off (drugging myself up as much as I could) but it wasn’t enough…I was prevented from getting a good night’s sleep.  A bad night to have sleeping problems.   But when I woke up at 4:45 a.m. as planned I felt rested.  Score 1 for God :)

Attack #2:
As my morning progressed; getting ready for the 7  a.m. Sonrise worship service, I could feel the frog in my throat growing.  I knew that if things continued to progress like this I would have problems later in the morning.  You see…I had three worship services at two sites.  I had a long morning ahead of me and I needed my voice.  Everything went fine during the first service; but I started to feel my throat have issues at the second service (at Belmont) and a little at the third, but my throat held up…I made it . Score another point for God :)

Attack #3:
After my first Sonrise service (at Salem) I usually have very little time to get out to Belmont for Sonrise service #2.  Eight miles separates the two churches which usually involves me eating egg bake in the car while exceeding the speed limit…slightly…but not this year.  But in preparation for the unknown I have all my  Belmont materials ready by my office for a quick grab and go…including another copy of my sermon manuscript.  I made it to Belmont with 15 minutes to spare (not too bad…I think that is a record for me).  During worship my nose started to run some more and throat was filling with phloem (sorry for being so graphic).  And then batteries in my cordless microphone pack died but I was able to make a quick change during the offering without missing a beat (nice try Satan). But attack #3 came during the sermon.  About half way through I noticed a problem (besides my nose and throat)…the sermon manuscript I was using was an earlier, uncompleted copy of the sermon.  I am not sure how I managed to print the wrong copy.  Paragraphs were in the wrong order and I was missing 1 and 1/2 pages.  Slight panic set in…and then calm.  I proceed to preach and share the Gospel without a hitch.  Score a couple more points for God :)

Attack #4:
I made it back to Salem for worship service #3 with about 30 minutes to catch my breath.  During worship my throat was still being annoying, my nose was still having issues and my energy was starting to run low…but…as I started to preach and preside at the Lord’s table, I felt a second wind.  Score yet another point for God :)

All along the way Satan did his best to derail the proclamation of the Good News that Christ has risen! He has risen indeed! Alleluia! But God was going to have none of that.  Yesterday morning was yet another reminder that God is in control and not Satan.  I do not take any credit because on my own I would have crumbled under the weight of all that was attacking me.  Today…I feel like crap…but Easter happened.  The Word got preached.  And now I can have some Sabbath rest.

Satan can not stand the fact that the tomb was empty and that Jesus lives. And he will do everything in his power to stop that proclamation but God is faithful.  God wins and because of that we too win.  Praise be to God :)

Final score: God ~ ALL the points in the world. Satan ~ a big fat 0

JESUS LIVES! ALLELUIA!

The pastor -|—

EASTER!

CHRIST HAS RISEN!

HE HAS RISEN INDEED!

ALLELUIA!

Enough said :)

Have a great Easter day celebrating the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Let us pray,
Loving God, through the resurrection of Jesus, you son, you destroyed death and gave hope to the world.  May the words, “He has risen”, speak life to those gathered for worship that they may go out and speak these same words.  Bless those who preach and lead worship.  Bless those who lead music.  Bless those who work behind the scenes.  May you be glorified, may faith be created and/or strengthened and may our worship be pleasing in your sight.  Thank you, O God, for your awesome grace and mercy.  Through Jesus Christ our RISEN Lord and Savior, Amen!

The pastor -|—