Moving

This pastor is in transition.

You may have noticed a lack of activity here recently. That is due to the fact that we have been packing and getting ready for a new call in Puyallup, WA. Yesterday (Fri, May 27) we arrived in Puyallup and today we unload. Tomorrow (May 29) is my first Sunday. I will be back at it soon, posting as usual. I do miss writing but it just became difficult with the transition.

So in the meantime, may God bless you as you prepare to worship our awesome God tomorrow.

Me?

I am thankful God brought us safely here through some difficult driving through two mountain ranges pulling a trailer.

May God be praised always and forever.

The Pastor -|—

Your Spirit

Holy God,

Send Your Spirit today
to rest upon us.
Teach us,
remind us,
show us
Your ways.

Send Your Spirit today
to rest upon Your Church.
Make it bold with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Make it firm in it’s faith.
Make it knowledgeable of
Your ways.

Send Your Spirit today
to rest upon this nation.
Stir hearts.
Renew minds.
Open eyes to
Your ways.

Send Your Spirit today
that all who call upon Your holy name
may speak of Your Son, Jesus, with
passion and conviction without backing down. May our Gospel proclamation be done with all grace. May our witness shine brightly with Your love. May forgiveness win the day.

Send Your Spirit today
that we may speak to a culture
that has drifted away from You. May our words and actions engage this culture with love without us conforming to this culture.

Send Your Spirit today, oh God.
Heal us.
Draw us to You.
Raise us up to New Life in Jesus Christ.

Send Your Spirit today, oh God,
and send us out in the name of
Jesus.

Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Weeping to Strength

I look out into the world,
and I weep over what I see;
for I see a people lost;
as sheep without a shepherd.
I weep and wish people would turn and look;
seeing a loving Savior;
Jesus,
reaching out to them.

Oh, how I wish people would see Jesus.
Oh, how I wish people would see their destructive path.
Oh, how I wish people would repent and live.

But all I see is a world spiraling out of control;
a world racing toward a cliff;
a world hell-bent on destroying themselves.

Why, oh God, why?
Why can’t people see?
Why don’t people know?

And as I weep I also fear.
I fear for my own children.
I fear for my family.
I fear for how I will respond.

Will I be strong?

Oh God, Creator of heaven and earth,
grant me Your Spirit that I may be strong.
May I stand firm and rely on the armor
that only You can give.
Grant me, oh God,
the belt of truth,
 the breastplate of righteousness,
the readiness given by the gospel of peace, 
the shield of faith,
(with which I can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one),
the helmet of salvation,
 and the sword of the Spirit,
(which is the word of God).
May this armor be my strength.

But one last thing,
oh God,
may I not be passive,
but rather may I go forth into battle with your armor.
May I brandish the sword of the Spirit
with all love and grace.
And in the end, may You be glorified.

Be my strength and hope.
Be my peace and salvation.

Oh God, You reign forever and ever,
through Jesus Christ my Lord I pray,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

To Silence Satan’s Laugh

And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.[John 17:11]

I listened to a sermon recently where the pastor talked about oneness as the Father and the Son are one; using the above text. But something he said really caught my attention. He said that when we, as a church, get caught up in disputes or controversies or anything that takes our eyes off of Christ, Satan laughs.

He laughs.

Why?

Satan laughs because he won as he managed to get the church to take their eyes off of Christ. And ultimately that is what Satan is trying to do with all people. For you see, sin is a turning inward to see yourself as god; trusting oneself over God almighty. And when we look inward, we see only our agenda and our will. And let me tell you, our agenda and our will is not God’s.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. [Isaiah 55:8-9]

And Satan knows this and thus tries get us to focus on ourselves. For if Satan can divert our attention away from Jesus, then the church is not going to be the church as God wants. In scripture, the relationship of Jesus and the Church is like that of a husband and a wife, but only better. But if a wife (the Church) is not focused on her husband (Jesus); or worse yet, looking for another, the marriage is in trouble. And therefore, as the Church, we need to be one with Christ. For it is only by looking to Christ that we see his purpose and will for our lives. And that purpose? Is to be one as the Father and the Son are one. And when we are in one accord with the Father, the Kingdom of God is advanced. We are called to glorify God through the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ whereby letting the Holy Spirit add to “the numbers”.

But that won’t happen if the church is turned in upon itself. The Church MUST be Christ focused. The Church MUST humble itself before the throne of God. The Church MUST lay it’s burdens down and trust God to care for it’s needs. The Church MUST remain focused. The Church MUST be one as the Father and the Son (and the Holy Spirit) are one.

And so my prayer for the Church; the congregations I am leaving and the one I am heading to shortly, is that we are one; one in purpose. May our eyes remain fixed on Jesus, so much so, that we give no occasion for Satan to laugh.

All praise, honor, glory and worship be unto God our Father through Christ Jesus our Lord.

The Pastor -|—

P.S. If you want to listen to the sermon I referenced at the beginning, follow the below link.

Sermon by Pastor Gary Jepsen, May 1

Reigning

Darkness has fallen,
the day has ended,
but YOU still reign on.

This world is fallen,
rotten to the core,
but YOU still reign on.

Death still lurks around,
claiming it’s victims,
but YOU still reign on.

I am unworthy,
unfaithful always,
but YOU still reign on.

I am a sinner,
YOU are my Savior,
Jesus, YOU reign on.

The Pastor -|—

Stuff

For 12 years I have resided in a 12′ by 12′ office. One wall is the door and a closet. The next wall is shelving and cupboards. The next wall is my desk and space to open my cupboards, and then the final wall is more shelving, boxes and room to open the door. So really, my 12 by 12 office is a lot smaller than that when you factor in all the stuff lying around. So given that I reside in a space about the size of a prison cell, one would think that packing this space up would be a piece of cake.

Not even close.

Where did all this stuff come from?

I have five boxes of books I am getting rid of with more on my “free stuff” table outside my office. I have 10 boxes/containers packed of stuff I am taking with me with a couple more boxes to pack.

Once again, where did all this stuff come from. Just look at the banner on the top of this blog and you can get an idea of what I have been dealing with this week.

Stuff, stuff and more stuff.

Incredible.

And I am not even going to talk about the parsonage.

Why do we have so much stuff? I definitely don’t need it because a lot of it is getting tossed. And the stuff getting tossed is stuff I didn’t know I had in the first place and therefore I really didn’t need it to begin with.

That’s it. Every year I am going to purge my office of stuff so I don’t have to deal with this again. Ya right, that will never happen, but it’s a good thought.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal (if only they would steal some of this stuff), but lay for yourselves treasure in heaven, where moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
[Matthew 6:19-21]

Now seriously, please tell me you are not surprised with the scripture I just used:-)

In any case, I should be encouraged by this whole endeavor. I am not attached to a lot of this stuff and therefore it is easy to throw away, yet I am still keeping a lot of stuff. My treasures? No, not treasures. Just stuff. Stuff I could part with if need be. My real treasure is Jesus. I just wish Jesus hadn’t blessed me with all this stuff. At least He could come and help me pack.

Oh well, enough procrastinating, back to packing.

Come, Lord Jesus, and help me (pack).

The Pastor -|—

You

Holy God,

Bless this night.
Protect my dreams.
Watch over my family.
Keep me free from Satan’s attacks.
Grant me peace.
Heal my pains.
Strengthen my body.

But if trials and tribulations
should happen to come my way;
if suffering is the order of my life;
if pain is my reality,
then I only ask that my faith is guarded,
that my response is one that glorifies
You.

May this life of mine;
a life crafted by
You,
draw others to
You.

And may my life’s refrain be:
All glory be unto You.

In Jesus’ name I pray,
Amen

The Pastor -|—