A Pleasing Aroma ~ An Opening Prayer

Let us prepare our hearts to worship our awesome God…

Holy God, loving Father,
we come before You, this morning, to worship.
But we come with baggage filled with sinful desires.
We come distracted over worldly cares.
We come weighed down with burdens.
Some come with open hands,
longing to be filled.
Some come with closed hearts;
only making an appearance for selfish gain.
Some come with jubilant hearts,
thankful for Your abundant grace and mercy.

However we come and with whatever intentions,
may Your Spirit fill our hearts,
so much so,
that we are lead in authentic worship
that brings glory to Your most precious name.
And through our worship,
may we be sent out to continue living lives of worship
that glorifies your name among others.

May hearts be focused on You
may heart-filled words leave our lips as a pleasing aroma to Your ears.
In Jesus name we pray,

As always, may God be glorified in your worship this morning.
Praise be God!

The Pastor -|—

In the Eve of the Day ~ An Evening Prayer

Father God,

In the eve of the day, as I think on You,
I remember the many mercies You showered on me.

In the eve of the day, as I think on You,
I remember the many memories You blessed me with.

In the eve of the day, as I think on You,
I remember the many moments with my wonderful family and friends.

In the eve of the day, as I think on You,
I remember the many times Your grace captivated me.

In the eve of the day, as I think on You; remembering, I worship and give you thanks.

And then,

in the eve of the day, as I think on You, I close my eyes and rest in Your peace.


Worship ~ A Prayer

Father God,
worship is at the heart of our being;
for to know You
is to burst forth into joyous praise.
To know You is to sing of Your glory.
To know You is to shout of Your faithfulness.
To know You is to fall at Your feet in humble submission.

our hearts seek other gods and give them our devotion.
We seek other gods and give them our praise.
We forgo worshipping You to please ourselves and to please other’s expectations.

But You are worthy of so much more.
Forgive us, oh God.

Convict hearts that they may turn to You.
Show people Your faithfulness.
Draw us to You, oh God.

May the gods of this world be deposed from our hearts and may You reign supreme in our hearts.

All glory, praise and worship be to You, oh God, through Christ Jesus our Lord.

The Pastor -|—

On Vacation

The Pastor is on vacation this week; and even though I love preaching and leading worship, I am looking forward to sitting with and worshipping with my family this Sabbath day. I am also looking forward to worshipping with our friends; listening to my friend, Phil, preach the Word.

So there won’t be any worship prayers posted this week, but I’ll be back at it next week. May God be glorified in your worship and may God’s Word powerfully work in your heart.

See ya later.

The (vacationing) Pastor -|—

Your “Confirmation” Journey

The following is my article for our October newsletter:

As I write this newsletter article, I am also in the midst of preparing for another year of confirmation. First up is 6th grade orientation. And so I am working on putting together the confirmation packets for these new students and their parents. These packets have everything they need to know about the 3 year confirmation experience at Salem.

Part of the confirmation experience is completing requirements. There are 10 Bible verses the kids need to memorize. They need to know their Catechism (Lord’s Prayer, Apostles’ Creed, 10 Commandments, Baptism and Holy Communion). They need to do Bible reading. They need to serve as acolytes and prepare worship notes. They also need to perform service projects. And, of course, they need to attend weekly classes. A lot of things and I am sure many of you have your own confirmations stories (and in some cases, horror stories). The students have three years to complete these requirements.

After I present the requirements to the students and parents, I ask if these are reasonable. Every time, people say “yes”. And why wouldn’t they be reasonable? The requirements that are laid out for the students are the same things I encourage any Christian (adult/youth) to do. I mean, think about it; all these requirements are things that any and every Christian should find joy in doing because of what God has done for them in Jesus. It should be a joy for the Christian to worship, participate in worship and listen intently to the Word. It should be a joy for the Christian to memorize scripture and read their Bible. It should be a joy for the Christian to perform service projects. It should be a joy for a Christian to attend classes and Bible studies. So really, part of confirmation is about teaching kids how to live as Christians; not to impose a set a requirements in order for them to achieve the title, “Confirmed”.

As a Christian, each and every one of you should be considered a “confirmation student”; for the journey of faith is something that should never end. It’s the reason I don’t have confirmands wear white robes when they get confirmed. To me it looks too much like graduation and I don’t want them to think they are done with church; done with their relationship with God. Confirmation is simply a public affirmation of faith and a public commitment to continue to draw closer to God. So therefore, no robes. No graduation.

And you, too, those taking the time to read this article to the end, your journey of faith is never a completed set of requirements but rather should be a joyful journey with your Savior. The difference now is that there is no one checking off when you complete a “requirement”. God definitely isn’t, but don’t let that lead you to become complacent. So as we begin another year of confirmation I encourage you to consider your “requirements” and evaluate how you are doing. Do you need some guidance? Do you need some accountability? Give me call, I’ll sign you up :-)

The Pastor -|—

Your Holy Word ~ A Prayer before Preaching

It never ceases to amaze me that I get to preach God’s Word in this way each and every week. It also never ceases to amaze me that these fingers manage to pound out words through this keyboard, that when put together are something that proclaims Christ to people. And so my prayer each and every week (and day), as I approach God’s Word, is that I may be faithful with God’s Word and approach God’s Word with an open heart; one ready to receive.

May God be glorified in this sermon this morning and may the Holy Spirit do it’s thing in this place and wherever you are at. Let’s pray..

To approach Your holy Word faithfully
is to do so with fear and trembling;
not only because of how it convicts us of sin
but also because
of it’s awesome power through the Holy Spirit.
For Your Word kills and gives life.
It convicts and redeems.
It’s alive.
It’s does something.

And so may we approach Your Word here this morning with great expectation;
leaning on Your promises
and joyfully basking in Your faithfulness.
May we toss off all that would hinder our hearing of Your Word
and fix our eyes on
May we receive this Word with all joy
but not just receive it,
but also put it into faithful action that proclaims Your glory.
May we embrace its transformative power
that gives courage in a fear-filled world.

All glory,
and praise
be onto
holy Father,
through Christ Jesus our Lord,

The Pastor -|—

Awesome Creator ~ An Opening Prayer

As you prepare your hearts to worship our awesome God, this morning, humble yourselves as you ponder God’s creative beauty and power. Let’s pray…

Creator God,
in the beginning You created with a

You said it and it came into being.
You breathed life into all living things.
You set the course of creation into motion
continue to reign over all as You are our very life that we breath.
And because You are King and Lord of all,
we gather to worship

We gather as broken people in this hospital for sinners,
needing You to heal us.
We gather as a redeemed people;
thankful and grateful for the Life we have through Jesus.
We gather as one body, with one Lord,
to lift up our praises in a unified voice.

May we sing not from selfish motives
but from a jubilant heart.

And may we ever keep our eyes fixed on Your glory
as we long to gaze on Your holy face in Your temple
forever and ever.

All praise and worship be to

Creator God,
through Christ Jesus our Lord,


May God be glorified in your worship this morning and may the Spirit fill your hearts with joy.

The Pastor -|—