Category Archives: Personal

Celebrating Today :-)

Two years ago my wife and I were still hurting and healing from a devastating failed adoption that took place on March 6, 2013. We were wondering if we were ever going to be parents but at the same time we were still trusting that everything was in God’s hands. It was tough; trusting God while still hurting with a heavy heart. But little did we know then that our daughter was being born on this day in 2013 and that in a few days we would be leaving for Houston, Texas to meet our beautiful little girl.

And now today, I have been enjoying a beautiful day playing outside with my little girl.

God is so good!!!

So much has changed in my life in the past two years. I am definitely a different person; a different pastor.  I have grown in my relationship with God and have grown more into my calling to be a shepherd in the two congregations I get the privilege of serving and serving with.

I have also grown as a father as I continue to commit everything to God. I want to raise a godly child that fears and loves God with all her heart. I want to raise a child that lives for the Lord as her mommy and daddy does. I want to raise a child that will not turn away from the Lord when she is older. And all of this is a daunting task; hence, committing everything to God.

And so today I celebrate my little girl but more importantly I worship God for what he is doing in our lives. I also give God thanks and praise that he kept Connie and me strong so we could see His glorious plan unfold; and unfold it did:

TWO beautiful children.

God is so very good!!!

Father God, I praise Your holy name for this wonderful little girl You have called us to raise. You have entrusted us with this precious child to teach her about Your glorious love. Grant me wisdom along the way; for this vocation of parenting is way too difficult to do without You. May I bring You glory as a father to my/Your little girl. In Jesus name I pray, Amen

The Pastor (happy, proud daddy) -|—

A Heart of Mixed Emotions

This pastor’s heart is
sad and
happy and
thankful and
hopeful

Today was the last day of release time; a program where 3rd, 4th and 5th graders are released from school early to attend Bible classes at the church of their choice on Wednesdays. The program runs from mid-September through the Wednesday of Holy Week.

This year I had 22 students; five of which were 5th graders who we sadly said good bye to today. After I held a little “graduation” ceremony where I gave them a “diploma”/certificate we played for a bit outside and then came back inside to wrap things up. At the end I asked the 5th graders to lead the closing prayer. I started and then turned things over to them. What I heard made my heart happy on this sad day. They thanked God for a great year and a fun 3 years. One prayed for the 3rd and 4th graders coming behind them, one even prayed for the homeless. It was such a touching prayer from a group of formerly quiet 3rd graders from a couple years ago.

And so on this sad day my heart was thankful that God gave me the privilege of teaching and growing with this class of kids. My heart is happy that I get to have them in class in the fall as confirmation students; guiding them as they go deeper in their faith. And my heart is hopeful as I reflect on how much they have grown emotionally and in their faith.

Praise be to God!!!

But there is one other little fact that sticks out to me about this class of 5th graders. This class contains the first group of kids that I baptized when I first arrived here nearly 11 years ago; and now they are on the cusp of confirmation. What a joy it has been to watch these kids grow up and I praise God that He has chosen me to stay here this long.

Mixed emotions but all good. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Holy God, you are an awesome God who is up to holy and exciting things. Please continue to use me to guide young people in their faith and continue to guide me through the faith of young people. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

The (sad, happy, thankful and hopeful) Pastor -|—

My Little Pulpit Visitor

Nothing deep and theological here tonight, just a cute worship story involving this pastor/daddy and his little girl.

This morning I was in the pulpit; in the zone and preaching on Mark 9:14-29. It was a serious text (as they all are) on living in the dark valley of life; being confronted by Satan. I was cruising along, when about half way through the sermon I noticed a disturbance in the force…

… my little girl (23 months old) working her way towards the pulpit.

I knew a problem was developing and my wife was otherwise occupied with our 4 1/2 month old son. So I continued and pretended not to notice; hoping there wouldn’t be a problem, but the force is strong in my little girl.

Mayah proceeded to walk in front of the pulpit before she realized she couldn’t reach daddy going that way. She promptly turned around and quickly solved her problem as she found the steps that lead to daddy. Mayah then crawled up the steps and proceeded to position herself in front of me; holding her arms up and waiting for me to pick her up. It took everything in me not to reach down and pick her up. It was even hard not to smile at all this cuteness.

I continue to preach and tried to stay in the zone as Mayah asserted herself ever so quietly (what a polite little girl). She eventually took a break and sat on the steps before trying again to convince me to chuck my sermon and give her the attention she desperately wanted.

Finally she relented and worked her way back down the couple steps and back to mommy. I continued preaching all the while keeping one eye on my little girl; and feeling a little guilty that I didn’t pick her up (and hoping no one noticed my mental distraction).

But I am not surprised by this. I knew this day would come eventually and I know there will be more. I guess this is just part of the joy of being a pastor and a daddy, and you know something, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

The Pastor -|—

Evening Prayer ~ My Son

My five month old son…

…is resting peacefully in my arms.

…will gaze into my eyes and smile.

…will sit in his bouncy seat but definitely prefers mommy or daddy’s arms.

…depends on us for food and care.

…can do nothing to cause me to love him less.

…did nothing to earn my love.

…sleeps much better when mommy or daddy is near.

Oh God, if only I would look at you in the same way. If only I would trust you and depend on you like my son trusts and depends on me. If only I could learn a child-like faith like my little boy’s.

Oh God, draw me close that I may see you as a child sees their mommy and daddy.
Draw me close that I may learn to trust you with my life.
Draw me close that I may see the joy of resting in Your arms and know true love.
Draw me close that I may know and remember true peace.

And so may I rest tonight as a child sleeping on their daddy’s chest and may I awake in the morning with a new lease on life; praising and glorifying You. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

The Pastor -|—

The Fighting God (Exodus 14:14)

The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” [Exodus 14:14]

This short, little verse captured my heart this morning; as God spoke words of comfort after a very long and difficult day.

But first the context of this verse…

The Israelites are being lead out of Egypt by God through Moses and Aaron. God commands the group to head towards the Red Sea and set up camp. Once there, God hardens Pharaoh’s heart and he comes out with everything he has to capture those slaves again.

God did this to show God’s glory.

As they are beside the Red Sea the people see Pharaoh and his army and are scared silly (and a little angry that Moses lead them out here to die). Moses then speaks the word of the Lord to them:

Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” (Exodus 14:13-14)

Basically, no need to worry, God has this. You don’t even need to raise one finger. Trust God. God will fight this battle.

With that God parted the Red Sea, the people walked across on dry ground and the rest is history. Praise be to God!

And I needed that verse this morning. Without going into all the details, yesterday was a long and nerve fraying day. I had been up since 2:30 AM with a 4 month old who refused to be put down. My wife was out of town for work. I had two kids not feeling well; both demanding attention and it seemed like at the same time all the time. My toddler was being naughty because she wasn’t getting the attention she demanded. And my 4 month old was difficult to sooth. When I would try to put the younger one down for a nap, the older one would come in crying; waking up the younger.

My emotions and nerves were frayed and I found myself on the verge of tears a number of times. Lots of praying ensued and when Connie finally got home I just crashed.

And then I read this verse this morning:  The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.

[Cue the tears]

Amen!
Praise be to God!
Alleluia!
Thank you!

Have you ever felt defeated or nearly pushed over the edge?
Have you ever felt like the world was ganging up on you?
Have you ever felt like Satan’s onslaughts were going to destroy you?

Have you been there? That was me yesterday, but God fought for me even though I was trying to fight. And this morning God reminded me to give it up to him next time. Satan may try to destroy me in so many ways, and on my own I have no chance but God will fight for me. And God will fight for you.

What an awesome promise.
What a faithful God.

Through Jesus Christ God has defeated Satan but Satan is still trying do as much damage as possible until that day when God makes him a footstool for is Son. So when you see the forces of Satan baring down on you; do not be afraid. The salvation of the Lord has been won for you through faith in Jesus so therefore the Lord will fight for you and the Lord WILL win.

Praise be to God and Alleluia!!!

Thank you, powerful God, that you fight for me. When the forces of evil are marching against me, you are there to push them back. May I have the sight of Elisha to see the chariots of fire around me and may I rest in your promises, oh God. May you be praised, always and forever. Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Not quite awake

Sometimes this pastor’s devotion time involves holding my sleeping 3 1/2 month old son while drinking coffee, praying and reading scripture. And then taking time to pound out a few words on my tablet, in case anyone cares what the pastor is doing this morning :-)

But before you think that I have run out of thoughtful words to share please understand that I am working on 4 hours of sleep and very little coffee up to this point. Trust me, this pastor will be up to full operating capacity in no time and then a more thoughtful post will follow.

And I am guessing that once this first pot of coffee hits my system I may wonder why I wrote this (and posted it).

Oh well

God bless you and I’ll be back with something more thoughtful later :-)

[I need so much more coffee]

The (not quite awake) Pastor -|—

A selfish prayer

Father God…

from the heart of this pastor…

I selfishly ask for healing for my little girl even though I know there are bigger issues in this world. She may only have a low temp but it still pains me that she’s not feeling 100%.

I selfishly ask that my little girl sleeps well this afternoon so I may have time to write a sermon.

I selfishly ask that this post may not come off as selfish (even though it probably does).

I selfishly ask that you may grant my requests so my life may flow more smoothly.

And…

I selfishly ask that you, O God, may forgive my selfishness.

I feel sheepish for even praying this (and writing this) but I can’t hide what’s on my heart; for you know all things. So I put this out there and ask for forgiveness.

(and of course, as I bask in the joy of your forgiveness through faith in Jesus, I continue to selfishly ask for my little girl)

Will I ever learn?

Oh God, may you be praised despite my selfishness. May you be praised despite my shortcomings. May you be praised despite my sin.

(and please, O God, heal my little girl)

And may you be praised despite the fact that I’m messed up.

Amen.

There I go again, O well…

Praise be to God!

The Pastor -|—