Category Archives: Personal

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 -|—

“Work”

Sometimes a pastor’s “work” takes them out of the office and to a place that looks like a place of rest. For this pastor, my “work” has taken me to my favorite coffee shop…

Drinking coffee
Reading some Charles Spurgeon and Jonathan Edwards
And yes, staring out the front window [and now typing this]

My original “work” was to get away and peacefully read but a stirring changed the course of this pastor’s “work”.

The spontaneous writing of this reflection was due to a stirring in my heart to pray. I wasn’t stirred to pray for world peace or to find a cure for cancer. No, nothing like that. I was stirred to pray for two unknown people across the way standing in an employment agency. I have no clue who they are and probably never will. I have no clue what their situation is or what brought them to that place. All I know is that a prayer was prayed for them.

And this pastor probably will never know the fruit of this “work” but that’s OK. Sometimes the Spirit stirs and we know not why. And because I can’t quantify this “work” some may think I wasted my time or the church’s time.

But this was far from a waste of time. Not for those two people.

The Spirit stirring means important “work” needs to be done. And the joy of this “work” is that it’s not my “work”.

So I wrap this up and prepare to do some “traditional work” now and I look forward to more stirrings. But please don’t think I was lazy and please don’t praise my efforts.

This wasn’t my idea. I was stirred.

All praise be to God.

The Pastor -|—

Theologizing

For the past few weeks I have had the growing fear and sadness that my little girl (21 months old) was growing out of wanting to be rocked to sleep.

Our typical bedtime routine is that after she brushes her teeth and gets her jammies on we go into her room to read books (usually she wants daddy to do this, which of course I don’t mind). We read for a while and then pray together (it is uber cute when she folds her hands in mine). I then turn on her night light, start the CD player of lullabies and turn off her light. We then sit in the rocking chair and rock. If she isn’t sleeping by the end of the third song I lay her down in the crib. At nap time, the routine is similar except we just turn on the CD player and shut the lights off and then rock.

Well, this rocking thing hasn’t happened for a while…

…until nap time today.

For some reason my little girl wanted to rock (and who am I to question that). So my little girl curled up in my arms; all comfy in her blanket, and as very quickly off to sleep.

And we rocked and rocked and rocked…

Actually, she was out before the middle of the first song, but I didn’t lay her down then. I just continued to gaze at her and rock and rock and rock…

I didn’t want it to end.

I waited until the full three songs; and probably would had stayed longer if I didn’t need to get back for Wednesday classes at church.

It was such a beautiful moment and I was absolutely thrilled my little girl wanted daddy. But of course this pastor brain of mine started theologizing (I know that’s not a word but I think you get my drift). And it’s hard for a pastor to turn that off. We are always looking for sermon illustrations and teaching points and often times children provide the fodder.

In any case…

There are so many things about that moment today that remind me of God. But, I don’t think I am not going to share them with you.

Nope, I’m not.

I think I am just going to leave the moment as it is and let you imagine ~ and theologize. If you know God through Jesus Christ then you see it. You understand. You know what I am talking about. So I don’t have to say anything. To say anything more risks ruining the moment so I’ll let the Spirit continue where I leave off…

The Pastor -|—