Category Archives: Personal

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 -|—

All Good Things…

All good things must come to end.

At least that is how the saying goes. And in my case that is true. Today, May 1, is my last Sunday as pastor of Salem and Belmont Lutheran Churches. Today I say good bye to 12 amazing years as I grew from a young, inexperienced pastor to (dare I say) a seasoned pastor. Fresh out of seminary, I began serving at Salem one week after graduation. One month later I was married and off and running we went. Who knew (God did I guess) that we would spend the next 12 years of our lives living and serving in this small SW MN community.

And now, God is sending us to the west coast. Well, not exactly the coast but close. We are heading to the Tacoma, Washington area to serve a fairly new congregation as they strive to reach out to their community. We are excited, fearful, optimistic and a whole load of other emotions. It’s hard to leave an area that one has called home for a long time. It’s hard to leave family and friends. It is hard to leave one’s support system, but when God calls, God calls, and so off we go; trusting that God will provide and do some amazing things to show His glory.

Following today, I will have three Sundays off before I preach my first sermon in Puyallup, WA on May 29. Three Sundays off, wow, I just might start peeling my skin off as I have never gone that long without preaching. Maybe it will be a good break but I guess only time will tell. I love what I do and therefore leaving the people here is going to be hard. I am sure many tears will be shed today. So I appeal to God to send His Holy Spirit to give me strength to share the Gospel one more time in corporate worship here. May this be about God and not me. May this be about what God has done here the past 12 years. May this be about God’s faithfulness moving forward. And may this be about worshiping our awesome God and placing our faith in Him to lead us into an unknown future here and a known future with Him through faith in Jesus. God is faithful and God will provide for me and my family as well as the congregations of Salem and Belmont Lutheran Churches.

In the mean time, I will continue to write here and look forward to sharing more stories of God faithfulness as we move to a “foreign country”. As God watched over Abraham and Sarah as they moved to a foreign land, I am confident God will do the same for me and my family.

So with that, I sign off on this “Sunday edition” as the pastor of Salem and Belmont Lutheran Churches. May God continue to be glorified here, and through all of our lives, always and forever. Amen.

The Pastor -|—

P.S. CORRECTION ~ Not all good things come to an end for God is GOOD. All the time. All the time, God is GOOD:-)

 

Bedtime Blessing

The following is the bedtime blessing I speak over my son each night I get to lay him down:

Good night my sweet boy.
Mommy loves you and Daddy loves you,
but Jesus loves you more.
May God bless you with sweet dreams
and a peaceful sleep.
And God willing, may I see you in the morning.

Nothing fancy, just a daddy blessing his son.

Good night.

The Pastor -|—

Pulling Him Close

I want to share a story with you quick before the moment passes too far.

It was a moment that took place around 11 PM last night. My wife and I were getting ready for bed when I heard our little girl, Mayah, calling out for mommy and daddy. I went into her room; bent over her crib and said, “Sweetie, are you alright? What do you need?” She said nothing. I asked again but still nothing. Then I noticed that she didn’t have her mookie in her mouth so I searched and quickly found it under her pillow. I then asked, “Sweetie, is that better?” Still nothing. Then she stood up which meant she wanted to be rocked. Normally when I come into her room at night she tells me, “I want to rock” But no words this time. Just actions.

So I picked up my little girl, grabbed her blanket and sat down with her in the rocking chair. She then quickly curled up on my lap and snuggled in as close as she could possibly get, and peacefully went to sleep.

A huge smile formed on my face:-)

I sat there staring down at my sweet little girl, as happy as I could be; not wanting the moment to end. I then gently leaned over and planted a soft kiss on her cheek as to not disturb her peaceful slumber. But upon receiving my loving kiss, Mayah started moving her arm. She was trying to free her arm from her cozy blanket. Upon her arm breaking free, Mayah reached up and placed her hand on the back of my neck. She then pulled me in so my cheek was next to hers, and then held me tight. A gentle but firm hold as to say, “I want you close.” And with that she drifted off to sleep with tears of joy welling up in my eyes. After a couple of wonderful minutes, Mayah’s arm went limp and fell to her body. I then stood up, kissed her again and gently laid her in her crib. I leaned over and stared at her for a few more moments; watching her sleep, and then left her to her peaceful slumber.

What a moment, but now leave it to a pastor/.daddy to make a connection to our heavenly Father:

Oh that we would call out to God more and more; longing to be held by him and then pull God close for an intimate moment. Sometimes words are not necessary but rather just a few moments, basking in God’s love. Oh that we would call out to God and seek him; as God is always there, ready to show you incredible love. Oh that we would call out to God and know his grace; something that never fades and is never distant.

Oh that we would call out to our heavenly daddy…

The Pastor -|—

A Spiritual Kick in the Pants

Pursuing Christ is not an occasional hobby to receive some spiritual high but rather a way of life because he loves you.

The above quote is something I wrote and posted on my Twitter feed (Feisty Pastor, @EricSpeakingUp). I wrote it because of personal experience; using spiritual practices to feel good and/or (believe it or not) to ensure that things will go my way. I would engage in spiritual practices; diving into scripture, writing, reading theology books, praying and meditation, to find this closeness with God and thus feel this sense of peace. And I would continue this for awhile until something would happen or I would slowly fall out of “practice”. And after going through a low time or feeling nervous about something coming up, I would start all over again.

Basically, using God as a drug to deal with life.

The weird thing is, deep down inside, I knew something wasn’t right but yet I kept at it because God was (and is) always faithful. God gave me this sense of peace when I would pursue Christ. And of course God knew what I was doing but yet God continued to love me and bless me with this peace. Part of me wishes that God would not have done that because I definitely did not deserve it.

I am not sure what happened but some spiritual kick in the pants woke me up to the reality of what I was doing. Maybe it was God’s love that kicked me. Maybe this peace that surpasses all understanding overwhelmed me to the point of conviction. I am not sure, but whatever it was I saw the error of my ways. But more importantly, I saw what I was missing.

An intimate relationship with my Lord and Savior, Jesus.

The fact of the matter is, pursuing Christ is NOT a hobby. A hobby is something we do to take a break from life. It’s also something that does not consume one’s life (at least it shouldn’t). A hobby is only a part-time commitment. One of my hobbies is reading, but I only do that in my free time. Jesus being a hobby means that Jesus is not really part of your life. It means that you control the terms of the relationship. It means you are in charge. And this flies in the face of what it means for Jesus to be your Lord. A lord is in charge, not the subject.

But also, it flies in the face of what it means for Jesus to be your Savior. Jesus has saved me from my sins through dying on the cross. Through faith, Jesus has saved me from eternal condemnation. Through faith, Jesus gives a comfort that gives me strength no matter what this world throws at me. And therefore, why wouldn’t anyone want to get to know this Savior better and be close to him ALL the time?

Knowing this and receiving this should move “pursuing Jesus” from hobby status to a way of life, and not to get a spiritual high to get through your day, but rather to get to know this Lord and Savior better and better. Pursuing Jesus, then, is something that is every bit natural as breathing is natural.

If pursing Jesus is only a part time activity or hobby in your life, then you don’t know Jesus; you don’t understand what he did FOR YOU. Pursue Jesus ALL the time because he loves you and has died and risen FOR YOU. Pursue Jesus not for some spiritual high but because you want a relationship with him. Pursue Jesus FULL TIME.

Pursue Jesus and live with eternal joy as you look forward to living with Him on high.

The Pastor -|—

Time away

The Pastor is spending time at Shetek Lutheran Ministries this week so posts may be few. I will be back in action this weekend.

God bless and keep the faith. Someone needs the hope that is in you through Christ Jesus our Lord.

The Pastor -|—

Eleven Years

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
[Colossians 3:16-17]

Eleven years ago today I made some promises. Nope, I’m not talking about my marriage promises; that is eleven years ago tomorrow. I am talking about eleven years ago TODAY when I was ordained into the ministry of Word and sacrament. It was a wild weekend to say the least, but one filled with promises that are important, and even more so today, as I have grown in my call as a pastor and a husband.

Eleven years ago I promised to assume the office of pastor as God’s call in my life. I promised to hold scripture as the sole authority of faith and life; holding it high and never to water it down. I promised to preach and teach the Word of God in all faithfulness and truth. I promise to care for those under my charge. I promised to be diligent in my study of scripture and the use of the means of grace. I promised to pray for my congregation and the world. I promised to be an example of faithful and holy living. I promised to serve God in this vocation.

I will, and ask God to help and guide me.

Eleven years ago I made these promises.
Eleven years ago I began this journey.
Eleven year ago God began to shape and mold this pastor,
And now eleven years later, God continues to shape and mold this pastor, as I continue to serve in the congregation who first called me.

Wow, eleven years. Where has the time gone?

I have indeed grown in so many ways and I look forward to seeing how God will continue to shape and mold me for the world that is today and into tomorrow. In the mean time I will continue to dwell richly in the Word and proclaim Christ in everything I do. I know I will fail and fall short (as I have may times before) but may God help and guide me; forgiving and restoring me, for to God belongs all glory and honor and praise and worship

Eleven years and counting.
Praise be to God!

Holy God, I give you thanks for these past eleven years. I thank You for shaping and molding me; for using me; for sending me. Continue to grant me Your Spirit that I may be faithful with all you have made me to be and with all You have blessed me with. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

The Pastor -|—