One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple. [Psalm 27:4]
Watch the news
Peruse social media
Read the paper…
…and it doesn’t take long to get depressed or angry or worried or concerned about the direction of our nation and society. Culture seems to plummeting faster and faster into the abyss. Satan seems to be setting up his throne for a tyrannical reign.
And then there are those stories of the government reaching farther and farther into the religious liberty camp in order to destroy it. Can the government really legislate what the church teaches? It sure seems like they are trying. Being a Christian is getting more and more uncomfortable in this world.
But thankfully this world is not home.
For the Christian, your focus should not be on worldly comforts but rather on the longing that the psalmist talks about:
Dwelling in the house of the Lord
Gazing upon his beauty
Inquiring in his holy temple.
I reflect on these and suddenly I feel at ease. I feel excited and hopeful. I feel empowered and encouraged as I remember that even though this world seems to be going to hell in a hand basket, Jesus still reigns.
…through faith in Jesus Christ the Christian can have the hope of dwelling in God’s house, gazing upon his beauty and inquiring in his temple. And when you reflect on this and ask God for the faith to receive this promise, then and only then, can you put everything in perspective. For you see, it’s not about putting our faith in our leaders to save us and provide for us but rather praising and worshiping God for already saving us and providing for us. And therefore it’s our job and joy to share this Good News with the world in order to give others hope, because it doesn’t take long to see that one can not put their hope in this world.
Don’t long for things and people of this world, but rather long for God.
Don’t worry and get depressed, but rather long for God.
Don’t get scared or concerned about what the world can do to you, but rather long for God.
Ask and seek
…praise God always and forever.
The Pastor -|—
Your wisdom is awesome.
Your timing is perfect.
Your faithfulness is great.
Your love is boundless.
Your grace is limitless.
Your compassion is comforting.
And it is in these qualities that I find peace for a restless soul.
And so I,
appeal to Your wisdom;
wait for Your timing;
bask in Your faithfulness;
cling to Your love;
give thanks for Your grace;
and rest in Your compassion.
May I always know this peace.
in the midst of turmoil,
I am thankful for a peace that surpasses all comprehension.
So hold me tight,
and shake me awake when I mindlessly wander from You.
All praise and worship and honor and glory,
be unto You,
forever and ever,
The Pastor -|—
You are the God of the past.
You are the God of the present.
You are the God of the future.
You are the God of my everything and for all time.
You hold me securely.
You hold me lovingly.
You hold me faithfully.
Therefore I shall never fear and tremble before this world.
You are present with me in the bad times.
You are present with me in the good times.
You are present with me in all times,
and therefore You are to be praised always and forever.
You reign over uncertainty.
You are faithful despite my anxiety.
You are calming in my anxiousness.
You are healing.
Oh God, You are many things,
all praise to You.
The Pastor -|—
I had a wonderful moment in worship yesterday (in addition to the hearing and preaching of the Gospel). It’s a moment that I suspected would come eventually but I was still caught by surprise when I saw it. It was so uber cute and I’m glad I got to share it with the congregation (at least with those who were sitting along the aisle and could see).
About half way through the final hymn I got up and approached the altar to silently pray. I thanked God for sustaining me through a busy morning (2 worship services) after a night where Mayah (my 1 year old) did not sleep much. I asked that His holy Word would continue to work in the hearts of those who heard it this morning and I praised God for His awesomeness, love and grace.
Upon turning around to walk out my wonderful moment happened; my little girl was excitedly walking down the aisle towards me.
[Mayah just started walking this past week so we are still smitten with the cuteness of it all]
My heart melted as I got down on one knee with my arms open wide; waiting to receive my little girl. I could see smiles cascading down the aisle of those privileged enough to be able to witness this moment. When Mayah got to me she lunged into my arms as if she could hardly wait to get there. I scooped her up and proudly walked up the aisle with a huge smile on my face.
For me it served as another great reminder of God’s blessings in my life. It was extremely difficult to get out of bed on Sunday morning after only sleeping a couple hours and the coffee was barely able to give me the boost I needed. With a lot on my mind, God was faithful to send His Holy Spirit to give me what I needed to lead worship and preach the Gospel. And to top it off (like icing on a cake), God sent my little girl down the aisle as if to say, “You are loved“.
What a moment
I do feel blessed and not just because I have a wonderful little girl and loving wife, but that I have an awesome God who loves me so much. God was faithful so that He may be glorified through this weak and tired body of mine.
So many wonderful moments and blessings all around.
What a great day.
What an awesome God!
The pastor -|—
Thirteen years ago today; at 8:30 in the morning; a Tuesday, God used my dad to utter these words:
“Eric, it is time for you to go to seminary.”
I was totally blown away by this and didn’t know how to respond. My dad went on to say some other words but I can’t remember those…only that call from God. The rest of the day was a blur as I spent the morning with my two pastors trying to discern what was going on. They were quick to affirm this call and the rest is history.
Now…13 years later…I am sitting in a church parsonage reflecting on the past 13 years. What a winding road God has lead me down.
There were times in seminary when I doubted I could do this. I questioned God and wondered if this really was the road I was supposed to be on. I nearly got off the road a couple times but God used various people in my life to keep me going. And I thank God for them because as I reflect back on these 13 years it is clear to me that God was indeed leading me along a winding road to bring me here; to Jackson, MN. I still wonder sometimes why I am here but then God does something and I smile.
Sometimes it is hard to see or imagine that God has a plan.
Sometimes it is tempting to think we know better what we are supposed to do. Sometimes it is hard to hold the course when the road does wind and bend.
But God has been and always will be faithful. And it is so much fun to look back and see those moments. In those times when I thought God was crazy, confused, oblivious, God was working out something wonderful. God sees the whole and complete picture…and…God is working out something wonderful in your life as well. Listen to God; listen carefully. Trust Him…for God will not lead you down the wrong road. Let God be your guide because in the end you will indeed experience something wonderful as you see God being glorified in your life.
So I sit here today; in this church parsonage; reflecting on that call 13 years ago. It’s been an interesting ride and I look forward to seeing what else God will do through me.
God is awesome!
God is faithful!
Praise be to God!
The pastor -|—
When instances of God’s faithfulness humbles you to the point of tears welling up in your eyes you just have to share the story…and that’s what I am doing here.
A couple weeks ago friends suggested a fundraiser idea to us: Tip Night at the Pizza Ranch. What happens is that the indivdual(s)/organization schedules a night with the Pizza Ranch (usually a Monday or Wednesday) and they receive 15% of the sales from 4 to 8pm plus any tips. The people bus tables, clean up and talk to the customers. Basically anything that doesn’t involve working in the kitchen or running the till. So Connie and I scheduled a Tip Night for Monday, Feb 18.
Now the advertising begins.
I created a Facebook event and invited people; a friend offered to create a poster for us and I emailed the local churches about a bulletin announcement. Yesterday (Thursday) I decided to email the editor of our local newspaper (Jackson County Pilot). I told him about the fundraiser and wondered if they would be interested in helping us promote it and/or do a story about adoption. I mentioned that I have encountered a number of people touched by adoption since we announced to the community we were adopting; stories we probably would not have heard otherwise.
Today I got an email back from the editor and I was…
Embraced with God’s love
The editor told me that my email was uncanny as they were discussing on Thursday about doing a story about adoption.
[Cue the goose bumps]
I told my wife this and tears started to well up in her eyes. She said, “Guess who was involved with that?”
…and Praise be to God!
Through out this process I have felt God’s gentle touch on my shoulder as we deal with preparations and decisions. God continues to assure us that we are on the right path. But more importantly, God continues to show us His faithfulness that leads us to glorify God. Because you know, in the end, that is what matters; glorifying God.
My prayer now is that any story that is published, whether in the Pilot or not; or through our testimony, that people see God’s glory and run to God in worship. I continue to pray for the child God has chosen for us. I continue to pray for that birth mother and family. And I pray that God may strengthen, encourage and guide us as we raise this child. In all we do, may God be praised and glorified.
Thank you, God, for your gentle touch this morning and for your continued messages of love through supernatural acts in our lives. This was no coincidence but your hand was and is involved. Thank you for the wonderful reminder. May you always be praised. Amen!
The pastor -|—
Just in case I haven’t communicated this yet:
The adoption process can be overwhelming.
Surprise, surprise, I know. But it is only overwhelming if you attempt to do this alone.
As our adoption process moves along I am finding myself exploring a number of resources: websites and blogs. I am also talking with others who have adopted. Those conversations have proved to be extremely valuable and I will continue to seek people out. Just yesterday I was speaking with a good friend/colleague/mentor about our adoption process. He had gone through the adoption process a while back. I was sharing some feelings I was (and was not) experiencing and listened to this wise man share what he went through. I found a sense of peace come over me as I realized that I wasn’t abnormal; that my feelings were not necessarily wrong. It was like God had ordained this conversation for that particular moment. After I hung up the phone I prayed and thanked God for His faithfulness.
Wow…God is amazing.
The websites and blogs I have come across have also proved to be valuable. I recently came across a blog from a family in our area who is adopting ~ for the third time. I am thinking I will be in touch with them eventually. Recently, my wife and I were given a website that contained a number of adoption fundraising ideas. Some of them were so simple and brilliant. Ideas, support, prayers, etc are out there…you just need to look and access them.
So as I come across some of these sites I am going to be adding them to my new blog roll on the right hand side of the screen called “Adoption”. My hope is that people who stumble across my blog will find comfort, as I have, in knowing that they are not alone. And…if you are reading this and are in the adoption process, please feel free to share your resources here.
God is so amazing. I praise Him for those “little” moments when He reminds me of His presence. I am thankful for the people He has brought in our lives. And I hope that some day soon I can be a resource to someone going through this process; that God can use me to give someone what He has given me.
Praise be to God!
The pastor -|—