Tag Archives: Worship

The Pastor and His Little Girl

The heart of this pastor longs to worship and lead worship. Nothing tops praising and thanking God for the hope of the resurrection through faith in Jesus Christ. But dare I say that worshiping with my family, especially my little girl (22 months old), comes in right up there? I say that because this pastor’s heart was touched by his little girl on two occasions this morning during worship.

The first occasion of heart touching (outside of worshiping God of course) came towards the beginning of half of worship. I had just finished presiding over a baptism where I was carrying the cute little baby up and down the aisle to show her off and introduce her to the congregation. I then handed the baby off to her mother and sat down. Just then, from a couple rows back, I heard my little girl crying,

“I want my daddy! I want my daddy!”

The next thing I notice is my little girl coming up to me in my row in tears (my wife broke down and let her come to me). I picked her up and set her on my lap as we listened to scripture being read. I wiped the tears from her eyes and kissed her gently on the cheek; whispering,

“I love you, sweetie”

My little girl just sat there with me very quietly; simply wanting to be near me (my guess is that she was jealous of me carrying the newly baptized baby up and down the aisle). During the final reading I brought her back to her mother and she was fine.

The second occasion of heart touching came during the final song. My routine is to walk up to the front during the final verse (during which time my little girl runs up to join me), I pray silently and then walk out to the narthex; preparing to greet people as they leave. But this time, my little girl was in my row during the first verse so we went up front. I held her tight and said,

“Let’s pray”

She then folded her hands on mine and we prayed. When I finished she said,

“Amen”

So cute
So heart-warming
So wonderful

Worshiping God is great and wonderful and nothing tops that, but I am so glad I get to worship with my family (especially my little girl). And now I look forward to my son (3 1/2 months) to soon start doing the same things as his sister.

The heart of this pastor is definitely bursting, in so many ways.
Thank you, dear God. Thank you.

Praise be to God!!!

The Pastor -|—

Preparing for worship ~ Sight

This is the opening prayer I wrote for worship this morning and I share it with you as you prepare for worship.

So…

Let’s come before God with thanksgiving and praise; holding nothing back. Let’s come before God in all humility. May God’s name be lifted up and honored. See and believe. Hear and receive. Taste and see that the Lord is good.

Let’s pray together…

Sovereign God, giver of life, giver of peace, giver of sight; accept our praise here this morning, even though it is still not sufficient; for You are worthy of so much more than what we give.

Oh God, we are so filled with sin that we can not see Your beauty. And because of our dimness of sight, we get distracted by the powers of this world and seek after other gods, blindly following them. When Satan presents to us the kingdoms of the world, we don’t turn him down as your son did in the wilderness. Rather, we joyful accept the offer thinking we will be happy and fulfilled, but it doesn’t take long to realize that that too is not sufficient.

But only You, oh God, through Jesus Christ, can fill our hearts to overflowing and bring us a peace that surpasses all understanding. So may you grant us the sight to see Your son as our Savior, and not the gods of this world. May we see in Jesus the gateway to eternal life and may we have the faith to turn Satan’s offer down. And not only the faith, but the strength to stare down Satan and send him away.

Father God, restore in your children, here, the joy of falling in your arms and resting in your love. Grant us humble hearts to hear and accept that we are sinners, and grant us the determination to turn away from sin in order to glorify you to the max and to see Your beauty.

Holy God, we worship your holy name and lift our praises to you. Hear us, receive us, restore our sight. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Get your ash on

I love that title…

a little lighthearted fun as we begin this season of Lent; a season for reflection and remembering that we came from dust, and because of our sin, to dust we shall return.

This season is also a very somber time as we reflect on our mortality but we can’t forget the celebration at the end because of Jesus. And therefore, in the midst of taking ourselves very seriously, don’t take yourself too seriously. Remember that you are a sinful, mortal human being under the curse of death. That is serious and undeniable. But through the cross of Jesus, you are redeemed and thus, through faith in him, the curse is lifted on that Last Day. That is also serious and undeniable AND “fun” let’s say.

[Leave it to me to put a not-so-serious spin on Ash Wednesday and Lent]

So with that seriousness, let’s move to some fun stuff:

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This is me burning palm branches saved from last year’s Palm Sunday worship service. Seems normal, but what you can’t feel is that I am standing outside in a -30 degree wind chill that is chilling me right down to the bone. I guess one can add this to the list of crazy things that only Minnesotans (and other crazy upper Midwesterners] do. But when you live in this part of the country/world you have to make do.

So the ashes are made.
Worship is planned.
The sermon is set.

And I am ready to get my ash on as I dive head-long into Lent.

A serious season in preparation for a “fun” event.

May God be praised and glorified. May you be humbled with the serious fact that you are a sinner. May you be lifted up through the proclamation of the Good News of Jesus.

Praise be to God!

The Pastor -|—

Offering our gifts ~ A Prayer

[Below is the offering prayer I wrote for worship on Feb 15 and it is one I am going to keep and pray as a reminder for myself and so I share it with you.]

Oh God, giver of all things seen and unseen. You have blessed your children to be a blessing to others. You have given us intellect and knowledge and reason so that we may earn a living. You have blessed us with the ability to provide for our families. But all these abilities come from you and therefore all that we have we owe to you. May we not be so selfish to think that we are entitled to anything and may we have the faith to give as an act of worship. So, Holy God, we ask for your blessings on these gifts given here this morning. May those called to leadership here have the knowledge and wisdom to use these gifts to advance the kingdom and to continue the ministry you have ordained us to do. And may you bless all the gifts you have given us: our time, talents and possessions, may we use them for your glory. And so we praise you and thank you, Oh God, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

The reminder for me is that I own nothing. If it were not for God I would be naked and lost (not a pleasant thought so I’m sorry for that image). So I need to be reminded often to praise God for what I have and to bless others through what God has blessed me with.

So with that, may God bless your day that you may bless others.

Praise be to God!

The Pastor -|—

In preparation for God’s Word ~ A Prayer

[Prayer that I will be using before I preach this morning]

Holy God…

I can’t help but repeat the words of the psalmist when I think of you, O Lord:

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?

Oh Lord, our majestic Lord, it blows me away that You are mindful of us, miserable sinners. And therefore we so need Your Word. For Your Word, Oh Lord, guides us into all truth and righteousness. Your Word gives life to all who listen and receive it. Your Word is wisdom. Your Word is salvation. There is no other word that can do that but yet we find ourselves drawn away from the path of righteousness, not for Your name’s sake but for all other’s names sake. We listen to those false words and doctrines and are enticed by the false beauty that they maliciously proclaim.

Oh majestic Lord, block our ears from those false doctrines and strengthen our faith. Improve our listening skills that we may hear and listen and receive Your Word. Oh Lord our Lord, how majestic is Your name and Word in all the world. May we be filled with your Spirit so that you may be praised as you ought to be praised. In Jesus we pray, Amen.

God bless you as you hear His Word proclaimed. May faith be created or strengthen in you. And may you be sent to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ.

The Pastor -|—

Preparing for worship ~ A Prayer

Holy God,

Your love and faithfulness is grand and majestic.
Your compassion and loving kindness is without bounds.
Your grace is unending.

How this blows me away just think about this. My mind can barely comprehend your glory.

Oh God, may those who hear your Word this morning hear your voice. May those who do not have faith, come to know life in Jesus. May those who come seeking, find true hope and peace. May those who are hurting, knowing true healing that only comes from the hope of the resurrection.

But words here are so insufficient for we do not know how to worship you as you are worthy. We do not know what we truly need.

So may you grant each person, who hears (or reads) these words not what they want but what they truly need; for only you know. Basically, Oh God, may your will be done; may your will be done so that you and you alone receive the glory, and not us.

So now may the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable to You, our rock and redeemer, Amen.

So, my friends…

May you come into worship with a humble Spirit; giving all that you are and receiving the Word of Life. May you raise your voice without hesitation in thanks and praise. May God be glorified as you are sent out to service.

Have a glorious and blessed day worshiping, enjoying Sabbath rest and soaking in the Word of Life. Praise be to God this day and always. Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Forgetfulness ~ A Prayer

Father God, your Word is life and in you we have our being.

Your love is incredible.
Your grace is amazing.
You are faithful and patient and compassionate.

And there is no end to our thankfulness for who you are especially when I consider who we truly are:

Sinful

But even though we lift our praises here and now, it won’t be long before we forget. It won’t be long before we turn away from you through sin. It won’t be long before we set up another god to worship. We hear the Gospel and remember, but our memories are short.

Oh God, we believe, help our unbelief.
Oh God, we remember help our forgetfulness.
Oh God, we want to be faithful, increase our faith.

We humbly come before you seeking your Spirit and longing for your Word. And I ask this, not so that we can have an experience of you but rather to know the truth of the Gospel and a peace that surpasses all understanding. For worship is not about us but rather you and you alone. To experience worship is to be a spectator and not truly worship you.

So…

Turn our hearts towards you that we may not be so forgetful.
Turn our hearts towards you that we may serve you and others.
Turn our hearts towards you that we may glorify your holy name.

Father God, I thank you that you hear our prayers and that we have an awesome God to worship. May your name be praised, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

May God bless you on this Lord’s Day and may your worship be pleasing to God’s ears for He is worthy.

Praise be to God!!!

The Pastor -|—