I am getting to that age when more of those I know and love have recently died or are dying. It makes me sad and it also makes me think. When we were young, we wanted things to move more quickly, especially time, but now it moves way too fast and I am sad that I didn’t pay attention to the ones I loved and the experiences of life that were remarkable.Read More
This blog that I write and all the ones before it, are my thoughts and observations. I do not write them, saying that this is what St. Paul’s Lutheran Church as a congregation is thinking, but for me as a pastor. Not everyone in at St. Paul’s would agree with what I have to say, that’s ok, we all have different points of view. But I do write this blog as a witness to what I believe as a follower of Christ, as a pastor in the ELCA and yes as the pastor of this church.Read More
Mardi Gras will arrive almost a month later than last year. That's great news! It gives us time to get going on preparation for the big event. Last year we were able to share over $35,000 to much-needed programs at St. Paul's from the proceeds of this event. Our children, youth, music and various other needs were fulfilled and were able to do things that otherwise would not have been achievable without this one big night. This is without a doubt our biggest one-night event of fun, food, and fellowship and it takes the help of many to pull it off.Read More
Today, I am concerned. Maybe I am a bit anxious. No, I am afraid. Afraid of what? Afraid of fear? I am afraid that fear is becoming more important in our world, than hope, or love or faith.
Maybe it is just this election cycle and the midterms. Maybe it is the tribalism and negativity I see and hear every day. I suppose I watch the news too much or listen to people expressing themselves in ways that are so denigrating to others that it hurts my ears and my heart.Read More
This week I participate in a congregation-wide Bible Study on the Old Testament, beginning with of the course the book of Genesis. The presenter and author are not Lutheran and do not approach the texts in the way I would, so I have a part in the study, where I present a “Lutheran Perspective”. I have thought about this a lot lately and have expanded my study on Genesis and how the Son (Jesus) is present at the time of creation. Honestly, I don’t see Jesus there. But God the Father Creator and the Spirit of God are very much in the Creation story.Read More
I love to read books and so does my wife. So going to the ½ Price Bookstore is really a nice time. However, we have quite different taste in literature, so she went her way and I went mine. No big deal. You will usually find me in the history section, but I was getting a bit overwhelmed with both current and past historical events. Instead, I went for pure escapism.Read More
At a wedding recently, I told a story about a young couple who were engaged to be married. Here is that story:
The groom to be was a pilot with the Army Air Corp. The bride was a young lady of many skills, which included mechanics and a lathe operator. They were to be married the day before Christmas in 1941.Read More
If you want folks to become a follower of Christ, by being religious, this has some real problems. What I mean to say here is, that religiosity is not the same as a religious faith. But too often, we equate being religious and following Christ as the same thing or at least it is for Christians. This is not necessarily so. In fact, being faithful is more than being religious.
You may have read an article in the August issue of the Connection that introduced something new the Faith Formation team is hosting this year. This Cross+Gen gathering will be a monthly gathering for all ages called GIFT. GIFT will usually take place on the first Sunday of the month (beginning in October) and will be a time for everyone to gather to tell stories and hear God’s story for us. It will be a time to get to know each other and ask questions. We may sing, create, or listen. We might find out that we have something in common with another person. GIFT, or Growing In Faith Together, will hopefully become a gift to you. Every generation has gifts to give and every generation has needs we gift.Read More
One size fits all. This is a lie. There was a day when this was thought to be the case, but with the advent of a consumer’s society and a plethora of options, whether it is in clothing, food, homes, churches, or schools, one size does not fit all.
Men have three well-identified emotions: mad, sad and glad. Yes, this is an oversimplification, but stick with me here. This does not ignore love or numerous other emotional attributes. If you think about it, it is pretty descriptive of men’s emotional landscape. It is kind of like ice cream for dessert, it is all about the amount and not necessarily the presentation or variety.Read More
My niece Rachel died on Saturday, July 7th unexpectedly of a Pulmonary Embolism. There really are no words to describe the pain and loss. So why, you ask am I writing this blog? Because of the why question that is so often asked when it comes, in such a heart-shattering loss.Read More
As a Pastor, the primary source of all of my teaching and preaching comes from the Bible (written Word of God). This should not be a surprise. I hope. The Bible is amazing and I find something new in it every time I read it. I could go into a whole Biblical and Theological explanation about why this happens but just go with me here. It does.
One of the really amazing pieces of this is how God’s love comes to us in so many different and remarkable ways. For many, not all, the Bible seems to be filled with stories of God’s wrath and judgment. A lot of preachers will make that the primary themes of their preaching and teaching. I can understand where this comes from, but to me, it is clearly a limited view of what God says and does in the Bible.
Do you have to be a Christian to show Jesus’ love? Is there such a thing as good or bad Christians? Are some Christians better than other Christians? NO!
Should Christians show Jesus’ love to everyone? Do all Christians sin? Do all Christians follow Christ? Yes, yes and maybe, sometimes, depends!
Where have I seen Jesus’ love? This is still the question we want people to answer and share. I have been doing some serious reading lately, which means my head is in a book; however, I have also tried to go to some movies, especially with my grandchildren.
Recently, during one of the hottest days of the year so far, my wife Jane and I took our grand-daughter Ella to the movie, “The Incredibles 2”. When it is hot out people’s tempers get a bit hot as well and you can imagine trying to maneuver through a parking lot at the theaters with folks especially little ones trying to get in and see the show.Read More
Where did I see Jesus’ love this week? I saw it at a four-year-old’s birthday party. Yes, at a birthday party. The event had kids and adults of nearly all ages. Of course, there was a cake with candles, singing Happy Birthday and tearing into the various gifts.
At the Nebraska Synod Assembly, they asked the candidates for the bishop; “What Biblical story or character best reflects your style of leadership in the church?” The answers were good, but it made me think about what Bible story I would say, reflects my leadership style. So here it is.Read More
As we continue our focus on where did we see Jesus’ love, I would like to talk about where did we see Jesus this week? Many of you have seen the pictures of crying children as they are separated from their parents. I am going to stop here, to remind folks that some will see this blog as political. If you do so and stop reading, I am sorry, because I really want you to hear me out.
I saw God’s love the other day at McDonald’s. Yes, that’s right at McDonald’s. It involved a child, a panhandler and a happy meal.
I am not a big fan of those who are panhandling on our streets and in public places. In part because there are many places that offer these folks help, and they are not taking advantages of the help that is offered. Also many, but not all, are seeking money that they spend on things that are not food, shelter or clothing, which adds to their struggles. However, this is not the point of my story.Read More