I was a campus pastor at the University of Nebraska at Kearney for 13 years. It was a privilege to serve the students, faculty and staff. It was a great adventure in faith, community and diversity. During that time some terrible things took place in our world and in our local community. From 9/11, two wars, Columbine, catastrophic storms, the death of students and the kidnapping of another, we as an academic community and the faith community at Campus Lutheran walked through them together.Read More
This October, things might start to feel and look even more different as we journey closer to the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, which will be part of our worship celebration on Sunday, October 29th at 9:30am. In fact, that celebration, combined with our celebration of the Affirmation of Baptism, is SO important to our faith lives, we will have one Sunday service at 9:30 (with the Saturday service taking place at 5:30, per usual) that weekend.Read More
“Survival of the fittest” is a term or slogan often inaccurately used to describe evolution or natural selection. Many times in nature, survival of the fittest is the case. The weak, the sick, the injured, the very young and the old are the most vulnerable to being attacked or being left behind and ultimately to die. However this is not what we as human beings were created to be about and certainly not what Christians are called to follow.Read More
This past Labor Day weekend was a nice break from the labors of work. I took some time to be with my wife and family, worked outdoors, watched some football, went to a good movie and basically escaped. Tuesday morning came and the harsh realities of a world that never takes a break dawned upon us.Read More
I have been watching the water rise in Houston and other parts of Texas. Unless you have been in a major flood you really don’t understand what floods can do. I know we have all seen the terrible pictures of people walking on major highways, escaping their homes that are going under water. It breaks my heart to see the look on the faces of people of all ages suffering through loss of nearly everything but their lives and the clothes on their back.Read More
Recently, we have heard a lot of talk about the Civil War and who the heroes are of the Civil War. Some folks call the Civil War “The War of Northern Aggression” or the “War Between the States” and even “The Recent Unpleasantness.” It was a war that divided our nation, and it seems it still does.Read More
I am writing this blog not as a pastor, but as a grandfather. I have eleven grandchildren and one of them is African American. I am concerned for her because there are people who hate her for the color of her skin and have no idea what a wonderful, beautiful child of God she is. The truth is, I am concerned for all my grandchildren. They should not have to see the rise of hate groups in our country. I am concerned for all children who live in a world where fear, hatred, war and tribalism is becoming the norm.Read More
“Reverse Hospitality” this is a concept that became quite apparent to me when I heard a friend of my son’s talk about an encounter with a waitress at the Café Du Monde in New Orleans. My son’s friend has Vietnamese heritage and speaks fluent Vietnamese. A waitress was taking their order and it was clear she was somewhat new to American and English, without knowing it, about every third word was Vietnamese. The friend replied in the girl’s language of origin and the waitress just lit up and relaxed.Read More
The 10 Commandments were given as a gift to God’s people as they wandered in the wilderness. The gift was intended to help them live in relationship with God and each other. Well, we all know how that turned out.Read More
What does it mean to be a Christian? This was a question asked of me by a non-religious, but very spiritual young woman. “That’s a good question,” I said. This was my response as I thought about what I was going to say. Then it came to me, I heard a 6-year-old answer this question with clarity and insight. So I quoted her: “It means you love God, love Jesus and love everyone else!”Read More
Calls in the middle of the night or early morning are generally not good, especially for a pastor. This one was no different, with the exception that it was my dad telling us a storm had hit their home and there was damage mainly to the trees, dock and pontoon boat. He was ok and so was my son, who lives there as well.Read More
I am a citizen of the United States of America. I am also a citizen in the Kingdom of God. This is Martin Luther’s understanding of the two kingdom doctrine. To Luther, this means we are called to be good citizens in both realms. We are called to serve God and serve our neighbor (country) in the best way we can.Read More
Perhaps we have reached the most significant part of our time in worship—the meal, Holy Communion, the Eucharist, the Great Thanksgiving. God’s meal is a sacrament—a gift for God’s people that comes with a promise, contains an earthly element, and is sealed with a promise from God. We trust that by participating in the sacrament, we will receive the promise of God, not because of what we are doing, but because of who God is.Read More
I do not like squirrels. They are rats with furry tails. Squirrels eat the bird seed that we put out for the birds. They are bullies and greedy! They laugh at me when I try to get rid of them.
Because firearms are band in the city limits and we all know how well I do with a crossbow (nearly lost a thumb), my options for handling these pests have become limited and I am frustrated. The birds are not getting the food, and my pocketbook is hurting a bit because of squirrels.Read More
I watched the storm clouds approach on radar. The radar showed yellow, red, purple and another very dark color I could not name.
I saw the clouds coming and I reacted by saying: “Well, they are not here yet.”
When I got into the car to leave for Lincoln to take my granddaughter back home, the sky was getting quite dark.
“Papa, you better hurry the storm is coming,” my granddaughter said.
I told her we would go as fast and as safely as possible. I said we would be fine and would get her home before the storm hits. And we did just that.Read More
Americans have real issues with history. For the most part, they are quite ill informed, compared to many countries around the world.
In Israel, you get a one year course on the history of the Jewish people. World history is a part of their military training. For many Americans, history was one of the most boring classes in high school. This is very sad to me, for a number of reasons.Read More
Feeding the hungry is very much a part of our Christian responsibility in the world. The "Community Meals" program is an opportunity to serve Christ by serving others. Six times a year St. Paul's Lutheran Church helps serve meals to the homeless and the hungry at 1st Baptist Church in downtown Omaha. If you can boil water, wash dishes, butter toast, serve coffee, or just help dish out food - you can help. The following dates areSt. Paul's Lutheran's serving opportunity: May 27, July 22, Sept. 23, Nov. 25 and Dec. 9. We work from 9:30am to 1pm in two shifts, so you do not have to be there all morning. We do ask folks when they eat that they go out and sit with those we serve. If you are at all interested #contact the church office for more information or if you want to be a part of this important ministry. Thank you!Read More
This past Sunday was not only Mother’s Day, but also a youth led worship here at St. Paul’s. Our young people did a wonderful job! Their authentic sharing of their faith and gifts made worship very special and every mom was proud.
Recently, I have been hearing and seeing articles and commentaries on how young people today are perceived. They have been accused of being lazy, entitled, uninformed and immature. This is the short list. Yes, I am sure there are people in every generation that share these mentioned negative attributes. But my experience with our young people of today is quite the opposite.Read More
Leadership in today’s world is not easy. In fact, it is fraught with dangers, political and social landmines everywhere. The role of a leader in the Kingdom of God is one of serving, not always leading from the front, sometimes from the back or the side or even carrying those we are called to lead. Sometimes people don’t want to be led or feel they are better at it by themselves. Sometimes those we lead resist to the point of conflict.Read More
In Israel, they plant a tree to bless and remember their loved ones. At the Holocaust Museum, there is a section called the Grove of the Righteous that honors and remembers those who aided the Jews during the holocaust. In the United States, many of us plant trees for all sorts of reason: ornamental, environmental, and yes, in memory of loved ones gone.Read More