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
Are you looking forward to warmer days? Counting the days until you’re sitting on the dock at the cabin? How many trips will you take to the zoo? Are you planning cookouts with friends or what vegetables to plant in the garden?
Summer is an amazing time of new schedules, longer days, warm weather, and so many ways to connect with friends and family. In order to connect with our St. Paul’s family, we’d like to invite you to pray with us. In this book, you’ll find a weekly prayer focus.Read More
I was not all that into Holy Week growing up. Sure, I like the processional and waving of the palms on Palm Sunday, but Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday) and Good Friday were just stops along the way until Easter.
Even Easter morning took a back seat to Christmas Day. Now I get what Holy Thursday and Good Friday mean for me personally, for Christians and for all creation. You can’t have Easter without Good Friday. You can’t have Good Friday without the betrayal of the night before and the Last Supper. You can’t have resurrection unless there is death!Read More
I love movies, books and certain television shows. This is no surprise for those who know me. What generally surprises people, even those who do know me, is that I keep looking for faith stories in secular media. In fact, I seldom watch Christian movies, television shows or books (exception is the Bible and theological periodicals).
One of my “God at Movies” students asked me if I saw Jesus in every movie I watched. No, I said, but I do pay attention. I don’t even know I am looking for Gospel images or storylines in media anymore. I just pay attention.Read More
There are many reasons why I like Pope Francis. I am joking when I say he really is a Lutheran, but I do believe he is one of the most "human" Christians in our world today. What I mean by this is that he lives his life in a fully human way. This is how God created us to be: fully human.
No, the Pope is by any means perfect, and I imagine he would be the first to say so, but he does things that make me proud of the Church. He says things that are profoundly Biblical, thoughtfully theological and incredibly loving. Yet this man pulls no punches when he confronts, injustice, greed, racism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia and, yes, even sexism. That last one is huge – coming from one of the most patriarchal of religious institutions.Read More
There is a question that has been asked by many in and outside the church (think body of Christ). Why should we welcome all people? Well, some would say because we can have more members and more members means more money to run the church with. Others would say because we want to grow so we can do more things, have more programs, offer more opportunities to serve. Another group might say we really don’t want to welcome more people into the church, because you will have more expenses, the new folks may not even look or sound like us. Still others would wonder how we do this welcoming thing.Read More