The plan was to go up north the first week of April and intern my mother’s ashes. Frost on the ground, muddy roads in the cemetery and, of course, foul weather have all put a hold on that event. I will admit I am upset by this. It is an important part of putting closure on my mom’s life here on earth. Then it dawned on me (I should have realized this earlier, I am a pastor) but she is not here, she is in heaven.Read More
Someone asked me what the difference is between a civic organization and a church. There are some significant differences. One is the mission: what our message is and who we serve. Sometimes cultural measurements and goals are substituted for the Biblical ones. That is why it is important to remind folks both in and outside the church what we are all about.Read More
March is a strange month with weird weather, basketball tournaments, spring breaks, Holy Week (yes, it’s early), and daylight savings time, which always makes me a little cranky.
This year March is coming in like a lion all over the United States. This is not nice at all! For those with allergies, pollen is in the air early and, of course, there is the joy of potholes.Read More
I love to read. In fact, I often think in story. When Jesus speaks in parables (stories), I get it. Everyone likes a good story. When I read a good book, it is because it is a good story. Books are stories and good books have good stories!Read More
At Christmas time, there has always been the ongoing battle with culture and materialism. This has been the greatest adversary to the Hope of Christmas. Is there a war on Christmas?
Jesus’ birth has long been overshadowed by cultural traditions, as wonderful as they are. Don’t get me wrong, I am right in the middle with tree trimming, present buying, gift wrapping, music programs (secular & church), miniature village set-up (my passion), and Christmas lights. Even though the church has baptized many of these traditions (secular to sacred), the story of Christ’s birth continues to be overshadowed.Read More
I am tired of the divisiveness. I am tired of the negativity. I am tired of the drama, and I’m tired of being tired. The news, all that is happening in this world, is wearing me out. I could hide from it, but what good would that be? I would just be uninformed about many things that really do matter. They say ignorance is bliss. So you don’t know about the truck that is going to hit you? No worries, no panic and maybe no life.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 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
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
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