Am I doing something wrong? I guess I find myself asking that question now. This week I was feeling very nervous. I had planned on giving a catechism review test on the commandments. I spent an entire class period reviewing with them. I told them exactly what would be on the test. I wrote a test that I thought they all had a very good chance of doing well. In many ways I knew that the kids knew the answers, but most of them failed to show it very well. (more…)
26 In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31 You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”
34“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be calledthe Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. 37For nothing is impossible with God.”
38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her. (more…)
So I had to recall back just a few months ago when I was ordained and installed as a pastor. What a wonderful day that was for me! God had graciously given me this call here. I heard words from my fellow brothers in the ministry as they shared words of encouragement to me in the laying on of hands. Now still green behind the ears, the role was reversed.
Last Sunday I had the opportunity to go to the installation of one of my brothers in the ministry at an area church. I was excited because I could proclaim some words of encouragement to him. The words I heard helped me. So now the question dawned on me all last week. What passage should I use? Who am I to give him encouragement? I wanted it to be memorable. I had about ten passages flowing through my mind. Finally it dawned on me. I should speaks words of encouragement based on a passage that I found especially encouraging. So I decided to use Isaiah 41:10. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Those words are particularly comforting to me. Whenever the stresses of the ministry start to catch up to me, God’s words here give me the strength to keep going not afraid. God upholds us.
As I look back on Sunday afternoon, what a privilege that was. The whole service reminded me of why I am here. It strengthened me. What’s more, I got to encourage a brother who has been at a church for less time than I have. God willing I hope to have this opportunity again. A few months ago I was the one kneeling and hearing encouragement. Last weekend, the role was reversed. What a joy and privilege that was.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” He also spoke about having faith like a little child. Little children need to hear God’s Word just as much as the rest of us. However sometimes in the course of a service, the message may not be the easiest for them to understand, apply it to their lives, or be able to focus for the whole time. So I started something new to try and include them. I started a children’s devotion explaining the Advent candles – what each one means. (more…)
So it has been a very busy week. Have you ever had one of those moments when you were blindsided by a surprise wonderful thing? It happened to me in a good way. In just one morning my calendar for the week changed dramatically with one great addition. (more…)
A new school year is upon us. Some places have even started already this week, but most will begin after the “last weekend of summer” (Labor Day). That means it is time to begin Catechism. As the pastor, it is my privilege to teach the seventh and eighth graders of the congregation the truths of God’s Word. It is an exciting time, but it might be more challenging than others. While it may be challenging to have a classroom full of young men and women who are studying God’s Word with you, it might in some ways be more challenging to have a small class. (more…)
King Solomon had some big shoes to fill when he took the throne as the king over all Israel. His father was the great and legendary king David. For 40 years, David ruled Israel. Now the throne was his son’s. Imagine the pressure and the thoughts that must have been going through his mind realizing all of the duties he would have as the leader of God’s chosen people. So when God came to him offering to give him whatever he wanted, Solomon took a look at how God had already blessed him. Solomon knew God’s love for him and his father David, but in his zeal to serve as the king, he thought he needed the knowledge and the wisdom to rule. He knew that he needed God’s help to fulfill the task that God had placed before him.
Last Sunday I preached on Isaiah 55:10-11. “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” What wonderful words spoken to us through the prophet Isaiah. God uses his Word to bring people to faith, to communicate to sinners that their Savior is Jesus. The Word works! (more…)
I have only been here a little over a week and already people have been wanting to meet me. This is great! I want to talk to the members and get to know them. I want to communicate better with them. What goes through your mind when it is someone who has been inactive? Last week I called to set up a home-visit with someone who is unable to come to church. Little did I know that the rest of the family that lives with them is inactive. When I talked to another member of the family trying to reach the home-bound member, she told me that she would like to talk to me as well. What a great surprise and joy! Yet at the same time fear.
Last weekend I was ordained into the public ministry and installed as the pastor of Grace Lutheran Church. Was I nervous? Yes I was. Was I excited? Yes I was. Am I happy? Yes I am. I am starting my first week as a pastor. It is what I have been looking forward to for 8 years. Now Monday comes. The pot luck prepared by the congregation is over. The church which was bustling with people is once again quiet as every one else returns to their work week.
What to do now? Where do I begin. One might say that the answer was obvious. “You are up to preach on Sunday morning so you had better get started on that sermon.” There is so much that has to be done like meeting people and preparing Bible classes, and getting ready for Sunday School. That is all important and needs to get done, but as I sat in my office preparing for the week figuring out exactly where to begin I realized there is only one place to begin. Prayer! (more…)