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.
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…)
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…)
Not my ordination, but AN ordination.
A lot of people asked me if I was nervous. My honest reply? “No.” On July 10th, 2011, I was ordained as a minister of the Word and installed as Pastor at St. Luke’s Evangelical Lutheran Church. And the day didn’t make me nervous. After all, I didn’t really do much.
That pretty much covered my involvement in the service. The presiding minister asked me if I accepted the canonical books of the New and Old Testaments as God’s Word. He asked me if I believed that the Lutheran Confessions, contained in the Book of Concord, were a faithful restating of God’s Word. None of this bothered me in the least. I have spent a good chunk of my life studying God’s Word and knew that the Lutheran Confessions were faithful to it.
And then he asked me: Will you carry out your duties as pastor? (more…)