The thoughts and writings of a second career ELCA Lutheran pastor starting his second call in Oklahoma.
Formerly an inner-city recreation director and a high school football coach.
My thoughts are my own and do not reflect those of important people or organizations.
This is my Ash Wednesday message, based on the lesson from Luke 9:51-62, where Jesus set his face towards Jerusalem. I've always some issues with this lesson, especially the "Let the dead bury their own dead" (see http://prepare-ye.blogspot.com/2013/06/let-dead-bury-dead.html) So I started writing questions, hoping to have some answers. Then I realized my questions, while not having answers, had a message, and that, I though, was enough.
What does it mean to set your face to go to
What does it mean to accept your fate?
If Jesus accepted that his fate was to die
on a cross for our sins, can we accept that we are sinners?
Can we accept that our only hope of
redemption and salvation had to come from God, and not from anything that we
Knowing this, how do we NOT love the Lord
our God with all our heart, and mind, and soul and strength?
Can we admit that we are sinners, no better
than, but no worse than, anyone else?
Can we still love others knowing this?
Can we confess that we are rightly damned
with out the death of Christ on the Cross?
Can we still love ourselves knowing this?
How do we make decisions for our future when
“the days draw near” for us?
Are our decisions different when we think
that our days are not yet drawing near?
What do we do when we realize that we have
no idea if are days are drawing near or not?
What does it mean to be ready to lay down
Does laying down our lives mean that we are
ready to take up our Cross?
Are we ok with carrying the Cross for
What does it mean to lead a life in the
kingdom of God, to live under the reign of Christ?
Is heaven a place to go when we die, or is
it a goal to work for here on Earth?
Are we just supposed to wait for it to
Can we work and act to create it here and
What does it mean to follow Jesus?
Does it include going to some places and
doing some things that you don’t want to go and do?
Are we willing to give up our home and
separate from our people to follow Jesus?
Are there some people with whom we don’t
want to work or serve?
Can we love those who do not welcome us?
Do we get to decide who is in God’s
What if we’re not ok with God’s decisions?
Are we willing to accept those who are
different from who we are?
Are we willing to accept help from them?
Why do we focus on what Jesus is calling us
from doing, and not on what Jesus is
calling us to do?
What do we need to let go of to follow
What are we holding onto that keeps us from
giving myself totally over to Christ to command?
What are we waiting to have happen?
Do we think someone else will answer the
Who do we need permission from to act?
Why do we want to act on our own schedule
rather than to live in Christ’s immediacy?
What has to happen in our heart, in our soul,
in our mind or in our life for us to let go, and let God?
Are we willing to follow if we have no say
in the destination or assignment?
If the help of the helpless abides with us,
why do we not answer the call?
If we fear no foe, and our tears have no
if we trust that God abides with us, why do we hesitate to answer?
Can YOU use these 40 days during Lent to
examine what you value more than serving and surrendering to God?
-->This letter was sent this week to members of the ONE in Christ Lutheran Parish in Wisconsin. February
14, 2018 Grace
to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, After
much prayer, thought and consideration, I write to inform you that I have
accepted another call, and will be leaving the churches of the ONE in Christ
Lutheran Parish after Easter Sunday. The Covenant Lutheran Churches of Oklahoma
City, Oklahoma have voted to call me to be their pastor, and I have accepted
that call. Several
times, I have shared with quote from the Apostle Paul when he encountered the
Risen Christ on the road the Damascus. It is the quote from one of the chapel
windows at the Seminary in Gettysburg, and I have had it tattooed on my left
forearm. Paul asks, “Lord, what wouldst thou have me do?” I include that
question in my prayers several times daily. I now feel that this is the time for
me to follow the answer that Christ gives to Paul in Acts 9:6, “Arise, and go
into the city.”…
One of the things you will learn about me is that I am a Bible nerd, which can be good if you are a pastor. Each of the four Gospels tells the story of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, from a different perspective. John’s Gospel is the most unique. One of the characteristics of John’s Gospel is that in it, Jesus tells no parables. But the description of Jesus as the Good Shepherd comes close, and may best be looked at the way parables are analyzed. Parables are used to describe the indescribable. Jesus used parables to describe a type of love that humanity cannot understand, and so he uses ordinary, everyday items and situations to try to allow us to have a glimpse of…
Here is my last article for my newsletter for the ONE in Christ parish.
Ponderings Thank you for the
opportunity to serve you, and to serve God in this corner of the kingdom. I
hope that these churches are in a better position now than when I arrived. I have two final
requests for you all, weighing in with my final two cents. You can use them or
disregard them. One is on page 5, a
request to continue the internet and
social media work that we started. The second is about
the short and long-term steps that you will be doing. In his message, Kaj
Petersen writes that the first step of the call committee is to create a
profile of this parish that prospective pastors will receive. Please, take your time
and be honest when you work on this. Describe the church and parish that you
truly are. Do not describe the church and parish you think that you are. Do
not simply tweak the profile I received seven years ago this week. You are not
those churches. The priorities of Our
Savior’s and Emma…