Help us remember that the jerk who cut us off in traffic last night is a single mother who worked nine hours that day and is rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, do the laundry and spend a few precious moments with her children.>
Help us to remember that the pierced, tattooed, disinterested young man who can't make change correctly is a worried 19-year-old college student, balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting his student loans for next semester.
Remind us, Lord, that the scary looking bum, begging for money in the same spot every day (who really ought to get a job!) is a slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our worst nightmares.
Help us to remember that the old couple walking annoyingly slow through the store aisles and blocking our shopping progress are savoring this moment, knowing that, based on the biopsy report she got back last week, this will be the last year that they go shopping together.
remind us each day that,
of all the gifts you give us,
the greatest gift is love.
It is not enough to share that love with those we hold dear.
Open our hearts not to just those who are close to us, but to all humanity.
Let us be slow to judge and quick to forgive, show patience, empathy and love.
Friday, December 16, 2005
Monday, November 28, 2005
122 Ensure your servant's well-being;
let not the arrogant oppress me.
123 My eyes fail, looking for your salvation,
looking for your righteous promise.
124 Deal with your servant according to your love
and teach me your decrees.
125 I am your servant; give me discernment
that I may understand your statutes.
Monday, November 21, 2005
I have been struggling with my weight a lot lately. I have a dear friend who is struggling with his sobriety. A friend of mine recently had an unusual conversation with someone. They confessed to being anorexic and told her she couldn't possibly understand what that's like. My friend admitted that to a degree, that's true. but, that having a father who's a recovering alcoholic and being a member of Weight Watchers' she did know what it was like to daily battle an obsession. This prayer came to mind...
The Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Here are a couple of things to think about at Thanksgiving:
"I have held many things in my hands, and have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess."
-- Martin Luther
"Lift up your heart to Him, sometimes even at your meals, and when you are in company; the least little remembrance will always be acceptable to Him. You need not cry very loud; he is nearer to us than we are aware of."
-- Brother Lawrence
Monday, September 19, 2005
Praying through the elements of a worship service= A.C.T.S.
If God were oneof your aquaintences, what compliments could you pay Him? What's cool about God? What 7 things does God deserve in Revelation 7:12?
What is standing between you and your relationship[ with God?
What has God done for you, through you, or given you lately- for which you need to give Him credit?
Okay, let's pray- but remember J.O.Y. (Jesus, Others, then Yourself)
Why not follow this "HANDY" (see photo) outline?
Friday, September 16, 2005
I have one cheerleader who threw up at school today and went home sick- probably nerves about the pep rally.
I had another cheerleader who left the football game just before kickoff because of a family emergency- I'm assuming that her grandfather may have just passed away. He suffered an anurism a couple of weeks ago and has been in the hospital.
Please keep my cheer squad in your prayers,
Click here for my:Bulldog Cheer Coach's Blog
St.John LYF, Charter Oak
Here is St. John's LYF website-
Visit for information on the National Gathering, the Des Moine Gathering, and a few pictures from last week's homecoming parade.
Please bookmark it to your favorites list so that you can check it at least once a month to see what's going on.
Please pass it on to other kids and parents who's email address you have.
And, please pray for our youth group and the youth of our congregation and community.
Pray for a revitalization of our LYF, with only 3 active members, a lot has got to give, fundraisers, service projects... there's a lot that we can't do anymore, at least not the same way.
And please pray for me, with 3 kids of our own, coaching 2 sports, taking on extra work like the school newsletter, school website, freelancing t-shirts and freelance work for the newspaper- I'm spread a little thin. And I'll be candid, I've had a lot of bumps and dips in my faith walk in the last year or two, so I need some prayer for my wrestling-match with God while we're at it.
Thank you thank you thank you.
In His hands,
9/11 and the sport of God
by Bill Moyers
Terrorists plant time bombs in our heads, hoping to turn each and every imagination into a private hell governed by our fear of them.
They win only if we let them, only if we become like them: vengeful, imperious, intolerant, paranoid. Having lost faith in all else, zealots have nothing left but a holy cause to please a warrior God. They win if we become holy warriors, too; if we kill the innocent as they do; strike first at those who had not struck us; allow our leaders to use the fear of terrorism to make us afraid of the truth; cease to think and reason together, allowing others to tell what's in God's mind. Yes, we are vulnerable to terrorists, but only a shaken faith in ourselves can do us in.
So over the past four years I have kept reminding myself of not only the horror but the humanity that was revealed that day four years ago, when through the smoke and fire we glimpsed the heroism, compassion, and sacrifice of people who did the best of things in the worst of times. I keep telling myself that this beauty in us is real, that it makes life worthwhile and democracy work and that no terrorist can take it from us.
But I am not so sure. As a Christian realist I honor my inner skeptic. And as a journalist I always know the other side of the story.
+ Read the full article at TomPaine.com TomPaine.com - 9/11 And The Sport of God
Heal our nation.
So many conservative christians clamor that we must confess and repent our sins of permitting abortion and homosexuality.
Our hearts convict us that they may be right, but some even accuse You of sending Katrina to punish New Orleans, and that is insane and perhaps even blasphemous.
We also need to confess and repent of our sins of indulgence, pride, gluttony, greed and soft middle-class complacency toward our brothers and sisters in poverty...
And yes, of racism
even if it is unconsious or subconscious or covert or mild or accidental or institutional rather than hot, acute, hateful and personal.
Forgive us, Lord
And move us by Your Spirit to reach out and help,
and to re-examine our hearts and become more sensitive
And please, Lord
Don't let Satan use these disasters to polarize us further and divide us deeper.
In Jesus' Name,
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Take Action: The Katrina Pledge: A commitment to build a new America
"Speak out for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all the destitute" (Proverbs 31:8).
I guess I've let this blog lay fallow long enough. Yeah, I'll admit to doing a lot of wrestling with God lately, but the biggest reason was being away from internet access all summer.
Let's pray for our brothers and sisters in the Gulf region. Let us pray that racial tensions not be any more inflamed than they have been.
Friday, September 02, 2005
Click HERE for a list of chairitable organizations and ways that you can help victims of hurricane Katrina.
Click HERE for a list of chairitable organizations and ways that you can help victims of hurricane Katrina.
Thursday, May 19, 2005
The experience of losing your faith, or of having lost it, is an experience that in the long run belongs to faith; or at least it can belong to faith if faith is still valuable to you, and it must be or you would not have written me about this. I don¿t know how the kind of faith required of a Christian living in the 20th century can be at all if it is not grounded on this experience that you are having right now of unbelief. "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief" is the most natural and most human and most agonizing prayer in the gospels, and I think it is the foundation prayer of faith.
- Flannery O'Connor
Monday, May 16, 2005
Here is the 'C' in A.C.T.S.
I may be Lutheran, but I find Roman Catholic rituals fascinating.
Here is (minus the Mary and the Saint's stuff) the Latin prayer of confession:
Confiteor Deo Omnipotenti
Quia peccavi nimis
Mea maxima culpa
I confess to God Almighty
That I have sinned
And in deed
Through my own fault
Through my own fault
Through my own grievous fault
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
Here is a neat little prayer forward that my brother-in-law recently sent me. You can highlight it, copy it, paste it into an email and send it to as many people as you can think of. Remember, this Thursday, May 5 is the annual National Day pf Prayer.
I need this back. If you'll do this for me, I'll do it for you....
When there is nothing left but God, that is when you find out that God is all you need.
Take 60 seconds and give this a shot! All you do is simply say the following small prayer for the person who sent you this.
Bless all my friends in whatever it is that You know they may be needing this day!
And may their life be full of your peace, prosperity and power as he/she seeks to have a closer relationship with You.
Next send it on to five other people, including the one who sent it to you.
Within hours you caused a multitude of people to ! pray for other people.
Then sit back and watch the power of God work in your life.
The Five Finger Prayer
This is beautiful - and what a great way to organize our prayers. It is surely worth making the 5 finger prayer a part of our lives...
1. Your thumb is nearest you. So begin your prayers by praying for those closest to you. They are the easiest to remember. To pray for our loved ones is, as C. S. Lewis once said, a "sweet duty."
2. The next finger is the pointing finger. Pray for those who teach, instruct and heal. This includes teachers, doctors, and ministers. They need support and wisdom in pointing others in the right direction. Keep them in your prayers.
3. The next finger is the tallest finger. It reminds us of our leaders. Pray for the president, leaders in business and industry, and administrators. These people shape our nation and guide public opinion. They need God's guidance.
4. The fourth finger is our ring finger. Surprising to many is the fact that this is our weakest finger; as any piano teacher will testify. It should remind us to pray for those who are weak, in trouble or in pain. They need your prayers day and night. You cannot pray too much for them.
5. And lastly comes our little finger; the smallest finger of all which is where we should place ourselves in relation to God and others. As the Bible says, "The least shall be the greatest among you." Your pinkie should remind you to pray for yourself. By the time you have prayed for the other four groups, your own needs will be put into proper perspective and you will be able to pray for yourself more effectively.
Feel free to highlight, copy and paste this into an email to a friend!
Monday, April 25, 2005
"If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. Matthew 21:22
My nephew Braden just got confirmed at Faith Lutheran in Topeka. My wife made him the banner and I made him the painting.
Thursday, April 21, 2005
Kierkegaard: 'A bunch of scheming swindlers'
"The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church's prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close. Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes, it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament."
- Soren Kierkegaard
Help me to surrender
Let me fall into Your hands
Help me to surrender to Your truths
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
The volume of friendship
by Alex House
Lord, make a factory of peace,
Make more hope,
Hate, the least.
Make war as small as a speck of sand
And terrorism a wick on a candle that burns to ashes.
And make love and peace as big as a skyscraper.
And hope like a mountain that's 1,000 feet tall.
And make the volume of friendship be so loud
It shakes the ground.
Alex House lives in Upton, Massachusetts. He wrote this poem in Sunday school on Feb. 16, 2003, when he was 8 years old.
Saturday, April 02, 2005
"Heaven Can't Wait
Jesus was a radical, and it's time to start saying so"
Here's an excellent piece on being politically progressive and theologically orthodox.
Here's an exerpt:
"The thing is, I do believe. I spent my childhood running through the halls of my family's big old church. Mom taught Bible school, Dad directed the choir, and the minister who confirmed me remains a philosophical and spiritual counselor. They made me the bleeding heart I am.
The Jesus they taught me about lived and died in the name of justice, in the spirit of peace. He was an anti-establishment activist who begot peacemakers from Gandhi to Chavez, King to Mandela. And I had forsaken him: in social circles, because my progressive friends equated Western religion with naivete; professionally, because I wanted to get the story. And while, on some level, I will always be sorting out the whole religion thing, I'm no longer reticent to say that I believe Jesus walked the earth. That I believe he provoked the powerful, considered economic injustice a sin, and welcomed all people -- no matter what their race, religion, sex, or sexual preference -- without judgment or expectation.
In short, I believe Jesus was a radical, and the time has come to start saying so."
Thursday, March 17, 2005
St. Patrick's Breastplate
Christ ever with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me
Christ within me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me
Christ to my right side,
Christ to my left side
Christ in his breadth,
Christ in his length,
Christ in depth
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks to me
Christ in every eye that sees me
Christ in every ear that hears me.
Monday, February 14, 2005
Thursday, February 10, 2005
Y'vorech'cha Adonai v'yishm'recha,
Yair Adonai panav elecha v'chumecha,
Yisa Adonai panav elecha v'ysam l'cha shalom.
"The LORD bless thee, and keep you: The LORD make his face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you. The LORD lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace"~Numbers 25: 24-26
I am trying to write prayers and devotions based on the Fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22 for Lent. Today's Fruit: JOY
What exactly is Joy? and how can we nurture it as one of the fruit of the Spirit that we want to have as part of our character?
It must not be merely a feeling or emotion if God considers it something that a Spirit-filled, Spirit-led, Christ-like life produces, right?
I would say that hppiness and contentedness are moods, but Joy is something different. For one thing, Joy is what puts a sparkle in your eye- it's being glad to see and be with someone you love. See my Advent Devotion on Joy When the Aronic blessing in Numbers says "May the Lord's countenence fall upon you, may His face shine upon you, may He look upon you with His favor..." I think it's saying "May God be glad to see you and enjoy being with you."
But the older I get, the more I think that it's even something more as well. Joy is celebration! Maybe that opinion is influenced by the birth of my third daughter this past week. We're not just glad that she's here, we want to share our exciting news and want people to share our happiness.
One of my favorite scenes in any book was in a Frank Peretti novel. I think it was 'Piercing the Darkness,' when one of the human characters gets down on their knees in prayer and invited God into their life, the finally accept Jesus and ask for His help. The demons scurry away and the angels EXPLODE with celebration, praise, thanksgiving and energy. I wish I could do Peretti's prose justice, but my point is- that there is more celebration in Heaven for any one lost sheep than we can possibly imagine. And I can imagine a lot of excitement, I just experienced it when I wittnessed my baby being born.
No wonder "the Joy of the Lord is my strength." I for one wish that I wasn't at the mercy of the emotional roller coster of life, moods, anxiety, depression, stress, hormones & chemistry etc. I think that the only way to escape or transend those things might be to live a life of celebration.
Look, geese flying North, what a blessing! Look, a new baby, what a miracle! Look, deer leaping a fence, how majestic- thank God it's a quarter mile away and not right in front of my vehicle!
It is easier to say than to do, but here's a way to try, focus on what Paul encourages us to focus on in Philippians 4:4-8:
Help me to stop looking down
Help me to stop focusing on the negative
Help me stop being critical and judgemental
Holy Spirit, produce the fruit of Joy in me
in my heart and in my life
Help me to live a life of celebration
Help me to "practice Your presence"
and enjoy every minute with you
Help me to focus on what is true;
on what is noble;
on what is just;
what is pure;
what is lovely;
what is of good report;
on anything of any virtue;
on what is worthy of praise,
Help me to especially focus on You.
In Jesus' name,
Wednesday, February 09, 2005
I thought that I'd like to write devotions during Lent, the same way that I did in Advent. I don't know that I'll be able to write every weekday for the whole 6 weeks, but, we'll see. I'd like to start with the Fruit of the Spirit. Let's start with Love.
In 1 Cor 13, Paul describes the first Fruit of the Spirit. According to verses 3-8, love:
does not envy;
does not parade itself;
does not get 'puffed up';
does not behave rudely;
is not provoked;
does not think evilly, nor rejoice in sin;
rejoices in the truth;
bears all things;
believes all things;
hopes all things;
endures all things.
When you think about it, Jesus set the perfect example for us. I John says that "God is Love." Jesus said Himself that there was no greater love than to give up your life for a friend. That's exactly what He did for us on the cross.
Try it this way,
Jesus suffers long;
Jesus is kind;
Jesus does not envy... you get the idea.
Want the Holy Spirit to really convict you of your own sin?, then Try it this way,
(Your name here) suffers long;
(Your name here) is kind;
(Your name here) does not envy... you get the idea. I'd bet you anything that you'll feel guilty or embarassed because it just won't sound true when you say it about yourself.
So, let's try it as a prayer- first Adoring/Praising God, then Confessing your own sin, then Thanking Him, and asking Him to produce this fruit in your life:
You are patient;
You are kind;
You're not envious;
You don't brag;
You're not rude;
You're not easily provoked;
You're not evil, nor rejoice in sin;
You rejoice in the truth;
You bear all things;
I'm none of these.
Please make me more like Jesus.
Holy Spirit, this Lenten season,
produce the fruit of love in me and in my life
Make me an instrument of Your love, oh Lord
Help me to practice love toward others.
In Jesus name,
Fruit Of The Spirit: "The most famous passage about the 'fruit of the Spirit' is in Galatians 5:22, where Paul gives us a list of fruit. The list is meant as a contrast to the list of the deeds of the flesh' found in 5:19-20. The fruit list is clearly not intended as an exhaustive description of the fruit, but was given to highlight the fruit that Paul wants the Galatian church to keep in mind. He lists the following fruit:
When Paul follows the list of the fruit of the Spirit by saying that 'against such things there is no law', he was talking about the fact that the societal authorities find it pretty hard to object to behavior that shows these characteristics. Even a staunch enemy of the church will likely find these qualities appealing. They are known to be positive characteristics by the general public, in most eras, in most lands."
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
Monday, February 07, 2005
Thursday, January 27, 2005
Saturday, January 15, 2005
Prayer: (adapted from Rev.Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s 'Dream Speech')
Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy.
Now it the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of
segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice.
Now it the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial
injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.
Now is the time to make justice a reality to all of God's
Dear Lord Jesus,
let the dream of little children one day living in
a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin
but by their character come true.
let freedom ring, let it ring from every
tenement and every hamlet,
from every state and every city,
help us to speed up that day when all of Your children,
black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics,
will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old spiritual,
"Free at last,
free at last.
we are free at last."
In Jesus name,
Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands.. Protect them as they
protect us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they
perform for us in our time of need. I ask this in the name of Jesus, our
Lord and Savior.
Prayer Request: When you read this, please stop for a moment and say a
prayer for our troops around the world.
Of all the gifts you could give a US Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine &others deployed in harm's way, Prayer is the very best one
Friday, January 14, 2005
Gracie Allen once said,
"Never put a period where God put a comma."
I don't always understand why things happen
or what Your plan is for me...
Help me to never give up,
but to always look forward
to how You can take even the bad things that happen
and use it for good.
in Jesus' name,
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Thursday, January 06, 2005
This past Christmas season there was a lot of hullabaloo about whether or not it was okay to say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” For a couple of years now there has been debate over whether or not the Ten Commandments may be posted in public courtrooms. There is an atheist dad in California who doesn’t want his child to have to recite “under God” as part of the Pledge of Allegiance in public school. And now people are questioning whether or not the Federal government should provide funds for restoring the Spanish Missions in California because while they represent major historical sites, many are also active Catholic congregations.
So lets see if we can settle this once and for all. Is the United States a “Christian Nation.
The view from the Right: Sure this is a Christian nation. It’s an adjective, a description. By the numbers, the last census recorded that at least 41% of Americans claimed to belong to Christian churches, this is a large plurality. Only 2.2% are Jewish and barely 0.6%- six tenths of a percent are Muslim. According to the American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) conducted in 2001, 77% of Americans call themselves “Christian.” So of course this is a “Christian nation.” What else would you call it?
The Washington Times reported recently that a 2001 survey by the Graduate Center of the City University of New York found that only 0.5 percent are Buddhist and a scant 0.4 percent are Hindu. Come on, face facts, we’re mostly Christian.
It’s also Christian in it’s heritage. Everyone knows that many of the first Americans fled Europe in search of religious freedom. The Pilgrims wanted the Plymouth colony to be a “city on a hill,” and thousands consider it “the promised land.” And everyone also knows that our laws are based, at least in part on Biblical law, like the Ten Commandments.
And most people know that most of the founding fathers were Christian. The First Amendment provides freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion.
From the Left: No way is this a Christian nation. A 2002 USA Today/Gallup Poll showed that almost half of American adults appear to be “alienated from organized religion.” ALIENATED! The harder we try to force religion on people, the more they feel judged, driven away, and excluded. Only 50% even think of themselves religious- “religious,” not necessarily “Christian.” Maybe 33% consider themselves "spiritual but not religious," whatever that means. And at least 10% say that they’re neither spiritual or religious. You can never make people Christian by an act of Congress. It takes an act of God to do that.
Lets face it, like it or not, this is a secular nation, a pluralistic society. Everyone knows that many of the first Americans fled Europe in search of religious freedom. After the Protestant Reformation European Christians were at war WITH EACH OTHER for over 100 years. The first Americans wanted to be able to live together despite their religious differences. America’s foundation was laid in religious tolerance. The First Amendment guarantees that the government will not establish or promote any one religion of any others as an official religion. We don’t have to pay taxes to churches like they do in other parts of the world. The First Amendment guarantees that we each have the right to practice our own religion without fear of persecution. That’s what free speech is all about.
Most people know that many of the founding fathers were “Deists,” scientific agnostics who were culturally “Christian” but doubted or even denied the divinity of Christ. What’s more, many of them were also members of Masonic temples. I don’t know about Baptists and Methodists, obviously Anglicans/Episcopalians didn’t care, but the Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Lutheran Churches all strictly prohibit membership in super secret and/or occultist organizations like the Masons. Who knows what Eastern mysticisms and pseudo-philosophical nonsense those founding fathers swallowed hook, line, and sinker.
Christian nation, indeed! The best thing about the founding fathers is that they recognized that they were human and fallible. We shouldn’t turn them into gods by assuming that they were so much more pious than we are today. That’s why they made ours a government of laws, and checks and balances, not of people, parties and churches.
And from the Middle: Well, it all depends on how you look at things. According to the last census, barely 37 % of Americans consider themselves religious. At least 16 % think of themselves as secular.
But more important than that is what do you even call “Christian?” I believe that only God knows what is in our hearts. Of all of the people who sit next to us in Church, how many are hypocrites? How many say that they’re Christian only because that’s all they’ve ever known or because they think it’s the “right thing to do.” How many attend because they think it makes them better than others? How many truly KNOW Jesus Christ in a personal way? How many are willing to make Jesus their “LORD,” and not just their “Savior.” The definition of “Christian” is “little-Christ,” that is imitator of the Anointed Messiah, or follower/disciple of Jesus of Nazareth only begotten Son of Jehovah-God. He was willing to be executed unjustly to save others. Am I? Are all Americans? Is America a single, living, self-aware, sensate being, capable of faith and receiving salvation?
Jesus was born in an occupied territory of the Roman Empire. Sort of a man without a country. The Mormons believe that He visited the Indians in North America after His resurrection. Of course most Mormons consider themselves Christian, but I don’t and neither does the Lutheran Church, of which I am a member.
So is this a Christian nation? Maybe better questions are; Should it be? And if so, how would you suggest making that come about? Two other very interesting questions could be, would Jesus be granted citizenship to the U.S. if He applied for it today? Barefoot, jobless, homeless, long haired, barefoot, itinerate preacher from Palestine. Hmmm. The other one is; If he came today, would America execute Him the same way Rome did? Hmmm.