Thursday, May 31, 2007

Take time to talk to God

"Arise, shine, for your light has come!
And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you."
~ Isaiah 60:1
God loves to talk to us. It delights His heart when we turn to Him and He loves to answer our questions. His ability to understand our deepest concerns, and address them, is truly amazing.

Do we make it a point to talk to God every day? Do we go to Him with the big things, the little things, the "now" things, the "later" things? And do we go expecting, and knowing, that in His time, He will get back to us on everything we put before Him?

If you don't make this a regular practice in your life, I encourage you to start today. It is as simple as turning to Him and saying, "Here I am God, I want to be in Your Presence. I want to know You more, talk with You more often, hear You better."

I promise you, He will find a way to give you your answers.


Angela Gulartie,
Shining Light Ministries

Monday, May 28, 2007

Remember the Fallen

What Heroes Gave
by Roger Robicheau

Each donned their uniform to be
Defenders of our liberty

Their mission sure, their spirits bright
Guard freedom’s home, be brave to fight

One final day each faced their call
Each gave their best enduring all

We’ll never know what they went through
But know they loved this country true

Deep down inside we should all feel
What heroes gave, their cost so real

We must stay thankful, grateful of
The gift of freedom through their love

Their loved ones bore the gravest pain
What we can’t know, some now sustain

To God I pray their pain will cease
And each will find long-lasting peace

Remember this from year to year
What heroes gave – shan’t disappear

We’ll never let their special day
Their time for honor slip away

These brave fought for a nation free
If not for them, where would we be?
Dear Jesus,
This Memorial Day, not only do we thank you for the men and women who sacrificed so much for our nation, and for their families-
But this year we pray also for our service men and women who are being deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan this right now. Keep them from harm and bring them home safely. Be with their families and loved ones and comfort and sustain them.
Lord, just as Abraham Lincoln asked us, we also pray for our enemies- that your Spirit would turn their hearts that they might become allies.
And, please Lord, guide and direct our leaders, that they would govern wisely and make decisions that are in our best interest and under Your will.
In Your holy name we pray,

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Happy Pentecost

Just a few words about one of the three most important holidays in the Church year. I feel guilty for this being almost a passing thought. Pentecost truly should be as celebrated as Christmas and Easter. We Lutherans especially, it seems tend to overlook the third person of the Trinity. Many mainline Christians seem to think of Him as an it, something God fills you with, as opposed to an equal godhead with the Father and the Son. What a shame, so much that we leave to "Pentecostals" and "Charismatics" who we write off as somehow "fringe" Christians. How much we forfeit that might have been ours.

It seems to me that it's fitting that Pentecost falls on Memorial Day weekend this year, because in my mind, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit Acts 2:1-21 is analogous to democracy. Just as the Age of Enlightenment and the American revolution made every citizen an active participant in their government, replacing the previous practice of "Divine rite of kings," so the coming of the Holy Spirit brought (See also Joel Chapter 2) about meant that rather than God's Spirit descending upon any one individual prophet (say Elija), Priest (say Aaron) or king (like David)- He lives in each and every Christian believer, anointing all of us for Divine service, as...

  • Prophets- speaking Gods' Word
  • Priests- interceding on behalf of others with God (say in prayer for instance)
  • and as Kings- leading by example, letting God's Kingdom come in and through us as His servants
Personally, I read Martin Luther's "Babylonian Captivity of the Church" to say that the "office of public ministry" is really no more than just another vocation wherein we are all the King-of-King's ministers, but I suppose I'd better be careful with that one because I'll no doubt irk some Missouri Synod clergy as toying with heresy- but hey, when Luther postulated that Jesus built His Kingdom on the foundation of Peter's confession, rather than on Peter- blowing away the Roman Catholic dogma of the Divine right of priestly succession, Rome considered Luther a heretic.

But I digress, the point is, Pentecost, the birthday of the Church ushered in a sort of democratization of a relationship with God. No longer did people have to go to some temple on some mountain and have a priest intercede for them, but instead each of us can approach the throne of God with confidence because first Jesus removed our sins and then, because we were justified, the Holy Spirit could come in and God could not only live among us, but could live in us.

Mind you, it's just an analogy. German philosophers like Hagel tried to come up with some hair brained theory of the Holy Spirit as something called the "Zeitgeist" where through out history certain nations or nationalities were possessed by God, first the Egyptians then the Jews, then He experimented with one man in Jesus, then the Germans (thus the Nazi brand of holy nationalism- yikes!) So needless to say, we should be careful when we claim to speak with the authority of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps that's why mainstream denominations like Lutherans cower away from the Spirit, and cling to hierarchies and quasi-political structures and "offices" and orders- because we fear the cult of personality that has led many a televangelist astray.

At any rate, whatever danger may come, I pray:
Come Holy Spirit,
Live in Your Church members
So that we might go forth and proclaim Jesus' victory
as Your servant prophets,
Your servant priesthood of all believers,
and as sons and daughters of the one true King!
In the name of the Father, the Son, and You, the Holy Spirit, three-in-one

Saturday, May 19, 2007

There's more at the Ricketts Website

I keep adding to the website of everybody's favorite hometown that is SO nice, they named it after a vitamin deficiency-
Please check it out. The more hits it gets, the more likely search engines like Google are to list it.
If you have any stories or pictures to add, please email them to me!
And if you know anyone else in or from Ricketts and the area who might get a kick out of it, please forward it to them. While you're at it, feel free to link to it from your own website too.
Thanks, (sorry to "spam" you like this)

Pirate Prayers at:

Ted's cartoons, artworks, photos, and commentary at:

"The gospel is meant to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." ~Garrison Keillor

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

For once Heaven's gain is not our loss

Lucky for him we're saved by grace through faith, not by works, lest anyone should boast (Eph. 2:8-9) Not something he necessarily preached or practiced during his tenure down here.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Abbey Nous

Abbey Nous

Abbey Nous: "Exploring a spirituality based on the Lord's prayer. 'Praying the Pattern, the Lord's prayer as framework for prayer and life' gave perspectives on the Lord's prayer and examples to encourage the prayer to be used as a fuller part of our spiritual lives. This blog is for friends and waysharers following Lord's prayer paradigms in their spiritual journeying."

This is a British blogger who linked to one of my posts about the Lord's Prayer.-

A model prayer

I love the attempt to do this and I generally like the way they've gone about it: it's always good to see people attempting to take the Disciples' prayer seriously as a way of praying more generally.
How to use it as a pattern to follow when praying for others

I'd want to ask a few questions to reflect a bit further on how we do this... it's a great wrestling with using the prayer.
Prophet, Priest and Pirate... ARGH!!!: Praying the Lord's Prayer FOR SOMEONE ELSE

Monday, May 14, 2007

Luther on war

"War is the greatest plague that can affect humanity; it destroys religion, it destroys states, it destroys families. Any scourge is preferable to it."

Congratulations Seniors!

I guess this is the end. I'm done being the Lutheran Youth Fellowship (LYF) counselor. I was really blessed to work with these three awesome officers and their amazing parents for the past 4 years. Jeremiah 29:11 guys! Take Jesus with you to college and He'll always get you through anything!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Praying the Lord's Prayer FOR SOMEONE ELSE

Luke 11 (mostly)
Jesus' Teaching on Prayer
AND How to use it as a pattern to follow when praying for others.

1One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples."

2He said to them, "When you pray, say:
" 'Father,
hallowed be your name,

Lord, what a blessing to be able to call You "Father!"
I don't know if my friends knows You as a loving father. In fact, I understand that their earthly father may have abused them as a small child. Lord, let my friend come to know you and trust you as a kind and loving parent. And whatever happens to them, may they someday bring You glory and may they come to treasure You.

your kingdom come. Thy Will be done (Matthew 6)

Lord, please take control of my friend's life. Bring them under Your influence and dominion. Please don't let the devil have any say or any sway in their lives.

3Give us each day our daily bread.

God, grant them what they need- physically, financially and materially, emotionally, socially, and spiritually- provide for their needs in every way.

4Forgive us our sins,

Jesus, I know that my friend has hurt some people and let them down lately- Holy Spirit, gently convict my friend in their heart and help them to turn and behave differently. Don't hold their mistakes against them.

as we also forgive everyone who sins against us.

Lord, I also know that there have been many, many people who have hurt, wounded, and betrayed my friend. Help them to be able to move on and cope in spite of their pain, and to be released from their hurt and their resentment.

And lead us not into temptation.' "
but deliver us from the evil one. (Matt 6:13)

Oh dear Jesus, please don't test them more than they can handle. Put Your holy hand upon them, surround them with Your angels and Your saints. Guide them, heal them, lead them, and protect them.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. (1 Chronicles 29:11)

You're the only one who can help them in the ways that they need, You are the only one who can save them. Please, Jesus, please rescue my friend. In Your name, I pray.

Amen. Let it be so.

5Then he said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, 6because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.'

7"Then the one inside answers, 'Don't bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can't get up and give you anything.' 8I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man's boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs.

9"So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

11"Which of you fathers, if your son asks fora fish, will give him a snake instead? 12Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!"

Thursday, May 03, 2007

National Day of Prayer

It doesn't matter if you're on the left or the right- we're all on the same level ground at the foot of the cross, and we should all pause to pray for our nation. God help us!

From Sojourner's

We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see—we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.

- 2 Corinthians 6:8-10

Living God, you want us to have hearts that are completely simple, to the point that the complicated things in life do not bring us to a halt. Through the Holy Spirit, the spirit of the Risen Christ, you come to open a way for us, a way that is possible; on it we understand that you love us first, before we loved you.
(In Jesus' Name, Amen)
- Brother Roger of Taize

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Ricketts Reunion

Hi there,

My name's Ted. I live in a little town in Western Iowa called Charter Oak. By little, I mean in the neighborhood of 500. Quaint, huh? It is.

I write a weekly column in the Charter Oak-Ute NEWSpaper,
a publication that we obviously share with a neighboring town across the county line. Living in a small town is a wonderful way of life.

Recently someone who's a native of another town asked me about creating a website for a group of friends who try to get together every year and want to be able to keep up on their home town. The town is Ricketts, Iowa. I like to think of it a a suburb of Charter Oak. It's a burgeoning metropolis of say 150 people.

Here it is

Their annual "Ricketts Kids Reunion" is always the 3rd Saturday in July. This year it will be 7-21-2007

While I like to poke fun at it, I appreciate- no, I ADMIRE the affection that folks from Ricketts have for their town, and for each other. You gotta love a town that's this small and yet SO German Lutheran, that it has THREE churches! (all LCMS).

If they like what they see, I hope they'll adopt this little website. No doubt it will grow and improve, especially as they themselves contribute to it. If they aren't crazy about, I'll just delete it- more roadkill on the information superhighway.