Quite a few colleges were waiting with baited breath on Sunday afternoon to see if they were named for being in the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament.  The teams were questioning themselves on whether they had enough quality wins; whether their strength of schedule was strong enough; did they do enough to get a bid to make it to the “BIG DANCE” or March Madness!  Then they waited as the announcer called off the qualifying teams in alphabetical order.  Oh the pressure!  Oh the anticipation!  Oh the dollars your school will lose out on if you don’t make it into the NCAA tournament.  Oh the coaching jobs that might come open if their school doesn’t make it.  Oh the humanity! (Ok that last comment may be a bit much.)

Only 68 Division one schools are invited to the tournament out of 300+ schools.  There is some competition and pressure for sure.  In this season of brackets for basketball-the Women’s teams were announced Monday night-what would God’s bracket look like for those he wants to save?

Every name would be put on a line, your name and my name, your neighbors and those around you.  God wants all men to be saved.  Those people who think they can do it on their own will fail.  Those who reject Jesus will fail.  There are no “upset winners” when it comes to heaven.  We are all winners through Christ Jesus.  There are no Cinderella stories of the underdog over taking the favorite.  Christ did it all for you and me.

Heaven is WON for you and me!  The championship crown belongs to all of us through Jesus!  Heaven is my home.  Heaven is home to those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.


Intermittent Internet Woes

We are having some issues with our internet here at Deer Valley Lutheran Church.  We’re using Phoenix Online Internet, a company that beams their signal to us through a “satellite dish” network.  It’s been spotty due to electrical interference from the Sprint cell tower on our property.  We have no other options for internet right now.  Cox doesn’t come to our address but stops at both neighborhoods next to us.  We can get Cox if we want to pay $19,000 to bring the line to our facility or agree to a five-year contract of $600/month.  Centurylink doesn’t have broadband for us either basically for the same reason.  So this morning, I’m using my T-mobile hot spot to allow me to get some social media things done for Deer Valley and myself.  Frustrating to say the least!

I also use my Google drive to store several Word documents and plans for youth stuff.  Without the internet it’s a bit difficult to get to it.  It’s amazing how much we’ve come to rely on the internet with all its bells and whistles.  You just can’t have a 21st century life without a consistent internet.

It’s reassuring to know that our God is not like the internet at Deer Valley.  He is always there for you and me.  His word is consistent in its truth and purity.  His promises endure through generation after generation never-ending always and forever.  We do have the devil, the world and our flesh that try to interrupt the “signal”, the truths of God’s word, but HE is constant.  When we start to feel like God doesn’t care, we are wrong.  When we feel God has left us, he hasn’t.  When we feel we can’t endure the struggles we are going through, he is still with you and me.  Constantly forever in his grace, his care, his mercy.

The things that frustrate us on earth are temporary.  It is really no big deal when put into the perspective of eternal life and our home in heaven.  Stay strong to God’s word and his promises.  Cling to the cross and the empty tomb of Jesus.   Rejoice knowing you are a child of God!

Frustrated blessings


It’s been cold and rainy in Phoenix the past two days and I am amazed at how many people seem to be complaining.  The weather is below 70 and the sky is gray with some precipitation coming down and they are grumpy.

The streets are jammed with cars with out of state of license plates and several are from Canada.  People are in town to watch some spring training baseball games but make travel in the Phoenix metro area a nightmare, especially the areas where there are stadiums.

Both of these have great blessings attached with them.  We live in desert and any rain we can get is a blessing.  After two months into the year we are 1.06 inches of rain behind for the year.  A year where we only get 5 inches of rain anyways.  We will take the 0.22 inches of rain we’ve gotten for our crops of citrus, cotton and cactus.

The spring training fans bring with them their wallets.  They stay in our hotels, eat in our restaurants, buy our trinkets, visit our stadiums and make a huge impact to the tax base.  The additional revenue from tourism is near the top of how Arizona survives.  Blessings for sure!

Jesus died.  Jesus was crucified for you and me taking on all of our sins.  Was he frustrated because he was the one paying the debt demanded by God?  No.  He did so willingly and lovingly.  It’s frustrating knowing that Jesus paid the price for our sins but it is truly a blessing that he paid the price for our sins.  If it was up to us to pay the price of our sins we would fall short to what God demands.

Rejoice in the blessing of your Savior!  Rejoice in the frustrations of life for they are temporary because of what Christ has done for us.  Your home in heaven awaits!

Three things this coming Wednesday

It’s a very exciting time of the year!  This Wednesday there are plenty of things happening -Wednesday February 14th brings with it the reporting day for pitchers and catchers to their Spring Training facilities.   (some don’t care)  Wednesday February 14th also brings Valentines Day, the day roses, chocolates, cards, teddy bears and other ‘lovey” things are exchanged. (some don’t care) Wednesday February 14th is also Ash Wednesday, the first day of the Lenten season where we walk with Jesus to the cross.  The cross where he willingly died for our sins, paying the price for our trespasses but then culminating into his defeat of death and the devil. (Some people don’t care)

The world with its fanatical obsession with sports and unquenchable thirst for consumerism sometimes misses out on the importance of Ash Wednesday and JESUS himself.  The distractions of life and the busyness of our schedules allow us to justify the reason we can’t celebrate a mid-week Ash Wednesday service.  We get complacent in our lives and don’t want to make room for another dose of God’s word.

I love my wife and share cards and flowers on valentine’s day; I enjoy baseball and root for the Chicago Cubs; but I also love my Savior and enjoy hearing the words of the passion history each and every year.  The episodes of Jesus’ final week on the earth is uplifting and inspiring.  Be prepared to rejoice in your Savior and we walk with Jesus every Wednesday night for six weeks.

God gave us the best valentine gift in his son Jesus.  Let’s enjoy the love together in God’s house surrounded by his WORD.  Worship is at 6:30 pm which is preceded with a Soup and Sandwich pot luck at 6pm.  Be feed physically and spiritually!

The Real Deal

One of the “cute” commercials for the Super Bowl was the Alexa commercial where “Alexa” loses her voice.  The lady from Amazon assured her boss that they had found a suitable replacement for the voice of Alexa.   It segued into different stars answering questions asked of Alexa in their own way.  If you’ve ever used Alexa she does seem to have plenty of answers to your questions and it’s pretty amazing.  She sent me a recipe for apple crisp just last night as a matter of fact.

Other companies, like Google, have come up with their own “ALEXA” and are trying to capture their portion of the market with their product.  While all these products attempt to give us all the answers, including the meaning of life, they fail in comparison to what God gives us.

The Bible contains God’s truths and we are to live and learn by these truths.  There is no substitute for GOD, he is God.  George Burns and Morgan Freeman have portrayed God in movies and failed to be true God.  Other people of the world have tried to play God and failed miserably.  There are also inanimate objects that become gods for sinful humans.

When you are seeking the truth and looking for answers, God’s word has them all.  His word rings true and he always has his voice through the WORD.  Trust the real deal, the real truths of God’s promises.  Don’t fall prey to the sugary sweet, feel good words of false teachers.

“Super” Week!

The week of the SUPERBOWL is finally here and people are flooding Minnesota to see the game between the Eagles and Patriots.  Millions and Millions of dollars will be spent this week in support of entertainment featuring 22 men smashing their heads against each other, wearing different colors to score the most points in victory.

In Phoenix, we have a great distraction this week from the SUPERBOWL.  It’s the Waster Management Phoenix Open golf tournament.  The PGA holds it’s tournament at the TPC course and the fans will come out in droves.  Last year  655,434 fans made their way to TPC Scottsdale for the golf tournament.  That’s a lot of people to show up for a golf match.  This year’s weather looks like it will be in the 80’s for the golf outing while it will be zero in Minneapolis for the big game.

Last weekend we had 153 people in worship with us hearing the saving message of Jesus!  We post the sermon of Pastor Zuberbier on our website and have had 11 people listen to it.  God blessed us with several visitors to follow-up on and a few new winter visitors.  It was a SUPER week for us at Deer Valley because we were able to faithfully proclaim the good news of Jesus.

Every week is a SUPER week at Deer Valley because we have the saving message of Jesus.  Every time the word is proclaimed it’s a success.  Every time the word is heard the Holy Spirit is at work.  The events that happen once a year like the Superbowl and Phoenix Open are fun and enjoyable to attend.  But they happen once and they are at the top-level of entertainment pulling out all the stops.  We don’t have the pyrotechnics at Deer Valley or the half time entertainer, just the Law and Gospel.

Enjoy your “Super” week with all the entertainment available to us.  But also, make time for your Savior.

What is important to you?


You can learn quite a bit from someone if you just peek at their check book.  If you look through their check ledger (or online ledger today) you would be able to see where their money goes or what their spending habit is.  In our Dave Ramsey FPU class many people find that they spend way too much money on food, especially eating out.  It comes as a shock once they realize how much money they are “eating” a month.  To curtail the spending habit you need to make a plan, a menu for the week, and stick to it.  The bottom line is that discipline plays a huge role in curtailing spending.  We don’t like discipline because it constricts us in the way we want to live.

If you made a ledger of your time in the week what would it look like?


If you filled in each line, what does it consist of?  Work, sleep, maybe travel to and from work, taking the kids to sport. dance. music. art, speech activities.  Maybe you have some time you set aside for your spouse or significant other.  Add in some time for eating your meals, hobbies and of course sleep.  Whew, where does the time go?  But what about God?  Is he included in your week? How much time are you willing to “give” God this week?

Just as an exercise why don’t we all copy the picture of the time graph and fill in a week of our time.  Look at it and maybe pray over it that God helps you find more time for him in personal devotion, Bible study and worship.