One last time

I’ve become accustomed to the Arizona weather patterns having lived here since 2002.   The last gasp of normal swimming temperatures are around as the cool mornings begin to suck all the heat out of the water.  I was able to relax and swim yesterday during our 95 degree day.  You want to make sure you get that last swim in before the water gets too cold because we’ll have to wait until the spring to hop back in and enjoy swimming.  Usually we can swim through September and maybe into October but that one last swim is elusive.  This year I think we’re done.

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Life is the same way.  We don’t know how much time we have to live on this earth.  For those of us who are Christians we have confidence that when God calls us home we are in heaven with him forever.  Being confident in what Christ has done for us allows us not to fret over the end.  We don’t have to have one last shot of “gospel” to ensure our salvation because has won it for us.   But for those who don’t know Jesus it’s a different scenario.

Let’s lead others who don’t know Jesus by encouraging them to come to worship with us and hear the good news of Jesus.  You actually have to invite them to know that you want them to come with you.  It’s like when the water in your pool is the ideal temperature and you invite people over.  What do you say?  “Come on in the water is fine!”  We can tell our friends “Come on in, the message is awesome!  Jesus died for you and me!”  Let’s make sure we share the good news before our time runs out!

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All Secure

  • Irma 2017…so much for which to be thankful.
  • Whew whew I made it. I’m fine no damage. Thanks for all the spiritual support from all of you. God bless this was a monster of a hurricane.
  • Thanks to everyone who has expressed concern for my family and friends in Florida. Please continue to keep them in your prayers, as the storm gets closer

These are just a few comments of friends and relatives I have that live in Florida.  The wrath of Hurricane Irma wasn’t as bad as the forecast had indicated but was still devastating to the state.  People battened down the hatches, boarded up the windows and most of them went to safety.  7 million people without power and it may go on for a while.  Roads and infrastructure need to be checked before people can head back to their towns.  Services like electric, water and gas may take a  while to get back up and running.  But it was nice to read the words of my friends and family that said they were ok, all secure.

Life has some challenges and violent weather is a huge challenge.  The destruction of flooded waters can leave you empty and homeless.  When we focus on the earthly things of life we can get frustrated, angry or even depressed.  We have more things than the flat screen tv, couches and recliners that we can rejoice in having and that is our home in heaven.

ALL SECURE in Christ is such a blessing and comfort for us.  We have full assurance and total security in the promise of heaven through Christ’s work of salvation.  We can be totally confident in the fact that we are a child of God and Jesus is our Savior.  The trials and tribulations we have in this world draw us to HIM for comfort and assurance.  Rejoice in knowing you and I are ALL SECURE!

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Priorities

A good wake up call is always appreciated when you’re on business trip and need to be at the meeting by a certain time.  You call the front desk and they punch in your wake up call in their computer and the next morning, voila’, you are awake.

Sometimes we need a wake up call to help us adjust our priorities.  Trolling the internet and my FACEBOOK page I found a comment made by a cousin of mine that I thought was pretty good to use for my blog today.

“California is on fire, Oregon is on fire, Montana is on fire, areas of Canada are on fire, Texas is underwater, Idaho just had a 5.3 earthquake, and Hurricane Irma is forming in the Atlantic.”

It follows exactly what our Teen Bible study group was talking about on Sunday.  We had them map out their plans for the future; education, job, marriage and families.  Only one included the word of God in their plans, I mean actually wrote it down and shared with the others.  These natural disasters that are happening can serve as a great wake up call for us to remind us who is in charge.  God.  That big 2 x 4 that just smacked you upside the head is a reminder that we need to trust God’s promises and trust in his protection and mercy.

Get in the word and draw your strength from it.  Moving God to the top of your priority list should be our number one priority.  Not only the natural disasters that are happening but the threat of war, the political climate, crime, job security, family relations, and life in general call for some understanding and comfort.  God is with you.  God has a plan for us.  Read these words from Jeremiah 29:11-14

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.[a] I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

 

Great reminder

Watching the tremendous flood waters cover the Houston area I’m reminded of what the flood at Noah’s time would have been like.  40+ inches of rain have fallen in the area and look at the land and the height It begs to question, how much water was there during the flood that God sent?  I can’t wrap my brain around how much water would be have been needed to cover the entire earth. You can definitely imagine the destruction that all of the water would have caused by these pictures compared to the time of the flood.

These natural disasters are a great reminder of who is in control of this world.  We can trust God’s promise that he will never send another flood to destroy the world but we are reminded of his almighty power through nature.  I’m sure plenty of people are holed up in their homes in the Houston area, which have become like islands, and might be fearful of what lies ahead.  A great verse from the Bible to dwell on would be Psalm 46:10

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.”

Find comfort in knowing that God is in control.  Trust that he will provide protection and safety for you.  Know that he loves you and is in control, not you.

 

 

 

What’s all the fuss?

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Well of course the big news this week is all about the eclipse that is happening in the USA.   There is a great path through the mid section of the country coast to coast where the view of the eclipse will be fantastic.  I stepped outside to view it at the optimal time today and we had clouds overhead.  I was able to get a quick picture of the eclipse using the pinhole camera with some paper.  The sky is an eerie shadowy grey however and the fact that the moon and sun pass by each other and we can see them is amazing.

Why is everyone making such a fuss out of the eclipse?  True, it doesn’t happen all the time and things that happen in nature are always appealing to us.  But the fact remains that eclipses happen every 18 months or so around the world.  We haven’t seen a total continental eclipse for 99 years here but they happen.

For me, it’s a great reminder that God created the world.  The eclipse drives me to read about the creation and the awesome power of God.  Here are the words in Genesis 1:14-19

Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night. They will serve as signs for festivals and for days and years. They will be lights in the expanse of the sky to provide light on the earth.” And it was so.  God made the two great lights—the greater light to have dominion over the day and the lesser light to have dominion over the night—as well as the stars.  God placed them in the expanse of the sky to provide light on the earth,  to dominate the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness.  And God saw that it was good.  Evening came and then morning: the fourth day.

What’s the fuss all about?  It’s about the creation that God created and how it all works.  The sun, moon and stars are in the sky serving their purpose the way God designed it.  The earth, on which we live, spins as it’s supposed to.  God is control of everything and it works well.  Praise God for his magnificent creation!   Enjoy the wonderment of the eclipse and give God the glory for his creation.

God is amazing

I’ve recently returned from our 64th biennial convention for the WELS with amazement in my heart.  God is amazing, merciful and loving!  We were privileged to hear many reports from different committees throughout our synod and the work each is doing.  God’s goodness was shining through in every report.   The women from the LWMS began the convention with a procession of flags.  These are flags of the countries that we have ministry work being done in.  They shared a snippet of information of what type of work we are doing and the printed version shared with us how long we’ve working the field.

We were blessed to accept three new synods into our brotherhood at the convention, one from Ethiopia, East Asia and SALEM.   All of them profess the Lutheran confessions and the true inerrancy of God’s word.  The excitement in their voice was uplifting and encouraging for me.  They are excited about having brothers and sisters in the Lord who support what they do in their country.

But, we have exciting things happening in our own country.  New mission work being started throughout the USA.  My home church of Immanuel, Waukegan, IL received a missionary to do Hispanic Outreach.  We are starting a mission church in Michigan and other states.  Lest we forget, right in our own backyard we have the mission to the Native Americans of the San Carlos Indian Reservation.

Our mission school at Peridot-Our Saviors is building additional classroom space for the first time in 40 years!  Three new classrooms will be added for this school year.  They installed five new teachers this weekend to share God’s word with the children through education.  Our brothers and sisters of the San Carlos Reservation will be celebrating 125 years in 2018.   We’ve been sharing the good news of Jesus for 125 years just down the road!  God is good!

Please keep all the ministries of the WELS in your prayers.  We do have challenges and the devil always wants to try to take our eyes off of the main goal, which is sharing the good news.  Pray for the missionaries, the leaders of the Synod, the called workers throughout the synod but also pray for your fellow believers who support the ministry of the WELS worldwide.
To God be the glory!

Here I Am, Send Me!

installation

We were blessed this past Sunday to see our new pastor, Luther Zuberbier, ordained and installed into the pastoral ministry at Deer Valley Lutheran Church.  The worship service was an honor to God as people used their musical abilities with instruments, both flute and keyboard/organ, with their voices as we shook the rafters with awesome singing.  The church was overflowing with people to welcome our new pastor.  Many pastors from the valley came to participate in the laying on of hands and others were there in the service to show their support for Luther and his new role as pastor.

This picture of all these pastors is encouraging.  Most of our valley churches have pastors to serve them.  These men have answered God’s call to serve in the ministry.  But there is a shortage.  The last number I heard was that there are 97 pastoral vacancies right now in our congregations.  The Baby Boomer pastors are starting to retire and those were big classes of 50 + men.  We are graduating in the low 30s for class size right now.  We need to pray for our synod that God leads more men to serve in the pastoral ministry.  Pray for those young men in your congregation that have the gifts to serve and encourage them.  Maybe even help them financially by offering to buy a few books or help with tuition.

Deer Valley was one of many congregations seeking a graduate this year and God saw fit to grant us a candidate, a young man who said, “Here I am, Send me!”  It is a truly a blessing from God that we have Luther here to serve our congregation.  Let’s make sure we support Luther, Allie and their family.  Encourage them through prayers, actions and kind words.  But let’s not to forget to answer the call when Pastor Zuberbier asks us to serve in leadership roles in our congregation.  Be ready with your answer of “Here am I.”