Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Living a Life of Significance

At the beginning of the year I made my one and only New Year's resolution, that before I worship or reading the Scriptures I pray: "Speak, O Lord, for your servant is listening."  This morning I was reviewing a book I read last year - "The Calling - Live a Life of Significance," by Kurt Senske.  On page 16, Senske wrote something that reaffirmed that my resolution is one worth pursuing:

God speaks His voice into our hearts at Baptism, and it echoes throughout life as we continue to hear Him as He speaks to us in His Word.  This continual listening to God's Word in worship and at the Lord's Table enables us to grasp the calling of God that is uniquely ours.  To be true to this calling is what it means to live a life of significance.

While I was not a huge fan of "The Purpose Driven Life," author Rick Warren tapped into a question that nearly all people ask - does my life really matter? Your life does matter! Turn to God's Word, listen to God's voice and that Word will point you toward the path of living a life of significance and meaning!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Satan's goal?

Reading a great Old Testament survey book written by John Jeske, a WELS pastor and professor.  I really appreciated this paragraph:

(Satan's goal) is to rob us of our thankfulness for God's good gifts.  If it was within Satan's power, he wouldn't let us have a single piece of bread, not a single penny of income, not even a single hour of life.  But since that's not in his power, he'll try to rob us of God's blessings by making us ungrateful and unappreciative of them.

Isn't that what Satan did to the Israelites? They had God's constant attention and protection, they received everything they needed and more from God's gracious hand, and still they grumbled and complained.  God has done the same for you and me.  If an ancient Israelite could be thrust into our world, the Israelite wouldn't believe it - we have so much! Yet, how often are we prone to grumble about the stuff we don't have or the stuff that someone else has? 

Don't fall prey to the devil's evil schemes.  Let this prayer be on your lips today: Oh give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His mercy endures forever!  Amen.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Do You Believe In Miracles?

Do you believe in miracles? The Gospels are full of them.  There's Jesus turning water into wine...giving sight to the blind...commanding choppy seas to become calm.  Non-believers doubt the miracles.  Even some who call themselves Christians deny that Christ had the power to perform any of the miraculous things credited to Him.  I've written a brief devotion on miracles I'll share during our "Hymn Sing" this Sunday at 8 and 10:45 am.  Sunday school, Confirmation, High School and Adult Bible class at 9:15 am.  Join us this Sunday at Life in Christ!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Praise the Lord!

I've made a lot of the bold way Tim Tebow has used his status as Denver Broncos quarterback to give testimony of his faith and belief in Jesus Christ.  But he's not the first athlete to have offered such a positive witness.  I can still remember the scene as if it took place yesterday.  The St. Louis Rams had just won the Super Bowl and Kurt Warner was being interviewed.  The interviewer asked, "Kurt, tell us how you felt after throwing the game-winning touchdown with Issac Bruce?"

Warner responded, "The first thing I've got to do is to praise my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!"

In the same way, that's what the psalmist David does in Psalm 18.

The subscription to this psalm gives the reason for the writing of this song.  David was hunted by His enemies with the same intensity that a rabid football fan might seek an extra ticket for the Super Bowl.  King Saul, filled with jealously and rage, brought the power of the kingdom against David and his small group of followers.  Each time God thwarted Saul's plans to destroy David.  The evil king could never defeat David - the one whom God had chosen to lead His people.

David responded by writing a majestic song of praise to his Lord.  He points to God's grace as the reason for his many escapes and triumphs.  David takes no credit for outfoxing Saul.  He does not boast of having a superior intelligence or battle tactics.  He sings, "I love you, O Lord, my strength."  To the very end of the psalm, David keeps pointing to the grace and mercy of God as the reason for his success.

Where has God surprised you with His grace? When did you experience His mercy in an extraordinary way?  Was it when He sustained you through a difficult experience?  Was it when He removed you from a painful situation? Read Psalm 18 this week.  As you do so, think about the song of praise you could sing to the Lord.  You already have the opening verse: I love You, O Lord, my strength!

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Greatest Distance in the World

Read this great devotion this morning and wanted to share it with you.

What's the greatest distance in the world? Not the miles across the Atlantic or down to Antarctica, but the distance between the human head and heart.  Those 18 inches are the most difficult in the world.  Why? Because only God the Holy Spirit can travel them.  Millions hear about Jesus Christ as their only Savior, but only some believe.  The rest shake their heads in rejection or nod in seeming approval, only to go their own ways.  Their ears have heard but not their hearts.

What about me? Can I say with my heart, "Jesus is my Savior whom God raised from the dead?" Can I say with conviction: "His death counted for me.  His resurrection assures my resurrection.  Because He lives, I also will live, body and soul, in heaven some day?" Then thank God the Holy Spirit.  Through the gospel he carried the message from my head to my heart.  My faith is His gift.  Through that gospel He still works when my faith wavers to bridge the distance between head and heart.

The Spirit helps me travel another distance, the one between my heart and mouth.  When Jesus has moved from my head to my heart, then he'll also move from my heart to my mouth.  I'll proclaim gladly what I believe and thank Him for it.  I'll tell others what I believe and ask them to join me.  By God's grace it'll be head to heart to mouth, with the name of Jesus my precious Savior.

Richard E. Lauersdorf
"Together with Jesus - Daily Devotions for a Year"
Northwestern Publishing House

Thursday, January 19, 2012

What Has Gotten Into Paul?

Just listen to this Sunday's Epistle lesson: What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short.  From now on those who have wives should live as if they had none; those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy things, as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use the things of this world, as if not engrossed in them.  For this world in its present form is passing away.  1 Corinthians 7:29-31 NIV.

So what is Paul getting at? Join us this Sunday at Life in Christ to find out.  Worship at 8 and 10:45 am; Sunday school, Confirmation, High School and Adult Bible class at 9:15 am.  Hope to see you this Sunday!

Monday, January 16, 2012


Last Sunday during my time with the kids, I talked to them about all the different ways the Bible talks about our posture during prayer.  I asked them if they had ever heard of Tebowing - a few of them had! We talked about the Broncos quarterback, Tim Tebow and how he prays before, during and after the games he plays in.  I shared with the kids how much I admire Tebow and how he is not ashamed of Jesus Christ and isn't afraid to show his love and faith in his Lord and Savior.  We finished by praying by Tebowing.  One of our members, Tom, took this picture off the video screen and my dear, sweet wife cropped it a bit.  Thanks, Tom!

My 2012 New Year's Resolution

Last Sunday during the sermon I shared with our congregation my 2012 New Year's Resolution.  It was inspired by the Old Testament lesson - 1 Samuel 3:1-10.  Samuel is being called by God to be a prophet.  When Samuel finally learns that it it the voice of God that is continually waking him up during the middle of the night, he responds by saying, "Speak, your servant is listening."

I suggested that since God speaks to us today through His Word, the Bible, we might want to pray at every worship service, Bible study class, small group Bible study and during our personal devotional time, "Speak, O Lord, for your servant is listening."  How pleased God will be to know that He has our undivided attention and that we are ready to hear His Word and put it into practice.  (See Luke 11:28).

So how about it? Ready to make a New Year's Resolution worth keeping? Join me in praying, "I'm listening, Lord, I'm listening."

Friday, January 13, 2012

Are You Listening?

1 Samuel 3 tells of how the Lord called the young man to be a prophet.  After several false starts, Samuel recognized the Lord's voice and answered, "Speak, for your servant is listening."  Could you make the same statement? We'll explore that question more this Sunday.  Join us! Worship at 8 and 10:45 am with Sunday school, Confirmation, High School and Adult class at 9:15 am.  See you this Sunday at Life in Christ!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Where do we find joy?

Here's the secret: if we seek joy for its own sake, we will not find it.  If we seek Jesus, we shall be engulfed and inundated by joy, and quite by surprise.

Matthew Harrison
"A Little Book on Joy"
page 9

Monday, January 9, 2012

Be Like Tim!

Remember the Gatorade TV commercials from a few years ago.  The overarching message was a simple one - be like Mike (as in Michael Jordan).  I know the spots were effective - my young son, Eric, got the fever and wanted to be like Mike - make the game winning shot, dunk from the free throw line and, oh yeah, drink lots and lots of Gatorade.

Me? I'd rather be like Tim - Tim Tebow, that is.

Full disclosure - I jumped on the Tebow bandwagon years ago, specifically his junior year at Florida.  He led his team to a national championship and won the Heisman Award for best college football player.

But I admired him much more for his confession of Christ Jesus as His Savior from sin and death.

He did not have the same success in his senior year of college.  His pro career, not withstanding the past 10 weeks or so, has been full of ups and downs.

But he has not wavered in give praise and credit to God for the success he has had in life.,

I watched the post game coverage of the Broncos/Steelers game endlessly last night.  Time and time again, Tebow gave thanksgiving for his relationship with his Lord and Savior. 

I know lots of folks are put off by Tebow constantly invoking the name of the Lord.  I find it refreshing.

Why shouldn't we as Christians give credit where credit is due? I don't hear Tebow implying that he is somehow better than most because he is a disciple of Jesus.  I've never heard him say that the Broncos are God's team and that all the other NFL teams are second class.

That's what non-believers and opponents of the Christian faith want people to believe.

In Tebow I see a guy who genuinely loves His relationship with God through Christ and isn't ashamed to confess his faith.  Reminds me of another guy who took a lot of flack for his faith in the Lord (see Romans 1:16).

I honestly didn't believe that the Broncos had a chance against the Steelers.  I don't think they can beat New England on Tom Brady's home turf. 

It won't matter one way or the other.  I admire people who aren't afraid to tell others about Jesus Christ.

I want to be like Tim.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Have you got the right credentials?

Mark begins his gospel with a bold statement - he is going to tell the good news about "Jesus Christ, the Son of God."  Is this a story that can be believed? Does Jesus have the credentials to prove that He is God's Son? Come and learn Mark's approach to this question.  Sunday at 8 and 10:45 am with Sunday school, Confirmation, High School and Adult Bible class at 9:15 am. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

So far, so good...the 3650 Challenge

First blog of 2012...I'm taking a week off after all the work involved in Advent and Christmas.  How blessed we were to have our highest attendance ever for Christmas Eve.  It was a joy to see our Sunday school do such a wonderful job of telling of the Savior's birth...to have the darkened church bathed in the candle light while singing Silent Night, to be reminded again of knowing that the gift of the Savior is "for you!"  Thank you, Lord, for blessing our church family!

This down time has given me a chance to really sink my teeth into the 3650 Challenge - reading 10 chapters of Scripture every day per Prof. Grant Hanson's Bible reading system.  It thought I had bitten off my than I could chew, so to speak.  But so far, so good.

I like the mix of reading from both Old and New Testaments.  As I read I note quick insights and observations in a journal.  I'm using this material in the prayers I pray when I'm done reading.  As you might expect, reading from both testaments help to see just how all Scripture complements each other.  I also believe this system will help me do a better job of recalling important texts I want to refer to in sermon preparation, Bible study classes and the like.  I'm finding that it take appx. 35-45 minutes to go through the 10 chapters.  I know it's early but I think this system will be something I'll carry on through the year and beyond.

If you're not doing a regular Bible reading and devotion time, why not check out "Treasuring God's Word."  Go back to the homepage and click on "READ..." in the left hand column.  This year we're going to spend time reading and praying over some of the great stories of the Bible.  See if Treasuring God's Word won't be of help to you.