Wednesday, December 30, 2009

decade in review

made it safely through y2k, cried on 9/11, prayed about the future, called by God to be pastor, left good church home and friends in kansas, enjoyed sabbatical in san diego, attended seminary in st. louis, somehow made it through, graduated and received call to bethany lutheran church in eldon missouri. (which is where i continue to enjoy serving as pastor, blessed with a great congregation, a wonderful family, and a loving God.)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Yeshua - The Lord Saves


"On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived. When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord"), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: "a pair of doves or two young pigeons." (Luke 2)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

what martin luther thought about christmas ..

"If it is true that the child was born of the virgin and is mine, then that means I have no angry God, and I must know and feel that there is nothing but laughter and joy in the heart of the Father and no sadness in my heart. For, if what the angel says is true, then he is our Lord and Savior. What can sin do against us? If God is for us, who is against us?"

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry CHRISTmas!


"Don't be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2)
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

jesus house?

A major archeological discovery could explain what life was like for Jesus and the Jewish community of Nazareth in which he grew up.
Just 100 meters from the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth, archaeologists have exposed the remains of several walls of a house that date to the first century. It is the first time that archaeologists have found remains of dwellings in Nazareth from this period.
"The discovery is of the utmost importance since it reveals for the very first time a house from the Jewish village of Nazareth and thereby sheds lights on the way of life at the time of Jesus," Dr. Yardenna Alexandre, excavations director at the Antiquities Authority, said on Monday.
"The building that we found is small and modest and it is most likely typical of the dwellings in Nazareth in that period. From the few written sources that there are, we know that in the 1st century, Nazareth was a small Jewish village."
The home consists of four rooms, a courtyard, a water cistern and a small camouflaged grotto, which is presumed to have been a hiding place for the occupants from the invading Roman army.
"It is highly probable that Jesus knew the Jewish occupants who lived in this house and in this community," Alexandre said.

Monday, December 21, 2009

first day of winter


Today is the winter solstice, the first day of winter, the shortest day of the year.
The daylight dims, the light fades, the night approaches, as the darkness encroaches.
During Advent we pray “Lighten our darkness by the Light of Your Christ.”
We pray this, not only because of the growing darkness outside, but because of the darkness inside as well, a darkness that settles upon the hearts of men that only the light of Christ can chase away. "The true Light that that gives light to every man is coming into the world" (John 1)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Brrr...


Blizzard Dumps Snow on Copenhagen as Leaders Battle Warming ...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

watching and waiting


"A prison cell, in which one waits, hopes, does various unessential things, and is completely dependent on the fact that the door of freedom has to be opened from the outside, is not a bad picture of Advent.” - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Monday, December 14, 2009

as leaders and scientists meet this week in copenhagen...


... hundreds of others gather to protest global warming.

Friday, December 11, 2009

from the manger to the cross


It's not just about the manger, Where the baby lay
It's not all about the angels, Who sang for him that day
It's not just about the shepherds, Or the bright and shining star
It's not all about the wisemen, Who travelled from afar
It's about the cross, It's about my sin
It's about how Jesus came to be born so that we could be born again
It's about the stone that was rolled away, so that we could have real life someday
It's about the cross
It's not just about the presents, Underneath the tree
It's not all about the feeling, That the season brings to me
It's not just about coming home, To be with those you love
It's not all about the beauty, In the snow I'm dreaming of
The beginning of the story is wonderful and great,
But it's the ending that can save you and that's why we celebrate
It's about the cross It's about my sin
It's about how Jesus came to be born, so that we could be born again
It's about God's love, Nailed to a tree
It's about every drop of blood that flowed from Him, when it should have been me
It's about the stone, That was rolled away so that we could have real life someday
It's about the cross
("Its About the Cross" - Go Fish)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

winter by robert burns


The wintry west extends his blast, and hail and rain does blow;
The stormy north sends driving forth the blinding sleet and snow.
While tumbling brown the burn comes down and roars frae bank to brae;
And bird and beast in covert rest, and pass the heartless day.
The sweeping blast, the sky o’ercast, the joyless winter day
Let others fear, to me more dear than all the pride of May.
The tempest’s howl, it soothes my soul, my griefs it seems to join;
The leafless trees my fancy please, their fate resembles mine!
Thou Power Supreme whose mighty scheme these woes of mine fulfil,
Here firm I rest; they must be best, because they are Thy will!
Then all I want, o do Thou grant this one request of mine!
Since to enjoy Thou dost deny, assist me to resign.

Friday, December 4, 2009


what is advent?

Some may ask - What is Advent?

Advent is when we watch and we wait in wonder.
Advent is the church's way of saying, "Not yet, but very soon."
Advent is the opposite of our culture's demand for instant gratification.
Advent is the season of waiting in expectation for God's promises to be fulfilled.
Advent is Jesus' way of saying, "Ready or not, here I come!"
Advent is the root of the word "adventure".
Advent is our wake-up call to remind us that the Messiah who came is also coming again, and not only that - He's already here!
Advent is the present reality of a past event that determines our future.
Advent is the time to remember, to repent, and to be ready...

Monday, November 30, 2009

maranatha


With the beginning of the Advent season comes the dawn of another church year.....
and with one voice the prayer of the church is lifted up - Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!
"Behold, I am coming soon! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star."
The Spirit and the Bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.
He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
(Rev. 22)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

post-trip thoughts

"This is what God the LORD says— he who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and all that comes out of it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it: "I, the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness. "I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols. See, the former things have taken place, and new things I declare; before they spring into being I announce them to you."Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise from the ends of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, you islands, and all who live in them. Let the desert and its towns raise their voices; let the settlements rejoice. Let the people sing for joy; let them shout from the mountaintops. Let them give glory to the LORD and proclaim his praise in the islands. The LORD will march out like a mighty man, like a warrior he will stir up his zeal; with a shout he will raise the battle cry and will triumph over his enemies. "For a long time I have kept silent, I have been quiet and held myself back. But now, like a woman in childbirth, I cry out, I gasp and pant. I will lay waste the mountains and hills and dry up all their vegetation; I will turn rivers into islands and dry up the pools. I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them." (Isaiah 42)

What an honor and a privilege to be a part of the new thing God is doing to bring the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Asia! You can hear about something, read about it, look at pictures, or watch it on TV, but until you actually experience it firsthand it doesn't become real to you. Now I understand why my brother Josh is so excited about his work in Hong Kong, and why he signed up for a second year. Now I understand why he is going back to China next year to work for a Lutheran organization in Shanghai. Now I know.

God is indeed doing great things through His Word and through His people in Asia, and it is truly a blessing to be able to see that and experience it. We spent our first week at the MCDH School in Hong Kong, teaching english and sharing with the students and faculty there. The second week we were at an English Center and Drug Rehab House on the mainland.

Many thanks for all of your prayers and for all of your support of this mission trip. The trip to Hong Kong and China was an incredible experience and the best trip of my life, but it's so good to be back home in Missouri. I look forward to sharing more about our experiences in the future, and the exciting things God is doing in China.

Friday, November 20, 2009

american fun fair at mcdh school in hong kong

the cross of christ - the reason we are here



teaching chinese kids american football - go chiefs!

this big map on the wall is a good example of how this school likes to do things .... big!





Thursday, November 19, 2009


so great to see my good friends rose and tony yuen in hong kong!
touring hk with christa and josh



trying to blend in with the crowd ....

Friday, November 13, 2009

teaching at mcdh school in hong kong

how do you say faith in cantonese?


three new friends help in leading song motions ...


we learn from them as much as they learn from us ...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

brothers and sisters in christ

some of our new friends ...


introductions ...

Monday, November 9, 2009

lantau island

hiking with sister Christa on the Lantau trail

a nice view of a small village from the trail up above ...


made it down to the beach ...

Enjoying the view and the refreshing water after a long hike on Lantau Island.
"Let them give glory unto the LORD, and declare his praise in the islands." - Isaiah 42:12




Tuesday, November 3, 2009

asia bound


We're off and on our way to Hong Kong. Please pray for our team and for our safety!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


the truth

"Your Word is Truth" (John 17)

Truth is more than just facts. It is a reality.What's true is true, for everyone, everywhere, all the time.We can't create the truth, but we can discover it.We can't change the truth, but it can change us.We all long for the truth, even when we try to reject it.
As C.S. Lewis put it, "The truth is what it is and what it was long before I was born, whether I like it or not."

God is the source of all truth. He has written His truth on our hearts.It is the natural law, which we often call our conscience. It is the basic knowledge of right and wrong, falsehood and truth.
Even though because of our sin we turned away from His truth, God still kept His promise to save the world through His Son Jesus Christ, our Lord, for He alone is faithful and true. He came down from heaven to earth, into the world that He had created, in order that He might save it. This is the blessed truth of the Gospel.

Jesus said, " I am the way, the truth, and the life." He didn't say He would show the truth or live the truth or teach the truth - He said He is the truth. He is Truth Personified.
The Psalmist writes, "The God of truth is not a man, that he should lie or change his mind." God is truth and His Word is truth.

The truth about God's forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life through Jesus Christ can be found only in the Bible, the Book of Truth, God's Holy Word.

"You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

fall at the seminary



(photos by diane meyer at respublica)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

faith

"Faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see." (Hebrews 11)

To have faith means to believe. It means to place your trust, your confidence, and your hope in someone or something greater than yourself.

But faith is only as good as the object in which it is placed. If we put our faith in earthly people or things, sooner or later we are going to be let down. For we live in a fallen world, full of sinful people and broken things, and in the end they are unable to deliver the goods, to give us what we are all looking for, something to believe in.

Don't put your faith in earthly people or things, and for that matter don't even put your faith in our own faith!

There is only One in whom we can fully trust to have faith in and believe. There is only One Who always keeps His promises and in whom we can place our hope. There is only One Who is worthy of all of our worship, honor, and praise. There is only One in whom there is forgiveness of sins and eternal salvation for all believe. There is only one way to heaven, and it is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Savior of the World.

Believe in Him. Have faith in Him. Put your trust in Him, and you will be saved.

Monday, October 12, 2009

mercy


If grace is getting what you don't deserve, then mercy is NOT getting what you DO deserve. It's like 2 sides of the same coin -
God's amazing grace and His tender mercy.

When God looks down upon His fallen creation, He has mercy on those whom He has created. Though we deserve nothing but punishment and death because of our sin, He shows mercy to us because of the suffering and death of His Son Jesus Christ on our behalf. Instead of punishing us and condemning us for our sin, He offers us His love, mercy, compassion, and forgiveness. When we believe in Him, when we put our faith and trust in Jesus and receive His forgiveness and salvation, we are not only freed from the chains of sin and death, we are also freed up to do good works, and to show mercy to the people around us who need it.

Because God has shown this tender mercy to us, we strive to do the same for our neighbor. As God's loved and adopted children, we are called to treat people with dignity, kindness, gentleness, and respect. It's who we are - It's what we do.
And as we go about our new missions of mercy as free and forgiven children of God, this short little seven-word prayer, spoken by the tax collector in one of Jesus' parables, is one of the best prayers we can ever say - "Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner."

Friday, October 9, 2009

olympic golf

Now that it has been announced that golf will be an Olympic Sport, I kind of wish Chicago had gotten the 2016 Olympics!
My question is - Where are they going to play golf in Rio??

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

grace


In ourselves, we are nothing. But by God's grace through faith in Christ, we are something and have everything.
That’s because salvation is only by God's grace, a free gift from God through faith in Christ Jesus to all who believe. God does it all! We're just along for the ride. All we really need to do in order for God to raise us from the dead is ... be dead! (which really isn’t much of an accomplishment at all on on our part. )
Being saved by grace through faith means believing in Jesus as the Son of God, trusting in His death and resurrection for you, and receiving His forgiveness and salvation. It's as easy as that!
The Grace of God is simply unimaginable, because its hard for us to believe that you can get something for nothing in this life. But God's Grace is different than what the world offers. It's getting what you don't deserve. It's God's riches at Christ's expense. It's your fithy rags in exchange for Christ's robe of righteousness. It means that although Jesus has the birthday, we get all the gifts!
Sound too good to be true? Yes it does. But in fact it is the greatest truth the world has ever known or ever will know.

"By grace you are saved, through faith, and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, so no one can boast." (Romans 2:8)

god words


This month, in honor of the Reformation, I will be blogging about some of the important words of the Christian faith. Words such as grace, mercy, faith, gospel, church, truth, and so on.
I am looking forward to this and I hope it is something which is edifying and beneficial to you.