Your Will Be Done

Sally (not her real name) wanted me to share her real story with you. Sally and her husband have been married for several years. They are ready to enjoy the blessings of children. But from their human vantage point, it looks like they are not going to be able to have children of their own.

They have examined various fertility methods, but they have learned that many of them are not God-pleasing or will be ineffectual for their infertility issues.

Your Kingdom Come

Jimi was planning on finishing the last two lessons in our adult confirmation class so he could join the church with the others in the class in July.

But God had other plans.

In May, Jimi suffered a stroke.

Jimi is a young man with a wife and children. The stroke left him incapacitated for several months.

Our Epiphany members helped Jimi and his family with groceries, gift cards and prayers for healing.

Hallowed Be Your Name

Julie is a college freshman. Her parents are very proud of her since she is the first of her family to go to college. But behind the pride, Julie can sense her parents’ apprehension since they took out some big loans to pay for her education.

Julie is taking an overload of credits to finish school sooner. She is working every weekend in the campus bookstore to make some money to help pay bills. With her education and work schedule, she has no free time for clubs, sports or student organizations. She hasn’t been able to develop any new friendships.

On top of all this, Julie’s high school sweetheart broke up with her.

Julie feels alone, separated, isolated.

Our Father in Heaven

Danny was a five-year-old boy who was given the honor of praying at the restaurant. He prayed, “Come, Lord Jesus, be our Guest and let these gifts to us be blest.” Then he added, “And, Lord, if Mom would add the gift of fruit pies for dessert, I would be even more thankful. God, this is your friend, Danny, signing out for the entire family. Amen.”

Most of the people at the other tables smiled, especially at the last part. Most did … but not all.

The Chi Rho of Christ in Me

It was the evening of October 27, 312 A.D. Constantine was going into battle the next day against Maxentius. It is called The Battle of the Milvian Bridge, which was an important route over the Tiber, the third-longest river in Italy. The battle would determine whether Constantine or Maxentius would be the Emperor.

According to two contemporary historians of that time, Eusebius of Caesarea and Lactantius, the battle marked the beginning of Constantine’s conversion to Christianity. Constantine’s parents had been Christians, but Constantine himself was a pagan. Before the battle, he decided that he should do what all rulers do before a battle – he should pray.

Lambs Sent by the Lamb

When I started as a home missionary twenty years ago near Ft. Knox, Kentucky, the members of Faith Lutheran Church and I were out regularly doing outreach work. We knocked on doors, put flyers on door handles, did phone canvassing, had a booth in festivals and marched in the parade. One family that came from all that outreach work were Rick and Mandy. They lived in the apartments behind our storefront church.

Rick and Mandy came to our church in search of assistance from our food pantry, but they found so much more. Rick came for anger management counseling and both came for marriage counseling. Our members helped them out with food, rides to the grocery store or hospital, babysitting, and moving from one apartment to the next. They came for worship services and Bible studies but were inconsistent in their attendance.

Dedicated Discipleship

Two weeks ago, I finally brought my road bike out of the garage after getting flats in both tires last fall. Since repairing the tires, I have logged about 200 miles in the past two weeks. I’m working to get in shape for a one-day 100-mile bike ride in August. My other goal is to log 2000 miles by December 31st.

For me to reach my goal means being faithful - no days off. It means being committed – biking at least 11 miles a day. It means being dedicated – biking in wind, rain, heat and cold. Biking in Wisconsin is hard where our two seasons are 9 months of winter followed by 3 months of road construction.

Learning Worship from a Forgiven Prostitute

The evening has been carefully planned. All the religious bigwigs are coming to Simon the Pharisee’s home. Jesus has been invited over. He is a rabbi, but he is new to the religious scene. He has been making waves among the Jews by doing and saying some pretty “unkosher” things. He cannot be ignored any longer. So Jesus is invited over so an investigation can take place. Is Jesus a prophet or isn’t he?

Simon has not invited Jesus as an equal. Rather, Simon has invited Jesus to insult him. To provoke him. To let him know they are not in the same class as religious teachers.

Death to Life

Maggie Sun was a Chinese student attending Shoreland. Maggie’s mother and grandmother were not Christians. The Holy Spirit converted Maggie, though, as she heard God’s Word at Shoreland, living with her host parents, Pastor and Judy Peters, and worshiping with us and taking adult confirmation classes at Epiphany.