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.

The Place for Preaching the Faith

When I have new people taking my adult confirmation classes, in my first lesson I begin to explain that when you walk into a church, you should be able to see what that church teaches based on the symbols within the church. Throughout the course of our study, I explain the Christian symbols in Epiphany’s sanctuary – the stained-glass windows, paintings, church furnishings, candles, crosses and other symbols.

Fix Your Eyes on Jesus

My daughters have run cross country in the fall for WLS and Shoreland. Although they are busy playing soccer in the spring, they have also run for the track teams at WLS and Shoreland. As they are in training or running their races, they have heard their track and cross country coaches giving them advice.

One in Christ

When I help out at my daughter and son-in-law’s house, my help isn’t for free. I immediately go into their pantry for payment. There had better be a package of Oreos in there for dad.

Everyone eats Oreos differently. Some eat it slowly and methodically. Others shove the whole thing into their mouth at once. The girls in my house twist the cookie part off, eat the creamy filling, and then stack all the cookies to eat at one time. I prefer to dunk my Oreos in milk. There are some who don’t have a favorite way to eat Oreos … because they don’t like Oreos. I call them heathens.