Tuesday, July 30, 2013


I changed the format of this blog.  I didn't want to change it but I did want to make sure my twitter feed was once again included.  The process was confusing but now it's done.  For now.

Everything changes except God.  God revealed Himself to us once and for all in Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.  God's Word does not change either.  "God's Word is our great heritage and shall be ours forever."

So how does God's word "fit" into Christian life today?  How does an unchanging God "fit" into a changing world?  One might be tempted to just say "IT DOESN'T FIT AT ALL" and go off into our own little conservative Christian world. 

I say that is a temptation because of Jesus' words: "I am not praying that my people be taken out of this world but instead that they would be protected from the evil one," and because of God's Word speaking through the Apostle Paul; "to the Jews I became as a Jew... to those without law as without law... to the weak I became weak... I have become all thigns to all, so that I may by all means save some." and "Give no offense either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God; just as I also please all people in all things, not seeking my own profit but the profit of many, so that they maybe saved."

This Sunday at Crossroads we'll share and pray from God's Word about how the "FIT" can be made in this broken sinful world--a broken and sinful world that God loves so much.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Time for Sharing

We're really enjoying our time together as a family up at the Dahlin family cabin.  It's not a simple family time.  Many of us, including me, are dealing with challenges that are new to us and we're spending some time, amid the card playing and swimming and eating, talking about things that are truly important and even critical for our lives and our futures.  I appreciate both: the fun and the "talks."

I'm taking these days to be here even though I've certainly got many other things I could be doing back home.  Technology allows me to "work" even when I'm away, and I've been doing some of that up here--praying and studying, planning and communicating, and now some writing.  I've been calling in daily to the church office, keeping up with emails and other forms of connection.  Those things don't take much time though.  I still have hours of the day to spend enjoying life and talking with these family members, some of the people I love very much.

Do you have people who you can share with?  Are there friends and family members who you trust with most parts of your life?  Can you be honest with them?  Do you know they will care enough to listen and pray with you? 

If you can't say "yes" to those things, I'd like to suggest that you take these things to the Lord in prayer and then take a risk to take time off from your work and individual entertainment and shift that time over to "quality time" with people that you think could probably fill that void in your life. 

This requires faith and obedience to God's command about "sabbath" time.  It requires faith because  when you take time away you won't be making money or taking care of home or business.  But, honestly, it's worth it.  Pray about it and, if you want, talk with me about praying with you.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Grateful for Jesus

The following went out within the past hour to the Crossroads Community Church email list.  Since that time I heard that there has been another accidental death--right here in the Dassel-Cokato Community--this time work related.  OH MY PEOPLE PRAY!

Crossroads Friends -


Today Toni and I heard that song.  We were together with dozens of friends and family at a boat landing on the St. Croix River.  The singer was a dear friend, the mother of a young man who sadly died yesterday.  Please pray for the Taylors Falls community and for the Vitalis family as they grieve and witness to the grace of God through Jesus Christ--grace that brings songs--grace that everyone needs to know.

We made a quick trip to "TF" last night upon hearing that dear 20 year old Alex was missing in the river.  We've now returned... very tired, stunned, so sad, but so grateful for the good news of Jesus Christ.

Please redouble your prayers for all who do not have the assurance of knowing Jesus as their Savior and Lord.  Especially continue your prayers for Muslim people* during this season.  The Muslim people do not believe in Jesus as their Savior -- but He IS their Savior none-the-less -- the ONLY one in whom anyone on earth can place their hope and trust and faith.  Prayer for the Muslim world can be found at crossroadscokato.com/30-days

Thank you to all who, on Sunday, contributed prayer requests for OUR country.  As we witness to others we must pray that our own country will better reflect the ONE SAVIOR of the world.  Please pray for the ministry of Crossroads Community Church too... please... every day!


Pastor Steve Thorson

* Our little church is joining with thousands of others during this season of Ramadan to pray for the Muslim peoples of the world.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

What Prayer Does

I have very little time to write at the moment.  Just wanted to share something that's been going through my head as we have been participating in the 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World

Whenever we pray, especially when we intercede for others, God responds.  We have Bible promises and evidence that this is true.  Also, when we pray for others, our hearts are turned toward others and toward the world God loves.  In that way, intercessory prayer is an antidote for self-centered living and thinking.  So good.


Monday, July 8, 2013

Thankful for the Ordinary

I wrote the following shortly after midnight--very early Tuesday (and revised it later Tuesday)--but I'm posting it as if it was written late Monday.  After writing this I ended up staying up until after 4:00 a.m. putting together more about Islam and the 30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World that I speak of below.  I am so thankful for the "ordinary" life we have--ordinary ONLY for those who are secure and certain in the Love of God given to us through Jesus Christ.
Good morning!  Though I think of writing every day, it's been a week now since my last post.  Toni and I had the privilege of spending 5 days with her parents, plus a good amount of time with two of our kids and their spouses and our daughter-in-law's parents.  The time went by quickly.  In addition to just being with the family, I was able to finish a book I'd been reading for the past several weeks (The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind) and I started a little theological book I picked up in Brazil 30 years ago.  There is always lots to learn.  On the way back we stopped for a few hours at some friends in Taylors Falls; their daughter graduated from high school and her high school graduation party was Sunday afternoon.

We arrived back home late Sunday evening.  Today was a full day, capped with a Crossroads board meeting.  Toni had appointments today for her massage business and tomorrow she works at the drug store.  I'm up now in the middle of the night just because it was taking awhile to get to sleep so I decided to try to get a few things done beginning with this.

As I was doing a few chores late this afternoon I started listening to a recording of the worship service from Crossroads, the service from Sunday (July 7), the one I missed when I was up north.  I heard good things about Louis King's message and I have appreciated what I've heard so far.  I hope to listen to the rest either tonight or tomorrow.  I'm also needing to get a start on praying through and studying the scriptures and themes for this coming Sunday's message.  I'll be back in the saddle on July 14 and then gone again July 21 as we have the second part of our family time, this time with Toni's sister & brother & families in the mix too.  On that Sunday Steve Basney will be preaching.  Please keep praying for him as he is in Bangladesh.

Today is the beginning of "30 Days of Prayer for the Muslim World."  This will be a challenge because we have not been all that educated about Islam or Muslims.  We have booklets at church that you can you can use to guide your prayers... I'm hoping to send out emails each day as reminders to pray.

Here's a very quick introduction to Islam -- this and more can be found at 30-days.net/islam/basics/beliefs/ for a more in depth look go to the Wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam.  As time goes by through these 30 days I'm hoping to post more information about this faith. We are praying for Muslims because Jesus loves them and God wants them to come to know Jesus as He really is -- the Savior of All. Let us pray that all Muslims and all "religious" people throughout the world will trust only in Jesus!
These "Pillars of Islam" do not give assurance or security to those who follow the Muslim faith.  Though a Muslim may observe each of these pillars, in Islam there is no "guarantee." Islam is based on self-righteousness. "Muslims often think about the Day of Judgement where they believe Allah (or an angel) will take a balance and weigh each persons deeds. His hope is that his good deeds will outweigh his bad deeds, but even then Allah’s judgement is based solely on Allah’s will – not on justice. Another interpretation is that man’s deeds are written in a book and on the Day of Judgement Allah will open the book and the sum of a man’s account will be placed in either his right or left hand. The only sure way to paradise is to die as a martyr during an Islamic Holy War, Jihad." (quote from 30-days.net/islam/basics/beliefs/)

If you'd like to hear from someone who works among Muslims on a regular basis, have a listen to a message focusing on the difference between Islam and Christianity that was held at one of our network churches back on April 28 by clicking here.  The speaker is a man named "Rick E."  Yes, "Rick E."  That's how his name is listed on the North Heights website.  Some Christians who work in Muslim countries need to keep their full names private.  It's not always safe to be a Christian believer in those places.

Speaking of North Heights, we received an email today (Monday) from Gina Mueller, the director of student ministries there.  She wrote to notify us that our youth and their adult leaders have the opportunity to visit a mosque in the Twin cities as a part of the Urban Ventures mission trip.  She writes: "we are not going to the mosque to worship – but to get a better glimpse into their culture and religion. The people taking us are believers [Christian believers] who are called to work with this people group."

That's enough for now.


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

My Desire

I'm hopeful today that I'll get a lot done on a home repair project.  Yesterday some got done in the morning but the afternoon ended up being filled with people.

Truth is, the home repair project is a distraction from the real work God has called me to.  Helping people, young and old, to find, and hang onto, HOPE in the Lord.  That's what matters.

So, Father God, I trust this day into your hands.  Use it, and use me, as you will.  Send your Holy Spirit to guide and lead me.  And do the same for anyone who reads this blog.  In Jesus' name.

So what's your desire? How are you hoping, today, to make a difference for the good of others and the glory of God?  Check out this song by Jeremy Camp at http://youtu.be/uVO6jj4InJA.

"My Desire"

... You want to be whole?  You want to have purpose inside?  You want to have virtue and purify your mind? You want to be set free today? ... Then lay it all down before the King

This is my desire
This is my return
This is my desire to be used by you

... All my life I have seen where you've taken me. 
Beyond all I have hoped and there's more left unseen
There's not much I can do to repay all you've done
So I give my hands to use...
Ephesians 1:18-19 "I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in [YOU] his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe."


Monday, July 1, 2013

Sunday & Monday

'Twas an early morning today. I woke to the alarm at 4:30 and shortly after 5:00 I was cleaning at the building where Toni rents an office for her massage therapy business.  We do janitorial services there once a week, usually on the weekend, but I didn't get to it on Saturday or Sunday.  Toni has brought her business on the road, offering massage at Mount Carmel Ministries, an event and retreat center just north of Alexandria, MN.  She's up there with her friend Wendy Berthelsen who is leading a week-long seminar for Call, Inc.

Soon I'll continue various projects that I've started at home.  At 11:30 I'm meeting with two women who went with me to a "My Hope" preparation session last week; we'll start planning for how Crossroads will have a "My Hope" event this fall.

We had a blessed day at Crossroads yesterday (Sunday).  MN Adult and Teen Challenge sent about 20 men and 20 women to share music and testimonies at worship.  I dressed to match the choir and was honored to sing with them as they did their sound check.  That happened at the same time as our regular Sunday morning Bible study so I missed that, though there were a half-dozen or so who met and continued the conversation around Acts 10.

Right after worship with Teen Challenge I boogied over to the Cokato Manor.  We've been leading worship there in June.  The other weeks at the Manor I've shared a message there that connected with the "I.D - Exploring the Book of Colossians" theme that we've been doing at Crossroads but this time I based it off what I had heard early yesterday morning in a message by a missionary named Grayling Trees.*  The message was based on the story at the end of the Gospel of Mark chapter 10 where "Blind Bartemeus" cries and shouts out to the Lord for mercy.  You can hear it here: Grayling Trees - 2.3.13 Calling out in Desperation.mp3.

After the Cokato Manor worship I went immediately back to Crossroads, hoping to catch the choir before they left.  I was too late.  The choir had already enjoyed their breakfast (thank you to the kitchen crew!) and conversation, some played frisbee in the yard and then their bus headed out.  As I drove into the lot the second to last car was just leaving and the last of the helpers was out at her car.  She said that a mom of one of the Teen Challenge participants had just left after giving a small donation.  I went in and saw the donation and it reminded me of the widow's mite.

In the afternoon yesterday I relaxed a bit and continued a house project, then went back out to Crossroads for our evening "Taking Care" event--a community forum and discussion on Grief, Depression and Suicide.  The 20 folks who came were blessed by Amy Brustuen and Beth Peterson's presentation and the conversation.  People really opened up, sharing their hearts with one another as they learned.  Thank you to Nicole Peterson of St. John's Catholic Church for her work in organizing the event that we repeated last night.  The handouts from event are still available and we can make a CD audio recording for you too upon request.

Time to move on to other things.  I share these here so that, if you miss something, you'll know what's been going on in this little portion of God's Kingdom.  Praise Father God for the mercy we receive through His Son, Jesus Christ and for Holy Spirit's comfort & vigor that flows without end.
Grayling Trees is a minister associated with Bethel College of Missions and the message I listened to.  His message, plus the Teen Challenge presentation taught me three things that I shared at the Cokato Manor.  When people cry out for help we learn (1) compassion; we see (2) the power of God at work when prayers are answered and we learn (3) that it is okay for us to cry out for help too.  Those who cry out are HEROES of faith!  It's all a part of bringing people out of darkness and into the light.