Friday, April 29, 2011


You are invited to a
Pot Luck / Informational Meeting

When: This Sunday May 1st at Crossroads Community Church

Time: Following the 10:15 service. Meeting and lunch to start at 11:45.

Hotdogs, beverage and paper products provided. Please bring a dish to pass.

Hope to see you there!!  Spread the word!!

(For a bit more on the "information" to be shared at the meeting, see my April 5 post entitled "Past the Launch" and the links you'll find there.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Kids Need Adults

Don't click on the picture above--click the words.

What do kids need?  Remind them they are lovable, capable, worthwhile and they are loved without strings and they are not alone. That is the best thing parents or other adults can do. All kids need caring supportive adults.  Maybe your kid can't talk to you, but do you have somebody who won't rat your kid out, but will listen and love on your kid like you would...?  That's exactly what you need when you have a problem, someone who's just there for you, someone who's not going to judge, someone who's not going to preach...

And adults, when things get beyond your ability to help, reach out for support!.  One place to find that support is  Or, feel free to contact me and I can help connect you with those who can come alongside you and the youth you care about - email or call or text 763-291-3499. 

No one needs to deal with life alone.

God's Love Prevails

David Wilkerson, founder of Teen Challenge, was killed in a car accident yesterday, the same day he posted the following on his blog.


To believe when all means fail is exceedingly pleasing to God and is most acceptable. Jesus said to Thomas, “You have believed because you have seen, but blessed are those that do believe and have not seen” (John 20:29).

Blessed are those who believe when there is no evidence of an answer to prayer—who trust beyond hope when all means have failed.

Someone has come to the place of hopelessness—the end of hope—the end of all means. A loved one is facing death and doctors give no hope. Death seems inevitable. Hope is gone. The miracle prayed for is not happening.

That is when Satan’s hordes come to attack your mind with fear, anger, overwhelming questions: “Where is your God now? You prayed until you had no tears left. You fasted. You stood on promises. You trusted.”

Blasphemous thoughts will be injected into your mind: “Prayer failed. Faith failed. Don’t quit on God—just do not trust him anymore. It doesn’t pay!”

Even questioning God’s existence will be injected into your mind. These have been the devices of Satan for centuries. Some of the godliest men and women who ever lived were under such demonic attacks.

To those going through the valley and shadow of death, hear this word:

Weeping will last through some dark, awful nights—and in that darkness you will soon hear the Father whisper,
“I am with you.

"I cannot tell you why right now, but one day it will all make sense.

"You will see it was all part of my plan.

"It was no accident.

"It was no failure on your part.

"Hold fast.

"Let me embrace you in your hour of pain.”
Beloved, God has never failed to act but in goodness and love. When all means fail—his love prevails. Hold fast to your faith. Stand fast in his Word. There is no other hope in this world.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Good Church?

"I think sometimes we expect too much of one another."
I'm considering that as an opening line for this coming Sunday's sermon--a sermon based on Psalm 16:2 --

'I said to the LORD, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.”'
  • What if, instead of expecting others to be well-balanced and well-regulated, we expected that people were generally just doing the best they could but still needed a lot of help?

  • What if it was normal for people to regularly ask for prayer because things in their lives were just really hard?

  • What if there was no shame in repentance because confession and forgiveness happened every day?

  • What if we dealt gently with one another when we are ignorant and going astray instead of being harsh?  (See Hebrews 5:2 about Old Testament priests.)

  • What if we were amazed when things at church went well and gave all the credit to God who somehow managed to make lemonade out of us lemons?

  • What if we really depended on God instead of just "expecting" that things would somehow go well automatically?

  • What if we prayed first and always and only expected people to do good when given ability and strength by God?
That's a church I'd like to be part of.

How about you?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Prayers for Child Protection

Dear Jesus,
When you walked this earth, you showed that you love children.
We know that you love us as your own sons and daughters.
It is hard for us to hear that some people do not treat children the way you did and hurt children by their words and actions.
Help us to learn how to protect ourselves, and others, from harm.
Help us to forgive those who have harmed children in the past.
Bless all those who work to keep children safe. Amen.

Prayer for Survivors

Jesus, by becoming human you have shown how much you love us, and you have shown us once again that we are treasured by you, body and soul. and have reminded us that we have been made to be like you. Sadly, there are among us those whose bodies, minds and hearts have been savaged by the very ones who have been called to serve and protect them. These crimes cry out for justice and for healing, and we raise our voices in prayer for the healing of our brothers and sisters. We acknowledge that by our blindness, our silence, our failure to pray and obey your call to action, that we are complicit in these crimes and sins, and we ask for forgiveness.

Lord Jesus, during your life on earth you were known as a healer of bodies, minds and spirits. Send your healing Holy Spirit upon these brothers and sisters of ours that they may begin to experience some light, peace and joy in this life. Pour your Spirit of peace into the hearts of their families – parents, brothers and sisters, spouses and children – that they may recover a sense of your presence in their lives. And make us all more sensitive to the need to protect our children from those who might harm them: that your Body here on earth may be made whole to the glory of God. Amen.

John, will you open the door?

The building that Crossroads Community Church is meeting in has a large overhead garage type door. During the message on Sunday (in written form below with audio available at we turned off the lights in our warehouse style building, spoke about the ways people try to make their own light, and then, on cue, John Buschel opened the door.  The light streamed in.

Big door opening or not, Easter is about light and life and hope, coming from darkness and death and despair.  To me, the door opening in the building was like the opening of Jesus' tomb -- pretty sweet!  (Someone from the Crossroads team posted a video of the "opening" with music added.  It can be seen at

What follows here is a slightly edited version of the notes I prepared in advance of the message preached Easter Sunday, April 24, 2011, at Crossroads Community Church. The audio at includes more scriptures, more feeling ;-), and an announcement about a potluck and information meeting coming up on May 1 at Crossroads.  Hope to see you there!


Easter Day! So good to be together to celebrate a truth that the world need to know. People walk in darkness. Many need to know the glorious news: There's always more future than there is past. Always. That's the gift we have in Jesus! And that future is a glorious one. So there's no reason for fear anymore. Anything we're going through now is nothing compared to God's future! That's what this day is about. We proclaim this good news and want others to know. That's why we're here. It's a good day! This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.

We thank you, Lord God, for this glorious, wonderful day, and we ask, heavenly Father, that you would send your Holy Spirit among us so we would know ourselves to be utterly loved, that despite the fears and the sins and the pain that we suffer, that your future, God, is for each person who is here, and we pray that your Holy Spirit would come upon us so we receive this good news today as it is spoken and as we share it in communion... We ask Lord that you would bless this time, that the rest of our lives may be touched by your Spirit, in Jesus' name...

Acts 10
     36 “You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ.  He is Lord of all! 37 You know what has happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached— 38 God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power; he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.
     39 “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Judea and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.“

That's the good news!  That's the good news that this church is about.  There are many groups and organizations that do many good things, but this is a place where we come to hear and know the glory of God!

God's glory is so covered over in this world--but the fact is that this world will not go on forever as it is.  Hallelujah!

It was back on Thursday, at a meeting of the Faith in Action group, that the Lord made clear what it was he wanted to say to hear today.

We were in Buffalo, at Zion Lutheran Church.  Pat Day, an author and Faith in Action board member, a man who I’m just now getting to know and respect, he said this:

“For some, Easter hasn’t come.  For some, Easter hasn’t arrived.”

What we celebrate on this day we call Easter—the reason we call it “Easter” is really complicated—but what we celebrate on this day we call Easter is a world changing event that God used to repair all the damage we human beings have done since the beginning.

God used this day, this Sunday after the Jewish Passover celebration—God used this day to repair all the damage we human beings have done since the very beginning of our time here on this earth.

Easter means the resurrection of the dead.  You know that, right?  Easter means there is NO need to be afraid of anything anymore!  We can get up into our Father God's lap and He will tell us the truth; and we can go there as often as we need to.  Christ is risen from the dead and so will you when you trust him.

Do you know what resurrection means?  It means that, no matter what happens here on this earth, no matter how long your life is, no matter how difficult your life is, no matter how much pain and suffering there is in this old world… Resurrection means there is ALWAYS a better future ahead.  Always. 

When Jesus suffered and died on Good Friday, he paid the penalty for ALL of our sins… When you desperately depend on Jesus, ALL your sins are GONE!  There will never be, in the future, any time when I will need to pay the penalty for what I have done wrong. 

Whatever suffering I go through, whatever evil I have done or whatever evil has been done to me, none of that ever come back to haunt me.

When Jesus rose from the dead he showed us what is ahead for me and for you!  Life and love and perfect healing! 

Nothing is even worth comparing (Romans 8) to that bright and perfect future that will be revealed to us!

And, because of Easter, there will always be more future than there is past.

Because of this day, this shining bright day, there will always be more future, glorious and perfect, there will always be more perfect than there is past.

What will the future bring? 
You and I, walking side by side along with God our creator and savior, enjoying the presence of the Holy Spirit flowing around and through and in us, knowing perfect love endlessly.

That’s what we were made for! 

We lost it way back, this life we were meant for.  We grieve it all the time in this world.

Back at the infancy of the human race we lost the perfect presence of God.  We traded it for momentary pleasure and greed and the stupid idea that we know better than our creator… we traded the life we were meant to live for a moment of pleasure and power… and bought death and hell for ourselves. 

It was a stupid, damnable thing we did, and, in this world, we do it again every day. 

We are in bondage to sin and we cannot free ourselves.

We sin against you, our God, in thought, word and by what we do and what we refuse to do in our stubborn disobedience. 

And we cannot make it any better no matter how hard we try.

What we celebrate this weekend is the way Jesus repaired all of that and made it all better. 

This weekend of Easter is something that shouldn’t have needed to happen, but because we sinned and ruined everything the only way to make it better was to have God fix it.  And he did that by suffering death for us and rising again.  It’s a wonderful glorious thing.

But, as my friend Pat Day said on Thursday, “For some, Easter hasn’t yet come.”  “For some, Easter hasn’t arrived.” 

For some, and for all of us sometimes, it’s like we’ve taken a big black marker and drawn a big heavy black box over and around and over this day on the calendar and seal this day off.

So often we live as if it’s not real! 

So often we act as if we were created to be like animals or plants—replaceable, temporary…

We think to ourselves, and we say to each other, we eat or drink or find other ways of being happy… we say things like “you only go ‘round once”—we say “you’d better get it while the getting is good” and we make our bucket lists… our lists of all the good things we need to do before we die. 

It’s so dumb!

Because the truth is that the dead end is not there.  So we can live forever.  We can live every day for God and for others and take our retirement with the Lord.

But, instead of believing Easter is real and that we have FOREVER to live and love and enjoy God’s goodness... we take this day of RESURRECTION from the dead... this day that means we have FOREVER to live and love and enjoy the life we were meant for, and we draw a big heavy black box around this day and just think of it as a nice one day celebration—a nice diversion for a few hours before we go back to so-called "real life."

And that is so sad.

Because when we seal this day off and pretend it’s not there, we go back to what it was before Easter… we go back with the rest of the world to a time when Easter has not come.  We live lives just like for those, today, who don’t know about Jesus’ resurrection.  We join them in the dark.

I’d like to illustrate what happens when we seal off the glory of this day... I thought at first that I’d try to put a bright light in a box, but, I couldn’t find a way to do that, so, instead, we’ll put ourselves in a box and seal ourselves away, just for a moment, from the light of the world…
We’ll do this just for a quick moment… I just want you to experience the darkness, because this is how people live spiritually on an every day basis.

They live in the dark.  (LIGHTS OFF)

So what we do in this world
, is live with little artificial lights (ON FLASHLIGHT), as if we need to make our own light.  And then, as we live with our own light.  And then, because we end up being responsible for our own hope and our own peace, we panic!  We wonder how long our own artificial spiritual light will last.  We wonder if the way we've been trying to hang on in this life just isn't going to last... so we rush around and get more pleasure, more stuff, because we just can't handle this darkness

We're too afraid, actually for good reason, that what we can manufacture for ourselves of goodness and hope is just going to die out.

We take our attention off the fact that we will someday exit this tomb. 
That’s what we do, really, when we remember the resurrection… we focus on the exit…

We realize that the darkness is temporary. 

And we want the rest to know that too so they don’t self-centered and unwilling to give and share and spend themselves for others. 

And we need this reminder so we don’t become like mere animals, really, just living for today. 

So we get together in this place and point to Jesus, to the one who exits the tomb before us, because someday there will be GLORY forever and ever! 

John, will you please open the door?

That’s what we’re about—letting people know—Christ is risen and we shall arise! There is a new world coming!
Weeping no more,
sorrow be silent,
death put asunder
and Easter is bright! 

Angels all sing,
Clothe us in wonder
adorn us in light! 

Jesus is risen
and we shall arise,
give God the glory! 

from Herb Brokering's hymn "Alleluia!  Jesus Is Risen"
That’s the news we share, and it makes all the difference.

That’s the news we share with the world!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday - Jesus gave his life for me

A community Good Friday service, with focus on the seven last words of Christ, will be held from noon - 3:00 p.m. today at Evangelical Lutheran Church on third street southeast in Cokato. Participants include Albion Evangelical Free, ELC, Elim Mission Church, Kingston Apostolic Church, New Life Assemblies of God, Stockholm Lutheran Church and the Triune Lutheran Parish. Everyone is welcome--no need to stay the whole three hours--people will be coming and going throughout. There will be brief messages given by 7 local pastors, each focusing on one of the "words." There will be congregational singing and special music from each of the churches. Everyone is welcome.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Heart of Holy Week

The following is was written by Walter Synder, a Lutheran pastor from Concordia, Missouri.  He posted this today on his blog Ask the Pastor.

"We now stand in the heart of Holy Week. Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and the Vigil, and Easter Sunday lie ahead. These next few days are intimately and intricately connected with the Old Testament feast of the Passover...

"The Passover foreshadowed the events of Holy Week, exactly as God intended. The Son came to earth to assume human flesh and to live perfectly in the stead of imperfect humanity. He carried our weaknesses in himself, resisting temptation to depart from his chosen path. He came knowing not only that he would die on our behalf, but choosing so to do. His death came during the time of Passover in Judah, as the children of Abraham praised God for his deliverance of his people from Egypt, the land of bondage.

"As the Children of Israel remembered the lambs’ blood painted over their forefathers’ doors, the ultimate Passover Lamb prepared Himself for the slaughter. His blood would be painted over sinful humanity, and all who believed that the death of Jesus brought the final deliverance from their sins would become heirs of new life in His resurrection from the dead.

"God established the Passover as the defining moment of His chosen people Israel...(continue)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Wailing Wall

You may have heard of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.  From what I understand, it's a place where many Jewish people have prayed for a very long time, morning the ruined, destroyed temple of the Jews and praying for its restoration.

We now have a temporary place at Crossroads where we can symbolize our constant prayer for people who likewise need restoration and rebirth.  It's nothing fancy, just a partition with slips of paper attached, and, on each slip of paper, something that represents the person we are praying for. 

This started during worship back on April 10.  After the sermon (posted at Something Better), I asked the people present to spend some quiet time in prayer, asking the Lord to guide their thoughts to people who are particularly in need of prayer, people who may not know the Lord Jesus as their Savior, people who are suffering in significant and particular ways.  We distributed 2 or 3 inch square pieces of paper and invited them to make a mark on the paper that would represent that person--perhaps an initial, perhaps a number such as the day of the month they were born, perhaps just a symbol.  The people were encouraged to make the mark something that would not be recognized by others--just a symbol that would stand for ongoing prayers for that particular person.  The slips of paper, with their marks, are now posted near the entry door of the Crossroads building.

Will we continue to pray for those who need Jesus?  Will we wail for them, crying out to the Lord, continuing to pray and not giving them up for lost?  If the people of Israel can wail and pray over the loss of a building, certainly we can cry out to God for the people Jesus died to save.

Monday, April 18, 2011

An Honest Week

Honesty is a good thing and Holy Week, with all its drama--it's the most honest week of all.
  • During Holy Week Jesus deals with your sin and your pain and your betrayal and your death.
  • During Holy Week darkness and light are clearly seen; the fog lifts.  In the Passion of our Lord we see good and evil--very little gray.
  • During Holy Week God confronts each of us with the truth: we are broken sinners who need Him.  All pretense and pretending are stripped away.  We can see ourselves reflected in those who interact with our Lord in Matthew 26–27, Mark 14–15, Luke 22–23, and John 12–19.
People need Holy Week.  In Holy Week we see who we are: people desperately in need of a Savior.  If you or I ever think people are basically good, well, healthy, or not-in-pain, we need to go with Matthew, Mark, Luke and John to the cross.

I'll be praying, this week, that the Lord would use this time to tell me the truth.  I invite you to do the same.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Meet Mike Bradley

Tomorrow morning at Crossroads we'll celebrate Palm Sunday with guest speaker Mike Bradley.  Mike is the director of the Alliance of Renewal Churches, a voluntary association of Christians who "embrace our Reformation heritage: Word alone, grace alone, faith alone" and "recognize the Lutheran Confessions as an historic, faithful summary of the Christian faith as revealed in the Bible."

On the Alliance of Renewal Churches website, Mike says, "The ARC is my chosen family of destiny. The ARC is the band of brothers alongside whom I am walking in life and ministry. This company of brothers and sisters share my love for the Lord, my heart for His church, and my passion to serve the world. Together we are agreed that the Kingdom of God should be intentionally and aggressively advanced in our world today. These dear brothers and sisters will not let me settle for ministering in my power or with the latest Christian techniques, but always and principally in the power of the Holy Spirit"

I'd encourage you to come to Crossroads tomorrow to meet and hear Mike.  Having Mike with us is a part of building relationships with Christians beyond the Dassel-Cokato area.  At 9:00 a.m. Mike will be with us for a group conversation and Bible study, and then, at 10:15, he will preach and help us celebrate what Jesus has done for us, coming to offer himself as the Lord's sign of absolute and perfect love.

For more about "Palm Sunday," see my post from Wednesday of this week.  Tomorrow will be a real celebration!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Getting Practical

Acts 6:1-7  "Now during those days, when the disciples were increasing in number, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food. 2 And the twelve called together the whole community of the disciples and said, ‘It is not right that we should neglect the word of God in order to wait at tables.3 Therefore, friends, select from among yourselves seven men of good standing, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this task,4 while we, for our part, will devote ourselves to prayer and to serving the word.’ 5 What they said pleased the whole community, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, together with Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. 6 They had these men stand before the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.7 The word of God continued to spread; the number of the disciples increased greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith."

Christians often need to organize themselves.  This needs to happen because, without any organization, certain practical matters won't get taken care of.  The passage above from Acts 6 shows how the first Christians handled this matter.  They set aside 7 people of their group and appointed them to a practical task.

The new ministry in Cokato where I have been serving as pastor* is at the point where there is a need for better organization.  A "transitional board" will be elected soon.

The procedure will be as follows:
  1. People are being invited to make a commitment to Crossroads Community Church for 2011.  Some have already signed the commitment, others will do so in the next few weeks.  See Past the Launch for a few more details on the commitment
  2. The current Crossroads leadership (the so-called "launch team") is praying and talking together about the possible duties of a 7 member "transitional board" and other practical matters.  The plan is that the transitional board will be elected by those who have made a 2011 commitment to Crossroads.
  3. After worship on Sunday May 1st, the launch team will host a potluck and an interest meeting for those who are considering making this commitment and those who have already signed.   At the meeting we will discuss the commitment, the process for electing a 7 member transitional board, lay out possible duties of that board and other practical matters.
  4. After worship Sunday May 15th a meeting will be held where those who have made the commitment will elect the transitional board.  The transitional board will deal with organizational, financial and other matters, including possible affiliation with a church association or denomination.  This will free up the rest of us to focus on "prayer and serving the Word."
Questions and comments?  Please don't keep them to yourself.  Email or call me ( 763-291-3477) if you would like to know who is on the launch team, or email

* I began serving Crossroads on March 16 in a six month term as a part time "interim" pastor.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Palms and Flowers

Shortly after my parents got married (in 1954) they moved to 5711 Rockford Road (now County Road 9) in Robbinsdale.  When I was born, in 1956, mom and dad were already members of St. James Lutheran Church.

At the time my parents got involved the church was meeting and gathering for worship at an elementary school.  They soon got involved in a big way.  The church moved into their own building the next year and, as I remember well, there was much excitement when the big new building (pictured) was completed in 1964.  I was eight years old.

When I think about church and my growing up years, I have very positive feelings.  Church was often a fun place!  The building was full of people, full of life, and often full of joy.  Not always--but often--and I'm thankful for that.  I think there was honest joy there--the Joy of Jesus our Savior and Lord.

I was thinking about this because of the upcoming Holy Week observances that are being held where I live now, in Cokato.  Specifically, I was remembering that, about two weeks ago, at the "launch team" meeting at Crossroads, the question of palms came up. 

Having palm branches to wave on Palm Sunday (this year on April 17) is something that seems natural and normal for me--just as natural and normal as having lillies on Easter. 

I started wondering why it seems so normal.  I phoned my mom and asked whether we had palms on Palm Sunday when I was young.  She said she didn't know.  I know we did have palms to wave at some point in my childhood.  Maybe we started to have them at about the time we moved into the new building.

Notice I said it seems "natural" and "normal" to me that we have palm branches to wave on Palm Sunday.  But since when is it "natural" or "normal" to have an abundance of these things in April in Minnesota?  Why do I immediately think that way?  Where did we get the idea that we should pay to have palms branches shipped in from Central America?*

Obviously it's not necessary.**  I know my mom and dad didn't have them in their churches when they were children (back in the 1930s and 1940s.  Both of them grew up in northern Iowa--dad in Decorah, mom in Lake Mills); their parents brought them up as members of "Norwegian Lutheran" churches--churches that may have eschewed (avoided) things like that even if they would have been available--shipping extras like palm branches in from far away would have been either impossible or considered ostentatious and wasteful. They've both said worship, in their growing up years, was a pretty serious thing.

But, honestly, we religious people can get way too serious.  I think it's good to remember that as we enter Holy Week.  Yes, during Holy Week, Jesus suffered horribly.  As a way of remembering that we're planning to show the movie "The Passion of the Christ" on Good Friday evening (April 22). This is the week Jesus went to the cross. But, unlike the people in those days, we know the end of the story.  We know Jesus was purposefully suffering for us, to set us free from our sin.  And we know his death brought new life--for Him--and for us!  (That's why we have flowers on Easter, the day when we celebrate Jesus' resurrection from the dead!  Fresh flowers, including lilies, are beautiful and full of new life!)

I think it's good good just let loose, and if waving palms can help us do that, so much the better!  That's what happened on the original Palm Sunday after all!  (See Matthew 21:1–11; Mark 11:1–11; Luke 19:28–40; John 12:12-19.)  And children, who do not know how to be so careful of their emotions, they know how to celebrate!  I imagine it was the children or the young people who were the first ones to say "let's get some branches!"

How good to be a kid!  Maybe it's not just that there were palm branches when I was small.  Maybe it really is a Holy Spirit sort of thing.  Maybe, if we can't have palms, we should wave something else--streamers or flags or scarves!

Lifting our hands, waving palms or whatever we lift up--those acts let us celebrate like children--and children were an important part of the original Palm Sunday celebration.  God smiles on us when we celebrate.  The scriptures say God is "enthroned" on the praises of his people (Psalm 22:3).  He lives in those praises in a special way.  He "inhabits" them!  Wonderful!

So let's celebrate Palm Sunday!  And yes, let's go deep during Holy Week too--Thursday evening around the Lord's Supper, Friday at the Cross--and then, wonder of wonders, celebrate how God defeated death forever on Easter morning.

This joy can be yours!  Trust Jesus and His Word!  Come to him with all your pain and sorrow.  He holds the future.  He holds you.  And he will never give up on you.  He will always be there to receive you when you turn to Him.


* There is an environmental concern for how palm branches are harvested and shipped.  We do need to care about God's creation and how we use and protect the gifts he has given us.  I believe the command of God recorded in Genesis about exercising "dominion" over the earth means we are responsible for it.  See a post I wrote in 2008 on Christians and Climate for more about this.

** Like having ashes on Ash Wednesday or lillies on Easter, it's obviously not necessary.  We can celebrate the events leading up to Jesus' marvelous saving work without waving palm branches or anything else.  I caution those, however, who say that the spiritual life is disconnected from the physical. They have the same creator and God is involved in both.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Spiritual Bullies

My on-line friend Pastor Bryan Lowe confessed today that he is sometimes a Christian "steamroller."  "I think I'd better explain myself," he wrote...
"...Over the years I have become very grieved over my consistent crushing of those who were different, who saw ministry in a differing way. When their false doctrine and such would become 'clear and obvious' to me, I would consider it a biblical necessity to 'roll, baby roll' right over them. But, I was oh, so foolish. I harmed so many of His servants. What I was doing was wicked..."
You can read the rest of what he wrote on his blogpost from today.

I was thinking about this particularly because of how "ABSOLUTELY CORRECT" we Christian believers and teachers can sometimes think we are.  Instead of understanding and communicating some humility, we can push others, or feel ourselves to be pushed, into conforming to what is taught.  I heard, for example, that there was recently a local DVD presentation shown as part of a Bible study that was very critical of those of us who see the good in bringing our children for baptism. Bringing up the issue and encouraging questions and scriptural searching is good, but pushing people to a particular conclusion is not in the spirit of Christ.

Have you seen ways in which I have been a spiritual bully?  If so, come and point out the fault.  I will do my best to listen and care and make sure you know I'm not as absolutely certain of much beyond my desperate dependence on my Savior, Jesus Christ.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Something Better

The following are the notes I used to preach on Sunday morning, April 10.  You can listen to much of the worship hour, including the sermon, at

Many years ago both Toni and I spent several months living in Brazil -- this was before we were married.  Toni went for about six months and two years later I went to live there for about a year and a half.  I still keep in contact with friends there, and, this week I had a brief conversation with a pastor friend who is preaching on the same scripture that I've chosen to read and preach about today.  My pastor friend said that, in preparation for this Sunday's preaching, that it would be difficult not to mention a terrible thing that happened last week in his country... it involved guns and a school... I don't want to say more about it here.  If you want to ask me later or look it up, look up Realengo.

My Brazilian preacher friend said it would be hard not to mention that in his sermon today?  Why?  Because of verses 21 and 32 of John 11.  First one sister, then the other: "If you had been here, Jesus... If you had only been here my brother would not have died."

Believers at all times and in every place cry and even wail with those words.  The families my Brazilian pastor friend was thinking of are far from his town... they are separated by three Brazilian states... comparable to, for example, how we felt at the time of Columbine in 1999... and how we feel when we hear of these things anywhere and everywhere... we cry...  If you, God... if you would only be here now, coming with power and love and not just letting horrors just go on and on and on... if you were only HERE and if you only CARED these terrible things wouldn't have a chance.

Where are you God?

And it is for those tears that we have our scripture today.  In fact, it's for your tears and my tears, it's for you and for me that Jesus did things as he did them for Lazarus and Martha and Mary: Waiting four days before he came to their town. Letting Lazarus die. Hearing Martha and Mary and then weeping--Jesus--weeping, wailing, crying out... and only then, after all hope was GONE... only then calling dead Lazarus out of the tomb. It was so you and I would know there is no situation and no person beyond hope, it was so you and I could know that that everything happened as it did at that time, and it was for you and me that we have all this written down for us in this book.

Everything that happened then was for you and for me.  God is going to work it out in the end.  This story about Lazarus and his family--that's what it's for, so you and I will not fall into despair, so you and I will not give up hope.

But how can something that happened 2,000 years ago give us hope today?  Honestly, it's not because Lazarus was raised from the dead.  When something good happens to someone else, and if I'm still suffering, I'm not sure what that does for me.  I need something more.  I need something better.  I need good news that applies to me.

Yesterday I had the chance to spend the afternoon with Paul Gustafson and Tom Stover and a few others on a Minneapolis street corner.  There's a ministry that goes on every Saturday at 13th and Franklin.  There's free food and clothing, time for conversation and friendship and prayer.  Practical needs get taken care of and, as it says on a wall on that corner, through that ministry, through Paul and Tom and other ministry partners, Jesus calms, heals, provides... (Photos of what is done on that corner can be seen at!/foodshelf?sk=photos).
On the wall behind the area used by the ministry there's a mural on the wall (see it and other views at this link  There are three paintings.  One shows Jesus calming the storm.  One is of Jesus healing a desperately sick man.  The third--the disciples are in a boat hauling in fish--Jesus providing food.

The murals are well done and the ministry is excellent and truly caring.  Through His Holy Spirit, through the relationships Jesus has built on that corner, Jesus is truly there, calming and healing and providing.  And through the same Holy Spirit Jesus does that for millions throughout the world every day.

But still, I need something even better.  It's good to be calmed and healed and provided for.  It's good to have daily bread and a roof over my head, shoes on my feet, clothes on my back, a few dollars in my pocket, some friends and a family.  Those are good things. But there are times when horrors come, horrors that just can't be taken care of so easily.  Like in what happened in Realongo that my Brazilian friend told me about--or what happened in 1999 in Columbine Colorado or Red Lake or Rocori after that.  Or in Japan or Libya or Afghanistan or countless other places right now.  Or in your own family.  Or in your own life.

Where do we go for something that can bring an end to all terror, all fear, all pain?  We go past the resurrection of Lazarus, as wonderful as that was, to something that means a whole new world.

Look at verse 45... Let's read that and keep going to verse 53.  First we have the reaction of those who saw Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead.  Then we see what happens next:
45 Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what he had done. 47 So the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the council, and said, “What are we to do? This man is performing many signs. 48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy both our holy place and our nation.” 49 But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all! 50 You do not understand that it is better for you to have one man die for the people than to have the whole nation destroyed.” 51 He did not say this on his own, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus was about to die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but to gather into one the dispersed children of God. 53 So from that day on they planned to put him to death.
This is the "something better" that I need.  It doesn't come from wonderful present day miracles or from the remembrance of how Jesus healed the sick and raised the dead 2,000 years ago.  The something better I need doesn't come from acts of kindness, no matter how excellent and sincere those good deeds may be.  the something better doesn't come from caring friends or a loving family.  The something better I need comes when Jesus, God himself in human form... the something better comes when Jesus dies for me on the cross and is raised from the dead... and when I desperately trust that good news with all my heart.

Have you ever noticed that the Apostles' Creed doesn't say anything about Jesus' miracles?  The most important statements of faith don't even speak of Jesus' love!  Have you ever noticed that the first missionaries--Peter and Paul and John and Phillip and Stephen and the rest--they said almost nothing about the miracles and love our Lord demonstrated when he healed and calmed and provided for people...  Did they demonstrate Jesus love?  Yes they did!  Through the power of the Holy Spirit they also calmed and healed and provided for the people and for one another...

But that was not their focus.  I need to be reminded of this every day.  The disciples main thing, what they lived and died for was the gospel, and the Bible's main thing and the Church's main thing--the focus is on the good news of Jesus who did die for the people as Caiaphas said, who died to pay the penalty for your sins and my sins, whose blood was shed to wash them away.  That's the something better.  And bringing people to a saving knowledge of Jesus needs to be at the center of everything we do.
What can wash away my sins?  Nothing but the blood of Jesus!  What can make me whole again?  Nothing but the blood of Jesus.  O precious is the flow that makes me white as snow; no other fount I know, nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Lazarus and Martha and Mary needed that.  They needed to have Jesus go on past the raising from the dead of Lazarus.  They needed to have Jesus go on past the reunion of their family and the precious gift of life in this world.  For Lazarus and Martha and Mary, and all of those who celebrated all Jesus' miracles would have died condemned by their sin if Jesus had not gone on, as Caiaphas said, to die for all the people.

If we put our hope on anything else, if we think it all needs to be fixed and solved on this earth, we are wrongIt's faith, trust, radical and desperate dependence on Jesus who died and rose again for me and you and all the people of the world, that's the something better that we all need.

If you don't know that for sure, listen again to Caiaphas, the high priest of the Jewish nation--listen to Caiaphas who spoke God's Word without even knowing he was doing it.  He thought he was talking about getting rid of Jesus--but what he was really doing was getting things in line for the greatest victory this world has ever known.
"'You know nothing at all! You do not understand that it is better for you to have one man die for the people than to have the whole nation destroyed.'

He did not say this on his own, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus was about to die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but to gather into one the dispersed children of God.

So from that day on they planned to put him, Jesus, to death."  (John 20:49-53)
We are coming up to the most important time in the Christian year.  It was in the spring, at Passover time, which this year happens in the week beginning next Sunday, it was during that week that the something better happened.  Jesus offered himself as the sacrifice to take away all the sins of the world.  And then, on a day we mark this year on April 24, Jesus rose from the dead, conquering every sin and every evil, driving back the darkness of death forever.

It's not because of wonderful acts of love that we celebrate.  It's not because we can help one another through challenging times with food and clothing and comfort and love when terrible things happen, when children are taken from us like at Realengo and Columbine and Red Lake and Rocorri, or in Japan or Libya or Afghanistan or countless other places right now.  Or in your own family.  Or in your own life.

It's only in knowing Jesus as Lord and Savior that peace and joy and hope comes that nothing can ever take away. That's why we celebrate!  And it is our task, as part of God's church on earth, to make sure that news comes through, loud and clear.  Clearer than any good deeds we ever do.  Clearer than any healings or miracles that happen.  It needs to be Jesus, crucified for us and risen from the dead, that needs to be always the main thing.

Next Sunday is Palm Sunday.  Then comes Holy Week.  During Holy Week, at Wednesday prayer, on Thursday evening as we gather here for worship, on Friday as many from our community gather for three hours, from noon to three p.m.--during those days we dig deep into the "something better" that we all need.  Please set aside time that week to gather, as Christians always have, to focus on the main message we have as a church, the reason for our existence, to proclaim the good news of Jesus, dying for sinners, and rising again to give new and eternal life.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Forgiveness Is One Thing...

The following was put together by Mark Koller for last night's Lenten worship at Crossroads:

Welcome - 4/6/11:
“Forgiveness is one thing, Reconciliation another”

Opening Prayer

Forgiveness Discussion

Matthew 6:14-15   14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Reconciliation Discussion

Matthew 5:23-24  23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.

Romans 12:18-20 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.


2 Corinthians 5:18-21

18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 

Click for a message -

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace."

Closing Prayer – All:
Lord, help us to continue to have the spirit of forgiveness and the desire to reconcile relationships. Help us to have patience and peace in the timing of reconciliation and rejoice in those relationships that are reconciled during our lives. In Jesus Name.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

No Fudge in Heaven

From Wiktionary:
fudge (third-person singular simple present fudges, present participle fudging, simple past and past participle fudged)
  1. (intransitive) To try to avoid giving a direct answer; to waffle or equivocate.
    When I asked them if they had been at the party, they fudged.

  2. To alter something from its true state, as to hide a flaw or uncertainty. Always deliberate, but not necessarily dishonest or immoral.
    The results of the experiment looked impressive, but it turned out the numbers had been fudged.
    I had to fudge the lighting to get the color to look good.

Human beings fudge. We fudge in order to handle our reality.  We are broken sinners, but, instead of being honest about that, we settle for less than absolute truth. We get by.  If we didn't, we'd go nuts.

God doesn't. Instead, God deals with our reality with total truth and total love. God is the only one who can do that. God does that at the cross. That's the only place where truth and love can get along (Psalm 85:10).

When we know Jesus and what he's done for us, we don't need to fudge either.  With Jesus, we can be honest.  With God, we can be true.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Not Simple. But Oh So Good.

The gospel assigned for this coming Sunday is from John 11.  You can read it by clicking here.  It's a wonderful "story" (more than a story) about the RAISING OF LAZARUS from the dead.  But it's not so simple.  Not only does Jesus put off going to visit the sick Lazarus--he was out of the area but could have arrived prior to his death; not only that... but Jesus' raising of Lazarus is intimately linked to Jesus' own death.  Jesus raises Lazarus and then dies because of it.  What amazing love!

What can we learn from this?  Things are not as simple as they seem to be.  Often what seems to be a terrible defeat is really the way to a later blessing from God.  In fact, when we trust Jesus, every we know that every defeat will bring blessing.  We may have to wait, but it will come as certainly as the sun in the morning or the springtime in April.  We learn this we hear God's word, which always focuses our attention on Jesus' life, death and resurrection from the dead.

It may not be simple, but it is SO good.

Past the Launch

I made the following announcement on Sunday...  You can listen to it and much of the rest of the spoken parts of worship at

We are in the process, here at Crossroads, of figuring out what God wants us to be and do.  It's an awkward time for many folks and we want to move little by little past the awkwardness.  Little by little we want to move into more of a sense of stability and certainty about what it is that God is doing among us and how it is we're going to be forming this group. 

I believe God is calling us to be more than just a typical church--to be a ministry center--to be a place where people healed and transformed and sent out into the world--and maybe sent out to other churches.  This is not just one more church on the block.  I'll say a bit more about that in my message today.

In order to get past the "launch" phase, which has been in process for a few months, since August or so of last year, or maybe before that, we need to be deciding how it is we're going to be making some decisions going forward.  So we're offering people an opportunity to covenant together for the next few months, up till the end of the year.

In order to do that the launch team has approved a statement that we're asking people who believe that God is calling them to sign. 

You may believe God is calling you to do this and you may be sure and that's fine.  I don't believe God has called Crossroads into being to count members. 

God has called us to be partners in a mission and a ministry that has been going on here in the Dassel-Cokato area for a long time, since way before this particular group got together--to reach the lost and not to immediately ask people a lot of questions, to help people know they are loved and cherished just as they are. 

Here is the statement we're going to be asking people to sign on to:
  • Trusting Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, accepting the Bible as authoritative for faith and life, we believe God is calling us together through 2011 to pray, worship, study the scriptures, serve, care for one another and give financially for the ministry and mission of God through Crossroads Community Church of Cokato.
There are some who have already decided this is something they believe God is calling them to do.  At the building (15905 US Hwy 12 SW, Cokato, MN) there's a table with some sign up sheets on it, where, if you believe this is what God is calling you to be part of, I'd encourage you to sign that statement. 

It's only through the end of 2011.  Those who sign will be our mission ministry partners who will then gather at some point, hopefully before too long, perhaps right after Easter, to start making some decisions about how we'll move past the launch team to some kind of transitional leadership.

We'd ask you to be in prayer about this. If you believe God is calling you to make this covenant with these others who are being called also, I'd encourage you to sign and then we'll get have a meeting after Easter.

I'm sure you'll have questions; please ask me or any member of the launch team.  You can contact me at or the launch team members individually or through the church email


For more on this see my April 15 post "Getting Practical" and come to the May 1 potluck and information meeting at Crossroads.

Jesus' Bus

Hello all!  Yesterday I completed the written tests needed to drive school bus and am ready for behind the wheel training.  I'm looking forward to it!

I'm glad Jesus is driving my bus.  I'm looking forward to arriving at the destination He has prepared.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Thankful for Bad Eyes

Notes for tomorrow's sermon at Crossroads... (Note as of Sunday, 1:23 p.m. - The actual sermon preached was quite different than this one.  I didn't use my notes.)  Here's a link to where you can listen to the spoken portions of the worship hour:
John 9:3,39-41
Jesus said, "This man was born blind so that God's works might be revealed in him... I came into this world for judgment so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind." Some of the Pharisees near him heard this and said to him, "Surely we are not blind, are we?" Jesus said to them, "If you were blind, you would not have sin. But now that you say, 'We see,' your sin remains."
Are you blind?  Are you handicapped?  Are you sick?  Jesus says you are.  And without help, without healing, if you try to stay strong on your own, if you think you're doing alright without help, I'm sorry, you are even more blind--blinder than a bat.  Blind to your own needs, blind to your weaknesses, trying to get by--you won't make it.  Reality will come at you like I went after the bat in our bedroom with this tennis racket.  I waited, I waited, closer... boom.  One dead bat.

In this life, by our own ability, we can't see the things we need to see.  We might be able to see our present circumstances, you might have good physical eyesight, but you can't see the really important things.  You can't see anyone's heart, you can't see people's motivations, and you certainly can't see the consequences of anything you do.  (You can't see the future... you can guess... you can say what will probably happen, but you can't know for sure.)  In terms of what's really real you are flying blind.  And the best thing you can do is admit that truth and quit pretending.  Quit pretending that you, or I... quit pretending that we are better, or have better eyesight, than anyone else.

It says in John 9 that Jesus "came into the world for judgment, so that those who do not see may see, and those who do see may become blind."  Because God loves us so much he sent his son Jesus so we would know the truth--and knowing the truth of our blindness and our lostness, that truth will keep us from driving or flying or living blind--and we will learn to follow and trust Jesus--instead of trusting ourselves.

Trusting ourselves is like driving with no headlights at night.  Not good.  So what Jesus wants us to do is to give up and quit getting by, to ask for directions, to ask for help.  This is true at the beginning of our Christian life, when we first come to God for mercy, and it's true every day.  We never get over our need to trust Jesus instead of ourselves.

(Do this part of the sermon without my eyeglasses.)  It was sometime between my third and fourth grade year that I got my first pair of glasses.  (I'd post a picture or two if I could find them.)  I only remember that because on the first day of fourth grade a girl that I kind of liked came up and said, "You didn't have those before."  If she ever liked me, that was the end of that.  I was officially a nerd.  And I've been one ever since. (Glasses back on.)

Now I can't say that my bad eyesight... and I've got really bad eyes without glasses... I can't say that my bad eyesight brought me to Jesus, but I can say that it is certainly not my strengths that did that!  And, honestly, it's not my strengths that really help me share the love of Jesus with others.  More often than not, it's those places of wounding and neediness, where I've needed to cry out for help, it's those places that connect me with others and their need for God.  In a sense, I'm thankful for my bad eyes.

On Thursday a friend and I were talking with Aaron White, a pastor from Annandale Free Church.  He was telling about a couple times when he and some other men were going out door to door, just to let people know they cared, to share about Jesus, and to pray with people who had any needs.  First he told me about going to a fairly new housing development, where it seems people were doing quite well.  Aaron said almost no one had any needs that he and the other guys could pray about or help with.  People there seemed to be doing pretty well on their own.  Then they went to a mobile home park.  Doors opened, hearts opened, many asked for prayer, and many were open to the good news of Jesus, who died in the place of sinners like me.

If we think we're doing well, if we think we can see just fine, if we don't admit our broken lives and sin, then there will be no reason for Jesus to come near.  But if you know you are in need--if you know you are in need today--if you know you need Jesus even more than I need glasses--that's when we open the door to him.  That's when we are saved.  That's when the healing begins--healing that, by God's design, is never complete in this life.  For if we were healed completely, if we could see all and know all and have total peace in this life, we would forget how much we need our savior every day.  It is by God's design that we continue to walk with a limp, need glasses, feel sad, have trouble with our weight, and deal with all kinds of other trouble, as long as we live.

Is there healing?  Do miracles happen?  YES!  Too often we give up without even praying!  If you have a need today, ask someone to pray for you!  And keep praying and asking and knocking on heaven's door!  Don't just give up!  Let's not forget the miracles that God often chooses to give!  And when he does give a cure or a healing, praise God!  Dance and sing!  But even when the healing is delayed, we still have reason to give thanks.  Those unfinished miracles are ways that keep me dependent on my Lord and on those who keep praying with and for me.  There's never a good reason to stop praying for a physical miracle of healing, or for the healing of a broken heart.  Keep expecting.  Keep bringing one another to the Lord in prayer.

My handicaps are not just for me and my personal relationship with Jesus.  They help others who I call on, asking for kindness and care.  They get to step out in prayer and listening and sharing!  Still another bonus is this: when we recognize how needy and handicapped we are we become so much more understanding and patient with others.  Originally I was going to focus today on the need for forgiveness and understanding and reconciliation on a human level.  And that is important.  We've been learning on Monday nights that broken relationships between believers are ways that the enemy gets in and messes around.  But when I remember my brokenness and how much I depend on God every day, it will be so easy for me to be patient AND to point out where others may need Jesus too... because even though a conversation or two may stretch me beyond what I can handle, I will never be afraid of going to where it's hard.  Jesus will meet me there every time, just like he met the blind man in John 9.

I'm thankful for my glasses.  And I'm thankful for my bad eyes.  I'm thankful for all the weaknesses and trouble that I only admit to those who know me best.  It's right there, in the midst of those challenges, that Jesus meets me, and, having met me, goes with me to touch the world God loves so much.

What is your need today?  What's your handicap?  How are you poor?  How can we bless and pray for you?  How can you share what God has done through your weakness, through your pain, through your need?  Truly, when we get real, amazing things will happen in our midst.

My prayer for this church, and for every church, is that we will be honest about who we are before God and one another, and, together, share the merciful and healing power of God. We will expect God to restore sight, physical and spiritual, bring peace and joy and beauty from pain, and in the end, meet us with his mercy and grace in his kingdom.  For Jesus died for me and my blindness and my sins, and he will lead me in this life, and in the life to come.  He can do the same for you.

A Bold and Restful Ministry

On Thursday, at a gathering of Alliance of Renewal Churches pastors in the Twin Cities, Paul Anderson was moved to speak a word from God to me personally and to pray for me.  He and others gathered with me and there was such peace as he did so.  I don't remember all of what he said, but at least three things, all interrelated.
  • First, he said, as God has said to me many times in the last few months, that neither my life nor the ministry I serve in the future will be like what it has been like in the past.  
  • Secondly, God is calling me to trust Him completely, and not to worry about stepping out of what people may expect, for example, in worship when I may hear God saying that I ought to toss out the plans I had made and go in a different direction with a message or a prayer or a ministry time.  
  • Finally, the trust God wants me to have in Him will mean I will recognize, even more than I have in the past, that I can rest in Him and realize that very little depends on me.
None of these are new revelations, but it was good to have a trusted brother in Christ confirm them to me.

Pray that I will follow Jesus to the places he desires that I go.  Pray the same for all the ministry partners the Lord is calling me to be with for the next few months.  God is calling us to rest in Him together (Mark 6:31).

The future will not be like the past.  It will not be like it was.  As we follow our Lord, trusting him completely, it will be good--better than we can imagine.