Thursday, May 30, 2013

Big J little i

I was getting toward the end of my preaching time on Sunday when I pushed the wrong button on the remote.  I carry a remote with me when I'm preaching--a remote that controls what we have up on the screen at Crossroads.  The remote has four buttons.  I duct-taped over one of them so I wouldn't mistakenly push it and, behold, that's what I did.  I pushed the "end" button and the slideshow I'd prepared to go with my message ended and there was no way to back up.  I felt small.  (You can hear the message and the worship service at this link: May 26 worship.)

Here's the slide that came up instead of what I had planned:
Not bad, is it.  Not bad to have a call to prayer cut off the message.  Not bad especially because the Lord had already impressed on us, by the Apostle Paul's example, the importance of prayer.

Preaching on Colossians 1:9-14, and specifically on verses 9-12 where Paul writes to the the Christian believers in the small town of Colossae and assures them that he and others were continually praying for them, I shared these words that had come to me from the Lord:
...we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.
On Sunday then we stopped and prayed--for 5 minutes.

How does that work?  How is it that simply stopping and talking with God can make such a difference, filling us with his will, giving us wisdom and understanding from the Holy Spirit, moving us toward a life worthy of the Lord that pleases him in every way?

How does that work?

It works because of JESUS!

This coming Sunday, on June 2, we'll focus on verses 15-19, where the Lord gives us this description of Jesus:
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.  He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.  And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.  For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him...
Prayer, that is, speaking with Jesus, the Big J, and listening to him speak to us, makes all the difference in the world.  He's big enough to do it all.  We'll share more of this on Sunday.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Sunny Day for Youth

So today school was two hours late.  They say there was fog.  Not near us.  I guess it was way out Litchfield way.  Because of the fog our scheduled first grade field trip was shortened.  Instead of driving to St. Paul's Children's Museum we ended up at Baker Park.  And it was a beautiful day to be outdoors!

Last night at prayer we brought to the Lord many praises and concerns; and then, in a lighthearted sort of way, one of our prayer warriors just asked the Lord to provide a day of sun.  She knew He could, and He did.  We are thankful.

Tonight we have our final scheduled Wednesday evening youth meeting of the spring.  They're on their way to Brooks Lake park for a cookout.  I am so thankful for Ann Benson & Mark Koller, our key "up front" leaders, for Toni Thorson, Mary Kay Morris and Catherine Young (always here, always helpful), for kitchen leaders Libby Bayuk & Nancy Buschel (and recent addition Allan Sorenson).  Ann says that we'll be having some occasional youth events this summer--we'll keep you updated at church, by email and on our church website.

Earlier this month I sent in application forms that some of our youth have turned in in advance of the "Urban Ventures" mission trip with North Heights Lutheran Church.  We're still waiting for a couple more to be turned in.  I've written to the North Heights youth leader checking to see for sure if the tardy applications can be accepted.  I was told earlier that one or two more wouldn't be a problem so hopefully that is still the case.  The pre-trip meeting at North Heights is this coming Sunday, June 2.  The trip is late July.  More at

In a few minutes I'll be heading out to the high school "performing arts center" for the 2013 Dassel-Cokato Baccalaureate service.  This service is sponsored by the Dassel-Cokato pastors--not by the school.  It's always a good event.

I'm sure there's more I could write, but time to go!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tuesday morning note

We just came off an excellent day and a half down in New Ulm.  Toni and I enjoyed Sunday night in a bed and breakfast and did some wandering in and around that historically German city.  Now we're back to the life God has given us here in the Cokato area.  I had my school bus run as usual this morning and Toni is at the drug store--another part-time job that she picked up last fall to supplement our income.  We're continuing to help two of our grown "kids" with paying on their college loans while doing what we can to assist our youngest who will be entering his senior year at North Central University this fall.

There are so many blessings.  I continue to trust that we are following the Lord's call as we are surrendered to Him in every area of our lives.  I am thankful for prayers such as the one we shared at Crossroads this past Sunday:
We have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and  understanding... so you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way, bearing fruit in every good work... (Colossians 1:10)
Like everyone who may read or stumble upon this particular piece that I'm writing on this misty Tuesday morning, I am in need of people to pray for me just as Paul prayed those words for the Christian believers in the small town of Colossae.  I am in need of the Lord's continual correction.  I need to be continually growing in the knowledge of God.  Please pray for me.  Please ask me to pray for you.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Hard Work

I'm working in the mud of the garden today, trying to get seeds planted before Memorial Day.  The roto-tiller gained 20 pounds in the process, and I need to get back out there and finish this project before it rains once again.

As I work, I'm listening to some podcasts that have to do with homosexuality.  I've done some reading again lately and am more sure than ever that this is a key issue.  It is a key issue for many reasons, but partly because we need to be led in this, as well as in all other areas of life, by God's Word and not by our feelings.

This isn't a subject I enjoy discussing or debating.  But, like working the garden, it needs to be done if we're going to have a good harvest in the end.

Yesterday I was listening to two interviews with Robert Gagnon, interviews that were done last year by Tony Reinke who works for John Piper's Ministry Desiring God.  You'll find them below.

Today I've been listening to Tony's interview of Rosaria Champagne Butterfield--it's worth a lesson as she tells her story and shares insights from scripture.  A certain part really caught my attention. Dr. Butterfield said:
It struck me as I was reading the Bible that God says, quite clearly, that anyone who is going to be a Christian has to give everything up.  Not just the easy things.  Christianity isn't for people who just like to be a little cleaned up on the on the surface.  And so, I don't know what my Christian friends might think of this, but I think it's important that anyone outside of the church feel invited and welcomed to ask any question of anyone who claims to know Christ, that no Christian should behave in squeamishness. 

I also think it's really important that the church reach out to the gay and lesbian community.  We the church... (I've been in both communities and I have to tell you which "we")... We the church... I think we have a delusion that we have been witnessing faithfully for years and years, the gay and lesbian community has not responded and therefore there is something hardened about that sin and we just need to move on.  I think the reality is that the Bible-believing Christian church has indeed sinned against the GLBT community by failing to share the gospel in love and in some ways failing to do what Ken Smith did to me--Ken practiced what is called "hospitality."  ...And hospitality is inviting the stranger in. [Ken Smith was the pastor who was instrumental in bringing Dr. Butterfield to Christ.] 
Oh that we would all share that kind of hospitality with all, including those who experience same-sex sexual attractions!  Tony Reinke's second interview with Dr. Butterfield, all about hospitality, can be found at this link: Hospitality On A Mission
Here is a link to the recorded interviews with Robert Gagnon (posted October 30, 2012)--a scholar who has done very important work in this area, and below you'll find Tony Reinke's introduction and a summary of the points of the interviews.  They are worth your time.
Tony Reinke writes:
    "In modern cultures like America, every Christian is faced with the problem of homosexuality. Churches are pulled into the tension, too, because 'there is no demilitarized zone in the homosexual debate.'
   "Shrugging isn’t an option. The implications are all around us, in schools, in politics, in denominational tensions, and — maybe most importantly — in determining how the Church lives out her faithful witness to a culture in desperate need of Christ.
    "With the marriage amendment on the Minnesota ballot [in the fall of 2012], and with a growing list of personal questions in my Moleskine notebook, I contacted Dr. Robert Gagnon, a professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and a man who has for many years bravely addressed homosexuality from a biblical and theological perspective. In 2002 he published the 500-page book The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics. A decade later his work remains the most thoroughly exegetical and hermeneutical book on homosexuality and the Bible (John Piper).
    "I put Dr. Gagnon on the line, peppered him with a dozen questions, and he kindly responded to each of them. The result is what I now get to share with you as episodes three and four in the Authors on the Line podcast series (iTunes).

Below are individual links to each recorded interview (podcasts) and a Tony Reinke's list of the questions considered in each:

The Church in a Homosexual Culture: An Interview with Robert Gagnon (32 minutes)
  • What are the biblical and the structural prerequisites for a sexual union that magnifies God and honors his created design?
  • From that, what constitutes sinful sexual practices?
  • Does the Bible say anything about gender reassignment surgery?
  • Is homosexuality a modern phenomenon? Just how pervasive was homosexuality in the Greco-Roman world of the Apostle Paul?
  • By voting yes to the Minnesota Marriage Amendment, are Christians oppressing the freedoms of the gay and lesbian community? Why or why not?
  • What advice do you have for churches seeking to preach against the sin of homosexuality, and make sure the church doors are wide open and welcoming to all those in the homosexual community?
Same-Sex Temptations in the Church: An Interview with Robert Gagnon (30 minutes)
  • What role does the Church play in demythologizing sexuality in modern culture?
  • In the life of a professing Christian, what makes homosexual practice “an act of unbelief”?
  • Should we be okay with a professing believer who self-identifies as “a celibate gay Christian”?
  • What advice do you have for Christian parents who are fearful that their children will experience same-sex attraction in the teen years?
  • What are churches doing well in engaging those who struggle with same-sex attraction? What are churches doing poorly?
  • What guiding principles will help us to love and reach out to our homosexual neighbors?

Going back to what Dr. Butterfield said about being available for questions and not being "squeamish" about what anyone may ask, part of being "not squeamish" means being well informed.  Listen to these interviews or read what she or Dr. Gagnon have written, and then let the Word of God go to work.  Be brave.  And then be hospitable to those who disagree.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

More (from Colossians)

This is written as a bit of a open preparation for preaching this coming Sunday.  Thanks for taking time to let me share what God has put on my heart so far.  Please share what the Lord says to you as you read this by commenting below or by letting me know in another way.
If you have come to know Jesus even a little, there is already so much to thank God for!

If you have a hint of grace or peace, if you know forgiveness in any part of your life, PRAISE GOD!  And if you have learned that all God's mercy comes through Jesus and His world-changing death and resurrection all these words from Colossians 1 apply to you, just as surely as they applied to the Christians who lived at the time of the Apostle Paul:
  ... 2 We are writing to God’s holy people ... , who are faithful brothers and sisters in Christ. May God our Father give you grace and peace.
    3 We always pray for you, and we give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all of God’s people, 5 which come from your confident hope of what God has safe for you in heaven. You have had this expectation ever since you first heard the truth of the Good News.
    6 This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace.
YES! From the FIRST DAY you hear and understand the truth of Jesus, your life is changed!  From the first day you learned that you don't need to carry your past along with you like a ball and chain or roll it uphill like Sisyphus, you are SO blessed!  Millions if not BILLIONS of people throughout the world have NO RELIEF from constant struggle and pain.  Praise God that you have come to know the mercy and grace of Jesus that flow from His Cross!

But there is more.  More--not in the sense of leaving the Cross of Jesus behind--but more in the ways you apply specifically Christian and Biblical teachings to every day life.  We see this in what the Lord says to us in the next part of Colossians 1:
9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
God has rescued us through what his Son has done.  He has brought us out of darkness.  By what Jesus did on the cross we have been forgiven.  But, as we read in what is underlined above, there is more.  More RESOURCES for walking alongside others.  More POWER for making a difference. 

I find, time after time, that this isn't the "normal Christian life" among the Christian people I spend time with on a daily or weekly basis.  My experience is that, at least on the surface, that these Christian people seem rely, in most ways, on their own common sense, with an addition of Christian love and forgiveness, instead of explicitly and openly "running to Jesus" and His Cross and the Word of God.

In recent days I've been amazed at the tender loving care that friends and neighbors in our community have given one another in regard to a particular crisis situation.  That tender care is clearly motivated and sustained by faith.  But there is more.  More power in prayer.  More strength in the Word of God.  More "knowledge of God's will," more "wisdom and understanding that the Holy Spirit gives," more "growing in the knowledge of God and more confidence in "the inheritance of God's holy people in the kingdom of light."

Many times Christian caring is about the same as ordinary human TLC.  There's nothing wrong with TLC, but when it comes to confronting truly dark and powerful spiritual forces and even dark and powerful demonic beings that seem to be at work in our world, we need more. 

Christians can grow.  Christians can change.  Not so much from being "fake" to being "real," but like the people that Colossians was originally addressed to, Christian believers today are so much in need of prayer and regular reminders and in depth teaching about the truth of what life in Jesus is about.

Believers in Jesus, having been set free from their own burdens, filled with Jesus' love... they often do their best to bear others' burdens.  That is a good thing but, as the photo at right illustrates, the weight is often too much even for a community.  What is needed is SPIRITUAL power from GOD.  We need to be FILLED with "the knowledge of God's will" THROUGH ALL THE WISDOM AND UNDERSTANDING THAT THE SPIRIT GIVES!

It's all available to us for the asking.  That's why Paul prays as he does for the Colossians.  Let's pray for one another in this way and, according to Paul's example, let one another know what it is we are praying and why.
That's what I've prepared so far.  Come and spend Sunday morning with us to see what else the Lord desires to share with us then.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Run to Jesus!

PRAY for the family of AUSTIN CARLEN and all our young people--love them and keep them close.

The following went out as an email from Crossroads church tonight.

Austin is the son of Kevin and Nicole Carlen of Dassel. He has three sisters, Lexi Carlen, Anna Carlen, and Alyssa "Bisser" Carlen all of Dassel, paternal grandparents, Harlund and Mary Carlen of Dassel, maternal grandparents, Tim and Robin Kelly of Dassel, great grandparents, Dennis and Marlys Ortquist of Cokato, and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and other relatives and friends. His aunt Katie Lund, her husband Joel, and many of the other relatives have been partners and friends here at Crossroads church.

The following is from the Johnson Funeral Home website - for more info go to
Austin Robert Carlen, age 20, of Cokato, formerly of Dassel, died Sunday, May 20, 2013, in the Richmond Area. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday, May 25, 2013, at 11:00 a.m. at St. Philips Catholic Church in Litchfield with Father Joe Steinbeisser officiating. The interment will be held at the St. Ignatus Catholic Cemetery in Annandale following the service.

A visitation will be held on Friday evening from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Johnson Funeral Home in Dassel. There will be a one hour visitation prior to the service on Saturday at the church.
At times like this we run to Jesus! The Word of God is full of honest and painful prayers like Psalm 22, quoted by Jesus on the cross, and Psalm 139, which promises God's presence no matter what. We look to the one who confronts and defeats the devil, the robber and thief of life (John chapters 10 and 11). And we know the victory of the resurrection which no one can ever take away (Romans 8, First Corinthians 15).

As we get to know Jesus more and more, we know that He loves those who mourn, and gives us comfort through his Word.  

When I was desperate for a Good Word from God this morning, God gave me these verses:
  • "The Lord has sent me to comfort all who mourn" (Isaiah 6:1,2). 
  • "God consoles us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God." (2 Corinthians 1:4) 
Also, God provided this prayer:
You are our refuge and strength, O God, our ever-present help in trouble. Embolden us to share the good news of your steadfast love. Make us instruments your consolation, we pray, in Jesus’ name.
God bless you all.

Pastor Steve Thorson

Monday, May 20, 2013

Big Words for a Small Town

Recent Photo of Landscape Near Ancient Colossae
Map with Ancient Town of Colossae
We started a message series yesterday at Crossroads, a series based on the book of Colossians.  Colossians is a spiritual letter written to Christians living in a small town in what was then part of the Roman Empire.  The town, Colossae, had been a town of some significance, but by the time the Biblical letter of Colossians was written, the town had shrunk, it's position of local influence having been taken over by nearby Laodicea.  All that remains today is a mound of earth.  The ruins of ancient Colossae lie beneath.  No one has ever dug in the mound to discover what might still be there. 1 ,2

But the letter to the Colossians, a letter straight from the heart of God via the Apostle Paul and his apprentice Timothy--that letter is packed with big words.  Big and powerful words, words intended to light the Colossian church on fire.

Here are some of the things Paul writes to the Colossians:
  • We have heard of your faith in Christ and the love you have for all of God's holy people.
  • The gospel is bearing fruit and growing all over the world just as it has been doing among you!
  • We have not stopped praying for you, asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
  • We pray this so you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way, bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power.
All of those sentiments are found in just eight verses of this 95 verse letter.  There is so much more.  We could easily go on. 

The simple point that I see in this, the simple point that we'll be highlighting in various ways this summer, is that we always should resist the temptation to think that our lives are of no importance.  We should always remember that what you or I do, in whatever small part of the world we live in, is a lot more important to God than we might imagine at first.  Our words, our actions, our time with the Lord, our study of God's Word--all of it matters--it matters enough for the Lord to inspire a book of the Bible that is described like this:
God gave us in Paul's Letter to the Colossians a proclamation of the Lord Jesus Christ in unparalleled fulness and depth... The apostles of Jesus are witnesses to Him witnesses to Him who has all authority in heaven and on earth... At the time of the church's need the Holy Spirit opened up to Paul dimensions of the glory of Christ which the new people of God had not apprehended so fully before...3
What all of this means we will see as we proceed through the summer.  The reason, however, that our lives are significant is not dependent on our position in life!  Instead, our lives are important because of the one who we are connected with: Jesus--the anointed Lord of heaven and earth.  All that we do, all that we say, all that we are makes a difference because we represent our Lord.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


Who are you?  How do you identify yourself?  Our son Daniel is traveling to Brasil today.  When he arrives he'll be IDed by his passport.  What IDs you?  Or better said, WHO gives it to you?  Who makes you who you are?

The Christian message has a lot to say about identity.
  1. We are all created, male and female, in the image of God--and God saw that it was very good!  
  2. We have all sinned and fall short of the glory God first gave to us.  So we are sinners--until something miraculous happens and...
  3. We "die to sin" and are now "alive to God" in Christ Jesus.
Those truths are known to us from the Word of God. 

Will you accept what God says about you?  Will you receive His I.D.?

This will be the theme of upcoming messages at Crossroads Community Church.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Today's Debate

This post is prompted by a debate and, most likely, a vote being held today in the Minnesota Legislature to change the marriage law.  Here is a part of what is being voted on... the original was found at this link -> HF1054 at 11:40 this morning. Of course, it may be changed before the vote occurs.  NOTE - here is a link to what the House of Representatives actually passed on Thursday - Version 2 ("2nd Engrossment").*
The Minnesota House Bill that is being voted on today tries to get around objections in many ways.  I've heard that the word "civil" is being proposed to be prefixed to "marriage" every time "marriage" is referred to in Minnesota law.  There are also many provisions that try to make exceptions for religious groups, trying to make sure that there will be no penalties for pastors who refuse to marry people of the same sex.  

But it's interesting that (1) the law would prohibit marriage between siblings (as it always has between brothers & sisters) and (2) the law states that it is a contract between two people.  Why?  Well, the reason is that marriage has always been about the potential children that a male-female sexual union produces.*

Children always come from the union of one man and one woman.  Even "artificial insemination" and "in vitro" fertilization involve the sperm and egg of one man and one woman.  There is something unique and irreplaceable about this sacred union: children.  And it is to protect those children that marriage exists.

The following was written last fall by Autumn Leva - you can find the original by clicking here.
... Marriage is a special relationship defined as the union of one man and one woman because it provides a stable environment in which men and women commit not only to each other, but also to any potential children born from their union. Marriage is the only institution we have that connects children to the people who brought them into the world. For anyone who may have missed "the talk" growing up, the male-female bodily union is the only type of union that can create new life for the propagation of our species.
Thus, the relationship between a man and a woman is unique. When men and women agree to commit to themselves and any children they bear, this provides a stable family unit in our society that ensures the care and upbringing of the kids involved. ...
Autumn Leva wrote that in regard to the "Marriage Amendment" debate last fall. Click here for what I wrote at that time.

There is nothing as important, when it comes to marriage, as the well being of the children and the generations to come.  Can you imagine anything that would change this?

Please pray today for our legislators.  The debate in the Minnesota House is scheduled to begin now.

* Notes added Saturday morning May 11 - 
(1) The MN House of Representatives did pass HR 1054 (click here for the bill in its final form). 

(2) I have yet to read or hear anything written from the "pro-GLBT" perspective that is willing to admit and deal with the aspects of this issue that I address above.  I welcome a conversation about this, especially with any Christians who are in favor of gay marriage.

(3) Related to the above, can someone explain why the law should give special status to permanent or monogamous unions of any kind when the begetting/bearing of children isn't central to the law? I really want to know!  See this link "Why Get Married When You Can Be Happy?" and the recording of that event from last year's Sydney Writer's Festival (mp3 here) for what Jeanette Winterson, Dennis Altman, Benjamin Law and Masha Gesse had to say.

(4) Yesterday I happened to have a school bus trip to the Minnesota History Center. Bus parking for the History Center is right in front of the Minnesota State Capitol building.  So, yesterday, I went up to the capitol and wrote a brief letter to Governor Dayton--they provide paper, pens and a place in the governor's outer office for writing--and put my letter in the "in box" on the receptionist's desk. I also left a note at the office of our state senator.  The state senate will take up this bill on Monday and when Governor Dayton signs it non-heterosexual marriages will be recognized in Minnesota beginning August 1.

(5) The following is from something I wrote in November of last year entitled "When the Road Is Long." :
Those of us who do not suffer same-sex attractions cannot understand or appreciate the depths of what those brothers and sisters go through. Even so, every Christian can, to some extent, understand what it means to wrestle with faithfulness to God and the Word of God, while at the same time suffering unfulfilled desires or dreams and frustrations. Sometimes this wrestling is accompanied by loneliness--an inability to explain fully to others what it is you are going through. So, as Wesley Hill's book makes us a bit more compassionate toward those with homosexual desires, others benefit too...   (See the end of this blog post for a quote from his book's introduction.)

Christians end up doing two things in this life in regard to the pain and frustrations we face. First, we do not give up praying and seeking for healing and complete release from whatever we (or others) are suffering.  Second, and at the same time, we expect God to be at work in and through us (and others) while we (and they) are still suffering -- while we all, to some extent, are "washed and waiting."

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Healing Prayer

I'm hoping to find time this week to read more of a book loaned to me by my son Daniel.  I have it until Sunday only, but I've been particularly interested in the section called a "Five-Step Prayer Model."

The five steps that Randy Clark suggests are: • Interview, • Diagnosis & Prayer Selection, • Prayer Ministry: Praying for Effect, • Stop and Re-interview, • Post Prayer Suggestions.

Two pieces caught my attention right away:

1) A section beginning on page 222 that says:
Jesus did not say pray for the sick, He said to heal the sick. When you read the gospel's stories about healings, notice that Jesus and His disciples never prayed petitionary (begging or pleading) prayers for healing.  Instead, they commanded in prayer every time.  
2) And then from page 227:
...In order for long-term healing to take place, the root cause of illness must be dealt with. The most common roots are these:
• Psychosomatic Issues--the main root of many illnesses
• Natural causes--accidental injuries or carcinogens causing cancer
• Genetic causes--generational curses
• Afflicting spirits
• Lifestyle Issues--neglecting scriptural teaching regarding rest, diet, exercise, stress
What do you think? (More at another time on this...)

Sunday, May 5, 2013


evening view from my home office window
So nice to have spring finally here. I went out for a bike ride this afternoon (most of the way to Dassel), stopped for a workout at Snap Fitness, and when I got home, sat out for a short while on the front porch. As I look out my office window now at 8:45 it's still light.

I'm finally getting to a little project that's due tomorrow, scanning photos so I can send them to our special Mother's Day speaker.  She'll use them to put together a little presentation.  I'm thankful for creative people.  I was also so thankful this morning for three families that organized a fundraising "Cinco de Mayo" lunch after church (for a summer youth leadership camp).  Praise God for the work he is doing in our midst at Crossroads.

Tomorrow it's back on the bus but I'm not dreading it in the least.  It's getting light now even before I get up at 5:20 and the sun is actually up before I leave the house at 6 or a little after.

Today I chatted a bit with a fellow pastor about gardening.  He has a source for well-rotted horse manure and I have a used roto-tiller that I recently purchased. In a week or so we can get going on our gardens.

So much to be thankful for.  I am so rich.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Zealous Love

At the Crossroads Partnership Dinner on Sunday, Pastor Per Nilsen brought a word from the Lord about what I'm calling "Zealous Love."  He used a verse from Galatians as the basis of his message: "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me." (Galatians 2:20)

In his ministry on earth, Jesus demonstrated all-in "zealous" love.  To be "zealous" mean to be on fire, to be passionate, to be fully committed and in energetic pursuit of a goal.  The goal is that all of the people of the earth would be fully wrapped in the Love of God, and that that love would be reflected in the three key relationships of our lives--our relationship with God, our relationship with one another in the real connections we have in the "body of Christ," and in our passionate love for those who have not yet experienced a personal relationship with God.  Pastor Per used shorthand for these three relationships "Up," "In," and "Out."

We are made for passionate, close, committed relationships in all three of these areas.  And it all begins with the Father's Love for us, a love demonstrated and made secure in what Jesus our Lord has done for all the people of the world, so that their relationships may be restored.

I'm sure some of this will come up in the message for this coming Sunday, as we conclude our series on the difference between religion and discipleship, the difference between being dedicated to the "forms" and "outward appearances" of religion and the zealous love of "Christians," the common name for those of us who are sold out all-in disciples of Jesus Christ.