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Sunday, August 5, 2012

     This week in Exeter is the first day of school.  I remember going back to school and on that first day there were always a lot of nerves but there was always a lot of excitement.  What will the teachers be like?  Will they give too much homework!?!  Who are the news kids in school?  Lots of questions but also a sort of reunion.  You'd come back and see your friends from last year and it always seemed that everyone was a bit different.  Some were taller, some were faster and stronger, some had grown up and matured more than others.  It was a lot of fun seeing your friends and growth they had made over the summer.
     This time of year reminds me of what God has in store for our future.  The book of Revelation is great at describing the return of Jesus and eternal life.  It's not all scary scenarios and judgment either, there is excitement in the air!  Revelation 7 paints the following picture, "After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!...Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.  They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat."
     A time is coming when  Christ will return and just as on a first day of school, He will gather His people together to live forever!  Yes, that means friends who died in Christ, loved ones you miss who died in faith, people we have never met but believed, they will all be there.  And just as you go that first day of school and see the maturity and the growth your friends made over the summer we will see the growth God has given His people.  Our bodies will be resurrected and they will be perfect in every way.  The diseases will be gone, the memory loss will be turned around, the scars, the disabilities, depression, and illness will cease.  Everything will be different because God will have restored us to perfect life.
     This week or in the coming weeks as you send kids off to school or as you watch those buses and car loads of kids off to their first day I pray it will remind you of what's to come.  That first day in eternity when God will make all things new and all things perfect for those who believe in Christ.

Friday, June 29, 2012

  Do you believe in change?  One of the things I love the best about being a pastor are the stories about change occurring in the lives because of God's Word.  I was thankful today to hear one such story about a gentleman who was recently baptized and has really begun to see his life turn around.  He had never known much if anything about God and now He is studying the Word.  He had been estranged from family but now is working to make amends.  It had been a long time since he experienced the love and acceptance of others but now is finding that joy within the church.  Is he perfect at all of these things?  Of course not, but there's no doubt that God's Word has power to change people and it's awesome to hear about it and witness it first hand.
  Sometimes it's hard to really believe that.  I know people who claim that people never change!  They believe that once someone gets stuck in a behavior, an attitude, or a lifestyle they will never move away from it.  Honestly it's pretty easy to take that cynical attitude at times.  I can think of moments where I have felt that way.  Then God comes along and shows me different.  He opens my eyes to see the person whose life is taking a different turn because of the Gospel.  He opens my ears to hear His word and see change in my own life.  His word never returns to Him void.  You can't be cynical when it comes to this God; you have to believe in change! Have you experienced the same?  Can you think of a time when the Word of God really changed a life (perhaps even your own)?  Share your thoughts below...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

  Welcome to the first ever blog from Trinity Lutheran Church.  I thought to kick this off I would share a part of God's Word that has touched my life ever since I first heard it's words.  Back when Stephanie and I first visited Trinity on May 24th 2008, the fellowship hall was still under construction.  The walls were up but no carpeting was put down.  This allowed someone to come up with a great idea; write Bible verses on that concrete before the carpet went down.  For me I wrote the words of Romans 1:16 "I am not ashamed of the Gospel for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes."  Those words are written on the foundation in our fellowship hall and they are written on my heart as a foundation for ministry.  I first heard those words in 8th grade as my pastor gave them to me as my confirmation verse.  He believed I would go on one day to become a pastor and I guess he was right!  These words remind me of what's at the heart of ministry and life; it's the Gospel.  God entering the world, Jesus suffering and dying for us, Christ risen from the dead and promising resurrection to our bodies and our lives.  There's nothing to be ashamed of there.  That is God's action for us.  That is Him giving us life and that is what I hope will continue to shape me each day.  But what about you?  What is that verse or account from scripture that really brings it all home, challenges, and uplifts you?