Tuesday, April 28, 2009


A great thing about retirement is being able to do (or at least try) things one normally wouldn't do during one's career. Recently I've begun rehearsing solos for Handel's "Messiah" for our Christmas performance in Arizona. I've always wanted to sing "Comfort Ye" and "Every Valley" in concert. Maybe this will be the year.

When one gets older, it takes more time to get ready for some things, and you aren't guaranteed of their success. But if you want something badly enough, you will do the work to try and get it done. 

General Dwight Eisenhower is known for his strong leadership, both as Supreme Allied Commander in World War Two, and as President of the United States. When Ike was in Europe he experienced danger and difficulty while navigating the poor roads there. So as president he commissioned a network of roads in America that became our present Interstate Highway System. Mountains were tunneled through and valleys often filled in or traversed by massive bridges so the people can safely travel.

In ancient times, conquering kings gained access to new territories by building highways for their troops. Isaiah had this imagery in mind when he wrote, "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God... Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain." (Isaiah 40 KJV) John the Baptist fulfilled this prophesy, calling people to repentance so that they would prepare their hearts for the arrival of King Jesus. 

What preparation needs to be done to allow Jesus access to your heart? Are there rough places of bitterness in your life that need the bulldozer of forgiveness? Are there valleys of complaint that need a bridge of contentment? Are there deserts of lovelessness that need the pure water of God's love? No matter what our age, we all need regular spiritual engineering. Jesus' trip to the cross filled in the gaps to bring us to God. Trusting Him is best for any age.

I'm also hoping to learn to fly an airplane (radio controlled).

We're never too old to dream!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Little Lisa was excited - she was going with her parents to see their new house! But when the car stopped in front of their new house, Lisa couldn't believe her eyes. The house had no windows or doors, the roof was a funny color and there was a strange odor. She could see the basement through some gaps in the floor and could even see through the walls. And people she didn't know were walking all over her house.

That night she asked her mother why they wanted to live in a house like that. But her mother explained the house wasn't finished. “It's not done yet. honey. Just wait and see,” she said. “You'll like it when it's done.”

Each time Lisa went to see her new house, changes had been made. First came windows and doors and a new grey roof. The funny smell of new lumber faded and the holes in the floor were covered. The ladder to the basement was replaced with steps, carpet and cabinets were installed and the walls were painted, inside and out. Her incomplete house was being transformed. It took some time, but it was finally finished. When they were moved in, Lisa loved her new house.

As Christians, we need some finishing too. Although God had laid the groundwork in our Baptism, our growing faith needs added dimensions to our lives. We need to learn right and wrong, how to make wise decisions and how to love others instead of just loving ourselves. Above all, we need to trust Jesus as the One who makes it all possible.

Hebrews 12:2 tells us Jesus is the “Author and finisher of our faith.” Each day and week, we are given opportunities to grow more like Him. The Holy Spirit helps us in the process so that we will one day be complete. Then we will be ready to meet Jesus face to face so He can see His completed creation.

Jesus loves His creation and wants to live with us forever.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Christ is risen! I hope you had a nice Easter. Carol and I worshipped with family and friends at St. Paul's in Boca Raton, FL. It was a joyful service, with a fine message and magnificent music led by their Minister of Music who just two weeks before had broken his left wrist. Watching him play the great organ using only pedals and his right hand was fascinating and inspiring. He even directed the choir using his broken arm, though it made him wince in pain. As my sister, whose husband was a lifelong Minister of Music, said, "The show must go on."

That's very true. Last month I subbed at the last second for a pastor who became ill as he was ready to start the service. I gowned in his place, led the service and ad libbed a sermon from the lessons. The show must go on.

But is it just a show? Why celebrate Easter? For that matter, why have church services? It's simple - to rejoice in Jesus' resurrection. Without it, we'd have no church. Without the open grave and the living Christ, Christians would be no different than any other religion. Jesus' resurrection proved He really was God's Son, and all He said about Himself was really true. He is God and all who follow Him in faith are given eternal life.

People come to church for many different reasons: to please someone (including God), out of habit, to feel better, to see friends, or, yes, also to hear the Gospel and be blessed by the Sacrament. But all we do there is only because Jesus arose from the dead. As the Holy Scriptures say, "If Christ was not raised from the dead, then our faith is in vain." (1 Corinthians 15:14) The message of Easter makes it all true and worthwhile.

May you be blessed with joy and renewed faith in His Resurrection.

Monday, April 6, 2009


Whenever the Lord gives you a task, no matter how difficult, He also gives you what you need to do it. John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church, once said, "If God bids me fly, I will trust Him for the wings." Wesley came to a stronger faith while studying Luther's Commentary on Romans.

Joshua was given a difficult task. He was to lead the Israelites after Moses died, and his first task was to cross the people over the Jordan River during flood season. He no doubt was fearful he might not measure up to Moses, as well as possibly lose people in the river crossing. But God told him to have the Ark of the Covenant carried into the water first so that the river would part, allowing the people to walk through. Joshua believed and obeyed God and ordered the Ark into the flooding river.

God had promised Joshua,"Be strong and of good courage. Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9) Joshua had to believe God and the priests had to obey Joshua. When they did, the river parted and people passed safely into the Promised Land. God gave Joshua a great task, but He also gave him all he needed to get the job done.

We may feel we can't do that great and important task before us. But when we trust in the Lord, He will give us what we need to do it. This is true no matter what age we are in life or how difficult the task may be. May we always remember what the Lord told Joshua (and each of us), "I will not leave you nor forsake you." (Joshua 1:5)

Trust God to help you through whatever He has placed before you.