Monday, November 30, 2015


Dear friends,
        How is your life turning out? Is it what you expected it would be? Have you been able to fulfill any dreams you’d hope for? Are you still in the midst of fulfilling them, or did you have to change them as your life unfolded?
        Yesterday I asked my wife, “How is your life turning out?” She looked at me questioningly and said, “Good!” When I asked, “Is it what you’d expected it would be?” she said she’d had no real life plan or set of expectations and wanted to take each day as it came rather than fit it into some larger plan. Happily, she added that her life had turned out better than what she’d imagined. It was a nice discussion on November 29, our 29th wedding anniversary.
        Yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent, a time Christians set aside to prepare for Christ’s first Advent into the world as a human child born of the Holy Spirit. The first Advent was God fulfilling His larger plan of salvation for people. It is a time to remember the first Advent at Christmas and His second Advent in judgment at the end of time.
        This time of year Christians recall two married couples, Joseph and Mary, and Zechariah and Elizabeth. Long ago, there were major changes in their lives as the aged couple was blessed with a squalling baby. Their little boy would grow to become the prophet John the Baptizer who would prepare the way for Mary’s little boy who would one day be known as Yeshua ha Nosari, Jesus of Nazareth.
        Joseph and Mary’s life really changed when she admitted she was expecting a child out of wedlock. Of all the miracles surrounding the birth of Jesus, surely one of the greatest is that Joseph believed the angel. Both couples must have spent time discussing how their lives had changed from what they expected it would be.
        Luke 1:66 says their family and friends were also amazed, asking, “What then will this child be?” Children change a marriage, and the child Jesus changed the whole human race. When we each welcome Him into our hearts by faith, our dreams and hopes enter the realm of God and eternity. With Jesus by our side through this life and into the next, our life will turn out far better than we could have imagined.

How is your life turning out?

Rev. Bob Tasler

Monday, November 23, 2015


November 22, 2015
Dear friends,
        There comes a time to say “enough.” Yesterday I called the director of the local Messiah Choir and told her I would no longer be coming to rehearsals or singing the music. I told her I could no longer understand what she says nor hear the others in my section. I hung up the phone, put my worn Messiah book on the shelf and felt good about it. After sixty years of singing in choirs, it was time to say “enough.” I will still sing, of course, so long as I have a voice for hymns and fun songs, but no longer in a choir. Doing this was difficult.
        It reminded me of when my Dad stopped driving. He was 90 and ironically only a few months before had taken his one and only Driver’s Test. He had purchased his first Minnesota Driver’s License seventy years before, at a time they didn’t require a driving test, and since he’d never moved out of the state nor had his license revoked, the state just kept renewing his license. At age eighty-nine he got a ticket and was told he must take a written Driver’s Test. We all hoped he wouldn’t pass, but he did, and with the joy of winning a gold medal!
         But then he was hospitalized many weeks. After getting back on his feet, he called my brother and asked if they could go for a drive. Fritz reluctantly sat on the passenger side as Dad slowly drove his trusty Plymouth out of town to the old farm, taking the familiar gravel roads, past neighbors farms now vacant, on a route he could have driven blindfolded. Back in town Dad drove carefully into his garage. Then he handed Fritz the keys and said, “That’s enough.” His old car was still there seven years later when he died.
        There comes a time to say goodbye to earthly things we've enjoyed, activities we can no longer do, a time to say “enough” to some things of life we’ve treasured. Some will consider this a very sad time, but others will find pleasure in knowing they no longer need do them, that there are better things yet to come, finer things God has in store for His people.
        I am a long ways from ending my driving or singing, but it’s time to modify. No more all-day car trips, no more lifting hundred pound sacks, no more singing Messiah. But instead of cursing my weakness, I’m concentrating on what I still enjoy doing. Seventy is young by today’s standards, although I probably won’t make ninety-seven like Dad did. Nor am I sure I want to.
        But I will sing as long as the Good Lord gives me voice and time, and I will drive and work until I know it’s “enough.” Meanwhile, I will look for a little joy every day, especially in trusting God and in seeing my beloved young discover their joys in the world they now experience.

It's time to “Sing to the Lord a new song.” (Psalm 149:1)

Rev. Bob Tasler

Monday, November 9, 2015


November 8, 2015
Dear friends,
        Last week’s message on heaven sparked quite a few responses. I thought you might like hearing of a young woman who claimed to have seen Jesus in a heavenly vision when she was only four years old.
        Akiane Kramarik was born in 1994 in Illinois of a Lithuanian mother and American father. She was home schooled by her atheist parents, but Akiane's "visions" of Jesus at age four, influenced her parents to become Christians. She began drawing at age 4 and turned to painting at age 6. Her best-known work is a painting of Jesus called, “Prince of Peace” which she painted at age 8. You've probably seen it before.
        Akiane’s paintings usually involve a likeness of Jesus with children, animals or planets. Although she often gets inspiration from pictures, Akiane said her main inspiration comes from her personal connection with God. She has witness to her faith in Jesus on the Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN news, Katie Couric and the Craig Ferguson show. By age 12 she had completed sixty large paintings, some of which hang in the US Embassy in Singapore. She has also completed hundreds of poems and published two best-selling books.
        Why do I mention this? Because it is incredible to me (but not unbelievable) that a child can produce such fine poetry and artwork at such a young age after having been raised in an atheistic home. And most importantly, that her “visions” of Jesus have helped people come to know Him as Savior, including her parents.
        Does this not show God’s hand in a person’s life? And doesn't this also show that our Lord Jesus interjects Himself into our modern world to help people know Him in amazing ways?
        I’ve never met the young woman (she’s 21 now) and never will, at least this side of eternity. But despite what we might believe about her, could she be genuine and her visions authentic? What do you think?
        Look up her name online and see some of her amazing work. It’s time well spent.

...can turn a MESS into a MESSAGE
...can turn a TEST into a TESTIMONY
...can turn a TRIAL into a TRIUMPH
...can turn a VICTIM into a VICTORY

Rev. Bob Tasler

Sunday, November 1, 2015


    Today is All Saints' Day. Since 835 AD, Christian churches have designated November 1 as “All Saints’ Day,” or "All Hallows Day." The day before was called "All Hallows Eve," or Halloween. On All Saints' Day the Church remembers the example of faith set by believers in Christ who have gone before us into God's presence during the past year.
    During the past year I've had my share of loved ones leave this life, an older brother, a younger niece, an older cousin and a number of friends. It's always sobering to consider how long it will be before I join the procession of the saints who've gone before.
    I've been reading John Burke's Imagine Heaven (subtitled, "Near-Death Experiences, God's Promises, and the Exhilarating Future That Awaits You.") It is filled with hundreds of stories about personal experiences, as well as dozens of extensive studies about those whose bodies have briefly died but were brought back to life. It is enlightening. I recommend the book, but also warn readers to get ready for some jaw-dropping reports these "NDE people" give.
    The list interviewed includes not just Christians, but Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and even a few atheists, all of whom give reports of what they recalled. Most surprising is how they nearly all agree on the basics: a Godly Presence, bright light, wondrous love, vivid colors and glorious feelings that they didn't want to leave. And yes, a large number also felt a darkness that they did not ever want face again.
    One is tempted to say they created these experiences in their minds or made them up. But how can persons blind from birth describe vivid colors? Or those deaf from birth describe music? Or how could neurosurgeons explain how they still lived after being declared "brain dead"? Or how can those of non-Christian beliefs (or no belief at all) describe the same loving "God Presence" as the Bible gives us?
    I am not abandoning the Gospel in this nor am I espousing something outside the Bible. Space precludes explaining much more, but reading of this has opened my eyes to the witness of not just a few, but thousands of people whose bodies have died briefly but their spirits have lived on. With all the many studies he quotes, author Burke couldn't have made it all up.
    There is, I believe, a whole lot more to our existence than our mere four score years on earth.
    Reading this has heightened my anticipation of the great reunion Jesus told us about in Matthew 25 and John in Revelation. It has reinforced to me again that people don't just disappear into the dust. We live on, and God has prepared a new place and a new life for all the Saints in eternity with Him.

But it only comes through faith in our one Lord Jesus.   

Rev. Bob Tasler