Sunday, July 31, 2016


Dear friends,
         On Tuesday, July 26, 2016, Father Jacques Hamel, age 84 and priest for 58 years, was murdered with a knife by ISIS agents at St. Etienne Church, Rouen, France. Why would ISIS agents do this? Why target an old man and a small group when larger crowds were nearby?
         Father Hamel was murdered because he was doing his job as a pastor, to preach the Gospel and forgive sin. Many contemporary pastors think their task is to tell people to be a nice to each other, or to sing the praises of victorious living, or to tear down the walls of injustice.
         Christ said in John 20:23, "If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.” A pastor shows us our sins, and tells us how Jesus has earned our forgiveness on the cross. Whether parishioners call him pastor, father, reverend or Fred, announcing God’s forgiveness is what Christ has called the pastor to do. That’s why Father Hamel was killed by ISIS agents.
         The god of ISIS demands absolute obedience. ISIS sees Hamelas handing out gifts that can only be earned by unquestioning obedience to their god. The True God sent Father Hamel to forgive sins, but ISIS agents sent themselves to kill in their god’s name.
         In early days Christians regularly faced threats of death, but they clung to the Gospel treasure all the more. Church father Tertullian said, “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church,” and with it the Church grew. The Church eventually was protected from persecution, but Christians forgot what it meant to be persecuted in His name. Most Christians today see persecution as an outdated problem, but Middle Eastern Christians know it is not.
         The world will do to Christians what it did to Christ. Pastors err when they preach only morality, prosperity, or social justice. Neglecting Law and Gospel, they leave their members unequipped to understand why ISIS would target them. Christ sends pastors to show God’s love and mercy, but the devil sends his agents to kill an old priest to spread fear.
         A faithful shepherd will prepare his sheep to stand firm in the face of persecution. When a pastor baptizes, administers Holy Communion or speaks God's forgiveness, he is giving us the treasures of the Gospel that cannot be taken from us, even by death.
         As the terrorists stormed his sanctuary, Father Hamel’s last words to his flock well might have been, “Don’t be afraid. These men have come to take our lives, but they’re too late. Our lives already belong to Christ.”

Rev. Bob Tasler (

Monday, July 25, 2016


     Obadiah is the shortest book in the Old Testament. Hidden away in it is a vital question that should interest us: "How would you respond when your enemy has misfortune?" I recall a youth Bible study many years ago titled, "Would you laugh if a brick fell on your enemy's head?" I recall thinking I probably would. After all, it's human nature to feel glad when someone who has caused you much trouble gets stopped cold. Trouble is, "human nature" is a result of sin.
       The prophet Obadiah spoke the Word of God during a time when Jerusalem was under attack by the armies of Babylon. They were getting beaten badly, and to make matters worse, their closest neighbors, the Edomites, were cheering on the enemy armies as they destroyed and killed the Israelites. 
       The ironic twist of this story is that the Edomites were blood relatives of the Israelites. They were descendants of Esau, twin brother of Jacob, who was the father of the Israelites. When the Edomites cheered for the Babylonians, they were cheering against their relatives. Obadiah condemned them for gloating, saying, "Do not gloat over your brother in the day of his misfortune, nor rejoice over the children of Judah in the day of their ruin." (Obadiah 12) 
       If someone has been hurtful to us, or if they represent what we believe to be wrong, it is easy to be vindictive and find pleasure when they experience misfortune. But the Holy Bible admonishes us, "Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, nor let your heart be glad when he stumbles." (Proverbs 24:17) 
       God the Father and His Son Jesus urge us to have an attitude of compassion and forgiveness at all times and for all people, even our enemies. Jesus said in Matthew 5:43, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." As Christians we trust God to bring justice and retribution in His own time and way. 

Jesus prayed forgiveness for His enemies from the cross. We sinners are among them.

Rev. Bob Tasler

Monday, July 18, 2016


Dear friends,
      On May 19, 1780, The state legislature was meeting in Hartford, Connecticut. Late in the afternoon storm clouds darkened the skies so densely that it became hard to see inside the meeting room. Suddenly one of those present, shouted, “We must adjourn and leave here, for the end is at hand.” But the Speaker of the Connecticut House, rather than call for adjournment, rose and said, "The Day of Judgment is either approaching or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause for adjournment. If it is, I choose to be found doing my duty. Bring in some candles. We’re not done here yet."
      Storm clouds are darkening the skies of our nation right now. In the midst of selecting our highest leadership, people on the streets are being urged to shoot those devoted to protecting us. Anger and hatred are driving people to commit senseless, needless crimes, and people in high places are calling for action in all sorts of ways, some foolish, others fanning the flames.
       The worst thing we can do right now is to give up praying to God. We must ask for His peace and the ability to love, not hate, our neighbor. This is what we must be doing - pray and pray some more. Pray that we can learn to love and to forgive our neighbors, even our enemies - all of them.
       The end is not coming! We have heard these shouts before, and we have survived darker clouds. Rather than cringing at a fearful future, let us be faithful and trusting of God, and forgiving of each other, until Christ returns. Instead of fearing the dark, let us bring in candles, do our godly works and become lights for others.
“Bring in some candles. We’re not done here yet."
Rev. Bob Tasler

Monday, July 11, 2016


      Are you adrift in life? Are you anchored so you will not be lost? A man and his wife rented a sailboat in Cape Cod. Both had sailed before and were experienced to handle the small craft. They planned a course for two days on the Atlantic, but to be safe, they stayed on the boat in the harbor overnight with plans to leave early the next morning.
      After taking the short evening trip around the harbor and acquainting himself with the craft, the man dropped anchor for the night, in sight of the other boats in the harbor. Imagine his surprise in the morning when he awoke and there were no boats and no harbor in sight. He pulled up the anchor chain and found it empty. The anchor had come loose from the chain and their boat had been drifting out to sea all night.
       A lot of people in our nation and in the world are adrift in life. Hebrews 2:1 tells Christ’s believers, “Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.” What have you learned from the Bible? Do you still follow God’s ways and worship Jesus? Have you remained anchored to Christ, or have you drifted away from Him? Does your life have a chain dragging along without an anchor?
       We have good reason to remain connected to God, His Word and His people. The longer we live, the more we should realize our need for being connected to Him. Our life is the boat, the chain is the Word, and Jesus is the Anchor. All three are needed. If we think what we learned as children will keep us anchored all through life, we may be surprised when we find ourselves adrift. The chain may be there, but if it is not anchored to Jesus, who knows where we will go?
       Through using GPS, the man and his wife found their location and quickly returned to the harbor where they got another anchor welded to the chain. God’s holy GPS in the Bible shows us where we are, where we need to go and Who will get us there. Because of Jesus, we need never be lost. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and through faith in Him we can all come to the Father.

Who is your anchor in life?

Rev. Bob Tasler

Monday, July 4, 2016


Dear friends,
      Today is Independence Day. On July  4, 1776, the Patriots of the First Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence, creating a new nation, the "United States of America." Thousands of soldiers in the Continental Army died so that America could become a country where its citizens could live as free people.
      Since those days thousands more have died to allow us to remain free. Here is a poem by Kelly Strong that reminds that the freedom we enjoy has come at a high cost.         
                  "FREEDOM IS NOT FREE"
I watched the flag pass by one day. It fluttered in the breeze.          
A young Marine saluted it, and then he stood at ease.
I looked at him in uniform, so young, so tall, so proud.
With hair cut square and eyes alert, he'd stand out in a crowd.
I thought how many men like him had fallen through the years.
How many died on foreign soil, how many mothers' tears?
How many pilots' planes shot down? How many died at sea?
How many foxholes were soldiers' graves? No, freedom isn't free!
I heard the sound of Taps one night, when everything was still.
I listened to the bugler play and felt a sudden chill.
I wondered just how many times that Taps had meant 'Amen.'
When a flag had draped a coffin of a brother or a friend.
I thought of all the children, of the mothers and the wives,
Of fathers, sons and husbands with interrupted lives.
I thought about a graveyard at the bottom of the sea;
Of unmarked graves in Arlington. No, freedom isn't free!

Let us daily give thanks for the freedom we enjoy in our nation. And may God bless our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guard, Merchant Marine, and all the men and women of all law enforcement agencies who daily put their lives on the line to protect our freedom and safety. Because of their sacrifices we can celebrate this 4th of July in peace and security. Let us strive always to remember that "Freedom Isn't Free!"

Rev. Bob Tasler