Monday, December 26, 2016


        An hour before leaving to lead Christmas Eve worship at Christ Lutheran, Coolidge, AZ, I received a call that the church lights were out. A powerful rainstorm had knocked out the power on the north side of town, and there was concern if power could be restored in time for church. 
        My mind immediately recalled a similar night of worship many years ago when the lights went out at my first church in North Dakota when a 1972 October snowstorm resulted in a collision between a local snowmobile and a power pole. I grabbed my badly tuned guitar just in case we needed it for “Silent Night”, three small Harbor Freight flashlights, my briefcase and my wife, and made haste over the fields and past the flocks of sheep grazing along the road. 
        Arriving at church as the sun was setting, I was met by skeptical worshippers whom I tried to set at ease with, “Been there, done this before, so don’t worry.” After decisions were made how to usher in the folks and not to use the guitar, the little church filled up with everyone sharing a personal flashlight. The good Lord even gave us a gorgeous Arizona sunset to remind us He was the real One in charge. 
        And so it was that while we were there, the days were accomplished that we should worship the Savior. In true Lutheran tradition, we all did the best we could amid murmurs and chuckles of what was to come. With God’s very personal blessing, we worshipped His Son as the Savior who was born one dark night in Bethlehem. 
        The service was actually quite lovely. A cappella Christmas carols sung with gusto, lessons read by flashlight, and sermon with even a tear or two, all made it memorable. Near sermon’s end the lights came on, just like they did back in 1972. And as people left, a friend was heard saying, “I liked it better when the lights were off.”

How memorable was your Christmas Eve?

Rev. Bob Tasler (

Saturday, December 24, 2016


        “When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might be adopted as God’s children.” (Galatians 4:4-5)
        Ken and Lori faced an unsure Christmas. Ken had lost his job and they had little savings, barely enough for the next month’s house payment. Lori’s time was taken caring for their four young children, and Ken’s efforts at gaining a new job had been fruitless. 
        One evening after the children had been tucked into bed, Ken and Lori sat at the table. “We’re facing a bleak Christmas,” he said. “The bills keep coming and our car needs repair. Nothing is going right.” “Don’t worry, Honey,” Lori added, “Something will come up. God has always helped us.” “But where is God?” Ken asked sadly. “Where is He right now when we need Him?”
        The next morning everything changed. The phone rang and a man said Ken’s Uncle George had died. Ken and his cousins were named in the Will and would share in the estate. Ken’s share would not only give them a wonderful Christmas, it would even help him open his own business. Uncle George’ death gave Ken and Lori an inheritance that would save them from financial ruin.
        You and I might also face a bleak Christmas if it were not for the inheritance we have received from death of our Lord Jesus. The blessing of Christmas is far more than a joyful birthday celebration. It is God’s assurance that we are delivered from a bleak future through the resurrection of the One who was born in the manger. We rejoice that Jesus was born, but especially that He gives us our eternal inheritance.
        Where is God when we need Him? He is with us, for He is our Immanuel, our “God with us”. “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” He assures us in Hebrews 13:5

Give thanks this Christmas that He will never forsake us.

Rev. Bob Tasler

Monday, December 12, 2016


God is willing and able to answer our prayers, but we must do something about it. If we ask Him for something, we should be ready to act and get ready for His answer. Remember, though, it will be His answer and His timetable. He’s a Father Who loves us and will answer our prayers, even when the odds seem against us.
A hundred years ago, a young farmer’s wife died, leaving him with four young children to raise. After a year of trying, he realized he could not do this alone. Being a Christian man, he prayed and prayed, but no answer came. Finally the man realized he had to do something about it. So he got on his horse and rode to a neighbor’s farm nearby, where he asked to see their oldest unmarried daughter. When the young woman came out, he proposed to her on the spot. Of course she refused him.
Undeterred, the man rode to a second farm, and again he asked to see the oldest unmarried daughter. She came out, and he proposed to her. Amazingly, this woman accepted his proposal, and the family says they were married over forty years before one of them died.
What is amazing is that the farmer proposed without even getting off his horse! That man was related to my wife, a distant great uncle through her father. God answered the man’s prayers, in part because the man did something about it.
God works in surprising ways. Old Zechariah and Elizabeth prayed for a child and God answered them through an amazing boy they named John. But they also had to do something about it. Even at their old age, they had to be part of the solution. God sent an angel to tell them to get ready for a new arrival. Their prayers were answered, but only after they did something about it.

The angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.” (Luke 1:13)

Rev. Bob Tasler,

Monday, December 5, 2016


        I hope you are observing Advent in some way, getting ready for Jesus’ first coming at Christmas, and also getting ready for His Second Coming. Getting ready is what Advent is all about.
        Living on the farm, my parents often had neighbors over for a visit. Our nearest neighbors were the Arndts just east of us, but my parents’ visited most often with the Olsens to the west of us. Recently I received an E-Mail from their daughter, Mavis. She periodically comments on my “Weekly Message”, and it’s fun to hear from her.
        There was a custom my parents had with the Olsens. For many years during the winter once a month they got together on Wednesday night to play cards. Evidently they had some sort of calendar of whose turn it was to be host.
        I recall one afternoon after chores Mom handing me a broom to sweep the kitchen. I asked if someone was coming and she said, “I think so, the Olsens.” I asked if she knew for sure if they were coming, and she said, “I want to be ready just in case they come.” I asked her, “Why don’t you call them on the phone?” “No need,” she said, cleaning the counter. “We’ll just be ready in case they come.”
        The Olsens did come that night for an hour of two of “Five Hundred” in the kitchen. I stayed in the dining room, reading or watching something on our snowy black and white Philco. I heard their laughter, smelled their coffee and Dad’s pipe, and was invited to the kitchen to eat something Mom baked before they left.
        Mom baked nearly every Wednesday, and Mrs. Olsen probably did too. And she probably cleaned her house on that special Wednesday, too, just in case the Taslers came over. Good neighbors always like to be ready, just in case.
        Advent is a time to be ready for the unexpected. Near the end of His ministry, Jesus several times told His disciples to keep watch, because He was going away and would return at a time they wouldn't expect.
         In Luke 12, He told them at story that ended, “Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them.”         Jesus, God’s Son, waiting on us because we were ready for Him - think of it! Being prepared for Christ’s return means having a faith that shows itself in worship and prayer and also in service to those in need.

How ready are you for Jesus’ return?

Rev. Bob Tasler