Sunday, April 30, 2006

Do you need direction?

When I perceive my longing for God as the goad that keeps me alive, then everything falls into place. Whether I find success or not is no longer important.
Anselm Grun

Saturday, April 29, 2006

preaching schedule

On Mother's Day, May 14, I'll be leading the services and preaching at Beaver Lake Lutheran Church in Maplewood. Join us if you can.

the highest good

We struggle to understand Jesus, to know what he really means in his sayings -- but let us not be frustrated. Let us instead simply accept him as the greatest good.

Eternal Trinity, Godhead, mystery deep as the sea, you could give me no greater gift than the gift of yourself. For you are a fire ever burning and never consumed, which itself consumes all the selfish love that fills my being. Yes, you are a fire that takes away the coldness, illuminates the mind with its light and causes me to know your truth. By this light, reflected as it were in a mirror, I recognize that you are the highest good, one we can neither comprehend nor fathom. And I know that you are beauty and wisdom itself. The food of angels, you gave yourself to man in the fire of your love.
You are the garment which covers our nakedness, and in our hunger you are a satisfying food, for you are sweetness and in you there is no taste of bitterness, O triune God!

Saint Catherine of Siena

Friday, April 28, 2006

old sins

All too often I dwell on my old failures, sins, and weaknesses. I need to remind myself that such dwellings are sinful; I need to banish them from my thoughts. I need to do this if I truly believe that Christ has forgiven my sins. I was thinking about this as I read the following from a letter by J.K. Wilhelm Loehe, a German Lutheran pastor who died in 1872:

How easily can the Evil One find in us a hundred thousand sins; ah, and how one must become anxious and afraid unto death if one cannot defend oneself and go quite poor and empty, to him who alone quickens the weary and heavy-laden. How different is he who gives himself completely, just as he is, to the Lord Christ, and says to him: "You are my righteousness and my joy!" If you have nothing left, but leave yourself to Jesus, who can drive you out of your fortress? As one who is tempted, you must throw off the remnant of Pietism and of your own righteousness, and as St. Peter admonishes, set your hope entirely upon grace. . . . Your healing lies in the righteousness by grace alone.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

our mail from Galilee (the Johnsons)

A voice cries out "I've been to the Sea of Galilee."
Pastor Ivars and Bonna-
Just wanted to say hi from Israel. We were on the Sea of Galilee today in a boat today much like the one Jesus would have been on. The weather is terrific and it's great to be where Jesus has been. We also visited Capernum today. Well, our tour group is leaving so we'll talk to you later.
Mike, Matt, and parents

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

my afternoon at the Wargo Nature Center

stay home

I am reading Wisdom from the Monastery as part of my devotions. Most of us are aware of the early Christian monastic saying: "Go to your cell, stay there, and the cell will teach you everything." However, I ran across another one I was not familiar with -- one that seems funny at first glance, but is obviously true.
All misfortunes happen because people cannot stay in their room.
Blaise Pascal

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

take your time

Do not do anything in haste, otherwise you will lose your clear insight and get in your own way.
St. Francis de Sales

St. Mark

Today the Christian Church remembers St. Mark. As we do so, let us pray:
O almighty God, as you have enriched your Church with the precious Gospel proclaimed by the evangelist Saint Mark, grant us firmly to believe your glad tidings of salvation and daily walk according to your Word; through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Lutheran Worship

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Each day we should begin a new life.
Edith Stein

Saturday, April 22, 2006


Nothing is more powerful than prayer, and nothing can be compared with it.
St. John Chrysostom

Friday, April 21, 2006

make an appointment with yourself

Make an appointment with yourself in your diary, for an hour, a day or even a whole weekend. You may be amazed at how happy and invigorated you feel after your private meeting with yourself. Abbot Odilo Lechner recommended that we build periods into our life when we a deliberately silent: "When I go into a corner of my room and light a candle there, then I have created a place that invites me to be silent."
Wisdom from the Monastery, Peter Sewald, Editor

it's time to build a nest

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

a question to ponder

Re contemporary worship styles: Are we feeding sheep or entertaining goats?

Go on into that spring

We have the power either of withstanding the spring, and sinking back into the cosmic winter, or of going on into those "high mid-summer pomps" in which our Leader, the Son of man, already dwells, and to which He is calling us. It remains with us to follow or not, to die in this winter, or to go on into that spring and that summer.

C.S. Lewis

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Resurrection

The Resurrection is not a doctrine we try to prove or a problem we argue about: it is the life and action of Christ Himself in us by His Holy Spirit.
Thomas Merton

Sunday, April 16, 2006


Thursday, April 13, 2006

Maundy Thursday evening

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Do you ever have one of these days?

early morning visitor

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Christian love?

A St. Francis' Lutheran church's refusal to care for a woman who was once a man highlights a national battle over faith-based social programs. more

Monday, April 10, 2006

prayer for help

O God, early in the morning I cry to you.
Help me to pray, and to concentrate my thoughts on you:
I cannot do this alone.

In me there is darkness,
But with you there is light;
I am lonely, but you do not leave me;
I am feeble in heart, but with you there is help;
I am restless, but with you there is peace.
In me there is bitterness, but with you there is patience;
I do not understand your ways, but you know the way for me ...

Restore me to liberty,
And enable me so to live now that I may answer before you and before me,
Lord, whatever this day may bring,
Your name be praised.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday at St. Anthony Park Lutheran Church in St. Paul.
Some of you may recognize Jude at the bottom right of the picture.

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!
Mark 11:9b-10

Saturday, April 08, 2006

go to church & live longer

Some of us may have been puzzled by the recent study claiming that prayer did not necessarily help recovery for ill patients. The following should make us feel a little better:

Weekly attendance at religious services can add up to three years to your life, a new US medical study has found.

Dr. Daniel Hall, of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the author of the study published in the March-April issue of the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, compared the impact of regular exercise, statin therapy and religious attendance on life expectancy, and found that each accounted for an additional two to five years of life.

Hall found that regular physical exercise provides the greatest boost to longevity, adding 3.0 to 5.1 years. Use of statin medications accounted for 2.1 to 3.7 additional years, while regular religious attendance added 1.8 to 3.1 years.

might as well stay missing

Are you a closet heretic?

Many American Christians might be “closet heretics.” If you ask most Christians if they believe that Jesus was divine, you'll get a resounding yes. They believe in the miracles, in the authority of his preaching, and, most of all, in the Resurrection.(For the record, so do I.) But if you asked whether they really, really, believe that Jesus was fully human, as most mainstream Christian denominations hold, and whether he embodied all the things that make up a human being -- which includes worries, fears and even doubts -- you'll get some strange looks. At heart, some Christians have a tough time believing that Jesus experienced the same emotions that believers are afraid of admitting to themselves. During Lent and Easter, this becomes more evident as Christians meditate on what it meant for Jesus to have suffered during his crucifixion.
Rev. James Martin

growing old

I don't know about you, but as I get older I find myself more stiff in the morning, more tired at night, with minor aches in places I didn't know I have. One good friend of mine had knee surgery yesterday; another is fighting weight problems and diabetes. Our bodies will eventually give out, assuming we occupy them long enough. It can be discouraging were it not for the word of the Lord in Paul's 2nd letter to the Corinthians, chapter 4:
So we do not lose heart, Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.
That is comfort for the believer! Whether we interpret Paul to be speaking about our physical body or the tribulations faced by Christians, Lenski writes, "The inner person blossoms into new youth, beauty, and strength day by day. This inner renewal is not hindered but is only helped by the tribulation that assails the outer person."

Friday, April 07, 2006

more on the Gospel of Judas

The Judas We Never Knew -- Christianity Today's take on it. click here

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Love your neighbor

Nine hundred years ago, Hildegard of Bingen, a German Benedictine abbess, poet, musician and mystic, declared that the "evil of all evils" is when "people no longer care about their neighbor's health and have no compassion for anyone any more." Times haven't changed much, have they?

In her
Book of the Rewards of Life, Hildegard writes: "My heart is overflowing with a desire to help everyone. I am considerate of every need. I want to help the frail and infirm and help them recover. I am like a balm for every sorrow and my words do good."

one church

In the Apostle's Creed we recite that we believe in "the holy catholic Church." Christian Churches Together is an organization that strives to make this a reality. more

The Gospel of Judas

Judas Iscariot acted at Jesus' request in turning him over to the authorities who crucified him, according to a 1,700-year-old copy of the "Gospel of Judas" unveiled on Thursday. The New Testament contains four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, but, many more so-called apocryphal gospels were written in the first centuries after Christ's death, attributed to such disciples as Thomas and Philip and to Mary Magdalene. The Judas gospel is being published in book form by National Geographic and pages from the papyrus manuscript will be on display at the society's museum in Washington starting on Friday. more

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

St. Teresa of Avila

Be friendly to your body so that the soul enjoys living in it.

Where is Charlie Brown when we need him?

America has become a Linus nation where we are always searching for our security blanket. ... There is nothing more dangerous than a powerful nation that is afraid.
Bishop Timothy W. Whitaker of the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church

Was George Washington a Christian?

. . . or a Deist? . . . or was Washington's Providence the Hebrews' Jehovah?
For a review of Washington's God by Michael and Jana Novak click here.

Sunday, April 02, 2006


This morning, having lost an hour of sleep due to DST, I thought it would be hard to be fully awake in church. However, the first point Rev. Larry Johnson (interim at Cross of Glory) made got and kept my attention. He reminded us that even with all of the advances in medicine, with all our periodic physicals, with all of our diets and exercise, "No matter what we do -- we are going to die." That's why it was necessary for Jesus to die for us. If we believe in him, our place in heaven is guaranteed.

late April Fool joke

I just heard that the Pope has bird flu. Early reports say that he got it from a Cardinal.

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