Monday, November 22, 2010

Doesn't God want me to be happy? I deserve that..

There is a common line among married people in today's world, "Doesn't God want me to be happy?" Happiness has become the new principle by which people monitor their marriage. When I have met with couple it is often said after I describe the wonders of marriage and how God ordained. "Yeah, but God wants me to be happy, right?"

The American answer is, Absolutely. You should be happy all the time and if you are not happy, then it is your spouses fault and you should get out and live a happy life. It sounds wonderful and as I write this it gives me a warm feeling as an American. However, what about the other person? Are you making them happy by this action? Are you making your kids happy? Are you making your neighbors happy? Where does individualism end and the effect on others begin? Or is it really just about me?

The answer from God is twofold, Yes God does want us happy. He wants us to live a happy, grace-filled life of forgiveness, worship, and sacrifice. However, if the definition of happy is to leave ones spouse, cheat, lie, curse, or live an immoral life then NO! God does not want us to be happy. It is like a parent telling their kids it is o.k. to beat up their brother because it makes them happy. Wait, does that make it right?

As we all look to happiness may we first realize our worldview on how happiness is defined. Then we need to realize what is right and wrong. It is not until then that we are able to effectively determine true happiness as Christians living in America.

More to come on this later.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Birth or not?

In Apply Valley, MN a couple who have been trying to have children for quite some time are pregnant and asking for input from the world on whether they should have it or not? One excuse for not having it--a desire to lose more weight.

Check out the article...and vote for life on the website...Birth or not

Monday, November 15, 2010

Door to door without accepting Jesus or selling our church?

"Love God, and love one another." These words told by Jesus have been proclaimed by the church since the beginning and with anything has been severely abused, misunderstood, and forgotten in the church. How do we do it? What can be done? what programs are out there? Unfortunately, we can't conceivably determine the exact way by which we should follow the great commands of Christ. This is something we all need to pray about, act accordingly, and deal with the messiness.

The other day, myself and another congregation member went door to door in our neighborhood to gather food pantry items for Catholic Charities. We walked around on the first day of snow in MN and a chillin' wind asking each person to join our church in serving those in need. To my shock, 99% of all people (that answered the door) had something to give, even one guy came back three times to make sure he gave enough.

When we got to our last house, a very nice lady who works for the city of Sartell as a police officer came by asking, "What's going on guys?" Evidently while we were going door to door, someone called the police to turn in two guys carrying grocery bags. Suspicion runs high within our culture. There was no problem, just a misunderstanding.

This is something that my first reaction was to give up. Why should we continue to do this when people will call us in? Why love people who are highly suspicious, distant, and for all intensive purposes, unloving? I understand the fear, but it does not mean we as a church don't continue to serve. We probably won't go out with hoodies and grocery bags for a time, BUT we will continue to love as Christ first loved us.

We are currently praying for the needs of Sartell to be revealed to us so that we can live out the will of Christ to those around. Lord have mercy

Friday, November 5, 2010

Oh how blessed am I? Or am I?

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs shall be the kingdom of God." Matthew 5:3

I drove up to Salisbury Street in St.Louis freshly starting Seminary eager to start real ministry. My assignment was to Bethlehem Lutheran in North City to be a field worker. I was expecting an inner city church with mainly older people and no connection to the community. However, I was entering a whole different ethnic world that had the most blessed, exciting, draining ministries I have ever been around.

I remember that first day, as I looked at the run down homes, vacant lots, and many wandering people with no direction, I said to myself, "How blessed are my friends who have a suburban church."

What this showed is an extreme arrogance and selfishness on my part. We make it sound like the rich folks in suburbia are blessed and therefore the city folk have NO blessings. During my three years at this wonderful congregation, I heard them talk about blessings 10x more than any other church, but they were focused on spiritual blessings, not only possessions. Ultimately, they reminded me that blessings are not caught up in possessions (those will be gone), but in having salvation in Christ. That is the blessing that last forever.

If you are ever in the St. Louis area, stop by Bethlehem Lutheran on Salisbury Street. The people are blessed like all of us who are poor in spirit, a bunch of sinners, and we join together as the blessed ones who have Christ.

Lord have mercy