Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Power of God’s Love

Posted: April 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

From: Julie Barthels

Julie

She entered my office for the first time with flowing clothes, long flowing hair, and large teary blue eyes.  She told me she had picked me to be her psychotherapist because she was told by another professional that I had specialized in dissociative disorders.  In mainstream media, it is often called multiple personality disorder or that thing that “Sybil” had.  She would share with me over the next couple of years that she had been raised in a family that belonged to a satanic cult and had survived the horrific torture involved by splitting into pieces inside of herself.  There were times of the year that were particularly painful for her, because dates on the satanic calendar would trigger memories of trauma that were too painful to bear.  We were coming to one of those times, Easter in the Christian calendar.  I worried all Easter weekend that year because I knew she was struggling with a great desire to end her own life.  I kept anticipating a call from the answering service. I prayed for healing for her and for guidance for me to help her.  The session after Easter weekend, I was relieved to see her enter my office for her scheduled appointment.  When I asked her how she had kept herself from acting on her suicidal thoughts, she told me that anytime she felt a strong urge to kill herself, she would sing hymns that praised God.  You see, she had found God as an adult and turned to God to help her create the new life she had established.

There are so many lessons I learned from her during our time together…  How God can heal a heart that was trained to hate into a heart with an amazing capacity to love.  She taught me about facing our most difficult moments by leaning into a loving relationship with God rather than away from it.  She made me grateful to have been raised by two parents who also believed in God’s love and took me to his house of worship.  I feel so blessed to have shared our time together.  She may have come to me because she was trained as a child to worship Satan, but she taught me how to worship God.

So I ask you, who has taught you about a loving relationship with God?   And who do you have the power to teach about God’s love?

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The Power of Water

Posted: April 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

The Power of Water
Pastor Jennifer

PrJennifer

A few weeks ago, we were vacationing on the beach in Florida. We enjoyed a few pleasant days before a big storm blew in. The winds were so strong that we saw heavy beach chairs blown to our beach from half a mile down the beach. The waves were high, and rain fell for most of the day. By the next day, the landscape of the beach had changed completely. It had created a sandbar where there hadn’t been one before. And the new sandbar created a shallow pool of warmer water, which was a delight for our kids to play in.

Water has the incredible ability to both create and destroy. With large amounts of rain lately, we’ve seen some flooding, and we’ve seen the power water has. A few inches of water in a yard can create beautiful green grass and lush gardens. A few inches in a basement can destroy possessions and damage foundations. Water has incredible power.

The power of water is at the very core of our faith. We come into God’s family through water. Even in baptism, water both destroys and creates. Water and God’s Word work together to destroy the sinners within us. Our old sinful selves are drowned, and we emerge from the water having been cleansed and re-created as children of God. Obviously, we continue to struggle with sin and selfishness throughout our lives, but baptism is that new beginning, where God welcomes us as we are, forgives our sins, and promises to never give up on us. It is through water and God’s Word that God welcomes us into his grace. Water is indeed powerful, but it’s nothing compared to the power of our awesome God.

 

He will provide for us

Posted: April 16, 2013 in Uncategorized

This week’s blog is from long-time member, Al Sorenson.

AlSorenson

Many years ago our congregation decided to offer the Bethel Series Bible Study to our members.  The first step however, was to train a group of teachers which took two years to complete.  The class met every week with assigned work to be done including memorizing and covering the entire Bible from Genesis to Revelation.

At the time my job required me to do a lot of traveling and I had little to no spare time.  I looked at my work schedule and then I looked at the class schedule and the homework required.  It seemed there just was not going to be enough time to fit the Bethel class in, but I felt that God was telling me in no uncertain terms to take the class.

I enrolled in the class and found that I could not get all the work done at home, so I took it with me and studied while on airplanes and in motel rooms.  And then an amazing thing happened.  I discovered that God provided just enough time every week for me to get my class work done, never any excess but always just enough.  It was like the Israelites experienced in the Old Testament as they traveled in the desert.  God provided manna as food for them in the morning on the ground.  There was always just enough for the day but never any extra, just enough.

I learned a very important lesson at that time in God’s classroom. If we are willing to follow God’s lead, he will provide for us and satisfy our needs in ways we would never imagine.  The Old Testament put it this way, “If you will be my people, I will be your God”.

I have put my trust in the Lord, for it is in him that I have my life, my strength and my being.

Special Prayer Request

Posted: April 9, 2013 in Uncategorized

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

As many of you may have heard, the bishop of our synod, Bruce Burnside, was in a

car accident Sunday afternoon that resulted in the fatality of a pedestrian. He was

arrested and is currently in Dane County Jail. Pr. Erik has been on a conference

call with the rest of the Synod Council, Synod Staff, and Presiding Bishop Mark

Hanson. At this time, we have no more information about the accident beyond what

has been reported in the media.

Presiding Bishop Hanson was able to see Bruce this afternoon. Bishop Hanson will

continue to be in Madison through Wednesday to be with the synod staff.

Because of all of the legal issues involved here, all questions about the

situation are being referred to the synod office and Rev. Blake Rohrer.

We are asking for prayers for the family and friends of Maureen Mengelt, the

victim in the accident, for the synod staff, and for Bruce.

It is also at this time that we are reminded that we are Easter People, and we

invite you to join us in prayer below:

We pray to you almighty God, in this time of need. You are our refuge and

strength, a very present help in time of trouble. Do not let us fail in the face

of these events. Uphold us with your love, and give us the strength we need.

Help us in our confusion, and guide our actions. Heal the hurt, console the

bereaved and afflicted, protect the innocent and helpless, and deliver any who

are still in peril; for the sake of your great mercy in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

Pr. Erik and Pr. Jennifer

Today, we share Pastor Erik’s blog with you ~~~

Today I had a regular check-up with my oncologist. As I have mentioned before, this is a monthly thing where I go, he asks a few questions, checks out a couple of things, then I get a bone hardening shot and I am on my way. Normally it is about 15 minutes.

Today, Good Friday, the day I needed to get to the office to write – it did not take 15 minutes.

It took nearly 2 hours.

Thank you new computer system at the Clinic.

So I had a lot of time to sit and think while I was waiting. And as I sat in those waiting room chairs, I thought back to those many people who I have shared those chairs with. Old friends, parishioners, new friends I made there, the list goes on.

I have sat with a lot of people up there. Some are still there, many have moved on.

Some have entered remission or been cured.

Others, well, the cancer got them.

I thought of all of these people, ones who inspired me, who gave me hope, who lifted up my strength when I was struggling.

And I miss them.

Today is Good Friday. It is the day we gather at the cross with the followers of Christ and witness the death of our Lord.

It is not a happy day, but it is a powerful day. A day when we realize the extremes God will go to because of the love that he has for us.

It is also a day that does not have the last word. As Tony Campolo put so beautifully, “It’s Friday … but Sunday’s comin’.”

No, this Friday, this death, it does not have the last word.

Cancer does not have the last word.

Sin does not have the last word.

Pain and suffering do not have the last word.

Sunday, Easter Sunday … now there is the word that is waiting to speak, to breathe, to give life.

Life to all.

So yes, I miss my friends, I miss those who have gone before me.

But the ride isn’t over.

Sunday is coming.

Breathe – Jon Nelson

Posted: March 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

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There’s no doubt that we live in an overly litigious society.  Despite what we might hear from comedians, talk show hosts, and lobbyists, though, we certainly aren’t pioneers in the field.  Just take a walk through the Old Testament, and you’ll see that complex legal systems with myriad laws are nothing new.

Reading through the Bible, all these rules and regulations may seem daunting.  Even the Ten Commandments alone may feel intimidating and overwhelming.  Your work and life, too, may seem overwhelming.  It may seem that there is so much to do and so much to which we must adhere – it feels like we have so many expectations placed before us.  But let us remember that we have Jesus.  Jesus is always present, always drawing us nearer to God and always lifting us up when we fall short of the expectations set for us.  In fact, we cannot reach the expectations laid out for us alone.  That is why we have Jesus.  That is why we have the Spirit.  They intercede for us, and Jesus made the greatest of sacrifices for when we are inevitably human and cannot live up to all the expectations others place on us … and that we place on ourselves.

Breathe.  It’s OK if we fall short.  In fact, it’s expected that we will fall short.  Yes, there are expectations on us: that we cannot live up to expectations, and that’s just fine.  We’re expected to fail because we’re human.

Surely, we must still give our best and do our best both for the utmost among us, God, and the least among us, God’s children.  But truly, if your heart is in the right place and your mind is in the right place, all will eventually turn out well.  Let us rejoice knowing that we are never alone as we work to spread the love of God to the Children of God.

Yes, God has seen you through so much.  God has brought you through so many trials and granted you so many blessings.  So may you never forget during times of trial that there is no way God, Jesus, or the Spirit will ever, ever leave you or forget you.  May you never forget who you are or whose you are.

Questions to ponder:

When you feel overwhelmed by your work/life and the expectations set out for you, what do you do?  Do you just keep plugging away, forgetting to take healthy breaks and forgetting other important matters?  Do you ever feel like giving up?  Or do you ask God to help you?  Do you ask Jesus to walk with you and be your guide and support?  How can you remember to ask God for help?  How can you help your friends and family remember to ask God for guidance, and how can you also support them?

 

 

Julie

 

Do you ever notice how the warranty that comes with your shiny new car has all kinds of conditions? To maintain the warranty, you must do all the scheduled maintenance required by the car maker. If you want to earn points on your credit card, you must follow the rules of the credit card company, which are open to change at any moment. Even our relationships have conditions on them. If we make certain decisions, take certain actions, or maintain certain beliefs, the person we love may end the relationship. So in a world where there are strings attached to so many things, it is hard for me sometimes to wrap my head around the unconditional love of God. It is difficult to imagine the grace of God that allows me to be so human and so loved at the same time. In my dark moments, my a-ha! on top of a mountain moments, and my mundane everyday moments, God is loving me. So what do I do with this grace that I receive based on nothing other than my existence? I try to pass it on to the people I interact with every day. When a child is screaming on a plane, I don’t look at the parents with annoyance, but with compassion. I try to distract the child with funny faces and strange sounds. The grumpy waitress, the irritable nurse, the person who cuts me off on the toll way… I try to look at everyone as a child of God and offer them the grace I have so lovingly been offered by God. I don’t do it perfectly, because then I wouldn’t need grace and I DO.

The questions is…Who will you offer grace to today?