Redeemer, Enid Facebook Page

I started a Facebook page today for the church. The site will advertise events, changes in schedules, announcements, prayer requests and who knows what else.

The members that I am Facebook friends with have already received an invite to join or “become a fan of…” For those of you on Facebook who have eluded becoming my “friend” may click on the badge below and click to become a fan.

If you have resisted the Facebook impulse, now is the time to join 🙂

Redeemer Lutheran Church | Enid, OK

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This is the Day

Here it is Holy Tuesday and what have we got? Me? Not much. This Lenten season was not so Great or Holy or marked by that much different for me. My fast has been puny and easily neglected.

Having a lackluster Lent is not a bad thing, though, as long as we learn from it. We learn just how weak we are. Let’s face it: cutting down on food is pretty easy, all things considered. If we cannot do that, consider how hard it is to cut out the things that are in most important and dreadful, like judging and lust and coveting and sloth? It is the same with our positive Lenten devotions like increasing prayer and giving. So easy to say, so hard to do. “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Jesus said that during His prayer in the Garden.

It is good that we do not earn our salvation with such things, isn’t it? Otherwise we would all be lost. However, we must not underestimate the importance of making the flesh stronger. When our Lord said the above, He wasn’t excusing the flesh, nor was He laughing. If we wish to follow Him, we must deny ourselves. It is the way and path that we follow. Let us remember that such self-denial and firming of the flesh does not change God in His grace our opinion of us–it merits nothing–but it does change us. And we desperately need to be changed.

So, I’m going to continue this week, as best as I can. Take up the fast with renewed vigor. And when Sunday comes, I will rejoice in Christ’s victory over death and sin and satan.

But let’s not wait until next Lent to do those good things Lenten things like prayer and devotion and giving and denying your flesh its favorite sins and vices and so forth. “For he says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”(2Co 6:2 ESV)

What’s Happening

Mom and Dad are in town again–helping us finish the kitchen and lay the new floors! They are staying until Palm Sunday, so that they can be here for Mikayla’s Confirmation. It’s good to have them around, and the kids love it too.

And I am here, madly finishing the sermons for Good Friday and Easter. I’m thinking that I may write two different sermons for Easter Sunday again. We have different choir music at each service, and different settings of the Liturgy anyway; a different sermon may be in order.

Posts will be limited then for the next few weeks, but I may have something here and there.

Happy to Meet You Day

Eleven years ago, on March 13 I sat in the gym of a church listening to Dr. Louis Brighton of Concordia Seminary lecture about Revelation. I’d taken his course the year before, and during his introductory remarks I looked around the room.

The folding tables were arranged in long rows perpendicular to the stage and the podium. Further down my row, on the opposite side of the table sat this woman. I had a hard time taking my eyes off her: short blonde hair, incredible cheekbones, eyes bluer and bigger than I had ever seen. She was wearing a white blouse and tan pants and had a Bible open in front of her. She didn’t see me, but was intent on taking notes, underlining passages here and there in the first chapters of Revelation.

After the first break, I decided that I had to sit a little closer to her. I gathered my things and walked in her direction. I couldn’t quite decide if I would only sit a little closer or move right across from her where there was another empty seat. Why mess around? I took the seat across from her and introduced myself and flirted with her the rest of the day.

This year we will be married for ten years.

For our “Happy to Meet You Day” anniversary, my bride gave me a case of Mexican Coca-Cola, made from real sugar, not corn syrup.

She’s still the one.

New and Shiny Things

I re-arranged my study yesterday. Nothing big–just replaced the folding table I had the laptop on with a small computer desk I found stored away somewhere. That allowed me to move my work desk back a bit and open up some more floor space. I also got out the Old English and cleaned the top of my oak work desk. It really needs refinishing, but I have too many other projects going on right now.

It’s funny how just moving a little furniture can affect your perspective. I mean, there’s the literal change in perspective that happens, but the psychological perspective shifts too. It forces you to see your workspace, study, home, even life in a different way. Like looking through a mirror. Try this to see what I mean: open a familiar photo on your computer, then select it as a mirror image. For some strange reason it looks completely different.

This isn’t the only change this week. I’ve started taking Mondays off and so this morning I’m sitting here in my study at church. A little bit later I’ll head out to see some shut-ins. But I have never worked on Fridays as a Pastor…or a vicar. It will be a little strange to get used to. Tuesday and Wednesday I felt behind the game, so much so that Thursday I made some great strides and got a lot done. Today feels almost like a bonus day. I know this won’t last. Once I get used to the feel of the new work-week, Fridays will be the catch-up day and I’ll go into them just like I used to do Thursdays.

It’s part of life. Everything grows stale in time. We adapt to whatever is before us and soon we stop noticing things. Taken to the extreme, it’s part of the reason why men have affairs and women leave their husbands and we make all sorts of sinful and harmful decisions. It’s what drives auto sales and gadget-addictions and clothes horses. When everything you see and experience is just like it was, when you stop noticing things around you, when all seems the same, we are tempted to go and buy and make things new and fresh and shiny. It gives a thrill–an addictive thrill.

While mixing and matching new outfits and changing your screensavers and re-arranging your bedrooms is a harmless, maybe even healthy way of managing this craving for Everything New, it’s not the cure. The disease is spiritual, and cure must be spiritual.

It is an article of faith that Christ is returning and will “make all things new” (Rev. 21:5). A portion of our longing and distaste with what is around us may be pointing us to this truth, that this empty world is passing away and we are being given a new country, a new life, a new body, a new world, a New Heaven and a New Earth.

But the other side of this is a satanic rejection of the goodness of the creation and dissatisfaction with what God gives. It’s the same sin that caused the Israelites to despise Manna, to make golden baby cows at the same time that God was shrouding the Mountain with black thunder and fire which does not consume. It is the same deadly sin which drove the Pharisees to seek more and more from Jesus, not satisfied with His miracles of miracles, with His Oracles beyond all understanding. “Yes, but…what I really want now is…” they said. And they were not given it.

The cure is repentance. It always is. Fasting helps. It makes us remember that we need less than we think. Giving is good too, taking away the temptation to misuse the money God has granted us. Prayer and turning away from temptation, avoiding the opportunity to sin. Basic stuff. Hard stuff. But the stuff of Life and the Spirit.

Oh, and go ahead and rearrange that furniture. It will make you feel good and honors what you have from the hand of God.

Obligatory Post

I’ve been pretty busy lately, with two funerals the last two weeks, Lent, getting over a nasty head cold, working on projects at church and at home and basketball games and the like.

But it is a good time of the year for quiet and reflection. Some Christian bloggers stop posting for the forty days altogether. I won’t do that–for all ten of you readers.

Thoughts on Going Tech

During discussion of Romans 5 and the contrast between the First Adam and the Second Adam, one of the members was blown away at the “design” of our salvation. It’s typology, and she was impressed. The discussion continued and I thought of the perfect analogy of God’s “Deep Magic” as C.S. Lewis would call it: the fractal zoom. Here’s what I am talking about (the video goes on for 9 minutes, but you need to watch at least 3-4 minutes to appreciate what is happening):

Mandelbrot Fractal Set Trip To e214 HD from teamfresh on Vimeo.

I mentioned this and received blank stares. Fair enough. But I wanted desperately to show the class a portion of this. Kind of impossible to do with a chalk board. And I couldn’t explain it in words because I don’t understand it well enough.

What to do? I suggested going “hi tech” and using the computer and the projector, another suggested using Power Point.

While making slides doesn’t appeal to me, and pre-made pp slides can’t anticipate the awesome questions and discussion we receive every week, I am beginning to think that using some more interactive media–besides the simple handouts I prepare now–is the way to go.

I’m exploring it. Anyone have any ideas on how to incorporate tech in Bible Study? Any suggestions on what you’d like to see?