Friday, November 19, 2010


Grace United Methodist Church (Pequot Lakes)

After a couple weeks of being close to the Minneapolis area, it was time to get back out on the road. We planned to drive the few hours up to Pequot Lakes on Saturday because the weathermen were forecasting just a bit of light snow near the Twin Cities. As we loaded the vehicle last Saturday morning it was easy to see the weathermen had far underestimated. When it was all said and done there were about nine total inches of very wet and heavy snow blanketing the Twin Cities and surrounding suburbs. We drove slowly while listening to the static filled broadcast of the Iowa vs. Northwestern football game and we arrived in Pequot Lakes early Saturday afternoon. Thanks be to God for His continued protection on the roads. With all the traveling on deputation we never want to take God’s protection for granted.

 I want to share with you another story of God’s protection and provision. Pastor Diane Ciesluk shared with us a bit of the history of the church building in Pequot Lakes. The church itself goes back many decades, but the current building is only about eleven years old. They started construction in 1999 and were in the process of completing the main entry way when a propane tank, used by one of the construction crews, exploded and set fire to the entry way as well as the education wing. As far as I know there was no one seriously injured, but there was obviously a lot of clean up once the fire had been contained. The church building today is beautiful and serves many needs of its members and the community. When I heard of the fire I figured they just tore down all that was burnt and started over with that construction. I found out as we were standing in the narthex of the church that much of the furniture in the church was made by a member of the congregation and constructed out of wood salvaged from the fire.  The altars, benches, and some chairs are absolutely gorgeous and show marks of a true craftsman.

I am sometimes quick to make the spiritual parallel, but in this case I think it really makes sense. Think about some of those things in your life that you may have thought were a total loss. Think about times when you’ve been burned. Then think about how God as the master craftsman can take those “scraps” and fashion something more beautiful than you could imagine. This is my challenge to you this week. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010



It was a real joy to be led into worship by our good friends Mike Graff & Tim Lemmens. Mike admitted that it seemed a bit early for Christmas music, but felt led to sing "O Come All Ye Faithful". As we sang, I thought of the Magi (wise men) mentioned in Matthew 2:7-16. They journeyed to meet young Jesus. They "came to adore Him". Now the scripture doesn't say Jesus' exact age at the time of their visit, but King Herod was led to believe Jesus was around two years old. Can you picture that for a minute? Three wise men, bearing gifts, traveled many miles to bow down and worship a two year old.  Have you been around a two year old lately? In Luke chapter two we see Jesus at age twelve as a young scholar holding His own in the temple discussions. We know His great works in performing numerous miracles and of His sacrifice on the cross to forgive the sins of all mankind. We read about His temptation in the desert and how He remained blameless. Christ lived the example of how God intended man to be at creation. Christ lived a life without sin. Does this mean that two year old Jesus never threw a temper tantrum? Two year old Jesus never threw His food on the floor and never disobeyed Mary and Joseph? He never scattered Joseph's carpentry tools all over the lawn and blamed it on His cousin John? I can tend to be a bit of a speculator, but stop and think about a sinless & fully obedient two year old King. This is one truly worthy of our adoration. I pray the lyrics of this holiday favorite will ring true in our lives all year round. As we near Thanksgiving and the Christmas season let us truly remain faithful, joyful, and triumphant. Come. Let us adore Him. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


We all have different experiences in our lives that hit us all across the emotional spectrum. We have good times, bad times, trying times, times of struggle, frustration, times of joy, laughter, peace, times with no answers, and times with all the wrong answers. We can often find ourselves in the place of being "fair weather Christians". We only praise God when times are good. Sometimes I don’t know if I would even give us that much credit. Sometimes when the “sun is shining” in our lives we don’t praise God for it, but rather just take its warmth for granted. Yet when the “rain is pouring” its all to easy to just blame God.

This past Sunday, Pastor Bescye Burnett reminded us with the lyrics of a gospel song that no matter what is going on in our lives, “It’s all good”. God is in control and has a purpose for everything even when we cannot see it.

We visited both United Methodist churches that Bescye pastors in Elyisan, MN and Janesville, MN. We saw a few smiling faces of youth from Red Rock Camp at each church and tried to catch up on what had gone on in their lives since June.

Each week we visit different churches to share about the ministry God has called us to. Sharing about the ministry, we keep foremost in our minds that we are really sharing about Christ. We are introducing people to Christ with every word we say and every action we take. Pastor Bescye challenged each of the congregations to think about how they introduce Christ in their lives.

She shared a clip from Comedian Steve Harvey. Steve Harvey has been known as a rather inappropriate comedian with some foul language, but God seems to have done a work in his life and brought him to a new understanding of grace and redemption. Watch this clip, Introducing Jesus , and ask yourself the question, "How do I introduce others to Christ?"


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