Posts in Glory Minute

Read This – God is at Work

September 20th, 2019 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “Read This – God is at Work”

Two quick vignettes, with a common theme.

First is of two parents, separately attending sporting events of their two kiddos. Because Dad has been traveling a great deal for work, they lamented spending the day apart. At the conclusion of each sporting event, each parent took their child to lunch. Without any coordination, the kids each picked Chipotle. The same Chipotle. And without coordination, they pulled into the restaurant at nearly the same time. The Lord ordained them having this lunch together. What a blessed surprise.

God is at work.

Story two. A different Mom has been experiencing headaches. She finally made an appointment to see the Doctor. While the Doctor initially attributed the headaches to sinus issues, he commented that something just didn’t feel right, so he ordered a scan of her head. During the scan, two aneurysms were discovered, and immediately treated. The headaches were found to be unrelated to the aneurysms, but triggered the making of the appointment. This wife and mom is very thankful. 

God is at work. 

Jesus says in John 5:17: “My Father is always working, and so am I.”

God is at work in your life, He is. He is orchestrating, facilitating, providing, challenging, forgiving, and so, so, so much more. May we have eyes of faith to see it.

Numbering Our Days

September 13th, 2019 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “Numbering Our Days”

“Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

                        
                                 Psalm 90:12

There is a great deal of numbering of days in culture, wouldn’t you say? People love to count down toward upcoming milestones- vacation, graduation, retirement, and best of all, the countdown to be done with the diaper stage with kids!

But what happens if, in the midst of our counting down, we miss what God is doing in the here and now?

God gives wisdom on this. See the verse above, from Psalm 90:12, with the key word being bolded- aright. Said a different way, there is a right way to number our days, and a wrong way. Now because I’m living a normal life like you, I realize sometimes you just want time to speed up, you want to get through something. But Sunday we spoke about recognizing that time in the future isn’t promised, and thatthis is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). We dove deeper into what makes this difficult, as well as some practical ways to make numbering aright happen for you. You can find Sunday’s Message here.

Final thought, as we grow older, doesn’t it seem like time moves faster and faster? This week, someone shared with me that life is like a roll of toilet paper (hold on, this is worth it). When it first begins, it moves slowly, then as it nears the end, it goes faster and faster! 

Even more reason to “number our days aright”!

Have an outstanding weekend!

Peace to you, Pastor Brian

Why Rally Day

September 5th, 2019 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “Why Rally Day”

The other day I got a call at my desk from one of our people, calling to let me know about an upcoming absence of his.

“Hey Pastor, I not going to be able to make it for next Sunday’s festivities, you know, ‘everybody get excited about church’ day? 

Me: “You mean, Rally Day”?

Him: “Haha Yes”.

We are indeed just a few days out from Rally Day, otherwise apparently known as ‘everybody get excited about church’ day. I thought it might be helpful to share 2 quick reasons why we make this a deal around here.

First, it’s fun to celebrate being a church family. We are allowed to have fun at church. Sunday from 9-1030 will feel like a carnival of sorts, with popcorn, s’mores, a bounce house, and a number of really neat ways to reach out and care for our military, college kids, Lutheran Church Charities, and kids battling cancer. I’m already excited to see kiddos, teenagers, adults, and seniors walking through the building, and to the garden, and having fun.

Second, we all need a fresh start. Life pulls us in so many directions. Perhaps you feel like you’ve drifted a bit in your walk with the Lord. Maybe you’re ready to commit to growing in and re-engaging with your spiritual side. Sunday in worship we’ll talk about seizing each day. You’ll leave with two practical ways you can weave your faith into your life even more. I’m so excited.

See you Sunday for ‘everybody get excited about church’ day!

Have an outstanding weekend!

Peace to you, Pastor Brian

Wisdom from Matthew McConaughey

August 30th, 2019 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “Wisdom from Matthew McConaughey”

Sunday I shared the wise words of a quote that challenged me all week: “don’t pursue what makes you feel good. Purse was makes you feel good about yourself”. At the heart of the quote is the truth that sometimes pursuing that which makes us feel good in the moment often doesn’t lead to lasting joy. How many times have you wasted an hour on your phone, thinking it would make you feel good, only to find that it made you feel worse? The examples of impulsive decisions not bringing lasting joy are many. So lately, I’ve been thinking more about pursuing what makes me feel good about myself, and not just the temporary, in the moment, feel-good-for-a-moment stuff.

A friend shared a Matthew McConaughey quote with me that echoes this truth. Read it quick, it’s worth it:

“If happiness is what you’re after, then you are going to be let down frequently and be unhappy much of your time. Joy, though, is something else. It’s not a choice, not a response to some result, it is a constant. Joy is ‘the feeling we have from doing what we are fashioned to do,’ no matter the outcome.”

Good start, and I’d take it even one step further- joy is the feeling we have when we are aligned with God, at peace with Him, and doing what we were fashioned by Him to do. 

Jesus has His own take on this joy vs. happiness distinction. Take a look:

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19-20). See the connection?

What does pursuing joy, lasting joy, and not happiness, look like for you?

Why I Didn’t Steal Hollandaise Sauce

August 22nd, 2019 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “Why I Didn’t Steal Hollandaise Sauce”

Happy Thursday, Glory Minute readers!

As I shared on Sunday, I was really tempted to do it. Out grabbing a few groceries, I loaded them into one of those baskets that you carry. After I emptied the items onto the checkout belt, I placed the basket at the end of the counter. As the checkout person handed me the first completed bag, there I saw the pack of hollandaise Sauce mix still at the bottom of the basket…

My first thought- “Score! I just got free hollandaise sauce!”

But quickly, and thankfully, I thought otherwise. Should I have taken it with me, it would have been wrong. It would have been what the book of Proverbs calls “ill-gotten gain”. It wouldn’t have tasted as good. And aren’t you glad you didn’t read the headline, “Local Pastor arrested for shoplifting hollandaise sauce”?

A number of you shared with me that similar temptations come to you as well.

In these moments, we are reminded that we have a sinful flesh at work in us. Martin Luther called it our “Old Adam”, and it’s alive and well. But we have a greater force at work- the Spirit of the Living God. It was sealed in you in your baptism, and it strengthens and grows in us as we receive the gifts of God regularly. This Spirit convicts us of what is wrong and it points us to what is true and right- thanks be to God. I believe it was the Spirit of God that spoke to me, “don’t even think about taking that hollandaise sauce!”

Question for you to consider today- where is the “Old Adam” in you rearing it’s ugly head? And how is the Holy Spirit leading you to what is better?

Final thought- dinner, especially that hollandaise sauce, never tasted so good!

Have an outstanding week!

Peace to you, Pastor Brian

God Never Says “No” to This

July 25th, 2019 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “God Never Says “No” to This”

Happy Thursday, Glory Minute readers!

A quick parenting story, one I’m guessing you’ve experienced as a babysitter, parent, grandparent, or if you’ve spent any time watching kids… has a young one in your care ever been finished with something (a juice box, applesauce, water bottle, etc.) and handed you the garbage? It happened to me the other night, and my first instinct was to just take it. But upon quick reflection, I asked a question- “what am I going to do with this?” The reply? “Throw it away.” To which I answered, “are you able to do that?” The answer, of course, was “yes.”

I thought about this moment as I was preparing to preach and teach through Psalm 32. This Psalm describes the anguish one experiences when guilt and shame took root in us. Listen:

When I kept silent, 
my bones wasted away 
through my groaning all day long. 

For day and night 
your hand was heavy upon me; 
my strength was sapped 
as in the heat of summer. (Psalm 32:3-4)


But then a beautiful turn happens in Psalm 32:5. After holding it in, the Psalmist makes a confession to God and everything changes:

Then I acknowledged my sin to you 
and did not cover up my iniquity. 
I said, “I will confess 
my transgressions to the LORD “- 
and you forgave 
the guilt of my sin. (Psalm 32:5)


While I grow weary and tired of taking my kids trash, God never does. God never says no to this. He never says “take care of it yourself”. Instead it’s this:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”
(Jesus, Matthew 11:28). 
  
Have an outstanding week!

Peace to you, Pastor Brian

The Question EVERYONE Asks

July 18th, 2019 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “The Question EVERYONE Asks”

Sunday’s message was a tough one to deliver, but it’s where the Lord led us, and I’m thankful He did, because ultimately we found rest in His promises and provision. We addressed how although we love to talk about good things in the Christian life- joy, peace, trust, etc., the reality of life as a follower of Jesus is that sometimes things will be, as I shared someone shared wisely with me, “not well”. So what do we do when things are “not well”?

Psalm 13 asks the same question four times- “how long”? (Psalm 13:1-2). Sometimes, when things are “not well”, we find ourselves asking that very same question. Hurts, illness, grief, anxiety, and uncertainty can all have us asking that very question. After asking for the fourth time, the Psalmist then calls out to God- “Look on me and answer, O Lord my God!” (Psalm 13:3). Sunday we asked the question- are we allowed to talk to God like that?

Answer? Yes.

Because even though it’s a pointed, sharp demand, underneath it all, it’s actually a statement of faith. It’s calling out to God because you still believe and trust in God, who has the power and desire to bring peace and and strength and healing. 

Now check out what happens next in Psalm 13…

After the questioning, and the crying out, comes a new perspective:

“But I trust in your unfailing love; 
my heart rejoices in your salvation. 
I will sing to the LORD , 
for he has been good to me.” (Psalm 13:5-6)


Take note, and this is my favorite part- the circumstances didn’t change at all, but the perspective did. In the act of crying out, and turning to God in faith, our hearts and perspectives are changed. It’s an incredibly powerful moment when God meets us in the valleys.

“You turned my wailing into dancing… I will give you thanks forever” (Psalm 30:11-12).  

Have an outstanding week!

Peace to you,

Pastor Brian

Culture Care

July 9th, 2019 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “Culture Care”

What follows might be a tad heavier than your normal Glory Minute, but a recent learning had such an impact on me I felt like I needed to share…

Ever since the early days of the Church, detailed in the Book of Acts, it’s been a struggle to determine the most helpful and winsome approach the Christian should take in culture. Lately, it seems like the animosity some Christians have toward culture is on rise, and something about that just doesn’t quite feel right… 

I’ve heard it said that Christians need another model for cultural and political engagement, and one of the best I am aware of has been articulated by the artist Makoto Fujimura, who speaks about “culture care” instead of “culture war.” Here are Fujimura’s words:

“Culture care is an act of generosity to our neighbors and culture. Culture care is to see our world not as a battle zone in which we’re all vying for limited resources, but to see the world of abundant possibilities and promise.”

Fujimura goes on to describe a commitment to grace, beauty, and creativity, not antipathy, disdain, and pulsating anger. Writing about Fujimura’s work, Peter Wehner notes, “It’s the difference between an open hand and a mailed fist.”

I’d love your thoughts on this, but I, for one, found it helpful. Sometimes it can be tempting to look at all that is around us and get overwhelmed with fear, worry, and worse- anger and resentment. Leading with such a posture likely won’t do much in advancing the mission of the Church- to reach souls with hope found in Jesus Christ. Instead, we follow our master Jesus- washing feet, loving, listening, engaging, and the like. You cannot reach what you do not love.

This afternoon our church hosted a free luncheon for our seniors. Throughout the week, we’re celebrating our food pantry families by dishing out some warm food and special treats. Thursday our students head out for a mission trip which includes a few days serving some of God’s people who have special needs. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, the list goes on…

This is culture care, and may the Lord who opened His hand to us, continue to work an open-handed approach in us to the culture around us. 

Have an outstanding week!

Peace to you, Pastor Brian

Grief

June 25th, 2019 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “Grief”

Greetings, Glory Minute readers!

This is the time of year that I end up thinking most about my Dad, who is now with the Lord. It’s the weeks sandwiched between his Birthday, Father’s Day, and the date of his passing. It’s also the middle of baseball/softball season, and I KNOW he would love little more than to see my kiddos on fields. Years later, grief is real.

Our neighborhood was rocked recently with the passing of perhaps the kindest guy on our street, the kind of guy everyone knew and everyone loved. We’ll miss his smile, his joyful and helpful spirit, and his zest for life. Please pray for his wife and their four children. Grief is real.

Grief takes on many forms. It comes in waves. There is a reason they say you go “through” grief; it’s because it cannot be avoided and must be gone through. And one of the most difficult aspects of the whole journey is that it’s difficult to have awareness about the ways in which it’s hitting you. Said another way, grief does stuff to you, and in you, that you don’t even know. Grief is real.

Writing about grief, Pastor Mike Woodruff puts it this way: “It is worth noting that many around you are sad and struggling. You may not see it, because in our culture it is more acceptable to be angry than sad. About all of this, author Steve Arterburn writes, ‘the Bible offers no precedent for us to suppress our sadness’. The Old Testament depicts many people showing real grief. The men of Israel would rip their clothes, sprinkle themselves with ashes, wear black armbands, and spend time in mourning. They would wail before the Lord without feeling shame. That experience allowed them to express their emotions and then move on without the baggage of repressed feelings. When we don’t grieve, we stuff our disappointments and sadness, and compensate for them with other less-threatening emotions, and at the top of the list is anger. But Scripture gives you liberty to grieve. So when you need to, openly grieve!”

Prayers to all who grieve. Grief is real; so is hope in Christ. Thanks be to God!

What if you don’t FEEL like it?

June 12th, 2019 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “What if you don’t FEEL like it?”

Greetings, Glory Minute readers!

Have you ever really NOT wanted to do something, but you end up doing it anyway, and you end up really grateful that you did?

Sometimes going to the gym can be like that for me. I sometimes have to drag myself there, very reluctantly. But more often than not, once I’m there, it feels really good, and I’m really happy I went. 

Is there anything like that for you?

Going to church for some can feel like that. Sometimes I can feel really busy and distracted and pulled in a thousand directions, and I don’t always bring a great perspective to worship. But just like with going to the gym, something happens to me in these moments, and the Lord does great work on my mindset. Thanks be to God!

Can you identify?

Psalm 103 begins, and ends, with an imperative, a command: “Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being praise His holy name” (Psalm 103:1). Praise Him.  Praise Him when things are going well, and you feel like it. And… praise Him when you’re worried, angry, distracted, or when you just aren’t feeling like it.

Why? I’m convinced these “I don’t feel like it” moments are when God does some of His best work, because it’s ALL His work. He overcomes us and how we’re feeling, He meets us in these moments, and He draws us to Himself. And we are changed.

Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being praise His holy name” (Psalm 103:1).

A Present Reality

June 3rd, 2019 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “A Present Reality”

Greetings, Glory Minute readers!

I’d like you to do a quick self-inventory of how you are feeling right now. I know, perhaps you’re not a “feelings person”, but just think on it for a second. Are you tired? Stressed? Anxious? Overwhelmed? How would you describe your state of being these days?

We took a nice slow walk through Psalm 23 on Sunday, and it was a blessing to see all that is contained in this time-tested Psalm. It begins with a statement of reality that’s worth looking at again, and over and over after that: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want” (Psalm 23:1).

Consider with me for a moment all the implications of that faith statement. The Lord IS our shepherd, whether we know it or not, whether we realize it or not, whether we are living like it or not. It’s who He is.

And because of this reality, there is a huge implication- we “shall not be in want”. Consider how significantly this is counter-cultural. Often it seems like our whole culture is in want. We want for so much- we want situations to be better, we want something we don’t have, we are in want, leading to a whole host of emotional responses within us.

Psalm 23 points us to a different reality. Because the Lord IS our Good Shepherd, we want for nothing. We have all we need in Him, even if it doesn’t feel like it sometimes. The Good Shepherd has you.

So back to that emotional self check-in. I pray, and it’s the Lord’s hope as well, that the reality of who God IS for you in Jesus will shape and impact your state of being. 

“I will fear no evil” (Psalm 23:4). 

Run YOUR Race

May 31st, 2019 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “Run YOUR Race”

Greetings, Glory Minute readers, and Happy Friday!

Quick window into my world… I love preaching, but not for the reasons you might think. I’m not a huge fan of the presentation part of it, but what I do love is two-fold. I love the prep time, and all that I learn about a text, and most of all I love the conversations I get to have with folks after a message. It’s like we together get to see how God is working in us through His word. There isn’t much better!

This week was no exception. We dove into Hebrews 12:1-3, and focused in on these pointed words: “let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (12:1). Allow those last few words to soak in for a second. From God’s Word, there is a race marked out for each of us. Our race is not anyone else’s race, and another’s race is not our own. I pray there is some comfort, and some challenge, from those words. Sometimes we are tempted to see the lives of others and compare. From God’s Word- their race is not our race!

This was brought home to me in huge ways after worship. One in a lobby conversation, and one in a Sunday evening email I received. I loved both of the comments. Both folks reflected on their race as their own, and in different ways saw God at work in the midst of it. Awesome!

I pray you see the same today. And as you run, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2).

A Debt is Paid

May 22nd, 2019 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “A Debt is Paid”

Morehouse College graduates recently received phenomenal news at their commencement: Their commencement speaker, Robert F. Smith, would be paying off all of their college loans! For these 396 graduates, this made a great day even better. While they are still crunching the numbers, this is estimated to be somewhere around a $10 Million gift.

I loved reading what was said in response to this gift. A few samples:

“This was a liberation gift…”

“Everyone jumped up, cheered. People were crying. It was just the most amazing thing.”

“A blessing, a blessing!”

“Let’s make sure every class has the same opportunity going forward, because we are enough to take care of our own community.” 


Perhaps you can guess where this is going… look back at those statements, and reflect on how the same is true for us, through Jesus Christ. A huge debt, that we owed because of our sin, was paid for us through the death of Jesus. Now we live different, and we live free.

Why do good?

May 10th, 2019 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “Why do good?”

Happy Friday, faithful Glory Minute readers!

Have you ever given much thought to WHY it’s important to do good deeds for others? We know Jesus commands it, which makes it important, but have you ever considered why He thinks so?

Perhaps some might think it’s to garner God’s good graces. Others might think it’s simply to fill the world with good deeds. 

I believe it runs deeper.

Luke 5:1-11 is helpful here. The narrative in a nutshell: Fisherman have been fishing all night, and have nothing to show for it (perhaps you’ve been there…) Jesus arrives on this scene, and makes it so that in letting their nets down in a certain place results in an abundant catch so large that the boat begins to sink. What a reversal.

And why does Jesus ordain this? In taking care of a tangible, physical need, it opens the door to a greater understanding of who He is. Let that sink in for a moment… Jesus meets their physical need, revealing His awareness and compassion, which then opens a door to them deepening their relationship with Him.

The same is true today, and the same is true for our good deeds done for others.

In taking care of physical, tangible needs, it opens the door to a greater understanding of who Jesus is. Meeting real needs of folks shows we love and care and invites people to discover who the faith which drives us. 

It’s why we faithfully run a community food pantry, open three days a week. Wow. It’s why we deploy Tobias. It’s why we help victims of home fires. It’s why YOU do what you do, in all the ways you do it. You were made for this, and it points people to the One who created and redeemed us. 

“Let you light shine before men, that they might see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Jesus, Matthew 5:16). 

One of my Favorite Sundays of the Year

April 30th, 2019 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “One of my Favorite Sundays of the Year”

Blessed Easter to you- after all, it’s still Easter!

Sunday we celebrated Confirmation Sunday, and for these 8th Graders, it’s the culmination of an intentional journey to help them make their faith personal and meaningful. As a capstone on their journey, we invite them to make statements of faith. To give you a quick handle on how it went, even though I asked folks to hold their applause until the end, people couldn’t hold back.

To help you get a sense for their Holy Spirit-worked Christian maturity, here a few snippets. And as you read them, remember, these are eighth graders:

“When I pray to him… I see a friend who has just got my back”. 

“We can definitely never be even close to as forgiving as God is, but if we forgive easier and forget faster, we can improve our relationship with God as well as with others”.

“I believe He is here today. I believe in this, because while I cannot see him, I can see what he has done for me”. 


“He is the good shepherd and I was one of his lost sheep before he found me and gave me new life through him. He satisfies all of my needs and never fails me even when I fail him”. 

“To me, God is always with me through everything- from the highest points of my life to the lowest points of my life. That is very important to me because I believe that as long as I have God with me, I can face anything”. 

“I believe God gives each person a gift so that we can use our gifts to help those in need”. 

“I have faith in God, our heavenly Father. I believe that He created each one of us with purpose. It can just be difficult, at times, for us to know what that purpose is. Probably because we’re not all knowing, and all powerful, like He is. But, I have Faith that with the Lord’s guidance, I too, will find my purpose and my path in life. This challenge, and any other, I will never have to face alone. God is with me”.

Please join me in celebrating these young people, and thanking the Lord, their families, and this church, for helping foster and nurture faith in them.


You can hear last week’s message here.

Pastor Brian