Posts in Glory Minute

A Word for the Lonely

June 25th, 2018 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “A Word for the Lonely”

To me, it’s perhaps the ultimate irony of our present culture- social media should theoretically make us more connected than ever before, yet loneliness is on the rise! Folks smarter than me are observing this, and getting a handle on why. Some say it’s because we’ve substituted deep, authentic relationships for social media “friends”, others say seeing what other people are up to makes us feel like we’re constantly missing out. I’d say it’s that and a whole lot more.

This week is Vacation Bible School, and I love that we’re addressing this in a very real way. The take home point from today was basically that when you are lonely, Jesus rescues you. Notice that I didn’t say “if” you get lonely, but “when”. Loneliness hits all of us. And knowing this, Jesus acts.

The visual today was of a life vest. When you are struggling, a life vest doesn’t magically yank you out of trouble, but instead comes to meet you in the midst of it. In a similar way, Jesus doesn’t just pull you out, he dives in with you.

Jesus pledges “with you” promises all over the Bible. He’s proven Himself to be true by going all the way to the cross to prove He is “with us”. And that “with us” reality continues today, as He is with us in His Word, in His body and blood, through people, and in so many other ways.

When you are lonely, I pray you feel and know Jesus diving in to be with you. He is.

Pastor Brian

Dealing with Doubt

June 22nd, 2018 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “Dealing with Doubt”

Not too long ago I sat across from someone strong in faith, and I listened  as they expressed some feelings of doubt. We prayed.

Do you ever doubt? Ever have legitimate questions about where God is in a difficult and uncertain situation? Ever been deep in the muck and mire and wondered if and how God would make it right?

You are in good company.

One of the most well known doubters was actually one of Jesus’ disciples, Thomas. When we think of Thomas, we often think of his doubting moment- wondering aloud if Christ was truly resurrected. Often times, that moment is shared as a “what not to do”. Said a different way, we think of faith and doubt as two distinct options, and you are either “in” one or the other, you are either faithful or doubting.

I believe there is a better way of thinking about this.

What if instead of one or the other, you can have both at the same time. Author James K. A. Smith puts it this way: “We don’t believe instead of doubting; we believe while doubting.” That is, sometimes the walk of faith will lead to moments of questioning, wonder, even doubt.

And it’s in those moments of weakness that Jesus shows up and does His best work.

So if you’ve had moments of doubt lately, like my strong-in-faith friend, know that you are in good company. Bring those feelings to the Lord, and be open to Him forgiving you, meeting you, and making Himself known to you.

He’ll show up, just like He did for Thomas.

Pastor Brian

A Meaningful Haircut

June 4th, 2018 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “A Meaningful Haircut”

Someone from within the Lord of Glory family who shall remain nameless recently got a hair cut and donated 9 inches of her hair! Shout out to Sarah Polsgrove! (Oops, did I say that?!) Is that awesome or what?

Sometimes, the church can make giving and stewardship super complicated, when in reality, it’s actually quite straightforward. Here goes: When we recognize that what we have comes from God, and can benefit others, in thanksgiving and with a desire to bless others we are generous with what we’ve been given! It’s that easy. Whether it’s with our finances, or our hair, because HE gives it to us, and it because it can SO bless others, how awesome is it to give some away!

So real quick, I want you to think about what you’ve been given, and what you’ve been uniquely or especially given. Then after you’ve taken inventory, consider what giving some away might look like for you. Some examples, building on Sarah’s example:

An encouraging, energetic person gives time to coach a youth sports team.
A retiree with a free afternoon volunteers a few hours to hang clothes for the rummage sale.
A young girl at school with a lot of friends ensures the new girl makes some too.
A woman with leadership gifts helps make sure the church organization runs efficiently.
A good listener gives a few hours a month to help expecting Moms through Informed Choices.
A bonus at work is tithed to make a difference for God’s Kingdom through the local church.
A socially confident person takes a moment to engage and compliment folks around them.

It’s not that complicated, actually. When we recognize that what we have comes from God, and can benefit others, in thanksgiving and with a desire to bless others we are generous with what we’ve been given!

And then here’s the kicker- the happiest people I know are not surprisingly the most generous, and the most generous people I know are not surprisingly the happiest. Giving of any kind is really good for you, and just makes you feel better. Want proof? I saw a picture of Sarah post-haircut, and she looked pretty happy!

Pastor Brian

I Think You’ll Want to Read These…

May 1st, 2018 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “I Think You’ll Want to Read These…”

Sunday was Confirmation Sunday, and once again I was blown away by the Statements of Faith prepared by the students. I share a few lines with you here. God is doing a mighty work in the lives of these students, check it out:

“To me God is not an overwhelming, controlling power; instead He is a great father and friend”.

“I learned that God is and always will be with me. Sometimes, you just have to look for Him”.

“…Live a life of kindness and forgiveness towards our friends and neighbors, just as Christ does with us”.

“God always hears me and answers my prayers even if it is in ways I can’t see right now”.

“I now realize I should be just as loving and forgiving to people as God is because I don’t know what they are going through”.

“Everyone knows that having faith in God brings responsibility. But it’s not just that, because having faith in God also means showing everybody the same love, joy, kindness, and care that He has shown me.”

“God chose me without caring what I have done. He flat out chose me. He wanted me on His team”.

Thanks be to God for the faith He is working in these awesome young people. And thanks be to God for their families, church family, Small Group Leaders, and others who are encouraging them along!

Pastor Brian

Foolish Exchanges – Part II

April 25th, 2018 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “Foolish Exchanges – Part II”

Deep question for your Wednesday, but stick with me here: what if we’re taking the very things God gives us as blessings and using them in ways that drive us away from Him and not to him?

It happened in the Bible, and kudos to Lord of Glory member Adam Reh for pointing it out to me after worship on Sunday. It’s from Exodus 32, and it goes like this: After the great Exodus event, and while the Israelites are being led by God to the land He was giving them, they stop along the way and camp out. Moses, their leader, ascends a mountain to meet with God, and the people grow impatient. They gather their earrings and jewelry, melt them down, and shape them into a golden calf. They then proclaim that it is this golden calf that is their new god, and begin worshiping it. Crazy right? We talked Sunday about this being a foolish exchange- trading loving God and receiving awesome blessings from God for a “god” made out of their own jewelry! But as we talked about on Sunday, we make similar foolish exchanges, don’t we?

Yet Adam Reh took it one step further, and he’s right, check this out: the jewelry they had was the jewelry GOD had given them as plunder and blessing from their victory over Egypt (Exodus 12:35-36). So they took what God had GIVEN them, through the victory HE gave them, and the Israelites turned around and used these gifts to create and worship false gods.

Wow.

I’m still wrapping my head around this. What does this look like for me? How do we do the same or similar? What gifts are we turning into idols? What elements of our lives are meant to bring us closer to God, but are actually serving to drive us away from Him? I’ve got a few thoughts… how about you?

Pastor Brian

Slow Down

April 17th, 2018 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “Slow Down”

Driving to an appointment the other day, feeling rushed because I hadn’t left enough traveling time, I found myself stuck behind a slow truck. Does that ever happen to you? My first thoughts were not positive: “I don’t have time for this!” Ever been there?

Then I remembered the old cliche’, which is true- “you better practice what you preach!” We’ve been talking about learning to trust God’s timing this month in worship, and it’s been powerful to walk through it, because waiting is tough. Whether it’s big things- waiting for medical results- or smaller things- waiting while you’re in traffic, waiting is tough.

So here’s what I practiced: I reflected on what God would have me do in the midst of this forced slow down. I’d like to tell you I prayed, because that would been really good of me. Instead, I just took some moments to be more observant. Instead of being laser focused on getting to my destination, I observed. I took in the neighborhood I was driving through, the weather, and who was out and around. And it actually felt good to be slowed down a bit.

In Matthew 11, Jesus observes His disciples being a little too laser-focused on their destinations. In response, He gives them an invitation: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

What will you see, or hear, or find, if you slow down?

Pastor Brian

God and Depression

April 4th, 2018 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “God and Depression”

“Struggle and pain is real. I was devastated and depressed. I reached a point where I didn’t want to do a thing or go anywhere. I was crying constantly.”

Do you know who said that? I was surprised to find out it was the actor known as “The Rock”, Dwayne Johnson, Hollywood’s highest paid actor. But frankly, and shame on me, I shouldn’t have been surprised, because depression can impact anyone. Best, recent estimates have about 16 million Americans diagnosed, about 7 percent of the population. That’s a lot.

The good news is that we are learning more and more about depression. The not so good news is that the Church hasn’t done a really good job speaking about depression and ministering to the depressed. So two quick thoughts:

If someone around you battles depression, consider this: In Jesus’ day, when a group of friends noticed a friend struggling, they often brought that person to Jesus (Mark 2:1-12, Mark 7:31-37, among others). Although Jesus is no longer visiting our towns and villages, He is on a throne in heaven, and cares just as much now as He did back then. Bring your friends in prayer to Jesus. Be a friend to those who struggle. Be present, don’t try to fix it or “make it better”. Keep calling and checking in. You are likely doing more than you know.

If you yourself battle depression, know that you have a God who knows you and loves you (Psalm 139). Know that you have a church family that loves you and is for you. And receive the wisdom from “The Rock” himself: “Depression never discriminates. Took me a long time to realize it but the key is to not be afraid to open up. Especially us dudes have a tendency to keep it in. You’re not alone.”

This week in the church office we received a letter from Immanuel Lutheran Church in Hewitt, WI. I don’t know the church, nor the Pastor, yet the letter merely stated that they would be praying for our church this week. How awesome, and what a boost!

Bottom line- we’re not alone, and neither are you. Jesus: “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20).

Pastor Brian

What Does This Even Mean?

March 26th, 2018 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “What Does This Even Mean?”

It’s a word I always remember hearing as a kid in church, yet I can’t say I ever really knew what it meant. And even as a grown up, and worse a Pastor, sometimes I forget.

Hosanna. 

It’s what the people who lined the streets of Jerusalem shouted to Jesus as he came riding into town on a donkey on Palm Sunday. “The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9).

At its core, base translation, Hosanna is a Hebrew expression, used in the Old Testament meaning “Save!” But in the context of Palm Sunday, it runs even deeper.

A friend recently shared with me a piece that Pastor John Piper wrote on this subject, and it helped shape my Palm Sunday and I pray it impacts your Holy Week. Piper writes:

“Over the centuries the phrase ‘hosanna’ stopped being a cry for help in the ordinary language of the Jews. Instead it became a shout of hope and exultation. It used to mean, “Save, please!” But gradually, it came to mean, “Salvation! Salvation has come!” It used to be what you would say when you fell off the diving board. But it came to be what you would say when you see the lifeguard coming to save you! It is the bubbling over of a heart that sees hope and joy and salvation on the way and can’t keep it in.”

So it’s more than a cry for help. It’s a celebration of who Jesus is and why He came.

I wish you a blessed Holy Week. Perhaps it’s Spring Break for you, or perhaps it feels like just another week for you. My prayer is that you get a few moments over the next few days to remember and celebrate the gift that Jesus gives you and I with what he endured that week. He does it out of love for you and love for all of humanity. And it’s a gift that gives us tremendous peace.

Ride on, ride on, in majesty!
In lowly pomp ride on to die.
Bow Thy meek head to mortal pain.
Then take, 0 Christ, Thy power and reign.                      (verse 5, Ride on, Ride on in Majesty)

Pastor Brian

The Legacy of Billy Graham, and why it matters for You

March 19th, 2018 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “The Legacy of Billy Graham, and why it matters for You”

With the passing of “America’s Pastor”, Billy Graham, much has been written, and rightly so, about his life as a Preacher and Evangelist. While much of it has focused on what he did publicly, with the rallies, crusades, and Presidential visits, I would argue that his greatest legacy is what he chose to do privately. Let me explain.

In 1948, after a successful rally in Modesto, California, and in the midst of huge crowds and a rapidly increasing following, Graham called all his evangelistic team together for a meeting. Seeing what was ahead, he was convinced that steps needed to be taken to preserve and safeguard their integrity, starting with his own. It was in this meeting that a document was created, later called the “Modesto Manifesto”, where Graham laid out how they would live, and most importantly how he would live, to do their best to  avoid discrediting their ministry and the Lord’s work through them by a scandal. It addressed boundaries in regards to money, relationships, and other matters of personal integrity.

It was just one meeting in a hotel room, in Modesto, California, that I argue changed the course of his ministry. It was there that they together realized that taking care of things privately would impact their ability to change the world publicly.

These weeks of Lent we are talking about the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5), and how Jesus shares these words of wisdom, “Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). Because Graham guarded carefully what filled His heart privately, out of the overflow of his heart his mouth spoke powerful, and grace-filled, words of God.

We may not be traveling evangelist preachers who meet and counsel Presidents. But the principals Graham lived by are as true for us as they were for him. How we live privately matters for our impact publicly. May we continue to receive His forgiveness for where we’ve fallen short, and so be filled with His grace, love, wisdom and gentleness that it might overflow from our hearts!

Pastor Brian

Wisdom for When You Face a Decision

March 7th, 2018 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “Wisdom for When You Face a Decision”

We’ve all been there, and chance are, we’ll be there again, and perhaps pretty soon. I’m speaking of those moments in life when we are forced to make a pretty big decision, and we don’t have clarity on what choice to make. In these moments, we can feel a heavy weight to make the “right” decision, and we endeavor to discover which of the decisions is God’s will.

Ever been there? Perhaps you are there right now. If so, let me invite us to think of these moments a bit differently…

I think sometimes we enter these moments thinking there is a right path and a wrong path, and it’s incumbent upon us to find out which one is which. We can even think that one path is God’s will and will be blessed, and the other one isn’t, and to make the “right” decision, we better choose the correct door…

In these moments, when that weight feels especially heavy, let us remember the promises God makes. The Bible is full of God promising to be with us, to guide us, to lead us, and to bless us, regardless of what choices or paths we take. Bottom line- God blessing us isn’t conditional upon us making the right decision(s). Is that good news or what?!

So when we face these moments, let’s at least remove the weight of trying to determine which one is God’s will. The exception, of course, is those moments where we are faced with an option that is clearly sinful or clearly spoken of as against God’s will. But when it comes to other decisions, like when weighing a college decision, or a job offer, or a family move, rest in this truth- God always promises to go with and bless His people, regardless of which door we choose.

“And surely I am with you, always, to the very end of the age”     ~Jesus (Matthew 28:20)

Pastor Brian

Curling and Kindness

February 28th, 2018 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “Curling and Kindness”

Kind of funny, and for sure unexpected, but in addition to the US Women’s Hockey team winning the gold medal, perhaps the biggest story coming out of these Olympic Games was the following that curling received. Yes, curling.

So much so, in fact, that the Chicago Tribune ran a neat read of a piece about it, titled: Humble, Kind, and Fair: Can Curling Cure our Troubled world? The crux of the article was celebrating the air of kindness and sportsmanship that is a part of curling contests. It’s called “the Spirit of Curling”, and indeed, our world could use more of it… The article is here:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/international/ct-winter-olympics-curling-20180216-story.html

These weeks in worship we’re talking about the “Fruit of the Spirit”, that is, what bubbles up out of us when we are deeply rooted in and connected with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And smack dab in the middle of the list is what culture seems to be so hungry for: kindness.

Quick thought for your today, and if you were around here on Sunday you heard us flesh it out. Our kindness will be tested. Sometimes we’ll be tempted to be less than kind; other times we’ll be tested to be kind only to have it be observed, or appreciated, or reciprocated. But Christian Kindness runs a bit different. Rooted in the Gospel, it’s not a kindness that is done to be celebrated or observed, but a kindness done in glory and thanks to God. Our kindness to others is a lot more about us and God, rather than us and others.

It’s called the “Fruit of the Spirit”; a cousin, perhaps, of the “Spirit of Curling”. Let’s be kind today!

Pastor Brian

Hear. Pray. Talk. LIVE!

February 2nd, 2018 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “Hear. Pray. Talk. LIVE!”

The month of January we took a deep dive into four keys to a growing faith. We called it Hear. Pray. Talk. Live. We spent time both in worship and in Bible class looking at what the Bible said about these building blocks, and what it looks like in real life to put them into practice.

One awesome young person from within the Lord of Glory family, Naomi Little, provided us a neat example of the Live component recently. Click on the link below to take a look!

https://youtu.be/uZ60qKAyAYk

Pastor Brian

What to Say When You Don’t Know What to Say

January 25th, 2018 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “What to Say When You Don’t Know What to Say”

Have you ever had a moment when you just don’t know what to say? It’s an important moment, or a tough situation, and you find yourself struggling to find the words? I’m a Pastor, I kind of speak for a living, and it happens with me A LOT!

So what do you say in those moments? What do you do?

The Bible actually talks about these moments, and Jesus tells us both that these moments WILL happen, and more importantly, how to handle them. Ready?

“When you are brought before synagogues, rulers, and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say” (Jesus, Luke 12:11-12).

Let’s break that down for a moment. Jesus says that when you are brought into important conversations, and you’re not sure what to say, you have a helper! That it’s actually and exactly in these moments of weakness that the Lord does His best work. It’s in these moments that we decrease and HE increases (John 3:30).

So what does this mean? For me, it means that in any moment where I feel “in above my head”, and when I’m not sure what to say, I remember that my helper is with me! I actually, mid-conversation, say a quick, silent prayer, calling upon God to help me find the words to speak. While I cannot report that I’ve had a super natural, “I don’t know where those words came from” moment, I can report that I’ve felt a certain confidence and peace and calm knowing that the Lord was truly in that moment and directing it.

The Lord promises to be with us in these moments. May you experience the power that comes with knowing that when you talk about God, He’s right there in the midst of it!

Pastor Brian

Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 18th, 2018 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “Martin Luther King, Jr.”

Here’s a bit of trivia that I’m shocked I hadn’t heard before. Ready?

In 1934, a Southern Preacher by the name of Michael King is given a neat opportunity- a chance to visit Europe and study theology. Rev. King was so taken by the theology of the Reformer Martin Luther that upon returning home, he changed his name from Michael King to Martin Luther King, as well as the name of his son, who then became…

Ready…

Martin Luther King Jr.! Neat, right?

Perhaps you’ve never much thought about how one inspired the other, but this is the type of stuff I think about when I’m mowing my lawn (or more timely, shoveling my snow). A few quick thoughts jump to mind:

First, Luther celebrates the reality of the Gospel as for ALL. That God’s saving work in Jesus Christ is for all of humanity. The fall of man puts us all on a level playing field, that of needing forgiveness, and it’s the Gospel that reaches into the lives of all people. Similarly, King helps us celebrate the intrinsic value of every human, regardless of what labels culture puts on them.

Second, Luther believed in his message, and that despite challenge and hardship he might face, eventually taking the high road, and hanging onto truth, would win out. With the Reformation, it did. Similarly, King faced immense personal hardship, yet didn’t relent. He continued to preach his message, believing that the truth and power of its tenets would eventually win it. And it did.

Finally, Luther elevates the doctrine of vocation, the notion that our lives of service matter to God regardless of how “spiritual” they seem. Similarly, King celebrates the notion that everyone’s contributions to society make a difference, regardless of how much they are publicly acknowledged.

And this likely only scratches the surface. Any similarities in their messaging come to mind for you? Think about it the next time you are shoveling!

Pastor Brian

A Shultz Hour and God

January 11th, 2018 Posted by Glory Minute 0 thoughts on “A Shultz Hour and God”

A recent piece in the New York Times was shared with me, and I found it to be insightful, challenging, and inspiring. Here’s how it begins:

When George Shultz was secretary of state in the 1980s, he liked to carve out one hour each week for quiet reflection. He sat down in his office with a pad of paper and pen, closed the door and told his secretary to interrupt him only if one of two people called:

“My wife or the president,” Shultz recalled.

Shultz, who’s now 96, told me that his hour of solitude was the only way he could find time to think about the strategic aspects of his job. Otherwise, he would be constantly pulled into moment-to-moment tactical issues, never able to focus on larger questions of the national interest. And the only way to do great work, in any field, is to find time to consider the larger questions.

Wow.

Many of us can identify with being “pulled into moment-to-moment tactical issues” and “never being able to focus on larger questions”. Some call it the “tyranny of the urgent”, based on a book from the 1960’s by that title. Bottom line- sometimes life and its constant demands can be so all-consuming that we rarely have time to consider what is truly important, big, and/or spiritual.

Sunday in worship we talked about “hearing from God”, and how the clearest way to hear from God is through His Word. Hearing from God is, in a way, a form of practicing a “Shultz Hour”- it’s saying “hold on” to what is urgent, and saying “yes” to what is important- hearing from God. As we talked about on Sunday, this will look different for all of us. Right now, a great group of women are studying God’s Word in a Bible study here at church. For others, it’s a quiet home, before everyone gets up, with a warm coffee and a devotional book. For still others, and for many, it will include using your smart phone and apps to draw you to God.

James 4:8: “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you”.

For more on the “Shultz Hour”, click here:
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/18/opinion/youre-too-busy-you-need-a-shultz-hour.html.

Pastor Brian