Saturday, May 30, 2020

Sermon May 31, 2020 Pentecost

Title: You have received the water for life by the Spirit!
Text: John 7:37-39

37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

As we celebrate the day of Pentecost and the sending of the Holy Spirit, we begin with a short reading in the book of the Prophet Joel:

28 “And it shall come to pass afterward,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
your old men shall dream dreams,
and your young men shall see visions. Joel 2:28

The Spirit has now been revealed as He that is sent to glorify Christ or to make Him known. We have a greater measure of His manifestation of the Holy Spirit’s work in our day than the believers of the Old Testament had.

"At the time when Jesus preached, He promised the Holy Spirit, and therefore the Holy Spirit was not yet there - not that He was not in existence in His person, but that He was not fully made known - in His revelation and in His work.

For that is the special work and office of the Holy Spirit that He reveals and glorifies Christ, that He preaches and give testimony concerning Him. That this office of the Holy Spirit was then not yet in active working and the office of glorifying Christ the Lord was not yet fully in use … that is, the preaching of the forgiveness of sins, and how one may be delivered from the power of sin, death, and the devil, and have comfort and joy in Christ.

All this was at the time of Christ, unheard of and not mentioned; that deliverance, salvation, righteousness, joy, and life should be given us through that man, Christ, whom people did not know."

Popular Commentary of the Bible P.E. Kretzmann NT Vol. 1 Pg 452

Not so in the giving of the Holy Spirit.

37 On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.

It was on the last day of the feast, the Feast of Tabernacles, (booths) the "day of the great Hosanna,” which was a time of joyous celebration as the Israelites celebrated God’s continued provision for them in their current harvest and remembered His provision and protection during the 40 years of exodus they endured in the wilderness.

The leaves of the willows and the other branches that had been used for the building of the booths – or tabernacles - were shaken off and the palm branches were waved against the altar, when the priests went around the altar seven times in a procession of thankfulness, and when a priest was commissioned to get a pitcher of water from the pool of Siloam and then pour it out at the side of the altar. All these ceremonies had been introduced over time, and the Jewish teachers had explained some of them, especially the last, as a symbol which would find its fulfillment in the days of the Messiah.

The water of the pool of Siloam was considered living water, since it was replenished from time to time by means of a natural siphon from a spring in the rock. But, after all, it was only earthly water, which could quench the thirst for only a short while.

Here Jesus points to the work of the Holy Spirit and the revealing of the work of the Christ himself when He says:

38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, “Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”

In a sense saying: “Out of the rock of stone that is the human heart born in sin and dead to God will flow the living water of life by God’s holy Spirit!”

Not only with the Spirit bringing those to faith in Christ by His own working, but also by those who are brought to Christ and are used by God through the Spirit to bring Christ to others.

As it feels to me and I’m sure to you, we feel separated from each other right now and we are. We have not seen each other in person at church for many weeks and we might even begin to forget about each other. Over time if this were to continue it might be a real possibility.

It can be that way with the work of the Spirit too.

It can at times be forgotten … as though He were afar off and not part of our daily lives. At the best of times, when things are going well, we have little need for Him. We can get consumed with things of this life that are going well and the abundance that we have that God provides.

But, there are other times, as we all know, where our world can come crashing down upon us. You can lose focus of Jesus, the one who redeemed you - who were lost. The Spirit’s work can be resisted, while things of the world draw you away demanding your attention, and just when all seems well and good, life can call your attention to all its frailties and trials …

Loss of life, loss of job, loss of security …

We can’t know what God has in store for us as he calls each one of us to faith and in service for Him through the Spirit’s work … but we can know, as Jesus said:

“Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” 39 Jesus said this, about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive.

I think of so many, who still need to hear the good news of the gospel and the joy of salvation found only in the name of Jesus. Yes, and I feel, as my friend Paul Ruehl and I discussed many times, the urgency to allow God to work through us to reach the lost in service to Him, now!
Christ Jesus has given you and me, by His Spirit, an appeal to His work to reach those who are lost with the word of the gospel. That appeal comes to you through the Spirit and through His working in you, so that you feed on the word of God and by faith cling to that blessed hope.

When we were in discussions with our friend’s at St Mark’s about a possible merger last year the idea of a new name was on all our minds. I thought that Blessed Hope Lutheran Church would be a wonderful name. My thought came from Titus 2:13 which reads,

13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,

The blessed Hope is Jesus!
We know him by the working of the Spirit!
God in his mercy has had mercy on you!

You have been washed clean of your sin and by faith in Christ through the waters of Holy Baptism have peace with God.

The working of the Holy Spirit causes faith in you to believe the gospel message that, in Christ forgiveness of sins is offered and by faith received.

May the Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God and the Fellowship of the Holy Spirit be and abide with you all now and forever!

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.


Saturday, May 23, 2020

Sermon May 24, 2020

Title: Christ desires that you be his!
Text: John 17-1-11

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11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me that they may be one, even as we are one.

I had planned to change the church sign out front to read:

“Christ is our cornerstone – Blessed Memorial Day.” But as I started to get ready to do the work a mother duck flew out and I saw her nest under the sign with the eggs she had been sitting on and decided not to disturb her home at this time.

Many in our community and country though have had their homes and lives disturbed. For we the church, the freedoms we enjoy in this country have come at great expense for so many that have given their lives to protect our freedoms. It is right to remember and to honor those this Memorial Day and on these National holidays.

As the church though, we stand on the Rock, who is the cornerstone of our faith Jesus Christ and his work; on him alone do we trust. It is my hope and prayer that all who today and in the future serve, to defend the freedoms we enjoy, know and receive the comfort that is Christ Jesus as savior and Lord.
Our freedom required cost and sacrifice. Some years back we had a fundraiser for our own Skip Bushart’s, Fallen Heroes Memorial Foundation which builds memorials around the state to honor those, like his son Damien who gave their life in service to our country - as their motto states: “Lest they be forgotten.”

The new memorial at the Oakland County Courthouse is finished and a testament to all who served and gave the ultimate sacrifice.

In his High Priestly Prayer to the Father our Lord Jesus says:

17… “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.

The gift of eternal life is given, not earned, and while heroes in this life deserve to be remembered, you don’t have to be a hero to receive the gift.

We receive all sorts of things in this life that we don’t deserve.

My parents and many of your parents sacrificed much to make sure that we had the very best they could give.

We were fed and clothed, taught what was right and wrong and how to treat others. My parents made sure that I received an education, even though I might have wanted to skip school and play, they knew this was important for me and would help me in the future.

At 48 when I went back to school to prepare for seminary I said to my dad when he asked me how my schooling was going, “It’s going well but all the other kids tell me their parents are paying for their schooling.”

My dad said,

“Well that’s nice Russ, if you were still a kid I’d be paying too.”

As Christians my parents knew something else that was good for me as well and Jesus makes it clear in his prayer.

3 that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

It was important for my parents that I knew Christ and that he knew me.

Why? Well Jesus says … this is eternal life … that we know the Father and Jesus who the Father has sent.

So they brought me to the means that God gave and I was baptized and given new birth in baptism one month after being born. My parents knew this was good for me just as they knew that I needed their physical care around the clock too.

I didn’t know what I needed.

But seeing children today that are newborns I understand now that:

When they’re hungry - they cry,
When they need changed - they cry,
When they need anything - they cry.

Maybe it is a sign of the death we are born into.

If children were born and left to make their own way … without their parents care … they would die, so God in his mercy has given his means to his church and we, as loving parents, bring God’s mercy and forgiveness to those in need … from the youngest to the oldest.

3 And this is eternal life that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.

As Jesus said last week in our Gospel, he would not leave us as orphans to care for ourselves but that the Holy Spirit, the comforter who he was sending from the Father would bring true comfort. This gift is given to you and me and all through the Lord’s gifts and it brings real peace.

Peace though, in our world is fleeting. Covid-19, flu deaths, old age, heart attacks, and now the flooding devastation in Midland, and for LCMS Pastor Larry Bean and his wife Grace in Louisiana they are dealing with the death of their only son Leo who is 15 from suicide.

Death comes to those young and old in this life and we know not the day or hour. We remember this weekend those who have given their lives defending our freedom and we remember the hope that is found only in the one who is the way the truth and the life – Jesus Christ – the only way to the Father.

It is comforting to know that in our text Jesus is praying for you and for me and for all far away- born in and struggling with sin, death and devil.

Jesus says:

9 I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.

The reality of life and death in war came to me in a real way at the start of the first Gulf War.

My brother Tom, an Annapolis Naval Academy Grad had finished flight school, was on the US Ranger in the Persian Gulf, and was in the first flight wave sent in during Desert Storm. I remember praying at work for him and for all who served. Thankfully he survived and following a 30 year career retired as a Captain with distinction. He works today for Northrop Grumman on Long Island.

He just recovered from his struggle with Covid-19 and is feeling well and healthy and back to work.

I am thankful for my brother’s service and for all who serve. I also in prayer lift up all who continue to serve that they remain safe but most importantly that they know Christ and receive the gift of eternal life in his name.

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.


Monday, May 18, 2020

Sermon May 17, 2020

Title: By God’s Spirit we look to Christ!
Text: John 14:15-21

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15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.

When I was a little boy growing up, I attended kindergarten in Glassport Pennsylvania. We, had fire drills to prepare ourselves in case of an emergency. When the fire bell rang we were directed to exit the room orderly and row by row and as we entered the hall walking towards the door one of the older children from the upper grades would hold the hand of a kindergartener and walk with them out the door to the designated place of safety. They became our guide and helper and would not leave us until the drill was over.

In the life of the Christian, the good news is that you will not be left alone either. The Holy Spirit is your helper and guide and will remain with you and will comfort you no matter the circumstance. You do not have to hope that He will come and lead you to safety … for He dwells with you and is in you!

By God’s Spirit we look to Christ!

Jesus, in John 14 speaks of sending the comforter, the Holy Spirit, to be our comfort and our hope.
He had told the disciples about that hope and not to be troubled, to believe in God and also to believe in Him and that He would be going to prepare a place for them, that where He is they too may be also.

To Thomas’ question of how they could know the way Jesus replied that He is the way the truth and the life and that no one comes to the Father except through Him … and to Philip’s question to show us the Father, Jesus said, whoever has seen me, has seen the Father!

There is a very close connection between Jesus and the Father.

To see Christ is to see God and to know Christ is to know the Father; one God in essence, uniqueness of persons. The Father is not the Son and the Son is not the Father but the mystery of the Godhead in there for the first disciples and for us as well.

Today’s reading begins:

15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

Well that’s comforting. We poor sinners confess unto you that we are by nature sinful and unclean!

God’s Law we can’t keep and his law shows us our sin and that we fall short daily needing the comfort and forgiveness only given us by God himself through His comforting absolution pronounced by His called and ordained servants, in the stead and by the command of Christ.

16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17even the Spirit of truth.

The Disciples are being comforted that when Jesus leaves them and ascends back to the Father, the helper, the Spirit of truth, will be with them [and us] forever.

The Holy Spirit's role is to shine the light on our Lord Jesus Christ.

Some years ago we upgraded the building of our church here at Peace with new lights on the building. When lighting is done well, the lights make visible the building when otherwise it would not be seen for the darkness. This illustrates also the Spirit's role and work. He is, the hidden light shining on the Savior.

It is as if the Spirit stands behind us, throwing light over our shoulder on to Jesus who stands facing us. The Spirit's message to us is never,

"Look at me; listen to me; come to me; get to know me", but always, "Look at him, and see his glory; listen to him and hear his word; go to him and have life; get to know him and taste his gift of joy and peace."

The Spirit, role it is to bring you and Christ together and ensure that you and Christ Jesus stay together.

James Packer, Your Father Loves You, Harold Shaw Publishers, 1986.

But you don’t … and I don’t. We fall short, we miss the mark. It’s like having directions to our destination and always getting lost … always making the wrong turn!

Some years ago I had a good example of this as Bob Poe and I drove to the Doxology conference in DeWitt, MI. I’m driving, knowing that I need exit 87. Bob says, “Pastor, isn’t this our exit?” Oh yes it is Bob, thanks for letting me know as I quickly move right to exit the freeway!

On the way home I’m heading north on I-69 towards I-75 when I hear, “Pastor, isn’t this our exit?” Oh, thanks again Bob for pointing that out to me, as I once again move right quickly so as not to miss the, I-75 exit and our way home.

In a similar way the Spirit shows you when you miss the mark, when you are going the wrong way and He, as the Helper who will be in you and with you forever, points you back to Jesus … so that you once again see the error of your sin and where you fall short, but also see the way the truth and the Life … Jesus, who kept the commandments – the Law - perfectly for you and who the Spirit will continue to point you to, Christ Jesus our Lord – the light of the world and the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world and His gracious forgiveness and love for you and for all who love God and are called according to His purpose!

Jesus said:

18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

It is Jesus who gives us every good and perfect gift from above.
It is Jesus who will not leave you as orphans.
It is Jesus who took your sin upon himself at the cross burying it in the tomb and
It is Jesus, who asks the Father to send the Helper, the Spirit of truth, to you, so that you can continue to see Christ, the author and finisher of your faith Jesus.

Christ says:

Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father and you in me, and I in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”

By the Spirit, Christ will make Himself known to you!
Because death could not end Christ it will not be your end!

Because of the work of the Spirit in the life of God’s children … you will know Him and His ways and you will be found acceptable because you will be clothed in the robes of the God/man Himself Jesus Christ the Righteous one.


In the life of the Christian, the good news is that we will not be left alone. The Holy Spirit is in you and with you and will comfort you in all trials … because you do not have to wonder if He will come to you … for He dwells with you and will be in you!

By God’s Spirit we look to Christ!

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Sermon May 10, 2020

Title: The way of Jesus leads to eternal life!
Text: John 14:1-14
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

It is a joy to celebrate the blessings that come to us through our mothers and a blessed mother’s day to all. Many of you joy in the mother’s you still have and some, I’m sure long for the mother’s they once had. Some were blessed with godly step mothers and others had mothers that missed the mark of what good mothering should be.

As a pastor, I’ve done a number of funerals; some for mothers, and some fathers and uncles and dear friends. Funerals are a place of grief. Death is not something any of us wants to think about or deal with but it can come unexpectedly, as it did with my own mother.

For us death is who we are. We are born dead in trespass and sin. The wages of sin is death. On Ash Wednesday as the ashes are placed upon our forehead in the sign of the cross we hear these words: “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.”

Death at times pretends to be comforting. You may hear at a funeral, “He’s in a better place.” Or, “Well, she’s not suffering anymore.”

I assume it is how we who remain deal with the loss of a loved one. But the reality is that death is not a good thing. It is the consequence for we who are born in sin.

It is what awaits you are me. It is with that in mind that I remember some of our dear Peace loving mother's who have gone to be with the Lord: Hilda Klein, Joan Kitzman, Lucille Schreiner, Betty Gedeon, Betty Buchannan, Carlene Constable, Marge Goit, Dorothy Blackerby, Eleanor Young, Maude Lewis, Frieda Fleaner, and Sandy Krueger.

In our gospel today Jesus said to his disciples:

14 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

This text is often used at funerals. It is for comfort and hope. Death is real but so is Christ’s rescue.

What also is interesting is the context of the hope that Jesus gives here in the beginning of chapter 14 with the last line of verse that he says in Chapter 13 where he turns to St. Peter and says,

“I tell you the truth, [truly, truly] before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times!”

Not only then but now as well. We disown the savior daily and not just three times.

It is daily, it is willful, and it is often, day in and day out until we die.

It is in that context that Christ’s - Let not your hearts be troubled - is truly good news and why it is so important that it be shared at times of great grief and suffering. Peter was standing tall … thinking he knew all:

When Jesus washed the disciples feet Peter asked:

“Lord, do you wash my feet?” 7 Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.”

Then Peter said:

“You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have [no part of] me.”

[He tells them] 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. He tells them to love one another, to serve one another, to care for one another … because where he is going they cannot come.

Not in their own strength at least.

And Peter in his own strength says: Lord, why can’t I follow you? I’ll lay down my life for you. But in reality that’s you and that’s me. We think we can stand. In the midst of trial, in the midst of temptation, in the midst of sin … we fall … denying the Lord and the rooster crows that reality in our own lives.

In our Confirmation rite, this is made clear when the confirmands are asked:

“Do you intend to hear the Word of God and receive the Lord’s Supper faithfully?”

“Do you intend to live according to the word of God, and in faith, word, and deed to remain true to God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, even to death?”

And finally:

“Do you intend to continue steadfast in this confession and church and to suffer all, even death, rather than fall away from it?”

To all of this they answer, “I do.”

In a sense saying like St. Peter: I’ll lay down my life for you!

But, the confirmands add to their “I do.” These words: “By the grace of God.”

That is what Peter missed. His strength and our strength, as it is connected to faith, life, and eternal life … is in God’s hands and by his grace.

As I wrestle with so many who no longer connected to church or regularly hear God’s word I’m remind myself of the old pastor’s proverb:
Jesus is God and I am not!

In chapter 13 Peter is confused and asks Jesus, “Lord where are you going?”

Thomas in chapter 14 asks:

5 … “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”

To this Jesus answers:

6 … “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

It is really good news to hear that God has washed you and me and we have been made partakers of eternal life. It is God who through the means he has provided of Word and Sacrament will keep them and us in the one true faith.

14 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.

That is good news for pastors ... for you dear members and for ... our mothers as well! Blessed Mother’s Day to all!

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Sermon May 3, 2020

Title: God gives life through his word and gifts!
Text: Acts 2:42-47

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42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

Life is a matter of building. Each of us has the opportunity to build something -- a secure family, a good reputation, a career, a relationship to God. But some of those things can disappear almost overnight due to financial losses, natural disasters and other unforeseen difficulties.

What are we to do? Daniel Webster offered excellent advice, saying,

“If we work upon marble, it will perish; if we work on brass, time will efface it. If we rear temples, they will crumble to dust. But if we work on men’s immortal minds, if we impress on them high principles, the just fear of God, and love for their fellow-men, we engrave on those tablets something which no time can efface, and which will brighten and brighten to all eternity.”

DANIEL WEBSTER, secretary of state, speech to the City Council, Boston, Massachusetts, May 22, 1852.—The Writings and Speeches of Daniel Webster, vol. 13, pp. 518–19 (1903).
Morning Glory, July 3, 1993.

That is the joy and that is the goal with which we are brought to faith by our loving God that through His gifts and by communion and fellowship with Him we have a life, in Christ, by Christ and through Christ.

42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

St. Luke in his book of the Acts of the Apostles gives an account of the early church. Last week in our first reading we heard of Peter’s sermon in Acts chapter 2 that cut to the heart of those who heard the Law of God’s condemnation bringing them to the point of asking, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Acts 2:37b

To which Peter replies:

“Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

Now coming to faith through the Gospel brought some 3000 souls into the church through Peter’s sermon but now we hear what the church did with and for those who repented and were baptized.

They heard the word of God proclaimed which is the Apostles teaching. They had fellowship one with another both in community and in communion with that same doctrine of the word.
They celebrated the breaking of bread in fellowship meals as well as with the Lord’s Supper that, as we heard last week, opened the eyes of their understanding so that they could see who Christ Jesus truly is and what he had done and finally,
They prayed, which is conversation and communion with that one and same word of God – Jesus Christ.

Our Lutheran Church Missouri Synod has a mission statement called Witness, Mercy and Life together that fits this focus of the early church and our life together here at Peace as well.

The Apostle’s teaching, which is the word of God and what that word means, is the witness of who God is and what we have become in Christ.

As His children we are called by Christ to be in worship, to hear His word to know that, as sinners, we all fall short of God’s requirements, but we also know that God has made a way in the person and work of Jesus Christ to bring us back into fellowship with him. This fellowship we now have with each other as His children, celebrating our life together in communion one with another, as we together confess our sins and receive God’s holy absolution as we look forward to a time of gathering together once again.

Apart from faith it is impossible to please God or to come to him because we all are judged as sinful and unclean and separated from the love of God found only in Christ Jesus our Lord.

At times we find ourselves in tough situations. We might even think that what we are going through right now is pretty tough as we stay at home and are prohibited from gathering together for a time.

We have though been blessed to continue to hear the word of God as we have continued to meet in this virtual way to sing hymns together on Saturday night and to gather for worship on Sunday. But it has been different and we have missed the partaking of the Lord’s Supper together. Thankfully this may be soon remedied as it is my hope that we may be allowed to once again meet in person for worship and receiving the Lord’s Supper.

Thankfully we remain connected to the Lord’s word to us and our prayers and petitions to him.

Prayers … we pray them every week in our services and daily for many of us in the church. This conversation with God brings our prayers and petitions to the one who holds our life in His hands through the mediation of his son.

Prayer can be a powerful blessing and we all need to avail ourselves of this powerful blessing daily. And we can’t forget prayer, especially the faithful prayers of those, who keep and have kept us in constant prayer. I thank the Lord for all of you who have lifted me in prayer through these trying days of recent past and the joyful days looking forward.


My friend Paul and I will often talk and remember our past and ask where the last 40 years have gone? We’ve come a long way since the days of playing 6 nights a week in our band at Captain Ahab’s bar in Wyandotte, Michigan.

Paul’s said about his mother Marian, “She was in constant prayer for us all.” You see she had two boys Paul and David. She also had surrogate sons Russ and John who played in places that I’m sure she didn’t think we should be. But like all good mothers, she couldn’t stop us from playing and gigging, but she could pray to the Lord that He would protect us and get us to where He wanted us to be.

None of us really liked the bars and the fights that might go on as well and we sure didn’t want to be there but Marian’s prayers, my mom’s prayers too mediated by Christ kept us out of trouble.

David, Paul and John all have had wonderful careers as teacher, Chemist and Lawyer.

And then there is me. God knew that if He could turn Russ Tkac into a pastor. Never in a million years would I have thought so, but God … well he is truly able to use all things for the good according to His purpose, even calling me to serve him in this wonderful way.

But he has done so many wonderful things, connecting himself to human flesh, turning water into wine, raising Himself on the third day and bringing people who are dead in sin to life and faith in Jesus Christ through the washing of regeneration with the word.

Forgive me for paraphrasing Daniel Webster but:

“If we work upon marble, it will perish; if we work on brass, time will efface it. If we build temples, they will crumble to dust. But if GOD works on men’s immortal hearts and minds, through the apostles' teaching and fellowship, the breaking of bread and the prayers the just fear of God, and love for their fellow-men, will be engraved on their hearts and minds as tablets of stone which no time can efface, brightening their lives and the lives of all who are called by faith to believe in Jesus Christ unto all eternity.”

God gives life through communion and the Apostle’s teaching!

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.