February 1st, 2023

February 1st, 2023

ps from ps
You made it!!  You made it through the darkest 10 weeks of the year.  The five weeks preceding the winter solstice and the five weeks after it – they make up the “fifth of the year” that has the least amount of light.  

And we even have some sunshine today in WNY as I type.  

As the light grows, hopefully it’s battling the physical, emotional and spiritual “S.A.D.” that comes with winter.

But sometimes “winters” aren’t just a season.  Sometimes they’re an event.  Or a period of time.  Or grief.  Or a struggle.

Luckily the prophets of the Old Testament have some insight.

Today, Adam Schmidt shares some original music to accompany Joshua’s words of wisdom for all of us.  I could listen to it all day on repeat!  You can enjoy it by clicking HERE.

And as you listen, may you be strong and courageous in the midst of the winters.

Lord, may connecting to you bring strength for today!  Amen

Be well, safe, and blessed,
ps 
January 25th, 2023

January 25th, 2023

ps from ps
“Do justice.  Love kindness.  And walk humbly with your God.” – Micah (in the Old Testament)

I first remember hearing this verse when I joined the staff at Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Center (LCLC) back in the ’80s.  I’m sure I had heard it before in regular church, but I was probably not paying as much attention.  As a kid, church was filled with distractions and boredom.  And as a pastor’s kid, it was filled even more with messing around when I was supposed to be worshipping or listening to some life-changing Confirmation lesson from my dad.  So let’s just agree that I missed out on the depth of what Scripture had to offer for most of my childhood.

Until camp.  Camp helped me pay attention.

LCLC was the first place I experienced younger people excited about their faith and willing to pass it on.  I was with other people my age and it was actually OK to talk about questions, doubts and the fact that you thought this Jesus character was pretty cool.  

And then this verse from Micah: a simple message on how to live out your faith.  Three steps.  Sure there are complexities within them, but the basics are there.  I don’t have it tattooed on my body (that’s Jeremiah 29:11) but it is certainly tattoo worthy.  Or bumper sticker.  Or away message.  Or voice mail outgoing message.  Or dashboard sticky note.  Or wherever you put simple reminders to remind you how to live out your faith.

Where is that place for you?  Where are you reminded? Is it camp?  Church?  Your tattoo?  A cross in your house?  A verse like Micah’s gem?

And what is the verse?  Is it a few words?  A longer story?  An entire book or gospel?

I hope you have one.  But if you don’t, I offer you that verse from Micah.  Join me in those three simple steps this week and beyond as we realize together that this Jesus character is pretty cool.

Lord, thanks for the simplicity and depth of this thing called faith?  Amen

——
Side note: Mr. Lee Lindeman, who many of you know and has visited St. Paul’s many times, is retiring after 18 years of being the Executive Director of LCLC.  We are pulling together a financial gift for him to thank him for his years of energy and direction for the camp.  His strong leadership and living out of that Micah verse has put the camp in incredible stable ministry and financial position.  Michelle and I (we met at LCLC) will be contributing to this and I invite you to as well.  

Checks can be sent to our LCLC Board Treasurer Holly Freed at: Nativity Lutheran Church; C/o Holly Freed, LCLC Board Treasurer; 970 East Main Street; East Aurora, NY 14052.  Or, you can give online through St. Paul’s by clicking HERE.  Please designate “Pastor’s Discretionary Fund” and all gift will go directly to Lee.  Let’s show him our thanks by overwhelming him with our generosity.  

Please check out the information under his picture about the Blessing and Sending Event on Feb 4 if you want to say thank you in person.

——- 

Be well, safe, and blessed,
ps 
January 18th, 2023

January 18th, 2023

ps from ps
What lifts you?

What can you do, connect to, center yourself around, make space for and give time to that lifts you?  Your spirits?  Your hope?  Your strength?  Your peace?

What lifts you?

Adam Schmidt has a great musical offering of the song “I’m So Glad Jesus Lifted Me” that you can enjoy by clicking HERE.  Maybe it’s music that lifts you up?  If so, enjoy!

But whatever it is, create some time for it today.  Don’t wait for it.  Make it.  

We’ll hear another lesson this weekend where Jesus is calling the disciples.  He just says: Follow me!  Don’t wait.  Don’t stall.  Let’s do this!  He knows that following him will lift them and that together, they will lift others.  

Over the past few days at home recovering, I had several opportunities to watch videos and reflect on the power of MLK Jr’s call for those that needed to be lifted to follow him.  And when they did, it changed the world.  It not only lifted them, but it lifted generations to follow.  

What lifts you?  My sense of how we work as humans in the world goes like this: when we allow ourselves to be lifted up, we put ourselves in better mental, spiritual and physical space.  And when we are in that better space, we have a better opportunity to lift up others.  A greater chance to reach beyond ourselves.

Today, Jesus calls us to Follow Him and be lifted up.  Don’t wait.  Don’t delay.  Don’t postpone.  Let yourself go to that healthier space.

Lord, where are we going today?  Let’s go!  Amen

Be well, safe, and blessed,
ps 
January 11th, 2023

January 11th, 2023

ps from ps
How refreshing.  A “ps from ps” without a weather update in it.  

Those weather updates, worship cancelations and schedule changes were tough on our plans and disrupted our idea of how things were going to roll out.  Ask anyone sitting in an airport today.

But not all interruptions are bad.  Sometimes they invite us to come and see something else.  Something better.  Something transformational.

John the baptizer (Official First Pointer toward Jesus) was standing with a couple of his disciples and Jesus walked by them.  I’m picturing the three of them at Spot Coffee on Main St in Snyder sipping a nice house blend with the whole day of fishing planned out.  They were just caffeinating up before they went to mend their nets and get going.  

Then Jesus walks by.  The one they’ve heard of.  The One that was promised.  John points.  Jesus invites.  They follow.  And the rest is history.  

Maybe that’s how your faith journey started?  Someone pointed out Jesus, you heard him invite you to follow, you did and the rest is history.  But many times it’s not that simple.  Sometimes (like in my case) the invitation was answered with: “Well, I’m sorta busy” or “It’s not the right time” or “I’ve got super important other things right now.”  Sometimes I had so much other noise going on that I couldn’t hear the invite in the first place.  Sometimes I followed for a minute but my Spiritual A.D.D. got me distracted by a squirrel running by.  Sometimes I just didn’t get what he was offering.  

Sometimes it’s not as simple as: point, invite, follow, history.

So sometimes we need to restart our journey.  Have you done that lately?  In a culture that invites us to “redo, recalibrate and redirect” in our New Year’s Resolutions, have you given yourself that opportunity in your faith journey?

Because the invitation is STILL there.  Wherever you are drinking your coffee this morning, Jesus is walking by.

This weekend at both campuses of St. Paul’s, new missionaries will be renewing their faith and affirming their baptisms.  Dozens of people that were a part of Amherst Lutheran Church will be joining St. Paul’s to follow and create the next history.  Several families that have come from other “coffee shops” will restart their journey at St. Paul’s as they follow and create history with Jesus.  And one young man will finally have an opportunity to confirm his faith and celebrate his Confirmation after several years of Covid/church transitions keeping him from it.   Someone, maybe some baptizer, maybe someone sipping coffee, has pointed them all toward Jesus.  Jesus has invited them.  They will follow him in a new way again.  And God will create a new history.

Sometimes it’s not as simple as: point, invite, follow, history.  But the one piece of that formula that does not change is the invitation from God.  Again and again and again.  May we each hear it today.  May we begin the following again.  And with the grace filled future God is calling us into, may the rest be history.

Lord, thanks for the invitation coming again to me.  I will follow you!  Amen


Be well, safe, and blessed,
ps 
December 21st, 2022

December 21st, 2022

ps from psHere is a little time to relax and reconnect to the season.  Maybe you are busy with lists and details and weather forecasts and shopping lists and to-do’s and anxiety and anticipation and 100 other things?  Whatever it is, give yourself a few minutes and reconnect.  Reconnect to the Holy Night that is coming and the Holy Night that has come.  Thanks to Adam Schmidt for our Musical Devotions this week.  Click HERE to enjoy them.

See you this weekend.



Lord, make this moment holy.  Amen

Be well, safe and blessed,
ps