Thank You for Your Kind Birthday Greetings

Van+Gogh+treeThank you so much for your thoughtful birthday greetings. It means more than you could know. The world of Facebook has changed the way we do this, hasn’t it? But I rather like it. I know I can interact with more people who mean so much to me. I say again, with utmost sincerity, Thank you!

A birthday reminds me of life: a natural life and a new forever life in Christ. My identity is no longer shaped by my first natural birth, but a second supernatural one. Thus, I praise God for Christ, for a family who follows Christ, for dear friends, saintly colleagues, beloved students, and precious parishioners (once I am your pastor, God may call me to another part of His field, but I gather you in my heart like a bouquet of colorful flowers from the meadow and never let you go; so I don’t say “former parishioner”). There are, also, those who share their sentiments from afar. We are most appreciative and hope that the Word of the Lord preached, taught, or written in music ministers the life of the risen Jesus in you.

I dedicate this day to the Christ who plucked me from the pit of life without God and gave me hope and meaning, to know a life in Him with purpose. And I cling to this passage this day:

Galatians 2:20-21—I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

I have faced some health challenges over the past few years that I trust have shaped me to be more intentional in ministry to those who suffer. I hope so. I am much better (thanks be to God and thanks to my wife and son and our family). Your prayers have been effectual unto life and ministry.

Thank you so much for your kindness to me in writing and sharing your note, reminding me of the Savior who never lets us go.

Yours Faithfully,

Mike (and Mae)

Music and Time

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The Preacher wrote in Ecclesiastes, “for everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). The divinely employed author of Ecclesiastes seems to be calling us to see something else at work in the seasons and all of the matters of life. It is only God himself is able […]

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The Campaign of Repentance

Dunwich, JMW Turner, 1830.

I was stirred by the one word in the Collect: “Grant, O Lord, that we may begin with holy fasting this campaign [my emphasis] of Christian service, so that, we take up battle against spiritual evils, and we may be armed with weapons of self-restraint. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and […]

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Follow Your Call: Praying for those who will hear

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He’s in Control: A Song for Windy Days

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Cyber Pilgrimages for Spiritual Growth

Southern scenery. In and arournd New Berne [New Bern], N.C.; (1865?-1903); Rufus Morgan, Photographer; Stephen A. Schwarzman Building / Photography Collection, Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs.

Older generations journeyed on pilgrimages to sites that nourished spiritual life. Today, I am thankful that the while the means of growth in grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ remain unchanged and unchanging—Word, Sacrament, and Prayer—the expression (and resources) of those means is always adapting, expanding, and deepening. Recently I have been greatly blessed by several sites […]

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No Religion is an Island: Thoughts on our Present Situation

Abraham Joshua Heschel

A prophet is one whose vision transcends time. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel is one of those. I read Heschel this morning. In his essay, “No Religion is an Island,” Rabbi Heschel wrote about the cobeligerance of Biblical religion in the face of “paganism.” Though writing about the Enlightenment’s attack against Biblical fideism it is equally applicable to […]

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Present Joy in Future Hope: A Letter on Pastoral Ministry

The Hay Cart, Franz Roubaud (1856-1928).

Dr. D. James Kennedy used to tell me that the pastor must love three things more than all others: God, God’s Word, and God’s People. I believe his admonition of these simple and profound intuitive desires came from a singular passion stirred in the heart of the pastor by God Himself. I believe that these […]

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Jesus the Christ

Dore+Jesus teaching

Our site was hacked by an Algerian-based group claiming to be ISIS. They said that they took over our site in retaliation for the recent, well-publicized publication in Paris. We are thankful that we are back and running. In honor of the resilience of the FBI (who has taken control of the server where this happened) […]

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Cranmer’s Prayer on Epiphany

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O GOD, which by the leading of a starre diddest manifest thy onelye begotten sonne to the Gentiles; Mercifully graunt, that we, which know thee now by faith, may after this life have the fruicion of thy glorious Godhead; through Christe our Lorde. — Thomas Cranmer (2 July 1489 – 21 March 1556; Collect for Epiphany, […]

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