Wednesday, December 31, 2008

+ Rev. Andrew Elisa +

This just received from the Lutheran Heritage Foundation:

Dear Friends in Mission,

It is with a heavy heart that I write to tell you of the earthly passing of our good friend and brother in the ministry, Rev. Andrew Elisa. Of course, we do not mourn as unbelievers who have no hope. Our sadness is tempered by Andrew's joy as he enters into the presence of God.

As many of you know, Rev. Elisa was the bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Sudan (ELCS). He died today at the Nairobi Hospital in Kenya, Africa.

For more details, please go to the LHF website (; there's a link to his obituary at the right-hand side of the home page.

Please keep Andrew's wife, Linda, and their four children in your prayers. Also pray that the Lord might raise up other faithful leaders for the young ELCS.

"Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on! Yes, says the Spirit, let them rest from their hard work, for what they have done accompanies them." Rev. 14:13

Sunday, December 28, 2008

What to do?

My last post was entitled Christmas Joy - perhaps I "spoke" too soon. I received in the mail yesterday a letter from two dearly loved members of my flock that they are leaving our church for another confession. Being in a small congregation (and perhaps pastors in larger congregations feel this too), this kind of news always hits me hard. Perhaps this is something of what Mary felt - the mix of joy and sadness of which Simeon spoke.

So what to do? I can't ignore it, I can't change it, and I know that our Lord is watching over His flock, so what to do? Thinking about that this morning, I have determined to reach out - to call pastors I know and encourage them. Pastors who I know go through the same joy and sadness that I go through. I can encourage them and preach to them of Christ's love for His church and for them, and through my preaching, perhaps even "convince" myself.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Joy

I am so glad the Christmas season begins on Christmas and runs for 12 days! Why? Because for me, Christmas joy comes after the Divine Service on Christmas Day. As much as I love the services and the privilege and opportunity to preach about the incarnation of our Lord, I cannot unwind and relax until those services are over. My mind is too caught up in the details and making sure things are ready. Then I come home and reflect on what I preached, on the significance of it all, and rejoice with my family - the greatest gift God has given to me, after His Son.

So Merry Christmas, one and all! And if you are so inclined, my Christmas sermons have been posted on our church blog (see link of the left) and will soon be on the church web site, with audio.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Well Pleased

Took the GRE for (hopefully) grad school yesterday. I am well pleased with how I did: 710 verbal and 740 quantitative. I did not expect that high. Hopefully these might get me some financial aid! The writing evaluation scores will come later. My application is now complete - now I just have to wait for their admission decision. For those of you who do not know, I am applying for admission (part time) to the PhD program at Catholic University in DC to study Liturgical and Sacramental Theology. I am going to try to be a father, husband, pastor, and student all at the same time. We'll see if I can do it.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Benefits of the Internet

One of the great things about the internet is during seasons such as this - so many resources and great discoveries are posted by folks for us to read, ponder, and use. For example, read this and this. These will undoubtedly show up in my sermons this year!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I just learned this week that a brother pastor of mine is resigning his call and resigning from the Office of the Holy Ministry. I do not know all the details and why he reached this conclusion, though I know things have been difficult for him and his church lately. This morning I wrote him a letter to thank him for his years of faithful service. I wish I could have been more of a support for him. His church and our church body will miss him.

Yet he is not the only one. Others have resigned and will resign, for a variety of reasons. Pastors and churches will always face the assaults of the evil one - assaults directed at us both outwardly and inwardly. It is not easy being a pastor or a Christian. So, please pray for your pastor and all pastors. Encourage them and support them. They need it. And we need them.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Practicing What I Preach

This Wednesday night is the first of our Advent Evening Prayer services. However, it is also the night of my son's first Middle School Orchestra concert. So what to do? I am doing what I should do: being a father first and going to the concert. I have a friend who is an Air National Guard Chaplain in the area, who will fill in for me for the service.

Do I feel a little strange about this? Indeed, I do. It will seem wrong for me to be at the concert, though I know it isn't. And I know I need to do more of this. Pastor's children often have it tough, and try as I might, I know I often fail to be the father to them that I should. I am thankful for their forgiveness for me, and for my congregation's support in letting me go. I know many congregations that wouldn't. I am thankful for the good people of St. Athanasius!

One thing my pastor told me before I got married, that has stuck with me ever since - though as I said above, I do not always do what I should! - he said: "You're a father first, a pastor second. The church can always get another pastor, but your children have only one father." Amen. So Wednesday night I will not be at church, but enjoying and supporting my son.

And thank you, Lord, for my family.