The Pastor Challenge


The Pastor Challenge

The Assist Pregnancy Center's Walk-Run-Ride for Life is coming up in May and this year I am challenging myself in order to challenge all of you! I am challenging myself to ride a "Metric Century" (100 kilometers) in four hours, and if I can ride farther than I ever have at one time before, I challenge all of you to support me more than ever before. I set my goal this year at $5,000, and our team (Lutherans for Life) at $7,500! If I can do it, you can do it. Assist helps so many mothers and babies, and they are expanding their facility to help even more - and so need our help more than ever, especially coming out of this pandemic. So please help! CLICK HERE to go to my sponsor page to sponsor me, or you can sponsor anyone else who joins the team, or the team as a whole.

Will you step up to the challenge??

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Patience

One passage I have come to greatly appreciate from my years as a pastor is 2 Timothy 4:2:
Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. (ESV) 
Some like the verse because they especially like to "reprove and rebuke!" But why it has grown on me is the last bit Paul writes there: "with complete patience and teaching." The NIV translates that "with great patience and careful instruction." The Greek phrase is e˙n pa¿shØ makroqumi÷aˆ kai« didachØv.

It seems to me that the Greek preposition and adjective [e˙n pa¿sh] cover both nouns [makroqumi÷aˆ kai« didach] so that the meaning is "with all patience and with all teaching." Or if I may paraphrase that thought: teaching takes time and patience.

I was thinking about that as I read Acts chapter 2 again - the story of Pentecost. After the Holy Spirit comes upon the apostles, Peter preaches, the hearers are cut to the heart, and 3,000 are baptized that day. But just as that day of Pentecost is not the norm, so too that is not the way our preaching and teaching usually work. We want it to! But it takes time. Time for the Word of God to sink in. Time for the Holy Spirit to work. Time for people to consider what is being said. And so pastors need to be patient, and teach and teach and then teach some more, saying things in different ways and from different angles. For the Holy Spirit works when and where He pleases. The pastor is simply to preach the word. All of it. And let the Spirit work.

I should know that because it was true for me. When I went to the seminary, I was immersed in the study of theology and the Scriptures, everyday. Yet it took until about midway through my fourth year for the light to go on in my head and for me to finally get it; to finally get the big picture of God's graciousness and the Divine Service and the theology of the cross. But once it did, what joy! And if I'm that thick and need that much time, why should I expect others to get it quicker? Or the first time I say it?

Patience. Endurance. Steadfastness. Forbearance. That's the pastoral ministry. That's a pastor feeding the flock. Paul knew it, taught it to Timothy, and now is teaching it to us.

Monday, May 21, 2012

We're Back

Had a very nice weekend in New York. Very hectic, busy, and tiring, but very good. Everything went well and according to plan.


We stayed at the historic Hotel Pennsylvania, right across the street from Madison Square Garden. That was cool. (I am pictured with my brother and sister, along with Joanna, my youngest.)


On Saturday we spent the day walking around the city and doing various things, which included a visit to the 9-11 Memorial. Very nicely done. The funny thing was, the only time I got a knot in my stomach was when we approached the square and the church a block or two away from the actual site, for that is where most of my memories are from; where I visited and spoke to the workers and police and military personnel when I served as chaplain there. That was the moment it hit me that I was back. While in the Memorial (which, of course, was just a steaming pile the last time I had been there) it was peaceful and calm. Very well done. Sadly, I did not get to go into the church that served as the rest area for the workers - St. Paul's Church. It closed just before we got there. I was really hoping to go in and see it again.


And here is the Peasant family with the happy graduate! The ceremony took place at Radio City Music Hall, so that was pretty cool, too. And hopefully in a few years, those doctoral stripes will be on my sleeves! :-)  

Friday, May 18, 2012

New York, New York

Well, the Peasant family is off to New York today to attend my sister's graduation from Fordham Law School! It will be nice to have a weekend off to just relax and have some fun.

Hers is a good story. My sister went to school for music, got a bachelor and master's degree in music education, and was a private piano teacher for many years in Michigan. But she grew tired of the business and organizational aspects of it all, so shut it down and looked to do something else. She went to Manpower and got a job as a receptionist for a lawyer in Ann Arbor. After a while, she became less of a receptionist and more of a secretary. Then she decided she wanted to move to New York and be closer to family. So she did and got a job in the small New York office of a national corporate law firm, as a secretary. From there she began learning about the law and moving up, to a legal secretary, then to a paralegal, then to the highest paid paralegal in the firm - all self-taught. The lawyers encouraged her to go to law school, and she did. So for the past fours years, she has been working more-or-less full time and going to law school at night, while the New York office grew from two lawyers, to now 30! (She will be number 30.) So we're going to have a great weekend, celebrating her accomplishment and new life. I'll post a picture or two when we get back. Until then . . .

Thursday, May 17, 2012

0-513

The title of this post is how many votes were for and against President Obama's newest budget in the House and Senate combined.

For: 0 (that's zero, nada, nil, none, null, zippo)
Against: 513

Hmmmm.


Monday, May 14, 2012

50 Miles

On Saturday, Adam (a pastor friend of mine, who is soon leaving for Concordia-Irvine and a teaching position there) and I went for a long bike ride. We rode the whole length of what is called the Washington and Old Dominion Trail, from Purcellville, VA to Reagan National Airport - 50 miles! It was a very nice ride, though I was getting a little tired at the end.  :-)  We'll miss him and his family, but he's going to enjoy his new teaching position and will be a blessing to the folks out there.

Pastor Peasant at Gravelly Point,
at the end of the main runway at Reagan National Airport.
(If you look closely, you can see a plane coming in low for a landing in the background.)

Adam at the end of the W&OD Trail.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Good Weekend

What a good weekend we had as Dr. Dean Wenthe from our Ft. Wayne seminary was with us for our annual Good Shepherd Seminar. Click here to go to our web page where the audio has been posted. This is always a most enjoyable weekend for me as I get a chance to sit back and be fed - first at the seminar and then in the Divine Service as I get to sit and listen to the sermon. What a treat. The weekend always flies by so fast, though! Now to begin the thought process for who to invite next year . . .

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Preaching Challenges, Part Deux

To follow up on my post of yesterday, about the struggles that I seem to have every year to preach on Good Shepherd Sunday . . . it seems like this should be an easy Sunday to preach on, but for me it's not. I think this is so because I am conscious of how easy it is to preach an unchristian message this day. What do I mean by that? A sermon where the forgiveness of sins is not central. The picture of the Good Shepherd is one of feeding and care and rest - God is taking care of you, providing for you, and protecting you. That's all true, of course, but is it the Gospel? Is that not a sermon you could also hear in many other religions that are not Christian? Indeed, it is. So there must be more to the sermon than that. There must be the theology of the cross.

So the challenge I face each year is to take a true, but incomplete, picture of the Good Shepherd and expand it in the minds of my people, so that they think of the true care we receive from Christ in His death and resurrection and in the forgiveness of their sins. And I think that is where I have been a bit clumsy or challenged. This year I took the approach that we have a Good Shepherd, but He may not always seem good, because we don't always know what good is. Like when parents force their children to eat their vegetables - the child thinks that's horrible, but the parents know this is good. It is at those times when we think our Shepherd isn't being good that we are tempted to wander and look for greener pastures (Law). But even then, our Good Shepherd is good, leaving the 99 to go after the one and bring us back in forgiveness (Gospel).

So far, so good, I think. But notice - the cross still isn't there. Oh, yes, it's implicit in the forgiveness of sins, but it needs to be explicit. I could just add it - forgiveness earned and won for us on the cross, but that seems forced and artificial. Better, I think, to try here to use the analogy given in the Gospel of the satanic wolf and that Jesus stood between us and the wolf to save us from him; to save us from death. That works, but now notice that the cross still isn't linked to the atonement, but to rescuing us from death and satan. Again, true enough, and there's an implicit connection there . . . but can you see how I am having trouble tying the whole bundle together?

Anyway, I wonder if other pastors have similar problems on this or other weeks? The challenge isn't bad - it forces me to think and study and pray to proclaim the Word better, and that's all good. And as I said yesterday, it is a great comfort to know that the Spirit works through my meager and often clumsy proclamation. That's not an excuse for bad sermons! But it is a comfort. The harvest is His, and He will work. He promised.