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??

Monday, December 31, 2018

Reflecting . . .

Well, in my last post, I was looking forward to the week before Christmas and enjoying the days leading up to Christmas. That bubble got burst! I got some kind of head/throat malady that I am just now getting over. Uff-dah! I am really thankful I was a little ahead in my work, for I really needed it! Everything got done, all the services went well, but my nice, few, peaceful days will have to wait until next year!

But it was a very nice Christmas anyway. Having the whole family home and together was a blessing. My older daughter had her wisdom teeth taken out the week before Christmas, and so we were invalids together. :-)  Sadly, my father didn't really "get" Christmas this year. His sense of time is gone and he didn't realize it was Christmas. We had a couple of gifts for him, but he only opened one. That's okay, of course. Just a bit sad for us. He's slipping away. He still knows us. We still have good visits with him (most of the time). He'll be 95 this year! What a blessing to have this extra time with him.

His real Christmas gift this year was my children playing Christmas hymns on violin for him. We sat around on Christmas afternoon singing all the hymns he knew so well. He really liked that! Here's a picture of my two daughters playing for him . . .

Even my son played for him! He hadn't picked up a violin since he went off to college four years ago, but it came back to him pretty quickly. He did well! (No picture, though.)

Peasant family Christmas picture.

My sister was also able to come down from Connecticut and spend some time with us after Christmas. Like after Thanksgiving, we went to another Escape Room for a little fun. We went to a different place this time. It was quite different, we had less time, and this time, we did not get it done in the allotted time. We did pretty well, just not good enough. I think that given a little more time we would have gotten more of it figured out, but there was one thing at the end that just didn't seem fair to me that I don't know if we would have gotten or not. But anyway, we had fun.

I am also most grateful that in early December I had been contacted by Rev. Robert Rahn of the Lutheran Heritage Foundation to see if we would be interested in having him at our congregation the Sunday after Christmas. He would lead Bible class and preach and tell the story of the LHF and the work they are doing around the world to spread good Lutheran theology. Given my sickness and the fact that I was still recuperating after Christmas, what a help that was! And his presentations were well received by the congregation. A big thanks to him!

Now, time to ramp back up and get things going for 2019 . . .  :-)

Monday, December 17, 2018

Twas the Week Before Christmas . . .

One week until Christmas. Now, things calm down a bit for me! Is that backwards? I don't know. Yes, I still have Christmas shopping to do, but I don't worry about that too much. Most of the extra stuff I have to do is now done: annual report, annual meeting, open house, newsletter, cards, decorating, bulletins . . .  From Thanksgiving through the first half of Advent it is quite hectic. But now, things slow down and I really enjoy this part of Advent. A few sermons to write, but mostly, for me the stress is now off. Now, time to enjoy. :-)

A couple of other comments . . .

My prayer list is getting rather long! It always varies in size as people are added and removed, but it seems as if these days there is an unusual amount of people with troubles to pray for. I am glad to do so, but my heart breaks for them.

And two verses that jumped out at me this morning in Morning Prayer, both from Isaiah:

The fear of the Lord is Zion treasure. (Isaiah 33:6b)

For the Lord is our judge; the Lord is our lawgiver; the Lord is our king; he will save us. (Isaiah 33:22)

That first one is just plain cool. But that second one, think about it. We usually connect judge and lawgiving with condemnation, but here Isaiah is connecting them with saving. Hmmm . . .

Thursday, December 6, 2018

I wonder . . .

I watched a few minutes of George H.W. Bush's funeral today while I was eating lunch. The story was told of his service in World War II and the time he was shot down in the Pacific during a bombing run in 1944. Well . . . in 1944 my father was serving in the Pacific also, in a rescue squadron that would go out and look for downed airmen! So it is possible (although I do not have any evidence for it), that my father was looking for the pilot who had been shot down who later became the 41st president of the United States. How about that? Bush was eventually rescued by a submarine and taken to safety, but interesting to think of what might have been . . .  :-)

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Good Quote

My Elders and I have been reading through Grace Upon Grace: Spirituality for Today by John Kleinig. I had read this book before, but am enjoying reading it again and discussing it with my Elders. Here's a quote/thought I came across again that I really like, considering the communal aspect of prayer:
In our supplications, we, like Jesus, identify ourselves with others and stand together with them. With Christ we stand in for them by our petitions to God for them in their need. We are to act as if their needs are, in fact, our needs . . . as if their welfare is ours . . . as if their sins are ours . . . [and thank God] as if their blessings are ours. . . . This is an aspect of intercession that has received scant attention in recent times, but it was prominent both in Judaism and the Early Church. They believed that the Church was appointed to serve, together with the angels, as a single choir that voiced thanks and praise to God on behalf of the whole human race.

Escape Room

So I'm a little slow posting this . . . but the Friday after Thanksgiving my sister took us to an "escape room" in Alexandria. This is where you are locked in a room and have to find and figure out clues to escape. In our room there were a bunch of locked boxes that we had to figure out the clues to get the combinations to unlock them, and then find the pirate's gold. We needed a couple of hints (the people there said most groups need a little help) but then we started to get the hang of it and got it done with 3 minutes to spare! (They give you one hour to do it.) It was fun. I think she's going to try to find us another one to try after Christmas, since my wife was working and couldn't join us for this one.

Anyway, a couple of pictures . . .

The name of the place we went to.

Us with the opened chest of pirate's gold.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Catching Up

I know, I know, it's been a while since I posted. Life has been quite busy. Currently I have:

5 different catechism classes
2 campus ministries
3 Bible studies
A Mission Church start
A Doctoral dissertation
Circuit Visitor duties
And the regular church duties of meetings, visitations, web site updating, email devotions, newsletters, oh, and yeah, some sermons to write!
And might as well throw in yard work, house work . . .

So yeah, a little busy these days. :-)  But all good stuff! (Well, mostly good. Circuit Visitor has to deal with some not good stuff.)

But I do have a few pictures for you . . .

My youngest turned 13 this year! Instead of a cake, she got a cheesecake with blueberries and raspberries baked in. Yum!

The local squirrel enjoying our Halloween pumpkin.

And finally . . .

Our first snowfall of the year! It's not going to amount to much, and when the temps go up a bit it's going to turn to rain and wash away, but it's pretty now.  :-)

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Oops! She Did It Again!

Went to my daughter's symphony concert in Richmond last night . . .

She was Concertmaster last year for one of their concerts and was sure she'd never get it again! We made a bet: she said no, I said yes. Now lookin' forward to the pay off . . .  :-)

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

An Oldie But Goodie . . .

Been a while since I last blogged . . . catching up after vacation . . . trying to get going with my dissertation proposal . . . root canal . . . family and home stuff . . . always lots to do! But anyway, here's an oldie but a goodie for you, as I try to get back to some kind of normal with the ol' blog here!
The flesh is the hinge of salvation. . . . The flesh, then, is washed so that the soul may be made clean. The flesh is anointed so that the soul may be dedicated to holiness. The flesh is signed so that the soul may be fortified. The flesh is shaded by the imposition of hands so that the soul may be illuminated by the Spirit. The flesh feeds on the body and blood of Christ so that the soul too may feed on God. They cannot, then, be separated in their reward, when they are united in their works.
~ Tertullian, Resurrection of the Flesh

Monday, August 20, 2018

Vacation - Philly Pics

I promised some pictures from Philadelphia from my wife's camera . . .

Pat's Cheesesteaks for lunch, of course!

Inside of one of the "spurs" of the Eastern State Penitentiary.

Outside the Penitentiary, in the courtyard.
(The headphones are for the audio tour as you walked around.)

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Vacation - Home and Past Home

So our time out west came to an end. Thursday morning was one last day at Capitol Reef and then the drive to Salt Lake City for our flight home. A couple last pictures . . .

We had the red eye out of Salt Lake, which left at about 11 pm (MT). That got us into Orlando about 5:30 am (ET), and then our flight back to Washington and transport home, so we got home late morning. 

But lo! Vacation was not yet over! We still had a couple more days, so after doing a couple loads of laundry and repacking a little, we loaded up the car and drove to Philadelphia. That's why I entitled this post "home and past home." We came to our current home and then drove to our past home - Philadelphia. We spend our last two nights there going to an old used book store we liked to frequent, going to a Phillies game (they won!), and also going to Eastern State Penitentiary - one of the first penitentiaries in the United States. We'd been wanting to go for a while, but never had the chance. I don't have the pictures right now, but will post some if I get them from my wive's camera. The picture I do have is of the game we went to . . .

Daughter Peasant and I with a replica of the 1980 World Series trophy.

Our Sunday in Philadelphia, we went to church at the National Mission sight there, Logos Lutheran Church. I know the pastor - he's a good guy. :-)

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Vacation - One More National Park

Wednesday morning of our second week, we rose somewhat early to go back to Bryce and get one more hike in before having to depart for our last National Park. We went to see the Tower Bridge. Like one of the other trails we had taken yesterday, this one was a significant descent into the canyon, and then (of course) a significant climb to get back out! But we did well. Here is what the Tower Bridge is . . .

As the Ranger explained to us, it looks like the Tower of London. Indeed, it does!

The other thing about Bryce is that it had some cool trees, especially the different kinds of pine tree. But take a look at this one!

There were lots of these "twisted" trees.

And maybe just a couple last photos to share from Bryce . . .

And then it was on to our last stop out West, Capitol Reef National Park.

Now, I have to admit, after seeing Canyonlands, Arches, Mesa Verde, Zion, and Bryce . . . well, I didn't "get" Capitol Reef. All the others have some outstanding feature, but Capitol Reef doesn't. It has a whole lot of different things. Not that it didn't have cool stuff - it did. But it was the hardest for me to understand and wrap my mind around. After we took a Ranger-led hike on Thursday morning it made a bit more sense to me, but I have to admit, this was my least favorite of all the parks we went to. Still glad I went, though!

Can you tell where the river is?!

The thing the Ranger said is significant about Capitol Reef is that there are 19 rock layers that have been exposed, giving geologists a lot to study. It is by far the most in one place for study like this.

Tomorrow: Last Couple of Days

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Vacation - Bryce Canyon

Tuesday morning, after one last hike in Zion, we headed out to our next destination: Bryce Canyon National Park.

I didn't know what to expect at Bryce - all the descriptions and brochures I had seen were pretty vague. But wow! It was simply stunning and very cool. The views were great. As we walked around the rim of the canyon, each time you look out from a different perspective you saw different features and shapes.

Some views from the top:

The vertical rock formations are called "hoodoos." A few more perspectives:

Yes, it's a long way down!

So after walking around the top and admiring all of it, we decided to hike down into the canyon and get a view from below:

This formation was called "Twin Bridges." Guess you can figure out why!

How cool is this?

The park had a challenge called "Hike the Hoodoos" to go on a number of hikes and find the medallion markers on the trails to show that you had done them. The challenge was to find three (I think there were six total). We did it! Our selfies with the medallions as proof:

After a long day, time to eat and rest. Again, not much around out here, so we stayed in more rustic accommodations. :-)

Tomorrow: More Bryce, and one last park to go.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Vacation - Zion

So because Zion National Park is so popular, you cannot drive around in it - you must take the tram they have at the Visitor's Center. OK, that doesn't sound so bad . . .

So after a long Sunday we didn't sleep in on Monday morning, but we didn't rush either. But by the time we got to the Visitor's Center, we had to wait some 30 minutes or so in line for the tram. So yes, the stories are true of its being crowded!

But pretty impressive, too! One of the things that amazed me were how different all these parks have been - Canyonlands, Arches, Mesa Verde, and now Zion - all so very different in their features. For Zion, it was the soaring mountains and cliffs. Some pictures . . .

The three white peaks here are "the Three Patriarchs" - Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (Jacob is kind of hidden behind the browner peak in front of him.)

We had so many parks to see in a limited amount of time, that we only had a day or so in each one. So with Zion, many of the hikes they have are on the longer and more difficult side, so we weren't able to do as many as we might have liked. Also, they had some rock slides recently, shutting down 3 or 4 of the trails. Here's one of them:

You can see where the trail picks up again on the far side of this picture, after the large rocks that have obliterated the trail! It's going to take them some time to figure out the best way to clear these are re-open things.

We went back again on Tuesday morning to finish up our time at Zion - this time we woke up early and got in line before six, to get the first tram. We did, but we weren't the first ones there! So on Tuesday morning, we hiked up to the section called the "Narrows," and then it was time to head out to our next destination . . .

See Daughter Peasant in the foreground?

Another friend right outside the Visitor Center.

Tomorrow: Wow!