Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Devotion 10.3.18


Two Announcements:
1.       We’re going to have a Men’s Ministry Fellowship and Planning meeting Tuesday, Oct. 9th from 6:30-8:15.  “Happy Hour” from 6:30-7:30 and business at 7:30.  We’re going to enjoy the hospitality of the Baldner Home. Bring a beverage to share.
2.       Another Chance to Serve- One of our members, Terry Nielsen, has to make a move to Seattle to live closer to her daughter after a series of health issues.  She needs a couple of men to help Saturday at 9 am.  Please contact us to let us know you can help!

So now Dez Bryant is hinting that he’d like to come back to the Cowboys.  What do you think about that?

Should a team take a player back, especially after some rather divisive moments?

9293C8DE

They say politics makes strange bedfellows. Sometimes sports does as well.  Players have certainly returned to teams before.  And the Mavericks actually welcomed Deandre Jordan to the team this year after the infamous free agency rejection a few years ago.

What does this look like within the church?

Sometimes people walk away from a church too.  Sometimes they simply become less involved.  In other cases, they get mad and start going to other churches, or quit going to church altogether.  What do we do in these cases?  Do we go after them?  Do we let them be?  How do we feel about people who leave our “team”?

There’s certainly a place for boundaries in relationships, even in churches, but one of the themes that resonates throughout the Scriptures, and especially in the parables of Jesus, is the theme of welcoming and pursuing God’s children.  Think about the Lost Sheep or the Prodigal Son.  Maybe you’re at church and you notice you haven’t seen someone in a while.   Could God be putting it on your heart to bring them back to the “team”?  Say a prayer, reach out, and let them know you were thinking of them recently and missed them.  We can be a church that welcomes the newcomer as well as those who are missing.


Blessings!
Dan Borkenhagen
Associate Pastor
Hope Lutheran Church & School

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Devotion 10.2.18


Two Announcements:
1.       We’re going to have a Men’s Ministry Fellowship and Planning meeting Tuesday, Oct. 9th from 6:30-8:15.  “Happy Hour” from 6:30-7:30 and business at 7:30.  We’re going to enjoy the hospitality of the Baldner Home. Bring a beverage to share.
2.       Another Chance to Serve- One of our members, Terry Nielsen, has to make a move to Seattle to live closer to her daughter after a series of health issues.  She needs a couple of men to help Saturday at 9 am.  Please contact us to let us know you can help!

One of the most glorious moments of my youth football career happened at practice.

That may sound strange but it’s true.  Kids would remind me of that event the next couple of years.  We were doing a standard blocking drill where the coach was holding a blocking dummy.  Everyone was standing in a line in front of him and they would run up to him and give him a good block and then return to the back of the line.  Our coach was a large guy.  He must have close to 300 pounds and he had that impressive coach presence.  My turn came and 7th grade Dan (not much over 100 lbs) came up to him and hit the dummy with everything I had. . . . 

And the coach fell backwards onto the ground!  There was an audible gasp.  I ran towards the back of the line and turned when I heard, “Borkenhagen!!!”

I was nervous.  Coach was standing up again and staring at me.  Then he turned towards the rest of the players and said, “That boys is how you do it.  That’s how you practice.  Good job Borkenhagen.”

After the shock wore off, I felt a glow of pride.  The point was that I’d practiced the way you also played the game.  With everything you’ve got.  Because if you practice the right way, not 50%, not 75%, but 100%, then that will impact what happens when the game is on.

We know that of football, but do we ever think of faith in that way . . . ?

Martin Luther talked about 3 parts to the faith life.  Oratio, Meditatio, and Tentatio.  Oratio basically means prayer/worship.  Meditatio essentially means meditation/devotions.  Tentatio means testing.  The idea was simple.  We form ourselves during our prayer/worship life and in our study of Scripture.  And if we really soak up everything God has for us in these elements, then when the testing comes in life, we will have the strength for whatever we face. 

It makes me think of Ephesians 6 where Paul says to put on the whole armor of God, including prayer and Scripture, so that you can take your stand against the Devil.  If we “practice” hard and push ourselves in worship, prayer, and Scripture, then we’ll be ready for whatever hits the Devil and the world send our way and we’ll be able to “hit back”.  Maybe we’ll even knock them back on their butts sometime!  So let this devotion be one element of your practice today, but find more opportunities as well.

Blessings!
Dan Borkenhagen
Associate Pastor
Hope Lutheran Church & School

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Devotion 9.4.18


Are you ready for some football?

8187F7F

I’m guessing most of you remember this well-loved intro to Monday Night Football.  The music and that phrase on the tv beckoned football fans to the end of Monday by relaxing in front of the tv for what they hoped would be a marquee matchup.  It was the great reward for surviving Monday.  And especially at the beginning of the fall, you were ready for some good football games after surviving a summer without.

Whether you prefer college, professional, or even high school, there is a certain yearning in many of us for the football season to return.  There are other things that we yearn for in life, often of differing value.  When we’ve been away from home (as we examined in the summer series), we can’t way to get back.  When our family is away, we look forward to seeing them again.  When the day is crazy and you haven’t gotten to sit down and eat a real meal, how good does a nice home cooked meal sound!

So what should we yearn for spiritually?  There’s any number of answers, but the passage that comes to my mind is this one:

And this is the word that was preached to you.    Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good (1 Peter 1:25-2:3)

We should yearn for the Gospel!  What is that?  It literally means, “Good News”.  It is the good news that we and others are forgiven, and we should yearn to see that applied more and more to our lives.  So, we should also yearn to get rid of malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander.  We crave good, forgiving news and those things suck that out of our lives.  So when we see any of those popping up, we need to tap into that craving and bring God’s Word, his good news, and his forgiveness back into our life.  When you feel those emotions, grab God’s Word on your phone.  Go to a memorized verse, and let it speak to you. 
This is what we yearn for.  Football is great, but this makes life even better!

Blessings!
Dan Borkenhagen
Associate Pastor
Hope Lutheran Church & School

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Devotion 8.29.18


How many times have you driven and seen this picture in front of you? . . .  Long stretches of lonely roads.  Whether you’re on the trip by yourself, or your family is listening to music or asleep, there’s nothing but you and the road for all practical purposes.  What do you do with those quiet times?  There’s a lot of reflection involved isn’t there.

4D7DC0CB

In the spiritual disciplines people often speak about silence and solitude.  The normal way most people think of that is special retreats or prayer times when a person is absolutely quiet and tries not speak.  Times where a person tries to get away from other people.  There is certainly some real benefit to that, but in and of itself, simply being quiet or away from people is not the aim of the spiritual disciplines. 

After all you, you can be on a quiet road but then try to distract yourself with what’s coming up next, where you’re going to stop to eat, what you’re going to see, music, talk radio, and what you have to do when you get back to work.  Not very silent anymore is it, even if you’re not talking!

In the practice of silence and solitude, it is good to get away from others, and to take time to quiet your voice, but the point is that as we’re silent, we’re waiting for God to speak. And as we’re away from others, we realize that we’re with God.

And it’s even more than that!

Silence and solitude is us opening up to God and his control in those moments and letting him show us who we really are.  In the book, Mulholland focuses on the story of Jacob.  If you remember it, Jacob isn’t a great guy.  He’s tried to control everything in his life, manipulating his family and especially his brother to ensure himself a prosperous future.  It doesn’t work out well and he has to run for his life.  On his way out of town, he is absolutely alone, and God speaks to him on the famous “stairway to heaven”.  But even there, when he is alone with God, Jacob tells God that he’ll accept him as God as long as God prospers him (Gen. 28:20).  Jacob still wants to be in control.  During his many years in “exile” Jacob manipulates his relatives to gain prosperity and again must run away.  Now he has no options.  He can’t stay where he was and he’s on his way home toward a brother who has sworn to kill him.  Then in the middle of the night when he’s all alone again, God wrestles with Jacob (Gen. 32) and Jacob admits who he is to God; he’s been a manipulator, but he realizes God is in control. And he’s ok with that.  It’s at this point there’s a real change in Jacob.  God is in control, Jacob realizes who he’s been, and he starts to let God make changes in his life.

That’s what silence and solitude can do.  When we encounter God because we’re alone and quiet, we can start to work through who we are, but more importantly, whose we are.  We are God’s and as we let him take more control, he starts to show us a better path.

So whether it’s the next time you’re on a lonely road, or you set aside some time for silence and solitude as a part of the disciplines you embrace, let it be a time where God is really the one in control of the conversation.

Blessings!
Dan Borkenhagen
Associate Pastor
Hope Lutheran Church & School

Monday, August 20, 2018

Devotion 8.20.18


Think about a time when you went on vacation and experienced culture shock.  You know, one of those, “I’m clearly not from here” experiences…  You don’t understand the people, the practices, maybe even the language.  The experience can be as big as traveling across the world or can be found in smaller ways right here within the United States too.

Image result for culture shock

Worship, one of the spiritual disciplines, should act as a form of culture shock for each of us.  That might surprise you. After all, many of us have grown up going to church!  Yet, we spend the majority of our lives living in a world that does not share the same values as church. There can be similar values, but there is so much that we absorb every day from our media, work, friends, politicians, and more that is an altogether different and broken culture. When we enter into worship, we’re stepping out of that world and its brokenness and literally entering into God’s Kingdom here on earth.  We’re taking time to move our focus completely onto God and meeting him.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Rom. 12:1-2)

When we’re on a trip and experience culture shock the challenge is for us to start exploring the new culture and seeing what we can learn from it.  Each week we should come to worship with our eyes expecting some little “shocks” from what we’ve been immersed in all week in the world’s culture.  So open yourself up, come to church, and expect to hear something different and good that will help you remember your citizenship in His Kingdom.

Blessings!
Dan Borkenhagen
Associate Pastor
Hope Lutheran Church & School

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Devotion 8.16.18





This is a picture of the Udvar Hazy Air and Space Museum just outside of Washington DC.  It’s full of an incredible array of air and spacecraft, including some very famous planes and shuttles.  When we went there this last spring, we only had a couple of hours to take it all in.  It’s interesting to compare my wife’s instincts with mine (and this would be true in most museums we visited).   If you want to know what I was doing, look in the lower left side of this picture.

Image result for udvar hazy visitors

I wanted to soak up as much information as possible. So, as we went through I was reading as many signs as I could.  I’d look up at the plane, glider, missile, rocket, or shuttle, and then look down and read as much as I possibly could before we moved on to the next exhibit.  My wife, on the other hand, wanted to see as much as possible.  She wanted to soak up all the sights.  And again, this was true not just at this museum, but at the art museum, history museum, and all the other places we visited.  Now don’t get me wrong, I looked, and my wife read too, but my instinct was to get information and her instinct was to experience it.

When we’re reading Scripture, the same thing can happen to us.  Reading the Bible is an important discipline of the faith, but sometimes our instinct is to just search it for information. And that’s ok for certain purposes.  It’s good to read, break it apart, figure out what other places in the Bible something is connected to, examine how the arguments are laid our or the story is formed, but in reading for information, we can’t stop there.  We also need to read for the experience of transformation. We need to be in the story, in the words, and let them form us.  Read it like we’re listening to God talking to us -because he is!

To take the metaphor from this trip, we need to step back from the informational sign and really look at the exhibit itself.  Remember, “God’s Word is alive and active” (Heb. 4:12)

Blessings!
Dan Borkenhagen
Associate Pastor
Hope Lutheran Church & School

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Devotion 8.14.18


Have you ever had a trip where your kid was talking… and talking… and talking…

The talking kept winding around from topic to topic with no seeming end or goal in mind. Sometimes it’s funny, but sometimes it can be exhausting.

The question is- what’s the goal of the conversations on a trip?  So often in our world we are rather results oriented.  We come at so many parts of life, including trips and conversations, with a specific result in mind or the assumption we need to get to some action.  The reality is, however, that conversation is often more about relationships than it is about results.

The same is true of our prayer life.  Often, we come into prayer and we have some goals in mind.  I’m going to talk to God about… because what I’m hoping will happen is….  But while God wants us to speak to him about everything that is on our hearts and minds, the goal shouldn’t really be getting God to do some specific action.  The point of the spiritual discipline of prayer is relationship.  The more we speak to God the more we understand him and his work in our lives.  We will sense him as truly our Father and feel a deep sense of belonging to him.  We will lift our prayers to him, not just to ask him for something, but because we know he wants to talk to us and we just want to talk to him.

And in an interesting way, the more we speak to him in prayer, the more he often puts in our minds ways we can be his agents on earth to accomplish that which we’re praying about in some way.  Remember, Luther explained, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done” by saying that God’s will and kingdom will come with or without our prayer, but that these petitions express that we want more of his will and kingdom to come in our lives too.

So, the next time you hear a kid jabbering away, smile, and appreciate the relationship, the trust, the love they’re building with you.  And the next time you come into prayer, smile a little, and think of yourself as the child opening up to their dad, talking not just to get to a goal, but because you enjoy speaking with your dad.

Blessings!

Dan Borkenhagen
Associate Pastor
Hope Lutheran Church & School