Monday, April 1, 2019

Devotion 4.1.19

We’ve started a new series focused on the Lenten theme or repentance.  

Sometimes it’s easy to distance ourselves from idolatry when we read the Bible.

10 “Thus shall you say to them: “The gods who did not make the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under the heavens.”…. Every man is stupid and without knowledge; every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols; for his images are false, and there is no breath in them. They are worthless, a work of delusion; t the time of their punishment they shall perish.  Not like these I she who is the portion of Jacob, for he is the one who formed all things, and Israel is the tribe of his inheritance; the LORD of hosts is his name. (Jer. 10:11-16)


But when we pay a little more attention, we can find many in our lives.

What things in our lives do we put a ton of value on, but they will perish form the earth….?
What things do we emphasize that have no breath in them- placing things over people….?
When we have to make a decision, will we make time for the LORD of hosts or for _______  What wins?

We have a lot to repent for-
The good news is that we have that living God who formed us and who calls us his inheritance.  He doesn’t give up on his children.
He is the LORD of hosts and powerful to save.  Powerful enough to save us from all these idols by his work on the cross.      

Dan Borkenhagen
Associate Pastor
Hope Lutheran Church & School

Monday, March 25, 2019

Devotion 3.25.19

We’ve started a new series focused on the Lenten theme or repentance.  

What responsibility do you have for the repentance of others?

Have you ever thought of this before?  Our Old Testament lesson this week made me think about it.
“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked person, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the wicked person to turn from their ways and they do not do so, they will die for their sin, though you yourself will be saved.10 “Son of man, say to the Israelites, ‘This is what you are saying: “Our offenses and sins weigh us down, and we are wasting away because of them. How then can we live?”’ 11 Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the SovereignLord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! (Ezek. 33:7-11)

What this makes incumbent on us is speaking to those with whom we have influence.  To those family, friends, and even fellow church members we know who are stuck in sin, we have a role in speaking to them of repentance. It’s a task that can be intimidating.

But it’s also a task that doesn’t need to be us getting in someone’s face either.  After all, what we’re trying to talk to people about is two options- stay stuck in sin (and the consequences they’re likely facing or going to face) or make changes and enjoy life more.  Find that which is fuller and far more peaceful.

Now sometimes people are enjoying their sins.  And we may have to say a hard word in those cases.  Or we may need to wait until they face some consequences and are open to God’s Word for them.
In those difficult situations, pray, pray, and pray more for God to give you wisdom.

Dan Borkenhagen
Associate Pastor
Hope Lutheran Church & School

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Devotion 8.18.19

This is probably odd for a men’s devotion, but I want to start by asking you to reflect on this image and story of a woman.

Image result for woman dry jesus feet hair
36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”
40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,[a] and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet.47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (Luke 7:36-50)

What makes her a great example of repentance?

She’s not even saying anything, but the heart of repentance is evident in not only her desire to be forgiven, but also in her actions which show she is willing to do anything for forgiveness.  No cost is too much.  No action, not even using her feet to dry a person’s feet, is too lowly for her.  She obviously wants to create some real change in life.

This may be a story about a woman, but I think it has a lot to inform us as men.  When God calls us to repentance, which is a daily walk, he asks us to count the cost.  And as we do so, to daily remind ourselves that there is no cost too great for that which we will receive in repentance. 

Dan Borkenhagen
Associate Pastor
Hope Lutheran Church & School

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Devotion 3.7.19

We’re starting a new series this week focused on the Lenten theme or repentance.  
A reminder that this Saturday is 2nd Saturday Men’s Breakfast.  Great breakfast tacos, great guys, and even greater building up of the faith.  8:30 AM at Rudy’s

Have you ever had something so troubling happen that you felt it in your gut…?
But it was also on your mind all the time….
Put you an emotional roller coaster…
And depressed your spirit…

We all know David has a life full of ups and downs.  Some weren’t his fault.  Others definitely were.  The Bible makes it clear that he was a sinful man.  And David doesn’t hide from his sins.  In Psalm 6 he gets real about how he’s feeling the weight of his wrongdoing in his body, in his mind, and on his soul.
Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath.
Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint; heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony.
My soul is in deep anguish. How long, Lord, how long?
Turn, Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love.
Among the dead no one proclaims your name.  Who praises you from the grave?
I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears.My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes.

The beauty of repentance, and the deep repentance of the kind that David is doing, is that when your heart is poured out to God, you can come to a place where you say things like this…
Away from me, all you who do evil, for the Lord has heard my weeping.
The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer.

David has gone deep in repentance and he comes back up, like a person bursting up out water, and he takes a deep breath full of God’s mercy and forgiveness.  A deep breath that fills him back up and soothes his body, his mind, and his soul.

Don’t be afraid to go deep in repentance today as you talk to God, but make sure you take a huge gulp of grace too!

Dan Borkenhagen
Associate Pastor
Hope Lutheran Church & School

Devotion 3.6.19

We’re going to start a new series today, focused on the season of Lent.  Our district president, Rev. Newman has asked that churches start today with a day of repentance and so I’m going to start a series about repentance with his thoughts for this day.  What you read below comes from his words.
A reminder that this Saturday is 2nd Saturday Men’s Breakfast.  8:30 AM at Rudy’s- make it your first, make it your return to the group, just make it so you can hear God’s Words to you through the fellowship of brothers in the faith!

Having a day of repentance wasn’t my idea. It originated with one of the founders of our church, Dr. C.F.W. Walther. During every year of his ministry, as was customary from old European church-year traditions, Walther called his congregation and our church body to dedicate a day to repentance, a return to God’s ways, a course correction for individuals and the whole church.
Why repentance? Not because it earns God’s favor. Not because it makes us look pious and religious. No, repentance is a gift of God designed to bring us back home to His grace and wholeness. God beckoned His precious people in Isaiah 44: “Remember these things, O Jacob, and Israel, for you are my servant; I formed you; you are my servant; O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me. I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you.” Is. 44:21–22
Repentance slays selfish pride, turns us from sin’s siren call, quiets arrogant arguments, tames out-of-control egos, pulls us back from distraction, leads us to restoration of relationships, places us on the pathway of walking with God, and restores our hearts with compassion and grace.
We need this personally. We need this as schools and congregations. We need this as a district. We need this as a synod. We need this as Christ’s Church.
“God sows his heavenly seed upon our field more than anywhere else. So he expects that it will also have an abundant harvest among us, more than anywhere else in the world. God has diligently dunged and dug around the roots of the tree of our church as none other on the earth, so he seeks, therefore, a richer yield than from any other church in Christianity” (Joel R. Baseley, Tr., Occasional Sermons and Addresses of Dr. C.F.W. Walther, Dearborn, MI, Mark V Publications, 2008, 76).
Those are remarkable words for our little corner of God’s Kingdom, but as we repent, as we are turned away from ourselves and back to the One who formed us and forgave us, we will see Him accomplish more than we can ask for or imagine.
Joining you in repentance,
President Newman

Questions for Reflection that may help you on March 6th:

Read Acts 11:17-18. What is the source of repentance?
Read Daniel 9:3-19. What do you notice in Daniel’s prayer of repentance that guides you in your repentance?
Read Jeremiah 3:11-12. What do Jeremiah’s words teach you about God’s heart as you repent?
Read Acts 3:19-20. The purpose of repentance is to make us “hunger and thirst for mercy” (C.F.W. Walther, The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel, CPH 1929, 253). What does God promise us when we repent of our sins?
Read Matthew 3:4-8. What, by God’s grace, follows repentance? How might this look in your life and in your congregation?
Prayer starter: Read Matthew 12:20-21 and thank God for His patience and mercy through Jesus our Savior. Share with God how you see Him leading you to change and grow in your life of faith and in your love for others.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Devotion 3.4.19

When you think of manhood, who comes to your mind?  Who do you picture . . . ?

No picture with this devotion is provided - I want you to really imagine something.  A person, maybe even a place or an object.  Maybe there are a few images that come to mind.

Why do these things come to your mind?  And given the devotions we’ve studied the last couple of weeks that discuss manhood through the lens of “king”, “warrior”, “magician”, and “lover” what would some good images be.  And when I say that, I  mean what are some mature images that are associated with these types of manhood?

Part of the struggle we have is that it’s one thing to reflect on being a mature man, but during our day we’re assaulted by a million things which challenge that. We have coworkers who belittle or betray us.  We have kids that talk back. We have media that surround us showing immature men or tempt us to go places in our minds that betray our values.  So what do we do in the midst of this struggle?

One technique mentioned in the book is to put an image squarely in our mind that is mature.  Maybe even to pair that image up with a phrase.  To borrow an earlier illustration, maybe you imagine General Patton and hear in your mind the phrase, “We are not holding anything, we are constantly advancing.”  So when the day is overwhelming you from a million directions and the instinct to pull back comes, you imagine Patton, you see his face, and you hear that quote, and you remember that God would not have you retreat, he would have you look the challenges you’re facing in the eye and strategically decide what you’re taking on next, where you’re advancing.

This is the concept of invoking and imagining.  Each of the traits we’ve mentioned have Scriptures I’ve associated with them and you can find others.  (e.g. for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Tim. 1:7)   Memorize just a few and put some image with them, so that when you feel that side of yourself challenged, you’re prepared and you have a place to go for strength, a place to go to remind yourself that masculinity is not toxic, but in its maturity,  it is an incredible gift from God.

Dan Borkenhagen
Associate Pastor
Hope Lutheran Church & School

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Devotion 3.2.19

What’s the difference between a fan and a fanatic….?

This is the question that we need to ask ourselves as we consider those things in the world that God has made us passionate about.  This is the question the book I’ve been reading would have us ask as we look at the difference between a “lover” and someone who’s become “addicted”.

In both cases, there’s some thing in this world, some tangible thing that fills the senses.  It can be cars. It can be a sports team.  It can be food, drink, love, clothes, working out, fishing…. The list can go on endlessly.  But what’s the difference?  It can be hard to define, and it can be hard to speak.  Others may see us fanatics, but we tend to think of ourselves as fans.  Of course I love______, I’m a big fan.

I would define the difference in this way.  Whatever the _____ is, it’s not intrinsically bad, but the fan does not get lost in the subject and is able to set up boundaries around their passion for it to keep their most important values first.  “Seek first the kingdom of God” is not just a nice passage, but a mantra they can live by.  They can love food but set limits on money and calories if they see harm coming.  They can love classic cars, but don’t skip church to go to the car show.  They get a rush when working out, but it is not the primary/only thing they talk about with others.  They love their kids, but they know that if there most important goal is their kids following God, their schedule should reflect following God and not other kid activities.

They will not let the pleasure of a moment in the ___________ surpass their core values and relationship with God.

Take a moment to talk to God about the things you love and enjoy.  Consider if you keep them in place.  Consider the time, money, and energy you contribute to them. Consider the things you would say are your highest values as a Christian man.  How are the two coming together?  Are their places they’re not working together? Be willing to let yourself have some honest conversations on this topic and set a goal coming out of it.

Dan Borkenhagen
Associate Pastor
Hope Lutheran Church & School