Dear Members and Friends of St. John,
Many of you know that last weekend Kathy and I attended a reunion of my first college, Concordia Lutheran College in Austin, Texas. I attended what is now Concordia University, Texas, from August 1971 to May 1973. As reunions go this one went about as expected. We renewed old acquaintances, told some stories, and reminisced about the past. It gave both Kathy and me an opportunity to give thanks for God’s blessings in our lives.
However, because Concordia was and is a Lutheran Christian college we actually spent time at the reunion in worship both Friday and Saturday mornings. I have been to high school reunions for both Kathy and myself and there was never a worship service included. But, we both attended public high schools. Reflecting back on my experience in Austin, I consider myself especially blessed to have learned from professors who were Christians, often trained Lutheran teachers and pastors. Many of my fellow students who attended school with me were also studying to be church workers. Most days we spent time in chapel services, seeking and considering God’s direction and purpose in our education and for our lives.
On Saturday morning of the reunion, after worship, former staff and faculty reflected on past blessings and current realities at the college. The man who taught me Physical Science while I attended Concordia, Professor Ted Zoch, commented on the goals of the faculty which helped make my education a blessing. He said, “We couldn’t teach you everything you would need to know, so we put it in your DNA to keep looking for Jesus” In retrospect, I believe my professors were successful, and I am blessed and extremely thankful.
Actually, those words from Professor Zoch point to a goal that I, and I believe most pastors, have. I hope to prepare and equip the people of St. John for lives as children of God. But, “We couldn’t teach you everything you would need to know, so we put it in your DNA to keep looking for Jesus” As parents, Kathy and I have worked to prepare our children for life, especially for eternal life. We pray God has used our efforts. But, I can also say about our parenting, “We couldn’t teach you everything you would need to know, so we put it in your DNA to keep looking for Jesus”
As I read Scripture, I hear God having the same goal for his children. Listen to what our Lord moved Paul to write in Ephesians 2. “19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. (Ephesians 2:19-20) God builds up and equips His people on the foundation of Scripture, with Jesus as the center of that equipping. It is in knowing Jesus that we serve as members of God’s household, that we live as children of God.
Actually, God cares for us past, present, and future as we are built on this foundation of Jesus. God created us each as unique individuals, and He calls us to live as His children in our baptisms. Unfortunately, we fail and rebel against God’s purpose for us. But, our Lord loves and forgives us through Jesus who died on the cross to pay for our sins. And, because of Jesus’ resurrection on Easter God has our eternal life in heaven won for us. God fills us with the DNA of looking to Jesus, so that we know our life and purpose are found in Him.
For me, it was a moment of clarity to hear Professor Zoch state what my professors had sought to do, to build and equip me and my classmates for looking to Jesus. As pastor, as dad, and grandfather, I seek to do the same, because that is God’s plan for us, that we are “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.”
A Child of God, Given Life and Purpose in Jesus,
P.S. Here are some pictures at the 70’s reunion with friends and faculty from the 70’s. https://goo.gl/photos/fXNi5ephC9uKM4c79
P.P.S. While “Thoughts from the Pastor” is primarily intended for the members and friends of St. John, it has also been printed weekly in our local newspaper, The Frontiersman, for almost 6 years. The Frontiersman has recently had changes. In order for this week’s devotion to get in this week’s paper, I will attempt to get these devotions out at the beginning of each week to make a new Wednesday deadline. So, you are receiving this message a little earlier this week, and hopefully in the future.
ABOUT ‘THOUGHTS FROM THE PASTOR’ - I am sending these e-mail messages, hopefully weekly, to all St. John members and friends whose e-mails I have. (I am regularly adding new names of friends and members – in case you are just receiving this e-mail for the first time.) However, if you don’t want to receive this e-mail, please let me know, and I’ll gladly leave your name off my list for this message.