Posts

Hope

Image
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.   -Isaiah 40: 28-31



Today we find ourselves facing difficult times. Our everyday is filled with uncertainty and fear. It is in times such as these that we pray for strength. Below is a spiritual practice that you can use with the verse above or one of your own choosing. This is a step by step reading that includes meditation and contemplative prayer. If you would like to learn more about spiritual practices visit the Drinking from the Well page on the Nebraska Synod website.


1.Take a few moments to become still and q…

Finding Hope in the Midst

Image
By Deacon Timothy Siburg, Director of Stewardship


Hope is a funny thing. It can be fleeting. It can be fulfilling. Sometimes it can feel abundant, and other times it can seem worse than scarce. Amid the realities of an upside-down world, where a pandemic has changed the way we do just about everything, it might seem that hope may well be in short supply.
The numbers are daunting. Each day it feels like a damage report- as cases go up, and the total who have lost their battles with this dreaded virus go up as well. Thinking about a way forward in ministry may seem hopeless too. There is no real safe way to sing in groups right now, and for me, a musician, that makes the idea of gathering for worship in person not very hopeful. My grandma, like many in care facilities around the world is more or less under lock down to try and stay safe. All my family’s summer trips and vacations have been cancelled. Add in the continued isolation and distancing, and it can really feel hopeless.

Amid it al…

Wait For the Lord

Image
By Rev. Kristen Van Stee, Assistant to the Bishop


27Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God”? 28Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. 29He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. 30Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; 31but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.   -Isaiah 40: 27-31
            I have a confession to make: I’m grumpy with God.  But I’m also grumpy about a lot of other things too.  I’m grumpy that I have lots of online meetings every day.  I’m grumpy that I can’t go to my favorite restaurants and sit down for a meal.  I’m grumpy when I check the news and social media, but I’m also gru…

Those who hope in the LORD

Image
By Rev. Sarah Ruch, Pastor at Messiah Lutheran Church in Aurora



“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.” --Isaiah 40:31(NIV)

            I have to be honest; I’ve always been uncomfortable with the word ‘hope’ when we use it to describe our faith.  We use this word all the time and it shows up all over Scripture, but I feel like perhaps we use this word differently today than when it was first written in Scripture. I’m not a Hebrew scholar, so I could be wrong, but when I think about this word I think about our everyday conversations and saying things like, “I sure hope the sun is out tomorrow!” or “I hope our farmers have an abundant harvest this year.”  When we use it in this way, ‘hope’ isn’t being used to describe something that is a certainty. Rather, it’s something that may or may not come to fruition. Maybe the sun will be out tomorrow, but maybe it won’t. Maybe the harvest will be abundant this year, but maybe it won’t.

            The idea of ‘hope’ embodies m…

Hope in the Lord

Image
By Bishop Brian Maas

"But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength."  Isaiah 40:31


Doesn’t renewed strength sound fantastic right about now? I don’t know about you, but I’m tired. I’m tired of managing the nonstop flood of information that’s been flowing for weeks. I’m tired of Zoom meetings (SO tired of Zoom meetings!). I’m tired of trying to keep track of my face mask and maintaining physical distance and washing my hands and using sanitizer and remembering not to shake hands or hug people I’m so glad to see. I’m tired of not knowing what’s coming next or what counsel to give or what sources of information are right or how best to balance competing needs and wants or how forceful to be or how ignorant I feel in the face of the unknown … I’m tired. And I’m guessing you can relate.
Then I remember those to whom Isaiah’s words were first addressed 2500 years ago. “Tired” doesn’t begin to describe what they were experiencing. They had been in exile in Babylon for 70 yea…

Not what I want, but what you want

Image
By Lisa Kramme, Director of Faith Formation





“Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.”  Mark 14:36
I know what I want most days.  I want people around the world to be safe.  I want there to be enough personal protective equipment, ventilators and ICU beds for the sick and those providing care.  I want an end to this virus, a vaccine, a holy healing of the planet.
I pray a day of healing comes soon, but until then, the phrase “yet, not what I want, but what you want,” continues to echo.  How do I tune in to what God wants?
Christians have a word for tuning in to God, and that word is “discernment.”  My first consistent use of the word “discernment” came about when I started serving on the Nebraska Synod’s Candidacy Committee.  During meetings with people who felt a call to serve as a pastor or deacon, we would ask them to share stories of how they discerned that call. 
For some time, I thought discernment was something that o…

God's Will

Image
By Tyler Darnell, Nebraska Synod Evangelist
Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.  - Mark 14:36


Jesus is afraid. He knows his torture and death is coming shortly. He is so agitated that he sends his disciples away—even those closest to him. And he is not quiet about it. Jesus does not pray “Father, for you all things are possible; this is just fine.” He pleads that he might be spared.
Jesus knows what will happen next. And Jesus fully trusts in God and submits to His will. We, too, know what happens next. Jesus is hung from a cross. His obedience leads him to a torturous death and to a glorious resurrection.
I know very well how to feel afraid. I can relate to Jesus in Gethsemane pacing with anxiety, sending away friends, and praying desperately for relief from the feeling and its cause.
But I’m less able to relate to Jesus’ obedience. I have sometimes found it much easier to just avoid the issue. I can be quite skilled a…