Monday, September 14, 2015

A father's delight!

A few weeks ago I asked folks from Chain of Lakes how Jesus has changed their life for the better.  I was doing a sermon series on Evangelism.  I was sharing with our congregation that the start of effective evangelism is knowing our own story.  When we can communicate how our lives are better because of Jesus, then we’ve gone a long ways towards having an effective conversation about faith.

I received a number of written responses from people to this question. 

I received so many that I decided to share one with the congregation in my sermon yesterday.   I was touched by the response.  When I wrote the sermon I didn’t know who wrote the response, and really wasn’t even interested in knowing who wrote it.  I thought it was a terrific response.  This was what the person wrote:

“By having Jesus in my life I have learned to accept and love people for who they are, including myself.  By accepting my flaws and knowing my strengths and weaknesses.  Jesus has also opened my eyes to nature and the beautiful wonders of creation that so many of us take for granted.  With all the pressure and expectations from social media, Jesus accepts and loves me for who I am.  Jesus teaches me how to be compassionate and how to be a good friend and mentor.  By sharing my gifts with others and showing people the word of God, I feel worthy.”

Yesterday afternoon, my daughter, Hannah, (her picture is above with my Grandmother who just turned 101) asked me about this statement.  Imagine my surprise and even shock when she told me that she was the one who wrote it!  Wow!  I was so touched by this that I couldn’t help but give her a hug.

I’ve had people ask me on occasion how it is for Hannah to attend both a Presbyterian church and a Catholic church.  The question behind the comment is obvious—isn't it confusing for her to learn from two denominations that are so different?  Her experiences have obviously made a difference—and I couldn’t be happier about it!

Friday, September 11, 2015


I cannot wait for this Sunday, September 13 as Chain of Lakes will be offering a carnival for Hope 4 Youth at 11:30 a.m.  The theme of the carnival is Blast-Off.  We will have space stations (carnival booths), food, and a lot of fun.  Tickets for the carnival are $5 with all of the proceeds going to Hope 4 Youth.  The address for the carnival is 10130 Davenport Street NE in Blaine.  More information about the carnival can be found at the church’s web site at

Hope 4 Youth is an agency that helps homeless teenagers in Anoka County.  Last Sunday in worship John Sitarz spoke about how he helped found Hope 4 Youth.  His daughter was going to Andover High School, and she told John about the teens who were sleeping in their cars.  They were homeless.  John went on to discover many more teenagers who were homeless.  He shared the story last Sunday of a woman who slept in a tent for two years.  One morning she woke up with her hair frozen to the ground. 

The people of Chain of Lakes Church want to be part of a movement that ends homelessness among teenagers.  We have already helped in many ways.  In April 2014 we did a large benefit breakfast for Tiger Take-Out—the food shelf at Blaine High School.  Last October we helped organize Box City—an event where high school students and adults slept in boxes on the tennis courts of Blaine High School to publicize teen homelessness.  People from Chain of Lakes staffed Tiger Take-Out last school year, and we will this year too.  Every Monday people organized and stocked the shelves with food, and kept the food shelf clean and organized.  This past summer our congregation provided 14 Survival Bags for Hope 4 Youth.  A Survival Bag costs about $150 to put together.  It’s like a soft piece of luggage that a teenager can put their belongings as they sleep outside.

During worship at 10:30 a.m. we will look at how our faith can help us blast-off as people of God.  I’m preaching on my favorite passage of the Bible—Acts 2.  At the end of the sermon I will share special resources for people to take home with them.  Everyone who buys a ticket and comes to worship will be put in a drawing for a $100 Cub gift card.

Come to worship at 10:30 a.m. this Sunday and learn how you can blast-off in your faith.   Then come to the carnival and help Hope 4 Youth. 

I can’t imagine any other place I’d rather be than in worship at 10:30 at Chain of Lakes and then the carnival!