Growing In Prayer

By | Pastoral Letters

Beloved in Christ, How is your life of prayer? I know that question can often provoke guilt or regret in our hearts over how little we actually pray, and how distracted we feel when we do choose to set ourselves to the task. And guilt can sometimes provoke us, at least in the short term, to pray more frequently as a way to ease our conscience. But guilt is not the emotion our Father wishes us to feel in response to our evaluation of our own lives of prayer. For guilt, like pride, is fundamentally incapable of forming a sound motivation for a mature spiritual life. Just as we are forbidden to look down on others in regards to their spiritual practices, it also does us little good to look down on ourselves. We will only be able to be offer to the God the kind of prayer he longs for from us if we learn to come to him as a grateful and confident son or daughter, not as a servant driven by guilt and obligation. So, how is your life of prayer? Perhaps, if you are able to listen carefully enough to the answer of your heart, you…

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A Life Of Prayer

By | Pastoral Letters

Beloved in Christ, As we continue to discuss what it means to grow in our personal life of prayer, it is helpful to consider Jesus’ own teaching. Luke tell us this: “Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught this disciples.’ And Jesus said to them, ‘When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be your name….’” (Luke 11:1-2). Notice the first thing Jesus does when his disciples ask him to teach them to pray—he simply gives them words to speak to God. According to Jesus, the main way we learn how to pray is not by developing a complex theology of prayer. Instead, we learn to pray by praying. There are no short-cuts to a mature life of prayer. In the end, the only way to learn how to pray is to pray—day after day, week after week, year after year. Just like any other important skill in life, prayer is something we learn only by doing it. With that in mind, here are some practical suggestions to guide your practices of prayer: 1) Pray every day. We may feel as though…

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Feasting & The Lord’s Supper

By | Pastoral Letters

Beloved in Christ, As I begin my letter to you this month, I want to take a moment to simply communicate the gratitude Ami and I feel because of the way you have cared for us before and after Tristan’s birth. You remembered us in your prayers as Ami neared the end of her pregnancy, you brought us meals even before Tristan was born, you were ready to answer the phone in the middle of the night if we needed someone to watch our kids in order to go to the hospital, you cared for our children while Ami was in labor, you celebrated with us and brought us gifts and so many more meals after our son was born. Thank you. Thank you for all of the material help you provided, but even more, thank you for being a family for us when our parents and siblings are so far away. We are grateful! And glad, of course, to now have a native Texan in our family. One of my closest friends from my lifetime pastoral group is planning to come up from Houston on November 22nd to baptize Tristan—we look forward with you to that day. Along with…

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February 2016 Pastoral Letter (Overview of 2015)

By | Pastoral Letters

Beloved in Christ, This past month marked the first full calendar year of our life together as pastor and congregation (a relationship for which I am so grateful!). For those of you who may have missed our meeting in early January, here are some of the highlights of our ministry in 2015: -We faithfully gathered 52x for worship and provided word & sacrament to all who came seeking Christ. Let’s be careful not to skip over this! -We meditated on the life of Jesus together on Sunday mornings by preaching through the first 14 chapters of the gospel of John. I know this has been a rich experience for me and I hope it has been for you as well. -We performed 9 baptisms (!) and added 29 new members to our body. In addition, 2 of our covenant children who were baptized in this church made professions of faith and are now communing with us. -We faithfully memorialized and buried Pauline Dumas, one of our longtime members, with full Christian funeral rites after her death in August. -We supported the work of the gospel in Ukraine and Peru, as well as Wycliffe Bible Translators in Dallas, with regular prayer…

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2016 Post-Election Pastoral Letter

By | Pastoral Letters

Beloved in Christ, Like many of you, I spent last evening watching the election returns and slowly adjusting to the reality of an event I had considered as a possibility, but not necessarily expected – the election of Donald Trump as the next president of our nation. Now that twenty-four hours has passed and we’ve all had a little time to adjust to what God, in his providence, has ordained for this election, I wanted to write you with a few thoughts. First, this has clearly been one of the more divisive elections in American history (though perhaps not the MOST divisive, consider the Thomas Jefferson – John Adams election of 1800, for example). This divisiveness and the way that has shaped the rhetoric on both sides is one of the most concerning aspects of this election season to me. There is a way to have strong political disagreements without demonizing your opponent or his or her supporters, but I am not sure that kind of righteous and loving disagreement has characterized much of the rhetoric we’ve heard on the airwaves, websites or social media over the last year. Each us should consider our own words and actions in this regard and remember the power of…

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Pastoral Letter in Response to July 2016 Dallas Shootings

By | Pastoral Letters

July 8, 2016 Dear Colleyville Family, Last night we experienced what is probably the greatest tragedy in our metropolitan area since the murder of President Kennedy more than fifty years ago.  Men of violence plotted together and then sat and waited in cold blood to ambush and murder innocent police officers – five of whom are now dead. This kind of wickedness and evil is terrifying, and it’s almost unimaginable that something like this could take place so close to where we live and work.  I don’t know about you, but I still feel almost in shock this morning, as though all of this is a nightmare that isn’t real and I will soon wake up from. But it is real, and it is terrible. And so today we grieve. We grieve for the loss of innocent human life. We grieve for the women who are now widows. We grieve for the children who are now fatherless. We grieve that we live in a world where wickedness and evil seems to so often have the upper hand. We grieve because although the power of death has been broken, death has not yet been fully defeated. But today, in your grief,…

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One Year Anniversary (August 2015)

By | Pastoral Letters

Beloved in Christ, I don’t know how it seems to you, but it is very difficult for me to believe that it is now one year since my family and I moved from St. Louis to the Colleyville area so I could begin serving as your pastor. At the time, moving to this place and leaving behind friends and parishioners we loved to take a new pastoral call seemed like a huge risk to Ami and I — a step into the unknown. And I suppose that in some ways, it was. But the truth is, all of you know what it is to take that kind of risk, even if you have never moved across the country to do it. I know that because I know that Christ, the hope of Glory, is at work in you and there is no way to follow Jesus other than to follow him into the unknown. In any case, I can hardly begin to tell you how grateful I am that God has given us the opportunity to knit our hearts to yours over the past year. One of my favorite moments during our worship each week is during the offertory, because…

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