Life is tough. You need Jesus. This blog will point you to Him. For hope when you feel hopeless. For help when you feel helpless. For love when you feel loveless.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

September 11th

It's been 22 years since 9/11 and the terrorist attacks. The youth of our church weren't even born when that happened. But it has effected the world they live in. 

I remember that day quite clearly. I was a pastor in New York at the time, right on the top of the Bronx. That day had a profound effect on New Yorkers for a long time; and it still does to many.

The Sunday after the towers came down, the church was full. People were looking for answers. I remember using Psalm 11 on that day, especially the lines:

If the foundations are destroyed,
    what can the righteous do?
The Lord is in his holy temple;
    the Lord's throne is in heaven;
    his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man.
~ Psalm 11:3-4

Foundations were destroyed that day. Many people were shaken. But the Lord is in his holy temple. The Lord and His reign did not fall like the towers. And note this line: his eyes see, his eyelids test the children of man. Eyelids. You only see them when someone's eyes are closed. And that day, it perhaps seemed as if that was the case with God - that His eyes were closed to what was happening to us. 

But, the psalmist says, no. His eyelids TEST us. That we turn to God not because everything is going well and just the way we want it - we turn to Him in faith, in trust, relying on His promises. Kingdoms come and go, even our own. But the Lord endures forever. He has promised us His love and forgiveness, and we have them. He does use suffering and tragedy for our good, in ways we perhaps cannot fathom or imagine. So even in times and on days like 9/11, we look to God as our Father, cry out to Him for help, and know that He will provide.

That was a tough day. There have been many more since then. You've had tough days in your life, too. But this much is certain: The Lord is in His holy temple. The Lord reigns. He sees. He knows. He is FOR YOU. And He is - and will be - victorious.

Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
    but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
~ Psalm 34:19

He really does.

Thursday, April 6, 2023

The Most For You Days!

These three days at the end of the Lenten season are the most FOR YOU days of all! Jesus dies on the cross and rises from the dead FOR YOU, that you may live. That's how much you're worth to Him! That's how much you matter to Him! That's how much He loves you! 

Thursday, March 30, 2023

A For You Sermon

This post is longer than usual, sorry! But I thought this worth the extra space. It is a sermon I preached a number of years ago on Palm Sunday, talking about Jesus FOR YOU.

A Lamb goes uncomplaining forth (Hymn #438). Why? For you.


For you, Jesus is anointed for His burial.

For you, Jesus is sold into betrayal, and allows Himself to be betrayed.

For you, Jesus celebrates the Passover with His disciples, and gives His body to eat and His blood to drink.

For you.


For you, Jesus suffers and prays.

For you, Jesus drinks the awful cup of Gods wrath and condemnation against sin.

For you, Jesus does His Fathers will.

For you.


For you, Jesus is arrested, and will not fight back.

For you, Jesus endures a mock trial, standing before those who have already decided His fate, but are just trying to make it look plausible.

For you, Jesus does not defend Himself, but takes the slurs of men against Him.

For you.


For you, Jesus is spit on, punched, and mocked.

For you, Jesus is bound and led to the Roman governor.

For you, Jesus is traded for a murderer.

For you, Jesus is a pawn in a game for power.

For you.


For you, Jesus is scourged - whipped until His flesh is open and raw.

For you, Jesus is clothed is purple and wears a crown of thorns.

For you, Jesus carries the cross on which He will die.

For you.


For you, Jesus takes nothing to deaden the pain.

For you, the nails are punched through His hands and feet, crushing bone and sending waves of pain through tortured limbs.

For you, Jesus is humiliated and reviled.

For you.


For you, Jesus is forsaken - by men who mock Him, but disciples who fear for their own lives, by His Father because He bears the sin of the world.

For you, Jesus will not save Himself.

For you, Jesus endures the darkness of sin.

For you, Jesus bows His head and dies.

For you, Jesus body is laid in a tomb.

For you.


For you, because you are a sinner.

For you, because you have made Gods beautiful world a sewer of sin.

For you, because you have used your hands to hurt instead of help.

For you, because you love your things more than your God.

For you, because your mouths tear down instead of build up.

For you, because your minds devise and scheme evil instead of good.

For you.


For you, because upon you is inflicted the sins of others.

For you, because you are hurt and in pain.

For you, because you are mocked and reviled.

For you, because your hearts are broken, your love thrown back in your face, your good deeds trampled and gone unnoticed and unappreciated.

For you, because you weep painful tears.

For you, because you mourn the death of loved ones, even as death draws ever closer to you.

For you, because you are afraid.

For you.


For you, because the devil desires to have you; to sift you, corrupt you, and bring you with him to his never-ending death.


But he cannot have you.

Hell cannot have you.

Sin cannot have you.

Death and the grave cannot have you.

Because for youa Lamb goes uncomplaining forth.


He came forth from Heaven in His incarnation, to be born for you.

He came forth to the waters of the Jordan to be baptized for you.

He came forth into the wilderness to be tempted for you.

He came forth eating and drinking with sinners like you, not ashamed.

He came forth healing, forgiving, and raising the dead, for you.

He came forth to ascend the cross for you; to die for you; to be buried for you; and to rise for you.

That the curtain of the Temple be torn in two from top to bottom.

The curtain that separated sinful man from a holy God.

The curtain of sin, that could be penetrated only with blood.

The blood of a lamb.

The Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.


And still today, the Lamb comes uncomplaining forth.

For you.

Here, at this time, in this place, tearing the curtain of sin which veils our hearts with His forgiveness and life.

Coming with His Baptism, that you may be washed and reborn and healed.

Coming with His Absolution, that you may be forgiven and raised and holy.

Coming with His Supper, that you may be fed and strengthened and glorified.

Coming for you, that you may live.


For you, that hell be vanquished.

For you, that the grave be opened.

For you, that the devil be undone.

For you, that your sin be removed from you as far as the East is from the West.

For you, that your minds and hearts be made new, and you live a new life.

Sinner: no more; now: child of God.


All this Jesus does, for you.

And so you are never alone, never without love, never beyond hope.

You will never be forsaken, never condemned, never cast out.

For you live in Jesus and He in you.

What is His is yours, nothing withheld.

Now by promise and faith. But one day by sight, when all things are fulfilled.

When the Lamb goes forth once again, one final time, to gather all who are His own, and establish His kingdom forever.

And we will stand in joy beside Him(Hymn #438 v.4)


Until then, have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.

He lives for you, that you may live for others.


Let us now enter into this Holy Week, and consider these things.

Let us now come to this altar, and receive the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

Let us now rejoice and confess: Hosanna! Lord, save us. 

For He has.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023


Another tornado ripped through Mississippi.

Another school shooting.

More horrible news.

Lord, have mercy. 

And help us in this sin-filled world, where men and nature rise up and kill.

Here are the words of the hymn When Aimless Violence Takes Those We Love:

May they bring you comfort and peace.

1. When aimless violence takes those we love,

when random death strikes childhood's promise down,

when wrenching loss becomes our daily bread,

we know, O God, you leave us not alone.

2. When passing years rob sight and strength and mind

yet fail to still a strongly beating heart,

and grief becomes the fabric of our days,

dear Lord, you do not stand from us apart.

3. Our faith may flicker low, and hope grow dim,

yet you, O God, are with us in our pain;

you grieve with us and for us day by day,

and with us, sharing sorrow, will remain.

4. Because your Son knew agony and loss,

felt desolation, grief and scorn and shame,

we know you will be with us, come what may,

your loving presence near, always the same.

5. Through long grief-darkened days help us, dear Lord,

to trust your grace for courage to endure,

to rest our souls in your supporting love,

and find our hope within your mercy sure.


© 1994, 1997 Hope Publishing Company

Lutheran Service Book Hymn License: 110019268

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Actions Speak Louder than Words

Words are easy.

I'll be there for you! What can I do for you? How can I help? But then when you need help, when you need their time, how often do friends, even family, let us down?

God, too?

NO! God backed up His words and promises with His actions. We're going to hear many of these during this Lenten season.

+ Jesus fought the devil for us and won in the wilderness.
+ Jesus came to a Samaritan woman who had been married five times and didn't reject her, but loved her and revealed Himself to her as her Saviour.
+ Jesus healed a man born blind.
+ Jesus raised a man named Lazarus who had been dead for four days.
+ But most of all, Jesus went to the cross to die for your sin, to save you.
And now, Jesus baptizes us, forgives us, feeds us with His Body and Blood, and gives us a church family to help us.

Words are never just words with God. 
Jesus is the Word of God made flesh
He is FOR YOU.

Monday, February 20, 2023


The church's season of Lent begins on Wednesday, called Ash Wednesday.
Just a reminder . . . FOR YOU:
Lent is not about what you do for God, but all that God has for FOR YOU.
Lent is not about how much you love God, but how much He loves YOU!
Jesus died that you might live.
That means you're pretty important to God.
Lent is a season to think about that, ponder it, and rejoice in it.

Monday, February 13, 2023

All This For You

Here's a hymn that talks about FOR YOU, all that Jesus has done for us! Can you count how many times it says that? It's a good reminder for us. And to remember these words of St. Paul, too, when things don't seem to be going your way: He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? ~ Romans 8:32

Jesus, help us when we forget all that you have done for us and to remember all Your words and promises that You will never leave us or forsake us, no matter how dark things seem to get. You were with us in the darkness as You hung on the cross! You were with us in the darkness of the grave! So that rising from the dead we could be with You in the light of Your love, and one day, in the light of Your glory in heaven. Lord, I believe! Help my unbelief! Amen.