Showing posts from February, 2010

Haiti Relief

Dear Friends,

It’s been 3 weeks now since the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti. It’s been over a week since the Haitian government has officially called off the search for survivors. The Hope for Haiti telethon is over. The headlines on most network news websites have moved on to things like budget deficits and Super Bowl storylines.

Our world has a way of moving along. That can be good. That can be not so good. For the people in Haiti…there’s no doubt that it’s going to be a very long road to recovery. For the homeless, jobless, injured and orphaned…moving along is going to take longer than the headline cycle of network news websites.

Three weeks ago at Victory of the Lamb we were privileged to hear from one of our own members, Becky, who’s gone down to Haiti every March for a number of years. She’s been going there with a team of surgeons, doctors, and nurses who have volunteered their time and skills to help the people of this 3rd world country with needed surgeries.

Becky and her …

God's Blessings in the New Year (1/4/2010)

Dear Friends,

Happy New Year! Any of you get a Nintendo Wii for Christmas…along with the new and improved Wii Fit? I haven’t ever used the Wii Fit but I hear it’s quite fun. I’m told a lot of the exercises are designed to increase core strength and balance. Interestingly enough one of the articles in this month’s newsletter from Innovative Health and Fitness talks about balance as being the new central focus of the professional fitness community. I guess Nintendo understands how important balance is for physical fitness too.

But I’d say balance is important for spiritual fitness as well. I think the New Year is a great time for each of us to evaluate how balanced our lives are. I for one think physical exercise is vital. I don’t feel or function well when I’ve gotten out of a regular exercise routine. I’m the same way with sleep. You know what I mean. Balance is important. Sleep, work, diet, exercise…but let’s not stop there.

We need to have balance in our lives so that our faith can …

Baptism and Advent (12/1/2009)

I’m guessing most of you got to celebrate Thanksgiving last week with at least one of the three big “F”s in America: food, family, ...and football. But at Victory of the Lamb this past Sunday we also took the opportunity to thank God for his great faithfulness.

It was a really great day. Over 160 people got to witness God being faithful to his promise in baptism as a mother and her baby boy were both baptized and brought into God’s family. We were reminded of the promise that God has made to each of us who’ve been baptized. “You are mine. Your sins are washed away. You are special. You are loved. I am yours. Even if you have nothing else, if you have me, you have everything.”

It got me thinking Sunday afternoon, “I wonder how many people I know who aren’t baptized?” Because God is faithful to his promises there is awesome comfort in baptism. But I wonder how many people don’t know what baptism is or they see it as something they have to do to please God rather than as a promise that G…

The Lost Sheep (11/09/2009)

My girls love this story. There’s a shepherd who’s got 100 sheep. One silly sheep though gets itself lost. Sheep are kind of like that. So this shepherd leaves the 99 sheep behind and spends his time and energy searching for that one lost sheep. Why? Because he loves that sheep. It’s not that he doesn’t love the other sheep. He does...very much...and if they ever get lost he’ll go searching for them too. But it’s the lost sheep that desperately needs the shepherd’s time and energy. A shepherd only has so much of both. The reality of the situation is that the shepherd actually has to leave the other sheep behind to find and rescue the lost sheep. This is a story Jesus told about how he as the “Good Shepherd” came to seek and to save people who, like sheep, get themselves lost. He spoke this story to a group of people called the Pharisees who were upset at how Jesus spent his time and who he spent it with.

I think about this story a lot. You can read about it in Luke chapter 15. Many of…

Teamwork (10/06/2009)

Favre-apalooza chapter 1 is over and there’s a cloud hanging over Wisconsin much like the rain clouds outside on this Tuesday here in Franklin. What struck me watching the game last night was just how crucial line play is in football. If you loose the battle up front, in fact, if one guy on the offensive line gets beat…the whole team loses. You can have all kinds of offensive firepower, but you won’t move the ball downfield, you won’t be successful and win, unless the whole offense works as a unit with each position carrying out its role. Of course the TV cameras usually only follow the ball and left tackles rarely get asked to give post games interviews on national TV when their team wins. It’s the quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers that get accolades…but every football guy knows it’s the left tackles of the world that make it possible for those guys to make the big plays.

I couldn’t help but think how true that is for a church as well. We’re a team. We have a common pu…

Secret Shopper Visit (9/28/2009)

My dear friends in Christ! The apostle Paul once wrote "Ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers" (Ephesians 1:15-16).

So with that thought on this otherwise cloudy Monday morning I want to thank you and bring a little sunshine into your world.

Yesterday at worship we had 140 people in attendance. This is awesome!

Yesterday also my Mission Counselor, Pastor Ed Schuppe, visited our church and worshiped with us for the first time at Showtime Cinema. Ed is a consultant and a mentor to me. He oversees dozens of newly planted churches, travels extensively, and devotes all his time to reading and studying and helping new churches.

When he visits churches he always comes as a "secret shopper" of sorts. He writes very detailed reports on everything from signage to friendliness of people to the music, the sermon, etc.

Ed is a man I highly respect and whose…

Sermon Preparation (9/10/2009)

I don't usually do this but I felt compelled to blog in the middle of writing this Sunday's message. I know a sermon is going to have an impact on people when it's first of all had an impact on me. Sermonizing (my word) can be tough sometimes. (I'd say it's like giving birth...but my wife probably would dispute that statement on the grounds I don't know what I'm talking about!)

My message Sunday is going to be about Religion vs. Jesus. This is an absolutely huge, important concept. How many of us think we're religious? How many people say, "Oh...I'm Lutheran...or I'm Catholic...or I'm just Christian...or I'm whatever" and think that because they've followed the program, kept the rules, done the church thing (or not) that everything's cool with God?

It's a trap that our Opponent lays out there certainly for every single person on this planet...but even for, perhaps, especially for Christian pastors. Our Opponent wa…

Fall Kickoff (9/2/2009)

When you wake up to go for a run and it’s in the 40’s outside…you know Fall is pretty much here. Yeah, it’s that time again. But not just time for the leaves to start changing colors, not just time to go back to school. It’s time to go back to church. I hope that doesn’t sound crazy! But I’m serious. The routine and rhythm of life that starts in September is a good thing. It’s not that summer with its camping and vacations and soccer leagues is all a bad thing. But it’s good to get back into a routine. It’s good to get back to going to church. For some people especially Fall is a great time to think about going back to church for the first time…in a long time…or ever. Maybe that’s you. Maybe that’s someone you know.

That’s why we’re having a special Fall Kickoff service on September 13th to invite everyone to come to church. We’re inviting our entire community to come check out Victory of the Lamb at Showtime Cinema—our new worship space. For three months over the summer we’ve been g…

Summer Wrap-up (8/10/2009)

Dear Friends,

What an incredible couple of weeks! First God gave us an absolutely gorgeous day back in July for Hallepalooza!—our community concert / picnic in the park. We had almost 200 people turn out, many of whom stayed through the devotion at the end of the evening. I’m going to post that devotion on my blog on our church website if you’d like to read it. It was a really special day. I got to connect with a number of people whom I haven’t met before and I’m praying that in the future we might be able to connect them also to Christ.

Then this past week we just wrapped up our 3rd annual Soccer Bible Camp at the Polonia Soccer Club. 4 days with 50 kids. Again, we had awesome weather. We snuck it all in before the thunderstorms and muggy weather of this past weekend. Thank you, God! And I can’t say enough about the effort and care of all our coaches and helpers. Our cookout to close the camp on Thursday was definitely a big success too. Almost every soccer …

Hallepalooza Devotion (7/26/2009)

The following is my devotion from July 26th at Lion's Legend Park, based on Micah 7:18-19...

There’s a show on the Discovery Channel called Deadliest Catch. Raise your hand if you’ve seen it. It’s a documentary about 8-10 fishing boats and the fishermen who risk it all in the Bering Sea. They’re out there to catch King Crab and Opilio Crab during the dangerous fishing seasons in October and January off the Aleutian islands of Alaska. Now I’m not a huge fan of the show, but I’ve got a friend named Eric who is. And last week as Eric and some other friends and I were fishing up north... the weather was just terrible. It was raining for 2 days straight and the high temp was 57 degrees. We kept joking about how we were on the raging Bering Sea risking our lives like the guys on Deadliest Catch.

And that got me to thinking…if you’re on a boat like the Northwestern on the raging Bering Sea and let’s just say you were wearing a ring, maybe your wedding ring, or just some other piece of je…

Canvassing (7/14/2009)

Dear Friends,

One evening this week a group of us were out and about inviting people to join us for Hallepalooza and Soccer Bible Camp for kids. I happened to meet some people on their front porch, talk a bit, and then actually get invited in to share the good news of eternal life through Jesus to a living room full of people. One of the residents in this small group home was an 80 year old man named Frank. Frank had been taught about Jesus as a boy, but he never paid much attention to God. In fact most of his life has been spent ignoring God and stubbornly insisting he's ok on his own without God. But lately a trip to the hospital and a confrontation with his mortality has made Frank somewhat more open to hearing about God.

So here I am in his living room. I got to share the law and the gospel with Frank. He needed to see his sin before he was willing to see his need for a Savior. And so I got to share with Frank ultimately the confidence God wants us to have of life after death …

Summer Menu (6/15/2009)

Happy Summer! I think I can safely say that now… Anyway, while summer for some of you means a little more time to relax, settle down, and do some of the things you’ve been wanting to do…summer at Victory of the Lamb is a pretty busy time! We just wrapped up our first worship series at Showtime Cinema and, I think, just about have most of the wrinkles ironed out in worshiping there. Now we’ll be focusing on all our summer events and activities while gearing up for our Fall kickoff at Showtime the Sunday after Labor Day.

So here’s a menu of things happening this summer for you to plan ahead:

New Worship Series Beginning This Father’s Day: “Imitating Our Father.” Join us Sunday for the beginning of a series that will retrace the faith-walk of Abraham as we glean some relevant lessons for our own spiritual journeys. Worship is at 9:30 am at Showtime Cinema—8910 S 102nd St., Franklin. Come early to grab a cup of coffee and a bite to eat and to register your kids for Bible Quest which takes…

Memorial Day (5/26/2009)

On Memorial Day, while visiting family, I got up early and went for a long jog in the country near New London, WI. I ran past a cemetery. I noticed a large tombstone with three American flags by it. Later in the day I learned that tombstone marks the death of three brothers—Navy men on the USS Oklahoma, a ship attacked at Pearl Harbor, a ship where all three brothers died.

That made me really think about what freedoms I enjoy because of the sacrifice of men and women like the Barber brothers. I think if you asked most people today what they think is the most important freedom we have…they’d say, “Freedom of speech.” Undoubtedly that’s a wonderful freedom…as are so many that we enjoy here in the USA! But forgotten sometimes I think is simply the freedom of worship.

We get to worship God without fear. We get to talk about Jesus without hindrance. We get to study the Bible without having to worry about the secret police storming in and breaking things up. We are so blessed! And I know s…

Moving Day (4/30/2009)

Today was moving day! It was kind of weird, hauling all our stuff across the street to Showtime Cinema. People keep asking me, “So are you going to miss being at Polonia?” And you know…yeah…a little bit. It was the place God plopped in our lap in answer to our prayers when we were starting from scratch. It was a great place to start. And we’ve got a few extra memories that not every church has—like a worship service without heat…in WI. O the fun! Actually though, it kind of was fun. I mean, there were some really frustrating moments being there…but it was fun because of the people I get to work with. That’s just the truth. So many of you have put in long hours…serving with a smile…and a healthy dose of sarcasm every now and thenJ But in terms of volunteers who’ve been transformed by God’s grace…unbelievable! Thank you so much. I am so blessed as a pastor to lead a group that wants to share the love of Jesus with their community. Thank you for rolling up your sleeves like…

Happy Birthday Votl (4/2/2009)

Happy Birthday VotL! 2 years ago this week we launched Victory of the Lamb on Palm Sunday of 2007. It’s amazing to think it’s really only been two years that we’ve been worshiping together. But wow has God been good to us…so good in fact that we’ve pretty much outgrown the Polonia Soccer Club and we’ll be moving to Showtime Cinema starting Sundays in May.

We had 122 people at worship this past Sunday. The reason I even mention this though is not to somehow boast about what we’ve done, but because that number represents people—people dearly loved by God, people that Jesus gave up his life for. It’s about what God, in his grace, has done for each of us. Among those people at worship on Sunday, I’ve had the privilege of seeing God work the gift of faith in some of their hearts. I’ve had the privilege of seeing God bring people into his family through baptism. I’ve seen God work in incredible ways and change people’s lives. When I get really busy or start focusing on myself…I try to reflec…