<![CDATA[Our Savior Lutheran Church - Pastor Tim\'s Blog]]>Tue, 21 Mar 2023 14:31:01 -0700Weebly<![CDATA[Sometimes Love Looks like a Bowl of Soup]]>Tue, 07 Mar 2023 19:13:05 GMThttps://oslc.com/blog/sometimes-love-looks-like-a-bowl-of-soupPicture
Sometimes Love Looks Like a Bowl of Soup
My friend Tracy's words will forever echo in my mind: sometimes love looks like a bowl of soup.

Every couple of months, a Saturday Faith in Action Day, a group of people prepare frozen meals to share with people who need one less thing to think about in times of crisis.

A few weeks ago, someone asked if they could take some of those freezer meals to a coworker. This coworker's husband was hospitalized after suffering severe medical trauma. She had also recently lost a son (due to a drug overdose) and is caring for two elementary-aged grandchildren. The kids were super excited about the meals, and the coworker was grateful they were delivered with a hug.

Someone took the opportunity to love someone else like Jesus - and it brought excitement to kids, melted this parent's heart, and made them feel seen and loved.

Indeed, sometimes love looks like a bowl of soup.

More Stories

Staining Neighbor's Fence Brings Unlikely People Together
A middle school student saw that his neighbor's fence needed some TLC. He asked some friends to help stain the fence and make it look like new. Afterwards the student shared, “I saw God at work by doing something for someone else without a reward”. They also discovered that one of the friends who helped with the project knew the family who was served. The relationship continues today.

Gardens Help the Poor and Homeless
Last summer, a student wanted to learn more about gardening. So, he jumped into a Faith in Action Day to work side-by-side with other adults in the Abundance Garden. He shared, “I saw God working by helping make a garden to help the poor and homeless”. He now knows how to better pull weeds, care for growing vegetables, and work the soil to serve the neighbors around him with his time and newly learned skills.

Neighborhood BBQ Uncovers a Deep Need Among Neighbors
Last fall, a student noticed that her neighborhood needed to get together and have a good laugh. So, she chose to host a neighborhood party complete with a cookout dinner. Reflecting on the experience, she said, “it was powerful to hear our neighbors say ‘why haven't we done this all these years?’”. She now feels confident to be a change-leader among her neighbors, friends, and school by bringing people together to build deeper friendships and laugh together.

Tacoma Police Officers Encouraged by Middle School Students
In January, a group of 16 students were bothered by the negativity their local police officers were experiencing. They know law enforcement work is challenging and they wanted to encourage them in a practical way. They chose to apply for a Thrivent Action Team and assembled Care Packages for Duty Officers and ordered breakfast for their mid-morning shift workers. It was a delightful and unexpected surprise delivery for the substation workers and officers who were at the substation that morning. Three students chose to boldly and powerfully pray over the officers and the community they patrol. The students received a full tour of the facility, shared stories and tears of gratitude, and left with a feeling of mutual joy that God is with all people.

Winterizing Homes is More than What Meets the Eye
After working on a Faith in Action Project last fall, a project team member followed up with the homeowner to make sure she was ready for the winter chill. She shared that she needed help installing a slider door to finish weather-proofing her home. Thanks to the ongoing generosity to our General Fund, we were able to provide the finances for the project. The team member completed the project right away and the homeowner enjoyed a warm, cozy winter. The homeowner and team member regularly connect about their kids and grandkids as well as pray together.

<![CDATA[Three Certainties]]>Thu, 23 Feb 2023 19:24:31 GMThttps://oslc.com/blog/three-certaintiesPicture

You might have heard that there is something going on at Asbury University in Kentucky. And that something has spread to other places, too.

People have described it as an awakening, a revival, and a movement of the Holy Spirit.

Like with most things today, there are also critics, pundits, and loud opinions mixed into the narrative.

Whatever you might think about the Kentucky events, we know at least three things for sure. 

      1. Jesus’ Spirit there… and here! 
Jesus promises to show up whenever God’s Word is present. Much like any other time when people read the scriptures and respond, the chapel service which led into the ongoing event was just that - an invitation to respond to Jesus’ invitation to repentance.

The question is - so why is that event considered different - a revival or awakening, and other times seem so “ordinary”.

My personal opinion is that we’re trying to explain a spiritual (dare I say, miraculous or supernatural) experience in human ways… and our human way is limited, finite, and can only explain what we see - not what we can't see.

So, we see an event, a mass of people, and activity - but can we see the broken spirits and contrite hearts of people who are responding? Maybe… perhaps… and only if they share it (which many have!).

Here is what I do know. I know that God sometimes shows up and moves people to respond in masses (think Billy Graham). Other times, people respond loudly with singing and dancing (think David in the Bible dancing naked in the temple). And then there are individuals who respond as they sit in their cars with silent tears (or no tears at all).

My point is, how people respond isn’t the point. Psalm 51:17 emphasizes what matters is a broken spirit and a broken and contrite heart. And that’s what we hear from people at Asbury and what we don’t always see when we, ourselves read and respond to God’s Word.

In a way, everytime we (or anybody) reads God’s Word and responds is a revival or awakening.

That’s how I know that Jesus’ Spirit is both there and here.

      2. There is so much that we don’t know.

I do wonder why it seems like sometimes we see God work in big ways and other times we don’t see God work at all. I know that’s a very self-centered question resulting from an American cultural worldview. But, I think it’s an honest question.

I (personally) return to resting in the truth that there is so much I don’t know.

I’m reminded of Psalm 55:8-9 when God responds to the psalm writer, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,". Then, God explains why by saying, "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

I find it interesting that it seems as though everyone feels like they are entitled to an opinion about the Asbury events.

For me, the Asbury Revival reminds me that there is so much we don’t know… and that’s OK because we know the God who does.

      3. You and I can experience revival.

Revival isn’t fabricated or manufactured. It’s not manipulated responses or a forced emotional response.

Revival is an awakening to who Jesus is, who we are, and a turning away from ourselves and toward Jesus.

Our thoughts can be awakened as we turn our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:1).

Our feelings can be revived from not feeling anything to feeling something - sadness over our sin or the relief and “lightness” of the forgiveness we have in Jesus.

Our lives can be moved by the Holy Spirit when we stop, reorient ourselves to God’s way - not our own, and take our next steps with Jesus.

This is the revival or awakening that is happening in hearts and lives everyday.

Afterall, the true fruit of revival is the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23) seen in everyday life.

What do you think? Shoot me an email or let’s find a time to catch up.

If the blog helps you, share it with someone you think would appreciate it.

<![CDATA[New Friends]]>Fri, 27 Jan 2023 08:00:00 GMThttps://oslc.com/blog/new-friends Picture
Happy New Year from Indonesia!

Much of the world celebrates the Year of the Rabbit which according to the Lunar calendar invites calm, peace, gentleness, and mercy. 

As we join the celebration along with our SE Asia friends, I am reminded that God is in all things and works through all things (Colossians 1). Indeed, even Lunar New Year tells of the glory of God (Psalm 19). Jesus calms the storm and gives peace. He is gentle and humble in heart because his burden is easy and load is light. Jesus gives mercy because He is a walking - talking - breathing person of mercy.

With the Lunar New Year here, all things “cute culture” (Google it) are helping us celebrate - which means Hello Kitty is our new best friend. 

During our layover in Taipei, we met Lin (name changed). We talked about K-Pop and T-Swift. She was born in Taipei, moved to Vancouver BC as a kid, and returned to Taipei when she got married. She has been here ever since. Gloria and her exchanged contact information and they plan to reconnect with Lin and her family when they’re back in Taipei, next weekend.

We had a few moments of unsettled chaos before peace and calm was restored after Matt lost some documentation in Jakarta and Pete almost left his passport at the gate. Can we say traveling mercy?

Our friends Jeff and Rachel met us in Semarang and introduced us to their good friend and cousin, Patik. They’ve known Patik for many years and is our go-to transportation driver while here in Indonesia.

I (Tim) sat in the “prayer seat”. I admit, after being awake for over 40 hours, I prayed with my eyes shut most of the 90 minutes we were on the road to Salatiga, outside of Semerang. (I apologize to anyone who received texts and emails while I was sleep deprived), 

When we arrived, we were immediately greeted by Kezia, Nadia, Challenge, and Edis. 

We look forward to hanging out over the next few days with them and a variety of other young people and staff here where we are calling “home” while visiting employees, shops, and immersing ourselves in the culture and life here. We are always looking for opportunities to grow friendship, learning, and business.

Today, we will explore Salatiga and travel into the mountains to spend time and have dinner with some of Jeff and Rachel’s friends at their shop.

If you want to join us in a similar experience, walk next door to meet that neighbor you’ve been wanting to say hi to for a while; pick up your phone and call or text someone you've been needing to for months; or smile at the person in line at the store this weekend. 

Calm. Peace. Gentleness. Mercy. You can pray that these things would be evident in all we think, say, and do… more like Jesus, less like everything else. 

Since we have received these great gifts, may we share them with others. 

Until next time, aku cinta kalian semua.

<![CDATA[Stay Ready]]>Mon, 12 Dec 2022 21:47:07 GMThttps://oslc.com/blog/stay-ready“Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning” is a bluesy spiritual first sung by slaves on the plantation and then later while fighting the Civil War.

Take a listen.

The message continues to echo today.
  • Stay alert.
  • Help is on the way.
  • The end of being used, abused, and enslaved is coming.
  • Freedom and safety are near.

Matthew, one of Jesus’ disciples, records Jesus saying the same message in Matthew 25.

There is a wedding. As the bride walks in, ten bridesmaids are waiting for the groom with torches lit. They don’t know when he’s arriving, but they know it’s soon.

Five bridesmaids brought extra oil for their lamps, not knowing how long they might be waiting. But, unfortunately, five of them didn’t get any excess oil.

So, the bridesmaids without oil asked the ones with oil if they could use some of theirs. The answer is that there is not enough to go around.

Midnight comes, and the groom arrives. The bridesmaids without oil are out trying to find some. The bridesmaids who had the extra oil meet the groom, and the wedding goes on.

When the bridesmaids without extra oil arrived back at the wedding, the ceremony had begun, and they could not participate in the marriage.

An interesting story.

Here’s the point: Be and stay ready because Jesus is coming soon.

Keep your hearts trimmed and burning… for Christmas… and His final Christmas.
  • Stay alert by reading God’s Word because Jesus is coming.
  • Hold onto hope that the best is still to come - help is on the way because Jesus is coming.
  • Live lives of continuous and humble repentance because Jesus is coming.
  • Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus’ arrival because Jesus is coming.

This is Jesus’ Christmas wish for us.

Keep your heart ready like you have this advent season because Jesus has promised to come again, not only at Christmas but again very soon (Revelation 22:7).