From Pastor Karl

From Pastor Karl (41)

Saturday, 26 August 2017 09:22

Prayers for Those in Hurricane Harvey's Path

Written by
Floridians know about the difficulties, dangers and displacement of hurricanes and storms, so, let's join together in prayers like this one - and those from our own heart, for those in Texas in hurricane Harvey's path.

Along with the Psalmist we pray,

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
for in you my soul mtakes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
otill the storms of destruction pass by.
                                         --Ps 57:1 

During and after the storm, we ask you to...
Show your mercy and provide refuge to those in need. 
Through the miraculous and mundane, 
Through their fears and trials, 
Protect and comfort with your Grace.
Be with first responders as they rescue. 
Be with recue centers who pour out your grace with daily provision. 
Hear our prayers through Him who went through the storm for us, 
Even your Son, our friend, Jesus! 
Friday, 25 August 2017 11:59

God's Ultimate Win-Win

Written by

The "Win-Lose" scenario...

Politicians engage it. Our court system often has to practice it. Divided families and congregations can suffer from it. It's built into sports competition and certainly part of the odds in a casino.

The "Win-Win" scenario...

St Paul has a better plan - actually he got the plan from Jesus who got the plan from his Father! 

"For me to live is Christ and to die is gain." (Philippians 1.21) This is the way the ESV translation says it. 

Some of the modern-day paraphrases expand on this "win win" understanding.

The Message says, "Alive I'm Christ's messenger; dead, I'm his bounty. Life verses even more life! I can't lose!" 

The New Living Translation writes, "For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better." 

The Good News Translation says, "For what is life? To me, it is Christ. Death, then, will bring more." 

All summer we've been asking the same question, "Why Jesus!?" In this second-to-last Sunday we'll proclaim a Biblical Truth that produces a profound sense of confidence, courage and perseverance. 

In Christ - you can't lose. You can only win. You've already won. 

This isn't a denial of current suffering or a gloss over people's pain - but a message of depth and substance there is life now and later that is larger than all the world, the flesh and devil can dish out. 

What kind of confidence might you have, how much anxiety might you shed since both living and dying are in Christ!? 

Let's come together Sunday to celebrate the "win-win" we have been given in Christ! 

Confidently yours, 
Pastor Karl 

Fellow Disciples of Jesus, 

Yesterday was a great day at Peace. 

Worship and God's Word focused on the Spirit's power to move us to rejoice in the glory of God - even in our sufferings! In fact, glorifying God through our sufferings sometimes provided an even greater witness than doing so through smooth sailing and calm waters. 

Additionally, we held a well-attended "Town Hall Meeting" to generate conversation around Godly goals and plans for the upcoming program year. I was delighted at the honest questions and frank conversation as to where we're going, including how and why we believe the Lord is leading us there! Essentially, the theme for next year summarizes it well - we want to elevate the importance of discipleship - growing in God's Power and Peace! 

Since we didn't make it through the presentation, and, because some of the tyipe in the presentation was way too small, I've been asked to distribute it via email. So, here it is. In essence, we're utilizing the "both/and" Biblical principle as we proceed forward. "Both/and" applies to the Trinue God who is both one and three; Jesus is both God and man; the sacrament both bread/wine and body/blood. So we're proceeding forward in worship with both tranditional and contemporary expresssions to glorify the Lord we serve. We're enhancing discipleship-growing ministries to both long-term members and new visitors. We're both living for today and working for tomorrow! 

Thank you for being a part of transformational process God is working at Peace. Thank you for the prayers seeking the Lord's blessings. Thank you for participating in our new program year, "Discipleship > Membership!" I trust God will bless! 

​​​​​​​Pastor Karl
It's not warped to rejoice in one's sufferings -  rather, it's a platform to glorify God! 

Look, no one is saying that suffering is good or acceptable or even a part of the Plan. Suffering is none of these and not to be glorified. 

It is, however, opportunity to illustrate the work of God!  

St Paul spells out the spiritual process that begins in suffering and ends in hope in Romans 5.1-5. Jesus utilizes the suffering and healing of a man born blind as a platform for the weakest to stand against the culturally powerful in John 9.  What Christians rejoice about is the Godly redemption of suffering, the meaninglessness of suffering taking on higher This is what God does, through Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit! It's also the focus of our time of worship! 

A "Town Hall Meeting" will follow our time of worship for prayer and conversation around

  1. Our plan for the upcoming program year (September 2017 - May 2018) for you to experience spiritual transformation, and for us to double in attendance. Your thoughts and prayers and participation will help shape this year's theme, "Discipleship > Membership." 
  2. Summary of updates on Peace "vital signs" with a new "dashboard" our Business Manager, Maria Hays has been developing. It will provide an overview of key stats through July
  3. We'll share a large "Thanks be to God" for our early learning center that just achieved a 5-Star rating by the state of Florida! 
  4. Discuss the possibility of a cell tower being erected in the back of our property and learn of potential rental income, timing, safety, etc.

After that - one of our favorite grill experts, Tony Mount, will serve three kinds of pork, baked beans and coleslaw!

Plan to stay, eat, enjoy and continue the discussions begun in the Town Hall meeting! 

It's a powerful Biblical message followed by a very informative time together followed by good eating! 

See you soon, Good Lord willing, 
Pastor Karl 
Friday, 11 August 2017 15:46

Are You Confident?

Written by
Are you self-confident? Do you live confidently? Does it fluctuate with the circumstances? Does it just fluctuate, period?

For many of us, perhaps most of us, confidence is fleeting - dependent on a host of human and earthly variables. It's influenced by our history, how practiced we are in an art or athletics. It's dependent on our age, the subject matter or our temperament at the time. 

If you plug in "confidence" on Amazon you'll discover 1,056,785 results. If you scroll through the titles they'll be a preponderance of long titles telling you how great you really are. Like last week's focus on "purpose," an examination of "confidence" uncovers a human character flaw that acts like a bucket with a big hole in it. We just can't fill it up for good or for long.  

Sunday's worship is focused around confidence - or more accurately stated, Christ-confidence! 

As it turns out, it's the "self" in "self-confidence" that is the problem. However, when it is replaced by something (or better yet) someone, powerful, loving, consistent and complete, produces all that (and more) in the human soul. 

Our Biblical focus is the fundamental, "Gospel-in-a-nutshell" John 3.16 and Ephesians 2.1-10.  Both declare a powerful, loving, consistent and complete Love that provides a confidence for life beyond and above circumstances. 

Sunday's confidence-building hour will also include receiving the Lord's Body and Blood and the Installation of our Early Learning Center faculty/staff. 

I'm looking forward to the confidence boost the Lord has in store for us all! 

Friday, 04 August 2017 08:52

Are You Living On Purpose?

Written by
Are you living on purpose? 

Do you have a clear purpose for living? 

These larger and powerful questions are what greet us at worship this Sunday - and each morning we wake up. 

If you search, you'll discover there are almost 200,000 books on "purpose." I've read more than a few of them and many are, frankly, pretty good and pretty helpful. 

However, the most helpful of secular "purpose books" I've read are bound by time and space. Whereas the Bible's Word on purpose transcends both and provides eternal and lasting purpose. 

This Sunday we'll hear St Paul's passion focus to finish the course on which Jesus placed him. (Acts 20.17-24) We'll listen to Jesus place sorrow and trial in the context of his purpose for his being. (John 12.27-36). 

We'll hear about the connection between an amputee's prosthesis and our purpose. 

I doubt we'll answer the larger question, (What's your purpose?) in one quick hour, but I do pray the Holy Spirit will insert the question deep in your soul and that it will be a thorn in your side till you, through the Spirit answer it with clarity. 

I want you to live - on purpose! 
Thursday, 27 July 2017 16:34

Do You Live with the End in Mind?

Written by
"Begin with the end in mind" is recognized (probably by) millions as Steven Covey's second of seven recommended habits. His book, "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" sold over 25 million copies in 40 languages. And although I am among the millions who have read and engaged many of his effective principles, I'm certain he didn't make this principle up. In fact, I first discovered it the Bible. It's the way Jesus invited us to live - in preparation for the End Times. 

It's also the focus of worship on this 5th Sunday in July. Here's the question, "Do you live with the End Times in mind?" (Cf Matthew 24.3fI) 

Jesus was privately preparing his disciples for a number of "end times" all at once. Fully aware the Pharisees were hatefully plotting, he was prepping the disciples for his own version of "end times." Aware the mission of the church was about to be launched like a rocket by the Spirit, he was providing a leadership principle for their global mission to disciple the world. Knowing most would die a martyr's death, he was equipping them to live life fully in each adventure-filled missional moment! 

And so will be our messaging this Sunday. Well beyond Covey's sage advice, Jesus is calling us to live with the "End Times" in mind. 

Jesus' purpose was to gift us with purpose, eternal purpose. Fully aware there are hateful forces at play, a focus on the End Times shapes and strengthens the soul for the times ahead. Aware the mission of God is to be engaged throughout the planet, Jesus is providing us with a key leadership principle - begin with the End Times in mind. Knowing virtually every one of us is certain to die, he is providing inspiration to fully live each adventure-filled missional moment for our good and his glory! 

I think Covey was right, but only in the small scales of this life. Focusing on the End Times is life-changing now and eternally. 

An immediate case in point is this Sunday's commissioning of Laura Grundeman. Last Sunday we received your generous door offerings for Laura’s ministry to be presented by "The Women of Peace" in the form of one check from all of our gifts. (If you would still like to contribute, just go to our web site, press the "Donate" tab and follow the web site for your e-giving.) She's leaving Naples for a ministry in Boston's inner city. We praise God for her passion and purpose as she exemplifies living with the End Times in mind. 

See you Sunday, Good Lord willing, 
Pastor Karl 

Why Jesus!? 

Last week we listened to hard to hear - much less understand -  sayings of Jesus, but this week, the opposite side of the same theological coin is proclaimed. 

God expresses amazing love for us through Jesus that, frankly, seems hard to believe. Jesus gives up eternity for humanity, for you. He allows mistreatment to the point of crucifixion, for you. He describes his searching - again, for you. He supplies invitations to come and rest and find reassurance, for you. (Matthew 11.25f; Luke 19.1f)

What's almost as amazing is our resistance to being loved so profoundly. Perhaps there's a sense of unworthiness? Perhaps there's resistance because forgiveness leaves us free and responsible? (And irresponsibility can be a marvelous hiding place, can't it?) 

This week's message is a (quick) review of one of the most compact and powerful expressions of God's Love found in the Bible. The 23rd Psalm. It may be one of the easiest Scripture lessons to hear, and that's what you'll be asked to do. Hear it. Receive it. Let God's Love do its work through it. Our mission is "To Receive, Invite and Invest in God's Power and Peace." This Sunday we'll focus on receiving what's easy to hear - to accept how God has made us worthy in Christ; to forgive as we have been forgiven; to be responsible with our worthiness and live like it matters. 

Additionally, you'll be asked for a special contribution to the new ministry of Laura Grundeman who has been accepted in the Lutheran Young Adult Corp ( for work in the inner city of Boston, MA. Each member of the Lutheran Young Adult Corp is asked to raise some of their funds for their mission. I trust Laura will experience generous support for her Peace family! All checks are to be made out to "Women of Peace" with Laura Grundeman in the notation. Our woman's group will deposit our gifts into their account and provide Laura with one check on Sunday, July 30th, at her official commissioning. 

See you soon, Good Lord willing! 
Thursday, 13 July 2017 11:53

How Do You Face Hard Truth (Or Do You)?

Written by
So, since June 4th we've been answering the question, "Why Jesus!?" 

Our response this week is because we trust him to deliver and be present as we receive a hard truth. 

Most of us like the darkness (metaphorically speaking). There's no accountability in the darkness. There's no vulnerability there either. We remain hidden (but also trapped). "For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come into the light, lest his works be exposed."  - Jesus (John 3.20) 

The "problem" with the Light is that it is Bright to the point of blinding; piercing and revealing. Beyond vulnerable, we're utterly exposed. The Light Illuminates the reality of our "stuckness" - our being trapped. This is the reason for Jesus and why we proclaim him as Savior and Lord even through (maybe especially through) hard truths. 

This Sunday we'll briefly examine three hard truths spoken by Jesus:

  1. Jesus said he came not to bring peace, but a sword that will divide families... (Matthew 10.34f)
  2. Jesus said to let the dead bury their own dead, following him was the higher priority...  (Matthew 8.18f)
  3. Jesus said we must eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood or we have no life in us.... (John 6.52f) 

I look forward to seeing you in worship on Sunday because, even though the Light is Bright to the point of blinding; piercing and revealing, the Truth is, His LIght is the only way out of our darkness! 

Come to be illuminated by hard Truth!
Of what or whom are you absolutely sure? 

Certainty and absolutes seem harder to find and perhaps harder to proclaim than ever before.

Really smart scientists tell us the universe itself is "relative" - that time and space change and bend. When I was in elementary school, electrons were charged particles that orbited around the nucleus of an atom. Now I'm told they are neither wave nor particle and do not orbit the nucleus but are more like standing waves (or something). 

Various world faiths and world views seem to push their relative opinions - sometimes simply by the phrase, "your truth." It seems like the more relative space we can make the more there's room for wide and various opinions.

This week, we're answering the questions, "Why Jesus!?" by illustrating his absolute and timeless nature. He is.

Although the science and religious and philosophical debates about what is relative can make me dizzy, I can proclaim with absolute sincerity and trust - Jesus is absolute. I don't have to work to try and understand the dummies version of quantum mechanics, I can simply approach the altar, open my hand and receive Jesus in bread. I can raise the cup and drink in Jesus who is.

This Sunday, by the power of the Spirit, you and I will leave with absolute, timeless assurance (and take that into our relative world.)

I'm absoutely certain of it.

Pastor Karl    
Page 2 of 3