Lee Harder here, senior pastor at St. Paul Lutheran Church of Bulverde, the Red Roof Church, greeting you with some more thoughts to brighten your day, give you a chuckle, or make you think about your relationship with God. Before I get into this week’s blog, I want to invite you to join us for worship this and every Sunday at 8:30 or 10:45AM. We celebrate Christ and I assure you that our community of believers is one Where God’s Word Is Heard from the pages of Scripture and not the latest social trends.
If you have visited this blog last week you heard about my exploits in flying. Well, on a more serious note, all that flying and its mishaps came as a result of going to perform the marriage celebration of my oldest daughter, Dawn, and her now husband, Dan. It was a beautiful site for the wedding in the State Park near Two Harbors, Minnesota by the lake. The service was a little shorter than normal since there was not music (It seems no one wanted to haul an organ or piano down to the lake. Can’t understand why not.) However, pastor/dad still gave a sermon to remind all present that marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman, but also between a loving couple and the God who cherishes and cares for them. As long as we live in that understanding, the bond of marriage will be a blessing.
This special day was also the chance to meet Dan’s parents and extended family. They are wonderful people. As it turns out, they might be responsible for getting me to read and record the stories that I made a part of a cookbook that I wrote a few years ago. It could be fun. It might also be a way to have our grandchildren get to know more about their grandparents. We’ll see.
Speaking of grandchildren, it was a joy to see some of the grandkids again. Its been a while. They’re growing so fast. In fact, at the end of this school year, three of them, Austin, Madison and Summer, will graduate from high school. I remember when they were small and would sit on Papa’s lap and I read to them or snuggled with them and fell asleep. They are young adults now, but it was nice to know they miss us, too, and were so happy that we came.
That’s the one draw back to our move to Texas from Minnesota. All the kids and grandkids are there and we are here. The apostle Paul was right when he said that having a family (getting marriage) means that either God is getting short changed or the family is. Grandma and I have missed a lot, which I say with a touch of sadness. The grandchildren have missed out, too, and they know it. Well, maybe not grandma or especially Papa saying things like “Do you really want to wear your hair that way.” or “When we were your age.” or “That’s not the way we did it.” You know the stuff I mean.
Mind you, I would not trade the people of St. Paul for any. God was very generous in giving me a call to these disciples of Christ. Actually, if I am to be honest, it was Karen they wanted to come down here and be a part of the congregation. I was just lucky enough that they were willing to have me tag along as their pastor.
Karen and I have been blessed many times over. There is the love we share, 48 years and still going strong, three beautiful kids and the families who miss us as we miss being with them, wonderful friends in many states, and a community of believers in St. Paul that God has given me the privilege to serve and guide in a loving relationship with our Lord. It doesn’t get any better than that. Still, there are things we missed.
My prayer and desire for my children and grandchildren is that they find a spiritual home that lifts them up in a relationship with the Lord. I can’t be there as their pastor and saying that the preachers they have heard are, “Well, they’re not like you, Dad or Papa.” sounds nice, but it’s not enough. They need to grow in their own journey with Christ. I love them all dearly and want only the best for them. I look forward to the day I can see them again. Until then, I will serve the Lord to the best of my ability with the gifts He has given and pray that He watches over my families — all of them.
God bless and have a great week. Make a special moment with your kids or grandkids soon.
Greetings from Bulverde, Texas and the wonderful folks at the Red Roof Church. I’m Lee Harder the senior pastor at St. Paul wishing you God’s blessings this weekend and in the week ahead. If you’re in our neighborhood on 281 north of San Antonio this Sunday, I invite you to join us for worship at either 8:30 or 10:45AM. I promise, this is a fellowship of believers “Where God’s Word Is Heard” every week. We’ll be looking for you.
I have to apologize for not having a Vlog last week, but I had a good excuse. I was in Minnesota performing the marriage celebration of our oldest daughter and her new husband, Dan Jones. Besides the wedding, we got to visit with the grandchildren. When one adds the wonderfully cool weather, it was a great weekend. We flew up Thursday and returned on Monday and that’s the problem, we flew.
Since we don’t travel much or take the vacation time I should and fly even less, I got talked into bumping our tickets to first class. It was only $280.00 per person. I mention that not to impress, but to validate what I feel is an excessive amount for what was provided and experienced. I will explain.
First, I have flown only four times in my life, the first being a trip from Minneapolis to Albuquerque in 2008. At that time we had planned to fly coach (you know, sardines in a can), but my youngest brother surprised us by moving us to first class. It was great. We were separated from the peasant class (where we would have been) by a curtain. They served wine even before we got off the ground. Admittedly, it was in plastic cups, but that switched to real glass when we were airborne. The seats were roomy, big and even reclined, really reclined. The food wasn’t bad either. All was good in the world, until we returned in economy uncomfortably stuffed in the sardine can with no room for legs, shoulder hanging out in the aisle, and no booze or food, small pretzels only.
The next two times we flew, it was in economy plus some years later and I truly believe the airlines had miraculously achieved even less leg room & more of my shoulder into the aisle. I know the sardines had infinitely more room. The pretzels were the same and the cost of tickets had risen.
Well, this time I’m at a better pay scale and since we don’t travel, Karen, friends at church, everyone was urging me to go first class. So I did, both ways. The seats were a bit more roomy, kind of like the seats we had in economy years ago before they shrunk. No booze, but we did take the 6:00 AM flight and alcohol for breakfast just isn’t my idea of how to start the day with a hearty breakfast. Breakfast is where my issues begin. Remember, we paid $280.00 EXTRA for the first class amenities. After the moist, warm hand towel to cleanse the hands, we were served breakfast. It consisted of one small oblong bowl of corn Chex, a carton of 2% milk, one small blueberry yogurt, a cup of sliced, under ripe fruit (melon, pineapple, a few grapes and a strawberry) & a semi-frozen croissant with a pad of butter and some jam. On the return flight, it was Cheerios instead of Chex, but otherwise the same.
I realize this might sound like I’m whining, but $280.00 a head is a lot of money for me. However, I would have paid twice that for a real restroom.
Up to Thursday’s flight, I have never, no not ever, used a restroom in an airplane. I have always been able to go the distance. Unfortunately, I am older now inconvenienced by the normal challenges men my age face. I have to go more often. Add to that I take three, yes, three, three, three pills not one that are diuretics every day which controls my edema but does require that I pay more frequent homage to the porcelain deities available. So, half way to Minneapolis, I had to go.
Nobody warned me what to expect. The use of the word small is a crime against the English language when referencing an airplane restroom. This restroom was way past small to border on minuscule, microscopic, wee, and tiny. Yet, people used it, so I thought I could too. Big mistake. First, one does not go standing like a man normally goes. It’s impossible. I know, I tried. There’s no room for your feet (I have a size 15 shoe & the space in this closet, a reference which is casting an affront to closets everywhere, is only big enough for a much smaller, daintier foot). Because I was wearing jogging pants (I don’t jog, they’re just comfortable), I had to lower them to my ankles to go. I tried to kneel over the space provided, the bowl, but I couldn’t because I’m too tall and the ceiling is curved. I’m just too much of me, period. The result is I wet my pants, thoroughly. Then, to get my damp pants up, I ended up opening the door slightly, accidently I assure you, to offer a half-moon to those in first class interested in looking.
When I got to my seat, Karen tried to act as if she didn’t know me. After a few moments, I mentioned to her that if the need arose that I should require the use of the fore mentioned cubical again before the completion of the flight, I would just pee where I was at. Fortunately, I didn’t have that need. I love flying (sarcasm). There’s something special about paying $280.00 to have breakfast cereal & wetting myself as the memorable treasures of flying first class.
On the return flight, I did not take my meds & did not need the use of the cubicle falsely labeled “restroom” despite a one hour delay in getting off at Minneapolis.
I never want to fly again. I was informed that I need to make sure the plane I take is a full sized plane and not the puddle jumper we ended up on. Who knew? So, maybe, possibly, I would reconsider, but I’ll have to think real hard on it.
In the mean time, it was a good visit and our girls (our two golden retrievers were fine, wildly glad to have mom and dad back home) and did great thanks to our house sitter, Kyle. I hope my story has given you a chuckle and revealed that pastors are just like everybody else. We have our days, too.
God bless and talk to you again soon.
Greetings from the disciples of Christ at the Red Roof Church of Bulverde, Texas. I’m Lee Harder, the senior pastor, and would very much like to invite you to join us for worship this Sunday. We gather in God’s house at 8:30AM and 10:45AM to hear His Word proclaimed from Scripture and we would like to have you share it with us.
I had the occasion to visit with a former classmate of mine from the seminary days of 40 years ago. He has retired and enjoys the good life out west. As we shared war stories from the seminary and our respective years in the ministry as pastors, we began to realize that I might be the last from our graduating class at Northwestern Theological Seminary still active as a pastor.
When we had our first class reunion 5 years after our graduation, out of a class of 33, 11 had already left the ministry. As of a dozen years ago, there were only a handful still serving congregations. The shortage of pastors serving churches is becoming alarming. Too few pastors for too many churches, especially smaller ones.
I was one of the founders, former president and instructor at the Beyond the River Academy, where pastors train pastors through an online instruction in basics that will equip someone who feels called by God to serve in a congregation as pastor. Those entering the program do so usually after having ended a career and feel a need to serve as a pastor because the Spirit is moving them in that direction. Because they are often financially sound, they are willing to go to smaller congregations that cannot afford the full time, master of divinity pastor. What we provide are the tools that will help to preach a sermon, teach a Bible study, visit with someone sick or dying, and marry, bury or baptize. Still, there are not enough to meet the growing need.
As the baby boomer pastors retire, it’s going to get worse. Added to that is a growing trend among younger clergy. Many younger clergy are “giving it up for Lent,” so to speak after just five years. Some who are leaving the ministry are finding the debt crushing. Church attendance, and therefore giving, is at 1920’s levels. Full-time calls at wages that will put food on the table and pay for seminary debt are disappearing. Health insurance costs keep rising. The business sector promises stability that the church can’t offer anymore. And some are leaving because they’re getting eaten up, and life is just too short to put up with that for too long. We follow a Jesus who said that we’re to give our life away, but not in the way that disregards life itself.
Couple this with the fact that seminary enrollment is at unsustainable lows and it’s not surprising that there are fewer pastors to serve churches. Oh, and don’t forget the non-denominational churches springing up all over that provide exciting, high energy worship programs that light up the auditorium with glitz and glamour to the beat of the latest rock and gospel sound. Plug in the motivational speaker who makes those attending feel good all over in a politically correct way, it’s tough to be content with a traditional pastoral role.
I’m happy where I’m at and doing what I do. Retire, I don’t think so, at least not yet. I may be the last in my class, but that suits me just fine. God has called me to be a pastor, to preach and teach His Word to His people. That’s enough to keep me content to serve Him. Sure, there are days when it gets terribly frustrating. God’s people of every time can be difficult. They always have been and likely always will be. Quit? Not happening! I’m going to do precisely what our Lord has called me to do for as long as I have breath and the people in this congregation (or some other in the future should they tire of me here) are willing to put up with me. I’m having too much fun most of the time and love rising to a challenge the rest of it.
I wish others would see both the need to serve (key word) and the joy of serving (that’s an important one too). The church needs men and women who love Christ and are willing to shoulder His cross in the face of all adversity. Besides, I get paid for being a Christian. How can one beat that? Am I blessed or what?
And those are my thoughts. Have a great week. God bless. Pastor Lee
Greetings from the great folks at the Red Roof Church in Bulverde, Texas. I’m Lee Harder, the senior pastor, inviting you to join us for worship this Sunday at 8:30 or 10:45AM for a celebration of God’s Word. When one considers all the mixed messages out there today, St. Paul is a church Where God’s Word is Heard from Scripture every week and not a social agenda. That is a good thing to count on. Check us out on our web page at redroofchurch.org and then come by for worship, fellowship and the joy of life in Christ.
Paul wrote in his letter to the church in the city of Rome, Romans 12:2 to be exact, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” Yet, I am constantly aware how we Christians like to make Christ over into our own image rather than trying to make the world conform to the will of God. In the past, we made Jesus a warrior when we sent the crusaders marching to the Holy Land to take back Jerusalem and crush the Muslims. 500 years later, we made Jesus someone to be scared of so we couldn’t come to Him in prayer but had to go through the saints with a small nominal fee, of course.
Today, many in the Christian church want Jesus to be this great guy who is only about love and niceness where everybody is saved. Mind you, that’s not the Jesus of Scripture and never was. Too many want to replace the unchanging Jesus of the Bible with a do-it-yourself-deity who is made and unmade according to our own specifications.
Here’s the latest attempt and this one is by a whole denomination. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America or ELCA has opted for another socially designed, politically correct, decision at their annual national gathering this year in Milwaukee. With the vote of about 700 people, representing about 3.4 million ELCA Lutherans, they decided that the ELCA would be a “sanctuary church” protecting the rights of migrant children and families. While they use the word “migrants” what they really mean is illegal immigrants coming into this country contrary to all our laws and national sovereignty. They perceive the arrest, detainment and deportation of such persons as unfair and unjust. In their eyes, the laws enforced by immigration agencies seeking to maintain our national sovereignty and security for the purpose of keeping us safe don’t matter. What that all means, I don’t know, and I suspect neither do they understand the ramifications of their vote based on the progressive agenda of a liberal leadership. Yet, these few voted for a whole church body that likely is not all in agreement with their stand.
Remember, this is the same Christian denomination that has considered the Old Testament to be a work of fiction, stories for Sunday school children; quietly but effectively stopped talking about sin or our need for repentance because it makes people feel sad and uncomfortable; and embraced with several other Christian bodies the universal salvation mentality that everybody is going to heaven because a loving God wouldn’t condemn anyone to hell. Besides, there really isn’t a devil anyway.
Look, I don’t want people to suffer who need food, medical attention, and the like. At the same time, I don’t believe we should allow people to flood into our nation illegally, especially when there are so many who seek to do it legally through proper channels.
A church that seeks to help those in need, I applaud. We should because it is what Jesus did and it’s the right thing to do. However, a church that stands in direct opposition to civil law because it doesn’t fit the politically correct image supported by some in a position of power and leadership is wrong. In the process, the condemnation of people who are doing their best in a difficult situation to help in a humane way people in need while maintaining order and safety for a nation is not commendable. It’s wrong and I suspect there will be many within its congregations across the nation that will agree.
In the days of Jesus, Israel’s religious leaders, the Pharisees, Scribes and Sadducees, did the same kind of things. They heaped upon the people rules and regulations, made decisions, that they decided were necessary which only satisfied their desires, while they put themselves above the need to be subject to them. Funny how the same problems of the past keep reappearing again and again. We sure are slow learners, failing to learn from our history. Maybe some day.
And those are my thoughts. God bless,
Greetings from the folks at the Red Roof Church in Bulverde, Texas. I’m Lee Harder, the senior pastor at St. Paul inviting you to come for a visit with us this Sunday for worship at 8:30AM or 10:45AM. If you can’t make it, why not visit our web page at redroofchurch.org and watch the broadcast of our worship celebrations there.
I want to share a concern with you that might be nothing more than creating a mountain out of a mole hill. Still, it causes me to worry about where we’re going culturally with regards to our precious independence. Let me explain.
I prepare a Bible study for three classes of people every Thursday. I prepare a sermon based on designated Scripture lessons each week at the very least. While I could go to “boxed” and “prepared” materials for these things, which many do, I choose not to because I need to constantly challenge myself to learn and grow in my knowledge. In the same manner, I actually go to church Sunday morning at about 5:00AM and preach for a couple of hours to an empty church like it was worship. It lets me fine tune my sermon for the live delivery.
At home, Karen and I actually go grocery shopping every week after I have prepared a menu with all the ingredients needed carefully listed for purchase. When it comes time to prepare the meal I either refer to a recipe in a cookbook (I have many with many excellent and challenging culinary skills required that will please any palate) or resort to my own cooking skills. (While I can’t wear the white hat of a chef, I have the skills as testified by those who have feasted on my humble offerings.) Actually, it might be better if I didn’t cook so well from my doctor’s point of view with regards to my weight.
I mention this because I am seeing more and more people unwilling or unable to do for themselves. When we shop, I see multiple racks wheeling throughout the store as employees gather the food for people who can’t (understandable) or won’t (lazy?) for themselves. I see a growing number of ads on TV for services that will mail to consumers complete meals in a box and all the instructions (with pictures) on how to prepare (including cutting) the dish with the recommended serving sizes. Result, a growing number of people who simply can’t cook. I mean, when you have to explain how to boil water to an adult, there’s a problem.
There’s more as I now see a growing trend for cars that drive themselves. I’ve got no problem about warnings from mirrors about drifting in lanes or approaching cars, but I always thought that was the job of a careful, involved driver in driving. No, I’m talking about cars that drive, that park, and that stop because the driver is doing something other than what they should be doing — DRIVING. I fear as this trend continues we will create a whole culture of people who just can’t drive. I suppose that’s okay until the computer crashes or the power goes out. What then?
And let’s not forget the growing dependence on phones that keep track of everything to the point where people can’t seem to function without them. Worse, people are forgetting how to communicate without texting. What happened to people talking to one another — you know, communicating in the flesh.
I want to share my thoughts on this because I see our culture becoming more and more dependent on some one or some thing doing what we should be doing for ourselves. I see it in our culture. I see it in giving, accepting, or what’s really scary wanting “mother” government to run our lives and the lives of our children over the desires and morals of their parents. I see the same attitude expressed in the church. As a pastor, I am only too aware of the embraced ignorance on the part of Christians concerning the Word of God in the Bible and understanding what we believe according to that Word. A growing number would rather someone else do the work that Christ commanded of all of us or have someone (as long as we agree) to tell us what to believe.
What’s going to happen if our technology crashes? What will happen within the church if Christians surrender their responsibility to know God’s Word and fall prey to false teachers who embrace the world’s agenda over Christ’s? I fear we will have become so dependent on technology and letting the other guy do it that we will be incapable of functioning on our own. Don’t get me wrong. I love technology when I can understand it, but I still want to be in control. I have music and books stored in the “cloud.” I also have “hard” copies that I can touch, hold, and use on my terms my way — just in case the clouds suddenly aren’t there. It’s possible we might be losing an essential part of our humanity by surrendering our independence and personal freedom. One good thing though, I’m getting old and won’t have to put up with this trend indefinitely. Thank you Lord!
And those are my thoughts, as antiquated as they might be. God bless until next time.
Welcome to this week’s Blog from the Red Roof Church of Bulverde, Texas. I’m the senior pastor, Lee Harder, wishing you God’s blessings and joy. I would also like to invite you to visit us this Sunday for worship on our campus or via our church web page at redroofchurch.org We offer both our worship celebrations on a delayed broadcast by 2:00PM Sunday afternoon and, of course, any time following. If you are in the area, we worship at 8:30AM and 10:45AM. There’s always plenty going on along with good coffee and accompanying donuts of all sorts. Whatever draws you, I promise our worship is “Where God’s Word Is Heard” every week.
My blog this week is more whimsical than theological. If you watch TV, you know that for the past two weeks the National Geographic channel has been pushing “Shark Fest” with a host of programming focused on shark information. It’s kind of their answer to the famous and eagerly watched “Shark Week” on another channel. Then everyone knows that beginning this Sunday, July 28th, going all week the Discovery channel has its annual “Shark Week.”
I mention this because I am amused by the constant barrage of data and hypothesis as to why sharks attack human beings. There seems to be almost as many different reasons and attempts at explanation as there are varieties of sharks. Despite a plethora of possibilities to explain why there are shark attacks on people, they seem to conclude each proposed answer with “they’re not quite sure all the data supports their conclusion. We need to explore further.” I’m betting that the programing on Shark Week will come to the same inconclusive possibilities. Those who aren’t sure represent an army of researchers, scientists, and experts of every walk of life. They likely spend millions of dollars and utilize a bevy of grants to do their theorizing and speculation. More power to them.
However, I would like to propose a thought. I am not an expert, a research specialist, or a scientist knowledgeable in a shark brand of ichthyology. I am a lowly pastor. Yet, my theory, if believed and accepted as fact, will devastate the scientific world that devotes itself to the study of sharks, researching with painful detail all shark attacks around the world to find an answer to the question — WHY? It could dry up millions of dollars in research grants and funds resulting in untold numbers of brilliant people losing their jobs. But here goes.
When one goes into any ocean, gulf or sea you become food. By going into the water human beings are no longer on the top of the food chain — they are food. Like beef from a steer, pork from a pig or chicken from a chicken is to us human beings, we become part of the menu for sharks upon entering the water right up there with seals, sardines, whales and garbage. For this reason, I do not swim in seas, oceans or otherwise. I do not wish to be eaten.
It seems totally illogical to get upset, angry or overwhelmed by a shark attack that severely injures or kills a person in the water. They chose to be there in their world. Sharks do not kill, injure or eat people on land. Well, they do in Sharknado movies, but they are just silly. And they are not real. Hold that thought.
If you want to swim in the ocean, ski or kayak, surf or snorkel, remember, you are now food. While the odds are you will go unscathed, having a wonderful time, don’t complain if on that certain day your luck runs out and you find yourself the entrée at the shark’s table. If one enters their world, you become gluten free food. Your choice.
Bon Appetite! And those are my thoughts. God bless.
Welcome to our Red Roof Church Blog for this week. I’m Lee Harder, the senior pastor at St. Paul, and it is a joy to visit with you again. The folks at St. Paul would like to invite you to worship with us this Sunday at either 8:30 AM for our traditional celebration or at 10:45 AM for our contemporary worship. I can promise you that the Red Roof Church is a place Where God’s Word Is Heard every week. It just might be the spiritual home you’ve been looking for. Join us.
This week in our regular Thursday Bible Study classes (3 classes every Thursday at 8:00 & 10:00 AM and at 6:30 PM so anyone can fit it in their schedule to attend) as we explored the pressures the world is applying to our Christian faith, I was asked rather directly, “With all the trouble the church is dealing with, why do you do what you do, pastor?”
An interesting question, to say the least. It caused me to pause and think before responding. Why do I do what I do as I have been for the last 40 years as a pastor. Why to I continue to preach sermons, week after week, month after month, year after year even when I know the message is not being taken to heart with the frequency I would cherish? Why do I research, write, prepare & teach Bible study classes for the youth, for the adults, for new people to the church, and more on a regular basis? I answered slowly because there was no singular reason.
First, it is because I feel called by God to serve as a pastor with gifts, talents and abilities, He has provided for me to do so. But even more important is the fact I love the Lord and if this is His plan for my life I will accept His will. Second, I suppose I do it and have done it because it’s a living. While I have never gotten rich and don’t expect to start now, I have always been content because God has provided.
Third, and this can sometimes be a challenge. I love the people of this congregation that I serve as pastor. Even those who can be occasionally difficult (I can be too), are loved by me. Why? Because I want them to know the love of Christ and be able to spend eternity in heaven. So I preach God’s Word and I teach His Word to the best of my ability. I believe Scripture and I am passionate about sharing it.
My continual prayer is that God will allow me many more years of doing these very same things. After 40 years of preaching an untold number of sermons in the thousands and writing my own educational materials for all learning levels and then teaching that material in many more thousands of lessons and classes, I still love what I do.
It is that love that makes me unwilling to dilute His Word or compromise it in any way. When I am preparing for a sermon, any sermon, every sermon, I try to make sure I remain true to God’s intent and deliver a message that expresses the truth from the heart of Scripture. I know not everyone appreciates that since God’s Word can be tough. However, I love those He has given me to minister to, so I’m going to do the best I can with the gifts He has blessed me with to serve Him.
I’m the luckiest guy I know (even if there are those challenging days) because I get paid to do the work of a Christian pastor. I work with great people who are also dedicated to His service out of their love for the Lord. What’s not to love about my job, my career, my vocation?
And those are my thoughts and now you know more about me than maybe you wanted to know. Talk to you next week.
Greetings and blessings from the great people of the Red Roof Church in Bulverde, Texas. We invite you to join me, I’m Lee Harder the senior pastor, and the disciples of St. Paul to worship with us this weekend. We celebrate Christ every Sunday at 8:30 AM and 10:45 AM. Come by and join your friends and neighbors as we rejoice in God’s Word for our lives. You can be sure that this congregation is one “Where God’s Word Is Heard” without being diluted to fit in.
Karen and I celebrated our 48th wedding anniversary this past Wednesday. I made sure we could spend the day together. I also gave her the choice as to whether she wanted to go out for dinner at a nice restaurant or if I should do my magic in the kitchen and prepare a feast at home. She chose at home and dined on a large, succulent lobster, fresh baked French rolls, and tequila berry salad with house dressing (my cookbook). I willingly suffered with some beef tenderloin. All of which was accompanied by a quality bottle of cabernet from Becker vineyards. With the aid of some nice jewelry, a heart pendant with chain and a ring, my contract was renewed for another year and maybe even beyond if I continue to provide fine dining in the Harder household.
I could spend another 48 years with her and be as happy as anyone could be, but I don’t think my body will last out that long. Mind you, I pray every night by thanking God for the day and for this wonderful, loving woman that has graced me with her love for this long. ( I can be a challenge.) In addition, I am not bashful about asking for as many years as He will bless us with being together. As the saying goes, “Ain’t love grand!” With Karen, it is.
When I look at the state of marriage in our culture today, I am amazed at the fact we are still together. More than that, we are more in love with each other now that we were 48 years ago. Sure we had our fights years ago when we were younger and foolish, but today we seldom disagree, much less fight. In fact, we have our recliners positioned so that they are next to each other allowing us to actually hold hands while watching TV. Silly? Maybe to some. A joy for us? Absolutely! Should have done it years ago.
We got to this point in our marriage because God was with us and watched over us because we asked Him to be there and He was. He was there through the rough, poor years of marriage when we had to count pennies, through raising three kids and the decision for her to stay at home to bring them up right in a home where one parent was always there and the other was close by (Yes, it meant we couldn’t have all the stuff, go out every night, drive a new car, and more, but we didn’t care.), through one heart attack, almost dying & to a brain bleed that meant months of recovery, God was there for us. There’s more, but I think I made my point. Our marriage wasn’t just the union of one woman and one man, but a trinity of us with God ever present.
We worked at our marriage every day because we loved one another. We didn’t face the challenges alone, we had each other, but more importantly, we had God helping us, guiding us, loving us as we loved Him. I wonder if those getting married today have that kind of relationship with each other and with God? Why is the divorce rate in our country at 50% or more? A marriage takes effort to be successful and happy by both parties. It takes work.
This popular notion that after one gets marriage he can still have his friends, male and female, and she can have her friends, male and female, is a recipe for disaster. And don’t get me started on the insane idea that each partner in a marriage needs to have guy or gal time alone. That may come later, but it is a great way to build in a breakup in the early stages of a marriage when one should be focused on being of one flesh.
We always found that having “our” friends, usually other couples younger, our age, or older, proved a blessing that gave us people to share fun and fellowship with on a regular basis. We got to go out (to their home for cards and a meal or snacks along with some adult beverages) and to entertain (as they did the same at our house). It was fun, it was cheap, it built relationships.
Love in a marriage grows, but growth needs the proper care to become something extraordinary, something that stands the tests of time. Each level of a loving relationship is special and should be treasured, but it takes a while for couples just entering marriage time to learn that lesson. I can tell you about it, but until you have experienced it for yourself you probably won’t believe me. I cannot urge couples getting married today enough, make God a part of everything you do. Love each other with your heart and soul and mind and strength and, more importantly, God in the same ways. He won’t let you down.
And those are my thoughts.
Have a great week and God’s blessings.
Greetings in this week of Independence Day as we celebrate the birth of our nation. I’m Lee Harder, senior pastor at the Red Roof Church in Bulverde, Texas inviting you to join us this Sunday as we worship our Lord, Jesus Christ. Our worship celebrations are at 8:30AM and 10:45AM. St. Paul is a community of believers “Where God’s Word Is Heard” every week and we would love to have you be a part of our family.
As we celebrate the 4th, hopefully you will be doing more than shooting off fireworks and having the backyard barbeque. It’s a good time to remember what this nation stands for and it definitely isn’t what too many ill-informed individuals are constantly spouting off about. As I mentioned a few weeks ago when I started this patriotic series of Vlogs, Thomas Jefferson clearly had a eye for the future and some of the problems that we are facing today. Let me share some of the quotes I ran across that have application to our issues today.
"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." As the political parties are already trotting up their potential candidates, I am constantly hearing the word “FREE”. Free education, free medical care, free housing, and freedom from student debt to name but a few. Who pays for this FREE stuff? As someone who took out student loans for seminary, worked 50 plus hours a week as a janitor, did supply preaching throughout Minnesota, northern Iowa and western Wisconsin at least two and often three weekends a month all on top of going to school full time, I don’t recall FREE entering the conversation. I also paid back my student loans and we helped out kids pay back theirs. Jefferson was right, our democracy will cease because those advocating a free lunch will always vote in the ones who will provide the Free card. Into that mix I will add another quote which says: "It is incumbent on every generation to pay its' own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on, would save one-half the wars of the world."
Here are two more quotes concerning our already bloated and constantly expanding government that Jefferson foresaw as a potential threat. "I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people, under the pretense of taking care of them.” and "My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government."
Boy have we got too much government and this idiocy that we need more staggers even my imagination. Sadly, both parties are guilty despite claims to the contrary. I don’t need the government to be my mother or father. Maybe it’s long overdue that we set term limits on our elected officials in the Congress and Senate. They don’t seem to have the same integrity as that evil slave owner, George Washington (sarcasm on my part), when he set his own limits for the presidency. A wise, God-fearing man of profound wisdom he was. Unfortunately traits seemingly absent in our elected officials in Washington, D.C. who have become career parasites on the nation.
To those who desire to TAKE all the guns from the citizenry of this democracy, I offer these quotes from Jefferson. "No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms." and "The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." Just as our forefathers fought against the tranny of Great Britain when this nation was founded, it is not beyond the realm of imagination to realize the same necessity in our own times should the government come into the control of fanatics who are obsessed with ruling and not governing a free democracy of free people.
Should you have some doubts about such a thing happening, please note the vote in California recently to push religious institutions (I suspect Christian in particular) to accept the LGBT whatever communities sexual lifestyles as normal. In addition, any attempt to not embrace such understanding via literature, speech or activity would run contrary to the position of the state government probably opening up a series of lawsuits to rein in such attitudes. I think that qualifies as a government run amuck.
Remember what we celebrate on the 4th — freedom and liberty for all in a nation founded under God and His authority, guidance and blessing whether you believe it or not.
And those are my thoughts.
Have a great and safe 4th of July. God bless and keep your powder dry, your ears open, your eyes clear and your heart in God’s keeping.
Greetings from the great folks at the Red Roof Church in Bulverde, Texas. I’m Lee Harder, the senior pastor, coming to you with another of my weekly vlogs and a personal invitation to worship with us this Sunday. We have worship celebrations at 8:30AM with a more tradition flavor and 10:45AM for the more contemporary appeal. Either way, I promise you will hear God’s Word from Scripture being preached without apology. You can also check out our delay broadcast of worship at our redroofchurch.org web site. Join us in praising our Lord, sharing in some good eats, and some inspiring Christian education for all ages. We’ll be looking for you this Sunday.
As of right now, we have survived Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. In addition, I have made it one more year with another birthday with a 48th anniversary with the love of my life looming on the horizon. However, before we get there we celebrate the 4th of July — Independence Day. I thought for a few weeks leading up to this important day, it couldn’t hurt to remind ourselves and some of our younger millennial types, as well as the historically challenged, just what makes this nation great. Please note, I said great, not perfect.
To begin, allow me to set an important tone from a Christian pastoral perspective that reminds us all, Christians and non-believers alike, we are all by nature sinful and unclean. Simply, none of us is perfect. The persons that seem bent on chastising to the point of exorcism important persons of our American history, events of great distinction and significance, and their contributions to who we are as a people and a nation should take serious note that what they do endangers their future. Some day a generation that follows them might deem it necessary to cast condemnation on their belligerent disregarding of the absolute truth that they too are by nature sinful and unclean. The guilty parties & the historically challenged are now warned.
One of the favorite targets of today’s elites is one of the greatest persons in the history of this nation, Thomas Jefferson. A good friend sent me some information about Jefferson that we need to see & I would share it with all, especially those who see him as evil because he owned slaves at one time in his life. Was it wrong? Yes, but still a condition of the period in which he lived, and including blacks and whites being indentured as slaves, too. Would Jefferson be proud of the fact today, decidedly not, because he was opposed to slavery even in his own time. I know, the nay Sayers would submit that he believed that blacks were inferior to other races, which was an attitude held by many foolish people. Is it right? No! Does that mean everything a man like that did is now valueless? Again, I say No! Let the one without sin cast the first stone. He is in some ways a product of his time and culture.
Look at what this man did in his lifetime.
1. At 5, began studying under his cousin's tutor.
2. At 9, studied Latin, Greek and French.
3. At 14, studied classical literature and additional languages.
4. At 16, entered the College of William and Mary. Also could write in Greek with one hand, while writing the same in Latin with the other.
5. At 19, studied Law for 5 years starting under George Wythe. 6. At 23, started his own law practice.
7. At 25, was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses.
8. At 31, wrote the widely circulated "Summary View of the Rights of British America," and retired from his law practice.
9. At 32, was a delegate to the Second Continental Congress.
10. At 33, wrote the Declaration of Independence.
11. At 33, took three years to revise Virginia's legal code and wrote a Public Education bill and a statute for Religious Freedom.
12. At 36, was elected the second Governor of Virginia, succeeding Patrick Henry.
13. At 40, served in Congress for two years.
14. At 41, was the American minister to France and negotiated commercial treaties with European nations along with Ben Franklin and John Adams.
15. At 46, served as the first Secretary of State under George Washington.
16. At 53, served as Vice President and was elected President of the American Philosophical Society.
17. At 55, drafted the Kentucky Resolutions and became the active head of the Republican Party.
18. At 57, was elected the third president of the United States.
19. At 60, obtained the Louisiana Purchase, doubling the nation's size.
20. At 61, was elected to a second term as President.
21. At 65, retired to Monticello.
22. At 80, helped President Monroe shape the Monroe Doctrine.
23. At 81, almost single-handedly, created the University of Virginia and served as its' first president.
24. At 83, died on the 50th Anniversary of the Signing of the Declaration of Independence, along with John Adams.
When Jefferson was drafting the documents that would become the foundation of this nation and democracy, he himself studied the previous failed attempts at government. He understood actual history, the nature of God, His laws and the nature of man. That happens to be way more than what most understand today. Jefferson knew his stuff.
Was he perfect, by no means. But he was brilliant despite his flaws. And we would not have this nation with its liberty and standard of freedom for all if it were not for him. The stone throwers had better take that into account.
Once John F. Kennedy, revered by both sides of the political spectrum (even though he was a philanderer in his own right — meaning not perfect) held a white house dinner for the brightest minds of the nation. At that event, he made this statement: This is perhaps the assembly of the most intelligence to ever gather at one time in the white house, with the exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.
I truly hope that this information gets some people thinking, but it probably won’t since thinking is a luxury some people can’t seem to afford. Jefferson was a God-fearing, devoted servant to humanity and his Creator that strove to plant a nation which all people could look to for inspiration. He was a man who saw into the future and could not have done so without some help from God which he always acknowledged.
Next week some quotes that shows he envisioned some of the struggles we endure today from those who always persist in diminishing the greatness of this nation for their own purposes.
And those are my thoughts as we get ready for Independence Day.
God bless. Have a great week.
Pastor Lee R. Harder