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Archive for August, 2011

Prayer is a “Christian Duty”

Durer - Praying Hands

Luther listed prayer as one of the “Christian duties”. 

“Along with almsgiving, or doing  good to our neighbor, it is also our Christian duty to pray. For, just as the necessities of the present life demand that we do good to our neighbor and sympathize with him in his need (for that is why we live together upon earth, so that one may serve and help the other); so, because we are daily exposed in this life to all manner of danger and need, that we cannot avoid or turn aside, we must also ever call upon God and seek for help, both for ourselves and everyone else.

But as proper almsgiving is a rare thing in the world, not only because of the common robbing and stealing that abound in the world, as no one does good to his neighbor, and everybody scratches on his own dung-pile, and does not ask how his neighbor gets along; but also because if they do a good deed, they seek only their own interests thereby; so that thus the world is nothing else than a set of robbers and thieves, both on the right and left, both bodily and spiritually, both in bad works and good; just so now is praying a rare thing, that no one does but Christians, and yet it was such a common thing in the world, especially among the Jews, as Christ here shows, in synagogues and at the corners of the streets, and now in so many churches, monasteries, nunneries, etc., muttering and bawling day and night with singing and reading, so that the world is everywhere full of it, and there is no lack of this work, and yet taken altogether it is not worth a cent.  I will therefore give myself as a Christ to my neighbor, just as Christ offered himself to me; I will do nothing in this life except what I see is necessary, profitable, and salutary to my neighbor, since through faith I have an abundance of all good things in Christ … Behold, from faith thus flow forth love and joy in the Lord, and from love a joyful, willing, and free mind that serves one’s neighbor willingly and takes no account of or unthankfulness, but he most freely and most willingly spends himself and all that he has, whether he wastes all on the thankless or whether he gains a reward.”

 [1] Luther’s Works 85 AE 31:367.



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Pastor Maland – Recovery and Recuperation

I wrote about Pastor Maland in a blog on July 30.  I have heard from Maryann Anderson that Pastor is home and will recuperate there.  She writes,

Pastor Maland is home. Chris (his wife) is also going back to college so members of St. Paul’s will be taking turns staying with him during this time. They are planning on a community wide Spaghetti Supper and silent auction to help with the expenses. That will be happening on Sept. 25th. 

If you have anything to donate to the auction that would be great.  If you are hungry for spaghetti show up and eat.  It will be held at the Community Center in Henning and the Lions Club and Thrivent will be helping as well.

Also, a fund has been established at 1st National Bank in Henning, MN. Donations may be sent to the bank (please indicate for Randy Maland) – the address is 512 Douglas Av. Henning MN 56551.

If you need more information contact Marlene Stueve at PO Box 541 Henning 56551 or give her a call at 218-583-4764.


St. Paul's Henning

Continue to pray for Pastor and the congregation members that will be caring for him in the days ahead. 

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The Sign – thank you again

Well folks do pay attention – getting questions about the quilt and the paper sign in the picture for “Thank You Again”.

When my wife came home from the hospital there was a paper sign that said “Welcome Home, Bloom with your garden and get well soon”. It was signed by all sorts of people that bought flowers and plants and then came over and planted them so that my wife would have some flowers to look at as she recuperated.

We have tried to send thank you cards but I am not sure that in the turmoil that was June and a large part of July that I wrote down all who did so much with flowers, meals, gift cards and someone who gave a very generous gift of gas from a local station. They did it anonymously so I have no way of thanking them. There was a three week period where I was driving 100 miles a day two and sometimes three times a day and the fact that gas was at $3.89 a gallon was a problem. I also know that other people go through this too and don’t have the help and kindness that we were so generously given. I feel a bit queasy about that but nevertheless I am thankful.

At any rate, I want to thank all who showed their concern and I appreciate all you did and Faye wants to share those sentiments with me. Folks that sent notes on this blog site are appreciated as well. Thanks again and again.  It was inspirational.


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Thank You Again.

Welcome Home
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6 Degrees of Separation – Kristin Nistler, Rev. Zellers and John Halake

One Brick at a Time

One Brick at a Time

Remember we talked about trying to document our connections and I mentioned the 6 degrees of separation theory.  It’s in the July 11th blog on Pastor Carnicom and the July 30th blog on Pastor Maland, both serving in Minnesota North.  That gives you an idea about how this works.  This one is complicated so…..

John Halake is the General Secretary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Kenya.  He works with David Chu Chu to make sure that projects are funded and carried out properly.  He was at the meeting when Project 24 was created by Bishop Obare.  The Project 24 guys present at the meeting were, Bill Sharpe, executive secretary of the North Dakota Distirct, Ed Bean who at that time was working for the ND District, Bob Wurl from Hankinson, Kurt Daudt from Isanti Minnesota and me.  When we returned home Roger Weinlaeder and Mark Hatloy also joined up and became part of the action.  Roger had already helped in the building a dormitory that we consider the start of the Project 24 centers and Mark and Roger traveled to Kenya and purchased land that would ultimately become, through a lot of winding and wending, the Ukunda Center (see the Ukunda Tree, April 15th).

My interest in the different ways we “do” mission and mercy work was picqued when I visited St. Andrews in West Fargo ND.  I found out that they have their own “mission society”. I also learned that Ken Koehler the youth director at St. Andrews is Bob Wurl’s (an original Project 24 guy) cousin. I have since learned that Minnesota North is a hotbed of “mission societies” and I have some theories about that.  That is another topic for some other bog.  However it was at St. Andrews where I met Rev. Zellers – I think his wife ironed my shirt, but I can’t remember why, and I remember talking with them about their children, but I don’t remember much else.  Then Rev. Zellers took a call and I heard no more.

John Halake came to visit the United States a few years ago and his journey brought him to Maddens Resort in Brainerd where the Minnesota North Pastors were having their conference.  I went to pick John up and Rev Zellers had been kind enough to shepherd John around for awhile.  We visited and Zellers told me where to find John.  We brought him over to Ada MN where he did a presentation and then we took him to St. Andrews where he did a presentation as well.  Then John went and spent some time at Bob Wurl’s place in Hankinson.  John enjoys coming up here and wants to come again, in fact he just emailed me and wants to come in October but that too is a story for another time.  (See April 27th – “Connection – Partners – Seeds)

At any rate when the North Dakota and Minnesota North Presidents wanted to make Project 24 a mission/mercy emphasis I wanted to run a program that Roger Weinlaeders sister had dreamed up.  Roger had a picture of two kids holding bricks that had been made on site at a center that would become Rongo, outside of Kisei town in Kenya.  Her grab live was, “How Do You Build a Rescue Center?”  Answer – “One Brick at a Time”.  The idea was to get Sunday Schools and Vacation Bible Schools to buy a brick for a dollar and the proceeds would go to build a center.  I needed someone to head up the operation and District President Baneck suggested a teacher in Bismarck named Kristin Nistler.  She made paper bricks that the children would get,  one for every dollar they spent and Sunday Schools, Parochial Schools and VBS’s could build there own wall with these bricks.  Kristin did an excellent job and I am very appreciative and came to find out that Rev. Zellers is Kristin’s Father.  When I asked her where her Father was serving she told me that he was in Weber Minnesota.  Weber is not far from Isanti where Kurt Daudt lives.

I don’t know if anyone else finds this sort of thing interesting but I think it is amazing.  I want Pastor Zellers to know that his daughter did a great job.  Anyone interested in “Brick by Brick” for a parochial School or Sunday School let me know and we will get you the stuff.



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10 reasons why people miss ball games.

10. I was taken to too many games by my parents when I was a kid.

9. I suspect that I was sitting next to some hypocrites because instead of paying attention to the game, they came to see their friends and talked the whole time.

8. It seems the games are always scheduled when I want to do other things, like go to church.

7. The band played numbers I’d never heard before and not the good ol’ fight songs.

6. I went to a lot of games but the coach never bothered to thank me.

5. The referees made decisions I couldn’t agree with.

4. Often the game goes into overtime or extra innings and I would be late getting home.

3. The seats were too hard and uncomfortable.

2. The people I sat next to didn’t seem friendly.

1. Every time I went, they asked for money!

(Friday Church News Notes, July 29, 2011,, 866-295-4143)


This one really hits home for me.  How about you?

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Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch welcomes children back on Minot Campus

Youth Home program moved to Minot Campus

Fargo, Aug. 24, 2011: Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch has made great strides in its flood recovery efforts in the recent weeks. The boys and girls who are residents at the Ranch will start arriving from the Ranch’s Bismarck and Fargo programs, Wednesday, Aug. 24. They will be welcomed back with a special church service and dinner the evening of Aug. 25.

Other pieces of flood recovery are related to the water and sewer service, which has been restored to the campus, although service has not been totally dependable, and campus has experienced outages. Consequently, the portable potties remain on campus, as well as large amounts of drinking/potable water.

The Ranch has completed about 70 percent of drainage tile installation in all the buildings, and anticipates a total completion in all buildings within the next month. The Ranch also is turning the temporary dikes into permanent fixtures.

The Minot Community Youth Home program has been relocated to the Minot Ranch campus, and Ranch officials are researching funding avenues to replace the building.

The on-campus educational center, Dakota Memorial School, will start on schedule for the residents. The day education program will begin at a later date, which synchronizes with the Minot Public School System.

The Minot Ranch is on track for recovery, but it’s not going to happen tomorrow.

“Best estimates show it will take a year to achieve normal operations,” said President Gene Kaseman. “I want to thank all the staff and residents for the patience and resiliency they have demonstrated in the past couple months. Their efforts have responsible for the great strides the Ranch has made in bouncing back from all this flood related adversity.”

Visit to view flood photos of the Minot Campus and the Youth Home.

Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch is a Recognized Service Organization of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and is an Affiliated Social Ministry Organization of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

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Paradoxes Prod People to Ponder.

Here is an example of a visual paradox that always freaks me out.  I saw it again the other day and it reminded me of………..Paradoxes Prod People to Ponder.


A friend of mine wrote that a few years ago.  His name is Pastor Peter Kurowski and we went to school together. He gives some of the great paradoxes that Paul penned –

Ephesians 1:3- Paul warns the Elect to watch out lest they fall -1 Corinthians 10:12.

1 Corinthinas 5:5 – consigning a man to the Devil so that he might be saved.

2 Corinthians 12:10 – telling folks that in Christ when they are the weakest they are the strongest.

Examples abound of paradox for Lutherans – we are baptized into a death so that we might live, we gain happiness by trying to give it away, the last are first and the Lord’s of all are the servants of all.  It’s everywhere.  Pastor Kurowshi  even had a little poetry in his article “cursed is He that dies on a tree becomes salvation for you and me” – Galatians 3:13 (see “Paradoxical Pathways” Concordia Pulpit Resources Volume 11, part 3.)

Folks in my church maybe get sick of hearing me say that you cannot be a Lutheran unless you can live with paradoxes.  It is not always easy but it is revealing of how we think and feel.  We want absolutes unless it comes to the absolute damnation of the Law.  We, at least some of the people that I talk to, believe that a gracious God would never consign anyone to hell and yet they will deny a baby baptizmal grace.  We want to be justified by grace but we don’t want to believe that it is totally a gift and that I don’t produce at least some it.  And we are the same way with our mercy.  We desperately want God to be merciful to us and yet when a neighbor needs our mercy and forgiveness we are often grabbing him by the neck to get what we want.

The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant shows the paradoxical nature of our life.  A man who owed millions of dollars of debt had it forgiven him and left the place of forgivenss and saw someone who owed him a few bucks.  Jesus goes on – “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.”  Matthew 18:28. 

The great paradox of those who are in Christ is that once they come to know that forgiveness is theirs, they stop thinking about what is theirs and concern themselves with others.


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The Best Laid Plans

In dealing with partners like the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Kenya lessons are often learned about how not to do things.  We Americans have all kinds of ideas about what is good and bad and what works and what doesn’t.  They live with issues everyday that many of us have never even dreamed of.  Here is a simple illustration of what I mean.  This from

NAIROBI, Kenya — East Africa’s worst drought in 60 years is putting 11 million lives at risk, many of them in war-torn Somalia, where thousands of hungry families are making the dangerous trek across parched, violent territory to the promise of safety and food in Kenya. Aid agencies warn the drought is regional — affecting Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia — and the hunger that now stalks the land may become famine.  Most of the Somali refugees arrive at Dadaab, a sprawling complex of overcrowded camps in northeastern Kenya built in 1991 for 90,000 people. Today it is home to more than four times that number. It is the world’s largest refugee camp and one of the fastest growing human settlements on the planet. But it is not large enough for the new refugees, who are currently arriving at a rate as high as 1,000 per day. Bowing to international pressure, Kenya’s government has agreed to open a new refugee camp to house some of those thousands of hungry, desperate and bedraggled victims of Somalia’s decades-long war who cross into Kenya. The exodus has accelerated because of the drought that is pushing their already marginal existence to the edge of oblivion.  A few miles away from Dadaab’s dusty squalor is Ifo-II, a new $20 million facility for refugees built by the U.N. in 2010. But a year later the gleaming new camp remains empty. The lines of brick houses with tin roofs, deep wells for fresh water, latrines and health facilities are all empty and unused.  Kenya blocked opening the camp, complaining that the new facility would encourage more refugees whose arrival could provide cover for Somalia’s Islamist militants who have threatened Kenya in the past, such as the Al Shabaab insurgents. Kenya has suffered several terrorist bombings.  “We have security concerns that Al Shabaab could be coming into our country under the guise of refugees,” said Kenya’s security minister George Saitoti earlier this week.  But on Thursday Prime Minister Raila Odinga caved into the pressure from aid agencies and the U.N. to open Ifo-II. “Although we consider our own security, we cannot turn away refugees,” he said.  The new camp will help to decongest Dadaab, but it amounts to little more than a sticking a bandaid on a gaping wound as refugees continue to flood across the border joining communities that are themselves suffering from drought-created food shortages.

I had a discussion about this kind of “triage” that Kenyans struggle with on a daily basis.  The drought was already bad about a year ago and LCMS World Relief and Human Care was offering assistance.  When some of the Project 24 guys went out on a site visit they carried as much extra water as they could because they were told there were people literally dying for lack of water.  So relief went to Kenyan churches and then to Kenyan people.  The influx of refugees was beginning over many areas of Northern Kenya and I heard the discussions as to the Biblical basis of feeding and clothing and giving water to someone who, when healthy and fit again might try and kill you. 

I also remember the old adage – “In Africa no good deed goes unpunished”.

I also remember something Jesus said;

Matthew 5:43 “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’Lev 19:18.

*and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Some manuscripts add Bless those who curse you. Do good to those who hate you. Compare Luke 6:27-28.

*Pray for those who persecute you! 45 In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. 46 If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. 47 If you are kind only to your friends,* how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

So our partners struggle with words of the Lord and they struggle to help their own in the body of Christ.  They have chosen a path the we follow in disaster work.  Help the church, they become a force multiplier to help all.  In so many ways they struggle. Join the struggle.   If you can help please go to and hit the give now button.

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Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.

That was from George S. Patton, arguably the most successful fighting General this country has produced since Stonewall Jackson, or Lee, or Grant.  When asked how his men could pull out of contact with the enemy after weeks of fighting, traverse a hostile front at  ninety degrees, march many miles in the snow and attack the flank of the enemy in another spot, he said, “they’ll do it because I told them to and they are more afraid of me than they are of the Germans”.

When most of his army was taken from him in Africa and sent to England to get ready for the D-Day invasion his diary for Thanksgiving Day said; “I have nothing to be thankful for.  Therefore did not render thanks”.

Leaders who inspire people by fear are probably needed somewhere.  Leaders who inspire people to give thanks are needed everywhere.  Paul says that we should give thanks always.  He says, “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18  To be thankful is God’s will for us.  Check your Bible and see how we are to live our thanks.  You guessed it by loving and being merciful to others. 

How’s this for some leadership principles –   Phillipians 4: 5-9

Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. 9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

Scary Guy



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