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Pastor’s Message by Interim Pastor Bob Friese

Ever have an “ah-hah!” moment? Of course, you have! Last week re-experienced an “ah-hah!” moment when I attended a friend’s graduation ceremony at Luther      Seminary. A long time ago, during high school, I thought the word “commencement” meant “the end.” After all, in high school, commencement services came at the end of that academic endeavor. But “commencement” really means “beginning”, “start”, or “onset”. That was a  wonderful thought to revisit as my friend starts his life as a pastor after four long years of schooling. 

 Another point is that every Sunday is considered a “Little Easter” in the Christian church as we gather to proclaim a crucified and risen Christ. Therefore, we Christians “commence” or start each week with a reminder of the new life that is ours through Jesus. We begin each week with Christian fellowship, the Lord’s Supper, and worship of the one True God. What a terrific way to start another seven-day trip around the sun, during which we are tempted, tested, and tossed about by life. What a way to “commence” and overcome the daily ANTs that say, “You’re not good enough!”, “You’re not smart enough”, or “This is never going to work out.” What are ANTs?  Dr. Daniel Amen writes:

Every time you have a sad, hopeless, mad, cranky, unkind, judgmental, or helpless thought, your brain immediately releases chemicals that make your body feel awful. Your hands get cold and wet, your muscles get tense, your heart beats  faster, and your breathing becomes shallower. Additionally, the activity in your frontal and temporal lobes decreases which  negatively affects your judgment, learning, memory.

The opposite is also true – whenever you have a happy, hopeful, loving, kind, or positive thought, your brain releases a completely different set of chemicals. Your hands get warmer and dryer, your breathing becomes deeper and more regular, your muscles relax, your blood pressure decreases, and your brain works better.

So, if you want to eradicate depression, anxiety, and negativity from your life, you need to work on disciplining your mind to get rid of the ANTs and developing an ANTeater to patrol the streets of your mind.

 Here’s a thought: Pentecost Sunday reminded us that the Holy Spirit of God gives us the heart and mind of Christ, and that we can stir up that Spirit by simply uttering, “Lead me, Lord”. The Holy Spirit is called Comforter,  Advocate, and Counselor. How about calling the Holy Spirit an ANTeater (borrowing from Dr. Amen)? When we stir up the Holy ANTeater within us, we are equipping ourselves to engage in the new life that Christ won for us, the new life we live now and will live, in greater, unimaginable magnitude, in Paradise. 

 Why do we worship each week? We worship to “commence” or start each week with the Good News of Jesus Christ, a message stirred up in our hearts and minds by God’s Holy Spirit. And Christian worship sets the tone for the week to come, partnering us with the Holy ANTeater, reminding us that we are Children of God that can overcome anything the world throws at us.

 Are you busy this summer and often out of town on weekends? Why not visit a nearby church, even one that’s not Lutheran (gasp)! If you do, please grab a bulletin and share with me and others the new and novel things our fellow Christians are doing in their church homes. As you traverse God’s beautiful creation over the next few months, continue to pray for your PLC family and enjoy a safe and satisfying summer!

 

Peace,

Pastor Bob

 

 

 

                                 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

           

 

 

 

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