Sunday, April 26, 2020

Webmaster's Quarantine Thoughts...

Saturday was day 40 of the statewide stay at home order in Minnesota. Seems our quarantine has reached biblical proportions... it rained for 40 days in the time of Noah, Moses spent 40 days on Mt Sinai, and Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness. (Though I am sure that Jesus complained about it less than us, I like to picture him sitting on a rock and saying "Lord, 40 days is a loooong time.")

I actually started practicing my "stay at home" about 6 weeks earlier than everyone else because of a surgery, but even then I was comforted by the fact that the rest of the world was still open and active and I was still able to attend church on Sunday. There are many things to miss during this time of social isolation, but attending church is one of the biggest. Maybe it is one of those "absence makes the heart grow fonder" type of situations, but it is now easy to see that it was a blessing that so many times I took for granted.

However, I do see many positives from this time of quarantine. For one, I have more time. More time to reflect and spend with God in prayer and scripture. More time to do all those little things that I was putting off until I had the time. Time to spend in longer conversations with my wife and with my family (even though it may be via Facetime or Zoom). I am also thankful for the technology that allows these conversations and the ability to work from home. The technology that allows us to worship and watch our church service on video. In fact, our videoed services are being watched by far more people than the number that usually attended worship at church. Amazing! Perhaps this is all part of God's plan.

Another positive that I am finding in this time is that many of my favorite Christian musicians are not working and are staying at home instead of being on tour or performing. Like the rest of us, they are bored and looking for ways to share. Many are doing live "concerts" from their homes.  These are often not the best sounding, but I really enjoy the raw, unrehearsed glimpse into their personal lives and homes as they share thoughts, stories, and play their music and other songs that they enjoy playing. There is often not much lead time on these performances, but hey, my evening schedule is relatively free right now anyway. I enjoyed one of these live performances Saturday night from Michael Cochren (Cochren & Co.) and his wife from their home. If you would like to see it, the recorded video is at

Perhaps the most poignant part of the performance was when Michael sang his song "Church". (We have done this song a few times in worship services.) The words really take on a special meaning during this time:
Take me back
To the place that feels like home
To the people I can depend on
To the faith that's in my bones
Take me back
To a preacher and a verse
Where they've seen me at my worst
To the love I had at first
Oh, I want to go to church
Thought I would share. Enjoy...

Taking Time to Rest

Taking Time to Rest

For many, it feels like the world has stopped. Yet for others, this is a more stressful time than ever before. We have been encouraged to stay at home as much as possible and our lives are full of uncertainty. What hasn't stopped is Jesus' care for us. Listen to what Rev. Dr. Michael Zeigler, Speaker of The Lutheran Hour, has to say about what it means to truly find rest in Him.

Rest from Lutheran Hour Ministries on Vimeo.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Here is a new video released yesterday from Zach Williams and Dolly Parton called "There was Jesus:. A wonderful message in song that blends contemporary Christian and classic country sounds...

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Thank God ...

You maybe staying home, because of the "Stay at Home" orders. Or you may be staying home, because your place of employment has been forced to close. You may be staying home, because you've been laid off - even if your place of employment is still technically open. You may be staying home out of fear. Whatever the reason, the message on our sign board is one you need to remember:
God knows where you live, and there's no power that can keep Him quarantined from you!

        ...for he has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."
        So we can confidently say,"The Lord is my helper; I will not fear;
        Hebrews 13:5,6  

In the context of the rest of this, that verse is given as a reason we can be content with our current situation - especially financially. God knows the situation you are in. He knows exactly what you need. He has the power to give what you need... at just the right time!

Sunday, April 19, 2020


This pup is a perfect illustration of the truth that "You can't always choose the situation you are in, but you do - always  - have a choice about how you respond to that situation."

As the Apostle Paul wrote (from prison!) "Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice!" Philippians 4:4.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

This Bible Quiz is a bit trickier than expected... From Lutheran Hour Ministries:

Dear Friend,

A year ago we launched our “Half-Truth, Whole Truth or Nothing Like the Truth?” quiz as a fun way to test your Bible knowledge. So many of our friends let us know they enjoyed the quiz that we couldn’t resist creating a new one!

Here it is, the brand-new “Half-Truth, Whole Truth or Nothing Like the Truth?” quiz—five more common sayings that may or may not be from the Bible.

I hope you’ll enjoy it. But it’s a quiz with more than one purpose. We also want to use it as a way to get more people thinking about Jesus and the Bible. After you take the quiz, will you use the social sharing tools on the page to encourage your friends and family to play, too?

I don’t have to tell you that the problem of biblical illiteracy is only growing. Together, we need to introduce more people to the programs, resources, and materials produced by Lutheran Hour Ministries (LHM) so they can hear and understand the Word of God. By sharing the quiz, you’ll give others the opportunity to experience some of LHM’s most popular resources.

Please take the quiz today and share it as widely as possible! Here’s the first question to get you started:

No. 1
“God will never give you more than you can handle.” 


Your partner in His mission,

Kurt Buchholz
President & CEO

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Blog post about Easter Sunday

You'll Never Guess What I Saw . . .             On Easter Morning!

If you live in Minnesota you might guess one of the things I saw on Easter morning: Snow! I'm sure it has snowed on other Easter mornings here, but I don't remember any! I thought the snow, while not what we were expecting, was actually very appropriate for Easter. You see, what we celebrate on Easter is Jesus rising from His grave, and that resurrection proves Jesus' Good Friday sacrifice on the cross did indeed make our sins "as white as snow." (see Isaiah 1:18)

But the really unusual thing that I saw - a scene that you would not likely guess - was twenty vehicles in our church parking lot. Now that would not be unusual at all on a normal Easter Sunday morning. But keep in mind, this is a year unlike any other! We are smack dab in the middle of the COVID-19 shut down! As a result, we haven't been able to worship inside our church building for the last four weeks and won't be able to for at least another three Sundays. But forty people "congregated," (amidst swirling snow and howling winds) in their cars to watch on their smartphones a YouTube video of our Resurrection worship! In the message I talked about how God has used this COVID situation as a "teachable" moment for us. One of the things He has taught us is, "You don't know what you got 'til its gone," (to quote an old song from the sixties). Not being able to gather to worship is something we have long taken for granted. Not any more!

But there's one other thing I saw that I won't soon forget. The elders and I (decked out in full COVID-19 combat gear - face masks and blue rubber gloves) distributed communion to those brave souls in their vehicles. I saw a gratitude that welled up from deep within their hearts. I witnessed, through my steamed up eyeglasses, a thankfulness expressed in smiles and tears as well as in comments.

Making this online worship happen (along with communion in the snow!) was - like so many rewarding things in life - not easy. But it was good! Unforgettably good!
The stay-at-home quarantine starting to feel a little like this...
If you are starting to feel a little anxious and depressed about all of this, I recommend taking a couple deep breaths and watch this video. A new song release by Anna Golden called "Peace".

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Starting out a new decade...

Wow, hard to believe that it has been about 7 years since we posted to this blog! But now during this time of quarantine, I certainly have more time and we are looking at more ways to communicate, share information, and simply feel more connected. So here we are. I can't promise that I will share a lot of posts but I will certainly try to send things that I see and thoughts that I have.  I hope you come along...
                          Living Word Lutheran Webmaster.

For Easter weekend I would like to share this poem that I recently saw:

By Kristi Bothur
With a nod to Dr. Seuss

Twas late in '19 when the virus began,
Bringing chaos and fear to all people, each land.

People were sick, hospitals full,
Doctors overwhelmed, no one in school.

As winter gave way to the promise of spring,
The virus raged on, touching peasant and king.

People hid in their homes from the enemy unseen.
They YouTubed and Zoomed, social-distanced, and cleaned.

April approached and churches were closed.
"There won't be an Easter," the world supposed.

"There won't be church services, and egg hunts are out.
No reason for new dresses when we can't go about."

Holy Week started, as bleak as the rest.
The world was focused on masks and on tests.

"Easter can't happen this year," they proclaimed.
"Online and at home, it just won't be the same."

Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, the days came and went.
The virus pressed on; it just would not relent.

The world woke Sunday and nothing had changed.
The virus still menaced, the people, estranged.

"Pooh pooh to the saints," the world was grumbling.
"They're finding out now that no Easter is coming.

"They're just waking up! I know just what they'll do!
Their mouths will hang open a minute or two,
And then all the saints will all cry boo-hoo.

"That noise," said the world, "would be something to hear."
So it paused and the world put a hand to its ear.

And it did hear a sound coming through all the skies.
It started down low, then it started to rise.

But the sound wasn't depressed.Why, this sound was triumphant!
It couldn't be so!But it grew with abundance!

The world stared around, popping its eyes.
Then it shook! What it saw was a shocking surprise!

Each saint in each nation, the tall and the small,
Was celebrating Jesus in spite of it all!

It hadn't stopped Easter from coming! It came!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!

And the world with its life quite stuck in quarantine
Stood puzzling and puzzling. "Just how can it be?"

"It came without bonnets, it came without bunnies,
It came without egg hunts, cantatas, or money."

Then the world thought of something it hadn't before.
"Maybe Easter," it thought, "doesn't come from a store.
Maybe Easter, perhaps, means a little bit more."

And what happened then? Well....the story's not done.
What will YOU do? Will you share with that one

Or two or more people needing hope in this night?
Will you share of the source of your life in this fight?

The churches are empty - but so is the tomb,
And Jesus is Victor over death, doom, and gloom.

So this year at Easter, let this be our prayer,
As the virus still rages all around, everywhere.

May the world see hope when it looks at God's people.
May the world see the Church is not a building or steeple.

May the world find Faith in Jesus' death and resurrection,
May the world find Joy in a time of dejection.

May 2020 be known as the year of survival,
But not only that - Let it start a revival.

Copyright 2020 Kristi Bothur, This Side of Heaven Blog. Permission is granted to send this to others, with attribution, but not for commercial purposes.

See the original post here: