Patience: Second Sunday of Advent

I am like the weather when it comes to patience. Sometimes I feel I can be the most steadfast, even-keeled person in chaotic situations and in the next moment I can give in to a panic or disruption to my timing and scream the end of the world.

photo-1477728275068-39b7f46df4d2

Patience is interesting.

And it’s a choice.

When I would do projects with my kids when they were little, I would need to choose patience in letting the project take longer in order let them try, maybe fail, or just do it slower.

I confess look back and realize I could have done better with that because I was too caught up in getting it done.

I actually ache over the lost experience of watching them figure things out. I can’t go back and just be with them. But I can definitely learn from those experiences.

So how does patience fit for our Second Sunday of Advent?

Israel was told a Prince of Peace was coming. An Everlasting Counselor. The King of all Kings! The promised one, Messiah!

Generations would come and go and still they waited and looked forward to the day.

I’m curious sometimes the Jews as individuals and families handled it. We don’t really know.

What we do know is God kept his promise and the Promised one came in Jesus the Christ.

I like this verse from Romans how it speaks to patience.

“But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.” Romans 8:25 (NLT)

Patience and confidence.

If we believe what we say we believe, that God is for us, with us, and the good work He started in us He will bring to completion, then patience becomes less about being tolerant (remember it’s a good work).

First, it actually helps us not miss the beautiful moment we are in moments where we need patience.

Second, there is a restful peace and trust available to us when we take confidence in God being at work even while wait.

I know for me in my past, present, and future there are situations I need to live in patience.

During this second week of Advent, go ahead and write down a couple things that you want to choose patience in.

Parenting?
Job future?
Unsettled relationship?
Something you to rush the outcome and you need to let it be?

Share what you wrote down with your family. There is strength in your house in each other. This week, it’s wait and see with confidence.

God is good!

Peder

The Star Still Shines

I love what I get to do. Not only do I get to help people love Jesus, I get to see His love in His children.

On Christmas Tour I got to spend time with a family of three brothers and a sister after one of the concerts.

The sister cherishes the time she gets to spend with her friends and has a great passion to help others. The brothers love to talk sports which, of course, I don’t mind at all.

Even though we cheer for different teams, we found common ground in our favorite players. It was fun to hear them share their wealth of knowledge of both basketball and football. I was even more impressed with how these three brothers took turns sharing their thoughts and stories, never trying correct each other or outdo each others comments.

For almost an hour, the four of us sat around the table sharing why we liked or didn’t appreciate certain players and teams. While the boys didn’t always agree, they respectfully listened to one another and each one got a fair chance to share his opinion.

photo credit

photo credit: CliffMuller via photopin cc

Throughout Advent we’ve been talking about light. Both literal light like on my farm and while I’m running and also figurative light like the light of traditions.

Those boys shine a different kind of light. They shine the light of Christ.

When the baby Jesus was born, the star over the manger could be seen all around. It’s how the magi found the Christ child. They saw the star, were drawn to it, and followed it until they found Jesus.

Light still points people to Jesus. Except now it shines in us.

Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

If we’re walking in Him, then His light shines in each one of us in the way we live our lives, the choices we make, and the words we use.

It shines in the way we treat each other. From the convenience store clerk to the people living in our house.

His light is His presence.  If you are a follower of Christ, carrying His light is bringing His presence.

Chances are this Christmas you’re going to spend some time with your family. Maybe your family gets along great. Maybe you’re like my family and sometimes there’s some tension.

Sometimes shining the light of Christ isn’t the easy option. But it’s the right choice. The good choice. It’s what family does.

No matter which sports team you’re rooting for, root for one another.

Merry Christmas, my friends,

Peder

Traditions are Like Light

It’s been great to see so many of you on Christmas Tour this December. Those of you who’ve made it out so far have seen this little tree sitting on the piano. It’s become a tradition and is part of every Christmas concert we do.

Here’s a little pre-concert vlog about the light that traditions bring:


(watch the video on YouTube)

Traditions are like light. They help us when we get lost.

They’re worship and they’re worth repeating year after year.

What new tradition are you going to start this Christmas?

(If you want to sponsor a child, here’s the link to Compassion).

The Joy of Planning!

I love to create. I love to make new things. I guess it’s a part of why I love what I do. I love to write songs, create events, write devotions, blogs, basketball offenses and defense, dates for my wife, surprises for our kids, etc.

Right now we are putting the pieces together for the Wondrous Love Christmas Tour 2013.

christmas2013_FB_header

We have done Christmas tour for many years. Every year I am so excited to bring the music from our three Christmas projects and even some new surprises. My traveling crew is the best. The hosts of each concert are amazing and bless me every time.

Planning out the show for the evening is about each location, the avenue of communication using song and story, the presentation of sound and lights, the audience in attendance, the passion we want to share with, and, of course, being clear in what Christmas is about.

All of this to help people draw into the season of Christmas. I have so much fun planning and so get nervous each year hoping it blesses all the people who come to the concerts.

Have you ever thought about how excited God was to unveil his Son to the world? Think of the planning that went into it. The timing (perfect), the location (Bethlehem), presentation (angels, star, manager), the avenue of communication (Mary and Joseph), the audience (shepherds, sheep, cows), the passion (John 3:16).

I don’t equate my planning to God’s by any means but think of the point that God sending Jesus to be born was not a whim.

I love these verses in Ephesians 1. I use The Message because I think it really shows God heart about the “Christmas Plan.”

How blessed is God! And what a blessing He is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in Him. Long before He laid down earth’s foundations, He had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of His love, to be made whole and holy by His love. Long, long ago He decided to adopt us into His family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure He took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of His lavish gift-giving by the hand of His beloved Son.

God’s plan was not a duty or obligation. It was His pleasure. And what a presentation He gave us.

I hope to see you on Christmas Tour. More so I pray that you discover in a new way the truth of God’s amazing plan that was made long ago. It was about bring real Joy To The World!

God is good all the time!

Peder

Wondrous Love Christmas Tour 2013 Dates

December 3-Farmington, MN
December 6-Marion, WI
December 7-Racine, WI
December 8-Pewaukee, WI; Sycamore, IL
December 13-Wausau, WI
December 14-Grafton, WI
December 15-Grafton, WI
December 18-Fargo, ND
December 19-Grand Forks, ND
December 21-Hampton, IA
December 24-Englewood, CO

Find full event details on the tour page here.

Devo for the 3rd Sunday of Advent: Joy

While on Christmas tour, my son Ethan, 11, called me with some fun news to share. He had spent all day Saturday, from 8am to 5pm, taking a class required by the state of Minnesota to drive a snowmobile! It was a long day of rules, information, and training. Then on Sunday at 1pm, the day he called me, he took his driving test to attain his snowmobile license. The news was good news indeed.

He passed and was now legal to trek across the globe on a snowmobile (kinda).

What caught my heart was as I was talking to him, he seemed like he was trying holding something inside. It was actually when I said to him, “Dude, you should be proud of yourself.” He said back to me, “I am, Dad. It’s just hard to talk because I can’t stop smiling.”

Ethan's face of Joy

Ethan’s face of joy

That’s fun!!!

Webster’s dictionary says the word “joy” is a noun defined as: The emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect possessing what one desires.

Ethan was experiencing some real joy!

So how does that happen during Advent? We sing “Joy to the World” and “Joyful Joyful We Adore Thee” yet for many joy is way down the to-do list. All the stuff going on drains the tank. For some of us it is a really hard season for any number of reasons like a loss in the past, to fears of loneliness, hardships in the present time, and so on. I get that…

Ok, so if you’re not feeling the well-being, success, or good fortune, how do you find the joy that’s makes it hard to not smile?

First, look into the manger and see the very face of the One who is the giver of real joy and peace and realize you bring Him joy. Remember a verse like Zephaniah 3:17:

“The LORD your God is with you; He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you; He will quiet you with his love; He will rejoice over you with singing.”

That perfect God with no reason to fulfill a duty or obligation and has no needs, looks at you and me and takes delight in us. It’s like that we are His favorites…because we are.

Now, take that truth of how your Heavenly Father looks at you and live in it. When you know that the most powerful God of all is proud of you and adores you, no matter what you’ve done or how messy it is, what does that do inside of your heart?

Doesn’t it make it hard not to smile? Isn’t that the prospect of possessing what one desires? That desire being love.

Ok, so here is your assignment: As soon as you are done reading this, pick a Christmas song that brings you joy. Whatever song it is, TURN IT UP! And then…are you ready?

DANCE! Dance a weird dance; dance with someone in your house. Dance with your eyes closed like no one can see you. Just dance, friend.

You are allowed to dance and enjoy it. It will be really hard not to smile.

It’s a good taste of joy.

God is good all the time.

Peder

It’s Love. The Second Sunday of Advent

I am currently sitting on a plane after a concert on my Love Has Come Christmas Tour.  A bit tired, squished in my seat, and cold because apparently we need to make the airplane feel like a Minnesota winter to keep the holiday mood real. Oh, a blanket would be nice right now…

So with Delta-frostbite I’m trying to type out this devo for Second Sunday of Advent. The second candle on our traditional wreath represents love, a word we recognize as the heartbeat of God the Father. It’s actually who He is. There is so much we can write. The power of love, the abuse of the meaning of the word, and so much in between. So for our devo, I want you focus on what it feels like to be in the presence of the genuine, godly and what I would call advent love.

photo credit: oddharmonic via photopin cc

Let me introduce you to Lonna Grabenstien. Lonna is a woman who ministers at American Lutheran in Gothenburg, Nebraska. She is a wife of many years, a mom of three awesome children, and now a grandma to three grandchildren. I’ve known Lonna for most of the years of my music ministry. We just performed our Christmas concert at her church and loved is what comes to my mind.

From the first step out of our vehicle on our arrival to the closing of the door of the truck at our departure I witness from afar the act of loving people like Jesus talks about.

As soon as we arrive and Lonna appears in the picture, there are kids begging for her attention, and everyone gets not just a courtesy but full attention to whatever question they have or even just telling her a story even if it has no relevance to what’s going on.

She listens with more than patience. She listens with joy. It is amazing to see. It’s constant. It has a touch of chaos. Every student is affirmed and even blessed with touch and words that have a feeling of destiny. You would think Lonna would get worn down to a level of just being tolerant but there is no way that’s happening. Every child feels like her favorite. I think they are.

Thanks, Stephanie!

It’s love.

Then there are the older ones. The junior high, senior high, and adults. It’s the same thing. In every introduction of anyone who comes our way, she speaks words of beauty about each person like I’m meeting a dignitary or someone who is about to cure an awful disease. It’s not a sale; it’s not a pitch. It’s real passion and understanding for each person who walks up to us.

It’s love.

When the concert was over, my dear friend Lonna was at it again so pouring thank yous and blessings onto everyone who came for the evening event. And then my heart was touched by how during our loading out of our production gear, she would encourage me with more stories and words of how she could see God moving throughout the whole concert and that there were so many people who needed to hear what was said.

It’s love.

You probably know someone like Lonna in your life. They are out there, and we love to be around them. It’s truly attractive and inviting and fun to be around those who love with more than just niceness but with true passion for who you are.

We just worshiped on the second Sunday of Advent. It’s about love. We remember that God has sent His Son Jesus at Christmas not out of duty, obligation, or need but because of something else.

It’s love.

My question to you is this: Do you realize you could be a Lonna to someone else today? Right now? Like even as you are reading this, there is someone in your life who needs what you have and you can give it to them.

It’s love.

This is a straight-forward challenge, directive, commissioning to you this week–well, the next four days–go give something real, unconditional, powerful, through your words, actions, giving, time, effort to someone very specific in your world and do it because you can.

You have all training, skill, and resource necessary to succeed. You can not fail. Why? Because…

It’s love.

God is good all the time

Peder