Archive for November, 2013

Each person should do as he has decided in his heart—not reluctantly or out of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work. … For the ministry of this service (giving) is not only supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing in many acts of thanksgiving to God. They will glorify God for your obedience to the confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with others through the proof provided by this service. 2 Corinthians 9:7-8, 13-14 (HCSB, parenthesis mine)

I was going to preach on giving this Sunday, but I changed my mind. The reason I did is because I am blessed to be part of a giving church. In fact I am amazed how faithfully you give your tithes to operate the church financially and then go beyond that to support missionary work around the world, fund the Food Basket, contribute to the Deacons’ Fund, support children through World Vision and Compassion International, participate in the Hunger relief offering, and respond to various needs. We cannot even begin to calculate all the good this generosity has done, but even more importantly it has honored God, given our church a good testimony, and has produced much thanksgiving. As your pastor I just want to applaud you.

For Susie and me our journey of giving began before we were married. We were blessed with pastors who taught us what the Bible said about giving and managing money. So began our marriage being on the same page when it came to our attitudes about money, about spending, and about honoring God with our money and possessions. We never thought twice about supporting our church with our tithe and offering even though we did not earn or have much.

For many years our financial situation was one of need, we were poor, but we did not think that exempted us from tithing and giving. We gave in spite, or out of our need. We just figured and believed that God would enable us to live on whatever was left after we tithed. And God did, he supplied, and we learned awesome lessons of God’s faithfulness, just as He promised.

Today our financial situation is different, we are no longer in constant need and instead we are blessed with a surplus. I believe that surplus is a result of God’s blessing and our willingness to trust in God’s ways of giving and handling money. Now our challenge is not to squander our surplus, not to let it entice us to spend more and more on ourselves, but to grow even more generous, and to give more and more. I am confident that God will show us incredible blessings here too, because Jesus did say, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).

When it comes to the ministry of giving my prayer for you and me and for our church is to “excel still more” (1 Thessalonians 4:10).

To god be all glory, love you, Pastor Hans



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We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 (HCSB)

They had discovered a spot on my Mother-in-law’s lung. It turned out to be cancer. On the day of the operation the anesthesiologist goofed and ripped her throat, so they had to cancel the operation and she had to recover from that. It was a lousy, frightening thing to happen. But before they rescheduled her for the surgery again they took more scans and discovered another spot on her lung they would not have removed during the first operation, so the second time they were able to remove all of the cancer.

Of course Beverly could also have died from that doctor’s mistake and then I could not have written the first paragraph. But it would not have changed the truth that God really does work everything for the good of those who love Him. I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” …  “Now I want you to know, brethren, that my circumstances (Paul was imprisoned) have turned out for the greater progress of the gospel” … “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:6, 12, 21 (NASB, parenthesis mine), is what Paul wrote to believers who couldn’t make sense out of Paul’s imprisonment as well as their own difficulties. He wanted them to know that believers are not exempted from the crap of life, but he also didn’t want them to forget that the benefits of loving God don’t stop when life becomes difficult, unfair, and painful. God knows how to use what stinks, what scars, what is meant for evil and work it for good. Of course we cannot experience that by reading about it, you have to live it, walk through it.

Maybe last Thursday was a tough Thanksgiving Day for you. Maybe it was hard for you to be grateful to God because of the year you have had. Maybe it has been the toughest, most painful, and totally confusing year of your life. It is hard to see the good there, like when the anesthesiologist botched, when we didn’t know the outcome. That’s why I am writing this pastor’s note, so anger, bitterness, lack of answers, and confusion would not keep you or derail you from loving God, from living with hope, from knowing that even death is no match for God and his goodness. Sometimes, when things are really hard and raw, we are just left with God Himself, but that is the greatest blessing of all.

“The first time I was brought before the judge, no one came with me. Everyone abandoned me… But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength … Yes, and the Lord will deliver me from every evil attack and will bring me safely into his heavenly Kingdom. All glory to God forever and ever! Amen.” 2 Timothy 4:16-18 (NLT).

“No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:37-39 (NLT).

To God be all glory, love you, Pastor Hans

P.S.  I would love to hear your experience with the truth of Romans 8:28, or your questions, or pray with you if you feel alone. Just call me at email me at dergermanshepherd@gmail.com or call me at 209 852-2040.




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A Thankfulness Trial

I am putting you and me on trial in this pastor’s note. I am hoping you and I will be convicted of being people who grateful, thanksgivers who continually praise and bring glory to God. So hop up on the stand to be examined.

When was the last time you stepped on a scale and were filled with thanksgivings? I mean you grabbed one of your rolls and it put you in a rejoicing mode for the rest of the day?  You praised God for the abundance of food that has been available to you, that feeding yourself and your family was not a worry to you, as it is to millions of people around the globe.

When was the last time you went to the doctor and the whole way there you were in grateful mood? You lit up the waiting room with your spirit of thankfulness? Overcome by the fact that extraordinary healthcare is available to you gave God thanks.

When was the last time you rolled up to the gas pump and counted your blessings? The whole time the pump was running your heart was full of praise to God for his goodness and provision? With every gallon pouring into your vehicle you just got happier, ready to have a worship service right there?

When was the last time you turned on a faucet in your house and your heart overflowed with gratefulness? You rejoiced you did not have to schlep a single drop and that you haven’t had the slightest worry about water from your faucet in who knows how long? You were as happy as a bird in a puddle.

When was the last time you put on your shoes and just felt like praising God for his goodness to you? You were struck by the fact that you got to choose which shoes to wear today?

When was the last time you looked at something you haven’t used in forever and were overwhelmed by gratefulness because you have more (maybe much more) than you need? You were gripped by thankfulness because you have the privilege of thinking about wants and not just needs? You gave glory to God because He has enabled you to be a giver?

When was the last time someone noticed your thankfulness? Someone wondered why just keep giving thanks and praise to God?

When will be the next time your gratefulness before God will have impact on your outlook, your attitude, and your actions? I pray it will be today, tomorrow, and day after tomorrow, and … That anywhere and anytime you and me will always be convicted of being grateful, of being a thanksgiver through and through.

Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 (HCSB)

To God be all glory, love you, Pastor Hans

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