Pastor Burma is the Associate Pastor at Peace, responsible for Youth and Education. Pastor and his wife Deb have been married over 20 years and enjoy spending free time with their three teenage children.
The purpose of this blog is to offer an occasional encouragement from God’s Word by connecting it to day-to-day life. Some of the posts have appeared in the monthly newsletter “Peace Offerings” while others are for your online enjoyment only. Sometimes they might deal with family, other times it might be leadership, or still other times simply something I find interesting.
I hope you find them helpful in your faith walk. Feel free to comment (only if you are a registered user).
In His Peace,
P.S. If you are looking for the daily Bible reading “Enjoying the Journey” it has been moved to the “Enjoying the Journey” tab. To help you get there quickly, click here.
Often when we think about 1st Corinthians, we think about the Apostle Paul chastising the Corinthians for the disunity that they had in their church. But as we start looking at this book, beginning with verse 4, we see that Paul first gives thanks. He gives thanks to God for the grace that was given to them in Christ Jesus. He talks about the testimony about Christ that was confirmed in them, and how they were not lacking any spiritual gift, and that He would keep them strong until the end. God was doing great things in their lives, and for that Paul gave thanks.
Yet immediately after that, Paul addressed the divisions in the church. He says “I appeal to you brothers and the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you, Then you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.” Paul wanted to church to be united and he saw that there was at the beginning of a small division in the congregation. Some of them were saying that they were following Paul, others Apollo, and still others were following Peter.
Paul talks about wondering if Christ is divided. As he goes on he talks about the one thing that unites us all – the cross of Jesus Christ. Our unity as unified LCMS congregations in Columbus, Nebraska is not on our joint admiration and support for the Huskers. No, it is found in Christ. We are focused on Christ. It's not that we are just members of Peace, or Immanuel, or 1C, we are all members of the Body of Christ. That is where we find great unity. It is a unity that we share with one another in many different ways. Three congregations, very different from one another, yet all focused on that common confession – Christ crucified for the forgiveness of your sins and for mine.
This visible sign of the unity we share in Christ tonight is one of the reasons I love being a pastor here in Columbus. We experience that unity in a real way, not just as pastors getting together once a month, but pastors and lay people altogether, working together and sharing what God is doing in His congregations.
May He continue to grant us this unity as He guides us to do His will in this city.
In His Peace,
"Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us"
This past month I’ve started doing something that I have really never done before… running. The rest of my family runs, but I’ve always stood on the sidelines cheering them on, too out of shape to even think about running a race. I’ve always had great excuses: “I’m too old to start running,” and “My body just isn’t made for running,” and my personal favorite, “I just don’t have enough time to run.” My son has been challenging me to run with him in a half marathon, and this month I finally accepted the challenge to hopefully run in one next June.
I’ve started slowly, not running too much, especially that first week: only a half mile the first few times, then slowly adding distance throughout the weeks. I’m not very fast (actually you could say that I’m just plodding along), yet hopefully I’ll be able to increase both my pace and distance in the next few months. Even after only a month of running, I already feel healthier. I have more energy throughout the day and seem to have more time to get everything done.
One day as I was running, I was thinking about how running is a lot like studying the Bible. We all have good excuses for not reading the Bible. “I’m too old to start.” “My mind just doesn’t understand the Bible.” “I don’t have enough time.” My excuses for running were just that – excuses. I wasn’t too old, unable, or too busy. Neither are you unable to start reading and studying the Bible.
Start slowly. Don’t set out to read the Bible in a year if you haven’t read it much in the past. Read a chapter or less and then think about that section for the rest of the day. Each weekday I post to “Enjoying the Journey” on www.aliveinpeace.org with a short devotional thought connected to a short reading. I invite you to join me on this journey. I promise you it will be a slow pace…
The benefit of being in God’s Word daily is a healthier faith life. As you continue to be strengthened in the Word daily, the Holy Spirit will continue to work in your life to help you understand more and more about the Bible, and to help you see the truths that you may have missed before. Each time I read the Bible it seems like I find something I hadn’t seen previously.
It’s also important to be in Bible study with other Christians. Maybe you are more than a little scared of starting a Bible study with those whom you think are so much more knowledgeable than you are. Beginning September 11, at 9:15 am in the Fellowship Hall, I will be starting a Bible study just for those who have been a little scared in the past to be in a formal Bible study. The class is called “Bible Study for Dummies” and will address many of the questions you had about the Bible but were too scared to ask. I hope to have a full class on that day!
My hope is that each one of you will begin to exercise spiritually each day (if only for a few moments), and grow in group Bible study each week as well. Growing our faith in Christ is what we are called to do. I pray that each of you will commit to grow in your faith of your Savior Jesus, and be energized to share that faith with others through your love and service towards them.
In His Peace,