Freedom

Independence Day. It’s an awesome thing, to celebrate freedom. But the truth is, freedom is an awesome responsibility. Because true freedom is not limitless; true freedom is only freedom within limits. Have you ever gone swimming by yourself in a lake – the water feels good, you feel really peaceful, until suddenly you look up … Continue reading Freedom

Yes, the Trinity is in the Bible

One of the many uninformed criticisms of the Christian faith is that: Christians claim to base their faith on the Bible. Christians profess the Trinity. The Trinity is not in the Bible. Obviously, points one and two are not in dispute. Point three is the misinformation - a part-truth that is intentionally misleading. So perhaps … Continue reading Yes, the Trinity is in the Bible

Worship Is…

A common misconception (because it is wrongly taught and spoken of in that way) is that worship refers only to the songs we sing when we are in church: the musical portion of the church service. In fact, most "Evangelical" churches (Evangelical meaning non-Catholic, Protestant, conservative and Bible-based) separate their church services into two parts, … Continue reading Worship Is…

Thoughts On a Confirmation Service

Today, our church celebrates confirmation. Confirmation in the Lutheran church is just that: confirmation by these young people of the faith that was given to them in baptism, taught to them by their parents, grandparents, godparents, pastors and teachers, and grown and nurtured in them by the Holy Spirit. Today, they stand before their church … Continue reading Thoughts On a Confirmation Service

Grief

There is something else you should know about me: I struggle with depression that stems from the grief of losing my son. Daniel was six years old when he died on September 11, 2013. He was a special needs child: stemming from an overarching diagnosis of cerebral palsy, he struggled with many things, including quadriplegia … Continue reading Grief

Ordination: July 17, 2011

Here’s another blast from the past (last year) that answers the “why” and “how” I became a pastor.

Hard to believe, but five years ago this Sunday (July 17) was my ordination as a pastor in the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod at Community Lutheran Church. It was an incredible day (Heidi says it is her all-time favorite day because she’s awesome), full of celebration and memories, and a welcome I can only believe because I was there.

It’s an interesting thing, ordination in the LCMS. In fact, it all has to do with submission, surrender and service. I hold no authority that hasn’t been granted to me. I’ve never taken any for myself. In fact, as some of you may know, this was defining for me in terms of my journey to becoming a pastor.

I was lost and broken, back in February 2007. I was teaching religion and philosophy classes at what is now Lone Star College in Houston, TX, but without a PhD, I knew there was not enough security to provide for my family. Heidi was making excellent money, but her growing desire was to stay at home as we neared the due date of our second child. I had been rejected from the PhD programs I had applied for, and I just kept feeling like I was meant for more than I was doing… but what?

When Daniel was born not breathing and nobody was sure if he would even survive, let alone what sort of life he would have, I was utterly broken. I numbly went to the hospital chapel and asked God what I was supposed to do.

I believe I received an answer – not some booming voice from on high, but a thought that grew in my mind until it was all I could think about: you’ve always tried to control everything – it’s time to be sent. I had no clue what that meant. So I asked my friend, Matt, who also happened to be my pastor.

What he suggested as part of an incredible conversation… was seminary. Whahuh? He explained how being a Lutheran pastor works (I didn’t want to be a pastor, but that’s a story for another time):

You have to have approval from your pastor. From the leadership of your church. From the district. Oh, and your family had better be on board! You have to apply to seminary, with essays and personal interview questions. You have to pack up and move your family across the country with no guarantee of income and a limit on how many hours you can work to provide for your family. And it costs money. A lot of money. Insane, right? But that’s not all! You have to pass your graduate level classes. Serve a church under the supervision of an active pastor. Do a year-long internship at an active congregation under the supervision of its pastor. You have to have the blessing of those two pastors, and then you must be certified for ordination by the seminary faculty (the degree I earned does not make you a pastor – some guys earned the degree but were not certified for ordination). Then, you are sent (remember that word?) to your first congregation, which has to call you (they have to offer you the job). Finally, the District President where you will be serving has to sign off on your ordination, which is performed by the laying on of hands by active pastors! If I were truly meant to be a pastor, I would have to surrender control, submit to church authority and be truly sent by the church.

And I’ll be honest: it was a scary thought, surrendering that kind of control… but it was also strangely liberating! In fact, it was hugely freeing to place my future in God’s hands by means of the hands of His Church! And I could not be more thankful that I did.

Five years after I was ordained and a full nine years after I began this journey (though, truth be told, I unknowingly began this journey long before that…), I continue to be amazed at the things God has blessed me to be able to do.

I have baptized and brought people into the promise of salvation. I have married couples who have gone on to become families. I have buried people I have loved and people I never had the opportunity to know, each time speaking God’s comfort into the lives of grieving families. I have met amazing people whose faith has blown me away. I have seen real strength and true joy, even in the darkest situations. I hold genuine love and compassion for those entrusted to my care – even those who have broken my heart. I have brought God’s Word and Sacrament to His Church nearly every week for five years, and I continue to be amazed that I get to do it.

I am so thankful for all of you, who have held us aloft with your prayers and words of love and support.The journey has been an incredible one, and I hope there is much more to come. May God bless His whole Church on heaven and on earth, and may we all walk the paths we have been called to walk, Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

 

The Schmidt Family Home (3rd Edition!)

Hard to believe, but five years ago this Sunday (July 17) was my ordination as a pastor in the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod at Community Lutheran Church. It was an incredible day (Heidi says it is her all-time favorite day because she’s awesome), full of celebration and memories, and a welcome I can only believe because I was there.

It’s an interesting thing, ordination in the LCMS. In fact, it all has to do with submission, surrender and service. I hold no authority that hasn’t been granted to me. I’ve never taken any for myself. In fact, as some of you may know, this was defining for me in terms of my journey to becoming a pastor.

I was lost and broken, back in February 2007. I was teaching religion and philosophy classes at what is now Lone Star College in Houston, TX, but without a PhD, I knew…

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