Jake serves as the pastor of St. John's Lutheran Church in Williston Park, NY. He received his Master of Divinity (M.Div.) degree from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, in 2011. His passions include exploring the depths of God's grace, playing guitar, good coffee, White Castle burgers, and old school video games. Jake and his lovely wife, Christina, have one adorable little son named Roman.
When I was growing up, I remember that my pastor, before the closing prayer of his children's sermons, would ask us to close our eyes and imagine the most beautiful, most loving picture of Jesus that we could. We were to believe that He was right there with us as we prayed.
I visited a senior man at his home the other day. I'll refer to him as “Jim.” Jim had recently returned home from the hospital after recovering from a fall. The back-and-forth from hospital to home had become his rhythm of life, and, because of that rhythm, he had been unable to attend worship.
It's in moments like that with my son that I honestly wonder if God still loves me. My sin must be frustrating to Him. And God knows that I've done worse than jumping into puddles. I’ve push Him away. I’ve taken His good gifts and thrown them in the garbage.
Pictures of God’s grace for us in and through His Son, Jesus, can be found in the most unlikely places. Recently, I witnessed one such picture of God’s grace during WrestleMania 34. That’s right. WrestleMania. Professional wrestling’s most popular pay-per-view event of the year.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 is a well-known verse. What isn’t so well-known is the sentence right before it: “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life”
Dr. Doyle said that it had always been his opinion that there was a skeleton in the closet of every man who had reached the age of forty. This led to a lot of discussion, some of the guests resenting the idea that there was no one who had not in his past something that was better concealed.