A Word from Pastor Dave | Ruptured by Freedom

Today, I am in San Diego on the Senior High youth mission trip. Youth mission trips are clearly one of the most enjoyable points in my ministry.

It was the summer of 1974, when I was a sophomore in high school on a mission trip in a big Winnebago, with my youth group from St. John Lutheran church in Keystone, Iowa, that I made one of the largest leaps in my life of faith.

On that trip in 1974 I first began to take this Jesus who dwells throughout the earth and cosmos seriously. All of a sudden Jesus began to take on a relevancy in my life. Up until that trip, I saw Jesus as a person who wanted some songs sung to him on Sunday morning. I had honestly thought that the Christian experience was one contained to the walls of a church facility.

On that trip across South Dakota in the summer of 1974, the adult leadership team of Pastor Don Berg, Judy Berg and another leader named Milt Jensen (also my father) guided us on an experience of God in the world. We framed discussions around the presence of God in the world. We took on heavy theological issues. It gave us a chance to talk openly about a God who created even acne faced teens in God's image. Pastor Berg would often remind us that "God does not make junk, and you are not junk." We took on real world cultural events and discussed God's presence in them, such as what is God's will of forgiveness and justice toward elected leaders in a world with Watergates?

Luke 18 is the chapter of scripture I have asked our 13 senior high youth, 3 college aged youth, and 4 adult leaders to ponder this week. It begins with the story of a widow who approaches an unjust judge for justice. Have you ever approached the unjust seeking justice? It is not easy? What we find in the story (Luke 18:1-8) is that the widow's persistence is the greatest gift she has. The widow simply will not give up! Jesus is like the widow, and we are sometimes like the judge. Jesus persistently comes to offer us good news, fresh hope, and forgiveness. Jesus comes relentlessly to bring us an affirmation of our self image, or to remind us that God is King of the universe, and no corrupt politician has the final power over anything.

Persistence, a great trait to maintain with our youth and all relationships. For ultimately the hope that is ours eternally comes from Christ Jesus our Lord , "...What is impossible for mortals is possible for God(Luke 18:27)."

I am reminded of the singer Jackson Browne's view of persistence when I imagine the widow, "The stream shapes the rock through persistence not strength." Fortunately in 1974, somewhere along I -90 in a  Winnebago, God literally entered my life in a profound way and ruptured how I had previously seen (or not seen) Jesus in the world. Through experiences such as this I live in the freedom each day to see Jesus in many ways. May you be so blessed this day and often.

Please pray that we might have safe passage home as we travel this Friday and Saturday. You have prayers rising up for you this day in San Diego.

See you on Sunday,


Still in one peace,

David J Jensen

2 comments (Add your own)

1. Steve Schwab wrote:
We will be praying for you and the group over the next few days. Sorry we have been gone so much lateley and will be gone for the next three weekends for vacation and moving the girls back to Texas and Kansas. Summer is great but busy and goes by too fast.

God Bless You.

Thu, July 30, 2009 @ 9:28 AM

2. Karan Smith wrote:
Thank you for sharing this with all of us. What a beautiful find on the internet and a spiritually wonderful way to start a new day.


Thu, July 30, 2009 @ 9:40 AM

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