Genesis 12:1-3

Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”  Genesis 12:1-3

 

Pastor Junfeng Tan is the new Associate Pastor now serving with me at Faith Lutheran Church.  Yesterday was his first Sunday to preach.  His task was to kick off our new August sermon series following the lives of Abraham and Sarah.  Every Sunday is a “God moment” for me, but yesterday proved particularly so.

 

Pastor Tan grew up in Northern China.  He went to school to study Chinese literature and worked teaching Chinese to English speakers.  He became friends with a Roman Catholic priest who was his student.  Eventually he moved to the University of Minnesota to earn a Phd. In Chinese Literature.  There he found the care of the Chinese Hospitality Center, begun by former Lutheran missionaries.  He went to their Bible studies that became a worshipping community.  He was baptized and began seminary studies.  He met and married his wife, a Korean, at the end of his senior year and just prior to beginning his first call in South Dakota.  They adopted two boys, one from China and one from Korea.  And now his family lives in Houston.  Whew.

 

So there I was in worship, listening to a man who has been on a very improbable journey in his life, preaching about another improbable journey, from Ur in the Chaldeans to the land of Canaan…as he helped us see that this is only one journey.

 

As the world would keep score, we do not share the family lineage of Abraham and Sarah.  Yet we are blood relatives – Jesus the direct descendant and we grafted into the family through the blood of Jesus.

 

Our life is a journey, following God’s will, to unforeseen places with surprising twists and turns but all for the good of others.

 

Let us pray:  Gracious Lord, thank you for guiding and encouraging your people to follow as you prompt, opening doors, shutting off escape routes.  Thank you for bringing Pastor Tan to Houston.  May you bless him, his family, and all of us as we seek each day to do your will.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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