Dear Brothers & Sisters in Christ,

     It may not be the safest thing to do while driving, but I often catch myself on long straight stretches of road looking towards the fence rows of fields.  Now my looking at the fence row is not an in-depth study of it.  It is more like a quick glance over … or two quick glances over.  Why do I like to look at the fence rows of fields?  I’m searching for something.

     I often find myself when I walk to the shed behind our house doing the same thing.  The land owner behind us has about 20 or so acres of CRP land which is loaded with trees.  As I walk toward the shed, I sometimes stop in the middle of the yard.  Other times I walk along the side of it, as if to blend in with it.  Why?  Because I’m searching for something.

     There was a day when I went out to visit one of our shut-ins and as I got out of my car, my eyes drifted over to the fence row running along the edge of the field.  As I searched … I froze.  I found it!  I found it and I stood there for a minute or so staring at what it was I was searching for. 

     Now the question you are asking may be, “What in the world is Pastor Mike searching for?”  Well … let me tell you.  Let me tell you in one word.  Deer.

     Ever since we moved here from Nebraska and I have had the opportunity to go hunting again, I am constantly on the lookout, constantly searching for deer.  Deer intrigue me partially because they are good sized animals and yet they move with such stealth and quietness.  I also like to think that in my searching during the “off-season,” I am training my eyes to better spot them when I get the opportunity to climb up into a tree stand in November.

     Now why all this talk about searching?  Well, as you already know, Pastor Meyer is retiring in about five months.  The process of searching for a new Senior Pastor has begun.  We have had the opportunity to fill out our “Congregational Self-Study” forms as well as turn in forms nominating a particular person to come and be that person we are searching for.  Just like me searching for deer, it seems like we are doing a lot of work. 

     But here is the thing which I am constantly reminding myself during this whole “process.”  We can search all we want.  We can put down on paper what we think our needs and wants are.  When we get a list of men to consider, we will sit down and go through it with a fine tooth comb.  There is a lot of weing going on.  No matter how much effort we put into this “process,” there is one thing which needs to be happening more than anything.  And this one thing is not looking down at our navels and searching for what we believe is best for Salem Lutheran.

     The one thing, the most important thing we need to be doing is this … seek out God.  We need to be searching for God and His wisdom and guidance. 

     In 1 Kings 22, King Jehoshaphat of Judah goes and visits King Ahab of Israel.  King Ahab inquires of King Jehoshaphat if he would go to battle with him against Syria for a piece of land.  Even though we as Salem Lutheran are not going to battle for a piece of land, the words of Jehoshaphat are great for us to hear and take to heart.

     1 Kings 22:5 says, “And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, ‘Inquire first the word of the LORD.’”  The wisdom of God is well beyond the knowledge of any man.  When we are in a place of needing direction and insight … which we are as we look to the future ministry of our church, we can seek after God’s counsel to receive wisdom, knowledge, and insight for our next steps.  God knows the beginning and the end and what is best for the future of Salem Lutheran, thus we can’t go wrong when we search with His guidance.

     As we continue to serve God and look toward the future, let us always do it searching for God’s wisdom, direction, and for His will to be done.  Please continue to pray for God’s guidance, not just as Pastor Meyer retires but for all that we do.  May all the things we say and do always be done to bring glory to God alone.

                      Blessings, Pastor Mike