Faith without works is dead

Faith and Works

I have been married to my wife Deb since 1977. We have 2 sons, Tylor (36) and Landon (34). Tylor lives in Minneapolis and is married to Ashley, and we have one granddaughter, Ava, almost 3. Landon lives in St. Paul and is single.

I grew up in Robbinsdale and went to Elim Lutheran Church. Our pastor was Pastor Nerothin, father of Zion member Dave Nerothin.  Pastor Nerothin confirmed me, buried my little sister and my dad, married Deb and me, and baptized our 2 boys. Outside of my dad, he is the biggest influence in my life.  I remember going to Vacation Bible School in the summer and marching in to church singing “Onward Christian Soldiers.” I later went through confirmation and in high school and I was active in Luther League.

When we moved to Rockford, we looked for a new larger church. We first visited St. Johns. We later visited Zion. Pastor Blair cornered us and wanted to come and visit us for 15 minutes the next night. He stayed three hours, we joined Zion, and have been members since 1981.

I have been fortunate enough to have been involved in many Zion activities — adult education, Stephen Ministry, Building Committee, Vision Committee, Social Ministry Committee, Global Missions Committee and Lutefisk Committee. I have also taught Bible classes since 2011. Deb has helped with Sunday school and served on council as well as serving on a number of committees with me.

After being  chairman of the Building Committee for our new addition (2004-05), I, along with my wife, felt a need to reach out in some way and help others somewhere less fortunate.  I based this on my favorite verse, James 2:17:

Faith without works is dead.

This drew us to helping re-create the Social Ministry Committee with Roger and Sandy Brenny, which works to provide assistance to less fortunate people in the Buffalo area.  We enjoy helping others through the Blessing Closet and holiday food baskets. We are always amazed at how many local people are hurting and need help.

We also joined the Global Mission Committee and this connected us with Redeemer Lutheran Church in North Minneapolis. We love attending worship there where passing the peace means to everyone and we later all join hands as the service ends.   We have worked with other Zion members to promote our partnership with Redeemer.  Zion has put in a wood floor in the Bike Shop, and built a whole new front entry. Zion has provided annual financial support and actively supports the annual block party and youth programs. Redeemer has become Deb’s and my ministry passion.

I have been blessed to have a loving wife, great kids and many Zion friends. I also have been blessed to have had a number of opportunities to serve at Zion and to help others elsewhere. I have learned life is full of choices and it is not always easy. I have also learned that life is on God’s timetable and I can leave things in His hands. As it says in Joshua 24:15,

… as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.