Farewell and Hello!

Rylee Quant became the director of Our Precious Lambs in July of 2021. We are thankful that the Lord sent her to our school! We have truly appreciated her many talents and smiles. But now we say farewell and wish Rylee, and her husband Joe, God’s blessings in the next chapter of their lives.

Living Hope has called Becky Pederson to be the new director of OPL. She and her husband, Corey, have four children and live in Omaha. We are happy to welcome Becky to Our Precious Lambs!

Prayer: Thank you Lord Jesus for sending good teachers for our children!

Our Triune God Blesses Us

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
~ 2 Corinthians 13:14

As remarkable as the description of our Triune God is (he is three persons—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—and yet one undivided God), the blessings that we receive through our Triune God are perhaps even more remarkable. We see these blessings summarized so simply in this final verse of the apostle Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians. Our Triune God blesses us with: His grace. His love. His fellowship.

First, his grace. God’s grace, by its very definition, is a gift—something that he gives us even though we do not deserve it. What is that gift of God’s grace? It is himself! God himself took on flesh and came into our world to live the perfect life that we could not and then died the innocent death that we deserved to die because of our sins. Both Jesus’ perfect life and innocent death were done in our place in order to win for us the forgiveness of sins and eternal life in heaven. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ is what saves us. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ is the reason those who believe in him will rejoice in heaven one day rather than suffer in hell.

Next, his love. God’s love is what drove him, what motivated him, what moved him to give us such a gift of his grace. If God did not love us, he would have left us to suffer for what our sins deserved. “Every man for himself!” would have been the cry from a God who did not love. But God did love, because God is love. His love moved him to send his Son to save us from eternal death in hell and give us life with him forever.

Finally, his fellowship. Fellowship with God is what we now have because of his grace and love. People who have fellowship are united. They share all good things with each other. No barriers separate them. How amazing it is to think that unholy sinners like we are could ever have fellowship with a holy God! But we do! And now we enjoy all the blessings of his fellowship: a new life in Christ, answered prayers, unity with fellow believers, the comfort of sins forgiven and life that will never end. We have fellowship with God through faith in Jesus Christ, both now and forever. We have fellowship with God because of the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, which was driven by the love of God.

The grace, the love, the fellowship. This is who our God is. This is how our God blesses us. This is why we are saved. May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Prayer: O Triune God, we praise you for the remarkable blessings you have given to us—your grace, your love, your fellowship. Keep us in them always. Amen


Memorial Day Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for those who have sacrificed their lives in service to our country. Be with those who grieve over the loss of beloved parents, sons, daughters, husbands, wives, and friends who went to war and did not return. Comfort them with the knowledge that in Jesus Christ, your son, we have victory over death and the promise of a future reunion in heaven. Make us thankful for our nation’s freedoms purchased at so great a price. Amen

Please consider donating to the Lutheran Military Support Group


Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit… ~ Joel 2:29a

God’s Old Testament people’s celebration of the wheat harvest was called the Festival of Weeks. In the New Testament after Jesus ascended into heaven, on the fiftieth day of that festival, God sent the promised counselor: the Holy Spirit.  We call this day “Pentecost” (Greek for “fifty”).

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues [languages] as the Spirit enabled them. ~ Acts 2:1-4

The Festival of Weeks had brought many people to Jerusalem who spoke different languages.  The miracle of Pentecost is that Peter and the other apostles were able to spontaneously share the good new of Jesus Christ in the languages of the men and women who were there.

God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.”  ~ Act 2:32 & 33

Everyone was amazed that they could hear the apostles declaring the wonders of God in their own languages.  That day, those who accepted the message of the apostles were baptized, and about 3000 people were saved!

Prayer: Holy Spirit, God and Lord, rekindle in our hearts the holy fire of your love that with a true and living faith we may tell those around us about the glory of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Father, one God, now and forever.  Amen

An honest conversation with teens

In this breakout session from the WELS National Conference on Lutheran Leadership, a group of WELS teens, led by Rev. Phil Huebner, discusses the challenges teenagers face today, whether it is stress from expectations, navigating social media, or mental health, as well as how churches can help young people cultivate a strong faith life.

The Lamb is My Shepherd

“For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’
~ Revelation 7:17

Sometime the news headlines are a harsh reminder of life in this sinful world. Sometimes our hearts are broken or our dreams shattered. This world will almost always disappoint us, so don’t cling to the hope of what your life on earth could be; and don’t despair of what it isn’t.

Put your hope in the Lamb and focus on where he is leading you. Look at the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. He went uncomplaining forth to death to open the way to eternal life. In view of the joy set before him, he endured the cross, disregarded its shame, and sat down on God’s throne.

From there, the Lamb, Jesus Christ, shepherds us through death to life. He leads us to the living water of Word and Sacrament, and invites us to drink deeply. He connects us to his death and resurrection in baptism’s water so we too may live. He gives us forgiveness in the Lord’s Supper to assure us that we shall not perish but have eternal life.

This life might bring broken hearts and shattered dreams, but because the Lamb is our Shepherd, when we die we will leave our tears and disappointments here on earth. He is leading us to a paradise were sin and all its problems are a thing of the past.

Prayer: Christ, you are my Savior in calm as in strife; death cannot hold me, for you are the Life. Darkness nor doubting nor sin and its stain can touch my salvation: with you, Jesus, I reign. Amen.


Mother’s Day

by Pastor Bater, Prince of Peace, Thousand Oaks, CA

Family of believers,

This Sunday is Mother’s Day. If, for some reason, you didn’t already know that, you’re welcome! What you probably did not know, however, is that next to Christmas and Easter, Mother’s Day is historically one of the highest attended church services each year. What an inspiring sentiment! Dad and the kids ask mom, “What would you like for Mother’s Day this year?!” And her response is simply, “I would like you to come to church with me.” What an awesome thing. God bless all you moms. I hope that having your family in church with you is always your wish and that it’s granted this Sunday and often!

Because it is typically so well attended, many churches and pastors will actually focus the entire worship service around and preach on the topic of Mother’s Day. And though it is a secular holiday, we certainly have the Christian freedom to do so. There is no shortage of passages and beautiful examples of moms in the Bible we could address. That being said, I’ve never preached a “Mother’s Day” sermon and I won’t be preaching one this Sunday either.

Understand, the reason is not because I don’t love my mom or the mother of my children. I most certainly do. I guess you could say I’ve been a little jaded though. Every Mother’s Day sermon I’ve ever heard has sounded exactly the same (perhaps this has been true for you too). Ironically, very few Mother’s Day sermons are actually addressed to the moms in attendance but rather to everyone else, especially husbands and children. And what’s the message? Something like this: “Dad, kids, you stink at loving your mom. Look at everything she does for you! You should appreciate her more; do more for her; thank her more often; etc.” 

Now, is that message true? For sure. Do I and my kids need that stern preaching of the law? Of course we do. But what does mom get out of it? What message is communicated to her? Her one wish was to have her family come to church with her and that’s what she gets? A family guilted into doing the dishes? Even more sad though … where’s Jesus in that message?

I think we’ve been programmed to assume that all mom wants for Mother’s Day is to be pampered a little (most probably still do and they absolutely should be). That if we just take some of her “chores” off her plate for a day, she’ll be content. But is that it? While those might be nice gestures, all those chores will be right back on mom’s plate tomorrow. No, mom needs more than breakfast in bed and the house picked up (still do those things! Lol). Having closely observed my wife as a mother and counseled numerous women over the years, here are just a couple things I’ve learned about moms:

1) Moms carry an insane amount of guilt. When I was growing up, most moms were still “stay-at-home” moms. Today, most moms have full-time outside-the-home jobs. And yet, they’re still expected to accomplish all the same stuff their moms did while they were home–even if the only one who actually has that expectation is her! It’s impossible. She can’t do it; no one can. Moms know that, too, but knowing it doesn’t remove or lessen their guilt.

Moms almost instantly feel guilty when they lose their temper with their kids (whereas dads typically don’t, despite losing their temper more often). Moms feel like they should’ve been more patient; more loving; more kind. “I could’ve handled that situation so much better if I had only…” is a regular confession of guilt I hear from moms (but hardly ever heard from dads).

2) Moms experience extremely high levels of anxiety and stress when it comes to their family. Moms worry far more about their kids than dads do–on average four times more! Are they eating right, getting enough sleep, how are they doing in school, who are their friends, how will they turn out, are they happy, where are they at spiritually? “I constantly worry about my kids, pastor,” is yet another common motherly confession I hear.

There are way more activities and groups and teams available for kids to participate in today than in generations past. Most kids want to join in and it is expected that mom will make it happen. The competition for being a ‘good’ mom is heightened by social media. If mom sees another family on the constant go, she assumes her family should be too.

Parenting, especially motherhood, has become more of a job than a joy in many homes and it’s stressing moms out. Understandably so. Despite God entrusting the role of the spiritual head of the household to husbands and fathers, mothers worry about the spiritual welfare of their kids more than fathers do. So if spiritual instruction and encouragement is going to take place in the home, mom is usually the one to initiate that too. 

3) Not all moms/women want to celebrate Mother’s Day.  Maybe this will be your first Mother’s Day without your mom and it just won’t be the same. Or maybe your mom is still alive but your relationship with her (or with your kids) is so fractured that the day becomes a difficult one to celebrate. Or perhaps you lost a child, suffered a miscarriage, or had an abortion, and despite being blessed with additional children, that one baby still weighs heavy on your heart. Still others of you aren’t moms, and while you’re happy to celebrate the day with your mom (if you can), so far you’ve been unsuccessful at becoming a mom yourself. Each Mother’s Day then becomes an unavoidable reminder of the emptiness you feel.  All of these situations can and do also affect husbands and fathers, too, but not to the same degree. “Mother’s Day is one of the hardest days of the year for me,” is yet another admission I’ve heard from multiple women.

4) Moms need Jesus more than anything. My dear sisters in Christ, if any of the preceding paragraphs describe you, I’d like to share some important words with you. If you’re carrying heavy guilt (real or imagined): Jesus has forgiven you. He took every last bit of your guilt with Him to the cross where He died with it and for you. And in doing so, He has taken all of your guilt and sin and every last #momfail away from you. It’s not yours to carry anymore. He has redeemed you from living a guilt-driven life. He’s purchased for you a new, more beautiful, more productive, more grace-filled life. A life set free from all sin and guilt, set free to imperfectly love and serve as Christ perfectly loves as serves you.

If you’re feeling lonely: Jesus is with you. Truly, He is. He lives and rules in your heart by faith; He’s made it His everlasting kingdom! He speaks to you through His Word. Reminds you of your Baptism, where you were made His sister, a beloved daughter of God your Father, and an heir of eternal life. He feeds you with His real Body and Blood, strengthening your faith and love. He advocates for you when you pray. This is the powerful promise of His resurrection and ascension: “I will be with you always, to the very end of the age.” You’re never alone. Your resurrected Lord says so. He sees and cherishes every changed diaper, school drop off, and midday snack–even the ones you’ve long forgotten.

If you’re afraid that you haven’t loved your kids perfectly: know that Jesus does and always will. He loves your kids with an everlasting, unfailing love. In those moments when you feel like your love for them is lacking, point them to Jesus and know that in Him they are perfectly loved–which means His love covers you too. His love for you and your family is never lacking, never failing, never incomplete. Jesus didn’t die for perfect moms because there aren’t any. He died for you. And then, grace on top of grace, He graciously blessed you with a little one(s) to whom you could imperfectly reflect His perfect love.

If you’re worried about your kids: “cast all your anxiety on [Jesus]” because He always cares for you and He always cares for your kids. You’re not the only one who wants what’s best for them. The God of heaven and earth guided all of human history to put that little child into your arms because you, mom, are what’s best for them. Because He knew that you would turn around and bring that child back to Him in Holy Baptism. God has invested far too much for far too long in your kids and their salvation to abandon them now. So, keep giving Jesus to your kids. Nothing calms a restless heart more than placing your kids into the nail-scarred hands of the One who perfectly loved your kids long before you ever knew they existed. 

If you’ll be without your mom or without a child this Mother’s Day: I pray that you and they know the hope of the resurrection. That you would be comforted by the promise of a blessed reunion on the Last Day. A promise Jesus secures for all who put their hope in Him. And that in comfort, you might find a moment of joy on Sunday and always until that Day comes.

As for the rest of you? If you’re able, go to church with your mom/wife on Sunday. (Mom, don’t be afraid to ask them!) Not just to show her your love but so that she can once again see and hear and taste and touch the greatest love there is: the love Christ has for her and for you. She needs it and so do you. I hope to see all of you on Sunday. May God bless your weekend and Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there. Please know how much we love you, but know that Jesus loves you even more!

In Christ,

Pastor Peter Bater
Prince of Peace Church, Thousand Oaks, CA

Mother’s Day Prayer

Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living.
~ Genesis 3:20

Gracious Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of life you gave us through our mothers. Bless mothers everywhere with love, patience, wisdom, understanding, and strength so that they can raise their children to love and honor you.  On this Mother’s Day weekend, some people yearn for their mothers who have died. Others’ hearts are broken because of the loss of a child. Give them strength to focus on you, keeping you first in their hearts. Your love alone can satisfy all their longings; be with them and comfort them.  We thank you that you sent your Son, Jesus Christ, to be born of a human mother in order to save us, making us your dear children forever. In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen