Pastor's Blog
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December 26, 2016, 12:00 AM

Passing On...

I taught my 18 year old daughter to shoot a gun today. I will not take time or space to say why I felt this lesson important for her - that’s a topic for another conversation. Suffice it to say we took advantage of a rare “warmer” day in late December to make our way to the shooting range. The lesson began with basic safety elements common to handling any firearm. Then came the specifics of handling the gun she would learn to shoot. Following that, we spent time with shooting positions and postures, and dry fired the weapon several times. At that point we were ready for ammunition. I showed her how to load the gun, and then fired it a few times so she could get familiar with the sound. Then she sat down, took aim, and squeezed the trigger - a hit! By that I mean her first shot actually appeared on the target - not close to where she was aiming, but it was on the paper. As she fired subsequent shots, she got better and better - putting a smile on her dad’s face.

But as I stood behind her while she continued to practice, another thought occurred to me: everything about today - the lessons, the gun and ammunition, even the binoculars I used to watch the shots - my father first shared with me. Dad taught me the basic safety lessons that I shared with Kate. The process of handling and firing a weapon I taught her were the ones my dad first taught me. As I looked at her standing there, arms extended toward the target with the revolver in her hands, I realized the gun she held belonged to dad, and had been fired numerous times by him during his life. He had passed on his knowledge and experience and equipment to me, and I in turn was passing those things on to her.

Reminded me of a brief conversation we had via Facetime with our son on Saturday night. He was asked by his new bride’s family what traditions were part of the Janz Christmas Eve observance. Ben said simply, “church, food at home, midnight mass on TV.” Betsy and I didn’t sit down and say, “Here’s what we want our kids to remember about Christmas Eve.” That’s simply what has stayed with him from the Christmas Eve’s he remembers - that’s what we’ve “passed on” to him, which could be some of what he passes on to his children.

We pass on a number of things to those around us - some things intentionally, some things without even realizing it. Connection to God is one of those things, I think. We pass on what we believe and experience about God through intentional things like teaching Sunday School or daily family devotions. And our God connection is also passed on by the simple ways we choose to live - the choices we make, the patterns of life we live by. I remember reading once “The Gospel is as much caught as it is taught.” The reality is that for all of us, our connection to God has been “passed on” - through intentional and unintentional ways - by the people that surround us.

That leads me to ask two questions: who has passed their faith on to you - whether you’ve realized it before or not? And who - right now - might be on the receiving end of your connection to God? I’m recalling the end of a song we sang a lot when I was a youth: “I wish for you my friend, this happiness that I’ve found. You can depend on him, it matters not where you’re bound. I’ll shout it from the mountain top - HEY WORLD! - I want my world to know. The Lord of love has come to me, I want to pass it on.” As always…

Keep Lookin’ Up!
Pastor D.



12-27-2016 at 6:58 AM
Pat Mann
Reminds me of Deut 11:19-20 to continue this tradition / pattern on to the next generations. What is seen and experienced continues throughout the generation of family whether spiritual or otherwise. Great blog.
12-26-2016 at 9:54 PM
Very nice blog! We also sang that song a lot in our youth group.
12-26-2016 at 7:09 PM
Robyn Ohmer
Always enjoy your posts. This one hits the heartstrings. Just what do I want to pass on?
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