Superabundantly Generous

During the summer of 1980 when I was nine years old, a small group of people, including my family and me, and other members of a central Pennsylvania church (Lutheran Church in America) in McAlisterville attended camp at Tuscarora Inn in Mount Bethel, PA. It was my first exposure to the Church of the Lutheran Brethren. Over the next decade, I attended camp there each summer. There God was “superabundantly generous in his grace” toward me (to borrow a phrase from Martin Luther). Faithful preachers and teachers proclaimed and rightly divided Law and Gospel to me. Faithful friends both encouraged and exhorted me in my young life of faith. Each year I looked forward to what would be a weeklong “mountain top experience,” that God ordained and used for my growth.

My wife and I were married in 1991 and our life’s journey took us to various places before we landed back in McAlisterville in 2004. Upon our return, we found that Good News Lutheran Brethren Church had been planted there, with some of my friends from the old Tuscarora Inn camp days being part of the founding membership. We attended a worship service at Good News and found people who loved the Lord, loved the Word of God, and loved each other. The faithful preaching, built on the understanding that God’s Word is inerrant and authoritative, was like a breath of fresh air to us after years of worshiping in churches that were less confident in the Scriptures.

In 2005, Good News Church called me to be an elder and, by the amazing grace of God, they called me to be their pastor in 2011. Early on in this ministry as a licensed lay pastor, I was mentored by pastors Warren Geraghty, Chris Priestaf, and others. In 2022, I was ordained as a Minister of the Gospel in the Church of the Lutheran Brethren, thanks in no small part to the leadership and support of North American Mission, including Joel Egge and Paul Larson, and the leadership, teachers, and fellow students of Lutheran Brethren Seminary, including David Veum, Eugene Boe, Brad Pribbenow, Gaylan Mathiesen, Daniel Berge, and many others.

Why do I give to the CLB? I give out of thanksgiving for a body of believers who have been faithfully preaching to me, shepherding me, and feeding me with Word and Sacrament, so that I might grow in faith and grace for over 40 years, even when I was but a “guest in the house,” not a member. I give out of thanksgiving for faithful men and women who invested in me, planting and watering, while trusting God to give the growth. I give out of thanksgiving that these same gifts are continually shared not just with me, not just with others here in North America, but with people throughout the world. I give so that North American Mission, Lutheran Brethren International Mission, Lutheran Brethren Seminary, Tuscarora Inn, and other CLB ministries can continue to be “superabundantly generous in his grace.”

I encourage you to join me in sharing from God’s generous gifts to you for the good of his kingdom and our neighbors, as we, the family of the Church of the Lutheran Brethren, minister together.

Rev. Michael Edwards is Senior Pastor of Preaching and Teaching at Good News Lutheran Brethren Church in McAlisterville, Pennsylvania.

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