Pastor's Blog

Chris Boehnke

Chris Boehnke

Hi! My name is Chris Boehnke (a good German name pronounced “Bane-key”). Tracy, my wife, and I have been married for 21 years and God has blessed us with four beautiful children: Joshua (18), Lauren (16), Nathaniel (13), and Mikayla (9). I treasure my wife and family among the greatest gifts God has given me in life.

I was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska – the heartland of the Midwest – by two loving parents, Don and Linda. I grew up attending a conservative but vibrant Lutheran congregation, while also experiencing excursions into other evangelical and charismatic church environments. This exposed me to a breadth of Christian practice and teaching that has incited me over the years to ask a ton of questions and to seek deeper understanding regarding what “the church” is and what it’s central message, “the Gospel,” is all about.

While my interests were in art (drawing and painting) and language (excelling in German) at Millard North High School, I ended up completing a B.A. in Philosophy at the University of Nebraska in Omaha (I consider philosophy “the art of asking good questions”). I attended Concordia Seminary in St Louis to finish a Master of Divinity in May 2000. Since then I have served as a shepherd-teacher for followers of Jesus in Oklahoma, Nebraska, South Dakota, and now Michigan. I happily reside with my family in Grand Haven, Michigan, where I serve a community of Jesus followers in Spring Lake called Lakeshore Fellowship. When I’m not reading or studying one of several books at a time, I enjoy spending time with Tracy and the kids, going for walks in nature, relaxing at the beach (with a good book!), cycling, exploring new things and places, watching Star Trek, or painting.

Along the way I’ve encountered many casualties of organized Christianity – those who have been sorely hurt, turned off, offended, or just disenchanted with all its stale rules and rituals. My desire is to compassionately hear and love those who have been broken or turned off by the church and those who have rejected an ugly God they can no longer worship. I want to wrestle alongside those who have nagging questions and doubts about who God is and what our place in this ugly world is. Most especially, I want to paint a better, more beautiful picture for them and for the world – to reimagine – who God is as unfailing, relentless LOVE, gloriously revealed in Jesus the Messiah-King.

I invite you to join the conversation!

Website URL: http://www.facebook.com/Chris-Boehnke-1794284217475214/ Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Sunday, July 09, 2017

Stand Firm in the Battle

Are you ready for battle today? Each day we face a spiritual battle, not against other people, but against spiritual powers of darkness. Jesus is the armor we are to put on as we pray in the Spirit. This Sunday we continue our series, Praying with Power, with the message, "Stand Firm in the Battle", based on Ephesians 6:10-18.


    

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Jesus Full

Have you filled up your tank? Not your car, but your heart. Each day the Lord Jesus calls us to be renewed in His presence as we pray. This Sunday we continue our series, Praying with Power, with the message, "Jesus Full" based on Ephesians 3:14-20.

    
Sunday, June 11, 2017

Jesus Teaches Us To Pray

Are you satisfied with your prayer life? Most followers of Jesus aren't. But Jesus teaches us not only what to pray, but also how to pray. This Sunday we begin a new summer series titled, Praying with Power. Our first message this Sunday is "Jesus Teaches Us to Pray," based on Luke 11:1-13.

    
Sunday, June 04, 2017

Baptized With The Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit, come! We need King Jesus to fill us with the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit so we may live as people who are dead to sin and alive with the fire of the Father's love for us. On this Pentecost Sunday, our message is "Baptized with the Holy Spirit" from Acts 1:4-8; 2:1-41.


    

Sunday, May 21, 2017

An Adopted Heir

Consider how much time and energy is spent on accumulating wealth and achieving more in order to attain a higher status - to experience a greater sense of worth and value. Yet, the greatest status of all is given to us as gift! This Sunday we begin a new series, titled Your Divine Heavenly Status. Our message is "An Adopted Heir!" based on Acts 1:1-11 and Ephesians 1:3-6.


    

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

BLESSED ARE THE MEEK (PART 2)

Jesus is the anti-superhero hero!

He doesn’t conquer the world with violent force, power, or the politics of coercion. King Jesus wins the world back by pouring Himself out in a gentle, sacrificial love and service for others!

Jesus, “who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing [or “emptied himself”] by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:6-8)

This is the heart of God displayed in Jesus. He said “I am gentle and humble in heart.” (Matthew 11:29) God wins back the hearts and lives of hardened, intransigent rebels by refusing to use coercive power and violence. Instead, God gives Himself to us in the meek and gentle power of His loving mercy.

We see Jesus riding into Jerusalem not on a horse of war, but “gentle and riding on a donkey.” We see Him go to be coronated as King. But not by military conquest or violent insurrection. But by giving Himself to suffer at the hands of the corrupt, powerful religious and political leaders. He takes on Himself all the evils and injustice of this earth. And Jesus gives Himself to die for it all.

There in the cruel agony of the cross, God became King in Jesus and reclaimed the earth and all humanity in the meek embrace of His sacrificial love. And this was Jesus’s joy and happiness!

“For the joy set before him he [Jesus] endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”(Hebrews 12:2)

The path for Jesus to reign as Israel’s King over the whole earth was in the joy of a humble, self-emptying of Himself for each one of us. To win us back at the cost of His life.

Now Jesus calls us to follow Him in the supernatural politics of His upside-down Kingdom.

Jesus says, “Blessed – truly happy – are the meek, the gentle, the humble, for they will inherit the earth.” 

As followers of Jesus, we have been won over by the gentleness of His love. We share in His joy and happiness, as we display His heart with each other and the world. We are part of His irresistible revolution of gentle, sacrificial love – a love that is shown even to enemies!

The hope of changing our country and the world is not found in whom we elect as President in the White House – Clinton or Trump.  We may scratch our heads in stunned disbelief that these are the two viable candidates for President. It appears there’s no morally good choice before us.

Neither one seems qualified as we consider all the arrogantly empty bravado, the deceptive falsehoods, the immoral character, the degrading rhetoric, and the manipulative power-grabbing. Yet, Trump and Clinton are simply a reflection of the current condition of our nation’s moral character and soul.

The only hope for changing America is found in Jesus. As we follow Jesus, the Spirit empowers us to reflect and represent Him in His politics of humility, rather than the arrogant politics of our culture.

Imagine how the cultural and political landscape of our country would be transformed if people, and even politicians, began to reflect the humble and gentle life of King Jesus that serves other people first! 

Our gentle King has already claimed the earth with the nail-scarred hands of His love. Now He is at work through us, His kingdom community, until the day we all inherit the earth under His loving reign as Lord and King.

Therefore God exalted [Jesus] to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)

We are truly blessed and happy as we follow King Jesus – the Man of Gentle Love.

Join us next week as we explore  – Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.

President-elect Trump. America was stunned at how the presidential and congressional elections turned out.

Some are shocked and feel utter despair.

Others are delighted and feel jubilant celebration.

And still others are numb and feel uncertainty about it all.

In truth, no matter how we feel about this election there is a common desire all of us share across the entire political spectrum – from Democrat, to Republican, to Libertarian, to Green Party, to Socialist.

We all have an innate desire for justice – for things to be put right in the world and in our lives.

Yes, there are vastly different and divergent understandings of what needs to be put right and how it should be done. That’s why human politics are so volatile and prone to violence and corruption. Our own self-interests will always get in the way. Yet, all of us have a deep, yearning desire for a broken world to be put right again, for justice to be done. Even if we don’t know what that means.

At the end of the day, however, we are always left unsatisfied. Our government leaders and elected officials are never able to completely fulfill their promises to make things – in our country, our economy, or in our world – right and great again.

Only the world-reversing politics of King Jesus show us how justice is restored in the world.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied” Jesus said. (Matthew 5:6)

“Righteousness” or “justice” (both from the same Greek word dikaiosune) is about an unjust, disorderly world being put right and just again. Deep down this is what we all desire.

Jesus taught us that all things are put right by the way He lived.

The world is put right, just, and good when we wholeheartedly love and worship God, our Creator.  And when we sacrificially love other people – even our “enemies” who despise, curse, and seek to harm us.

This means that the greatest need for our country, for our lives, and for all nations is to be put right with our Creator God. When this happens then we are also put right in love with each other. This is the justice we seek but can never accomplish on our own.

We have cause to be thankful to God whenever outward, civic righteousness is achieved by human politics and government. So we need to honor, support, and pray for all our elected leaders, especially President-elect Trump – no matter what you think of him and his policies. We pray for our government leaders so we may enjoy external order, prosperity, and peace in our nation.

These are all gifts we receive from our heavenly Father.

But civic righteousness alone will not satisfy our deepest hunger for righteousness and justice in the world. And our allegiance as followers of Jesus is not to any human government, no matter how outwardly good and effective it is.

Our allegiance is to King Jesus and His kingdom community that displays His sacrificial, self-giving love that truly puts things right.

Jesus is the embodiment of God’s righteousness. In Jesus, God came to put humanity right with Himself, with each other, and with creation. That’s what God did when He united Himself to our flesh-and-blood humanity in the incarnation of Jesus. 

God drew all the injustice, evil, and disorder of humanity and the world into Himself within the body of Jesus. He put an end to injustice when He gave Himself to us in sacrificial love by dying at the hands of corrupt human politics. Jesus put it all to death and with His bodily resurrection He accomplished the justice of God for us.

“He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” (Romans 4:25)

Join us next week for part 2!

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be satisfied” Jesus said. (Matthew 5:6)

When we hunger and thirst for things to be put right in our lives and in the world, Jesus satisfies us with the justice of God’s reconciling love. 

By His death on a Roman cross of execution for us and all humanity.

By His coming back to life in the body, conquering sickness, disease, death and the grave.

By sacrificing His life for His enemies, Jesus overcame evil with the goodness of His love that restores us to our Creator God and Father.

Jesus satisfies us with the righteousness – the setting-all-things-right justice – of God.

When we trust in King Jesus rather than human rulers, God’s Spirit gives us the blessed happiness of knowing by faith that all things have already been put right in union with Him and His redeeming love.

We are blessed…
no matter how things are going politically in our nation or the world,
no matter how strong or weak the economy is,
no matter how we are mistreated or misunderstood by others,
no matter how up or down we feel today and tomorrow.

When we follow Jesus as the crucified, risen, and exalted King, we are blessed and satisfied with God’s loving justice that is also being worked out through us.

Jesus is working His loving justice out through us, His kingdom people, who hunger and thirst for His justice to be realized throughout the world.

King Jesus works through His followers to put the justice of His love in action for the poor and disenfranchised, the suffering and victimized, the sick and dying – all who hunger and thirst for righteousness.

He empowers us by the Holy Spirit to be the visible sign-post and the advanced display in the present of the future fulfillment of God’s justice on earth.

We’re called to be the embodiment of God’s voice, hands, and feet of justice where He puts us so people may experience a foretaste of His justice that is yet to come.

In his massive study of wealth and poverty in ancient society, scholar Peter Brown traces a radical shift in society’s view of the poor and marginalized. Brown writes that in the 4th and 5th century, “The poor were frequently seen to represent an extreme of the human condition, persons teetering on the brink of destruction and condemned to the outer margins of society.” The poor were viewed as others, as those people.

But the good news of Jesus and His kingdom brought about a dramatic change. Brown writes, “The poor were not simply others—creatures who trembled on the margins of society, asking to be saved by the wealthy … They were also brothers [and sisters]. They had the right to ‘cry out’ for justice in the face of oppressors along with all the other members of the ‘people of God.'”

“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay’ says the Lord. One the contrary:

‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
If he is thirsty, give him something to drink.In doing
this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”  (Romans 13:17-21)

All things have been put right in Jesus. And all things are being put right through His kingdom revolution. Justice has been achieved and justice is being worked out. One day God’s righteousness and justice will be fully realized.

Evil and injustice will be overcome and extinguished. Justice, goodness, and love will win the day!

Earthly politicians and presidents will never satisfy us. But Jesus will satisfy us with the blessed joy of God’s righteousness on the day we experience all things in heaven and on earth put right in His love.

We can trust King Jesus to keep His promise.

“But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.” (2 Peter 3:13)

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be satisfied.”

 

Next week we will look at the next beatitude: “Blessed are the merciful.”

 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

GIVE THANKS TO THE LORD

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”
Psalm 118:1
“For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.”
1 Timothy 4:4-5

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.

In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”
1 Timothy 6:6-8, 17-19

(Next week we will continue with the next beatitude, “Blessed are the merciful”)

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Living The Future Life Today

How would you live life differently if you knew the future outcome of history and your life? The truth is that in King Jesus not only do we confidently know the future, but we share in the new life from the age to come! This Sunday we finish our series, Encountering the Risen Lord, with the message, "Live the Future Life Today!" based on 1 Corinthians 15:1-11, 20-28, 56-58.

Next Sunday, May 14th, we welcome guest preacher, Pastor Bill Fillmore, Executive Director of Barnabas Ministry.

    

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Meet Pastor Chris

  • Hi! My name is Chris Boehnke (a good German name pronounced “Bane-key”). Tracy, my wife, and I have been married for 21 years and God has blessed us with four beautiful children: Joshua (18), Lauren (16), Nathaniel (13), and Mikayla (9). I treasure my wife and family among the greatest gifts God has given me in life. I was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska – the heartland of the Midwest – by two loving parents, Don and Linda. I grew up attending a conservative but vibrant Lutheran congregation, while also experiencing excursions into other evangelical and charismatic church environments. This exposed me to a breadth of Christian practice and teaching that has incited me over the years to ask a ton of questions and to seek deeper understanding regarding what “the church” is and what it’s central message, “the Gospel,” is all about. While my interests were in art…

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A Congregation of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

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