A Final Thought

Greetings Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

We just had a wonderful week at the NLS Gathering in Sylvania, Ohio! Thanks to the Host committee for a great experience. Because it was so hot I was especially thankful for the golf carts!

As you may or may not have known, a new National Spiritual Director was elected and his name is Pr. Mark Marxhausen! He is from Minnesota and you will soon hear from him and learn about him. Please keep him in your prayers as well as newly elected VPA, Butch Seely and the rest of the board.  They exist to serve the Lord and all of our Secretariats. It was a blessing, honor and great privilege to serve 6 out of the last 8 years as your NSD!!

I thank current and past board members for your support, encouragement and prayers! I believe I am leaving the position in a better place than when I found it and believe Pr. Mark will take it further along.

Many of you from last week asks about continuing to receive my weekly devotionals and I’d be glad to do that if you will send me your email address.  You will begin to receive a ‘Chaplain Corner’ from me (same thing as before). Pr. Mark has a devotional he has been doing and will soon begin to send his to you!

As part of my report last week I told the story of a VDC ‘alumni’ I knew from years ago. He hasn’t served or been involved for several years and in talking to me about VDC while at church he asked a question. He asked ‘Via de Cristo. …hasn’t that about run its course?’ I told him that it had not, and in fact was nationally and locally going strong !!! After serving Nationally I can say with certainty the VDC movement is alive and doing well. You who read this and all who attend national gatherings are the reason!!!

We welcomed a two new Secretariats last week in North Dakota, and in North Carolina! This November our Vice-President of Outrach, Wendy Showalter,  will travel to Papua New Ginuea as a keynote speaker for their VDC movement!!!!!!! Counting them plus Latvia and other places we are an international movement!!! We are alive and well for Jesus!

In my sermon Sunday , as NLS Gathering concluded I talked about ‘gap living’! There is a ‘gap’ in life between the reality of life and the way we would really like things to be. Every Secretariat lives into this gap: wanting more weekends, team members participating, more pilgrims, more spiritual directors and, of course, more money!! But Jesus covers that gap with the cross of Christ and the joy of Easter morning!  We love and see a living, moving, active Lord ready to meet us in the gap and work with us in grace, love, and hope!

In 2008 when I was first elected NSD I said what I say now and know you do as well : I LOVE THE LORD JESUS AND I LOVE THE VIA DE CRISTO!

Please send your email if you’d like to still receive my weekly thoughts……thank you one and all it was a great ride! God loves you and so do I!!

Pr. Doug,
former NSD

We are off and running


We are off and running! The NLS annual gathering begins this week on Thursday. We gather in the name of the Lord to do the business of Via de Cristo, worship, fellowship, and to learn and grow our movement. If you aren’t able to attend, please pour out alot of ‘prayer palanca ‘ for us! For safe travels and a good three days for Jesus.

Our brother, Dr. Alan Sager has written extensively about our Via de Cristo. In an article titled ‘Looking again at VDC essentials’ he lifts up the idea that ‘we must remember that Jesus came to earth on a divine mission. …and as we truly follow the Lord we join Him in that redemptive work to change the world! ‘We are part of that mission….whether you make it to Ohio or not…we are part of God’s mission and i think our mission can be summed up: we love the Lord and we love the Via de Cristo!

When life is tough and stress comes pressing in, we remember that we, personally, our called to love Jesus and to share His love and grace with our world!. When we focus on Jesus and others life is good! Support your local Secretariat,  pray for the National Board that we would all keep focused on God’s mission to make Christ known to the world! And know we will pray for you also this weekend!

God loves you and so do I!

Pastor Doug Givan

“Encouraging words are like apples of gold in settings of silver”  Proverbs 25:11

Mary and Martha

Whenever I am asked how I’m doing I tend to say something like “Nothing a nap wouldn’t help!” I go by the empty rooms of the hospital where the bed sheets are clean and crisp, the room is dark, the air conditioning is on and they look so inviting! (I would never do that of course, I am being humorous!). The idea of “siesta” where everyone takes an hour or two off in the afternoon would probably go a long way to resolving some of the stress we feel in our daily lives. I napped over the weekend and it was glorious!

I think we are all a little tired. The national news can overwhelm and exhaust us easily. The heat returns this week in Central Indiana, and the simple push of daily life is about all we can handle. We feel a great deal of stress, anxiety and worry and sometimes cannot even name the source of those feelings. Our plates are full and we are doing all we can.

There is a rather famous Bible story of Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42) where Jesus has come to their home for a visit. Mary is sitting at the Lord’s feet listening to him teach. Martha is busy in the kitchen and worried about getting everything together. She asks the Lord “Do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself?” (vs. 40). Jesus answered “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken from here.” (42).

We are worried and distracted by many things! There doesn’t even seem to be time to nap. But there is always time for Jesus, there is always time to slow down, sit at his feet, and listen! We have to make quiet, rest, deep breathing a priority in our day and just do it!

Today so many possibilities exist….on line, audio books on tape, on our phone, tablet or other device to get into God’s Word. Try to slow down some today, take a few deep breaths, and with quiet around you listen to God. You will likely fall asleep and have a nice couple minute nap! No worries, Jesus also said “Come on to me, all you who are heavily burdened and I will give you rest!” (Matthew 11:28).



God bless you all,

Pr. Doug



Summer is Here

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Summer is here and this means it’s time for our Annual Gathering.  This is a great time for those who are able to attend this blessed event.  It’s an opportunity to fellowship with old friends (I know….careful), learn new things to help keep your secretariat strong, and of course worship together as brothers and sisters in Christ!

If you haven’t attended, please consider coming next year!  If you are coming to join in the fun this year, I can’t wait to see you!

We have an exciting agenda put together for you and the Host Team from Great News has been working hard to provide an over-the-top experience for us all!

God loves you and so do I,

Your brothers in Christ,

Steve Gielda

National Lutheran Secretariat – President

The Power is On

I was off and at home the other day when the power suddenly went out. It is a very uncomfortable feeling, I think, as the house shuts down and everything goes off. To go from some TV “noise”, lights on and the air conditioning to nothing is very unusual. Initially a helpless kind of feeling, and a quick review of my account to be sure I had not forgotten to pay! (That wasn’t the issue!). In this case, it was a city wide outage and homes and businesses were all effected. Thankfully they got the power back up and running an hour later! That hour though turned out to be interesting. When you don’t have power other things get done!

I took a good book and went out and sat on my porch for a little while. I haven’t done that in a long time, I took care of a few chores that had been waiting, and there was a sense of peace about things. My neighbor stays home with her 5 year old so I went over to make sure they were okay. You begin to wonder how long it will go because of food in the refrigerator and freezer. It gave some comfort to see power trucks go by knowing they were working on this and would the power restored quickly.

It came back on and there seemed like life again in the house! Clocks buzzed and whirled and needed reset. The TV came on, the lights and it felt safe and comfortable again! Can we make the comparison with the spiritual life? If you are like me, you probably have times when the spiritual “power” God gives in Christ seems to be “off.” And you wonder when it might come back on. Meanwhile, we plug along doing the routine of life.

Suddenly a spark ignites in us! The song comes true that has the refrain “somebody’s praying you through!” and you feel uplifted. I get that from church, I get that from my prayer time or time in  God’s Word. I get this recharge from community and being in relationship! And to know someone, somewhere is praying for me! And as I pray and reach out to encourage others, my own power in Christ gets restored! Be uplifted today, friend, the God who loves has defeated darkness now and forever!!


Pr. Doug

There will be a lot of energy and “power” at the NLS National Gathering! Still time to get on board, join us! Visit www.viadecristo.org