Welcome to Our Community - Pastor Eric Patten
Hi Everyone! This week, we'd like you to say hello to Pastor Eric Patten.
My name is Eric Patten, and I serve on staff at Faith Lutheran Church in Spencer, Iowa, and as Pastor at Zion Lutheran Church in Ruthven, Iowa. I have served in various ministry capacities in the Spencer area for thirteen years. My wife Syndee and I reside in Spencer with our two children, Gavin and Isabelle, and our soon to be born little girl, who will be born as this is being posted!
“Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to see God right now? Have you ever desired to speak to him face to face, yet see him in his glory seated on the throne? Years ago, I went for a run on the gravel roads with a coworker, and we talked about God, faith, and belief. He wasn’t a Christian, but he was inquisitive and wanted to know more about what it meant to believe. I remember him telling me at the end of our run, “I wish God would just open up Heaven, part the clouds, and say, ‘Here I am. I’m real!’”
My coworker expressed this desire to know that God was real, but struggled with the inability to physically see God and speak to him face to face. Many people have shared that same sentiment, thinking, 'If only I could see God then I would believe.' Those who have come to believe in Christ as Lord and Savior also can have the same desire to see God, just as Moses did in Exodus 33 or Stephen in Acts 7. As Christians we patiently wait to see him when our time on earth has come to an end, and we join the saints in Heaven to spend an eternity of worship and praise.
When Christ came to earth, he spoke about eternal life. We hear the phrase ‘eternal life’, and many times we immediately jump to Heaven as a physical place and an eternal reality we will experience with our physical senses. However, when Jesus prayed in the upper room with his disciples, he gave us another definition of eternal life. In John 17:3 Jesus spoke of eternal life as a state of relationship. To know God the Father and God the Son brings about the beginning of eternal life right now, while we are still here on earth. Yes, Heaven is still the place where believers will spend eternity with God, but when Christ died on the cross he brought Heaven to earth. Instead of believers waiting to experience God, God came to us and made a way for us to know him and experience him now.
God’s kingdom has come into our hearts and lives through Christ! Christ fills us with the power of the Spirit as an eternal guarantee, which overflows from us like a rushing waterfall that cannot be contained. The power of Christ’s death and resurrection become an internal reality in our own death to sin and resurrection to a new life in Him. As we die to self to live for Him, as we draw near to God, we begin to see Him more clearly. Though we physically cant see him yet, we have no question or doubt that God is real as Christ lives within us. As the power of God begins to manifest himself within us, others begin to see a glimpse of God as they see God within you.
Though we wait patiently to see our King, we hold onto an eternal hope and a treasure in jars of clay. We live each day experiencing Christ within us the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27), and grow in the knowledge of him and who he is. May loving God be the greatest pursuit as you seek to know him. The more you grow in love with God, the more you will see him. You will see him with the eyes of your heart. If the heart loves God in single devotion, then the eyes will see God whether others see him or not.
Lord be with you as you seek to know him more this Lenten Season!
In Christ, Pastor Eric Patten
Zion Lutheran Church, Ruthven IA, and
Faith Lutheran Church, Spencer IA
- What situations in life do you find yourself most wanting to talk to God face to face about?
- In what ways do you see God in your daily life?