From the President's Desk:

Thankfulness for Saints Past and Present and Prayers for the Future Harvest

Following his epic blessing in Ephesians chapter 1, St. Paul writes, “I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.” (1:16) This time of year is marked by gatherings of congregations and families where we acknowledge and give thanks to God for all kinds of First Articles gifts such as “clothing, shoes, food, drink, house, home.” It is good to take time to give thanks to God for the ways in which He daily and richly supplies us with all that we need to support our bodies and lives.

It is also good for us to take time to give thanks to God for the great cloud of witnesses with which He has surrounded us. Young and old alike have been blessed by those people who have borne witness to Christ and taught us the Christian faith. For some, those were faithful parents and grandparents. In many cases, there were also pastors and teachers, Directors of Christian Education and youth counselors, coaches and mentors. In some cases, those witnesses now rest from their labors with their Lord. Though they are not among us now, we can still praise God for their faithful witness to us and look forward to being reunited with those who have gone before us in the faith. How truly blessed are we for those whom God placed in our lives to speak the Word of God to us and for this we give thanks!

As we give thanks for the saints who have surrounded us, it is also good for us to pray for those who will speak the Gospel to us in the future. Our Lord invites us to pray to the Lord of the Harvest for future laborers working in the fields by preaching and teaching the Word of God. At this time when we give thanks for the earthly harvest, pray for those who will serve by being part of God’s spiritual harvest as the seeds of the Word of God are sown and God brings forth growth for the sake of His kingdom. May God grant it for Jesus’ Sake!

Rev. Dr. R. Lee Hagan was born in Birmingham, Ala., and graduated from Concordia, Seward, Neb., in 1992. He holds both a Master of Divinity Degree (1996) and Doctorate of Ministry (2011) from Concordia Seminary. Hagan served as Senior Pastor of St. Paul’s Lutheran in Concordia, Mo. (1996-2015) and was previously an Associate Pastor at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Evansville, Ind. (1996-2002). He has been President of The Missouri District of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod since June 2015. Hagan also served as Interim Director, LCMS Rural and Small Town Mission (2011-12), on numerous District Boards both in Missouri and Indiana, and during multiple Synodical Conventions as a delegate and on Floor Committees. He is married to Jill and they have two children.