Karen, you have been a stellar wife for almost 45 years! What a wonderful marriage we have had. Sorry I can’t be with you on this special day. I share some of the highlights, too many to write down. Here goes eight humble attempts:

1  SPECTACULAR WEDDING. I will never forget seeing you walk down the aisle with your father–after you sang the solo verse of “Beautiful Savior.” You were relaxed, glowing, ready for an entirely new life. Then we started living together. Wow!

2  SEVEN CHILDREN. You kept going, even after losing one. Some would have said, “I can’t handle any more,” and I get that.  What courage to keep going! What joy now, because you said yes to having more. Your children rise up and bless you.

3 GREAT DATES. I love that we have managed to keep this up all these years. Something to look forward to every week. Thanks for helping me put it at the top of our agenda. Good talks and good times–face to face.

4  RICH VACATIONS. Love yearly trips to California now, but we made some incredible journeys as the kids were growing up–to Montana, Canada, North Shore. We were making memories–and more memories.

5  MINISTRY TIMES. You went with me on some special trips–across the country and across the world. Which was your favorite, Finland? I have too many rich ones to name the top. Now you have chosen a more important commitment than exciting trips…

6 ENJOYMENT OF 14 PLUS GRANDCHILDREN. You do it so well. You raise the bar for what a grandmother is called to be and do. Maybe you should write a book on how to do it, then tutor young grandmothers. I am learning from you more about grandparenting!

7  CARE FOR YOUR PARENTS. You excel at loving your outstanding dad and mom. Thank you for calling them almost every day so we can stay in touch. When they step over, no more calls. You have honored them well all these years. They love you as their firstborn who helps to watch out for them, wants the best for them, laughs at your dad’s jokes, cherishes your mom’s prayers, sings with them, thankful about being brought up in Japan. Way to go, Karen!

8  LOVE FOR GOD. I have saved the best for last. I am thankful that I don’t have to push my wife to have her devotions. You are consistent in the Scriptures, one of your greatest strengths. And you love to share with me what God gives you in the morning. I, too, love a regular time of feeding in the Word of God. So grateful for a godly, mature, fun wife! Let’s go for 25 more years!


I thought it was cool to hit 75 last month. Not sure you enjoy your landmark as much. Do guys think differently about age?

I am grateful that you stayed at Trinity Lutheran when you came to California in 1972. You wondered if you had made a mistake. You went to the Communion Service still in limbo about returning to Minnesota or becoming a missionary in Japan. A prophetic word from Bud Hahn gave you peace. He said, knowing nothing of your situation, “You are in the right place.” You felt that God had spoken. I am grateful, because I married you three years later. I continue to discover rich things about you.


You believe in the power of prayer–and always have. So thankful that as a pastor and leader I don’t have to drag along a reluctant wife. Sometimes you are pushing me, because…


You encourage me to sing in the Spirit. I may be known by a few as the “Holy Spirit guy,” with seventeen years at Lutheran Renewal. Yet you often lead the charge when it comes to the gifts. 


You are not a American. You identify strongly with people from other countries, especially Asian, and particularly Japanese. You imbibed the culture, living in Japan from age three to seventeen, formative years. It shows often. And yet you have embraced a kind of community life very different from your cultural preference. God honors you for that.


You have done a great job of honoring your parents, and I see it reflected in the way you treat other elderly people. You are especially comfortable with them.  You are great with the little ones but just as effective with the older ones. You make them feel important, like they have value. You listen well to them.


I was amazed when I spoke to you three weeks ago the evening after you had your suitcase stolen at the very beginning of your family cruise. You were upbeat, having fun with your siblings. I said, “You let it go, didn’t you?” You said, “Yes.” Most women would have been absolutely crushed. You handled this major setback with maturity. We have our disagreements. So glad that we can always work stuff through to a good resolution, because you let things go.  


We balance each other off. Your strengths are my weaknesses, and vice versa. When I am going too fast, you slow me down. When you are moving too slow, I speed you up (sometimes). We do a good job of making each other laugh.


I don’t know if you have ever turned down your children when they asked for childcare, which is almost daily. You are a master at grandmothering. You define the word. Your children know that you will drop anything for their kids. You far outshine me in the grandparent arena.

So, Mrs. Anderson, my invisible hat goes off to you. I suspect that we may only have about thirty good years left, so let’s make the most of them. Much love and affection,



Here is my tribute to a good father, now in heaven.


You gave me permission to go to Johnny’s. Then you asked me later in the day how church was. I responded, “I didn’t go. I went to Johnny’s house.” You looked at me for a quite a while, not with a mean, stern look but serious. Then you asked in a low tone, “Will you ever do that again?” I said, close to tears, “No, Dad.” You got your point across with gentleness. I kept my word, Dad. Thank you for not punishing us with a strident tone or raised voice. You were slow to anger.


On the few occasions when I rose early, I would see you in your favorite chair in the living room reading the Bible. Then later in the morning you would gather the family for devotions. I was often bored, but I did the same thing as a dad, and now my kids are doing it. You started something; it’s called legacy. Thank you for loving God, loving the Book, loving his people and lost people, your wife, your children.


You were kind. You never criticized her. You knew how to cook and sometimes helped her. I try to lay down my life for my wife, in part because I saw you do it for yours.


Many are deeply imprinted in my mind. I think often of the times we had at Green Lake, Camp Seely, Arrowhead Springs. We listened to records at night of musicals like “Oklahoma.” You gave us a love for family. We all wanted one because we grew up with one.


You were my biggest supporter. You even showed up at some of the practices. No other dad did that. I felt valued. I’m afraid my sisters didn’t get the kind of support I felt as your only son. Once you bought a t-bone steak, your favorite, and cooked it for me before the game. Then you sat down and watched me eat it while we talked basketball. Unforgettable!


I cannot recall you saying, “Be in by 11!” I do recall you saying those words a hundred times, long before Simba heard it from his father Mufasa. I choked up when I saw the movie, because you gave me an identity. I knew who I was–I was your child and God’s. Maybe you already know this, but we had an extended family retreat a few years after you left. We wore tee-shirts with the phrase on them. Sometimes I wear it when I speak on how identity drives destiny.

Surprise! You had your weaknesses. You were encased in flesh, and I saw it most clearly on Sunday afternoon. You liked people things more than studying for a sermon. Sometimes you felt like you didn’t deliver, and you would come home discouraged. Mom would urge us to tell you that you did a great job. You would sometimes start an afternoon nap with a headache. Sorry I wasn’t more encouraging. Thanks for being a great Dad! See you soon!


I have five sisters, one in heaven and four joining me to thank God for a great mother, who with her husband raised six children to love God. She died April 27, 1993. Blessed by her memory!


Cancer took away your singing voice, yet you sang and encouraged us to do the same. You even went back to nursing to help pay the bills, when few people would do that with the kind of disabilities you lived with. What courage! You paid for piano lessons with hard-earned money. You would go into your bedroom and take a fifteen-minute nap, then return for the next round. Though you had physical issues beyond most, you demonstrated energy. You were one of the most selfless people I have ever met. We all watched your beautiful life throughout our childhood, and it impacted us far more than words. You laid down your life for us, and you were a hero in the churches where Dad served. Everyone loved Ann!


You had a great laugh. It was easy to get you to laugh. You lived for the kingdom to come, and you were not a victim like many people who suffer with physical issues like the cancer that you survived. When they foolishly pulled out all your teeth, you didn’t complain. I don’t get it.


When one of your daughters was struggling in college, I gave her advice. You didn’t counsel her; you cried with her. She didn’t follow my suggestions, but your tears meant everything to her. You knew how to “weep with those who weep.”


I often sat next to you in church. Once in a while you would grab my hand, squeeze it, and say, “Oh, Andy!” You felt he was making his point with too much gusto, and you were concerned about the kickback from people. You never criticized Dad. You were his best supporter. And we knew that we could not come between you, because you would support him regardless. I remember Dad coming home from church feeling like he didn’t preach well. Sunday afternoons could be hard for him, including migraines. You urged us to affirm Dad and tell him he preached well. At the time I thought it was strange. Now I see how you were loving and supporting him.


1970 brought changes in how people did church with the onset of the Jesus People Movement, and the epicenter a few miles away. Pastors like Chuck Smith at Calvary Chapel and your husband opened the door to barefoot, long-haired, , guitar-toting, pot-smoking hippies. We saw a revival take place with a growing youth group under Ray Rempt, a wild man. I can only imagine how a long-time Lutherans would react to the desecration of the chancel area of our Lutheran church by people who were not raised to appreciate liturgy, communion, and the sacredness of space. I marvel that you did not speak out, “Enough is enough.” You suffered silently, and God kept bringing them. No one knows how you suffered in a redemptive way.

None of this is close to exaggeration. If anything, it should be stronger. You were a remarkable mother and woman of God. Your children rise up and bless you on Mother’s Day! See you soon!



PAUL: 5 married, all within 20 minutes. Fall family retreat with 23 of us, a blast–four-wheelers on North Shore.Three-month sabbatical ended Dec.1. Next one–2023. Knee replacement surgery went well. Traveling & speaking much in 2017. We believe revival is coming!

KAREN: love being Grandma, as many days filled with joy overflowing. Lead Japanese Women’s Bible study. Hosted Christmas party for 57 pre-Christian Japanese students. Will host Japanese-Am. marriage group in February.

NAOMI: Traveling or home helping Mom with grandkids. Enjoy friends. Like to read missionary books. Fun in San Pedro with my special friend Ian & CA family. Returning in June for cousin Kristina’s wedding. Grandpa & Grandma strong at 92.

ANDREW: 6 mo. ago Elliot Clarence added to family but multiplied the blessings–much laughter and crawling. Annika Zion (2 1/2) loves big sister role, including her dollies & animals. Britta remains the life of the family. Helps me navigate leading a new school ( while continuing to work for an airline.

GABRIEL: Avin 6 loves 1st grade, Mari 5 enjoys kindergarten. Renna likes being 2, staying home with Mom. Boden turned 1 in Oct., tolerates 3 sisters. Heather enjoys being home with kids, managing rental properties. Gabriel works at Blue Cross, helps Heather juggle life. Highlight: CA. family reunion last summer & Karis’s wedding,

ERIKKA: Welcomed #4 Athalia Jubilee April. Erikka is teaching childbirth classes & is a birth doula. Boys thriving in school. Loved CA (Disney). Nora a great big sister, turned 4, so feels I ought to turn over some authority. Shepp grandparents moved to Cities (Yay!) & Substance launched downtown MPLS campus which Drew pastors (& preaches more).

ISRAEL: with Johanna hiked Zion Natl. Park w/ Shepherd in tow. Israel starts Nursing School Jan. 2017, as he continues to work at the Fire Departmt/Health East. Johanna is happy to have brother Kosta join Anderson clan. Shepherd at 16 mo. is full of joy and energy!

KARIS: engaged in March to Kosta Alex, Mrs. on July 30, Nutritional Therapist practitioner in November. St. Paul dwelling. Kosta commutes to Mpls as account manager for Impark. When not working, can be found making a Greek salad, road tripping up North, or taking nature photos. Karis is probably whipping up new recipes, working out(side), or decorating her house.

‘Tis the season to be–thankful! God became man in the person of Jesus Christ. He gave His life so we could give ours. No better way to live than to give your life away. Blessed CHRISTmas!



Scripture teaches us to think generationally, from one generation to the next. The following truths surface regarding generational thinking:

HISTORY AND DESTINY MERGE. We look back to those before and ahead to those who will follow. We worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Hey, three generations right there.

The feasts helped Israel celebrate the God who worked in the past and promised faithfulness to a thousand generations. The festivals tied generations together: “Celebrate this day as a lasting ordinance for the generations to come” (Ex. 12:14). Names at one time marked the generations. I am an Anderson—a son of Anders; Ben-Adam—son of Adam. It was so much a part of the way they viewed life that if you wanted to curse someone, you didn’t go after his dad; you went after his descendants. “May his descendants be cut off, their names blotted out from the next generation” (Ps. 109:13).

I have told my children that I am praying for their grandchildren—who do not yet exist. I want to take seriously the responsibility of raising up giants in the land.

IT IS ALL ABOUT FAMILY. Everyone lands on the planet one way—through a father and a mother. God Himself is a Father, and He has a Son. It started with a walk and ends with a wedding. People we call brothers and sisters are joined with us for eternity with Jesus the Bridegroom.

Because family is central, the end-time revival, the big one, will feature a revival of family (Mal. 4:5,6). The prophets knew that a strong family built strong individuals and a strong nation. If we ever needed healthy families, we need them now.

OBEDIENCE IS NOT OPTIONAL. DISOBEDIENCE HURTS. The Lord told Jehu, “Because you have done well in accomplishing what is right in my eyes and have done to the house of Ahab all I had in mind to do, your descendants will sit on the throne of Israel to the fourth generation” (2 Kings 10:30). His obedience brought blessings for a century. Way to go, Jehu.

Hezekiah, on the other hand, while a good king in many ways, came under judgment for foolishly showing envoys from Babylon his whole storehouse. And God said through Isaiah that his descendants would be punished. His response showed strange short-sidedness: “Why not, if there will be peace and security in my days?” (2 Kings 20:19). What a sad and selfish statement, thinking only of his generation and not reflecting on how his folly would impact future generations.

HONOR CONNECTS THE GENERATIONS. Children honor their parents and grandparents. Our culture has worshiped youth and not properly regarded old age. The Greek words “presbys” and “senatus,” (from which we get “senator”), and the Arab word “sheikh” all mean “old man.” Ancient cultures rightly honored age.

Youth don’t get a merit badge for being young. We pay tribute to beauty, brains and brawn. They chose gray hair; we color it. It was a sad day in Israel when “elders are shown no respect” (Lam. 5:12) and “the elders are gone from the city gate” (14). One of the curses for disobedience Moses reviewed with the nation about to enter the Promised Land was that God would send them “a fierce-looking nation without respect for the old or pity for the young” (Deut. 28:50).

Grandparents: tell the stories and pray like crazy. Don’t simply retreat to your rocker. Parents: walk in righteousness and pass the baton. Children: honor your parents and elders. And if you are single, don’t self-eliminate. So were Jesus and Paul, and their parenting changed the face of their culture. You can help do the same with yours.


Want to change a culture? Get married, have children, think generationally. The world has yet to see the impact of a group of families committed to living generationally. What’s that?

When we talk family, we think nuclear. Like the guy prayed: “Dear God. Bless me, my wife, our son, his wife, us four, no more.” When the Bible thinks family, it talks generations. Sin impacts four generations out (Ex. 20:5). And blessings accrue from one generation to the next.

Look at the staggering impact of the family of Jonathan Edwards during the founding of this country. He and his wife Sarah had eleven children. When an American educator traced their descendants 150 years out, their legacy included: 1 vice-president, 3 senators, 3 governors, 3 mayors, 13 college presidents, 30 judges, 65 professors, 80 public office holders, 100 lawyers, and 100 missionaries. We are seeing an impact in this generation, though not as dramatic, in the Billy Graham family. What if thirty families chose to do this and succeeded? Or three thousand?

I have told my children: “Go farther than us. Then give it away to your children.” What if each successive generation is stronger than the last? By the fourth generation, children are stopping cancer cold, seeing things that we have dreamed of.

Psalm 112 says, “Blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who finds great delight in his commands. His children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed” (1,2). What is “mighty” to the fourth power?

Scripture speaks of both physical and spiritual fathers and mothers who pass the baton to their children. A successful passing brings an acceleration of righteousness. What happened when Moses passed the baton to his spiritual son, Joshua? They took the land. And when Joshua passed it to—whom? No one. Read the book of Judges. Momentum was lost.

A discouraged Elijah was told to mentor his replacement. When Elisha received the mantle as Elijah rode to heaven, he cried out, “My father, my father.” Elisha doubled the miracle output of his spiritual father. And when Elisha passed the baton? He didn’t. Momentum was neutralized and sin abounded.

Certainly we would not see this principle applied when the Son of Man passed the baton to a group of unschooled common workers. In fact, they turned their world on its head. Jesus spoke about “greater works than these.” They did them. The world will take note when a group of parents agree to raise godly children who raise godly children who raise godly children.

Generational thinking is foreign to us but not to the Word of God:
“Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn—for he has done it” (Ps. 22:30,31).
“Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come” (Ps. 71:18).
“Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord” (Ps. 102:18).
The prophets made sure the faithful were mindful of this reality: “Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation” (Joel 1:3). There it is: four generations in one sentence! (Part II coming).


Our youngest was married Saturday in an unforgettable wedding. Karis was a remarkable girl for the get-go–obedient and hard-working. I took her out when she was a beautiful nineteen-year old and asked if I could know the man before she would date him. She said two wise things: “I am not into recreational dating,” which she had proved by not dating, and, “I would never date anyone that you didn’t know.” I gave her the letter below when she was fifteen. Perhaps it could help a dad prepare his daughter for what is sometimes called the turbulent teens but thankfully never was for our Karis, who is now married to a wonderful young man, Kostas Alex.

March 17, 2009

Dear Karis:

You have become a beautiful young lady. We are not surprised that young men are beginning to notice you. Maybe they have been for a while. Your mom and dad also notice you. We see that you have beauty on the inside as well as the outside. We have always enjoyed your kind spirit. You have thought about others first. You are also a disciplined girl and you know what you want out of life.

God has put into your body and spirit a desire for affection. It is a natural and God-given attraction toward the opposite sex, and it is nothing to be ashamed of. Unfortunately, for some it means that you can do what you want when you want it and with whom you want. The Bible doesn’t teach that. It says that our bodies don’t even belong to us, and certainly not to guys who may wrongly think they have rights to girls’ bodies. Our bodies have been purchased by the blood of Jesus and belong to God. They are temples of the Holy Spirit, making them sacred places. God Himself lives in our bodies. Wow!

He wants us to take care of His possession and to save what He has given us for the person we will live our lives with. Here’s a warning: That is a high and lofty ideal but not an easy assignment. Our urges can become so strong that we may feel in a moment of passion that it must be the right thing to give in and follow our desires. Like the song, “You Light Up My Life,” says, “It can’t be wrong ‘cause it feels so right.” What is right is not what feels right but what God says is right.

Sex is God’s idea, not Satan’s. He created it, so He knows best how to enjoy it. He has put it in the protection of marriage. Fire in a fireplace is a beautiful and heart-warming picture. Fire out of control is terrorizing and destructive. The same goes for sexual pleasure. While it will be a struggle to wait rather than to live out your passions, you will be much happier than giving into your passions. To do so for those who know that they belong to God brings guilt, shame, fear, and a host of other negative emotions. Your mom and dad want something better for you. We have dealt with girls facing surprise pregnancies and unfulfilled promises by guys who fled the scene, leaving them alone with many difficult decisions. We want your wedding day to be the height of excitement and in no way clouded over by the sad reality of not having waited.

We are confident in God for you. We look forward to how God will express His love to you in the future. We are glad that He has given you to us to care for in this season until the time that you come under the protection of a young man.

Please know that you can come to Mom or me with any questions or concerns. When we hold secrets, they start holding us. I hope that you feel you can talk with us about anything. Your siblings are also available.

May God’s grace be upon you these days!

Your thankful father and mother


“Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob” (Genesis 25:28). Jacob grew up with a father wound, coming in second to a brother who hunted and had hair on his chest–from birth! Jacob was a mama’s boy. He got over it, but he almost killed himself in the process. In a time of great crisis he had it out with God, persisted in prayer, and his name was changed from Yacov (heel) to Israel (a prince who prevailed).

When he became a father of twelve boys, he should have known better than to pick favorites. Hurt people hurt people, and Jacob wounded ten sons by choosing a favorite. “Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of the other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made a richly ornamented robe for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him” (Genesis 37:3,4).

Jacob didn’t do Joseph a favor. His brothers took vengeance on Dad by almost killing little brother, choosing instead to make money off him by selling him as a slave. A wound comes from people we have a right to trust (father, mother, sibling, pastor), and they violate that trust.

Victims live with “if onlys.” If only they had not sent me down the river. If only Potiphar had not believed his wife. If only the butler had not forgotten about me.” Joseph determined instead to take each difficulty as it came and make the most of it. And he lived free from the wounds inflicted by his brothers, finally forgiving them with the powerful words, “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good, to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20). Victims who chose not to be victimized by their suffering often become the redeemers of those who have hurt them. Think Jesus!

King David was a better fighter than a father, and it affected his son Absalom. When Absalom killed his half-brother in revenge for violating his sister, he fled home. Even after David was comforted in the loss of Amnon, he did not bring about the return of Absalom until Joab urged him to do so. When Absalom finally returned, David ignored him. Had he healed the wound by receiving his son back into his heart and home, he might have saved his son from death and his own heart from awful grief. But he, like many fathers, seemed immobilized, and he took no action to repair the rift. It almost cost him the throne, and it did mean a bitter end for Absalom, so full of potential, so winsome, so charming, and so full of hatred for a man who loved God and who loved women, but didn’t know how to love his own son. When David heard the news that Absalom was dead, he cried, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!” (2 Samuel 18:33). He died of dart wounds, but he really died of a father wound.

Maybe you suffer from a father wound. I encourage you to get prayer ministry and to believe in a loving Father for healing, even if it takes a while. Email pa@harvestcommunities for “Healing From A Father Wound.”



God puts siblings together for a purpose. One is to create tension. Look at the combinations: Mary and Martha, Peter and Andrew, James and John, Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau. Differences create tension. As a friend says, “Tension doesn’t mean something is wrong. It means something is happening.”


It’s all about relationships. Look at the Great Commandment: “Love God, love one another.” The most important relationships are family, and many have unresolved conflict. Blame God for the tension. We need to ask what is happening rather than fight. Jacob and Esau finally resolved their conflicts—but their children have not! Check out the Middle East and the one little piece of real estate in the center.


Tension between Cain and Abel ended tragically. It almost went that way with Jacob and Esau, but divine intervention helped to bring peace. The conflict between Mary and Martha didn’t escalate to murderous threats, but Martha made a brazen comment to the honored Guest. Mary managed to be at His feet rather than in His face, and she got the affirmation, while Martha, Martha got a stinging correction. The next dinner party showed that they had successfully dealt with their issues.


How about you? Do you live with unresolved conflict? Do you need to close the loop in any family relationships? What unfinished business might God hold you responsible to help heal? Maybe these questions can help in the process.


What is the cause of the tension in my relationships?

How is God wanting to use the tension?

How have I reacted to the tension?

Where have I shown pride and where have I demonstrated humility?

What is unresolved in my relationships with siblings and others?

What do I need to do to close the loop?

What qualities has God been working on through the tension?

Am I learning to walk toward tension, or do I still walk away from it?

What does tension do to me?


For a decade I have been thanking God for tension since coming to realize its value. It is productive in the lives of people who know it comes as a friend to be embraced rather than as an obstacle to avoid (James 1:2). I see it working good things in our young adult community and smile when it rises up, because it shows that God is at work. Where people learn to respond rightly, it always accomplishes something good. I have only seen three examples in ten years working with Communitas where stubborn reaction created a separation rather than a healing.


God’s highest goal for you is that you look like His Son (Rom. 8:29). That cannot be accomplished without pain and tension. Embrace it now by faith, knowing it is bringing the priceless gift of character (James 1:2-4; Rom. 5:3-5) and healing families—like yours!