Rev. Steven E. Thomas, Pastor
Pastor Steven Thomas was born in Houston, Texas. He graduated from New Mexico Tech with a BS in Chemistry. He was working as a chemist in Baltimore for a few years, and then decided to pursue the dream of being a pastor. In 1993, Pastor Steve graduated from the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg. He is married to Pastor LaDonna Thomas who serves at St. David Lutheran Church in Hanover, PA. They have one daughter, Rebekah.
Pastor Steve enjoys kayaking, reading, and motorcycling. Pastor Steve’s passion is always looking for greater understanding - especially in how our expanding scientific knowledge reveals additional wonders of God.
Some of his favorite books are The Bible (of course), Awareness by Anthony DeMello, The Shack by William P. Young, The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, E=mc2 by David Bodanis, and the Tolkein trilogy.
The Gift of Understanding
One of the central parts of living the Christian life is practicing the spiritual gift of forgiveness. My personal understanding of forgiveness is that true forgiveness happens when a person gains understanding. In a very real sense, for me; Understanding = Forgiveness.
When I speak of “Understanding”, there are at least two primary parts to this “understanding”. The first part is understanding yourself. That is, when you find yourself feeling strongly about some issue, ask yourself why you feel that way. It can be any issue; from family relationships; to the way you relate to authority; to how you feel about the state of the economy. Why do you feel the way you do?
This question is a lot more complex than it might seem. Many of our attitudes are actually taught to us by our parents and the society that we grow up in. Sometimes these are helpful. Sometimes they are not. But it is good to examine and know why you think and feel the way that you do. Do you have a need for a lot of control? What are your fears? What are your joys? And, for all of these: why? And... what is your sin, and why?
These are not questions designed to make you feel bad. Remember, God accepts and forgives you just the way you are. Also, answering these questions will take some time. As a matter of fact, they can be part of your journey for a lifetime. But understanding yourself can help you forgive yourself. And, it is the first stage of learning to truly forgive others.
The second primary part of “understanding” is to try to understand others. As you come into contact or relationship with other people – whether it is your family or your neighbor or your coworker – you will get to see what they say and what they do. As a part of understanding, ask yourself why they are doing or saying what they are. Is it because they are afraid of some circumstance? Is it because that is what they learned from their parents or society? Is their words or actions a part of their defense mechanisms? So that they are simply trying to protect themselves?
Again, these are not simple questions to answer. And you may not understand why some people do what they do. But by asking the questions, you are on the path to understanding – that people are not as cut and dried as they may first seem. And, in a very real sense, they are a lot like you – just reacting in a different way.
There may be other aspects to understand, but understanding yourself and your neighbor (family, etc.) can also give you insight into your relationship with God – and God’s relationship with God’s people (i.e. your neighbor). You can ask yourself why Jesus was so quick to forgive all of those sinners – even the people who were executing Him? Even those (disciples) who abandoned Him.
Here is a small poem I wrote on this:
Layer upon layer
Family, Society, Experience
Have been overlaid
Upon the Eternal core:
The “I” is layered over top of “Thee”
- Pastor Steve
Pastor Messages of Special Interest
Suicide - Surviving Life’s Darkest Moments
Video of Archived Sermons
Click here to View Video of Archived Sermons on You Tube
|© stbart-hanoverpa.org||| 1204 Grand Valley Road | Hanover, PA | 17331 | (717) 632-1952|