Tuesday, December 24, 2019
Thursday, December 5, 2019
ADVENT: HE-E-E’S COMING!
The promise was given to Satan in the Garden of Eden – a Deliverer would come. God told Abraham that from his descendant the world would be blessed. It was prophesied throughout the Old Testament, a Messiah would come from the line of David. When the angel appeared to Mary, it was to tell her that she would give birth to the “Promised One”. Now we too, look forward to celebrating the anniversary of that magnificent event – Christmas. This is what the season of Advent is all about – an exciting season in the Church Year.
Beginning Sunday, December 1st, as members or friends of Faith, each Sunday until Christmas, we have special Sunday services with this Advent theme, “Arise and Shine”. During these four weeks, we remember that Christ was incarnate (born as a man) to live, die and rise for you and me, assuring us of eternal life. We also remember that He comes into our hearts by the power of the Holy Spirit through Word and Sacrament and He has promised to come again to take us to be with Him in heaven.
Three Wednesday evenings during this time there is a Bible study, emphasizing the prophecies that Jesus is both the Lion and the Lamb promised throughout the Old Testament. The Bible studies are Wednesdays: Dec. 4th, Dec. 11th and Dec. 18th at 7 p.m. with a light meal beginning at 6 p.m. We hope every member makes a special effort to celebrate this season with fellow members regularly.
Following the Advent Season we celebrate the anniversary of our Lord’s birthday – Christmas – ON Christmas Day, December 25th, with a Communion service at 10:30 a.m.
Remember again, “Immanuel – God With Us”. Excitedly invite and perhaps bring your friends and relatives.
Pearl and I join in prayerfully asking God that each of you have a blessed Advent and Christmas with peace and joy into the New Year of 2020.
IN THE COMPANY OF SAINTS
Hello, Saint _________________ (Please insert your name if you are a baptized believer in Jesus
Christ as Lord and Savior.). In Holy Scriptures St. Paul often refers to the members of the various Christian Churches He wrote to as saints (Phil. 4:21; 2 Cor. 13:13). Martin Luther pointed out in his writings that all who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are both saint and sinner,There are certainly times when we realize that we are not acting out our sainthood's. We do things that because of our sinful nature are in direct conflict with what God would want. Yet, in His grace, we have the promise that His Son died for our sins. Because Jesus carried all our sins to the cross, we by the power of the Holy Spirit are made perfect before our Father in heaven – and that’s the true meaning of being a saint. We are assured of our participation in His death and resurrection in Baptism and also in Holy Communion.
Along with the Sacraments, the Holy Spirit also comes to us through the Word as we hear it and read it. As saints then, we want to make an effort to worship as He has commanded us to do receiving Christ’s body and blood in Holy Communion on a regular basis.
In the Lutheran church, we recognize November 1st as “All Saints Day.” This day we remember all those who have died in Christ and are with Him in heaven. They have achieved that status not on the basis of good works, but on the grace given us through God’s action in Christ. It is fitting, however, to follow their examples of service and dedication to our Lord. In this way we can be further strengthened by the Holy Spirit to be the followers God has called us to be.
Remember each day your sainthood as a redeemed Christian.
By Grace Alone, By Faith Alone, By Scripture Alone
As a Lutheran Pastor, I cannot but associate the month of October with the Reformation. Even as a child I can remember how in St. Louis the Reformation was every year celebrated in a big way with large services involving most of the Lutheran churches assembling together at places like Kiel Auditorium for a massive and exciting Reformation service. It was a city-wide event!
Too many of us today forget the importance of what Martin Luther did when he nailed 95 statements (theses) to a church door in Wittenberg, Germany, on October 31, 1517.
The 95 Theses were simply a list of things Luther wanted theologians of his church to discuss concerning the sale of indulgences that, in essence, were payments to receive forgiveness of sins.
But, it opened the door to how we are reconciled to God, thus affecting our salvation. The final summary of what Luther and other theologians in our church taught, based completely on God’s Word, the Bible, can be summed up in the words of our doctrinal statements found in The Augsburg Confession: “Our churches, also teach that man cannot be justified before God by his/her own strength, merits or works, but are freely justified through faith in Jesus Christ ….. who by His death made satisfaction for our sins.”
We want to always remember to be grateful to God for what He did through the words of Luther, but it is the message he pointed out from God’s Holy Word - and not man’s - that assures us of eternal life.
God, in His wisdom chose the time in which the Reformation in the church would be most successful. The people, the politics of the day and the circumstances were all right for the message to be again proclaimed in its truth and purity.
It seems that as we look at the world today and the conditions in society that there is need to witness our faith as Christians to the world around us. Yet as we pray for the Holy Spirit to work through us in our world, we continue to put our trust in God through Christ to work all things in accordance with His will to our good and to His glory
New Beginnings or Continued Action?
I always remember September as I was growing up to be the month that school started again. During my grade school years I have to admit I was not too excited about that! As I progressed into high school, I enjoyed school more. Sometimes it’s what you look forward to that makes the difference. That might be the case with our outlook on worship also. For some, getting up on Sunday morning is a task. Excuses allow us to skip church as we rationalize that we need more rest after a week of work or social activities that have worn us out. Or we feel we “don’t have to go to church to be a Christian.” This last statement is certainly true, but the fact is “We go to church because we are Christians.”
As we look at all of the above, perhaps we can say that we look forward to something depends on the attitude with which we approach our upcoming endeavors. Unfortunately, many have had the experience that going to church is something demanded by God (or perhaps parents as we grew up.) Maybe by looking at worship in a different way would be beneficial.
As Christians we have been redeemed by God’s grace through Jesus’ death and resurrection. It is purely by the work of the Holy Spirit through the Word and /sacraments, we are made members of His body-the Holy Christian Church. As His people we want to show our gratitude by worshiping Him as often as possible and being strengthened in our faith through hearing His Word and receiving the Sacrament of Holy Communion. We do this with others to encourage one another in our work with our Lord.
Luther reminds us that each day we should begin the day with the sign of the cross to remind us of who we are. In His explanation to the Third Commandment, he reminds us: “”We should fear and love God that we should not despise preaching and His Word, but gladly hear and learn it.” We are not saved by keeping The Ten Commandments; we could never measure up! Rather, we grasp the “third use of the Law” as a guide to how we as His people respond to His love in Christ. Yet, even that response can only truly happen by the work of the Spirit – again through Word and Sacrament.
Just as we think of September as the start of a new school year for children, the getting back to routines for fall and winter or maybe being refreshed by cooler weather, let it be a time to begin or continue our efforts to make worship something to look forward to each week. Obviously, such things as work schedules or sickness can interfere at times. Guests and family simply offer us opportunity to witness our faith by inviting them to worship with us or by showing them how important worship is to our lives.
May the Lord, Who called you in Baptism and made you His own, strengthen you in your commitment to worship regularly. Please contact me or an elder if you have special needs that would warrant a personal call by the pastor.
Yours in Christ,
P.S. Remember to come to the Ice Cream Social and Country Music Show on Saturday, September 7, 6-9 p.m. Invite a friend, relative or neighbor. Benefits to go to "Backstoppers.”
The BackStoppers, Inc. is a 501 3 non-profit organization founded in 1959. The organization provides needed financial assistance to the spouses and dependent children of all police officers, firefighters and volunteer firefighters, and publi