God is Good

June 29, 2015

Moses said, “Now show me your glory.” And the LORD said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”  – Exodus 33:18-20

On July 4th will you go to see fireworks? Sing some patriotic songs? Clearly we in the U.S. thank God for the blessings which he’s poured out upon us and our country.  And yet we also groan because of so much wrong in our country, so much activity that opposes the unchanging word and holy will of God. So perhaps we would pray, like Moses did, “God, show us your glory!”

God answered Moses by saying, “I’ll show you my goodness.” Not glory. Goodness. Why? Because sinful human beings would die if they were to see the perfect glory of God.

Instead, God – who is Love – shows us his goodness. We see it most clearly in Jesus who went to the cross to pay for our sins. What a “good” God we have, who rescued us from our sins, even paying for them himself!

And ultimately, that’s what you and I – and our country – need to see. We need to see God’s forgiving love. We need to hear that God loves us now, that God loves us forever.  We need to see that God is gracious, compassionate, forgiving. Seeing God’s goodness leads us to appreciate all the more his greatness and his might.

So, go ahead! Enjoy the fireworks, the patriotic songs. But all the more, enjoy the goodness of God! Appreciate his forgiveness, his compassion, his love. Those bring real fireworks, fireworks for the soul!

Prayer:  

Lord of the nations, I praise you for the precious inheritance of this great land.
I pray that I and my fellow citizens might ever remain mindful of your blessings and rejoice to do your will.
Bless our nation with God-fearing leaders, honorable industry and peace from our enemies.
Preserve us from violence of every kind, from discord and confusion, from pride and arrogance, and from every other evil.
Defend our liberties and unite us as one people. Grant wisdom and integrity to all who are entrusted with positions of authority that there may be justice and peace, law and order throughout our great land.
Equip and embolden your church on earth to make good use of the blessings you have granted by promoting your gospel in every village and city. In times of prosperity fill our hearts with thankfulness.
In times of trouble, do not allow our trust in your providence to fail. Amen.


Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

June 28, 2015

Order of Service Printed in Today’s Bulletin

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How Can I be Sure that I Will Go to Heaven?

June 22, 2015

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ – Matthew 7:21-23

Many people think being a Christian is all about treating people fairly, doing to others what you want them to do to you, always doing the right thing in your life. While those are all good things, none of them makes a person a Christian.

Jesus said there would be people who do miracles and preach in his name and still not go to heaven. Only those who do the will of God are going to heaven. If I keep the Ten Commandments then, does that make me a Christian?

No, because I can’t keep the Ten Commandments. For God requires that not only my actions be perfectly conformed to his holy will, he also commands the same for my words and even my thoughts! Don’t murder includes not yelling in anger at the crazy driver who cut me off in traffic. Don’t steal includes not complaining about the lack of things in my life that I see others having in theirs. Don’t commit adultery includes not doing anything that hurts my marriage–-ignoring or criticizing my spouse.

Despite my many failures to obey God’s commands, I know I am going to heaven. I’m absolutely certain! How can I be sure?

Jesus gave his life for me. He kept all the Ten Commandments in my place. He offered his life as payment for all the sins I’ve done – the complaining and hurting and yelling and thousands of other sinful actions, words, and thoughts.

I’m going to heaven because of Jesus. Nothing I do. Nothing I can do. Jesus has done it all for me. Not because I founded an orphanage or gave blood numerous times to the Red Cross or did other “Christian works.” Jesus will welcome me home because he fulfilled God’s will perfectly as my substitute. Heaven is his gift to me.

Even better, heaven is Jesus’ gift to you also. Being a Christian is not about what you do. Being a Christian is trusting Jesus who has done everything for you. He has forgiven you at the cost of his own life.

Prayer: Jesus, forgive me for taking false pride in the Christian things I do. Thanks for your unearned love and forgiveness, and the gift of heaven which you give to me by faith alone. Help me do the right things and treat people fairly as a simple way of thanking you for your gift of heaven. Amen.


Father’s Day

June 21, 2015

Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

Divine Service I, Page 136, Lutheran Worship

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VBS 2015

June 16, 2015

VBS 2015

 

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Beware of People Who have all the Answers

June 15, 2015

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:16-20

Christians don’t have all the answers.

God tells us that he is the Father, he is the Son, he is the Holy Spirit. Each “person” is God and distinct from the other two. At the same time, God tells us he is only one God. How can three be one? We don’t have the answer.

Christians don’t have all the answers. God did not write the Bible to give us all the answers, but he does answer these most important questions:

• What is my purpose in life?
• How do I relate to God?
• What happens when I die?

Answers to these questions are life-changing, and Jesus wants everyone to know them. So Jesus commissioned to Christians to share these answers with everyone. This is what he meant by “making disciples of all nations.” With these answers, people can have a full life, a great relationship with God, and complete security for their future after death.

Christians don’t know everything. But we do know:

• We mess up in life. We do bad things, sometimes by accident, sometimes on purpose. Those bad things make God angry with us.
• Jesus sacrificed his own life to make up for all the bad things we’ve done. God has forgiven all our sins because of Jesus.
• God gives us his friendship and he reserves a place in heaven for us. No charge. No conditions. We couldn’t afford the entrance fee. Heaven is God’s gift to us through Jesus.

We may not have all the answers. But the answers we do have make a huge difference. We gladly make disciples (students) of all nations by sharing the answers we do have.

We can’t explain everything. God says he is three persons in one God – too much for my brain. That’s OK. I am absolutely certain I’m going to heaven because Jesus died for me. Once I get there, I can ask God for those answers.

You can make the same plans. Because Jesus died for you too. No question about it.

 Prayer: Jesus, thanks for giving me the answers I need to know. Amen.

Third Sunday after Pentecost

June 14, 2015

Order of Service Printed in Today’s Bulletin

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