Tuesday, July 16, 2019
John 2:9-11: When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from, thought the servants who had drawn the water knew, the master of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, "Everyone serves the good wine first and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now." This, the first of His signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested His glory. And His disciples believed in Him.
What Do You Think?
If you were the bridegroom, what would you say to the master of the feast? Thank you? After all, you had no idea what was happening. You didn't know that one of your guests had performed a miracle. You had no idea that plain water was turned into wine. And since God the Son made the wine, it was the best of the best.
Connection to Holy Communion:
The bridegroom, and all the guests, received a taste of the wine that was yet to come. When we celebrate Holy Communion, we receive "a foretaste of the feast to come." "Oh taste and see that the Lord is good, blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him." (Psalm 34:8)
So when we receive Holy Communion, we are, as Jesus said, we are receiving His body, as it is contained in the bread, and His blood, as it is contained in the wine. For when we read Jesus speaking,
Now as they were eating [the Passover meal], Jesus took bread and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat. This is my body." And He took a cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them saying, "Drink of it all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom." (Matthew 26:26-29)
The guest, Jesus, performed another miracle. In Holy Communion, we believe based upon Jesus' own words, that His body is contained in the bread. Let's think about this a minute. Jesus' body, both mortal and immortal, is contained in a lowly human earthly thing called bread. It doesn't makes sense? How can this be? How can the divine, Jesus, be contained in the mundane unleaven bread? Easy. Jesus said so. When we trust Jesus and His words, it is easy to grasp, not understand. Trust Jesus. Take it.
It is the same with the blood of Jesus contained in the wine. The best of the best is in the wine we drink. And Jesus shed His blood to forgive. Jesus is the fulfillment of all the sacrifices, especially the ones that forgave sin. And God said that forgiveness of sins has to happen with the shedding of blood.
Connection to Us:
Jesus' disciples believed in Jesus after they watched, saw, heard, and participated in this miracle. They didn't know it all. They believed based upon their connection and experience with Jesus.
And so do we. We connect to Jesus. We see His action according to the Scriptures. We hear His words according to the Scriptures. We taste Him in the bread and wine, according to the Scriptures. We believe in Him and trust in Him.
And for those of you who do not yet know Jesus, come and experience Jesus. If you're in the Huntsville, Walker County area, stop by. If not, you can experience Jesus through our conversation. Come and say hi.
Monday, July 8, 2019
Luke 10:23-24: Then turning to the disciples, He [Jesus] said privately, "Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it."
How Blessed Are They:
Jesus is revealing to those around Him the blessing they have. They are seeing with their own eyes the ONE who is the fulfillment of all the prophecies spoken. Kings and prophets believed in the promise of the Messiah. And Jesus' disciples are seeing Him.
Jesus, is the Messiah, the Son of God, and the one who will deliver His people from their sins and sinful lives. Jesus is pointing out how blessed are His disciples that are seeing who they are seeing.
How Blessed are You:
Do you know how blessed are you? Do you realize what a joy it is to see what you see?
"What am I seeing?" you may ask. Well, Jesus of course! You are seeing Jesus, too. He is in the room with you and all others who gather with you in His name. Jesus describes in Matthew 18, "Where two or more gather in my, there I am in the midst of them.
So when you come together in worship, study, and even in casual conversation with people, Jesus is right there with you. That is His promise. How blessed are you when you believe.
Do you See What I See?
Do you see Jesus? Do you see Jesus in your life? You may say, "Well, if I can't see Him, touch Him, or hear Him, then He isn't here."
Is that the limit of your scope? Is your senses the limit that you have placed upon yourself? If that is, then you're blind to Jesus.
Yet when you go beyond your senses and trust the reality of God, then you will truly see and be blessed by God. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding." (Proverbs 3:5) See Jesus as He speaks to you through the Word. See Jesus in the gift of His body and blood in Holy Communion for the forgiveness of your sins.
Let's talk about Jesus and seeing Him in your life.
Monday, July 1, 2019
On this coming Thursday, our nation will celebrate her 243rd birthday. "We hold these truths to be self evident." is one line from the Declaration of Independence.
We hold these truths to be self evident:
God the Father sent God the Son, Jesus Christ, to bring freedom to people from Satan, self, and all of our sins. God the Son sent God the Holy Spirit to power the Church through His Word to bring life and immortality to light.
And we live in a country where we can express our belief and not experience any blow back from the government. We have the freedom to walk and talk about Jesus in an environment of safety.
In our passage from God's Word from the Gospel of Luke, we see Jesus sending out 72, 36 pairs of people, into the communities.
Luke 10:1-3: After this the Lord appointed seventy two others and sent them on ahead of Him, two by two, into every town and place where He Himself was about to go. And He said to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers in His harvest. Go your way; Behold I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves."
We may have the freedom to walk and talk about Jesus, but it won't be easy. People will not like to hear the truth of Jesus Christ. They may slam doors in our faces. They may ignore us after we shared the message. They may even "fight back" with words that don't belong to God.
Why would they do this? In my humble opinion, they are scared that we could be right and true and that we challenge their lives. They get defensive and they get bitter. And you know what? Not everyone will receive the message with the joy that we do.
Luke 10:4-7: Jesus continues to say, "Carry no moneybag, no knapsack, no sandals, and greet no one on the road. Whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace by to this house!' And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house."
And when you find someone, some household that is receptive to the message of Jesus Christ, stay put. Their home is your home. Their family is your family. It is from where you really walk and talk.
You have a "home away from home" from where you can base your service to people for God. It is Faith Lutheran Church and School. Your peace, God's peace, is found here. Your extended family is here. We eat together, we worship together, and we work together. You can hang your hat with us and you walk and talk the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Luke 10:8-11, 16: Jesus is continuing to say, "Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick in it and say to them, 'The Kingdom of God has come near to you.' But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its' streets and say, 'Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, the the Kingdom of God has come near.'" ... "The one who hears you hears me, and the one who rejects you rejects me, and the one who rejects me rejects Him who sent me."
As you make your way through this world, you will have many challenges. People will reject you as a person of Christ. They will not hear what you have to say. They will not be kind to you.
From my point of view, I never want to give up on anyone. I don't want to stop trying. At the same time, I have to begin to realize that I may be "banging my head against the wall." I will be, and have been, rejected, my words misunderstood and misinterpreted. No matter what I may do, some people will not listen. I just have to dust off my feet and move on. They are not rejecting me. They are rejecting God the Father.
And the ones who get it? What about the people who receive you and receive the Lord who sent you? Well are receiving with joy the grace and mercy of God through Jesus Christ. They too will be written in the Lamb's Book of Life.
Luke 10:17-20: The seventy two returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name!" And He said to them, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that you names are written in heaven."
It is amazing when the Word of God works. It is amazing when people respond to the message that you shared with them. It is amazing that just the freedom from sin does in the lives of people. It is amazing that grace, mercy, and life overflow to people and they take hold of it.
When you take advantage of the freedom to walk and talk your life as a servant of Jesus, things in people's lives change.
At the same time, Jesus has a warning for you. "Don't get cocky. Focus your joy on the reality that YOU will be headed to heaven."
It is great that God brings people to salvation through us. And that's it. GOD works THROUGH US.
But don't stop celebrating either.
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Luke 9:57-62: As they were going along the road, someone said to Him, "I will follow you wherever you go." And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." To another He said, "Follow me." But he said, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father." And Jesus said to him, "Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God." Yet another said, "I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home." Jesus said to him, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God."
Jesus Seems Harsh:
Following Jesus seems harsh. There is no cushy bed in which to sleep. Not even an old "No tell motel." Jesus also seems down right mean to tell a person who wants to follow Him that he can't even bury his father. Nor can another say goodbye to the family he loves. Why is Jesus so mean?
I think that Jesus is not being mean, but being brutally honest. Following Jesus takes commitment, dedication, and even a single minded focus. Jesus is basically saying, "Don't let the past hold you back from the future life that you have."
What Keeps You...
From following Jesus? Is it work? Is it play? Is it entertainment? Is it self pleasure? Is it other priorities? What is holding you in the past? What is keeping you from seeing the future?
What is keeping you from following Jesus? Where is you commitment to Him?
When we realize what Jesus has to offer, following Him in all that we do will seem like a no brainer. When we realize the total and complete forgiveness of sins by means of His death on the cross. Think about this. You think it's hard to follow Jesus? Would you take on the curse of dying on a tree in order to give you life? Jesus did. His death was brutal, hard, and mean. Jesus knew what was coming. Jesus knew the harsh reality that His life was going to face. And He took it.
Then, in order to bring new life to us, Jesus was raised from the grave. We are free from the pull of the past in order to embrace the future with Jesus. And that future is freedom from sin and eternal life with God.
Commitment to Follow:
Now with that freedom "In hand," we see our lives from a Jesus point of view. We see our homes, work, family, play, and pleasure as secondary to following and living with Jesus. Following Jesus takes some harsh reality questions to ask.
Does that mean we quit them?
If what we do gets in the way of spending time with Jesus and what we already know what He wants us to do, then... If how we focus our lives on ourselves and our wants and not on what Jesus has already told us to "Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, strength, and love your neighbor as yourself" then...
This is worthy of more discussion. Please weigh in with your comments.
Tuesday June 18, 2019
Luke 8:30-32...38-39: Jesus then asked him, "What is your name?" And he said, "Legion." for many demons had entered him. And they begged Him [Jesus] not to command them to depart into the abyss. Now a large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged Him to let them enter these. So He gave them permission. ... The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with Him [Jesus] but Jesus sent him away saying, "Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for You." And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him.
What Jesus Did:
Picture the scene for a moment. Jesus dares to travel to a "non-Jewish" region on the east side of the Sea of Galilee. There, Jesus and the disciples meet up with a man, demon possessed, chained up and going berserk.
Some how, and the man and Jesus had not previously met, knew Jesus and the power that He possesses. "Legion," pleaded with Jesus for mercy. And Jesus was merciful to the demons AND the man possessed. And a lot of bacon went over the cliff. :-)
What Jesus Does for You:
Have you ever struggled with life? Have you been plagued by doubts, insecurities, as well as personal "demons?" Have bad things happened to you? If you answered no to one of the questions, you're either very young and don't realize what's going on or you're not recognizing reality.
We all struggle with something. AND God never left us without relief, hope, and salvation. And the source of our relief, hope, and salvation is JESUS! Jesus went through struggles, especially those at the end of His life, that we will not face. Jesus endure them in order to spare us and save us. Jesus is our hope. Hope, that is built through sufferings, perseverance, and character building will never disappoint us because it is built on Jesus. And Jesus is our salvation. He removes those demons and casts them away. He removes our sins as far as the east is from the west. HIS yoke is easy and HIS burden is light.
The "Legion" possessed man wanted to leave the area and follow Jesus. Jesus gave him a different path. The man was to stay in his home town and tell the people there what Jesus did to him and for him. This was, for the man, his "bloom where you are planted." This was his call to "make disciples" where he was.
It's the Same for Us:
We are also placed in our community, congregation, school, and county in order to tell the world around us "what Jesus has done for us." We are in the opportunity of a lifetime that will walk the Disciple life where He wants us. We are in our community to live for Jesus, with Jesus, and powered by the Holy Spirit through the Word. We are equipped with faith and life, encouraged with the hope that does not disappoint to engage people with the love of God in Jesus.
What do you think? Ready to go and serve?
Monday, June 10, 2019
Acts 2:36: [Peter is saying,] "Let all the house if Israel therefore know for certain that God has made Him [Jesus] both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified."
This sentence is Peter's last sentence of his sermon on the Day of Pentecost. What a way to wrap up a message. It was a great ending. Why do you ask? Look at the result. About 3000 people became believers in Christ.
And it all points to the work of the Father.
I would encourage you to read verses 22 - 35. I don't think that there is a better connection made to Jesus the Son and His work along with God the Father and His work.
God the Father Has a Plan:
The plan was previewed and prophesied about in the Old Testament, kind of like a movie preview at a theatre. God's plan came to a glorious conclusion in Jesus. Peter brings that out in his sermon.
For us today, let us concentrate on the ending.
Jesus, the Son of God, the Lord, the Christ, also known as the Messiah, was crucified to save sinners. God also raised His Son so that you and I will one day rise from death to life and live with our Father forever. What great joy these words bring. What great life these words bring. And God the Holy Spirit used those words to convict people of their sin and lead them to life and forgiveness with God.
Let us walk then with God. Let us dedicate our lives to Jesus' life, death, resurrection, and ascension. Let us love Him, our Savior, our Christ, and our Lord, with all of our hearts, minds, and being. And let us love one another as well.
Wednesday, June 5, 2019
Acts 2:1-4: When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it fillet the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
Now That I Have Your Attention:
Shortly after the departure of Jesus back to heaven on the Day of Ascension, the promised Holy Spirit arrived. And there was no mistaking His arrival. The sound of the mighty wind and the sight of the tongues of fire. The Holy Spirit made Himself known.
It was like "Now that I have your attention..." And this is consistent with God. When He wants to make Himself known, He leaves no doubt. Whether it's the flood, the chariot of fire that scooped up Elijah, or the birth of God in baby Jesus, God makes Himself know in a dramatic way.
The Power to Tell:
Jesus told His apostles that this was going to happen. Just before Jesus went back to heaven, He told His apostles, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." (Acts 1:8)
After the sound and the tongues, the power of the Holy Spirit came to the apostles.
Some might say that the apostles began to talk about Jesus on their own because they summoned the courage to do so on their own.
Let's explore this a moment. Could you, who have been sitting in this house with a locked door for fear of the Jews who hated Jesus and you, suddenly with passion and power proclaim Jesus to a hostile crowd? It would be very unlikely, even impossible for you to do so. People do not overcome their fear it that radical of a way without a giant push.
And that push was the power of the Holy Spirit. It was as if the apostles were new men. And they were.
They Were New Men:
They were no longer timid. They did not act upon fear or worry about what someone might think of them. Even some in the crowd thought that this "display" was a result of too much alcohol.
Their confidence to speak of Jesus did not come from a bottle. It came from God. They were living new lives! They were inspired by the power of the Holy Spirit to speak of what they knew of Jesus. The Holy Spirit made them different. They no longer were timid, shy, and fearful of themselves and others. God the Holy Spirit gave to them the power to set all that aside and trust Him.
We are New People:
The same Holy Spirit changes us and inspires us to be bold and strong in our disciple life. When we come to grips with that reality, when we trust the Holy Spirit and His guidance, we then let go of the fear, timidity, and reservations. When we trust the Holy Spirit and the truth He speaks of Jesus, it is the power of God that leads to move forward with confidence and boldness in what and in whom we believe.
It's like this, when we begin to more fully realize what God has done for us in Jesus, we will more fully worship, pray, and serve Him.
Any thoughts? Please share.
Friday, May 31, 2019
Revelation 22:13-15: [Jesus is saying,] "Behold I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me to repay each one for what He has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Blessed are those who wash their robes so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood."
This is It:
In this part of Revelation, John sees and hears what will happen at the end of time. In chapter 21, John sees the city of God arrive from heaven. In the first part of chapter 22, John sees the river of the water of life and the twelve trees of life on the river's shores.
This is it. This is the final resting place for the people of God, for those who believe in Jesus, His life, death, resurrection, and ascension.
How We Get In:
It's simple, really. We are cleansed, washed, and made new. All that has to be done is to wash; to be clean.
Yet it is not Tide in which we are washed. The blood of the Lamb who was slain washes us clean. These same people are described in Revelation 7:9-13. Go take a look. I wait.
Good, You're Back:
Now we get to the reason why people get into heaven and some don't.
Simply put, being human. We live, and have lived, in societies where "freedom" was to indulge in self gratification. "I can do anything I want with any one I want and no one can tell me otherwise." Do you know what this sounds like? "You can be like God, knowing good and evil." (Genesis 3:4)
Contrary to some thoughts, we will never be good enough to enter heaven.
The blood of Lamb and its' sin cleansing properties is the means of entrance. When we believe that Jesus humiliated and sacrificed Himself in order to remove our sins from us and to make us clean before God the Father, sitting on the throne, we will enter through the front gate of heaven, our eternal home with God.
Let us live our lives, our disciple lives, trusting that God the Father sent God the Son, also known as Jesus, to forgive our sins and cleansed us from all sin and unrighteousness. Let us obey everything that Jesus taught us as we live for Him, with Him, and in Him. Let us listen to and follow the guidance and direction of God the Holy Spirit through His Word.
Do you have thoughts and questions? Let's talk.
Monday, May 20, 2019
John 16:28-33: [Jesus is saying,] " I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father. His disciples said, "Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech. Now we know that You know all things and do not need anyone to question You. This is why we believe that you came from God."
Jesus answered them, "Do you now believe? Behold, the hour is coming. Indeed it has come when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am ot alone, for the Father is with me. I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart. I have overcome the world."
Jesus' Plan is Revealed:
Jesus is heading back to the Father. Jesus is heading back to heaven. At this moment in time, Jesus is not revealing that between now and when He goes back to the Father, He will be arrested, beaten, tried, nailed to a cross, crucified, die, be buried and rise to life. At this moment in time, the disciples, I don't think, could have handle that brutal part of the truth.
At the same time, Jesus is revealing that they, the disciples, will go through their own torment and struggles. Out of fear, the disciples will run away from Jesus. One will betray Him. One will deny knowing Him. The rest of them will scatter, fearing for their own lives.
Then Jesus finally reveals His encouragement to His disciples. Jesus has overcome the world. Jesus has done it through what He went through. It seems backwards.
Yet it is as straightforward as possible. Because Jesus was the victim of the sins of the entire world, He was the Victor over sin, death, and the influence of Satan. Jesus defeated death. Jesus gives life through His death and resurrection. "Stop being afraid." Jesus told them. "The world has not and will not defeat me."
The Plan is for US:
We are just like the disciples, the hand picked twelve. We deny knowing Jesus because it is easier than facing obstacles and possible rejection by friends and family. When tough things in life happen, we run away from the ONE who will guide through the tough stuff. Then we stand alone in our grief, sadness, and confusion without a guide who helps us through.
Then Jesus tells us not to worry. The hardships of life are hard. That is a given. So live by means of your faith. "Trust me." Jesus says to us. "The world did not defeat me. So I will not let it defeat you."
So believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. You will be saved.
Got questions? Got thoughts? Let's talk about them together.
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Revelation 7:9-10: After this I [John the Apostle] looked, and behold a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!"
We Will Be There!
When we believe in the salvation of Jesus and the truth of His life, death, resurrection, and ascension, we will be in front of God as He sits upon the throne. We will be a part of a number of people so numerous that no one will be able to count it.
There will be people from all over the world standing in the presence of God. When people from every race, every nation, every country, and space believe in the salvation of Jesus, that Jesus gave to them a one way ticket to heaven. Jesus gave them the ticket because of WHAT HE DID.
Our Entry Ticket:
People, including you and me, will not enter heaven because we're "good people." No matter how "good" we are, we will not get into heaven. Why? Doesn't entry into heaven depend on us following the Ten Commandments?
No it doesn't. If it did, then we would have to obey all the commandments all the time. And we all know, that we cannot obey all the commandments all of the time. Why is that? It's because we're sinners. Heaven is for saints, not sinners.
Who is a saint? A saint believes in the Lord Jesus Christ and what He did for him. A saint knows and believes that Jesus' blood and righteousness saves her from all of her sins. Saints believe that Jesus gave them a new life through His resurrection.
So a saint is a believer is the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus. Through faith in Jesus and what He did, you are converted from a sinner to a saint. And the saints homes in heaven are built and ready to go because Jesus went back to heaven and prepared them Himself.
Are You Ready?
It's easy to be ready. Believe in God the Father, the one who created you and keeps you. Believe in God the Son, Jesus, who saved you from yourself, your sins, the sinful world, and Satan's influence. Believe in God the Holy Spirit, who sustains you and your faith and trust Him to guide you to your future.
And the future is eternal life with God. Are you ready
Pastor Robert Hemsath joined Faith Lutheran Church and School as the Senior Pastor in January 2017. Pastor Hemsath comes to FLC from Christ the King Lutheran Church in Waxahachie, TX. He has also served congregations in Aberdeen, ID and Pocatello, ID. He has been a Lutheran pastor for the past 20 years.