Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
This is the most wonderful expression of love, EVER!
Why? It’s because of God’s great love to raise Christ Jesus from death. St. Paul writes in 1st Corinthians 15: 20-28:
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.
God's Love for Us:
God loved us to send Jesus, the Son of God and the Son of Man into our world to be our Savior. Jesus died and thereby forgave our sins. Jesus rose to complete the work God the Father sent Him to do. The resurrection of Jesus is the foundation of our resurrection.
Our Need for Salvation:
God knows that we can’t fulfill all of His Law perfectly. We are hopelessly lost in sin, which leads to death. That is why Jesus is the one AND ONLY human who obeyed the law of the Father perfectly. Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s Law on our behalf.
God also knows that we need to be saved from our sins. We are stained with sin. The only way that stain will ever be removed is by means of the blood of the innocent sacrifice of Jesus. That is why Good Friday is called “Good.” Jesus died. He is “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” We are cleaned of all sinned.
The Gift of Life:
And the “TADA” of God’s work is Jesus’ resurrection. His resurrection is the promise that we too will rise from sin and death into His new life for us now as well as forever. This is God’s ultimate act of love. He brought life to sinners. He brought hope to the hopeless. God brought mercy to those who need it.
And we express of that love in our Easter greeting:
Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
Come and join us this Holy Week for all of our services. Check out our website, www.faithhuntsville.org for service days and times. See you at one or all of our services.
Wednesday, April 10, 2019
Philippians 3:8-12: Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith - that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share His sufferings, becoming like Him hi His death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the deea. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, bu I press on to make i my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own.
People spend a life time chasing after "things." What are those "things?" They include, riches, property, status, fame, pride, and power, just to name a few. There are those who want it all. There are those who want it all, NOW. The Bible uses a phrase to describe this pursuit. "Meaningless, meaningless, everything is meaningless, a chasing after the wind."
Think about it. Fame is fleeting. Athletic prowess ends faster than it starts. Money can disappear in a moment. Power and control are illusions. You'll never have enough power and you can't control everything. If we chase after these "things" of the world, we will never have them completely. That is the reality.
The only thing that lasts not only in our lifetimes, but forever, is Jesus Christ. Through faith in Him, we have something of far greater worth than the temporary things of this world. We will have eternal life with God.
So I look at my life, including the material blessings that God provides to sustain my life, as a loss. I do not grieve about it. I won't miss it, too much, when it goes away. My life is in God the Father who sent Jesus, God the Son, to save me of my sins. Jesus "lost" His life in order to "find" mine and yours. The gains that I have outshine the brightest things in this world.
I gain a wealth from God that is light years better than any wealth on earth. I gain a heavenly home, far larger and grander than any castle and mansion on earth. I care not for fame, power, status, and pride. Those things won't exist in heaven. Believers are, and forever will be, one in status with Christ Jesus my Lord.
I gain heaven when I believe in what Jesus did for me here on earth. I gain life eternal when I believe now in this lifetime. I gain it all.
I don't have it all, NOW. I will when I get to heaven. So in the time that I have NOW, I will live according to God's love and grace and favor. I will offer my life as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to Him.
Is this heavenly life intriguing to you? Do you want to know more? Let's talk. And then let's see what you can gain through Jesus.
Monday, April 1, 2019
2nd Corinthians 5:17-18: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.
No, this not an April Fools joke. This is real.
When we are "in Christ," we are a new creation. What that means is this. All we were is now gone. The blood of Jesus washes us clean from the inside out. We cannot "reinvent" ourselves. We are remade. We cannot "lift ourselves up by our boot straps." We are picked up from death and ruin into life and salvation.
How can this happen?
"All this is from God..." You have heard the phrase, "a leopard cannot change his spots." How true. Neither can we. We cannot change the fact that we are conceived and born into sin. Only God makes the change. Only God through Christ will change this lowly body and transform it into a heavenly body. Only God through Christ creates someone new out of someone old. We are dead to sin and alive to righteousness.
The Key Phrase:
"if anyone is IN Christ. (emphasis mine), he is a new creation." To be "In Christ" necessitates for us not to be "in self." Something has to give. Something has to go away for us to be "in Christ."
What has to go away?
We do. Jesus was told by Martha after the death of her brother Lazarus, "If you had come when we wanted you to, my brother would not have died." Jesus' reply was, "Your brother will rise again." Martha's reply to that was, "Yes, I know that Lazarus will rise on the last day." Then Jesus says something amazing. Jesus takes what Martha said and took it one step further. Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in, even though he will die, yet will he live and whoever believes in me shall never die."
To live in Christ means that we have to die. We have to die to sin and unrighteousness. When we believe in Jesus and what He did, we "crucify" the flesh and live according to spirit of Jesus' death and resurrection. Jesus died in order to forgive our sins. Jesus rose to give to us a new life.
Through Christ we are new creations. Through Christ we have new lives that live in the world today AND will live with Jesus forever. We are new creations.
Let's discuss this. I would like to invite you to comment. What are your thoughts.
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Philippians 3:17-4:1: Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself. Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long fore, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.
Two Paths of Life:
God, through St. Paul, tells us very plainly, that there are two separate and distinct paths of life. They are:
People believe there are multiple paths of life. They believe that each path is unique and special. They believe that each path leads to a "heavenly goal." The thought behind it, "God loves me. He respects my choices and my decisions. So, if I lead a decent life, be nice to people, and try to be as good and right as I can, God will take that into consideration."
The problem with the thought is, it doesn't work. God, long ago in the Old Testament time, all ready stated, "You shall have no other gods before me." Thoughts, like the one above, puts the relationship with God on our shoulders, not His. Our relationship, our life, is on the work of God, not on me or you.
That is why knowing Jesus and believing that He is God and man at the same time, that He is THE ONE AND ONLY sacrifice that saves us, and that HE is the ONLY way into heaven, is so important.
Jesus forgave our sins. Jesus took away our sin through the sacrifice of His life. Jesus was horribly beaten, nailed to a cross, humiliated by those He came to save and abandoned by those who were His apostles. Jesus was left alone, carrying the curse of sin, our sin. His body was broken. His blood was shed. He died so that you, when believe in Him, will live.
And when you believe that, you have life and have it to the full.
There really are only two paths of life. One that is without Jesus. One that is with Jesus. Which one are you on? Let's talk about it.
Monday, March 18, 2019
Luke 13:1-6: There were some present at the very time who told Him [Jesus] about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And He [Jesus] answered them, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you. But unless you repent, you will all like wise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them. Do you that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you. But unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."
Tragedy and Sin:
People around Jesus needed to share outrage over the fact that Galileans' were killed by Pilate and their sacrifices were ruined. They were hoping that Jesus would share the same outrage. "These people must have been really bad in order to suffer the way that they did."
We Are All Sinners:
Jesus refocuses the outrage to the fact that all are sinners and all will die. Jesus is not not addressing "HOW" the Galileans died. Tragic as it was, people who suffer tragedy are not any greater a sinner than those that don't. Jesus' point is, "Every one needs to repent. If not, all will die."
Or said in another way, "We all sin. We all fall short of the glory of God. We will all die because of sin."
We will all die. Some tragically. The "HOW" we die does not matter. What matters is that sin is the cause of death. Repentance of sins and asking God to forgive our sins for the sake of Jesus Christ, leads to life.
Repent of your sins, turn them to God and Jesus will forgive them and cleanse you of all unrighteousness.
Receive the gift of life from God. Take hold of the wonderful grace and mercy of God because of the life of obedience Jesus lived, the offering of His life to save yours, and His rising to life to give to you His life, both now and forever.
Renew your direction and focus of life and light because of Jesus. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Live the life and light that is Jesus.
Want to know more? Do you have any questions? Feel free to comment.
Monday, March 11, 2019
Romans 10:8-9: But what does it say? "The Word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is the word of faith that we proclaim.) because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
Confession: Used Two Ways:
Christians use confession in two ways. The first way is, "Confession of sins." We declare to God that we are sinners by nature and that we have sinned against God in "thought, word, and deed." This usage of confession is part of repentance. For example:
Dear God, I have sinned. The focus of my life lately has been on work and its' problems. I have neglected time with my family and more importantly, my time with You. I know that You are the one who gives me life and family and work. I am sorry that I have allowed my life to get out of balance. Please forgive me of this and all other sins of which I may not be aware.
The second way that we use confession is "Confession of faith" or "Confession of belief." The is the form of confession that St. Paul is describing in our passage. We confess that we believe in Jesus. We confess that we believe in the Father who is and who sent Jesus who saves us.
The Benefit of Both Confessions:
And what is really cool is, confession is simple.
"I am a sinner who relies on Jesus and His gift of forgiveness."
"I believe in Jesus and that He is Lord over all and over me."
Confession is that simple. AND confession reaps benefits beyond measure. Confession leads us to a new life with Jesus; BOTH in this lifetime AND the eternal lifetime.
What do you think? Do you have a question or two? Let's dive deeper into this passage today.
Wednesday, March 6, 2019
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee proclaming the Gospel of God and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the Gospel. (Mark 1:14-15).
The word, "Repent" literally means "to turn around." One could also say, "Reverse course, change your direction, turn 180 degrees from the path you are currently on."
In Christian circles, there is an additional layer of meaning. For what am I to repent? Why am I supposed to change direction?
The simple answer is, because the path that you are taking right now is sinful. It is against the will of God for you. If you stay on this path, you are disobeying God. And if you stay on this path, you will be walking your way right into hell.
Repent of your sins and be sure that "God, who is faithful and just, will forgive you of your sins and cleanse you of all unrighteousness." (1st John 1:9)
After you repent, you are forgiven. And that is what you receive.
God has forgiven you of your sins by means of the death of Jesus. His body that was broken and His blood that was shed, is the means by which God changes your life. It is a free gift to you from God. Take hold of it.
You have, by the power of the Holy Spirit, been broken. The grace of God in Jesus heals and restores you. Receive His grace and love.
And when you receive and accept the gift of life, then you can...
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)
Through repentance, you receive God's grace and mercy. Once you have that, you are renewed. The Holy Spirit actively works in you to lead you to turn around (repent), receive His Grace, so that your life is made new.
Renewal is about living in the grace and mercy. It is about living transformation, about being different than you were. God changed you by Jesus' death and resurrection. Now live in His grace.
So that is our focus throughout the season of Lent. And you are invited to be a part of that focus every Sunday morning at 10:30 and every Wednesday at 6:30pm. Come and join with us.
Monday, March 4, 2019
Matthew 6:19-21: [Jesus is saying,] "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
It's All About Now:
Apollo Creed said something poignant when was telling Rocky Balboa about an upcoming boxing match. Rocky was saying, "I'll do that tomorrow." Apollo would shout back, "There IS No tomorrow."
The message is, "Take care of today. Get what you can today. For there is no tomorrow." The same message is relayed in people's attitude toward houses. Back in the day, my day for example, my parents didn't buy their "forever house" right away. They purchased houses that fit the finances and the family AT THAT TIME. When finances were better and the family was bigger, we got a new house.
That's not the same now. Now it's, "We want our 5 bedroom house with 5 bathrooms for our four children that we don't have, yet. We want it all, now, so we don't have to wait for it."
The end result is, we have a house that's too big, both in size and finances that we can't take care of. It's too much for us.
The biggest problem is, we don't see a future. We don't see heaven. We only see now. We see no future past this one.
It's NOT About Now:
Jesus is very clear. It is about the future. The treasures we search for are NOT the ones of today. It's not about the 5 bedroom 5 bathroom house. It's about the eternal mansion that Jesus prepared for us to live in. It's not about the cars, houses, and money. They are only tools which we use. It is about the life that we have with Jesus BOTH now AND forever. Our focus is on heavenly treasures, eternal treasures.
Its' About Life with God:
And when we focus upon the life that we have in Jesus Christ, everything else falls into perspective and place. It's like the house. Will we get to the 5 bedroom, 5 bathroom house? Maybe, the Lord willing. What if we don't? Life's not over. Because our life is defined by Jesus and what He did. Jesus has already given us what we need now, AND what we will receive in the future. There is our focus.
What's your reaction? What do you think? Let me know.
Wednesday, February 27, 2019
Hebrews 3:5-6: Now Moses was faithful in all God's house was a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Chris is faithful over God's house as a son. And we are His house, if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.
Have you ever been a part of building a house? My wife and I built our house in the town we lived in before coming to Huntsville. We were at the house every day while it was under construction. We were making sure that it was being built according to the plans and our specifications. Did the process go smoothly? No and yes. It seemed that I was calling the builder every day, taking care of things that weren't being done right. And there were things they were doing that they did very well.
House construction is not an easy process to go through. And when it is finished, and when the fruit of the labor comes to a conclusion and you move in, it is awesome. It is your house.
Jesus and Us:
I'm sure that Jesus is challenged by us. He is building us into a home, a house, and a people that belong to Him. We don't go together well sometimes. We are resistant to being molded and shaped to fit what He wants us to be. We are defective and warped. The raw material for Jesus' house is sinful. "Sinful since conception."
So Jesus had to find a way to make all the pieces and materials fit together to build the House of God. How did He do that? Simple. He died on the cross. Jesus gave up His body and blood to forgive and to cause the "building blocks," namely you and me, to fit together in His perfect harmony. Jesus' broken body was the means by which God perfected us. Jesus' blood is the "mortar" the glued all of us who believe with His forgiveness and life. And when Jesus rose, He brought us and built us into His house.
Was it easy? What do you think? No, it was not. Jesus' suffering and death put us together. It was painful. Jesus died. So that we will live.
And so Jesus' death and resurrection made us to be just the right materials to build His house into something grand and wonderful. We are phenomenal house of love and forgiveness, of grace and mercy.
And this living house is always under construction. God the Father through Jesus the Son and called by God the Holy Spirit, is continually adding on to His house. This is beyond description. So we say, "Thank you."
What is one way that you can say "Thank You to Jesus for all He has done. Please share.
Monday, February 25, 2018
Luke 9:35: And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is my Son, my Chosen One. Listen to Him."
The passage leading up to today's verse is the account of the Transfiguration of Jesus. Jesus reveals Himself in the fullest measure. Jesus is both God and Man wrapped up in the person of Jesus. Jesus radiated light and life for Peter, James, and John. And by extension, you and I.
And our verse is the "Tada" of the Transfiguration. It is the voice of the Father of God through the glow of the cloud. It is the one thing that we, Christians, hang our lives upon. Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus is the Chosen One. Jesus is HIM!
The Voice of the Father:
The Father draws our attention to the Son. The Father leads us to the ONE through whom salvation comes. The Father draws our attention to our failures and our sins.
Do we listen to Jesus? Are we paying attention to what He did? Are we heeding the voice and actions of salvation? In many and various ways, we are not. That is why the words of the Father are a warning and a judgment.
It is also why the words of the Father are words of encouragement and hope. "Listen to my Son. He has the words of eternal life. Jesus has the voice to command sin and death to come out of you and give you life with grace and mercy. Listen to the voice of Jesus say, 'It is finished.' which means your salvation and life is secure."
And it is also why the words of the Father are words of love and engagement. "Listen to my Son. He has the words of love to lead us to faith is action. Jesus has the words to guide you into lifelong service and strength. 'Love the Lord with all you heart, and all your soul, and all your mind. And love your neighbor as yourself.' Listen to Him and let Him lead your life."
In what ways do you listen to Jesus? Please share.
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.