Monday, September 17, 2018
Colossians 3:12-14: Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
God's Chosen Ones:
What does God, through St. Paul, mean when He uses the phrase, "God's chosen ones?" In this case, the people that believe in His life and promise. AND, those who don't.
Think about this for a minute. God chooses EVERYONE to be saved. God WANTS everyone to be saved. Because of the stubbornness of people to choose not to know this, not everyone WILL be saved. So God is speaking to His Church, His people who believe in all that God did for them, especially the salvation from sins by means of Jesus. We are "holy and beloved" because we believe in Jesus and what He did.
Every aspect from God to demonstrate by words and actions what He continues to do for you and the rest of the world.
In other words, put your life as a Christian out there for all to see. Exercise compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, forbearance, and forgiveness. Put into practice everything to makes you a Christian. Including, the love that comes from God through His Son, Jesus, and radiates out from you and through you. Be Jesus with each other. Set aside all that is not Christ in you. As we love one another, we see Christ in each other and we show Jesus to the world.
This is our calling. This is our life. Let's do this.
Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Will we ever forget the horror? I won't. I was at a prayer meeting when I heard that a plane hit one of the World Trade Center towers. I initially thought it was a Cessna or other small plane. Little did I know at the time that the plane was a 737.
For the rest of the day, we watched as the first of the Two Towers burned, the second plane hitting the second tower, and then the eventual collapse of both.
God says through David in Psalm 55:1-5,
Listen, O God, to my prayer! Do not ignore my appeal for mercy! Pay attention to me and answer me. I am so upset and distressed, I am beside myself because of what the enemy says, and because of how the wicked pressure me, for they hurl trouble down upon me and angrily attack me. My heart beats violently within me; the horrors of death overpower me; terror overwhelms me.
It was a very difficult time for the United States and even for the Church. We tried to make some kind of sense of senselessness. All we, the Church, could come to was the grace and mercy of God.
Our enemies tried to destroy the financial center of the United States, and potentially the world. It didn't happen. In spite of horror and terror, anger and fear, we have rebounded. We now have the Freedom Tower.
The Freedom Tower stands in the place of the former towers reminding our country that we will persevere and we will come back. It stands for victory.
We also have two other symbols as Christians that stand for victory. The first is the cross of Jesus. Jesus died on an instrument originally design to humiliate and to curse. It now stands and a symbol of forgiveness and peace with God.
The second symbol is the empty tomb. Jesus sanctified the graves of all who believe because of His being laid in a tomb. The victory is in His resurrection. That is why the tomb is empty. He is not here. He is risen! And David continues to share from God the victory starting in verse 16 of Psalm 55.
As for me, I will call out to God, and the LORD will deliver me. During the evening, morning, and noontime, I will lament and moan, and He will hear me. He will rescue me and protect me from those who attack me, even though they greatly outnumber me. ... Throw your burden upon the LORD, and He will sustain you. He will never allow the godly to be upended. But You, O God, will bring them down to the deep Pit. Violent and deceitful people will not live eve half a normal lifespan. But as for me, I trust in You.
Trust in the Lord God, lean on Him through the horrors of life. And He will give to you the victory of life in Jesus Christ.
Monday, September 10, 2018
Acts 2:46-47: And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
Billy Graham was a follower of Jesus. God worked salvation through him. Decade after decade this man of God continued to bring the message of Jesus to the world. Thousands of people came to hear him speak. He spoke with the power and grace of God. Thousands over those decades came to believe in Jesus' saving grace.
For all the success that God brought to the Kingdom of God through Billy Graham, even his ministry could not keep up with the Apostles. The reason why was, the Apostles were amongst the people of the community, DAILY. Every day, God sent the Apostles out amongst the people. Every day, God blessed the community with salvation through the Apostles. Every day people were being added to the Kingdom of God.
The Church: (AKA, you and I)
The question then becomes, Can the growth of the Church that was under the Apostles, be duplicated in the United States? It is being duplicated in Asia and Africa. Why not here?
The answer is simple. IT CAN BE DONE HERE simply by being "Jesus with skin on" where we work, live, and have our being. When you are, at the very least, well respected as a Christian man or woman, when your life and words show and share Jesus' forgiveness and life, then it can be done. Let go of your concerns and let the Holy Spirit work through you. It is that simple.
So let us see what God will do through us as we Love One Another.
Wednesday, September 5, 2018
Colossians 1:27-28: To them [Gentile Christians] God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of his mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.
Why Do We Teach?
It is to bring people, whether they're preschoolers, elementary kids, middle schoolers, intermediate schoolers, high schoolers, college students, and beyond, the power and riches of the wisdom of God encapsulated in Jesus Christ Himself. Jesus told the remaining 11 apostles to make disciples by means of baptism AND teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
We teach in order to get the riches of the life that is Christian into people's lives. That is why we have a school. That is why we have Sunday School classes for children and adults.
We want people, all people, to experience God's love. Sometimes love says, "No, that is wrong. That is sinful. Do you not know this? You were taught the laws of God. Did you chose not to remember?" Love says, "I'm sorry. I was wrong. I know that is sinful against God and against you. Will you please forgive me?" Love also says, "I Do forgive you because Jesus forgave you of all your sins. You are a saint, forgiven and love by means of the sacrifice of Jesus. NOW, go and sin no more."
This is maturity of faith and life with God through Jesus.
Tuesday, September 4, 2018
Matthew 11:25-26: At that time, Jesus declared, "I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children, yes Father, for such was Your gracious will."
Rally Day 2018:
It's a day that kicks off the beginning of a new year of Sunday School instruction for children and those who receive Jesus like a little child. For we are the ones to whom God, through His Word, is revealing what we need.
Futility of Wisdom:
You see, the "wise and understanding," those who think human wisdom and knowledge is the pinnacle of all we need, don't get God. They're too proud to catch the simplicity of the wisdom of God. They're too full of themselves to see the folly of their "wisdom." All their wisdom does, is lead them to eventually see the futility of it. It's "chasing after the wind." They can try to be "like God" all they want. And they never will.
Come to the Revelation:
Come to realize God's will for your life. Come to read and learn from the revelation of God's Will. Come and see that people for thousands of years, rebelled against the wisdom of God. Come and see how God brought them to contrition, confession, and repentance. Come and see how God saved them in Jesus Christ. Come and see it all in God's Word. Come and read His Word, powered and written by the Holy Spirit through men throughout the ages. Come and let God reveal Himself and His wisdom and understanding. Come and hear it, believe it, and live it.
See you Sunday for Rally Day 2018.
Wednesday, August 29, 2018
Matthew 24:32-35: [Jesus is saying,] "From the fig tree learn its' lesson: as soon as its' branch becomes tender and puts out its' leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that He is near, at the very gates. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away."
Jesus was asked, "When is the end of it all going to happen.?" Jesus then begins to teach His disciples what must take place before the end of the world, the end of everything will take place. He wants His disciples to:
What are the signs? What am I looking for? Am I looking for behaviors, patterns of life, and the like? And then, after I watch all these things, what am I learning?
It is our calling to watch what is happening in the world. We observe how the world is going "to hell in a hand basket." The world is so "me centered" it's ridiculous. For example, people miss behave because they want someone's attention. They want someone to love them, yet no one is watching. And that is when bad behavior happens.
The point is, Jesus wants us to watch what the world is doing and learn from it.
We learn by observation. We learn and then do things based upon what we learned. Jesus uses a great example of watching and learning. What do you learn by watching the fig tree grow? You learn that soon the fig tree will blossom and grow and then you'll be able to harvest its' fruit and eat.
What are you learning from the ways of the world and what is happening? Are you learning anything about yourself? I hope so. I hope that you're learning that you share the same characteristics and the same core as everyone else. You are a sinner, too. You're not "better" than anyone else because you're a Christian. The difference between you and the world is, you KNOW AND BELIEVE that Jesus is Your salvation. That is what you learned from His Word, which will never pass away.
Now what are you willing and able to do based upon what you learned about yourself? Are you going to take that Word of God and live your life according to it? Are you going to share that Word that changed your life that can change the other person's life with him or her?
The answer to all three questions is, "Yes with the help of God." You are a Christian when you believe in your heart that Jesus forgave you by means of His death and gave you a new life through His resurrection. You can, AND WILL, do these things because God is in you.
Are you perfect? No. Are you forgiven of all your sins? YES! So stand up and stand out. Your faith and life is equipped by Jesus' Word. Your hope is encouraged by His grace and forgiveness. And His love engages you to serve and grow and live.
Watch and Learn.
August 27, 2018
Philippians 4:8-9: Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Have you ever tried to find "the holy grail?" What I mean is that elusive good, that is said, is in all of us? Paul is, for all intents of purpose, is telling us to search for the good, the noble, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy.
It is an elusive search, isn't it? After all, look at the world, Everybody is out for themselves. There is no community, there is no honor, loyalty, nothing commendable, and nothing seems to be trustworthy. Do you want to know why?
Sin is the root answer. We are conceived sinful. This means there is no connection to God. It means we do not have the linkage to the source of anything Paul describes.
Again we ask, to where to we go for truth, honor, justice, purity, loveliness, commendable, excellence, praise? We go to God. We go to the ONLY one who is all of the above. We go to Jesus Christ, His Son, our Savior and Lord and His sacrifice that forgave our sins and freed us from the power, impact, and devlishness of sin. We have a new life to seek out God in all His glory.
And we go to the Church, the Holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection and the body and the life ever lasting. The Church is the people and the place where we learn and grow and receive and hear of God's grace and love. It is through the Church that we receive the answers and source of our search. It is in and through the Church and the Holy Bible that the Holy Spirit works.
The holy grail is God and through the Church. Your search begins and ends here.
And come to Faith Lutheran Church and School. You'll find what you're looking for here.
Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Psalm 100: Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness. Come into His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God! It is He who made us, and we are His. We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name! For the Lord is good, His steadfast love endures forever, and His faithfulness to all generations.
There was a lady in one of the congregations I served who commented on the reality that the congregation did not sing out loud. They sang quietly. Ethel said, "I can't sing. I make a croaking sound." I said to her, "It's all about making a joyful 'noise' to the Lord."
In our text, God doesn't call us to have "perfect pitch" or sing loudly, so loudly that it drowns every one else out. God wants us to make a joyful noise.
There are couple of reasons.
He IS GOD!
There is no other. He is IT! God made the world, the universe, and all that is in it. God created us and placed us in a position in authority over the entire creation. WE ARE HIS. We were, are, and always will be, people of God. And when we put our faith and trust in Him and Jesus Christ who died to forgive our sins and rise to bring to us God's new life free from sin, we for Him, with Him, and by Him. We follow our Lord and praise His name.
His Steadfast Loves Endures
God will always, always, always love us. There is never a time in our lives that He does not. At the same time, God love includes a time of discipline, correction, and rebuking. God, because He loves us, allows us to fall and fail because we are sinful and sinners. He does it to lead us to repentance, to contrition, and to FORGIVENESS. And because God loves us, He sent Jesus to be the sacrifice of sacrifices that forgives our sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. God, through the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus, gives us a new life to believe, know, and follow Him. And thereby praise Him for all that He's done.
So let us make a joyful noise for all God has done, and continues to do, for us.
Monday, August 20, 2018
Mark 10:15-16: [Jesus is saying,] "Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it." And He took in His arms and blessed them, laying His hands on them.
Faith Lutheran School starts its' new school year next Monday. So what better time to dive deep into the the artery of our Vision, "Loving our Children." And what better text for our topic than what Jesus says about His love for children. And for adults. It's all about the:
State of Faith:
Jesus uses the phrase, "like a child." A child believes and trusts. A child, even though the child is rebellious many times, does trust and believe. The child will push the envelope and patience of the parents. Yet the child also believes and trusts that his/her parents will always be there.
Here Jesus is saying to the adults, some who were prohibiting the children to come to Jesus, "If you want to be in my Kingdom, you will need to trust me like your child trusts you. Believe in me and you will enter my Kingdom."
Where is the state of your faith? Is it, "Just the facts, ma'am." When you begin to think about that, then it's no faith at all. There is no trust. It's all about what you can do, see, touch, taste, smell, and hear.
On the other side of the coin, faith trusts, faith receives, faith realizes that it is about the work of Jesus and not about me. Faith goes beyond the sight, the sounds, the smells, and the works. The state of your faith is believing in what Jesus did, trusting in His promises, and relying on God that He does, and will do, what He says.
And then, you're in the kingdom.
Are you ready to put your faith in the hands of the man from Galilee? Let's do it.
Wednesday, August 8, 2018
Exodus 34:29: When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God.
Have you ever heard about a person "glowing" after being in the presence of someone they love? "She was simply radiating." is a sentence similar to what I heard before or after a wedding ceremony.
So if someone was "radiating" in a wedding ceremony, think about being in the presence of God. That is what happened with Moses. He was glowing, much like the picture below.
People say, "That was cool then. Moses was up on the mountain or in the Tabernacle with God. Of course he's going to glow. But that doesn't happen now."
Really? Do we diminish the presence of God that much? Or, do we think that God isn't in the world today? The reason we think, is that there is so much sin and sorrow and hurt in the world. How can God even be here?
He is here. He IS HERE! For us as Christians, this is critical and crucial. For one, Jesus said, "Whenever two or more are gathered in my name, I am with them." And at the same time, God is with us whenever and wherever we go.
We are glowing when we gather in His presence. We are filled with the Holy Spirit through the Word and through the Sacraments. AND we carry that presence into the community. And through faith in Jesus, we will not let the glow fade. Because of Jesus and our faith in what He did, we will carry the glow of grace to the world.
Dear God continue to pour out Your Spirit upon Your Church and lead us to share and show the glow of Your grace, Amen.
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.