And Him Only
Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Matthew 4:10: Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve.’”
Jesus says it all. Through all the temptations that Satan threw at Him, Jesus came to it. "You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only."
Worship is more than what happens on Sunday morning. Worship is a day to day walk with God. Worship is putting Him first and foremost in your life. Worship is adoring God for what He has done for you.
Worship is what "getting up (to speed)" with God is all about. It is a relationship with your Lord, your Savior, your Redeemer, your God who made you holy and keeps you holy. Worship is the relationship that you have with your Creator and Friend.
And it is this worship life that Satan wants to take away from you. Satan wants you not to worship God. He doesn't care who you worship. As long as it isn't God. Satan knows that when you worship God and have a relationship with Him, he is toast. Satan knows that when you experience the life giving grace and salvation of Jesus, you are transformed and will be able to see his tricks, lies, and schemes. Satan knows that when you receive the grace of God through Jesus, you will be able to say to him, "Get behind me, Satan!" Let's pray.
Father God, thank You for Jesus who forgave us our sins and cleansed us from all unrighteousness. Thank You for the Holy Spirit who guides and directs our lives through Your Word and grace. Thank You for the new life that worships you. We pray this thanksgiving in Jesus' name. And all God's children say...
The Struggles we Face
Monday, February 27, 2017
1st Thessalonians 3:4: For when we were with you, we kept telling you beforehand that we were to suffer affliction, just as it has come to pass, and just as you know.
Christians struggle and suffer, just like everybody else. We face challenges and issues as well. The difference between the non-Christian and the Christian is the hope and promise from God in Jesus Christ. God does not promise that the lives of Christians will be perfect in this earthly lifetime. He DOES promise that we will have the perfect life with Him in heaven because of Jesus' life, death, resurrection, and ascension.
So in the mean time, before we go to heaven, we live lives that struggle. We will struggle with many things and issues that can take over our lives. Things like addictions, the pleasure of self and self indulgence. We struggle with things that may pull us away from God and His grace. Or at the very least cloud our judgment and sight based upon faith. So we try to "give them up for Lent." During the time when we focus our attention of the sacrificial life of Jesus, we too think that we can "give up" a few habits that are annoying at best.
This season we want to focus on "Getting Up (to Speed) with the grace and mercy and love of God and what He did for us through Jesus. In that way, we connect more fully to Jesus' life and the power of His life for us. Let's pray.
Dear God and Father, be with us by Your Holy Spirit and lead us through our challenges and struggles. Lead us to see the life You have for us and to focus upon the life of Jesus. We pray in His name. And all God's children say...
I Was There
Thursday, February 23, 2017
2nd Peter 1:17-18: For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.
"I was there." Peter is saying. "I saw Jesus change. I saw Moses and Elijah. I heard the Voice. I am reporting the truth of it."
And more than just reporting the truth of what happened, Peter lived the truth of Jesus. Peter died for the truth of Jesus. Peter's life, especially after the day of Pentecost, was living with the truth of what he experienced and what he saw. Peter's actions are reported in the Acts of the Apostles and in his letters to the Church. Peter's life was all about living, breathing, and dying Jesus so that people would, and did, come to believe in Jesus and Jesus' life for them.
What about you? Now none of us were there on that mountain of Transfiguration. We didn't see it all happen. And we have the tendency to say, "How do I know what Peter says happened, happened? After all, it's just his word. He could have made it all up.
But he didn't. We believe Peter was there. We trust the truth of his account. We trust and believe in God the Holy Spirit who inspired Matthew to write the account in his Gospel and we trust and believe in Peter's recounting of the truth.
The power of the Holy Spirit through the Word of God brings the reality of the events to life in order to inspire our faith and life. And because we trust in the truth, we live our lives according to it. We now say, "I am there. I see the Transfiguration. I hear the Voice of the Father. He inspires me. He moves me to live my life by means of His grace and love." Let's pray.
Father God, thank You for Peter's eyewitness of Jesus. Thank You for leading us to the truth of Peter. Lead us through the truth to live the truth in our lives today. We pray this in Jesus' name. And all God's children say...
This is Who I Am
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Matthew 17:2: And he [Jesus] was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light.
"I read the words. I read the description of what happened to Jesus. I just can't picture it in my head."
Most people will say something like that when they read the account of the Transfiguration of Jesus. Most people will come away confused. They do because they don't believe. The don't believe in Jesus being God. And since they don't believe Jesus is God, they can't "see" Jesus as He truly is. They can't, and won't, comprehend the light of the world in human form.
What we see in our passage today is Jesus saying to us, "This is who I am. This is my nature. I am pure light. I am grace. I am radiance. I am joy. I am salvation. I am God. I am man. This is the unveiled me. And I have come to you today to bring you life and joy and peace and salvation. I have come to die for YOU to forgive YOU and make YOU white and bright and radiant. I have come to transfigure YOU!"
And we, because of the salvation through Jesus' death and new life through His resurrection, we are transfigured from darkness to light, from death to life. Jesus did this all so that we can say, "This is who I am. I am a light bearer. I am saved. I am redeemed. I am the light of God to the world." Let's pray.
Dear God, thank You for all that You did for us through Jesus. Lead us by the Holy Spirit in us to be the light of grace. We pray this in Jesus' name. And all God's children say...
The Wisdom of Holiness
Thursday, February 16, 2017
Leviticus 19:1-2: And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,“Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy."
Some think that holiness is an inner quality of humans that needs to be searched for and discovered. Then the searcher can live the "enlightened" life. Others look for holiness in what they do or don't do for God. They believe their holiness is formed from their experiences of "doing good." Still others think that holiness comes from the goodness of the world as it is. Holiness is an experience with God and the created world. Finally, still others think there is no holiness at all. They think holiness is a myth created by man.
And what is holiness? Can people be holy? Absolutely they can. Just believe what God says to you through the prophet Moses. "You are holy for I the LORD your God am holy." Our holiness is a gift from God. Our holiness comes from God freely. God says so. Believe it.
And does this mean for us? There is no searching for it in ourselves. There is no holiness from our obedience. There is no holiness from nature. Holiness comes from God and God alone. That is the wisdom of holiness. Believe it. Accept the "present." Live in its' reality from God. Let's pray.
Father God, thank You for Your free gift of holiness through Your declaring it so. Lead us by Your Holy Spirit to believe it, accept the wisdom of it, and live it the truth of it. We pray in Jesus' name. And all God's children say...
Built on the Foundation
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
1st Corinthians 3:10-11: According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
When Shari and I had our house built in Waxahachie, we were watching it being built every day. Every day Shari and I both went to the house to check on the progress and correct any problems that occurred. Ask me about the hallway bathroom sometime.
What fascinated me was the variety of workers and subcontractors. One group laid the foundation. Another group put up the frame. Still another did the plumbing. And you get the picture. One group of people did not work on the house from start to finish.
And that is the way of the Church. Servants of God come. Servants go. Each servant has a part and a role to play in the growth of the Church. And we all do our work that was built on the foundation of the Church. His name is Jesus!
So let us do our work in building the Church, each of us working in concert and cooperation in order to build the Church of God based upon the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus. Let's pray.
Father God, we pray that You will guide us by the power of the Holy Spirit to serve You as we build Your Church. We pray in Jesus' name. And all God's children say...
Tuesday, February 14, 2016
John 3:16-17: [Jesus is saying,] “For God so loved ithe world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him."
Valentine's Day: It is the day that we celebrate love with cards, candy, hearts, flowers, and special dinners. Here at Faith Lutheran Church and School, there will be parties and sugar and cards and some really "energized" children.
With all of that said, Jesus says what love is all about. Love is more than an expression of loving acts. It's good that we give cards, gifts, and special time with family. It's good to express love. Jesus is talking about living love.
Jesus is talking about living out love that sacrifices, supports, cares, and nurtures. Jesus is talking about love that even speaks of living out right and wrong, law and gospel. And it is Jesus and His love that gives us so much. Jesus gives us His life so that our lives are saved.
So when we, through faith in Jesus live love, let us express our love in the ways above AND express our love in the way Jesus did; giving of ourselves for the sake of someone else. Let's pray.
Dear God, send Your Holy Spirit to us so that we live in the love of Jesus. In His name we pray. And all God's children say...
Wednesday, February 8, 2017
1st Corinthians 3:9: We are coworkers belonging to God. You are God’s field, God’s building.
This coming Sunday, my message will be about "The Servant of God's Choosing." God has chosen for Faith your called Pastors. There is two of us. Pastor James and I are very pleased to be your Pastors who are serving you with God's grace and mercy. We are looking forward to serving God and you here at Faith Lutheran Church and School in Huntsville and Walker County.
Pastor James and I are coworkers. Our responsibilities will include working side by side as brothers. Do we have it all figured out yet? No. The "New Kid on the Block," :-) is still working his way amongst you, getting to know you and your needs from me and Pastor James.
We are here to serve Jesus and you. You are the field God has planted here in Huntsville. Pastor James and I will bring God's wisdom so that you, the field of God, continue to grow. Pastor James and I are here at Faith Lutheran Church and School as builders of the building we call the "Church of God." God is the designer and architect. We are general contractors. You are the building. You are being built into a marvelous "structure" of people live and grow in the reality of Jesus Christ.
Let's grow together. Let's serve together. Let us scrape the sky and grow the fields for love of God. Let's pray.
Father God, thank You for calling Pastor James and Pastor Robert to be coworkers for You. Lead us to serve and grow the fields and the building that is Faith Lutheran Church and School here in Huntsville and Walker County. We pray this in Jesus' name. And all God's people say...
This is What the Servant Says
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Deuteronomy 30:19-20: [Moses is saying,] "I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for He is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”
Moses and the nation of Israel are parked just outside the Promised Land. It is his final message for them before Joshua leads them on.
This is what God is saying. Do not deviate from Him. Do not let go of His love for you. Hold fast to His grace. Lean on God the author and perfecter of your faith. Rely not on your own will and understanding. God is your source of life and light.
And this is what the servant of God says. This is what Pastor James and I say to you. This is what you say to your families. This is what we together say to the world.
God loves you. He sent Jesus to die for you in order to forgive your sins. Then Jesus rose in order to bring life and immortality to you.This is what the servant of God says. Let's pray.
Father God, thank You for giving us life and grace. Embolden us by the Holy Spirit to say what needs to be said. We pray this in Jesus' name. And all God's children say...
The Servant of God's Choosing
Monday, February 6, 2017
1st Corinthians 3:5: What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each.
"Back in the day," there was a big challenge amongst the Church in Corinth. Paul came and established the Church. As was his custom, and God's choosing, Paul moved from there and brought the Kingdom of God to another town. Paul left Elders in his place to serve. The God brings in Apollos to take the Church to the next level. In around the same time Aquilla and Pricilla came, a husband and wife team that God chose.
And the Church was confused? Who are we to follow? Who is our leader? Who are we to listen? While all this was happening, Paul found out about it. And the above verse summarizes what was God's answer to the questions through St. Paul.
It's the same for us here at Faith. We are blessed with many servants in order to bring the life of Jesus to those who hear the Word of God in the Church and School. We are blessed with Pastor James and myself, Jane, Kristi Pachar, Carol Germany and all the leaders of the Church and school. We believe that we are the servants of God's choosing.
So to whom do you listen? All of us. The reason is, we preach in our own ways Christ crucified to all the people God has called us to. We preach and teach the salvation from sins given freely to us by God through the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ. And we ultimately listen to Jesus. Let's pray.
Father God, thank You for the servants whom You have called into ministry. Lead them by Your Holy Spirit to share Your Word to those whom we serve at the Church and School. We pray this in Jesus' name. And all God's children say...
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.