Best present ever!

Don’t know what to get that special person for Christmas this year?  Well if you Google any help you may be overwhelmed.  Here is what popped up for me when I did a search for the best present this year:

  • Best Tech gifts 2017
  • 55+ Cool gifts for Teens
  • 90+ Best Christmas Gifts 2017
  • Top Toys 2017
  • 47 Best Tech Gifts for Men and Women 2017
  • Trending Gifts 2017

You got my point don’t you?  Every company wants you to think that their product is the best gift to give someone or even request for yourself.

One of the great things about being a Christian is that we have the best gift that anyone could ever give us.  Our heavenly father gave us the gift of his son as our Savior. The one who paid the price for our sins with his blood.  As I kid the best gift I thought I ever got was the year I received a train set.  The note in the package told me to go out to the garage and find my gift.  I ventured my way out there and found a train set put together on a piece of plywood.  FANTASTIC!  This is mine!  Awesome.  One of the problems was that the train set had to stay in the garage and the garage was really more like a shed that didn’t have any heat.  And living in Illinois it is usually cold and snowy in the winter.  I found ways to play with it but it wasn’t as awesome as I thought.  As I’ve gotten older I still remember the train set but don’t have it anymore.  But the best gift my parents gave to me was the gift of Jesus.   I still have him today and know that I have heaven through him.

Jesus is awesome!  He is our Savior!  He lead a perfect life by keeping all of God’s laws and humbled himself on the cross.  We have heaven because of this.  Jesus is the best gift you can give anyone this Christmas.  You can wrap an invitation to our Christmas services and share it with someone you know who needs to hear about Jesus.  We’ve got cards on the table in the back of the Sanctuary and Ministry Center that you can grab and share with your friends.  Think about the gift that has been given to you by someone who loved you.  Share that free gift of Jesus –it never expires, breaks, rusts or decays!  Invite, share and hear the good news of Jesus!

Advertisements

Reformation 500

This past week I was privileged to be part of the AZ-CA Pastor-Teacher-Staff Minister conference in San Diego, CA.  Our conferences meet together to celebrate unity and the 500th year of the Reformation.  We were blessed to worship together with an opening service of instruments, choirs, great congregational singing, God’s word and the celebration of Holy Communion.   It was very uplifting and encouraging.

We’ve been celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation during 2017 in the Lutheran Church.  500 years since Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the Castle church door to create a discussion with the church leaders about what they were teaching.  Martin Luther brought back the true teaching of God’s word.  Sola Gratia-by Grace Alone, Sola Fide-by Faith Alone, Sola Scriptura-by Scripture Alone and Solus Christus–By Christ Alone.

God used Martin Luther at this specific point in time to bring about a reformation to the church to get back to the true teaching.  While we appreciate what Martin Luther did we need to be careful that we don’t elevate him to high.  God was ultimately in charge and used Martin Luther for his purpose.  Right guy at the right time with the right inventions and support system in place to proclaim the truth of God’s Word.

Are you ready for God to use you?  You don’t have to become the next Martin Luther to make an impact on winning souls for Jesus.  God gives us plenty of opportunities to share our faith in the inner workings of a day in your life.  We have coworkers, family members, neighbors, the cashier at the store, the guy next to you on the bus or the mom and her kids at the library.   Is your light of Christ’s love shining wherever you go?  Are you standing up for the truths that Martin Luther demanded?  God’s grace and mercy has provided us salvation through his son Jesus.  We have no part in it.  Shout it boldly and confidently, I am a redeemed child of God!!  Thank you Jesus!

Soli Deo Gloria 

To the glory of God alone!

Telephone Game

Do you remember the game you played when you were a kid called “the telephone game”.  Someone would whisper a phrase into the ear of the first person in line and you would turn to the person next to you and repeat what you heard.  Finally when you made it to the end of the line the last person blurted out the phrase that was told to them.  Nine times out of ten is wasn’t anywhere near what the original phrase started out to be.  It was “lost in translation” along the line.  People weren’t paying attention or just processed the words differently and interpreted it into what they thought they heard.  It is actually quite fun to see how badly people share the phrase.

Some people try to say that the Bible is like that the “telephone game”.  The words recorded in the Bible have just been stories told to people through the years and they’ve translated them into their own words.  They say that there is no way that these words have made it through the years and have recorded everything accurately.

Um, yes they have been recorded accurately.  The words of the Bible are God’s words given to us through men of God led by the Holy Spirit to record it for us today.  There is no mistaking the words of Moses, Matthew and Paul along with the other writers as God’s word.

We do not have to fear we have a half truth or someone’s interpretation.  As we celebrate the 500th year of the reformation lets rejoice in the Sola’s:  Sola Gratia-By Grace Alone; Sola Fide-By Faith Alone  and Sola Scriptura – By Scripture Alone. No Telephone Game here just the true word of God.

(here is a link to Pastor Paul Prange’s article on Sola Gratia: https://wels.net/sola-gratia-part-2/)

Frustration levels

What gets you frustrated?  It could be the kids and their ability to do exactly the opposite of what you’ve asked.  A cartoon in the Sunday paper made me laugh.  Basically, mom asked the son to rake the leaves in the front yard.  She asked if he had done it and he said “mom, they are called “leaves”, why should I rake them up.”  Ah, the thought process  of children.   Maybe some of your relationships get you frustrated or your job gets you a bit frustrated.  Traffic, the weather,  bills, medical information and a host of other things get us frustrated.

How do you think God’s frustration level is with us?  He’s laid out the laws and commands that we are to follow and we fail miserably.  In the old testament his people, the children of Israel, failed miserably as well.  There was this flow of following God, turning away from God and then repentance coming back to God.  The thing is it wasn’t just a one time happening, it was continuous.  Yet God out of his love and mercy for his people protected and provided for them, just like he does for us today.

His love, mercy and grace provides a Savior for us.  The perfection he demands is fulfilled by Jesus.  The price is paid in full by Jesus.  His death was for us.  We get frustrated taking the blame for someone else’s mistake at work or home.  Remember how angry you are when that happens?  Jesus didn’t have any anger towards God about what he was to do.  No frustration, just loving obedience.

As we continue to try to more and more like Jesus turn all your frustrations over to him.  Let Jesus carry your burdens.  1 Peter 5:6,7 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your care on Him, because He cares about you.

Are you a fan?

You see it all over town.  People are wearing their favorite sports team on their heads, their shirts, decals on their vehicles or flags at home.  Season ticket holders who are always there dressed up supporting their team.   It isn’t limited to sports teams.  What’s on your shirt?  The Nike swoosh logo or Coke T-shirt; Abercrombie &Fitch or Coach have their logos out there as well and we boldly say “I am a fan of these companies!”

Sports fan tend to have more emphasis on “fanatic” than your merchandising companies.  People go all out and with makeup, clothes, trinkets and signs.  Well living in Green Bay we saw all kinds of fanaticism.

Yes, there are the casual fans who watch a game on tv and cheer them on but don’t really care who wins or loses.  Then you have the bandwagon fans who “hop on” to the group of people rooting for the team because they are playing well only to jump off when the start to lose.

Would you call yourself a FAN of Christianity?  Would you be considered a fan of Jesus?  What category would you pace yourself in?

  1. Fanatic-all Jesus all the time
  2. Casual Fan-Take him or leave him
  3. Bandwagon Fan-When things are going well-Yeah Jesus –when life gets tough-Boo Jesus

I think we’d all like to say we are Fanatic’s of Jesus.  ALL JESUS ALL THE TIME but does your life look like that?  Do you honor, revere, support, share and live your life honoring Jesus?  We fail miserably at being a fanatic of Jesus but it doesn’t mean we give up trying to be.

We talk the talk but don’t always walk the walk of following Christ.  My encouragement this week is to be a FANATIC of Christ!   Get to know your God by reading his word.  Learn more of your Savior by diving into the word with personal study and devotions.  Support TEAM JESUS with your presence in worship this coming week.

See you this weekend!  Saturday at 6pm or Sunday at 9 am!

Why do things work the way they do?

I love having electricity in my home.  It runs the air conditioning, the appliances, the TV, charges my phone and helps in cleaning with the vacuum.  I don’t understand how it all works however.  The power plant creates the electricity through coal, nuclear fission or hydroelectricity and then send over some wires that get to my house and power my grid.  Crazy.

What about all the microprocessor chips in your computer and phones?  Do you understand how all that information is saved on chips made out of silica?  Life is full of things we accept but don’t understand how they work.  Why is so it so hard for people to accept what God’s word says?  By our human intellect and rationale it is hard to fathom all the things that God’s word tells us.

He is loving God who wants all to be saved and sent his son to pay the price of our sins.  Jesus did it willingly for you and for me because that’s what his father wanted him to do.  He just did it.  No questions or hesitations.  The Holy Spirit creates the faith in us through the hearing of the word and leads us to faith in Christ Jesus.  We have to do nothing-we can do nothing.  Colossians 2:13  And when you were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive with Him and forgave us all our trespasses.

It doesn’t make sense that God does all the work for us.  Nothing dead can change anything for themselves.   We are dead in our sins and made alive in Jesus!

Jesus +perfect life+death on the cross+resurrection= Heaven is won for you and me.  Jesus paid it in full.

Love for Las Vegas

There have been a host of comments via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other social media platforms.  Some good and some bad.  One of the ones I liked was Carson Wentz, the quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles, who is also a Christian.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js“>Carson Wentz Twitter

So much hate and evil. So sad. The World needs Jesus in a bad way. Praying for all those affected in Vegas.

We do need to pray for the victims of the Las Vegas shooting and the shooters family.  But we also need to pray for the people of the world and show them love by sharing Jesus with them.  We need to be in the word more often and share God’s love and mercy.

The words from James 1:19-22

 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

Be an active participant by praying continually but also share the good news of JESUS with people.  It’s our responsibility motivated by Christ’s love for us.