Newsletter

Lutheran Hour Ministry- Sermon Schedule for October 2017

Published on October 3, 2016

October 2  "The Only Way to Live: By Faith!"  Lutheran Hour Speaker: Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz
God cares about you, listens to you, and answers your difficult questions with grace and compassion.
(Habakkuk 1:1-4; 2:1-4)

October 9  "Lord, Give Me What I Need -- Give Me Faith!"  Lutheran Hour Speaker: Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz
You don't have to settle for what the world hands you. You can live by faith in the Son of God who heals, forgives, and restores.
(Luke 17:11-19)

October 16  "Know This Word -- Your Life Depends on It"  Lutheran Hour Speaker: Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz
The Bible provides a strategy for survival in an uncertain world. It can break hearts of stone and replace them with living hearts open to God's truth.
(2 Timothy 3:16)

October 23  "Running the Race of Faith"  Lutheran Hour Speaker: Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz
Because Christ has already won the victory for us, our race of faith is worth the struggle of the run.
(2 Timothy 4:6-8)

October 30  "The Best Bequest"  Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour: Rev. Dr. Ken Klaus
A legacy of faith is the best bequest, giving the gift of Jesus to those who come after you.
(Luke 12:19-21)

 

Trunk or Treat

Published on October 3, 2016

 

Mark your calendars and save the date.  Saturday, October 29th from 3-5 p.m., we will have our annual Trunk or Treat.  We're hoping to see lots of participation and have our parking lot completely full!!!! If anybody has questions or needs help coming up with a game I can provide a game or help you come up with one. Let's make this really fun for all of our little ones!!!!   Please contact  Tara Lara at  575-914-3329.

 

LCMS Stewardship Article

Published on October 3, 2016

October 2016

 

Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again. If you believe this gospel, if you stand upon it, and cling to it, you are saved. Trust in this is the dividing line. It defines, either positively or negatively, all men. It separates and divides Cain from Abel, Job from his so-called friends, Abraham from Abimelech, Isaac from Ishmael, Jacob from Esau, David from Saul, Daniel from Belshazzar, Joseph from Herod, Lazarus from the rich man, and the tax collector from the Pharisee. What defines men is not whether they are good or bad, but whether or not they believe in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins.

 

The problem with man is his heart. Our hearts are fallen and predisposed to think that we can impress God. We think that if we do all the right things God will rewards us, and we will escape evil. We think that God will be impressed with our gifts, that our prosperity and goodness is evidence that God loves us or that it should motivate God to love us.

 

But we know better because God has blessed us with the faith of Abel, Job, and Abraham. We know that God's grace in Christ saves us, not our works.

 

We know that God is not impressed with our giving. He is not impressed when we give him that which is already his. God doesn’t benefit from our giving and He doesn’t need it. But our neighbor does need it. And God delights in us growing more and more like Him. He blesses us, and He invites us to bless one another with our giving: so that the Gospel may be proclaimed, so that the poor may be fed, so that all God's work through the Church may be done.

 

So consider God's priorities in comparison to your own. And be honest. Reevaluate where you are and where God has called you to be.  Look into your own bank statement. Would any accountant think that the Church was your priority? He would see a spreadsheet filled with where your money actually goes: into house and clothing and cars, into eating out and beauty supplies and entertainment. Indeed, much of it wasted on frivolous things. But would he find great percentages going to the church? Figure up the percentage. Put it in relation to the proportion of your income. What percentage of your income do you give for the mission of the church: the preaching and teaching, the baptizing and communing, the help for the weak and poor brothers of Christ? Is it even enough for a deduction when you file your income taxes? The widow gave all she had and thought nothing of it. She was glad to do it. The rich man gave what to him was meaningless, trifle amount and desired a plaque in his honor. Why is it that the less we give the prouder we are and the more credit we expect?

 

All your works, even your monetary gifts, done in faith please God now for Christ's sake. No matter how great or small, frequent or infrequent. They are all washed and cleansed by grace through faith on account of Christ. Whatever you do from faith in God pleases him for the sake of the Son. So reevaluate your generosity in the light of the grace of Christ. Freely you have received, freely give.

 

NOTE FROM THE PASTOR

Published on October 3, 2016

        

God shows His love to Christendom With blessings ever mounting,

Among which He hath made for them Bright hosts beyond all counting;

So let us all with gladness sing, This day to God our thanks we bring

For our angelic guardians.

 

They dress for war when dangers near, And to the battle hasten,

To rescue all who God revere, And all the foe to chasten;

So let us all with gladness sing, This day to God our thanks we bring

For our angelic guardians.

“God Shows His Love to Christendom,” WH 155 stzs. 1 & 2

 

Greetings and a blessed Michaeltide to you!

 

The Reformation, 499 Years

 

This month marks the 499th anniversary of the posting of the 95 Theses on the Castle church (Schloßkirche) door in Wittenberg. Martin Luther’s theses have more in common with the Roman Catholic theology prevalent at the time than they do with Lutheran theology as we know it. These theses were meant to be talking points for an academic discussion on the abuse of indulgences and the true nature of repentance as taught by the Scriptures. Nonetheless, history has chosen this day to commemorate the Reformation. Next year, 2017, the church and the world celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. In preparation for this momentous occasion our Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod has put together a website: http://lutheranreformation.org. Here you will find abundant resources to explore the history of the Reformation and Martin Luther. Of note also is the Issues, Etc. series with the Rev. Dr. Ken Schurb on the life and works of Martin Luther. This is well worth the listen and has been ongoing for nearly a year, http://issuesetc.org/martin-luther-and-the-reformation/.

Available in the narthex are copies of the 95 theses. Please pick up a copy if your are interested in Luther’s arguments in 1517. Gentlemen please don’t forget to join us every month for Gemütlichkeit where we have been discussing Luther’s life and works. This month, October, we will meet at the Hicks’ to discuss Luther on Law and Gospel.

One final note, Lutherans are often accused of Luther worship. It is hard to avoid this accusation, since history and our adversaries gave us the title “Lutheran.” The first Lutherans actually called themselves Evangelicals, people of the Gospel or in German, Evangelium. However we must firmly proclaim that we worship God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit and our faith, the Lutheran faith is chiefly about Christ and him crucified. The Blessed Doctor Martin Luther was a chief teacher of the faith and an admirable theologian and doctor of the church. He too was a sinner, redeemed by Christ, and we give thanks to God alone for his contributions to the Church.

 

Status Controversiae: “Pastor, I’ve Got a Bone to Pick with You”

“Acolytes (or the roles of men and women)”

 

Introduction (Reprinted from August)

It is inevitable that something I do or say will get the hackles up of someone in the congregation at some point in the time that I am here as your pastor. It has already happened, and surely will continue. It happens with every pastor. I am not unique. The arguments are different of course, but there will be differences between members of the congregation and her pastor. In light of this I’ve decided to dedicate a portion of the newsletter to status controversiae, or states of controversy. Here I hope to unpack some questions that have been brought to me in order to discuss publicly where others come from, where I might stand, what ought to be taught, and where we are in working through the various disagreements that will arise as long as more than one person is involved in Christ’s church.

 

NOTE: The point of this section of the newsletter is to discuss topics that may be on the minds of many in thecongregation. The goal is to have a public forum in order to teach on these topics and to keep the Ten Commandments in doing so. This is not a venting place for me or for the congregation, but it is meant to be a healthy place to discuss what needs to be discussed and to teach what needs to be taught. Please talk to me about what you read here. My goal is to cover one at a time, because in order to give each topic the proper coverage a brief statement will not suffice. This month’s topic is: “acolytes (or the roles of men and women).” The following months will be: “Divine Service: Ceremony or Show?,” “Lutherans and Vestments: Meaningful Tradition or Catholic Costumery?”. Please see me if you have a suggestion for a topic of concern and I will attempt to work it in.

 

“Acolytes (or the roles of men and women)”

Our culture is currently a battleground for the discussion of the sexes (commonly called genders). The Church always has the backing of the Scriptures to stand firm upon God’s creation of mankind, both male and female. However we Christians have not always stood firm upon God’s Word and his design for mankind.  You may wonder why the title discusses both the roles of men and women and acolytes (those who light candles for the services of the Church). My hope and goal is that by the conclusion of this article the connection between the two will be solidified and that many will understand why this is a topic worth caring about.

The Scriptures establish firmly what we call the “orders of creation.” Man is given headship in the family as the husband (Ephesians 5; Genesis 2; Matthew 19). Woman is given the role of helpmeet (Ephesians 5; Genesis 2; Matthew 19). These roles reflect the eternal roles of Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5). This should inform how we think about all roles of men and women in both the home and the church and also in society.

The past century in America has done great damage to our understanding of the orders of creation and how men and women are to relate. The damage is so great that almost all of us are affected by the wiles of feminism and egalitarianism to a certain extent. But we need to instead examine the roles of men and women in light of God’s Word, the Scriptures and not simply use our culture to decide what is relevant about the Scriptures for today. The latest issue of the Lutheran Witness dealt with the roles of women at length and did very well in doing so.

Here we enter into the discussion of the roles of men and women in the Church. The Scriptures firmly teach that the Office of the Holy Ministry was given to the male apostles. As man is the head of the household, so do men hold the office of pastor for the distribution of Word and Sacrament. Our church teaches from this that men hold the church roles of president and elder because these deal with pastoral responsibilities and the headship given to the husband in the family. Laymen and women alike have the responsibility and duty to teach their families the Word of god and to raise their families in the faith. Boys and girls should be trained in order that they would know what roles husbands and wives and men and women have both in the Church and at home.

Acolytes have often been viewed from a stark pragmatic or practical position. The candles need to be lit and confirmands have lit the candles. In fact in this congregation, as in many others, girl acolytes were introduced because there was only one boy acolyte at the time. This was indeed a practical solution.

After much teaching and discussion the pastors and elders have decided to train the boys to be acolytes in order to show them how men serve the Church as pastors and elders. For a good part of the history of the Church, the role of altar server or acolyte was considered a minor order amongst the clergy, thus it was for boys only. One sees this distinction in the traditional robes of acolytes which were designed for males, not for “unisex” use. Likewise we have decided to train the girls of the congregation to serve the Altar Guild. By training our boys to be men and our girls to be ladies, here at the Church we are doing our part to instill in our children the values of the Scriptures while the world wishes them to have different values.

I understand this move to be a change in practice. Many of you have learned to expect all children to serve as acolytes. We ask for your patience as we train our children in the Word and in practices that seek to honor the orders of creation. The devil will attempt to use any and all changes in practice and teaching to challenge our faith and resolve. Please speak with us, the pastors and the elders, about any concerns you may have so that we may speak cordially as Christians and use the Word of God wisely and prudently to serve the Gospel.

 

Blessed Michaeltide!

 

In Christ,

 

 

Pastor Paul

 

 

 

LCMS Stewardship Newsletter Article May 2016

Published on May 16, 2016

Do we Christians really have to tithe? Are we really under a compulsion to give? Aren't we free? Don't we have a freedom from the law that was purchased for us by Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection?

The problem is that our sinful flesh uses our freedom for selfishness. Christ did not die and rise so that we could give less and do less good work in the world. He died and rose to free us from the compulsion of the Law, to free us from a burden we could not bear.

We are missing the point completely if we use the freedom from the Law that Christ won by His passion, crucifixion, and resurrection to give less, or to do less of any good work. Christ set us free to live in His image of faithfulness, generosity, and kindness. We are free from the Law's condemnation so that we can walk in the good works the Lord has prepared for us.

Our freedom is not given to indulge our sinful and selfish flesh. Our freedom was purchased and won by Christ so that we could serve our neighbors — our family, our society, our church.

As a result, much of your freedom is not a freedom from, but a freedom to and for. You are not free from serving your neighbor. You are free for service toward your neighbor—willingly and without compulsion. You are not free from giving to your church; you are freed to give to your local congregation in joy, willingly, and without compulsion.

The reason you are free to serve, the reason you are free to give is because of Jesus Christ and the forgiveness of sin He won for you on the cross, which He delivers to you in the Gospel and the sacraments. That is our motivation. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). And since God loves us in this way, by giving us His only-begotten Son so that we do not perish, we also love one another in this way, by giving what we have so that our neighbor does not perish.

If the God who has provided the sacrifice for your eternal salvation, the God who delivers that salvation to you in Holy Baptism, the God who continues to forgive you and show you His faithfulness, if that same God is the one who also promises to give you daily bread and take care of your earthly life, you can trust in Him, even in giving. After all, Jesus Christ is proof that God loves you and will take care of you.