Pastor's Blog

October 2017

Renting from God

Many moons ago my wife and I lived in an apartment. And I would joke once in a while that as long as we paid the rent for our apartment, we could probably do anything we wanted and our landlord wouldn’t really care. There could probably be mushrooms growing out of the carpet and they wouldn’t care. I said that because I always got the impression that the landlord didn’t really care about the property as much as he cared about the monthly rent check. But for most landlords there is something to be said about good renters: people who take care of the property and pay their rent on time. If you’ve ever been a landlord you know what I mean because you know what a pain it is to deal with bad renters, people who don’t care about your stuff. When they start to destroy what you own, there’s very little return on the investment, and you start to wonder if it was a good idea having them sign the lease.

In a way, God has made us renters. He has given us his Holy Word to use it carefully and to faithfully proclaim—to take care of it, in a sense. He has made us the tenants of his Word. And like any landlord, he expects us to be faithful with his property. 

And God isn't asking the moon of us. He's given us everything we need. We have our Bibles. We have Baptism and Holy Communion. Use them! Read the word. Live the word. Share the word. And God will take care of the rest. Peter says, "Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." (2 Peter 3:18)



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Repentance is Life

Raise your hand if you have ever sinned? Ok. That covers everyone.

Now raise your hand if you’ve ever felt guilty because you’ve sinned? Ok.

We’ve just established that everyone has sinned and everyone has felt guilty at one time or another.

Now, have you ever lost sleep because of a sin? Have you ever felt sick because of guilt? Have you ever given someone the “silent treatment”?

What am I getting at here? Well, I’m trying to help you realize that sin has an effect on your life. And I’m not just talking about consequences here. What I’m talking about is the spiritual corruption and decay that sin causes in our life.

One of the pre-eminent qualities of being a disciple of Christ is repentance. Repentance is one of the best tools the Lord has given to us. I know, you hear the word repentance and you think, “Well, here we go again. Pastor’s going to rake us over the coals and make us feel rotten.” No. Repentance is a gift. Repentance is a tool. Repentance makes us stronger because repentance leads to life. Repentance teaches us to examine our lives and turn from sin. Repentance teaches us to get a new heart and spirit that not only want to follow the Lord but do follow the Lord. Repentance is the tool the Lord has given us to lead us to life.

Listen to what the Lord God says about repentence through the prophet Ezekiel, "I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!" Ezekiel 18:32 



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Gospel

This past Sunday, we wrapped up a series on the gospel. In this week's blog, I just wanted to encourage you to watch through the series if you haven't had a chance yet.

We use the word "gospel" all the time, but what does it really mean and how does "the gospel" impact our life today? 

[gospel]: faith  Colossians 1:1-14

Our faith becomes weak and stagnant in our life and sometimes we just don't understand what faith really is. But when we reconnect to the source of faith's power in Christ our faith is re-awakened and it causes us to live a life worthy of Christ our Lord.

[gospel]: peace  Colossians 1:21-29

Peace eludes us in life because we sin and sin separates us from God. But we can have true and lasting peace. God’s peace comes to us through the reconciliation of Christ which changes us to be acceptable to God and enables us to suffer for Christ as we proclaim the gospel.

[gospel]: alone  Colossians 2:6-15

When we look for spiritual satisfaction outside of Christ, we abandon the only one who can save us. But when we stop looking outside of Christ for satisfaction in life and stay rooted in him, then Christ can supply everything the world can’t and he will keep us safe from our spiritual enemies.

[gospel]: life  Colossians 3:1-11

With the tragic events of the Las Vegas shooting of October 2nd, 2015 as the background, we see how life doesn't match up with the life God wants us to live. But when we remember that we are raised with Christ and that his image is being restored in us, we will cast away our sinfulness and truly live a gospel life.



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The Las Vegas Wakeup Call

When is this all going to end? When will the violence stop? When will people stop going crazy and killing each other?

In a previous blog I pondered whether or not God was trying to get our attention. Well if Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Jose, a couple of earthquakes and now this horrific killing in Las Vegas aren’t enough to get you stop in your tracks and evaluate your little life, then I don’t know what it will take.

We can get all excited about the political solution to this. We can tweet or post all we want about the evil of what happened in Las Vegas. The last I looked 58 people had died, maybe the number is more by now I didn’t look today.

But…

527 people have been murdered in Chicago, IL so far this year

179 people have been murdered in New York, NY in the same time. (an historic low I’m told!)

94 people murdered in Milwaukee, WI where I live

According to this site over 6,000 people die every hour.

The loss of life is staggering!

“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90

Death wasn’t supposed to be a part of our existence. And because of Christ it doesn’t have to be. Number your days! Cherish the hours! And make every moment captive to Christ, your Savior.



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Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. ~ 1 PETER 3:8