Righteousness

Holy God,
through Jesus Christ
you have made us righteous in your eyes
and thus redeemed us from the pit of death
through the forgiveness of our sins.
You have given us a new hope
as we look forward to and long for the paradise prepared for us.
You are an awesome God
and thus you are worthy of all
praise
and glory
and worship.
Help us to understand what it means
to bring You glory through the practicing of our righteousness.
May we not fall to the temptation of glorifying ourselves.
May we not steal the praise that is due Your wonderful name.
Now may the words of my mouth
and the meditation of our hearts
be acceptable in Your sight,
oh God,
our Rock and redeemer,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

The Mission

Holy God,
what a relief it is that my
strength,
abilities,
knowledge,
credentials,
and the like
are not what you are looking for
to advance the kingdom of heaven.
As Luther said in his sacristy prayer,
“if it were left up to me I would surely bring it all to ruin”.
That is so true.
Rather,
you call the unqualified to proclaim Your Good News;
qualifying us through the Holy Spirit.
May we keep our eyes on You
and not turn inward; thinking either
“I am not qualified” and thus turn away from the mission,
or think,
“I am pretty good” and thus focus on our abilities; derailing the mission.
Holy God,
through Jesus Christ You redeemed us and empowered us.
May we not abandon the mission
but rather proclaim from the mountain top,
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”.
All praise, honor, glory and worship be unto You,
oh God,
through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Amen!

The Pastor -|—

The Call

Holy Father,
through Jesus Christ,
You call us to follow and to make disciples
despite the fact that we are sinners;
unqualified.
But You qualify the unqualified;
sending us out to do important work;
announcing that the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Oh God,
may we remember
that it’s not about our abilities or knowledge
but rather about Your Spirit giving us what we need.
May we never disqualify ourselves
but rather trust in You,
who qualifies the unqualified,
and that all quality is of Your doing.
And through the quality of Your work in and through us,
may the quantity grow to Your glory.
In Jesus name we pray,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Qualified

While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him.
[Matthew 4:18-20]

Think about it for a second (or two), Jesus called a group of unqualified men to follow him and be the beginning of the Church. No small task, so one would think Jesus would look for only the best. But Jesus doesn’t ask for a resume or a list of references. He doesn’t quiz them to check their knowledge of scripture. He doesn’t inquire about any advanced degrees. Jesus simply approaches these men and says, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men“. Their only qualification was their un-qualification. JESUS made them qualified to be fishers of men. It wasn’t about oratory skills or knowledge or street smarts or financial savvy. It was only about Jesus. He called, they followed and once Jesus died and rose, the Holy Spirit guided them into all Truth.

And so think about it again. If Jesus can use a group of unqualified men to continue a movement of sorts, don’t you think that Jesus can do something amazing through you. Never think that you are unqualified to follow Jesus or be a leader in the church. If you are called, then you are qualified. Just trust in him and follow.

Awesome God,
You called a group of unqualified fishermen
to walk with Jesus
and to proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
As Your Spirit led those first disciples
may Your Spirit lead us now in serving You in this world.
May we not bow to the temptation
that we are not good enough
but rather trust in You
that we may give glory to Your holy name.
May we leap out in faith when Jesus calls,
and may we go with the strength and courage of the Holy Spirit.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior we pray,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Come Far and Near

Wise men came from the East;
magicians
astrologers
worshipers of the stars,
seeking a Messiah;
a King.
They knew the prophesies
They heard the stories
but most of all
they saw a STAR;
a STAR created and sent by God.
Don’t try to scientifically explain it;
just give glory to God!

So without delay they left on their journey,
long,
difficult,
dangerous,
and for what; for who?
A BABY.
They sought out the king and the leaders of the land,
but knowledge of the birth
they had none.
Prophesies were told
and the location was known.
So Herod sent them on their way
for he, too, wanted to “worship” this child.

(Don’t believe him, he is lying)

Upon finding this child,
they fell to the floor in worship of the
KING.
They worship the KING through their gifts of
Gold
Frankincense
Myrrh
They worship the KING through their joy.

(Praise be to God!)

But these wise men must leave.
They must return to tell Herod
so he, too, can come and “worship” this
KING
But warning comes;
a warning comes via a dream

Don’t believe Herod. Don’t go back to him”

So they wise men return by a different Way.
They returned changed.
They returned glorifying and praising God.

Have YOU seen Jesus?
Have you seen the KING?
If so, why are you walking along YOUR way?
Confess your sins and be forgiven;
for Jesus is the WAY and the TRUTH and the LIFE.

Come far and near and see Jesus.

The Pastor -|—

Bearing Fruit

The follow is a sermon teaser for tomorrow (Dec 18) on Matthew 3:1-12.

Bear fruit in keeping with repentance is John’s call for an authentic Jesus following life. It’s one thing to come to worship, confess your sins, put an envelope in the offering plate, and serve in the presence of others, but is your life bearing fruit in keeping with repentance. Do you abhor sin? Does what happened in the garden sadden you or are you enjoying the temporary freedom that Satan gifts you with? Bearing fruit in keeping with repentance is about turning away from sin, not just in words but also in deed. It is making a 180 degree turn and fleeing from that which draws you away from God. The fruit is a God-glorifying, Jesus-exalting life that leads people to the throne of God; where the true treasure lies, not some fool’s gold.

May the Gospel of Jesus Christ transform your life to the glory of God our Father through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Stuff

For 12 years I have resided in a 12′ by 12′ office. One wall is the door and a closet. The next wall is shelving and cupboards. The next wall is my desk and space to open my cupboards, and then the final wall is more shelving, boxes and room to open the door. So really, my 12 by 12 office is a lot smaller than that when you factor in all the stuff lying around. So given that I reside in a space about the size of a prison cell, one would think that packing this space up would be a piece of cake.

Not even close.

Where did all this stuff come from?

I have five boxes of books I am getting rid of with more on my “free stuff” table outside my office. I have 10 boxes/containers packed of stuff I am taking with me with a couple more boxes to pack.

Once again, where did all this stuff come from. Just look at the banner on the top of this blog and you can get an idea of what I have been dealing with this week.

Stuff, stuff and more stuff.

Incredible.

And I am not even going to talk about the parsonage.

Why do we have so much stuff? I definitely don’t need it because a lot of it is getting tossed. And the stuff getting tossed is stuff I didn’t know I had in the first place and therefore I really didn’t need it to begin with.

That’s it. Every year I am going to purge my office of stuff so I don’t have to deal with this again. Ya right, that will never happen, but it’s a good thought.

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal (if only they would steal some of this stuff), but lay for yourselves treasure in heaven, where moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
[Matthew 6:19-21]

Now seriously, please tell me you are not surprised with the scripture I just used 🙂

In any case, I should be encouraged by this whole endeavor. I am not attached to a lot of this stuff and therefore it is easy to throw away, yet I am still keeping a lot of stuff. My treasures? No, not treasures. Just stuff. Stuff I could part with if need be. My real treasure is Jesus. I just wish Jesus hadn’t blessed me with all this stuff. At least He could come and help me pack.

Oh well, enough procrastinating, back to packing.

Come, Lord Jesus, and help me (pack).

The Pastor -|—