Tag Archives: discipline

This isn’t the first time people of God have had to stand against the evil, corruption of a decadent world

Right on the heels of the vote in Ireland to permit homosexual marriage, I’m reading this devotional in Henry and Richard Blackaby’s “Experiencing God” p 166: “No matter how ungodly the environment you may be in, God will always find you and walk with you. Noah lived in perhaps the most wicked age in history. No one worshipped God.”

Point taken, the Bible tells us of many ages full of human wickedness. Why would we expect ours to be any different? [it is kind of interesting this comes just before the rendering of the U.S. Supreme Court decision] it’s not just homosexuality either. Men and women think that it’s almost a “pro forma” to live together before marriage. Sorry, that’s not acceptable either. We have a society that is no longer concerned about being God honoring and is solely concerned about pleasing and honoring self, and then we wonder why we are surrounded by all sorts of debasement. if there is any sense of propriety, dignity, character, nobility, it has become so distorted in contemporary use as to usually become meaningless or irrelevant.

We have those in society who make ridiculous demands “I expect $15 an hour to work at McDonalds” and then still don’t do their work with any level of competence or cooperation. Women today are more debased and sexualized then ever. The PC crowd, who couldn’t care less about the treatment of women call that sexual expression and then wonder why woman are treated with more disrespect now then ever.

I understand there have been many times in human history where there has been such gross ignorance and debasement it seems, based on history, that eventually builds and there is a vicious backlash against the attempts to drag our society and children into even cruder and coarser practices.

As Christians we have stood over the course of history for human dignity, while the secular continues to degrade every possible segment of the world. Eventually the abusers are shoved out, either by a culture that finally realizes it is being abused and taken advantage of, or certainly the resurrection when God establishes the world the way it was meant to be.

We want a world for us and our children that honors the sacrifices made for us, that we observe on this Memorial Day, for example.  We want what is fine, noble,courageous, dignified, precious. We do want those who are continuing to undermine and corrupt to stop polluting the world. By the same token we don’t want to see people debased, destroyed or abused. Now more than ever we need to pray for all, to witness to all those the Holy Spirit puts in front of us.  The church does have some responsibility in all this too.  The church has been far too passive, far to willing to stick it’s head in the sand and ignore what is going on. We do need to speak out in support of what God wants, but we also need to be constant and faithful in the Christian’s most powerful weapon prayer, and all the spiritual disciplines.

There have been worse times, the church of this time needs to step up and show real integrity and also genuine willingness to live according to God’s will and to witness that to the world. No we will ever  live without sin, but we need to live with Christian integrity and faith in God’s leading.

You have all borne witness, a mother is the first witness to her child for Jesus First St Johns May 10, 2015

[for the audio of this sermon click on the above link]

We make our beginning in the Name of God the Father and in the Name of God the Son and in the Name of God the Holy Spirit and all those who are blessed by the faithful Christian witness of their mother said … AMEN        He is risen …

It is Mother’s Day, motherhood has become something very different, motherhood has gone through a number of iterations in the last century, at least in the United States. Many here have told me of mothers who had farm chores, tasks that mothers in the post-modern world would probably be mortified to even consider. Waking up early every morning to either perform farm chores or to prepare a large breakfast for a large family who all had farm chores to perform. Back in that day, people started out the day early, performing very real physical exertion.

After the Second World War we had the June Cleaver mom who was impeccably dressed, made sure her house was A-J squared away as well as her husband and children. This really remains the stereotypical mother today, although June Cleaver gave way, about a generation later to the Michelob Light generation. Starting in 1985, Michelob Light preached that we should be it all and do it all with their commercial jingle “who says you can’t have it all…?” Even while those around us might suffer because of our needs, read wants.

Today Motherhood is coming to be seen almost in terms of the “Baltimore mom”. In a letter to the editor from Nathaniel Smalls: “The mother of a Baltimore teenager who was caught on video disciplining her son who was about to join the riots, was labeled a child abuser by some, but hailed as Mother of the Year by most.” Way too many women, forced by circumstances into having to be the disciplinarian. A generation ago, when I was raising children, the attitude was really bad, it was just sort of fun and games, didn’t have to take much too seriously, someone else would take care of it, so long as you let your children make their own decisions everything would work out find. Frank Perretti recounts a discussion with a woman about raising her children as a Christian. In that faux-phoney way some parents try to project, she told Perretti, I couldn’t find the exact quote, but to the extent that she wasn’t going to raise her children in any way/ tradition. Perretti asked, does that mean that you have nothing to offer your child, that there is nothing you can give to your children in a way that will give them a life that they can believe in, ideals that they can strive for, a Savior who will be the Lord of their life and life more abundant, you have nothing to offer your children? Basically, you’re going to allow your child, who has really no frame of reference, no real ability to discern and discriminate, nothing in terms of critical thinking and you’re just going to let them wallow around until they turn 18 and pray that they have somehow built up some kind of genuine discernment? As so open-minded as you think that is, it really means that you are going to allow that child to be raised by the world. The world influences our children and grand-children every single day, the class room, computers, television, what little social interaction they have with peers, is all a very worldly perspective.

We are entrusted with children by God, to raise them according to His will. As we who are Christians know, God’s will is vastly different from the world’s. God’s will is that we grow in His image and our model is the life of Jesus Christ. The agape love that Jesus had for us, His death that paid for the sins of those who know Jesus as their Lord in life and Savior to eternal salvation in the Resurrection. Today the world is straight out about money and earthly security. Survival of the fittest, not trusting in God’s will or His provision, but scratching out, by whatever means, how you can take enough for you.

Even the Baltimore chief of police said he wishes there were more like the mom who rushed into the mob. I would add who wouldn’t surrender to the world. This woman who was put into a position, because of the failure of the world, to physically go out and rescue her son. I pray that no woman is put in that position again, but a Christian mother is called to be that faithful witness to her children and to save them from the crudeness and irresponsibility of the world.

I’m not trying to come off as harsh and unloving, but we have to start looking at what we are leaving our children to. The Baltimore mom, rightly so, was scared to death, that her son was going to wander out into something, that despite the fact that he’s 14 years old and just knows everything he needs to know, he could very well have ended up dead or badly beaten. Moms, grandmoms, spiritual moms, maybe you don’t have a child, but I will bet, there’s children in your life that you could give a motherly influence to. We as parents, moms and dads, are the first Christian witnesses, and may be the only Christian witnesses our children might see, at least on a daily basis. We cannot treat lightly or leave their Christian discipling up to them. There is simply too much influence of the world that is working on them, they will probably end up with that influence and none of what Christ intends for them. Yea it’s difficult, and many times you will feel as if you are not getting anywhere. You will feel that you have lost and have wasted a lot of time and effort. Heavens, you may even look oh so not cool and so old fashioned and out of touch. Do you really want to risk losing a child because you may not appear to be sufficiently hip or with it, and having your child run off into a fight that is just not his or her fight and end up permanently damaged or even dead? My wife had the audacity to paraphrase a quote from Abraham Lincoln: “All that I am or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” Marge said: “All that I am or hope to be I owe to my Lord for sending me my angel mother.” Amen! A Christian mom needs a Christian mom and needs to be a Christian mom.

There is a lot of misguided nonsense in the world, and too many people in order to appear sufficiently sophisticated are willing to sacrifice their children in order to have some sort of respect from the world. I told a story last year from the apocryphal book of 2 Maccabees 7 about a mother who watched her seven sons being tortured to death because they would not disavow their faith in God. We who are here in a nice comfy pew in the northeast United States may be repelled at such a story, but we are seeing that story in reality in the middle east, Africa, and Asia. The world is not kind to Christians, yet for five thousand years our ancestors persevered and stayed faithful. You may choose to live in denial and believe you can live anyway you want and raise your children in the world and God will honor that. That is not realistic, God gave up His Son. Jesus’ life of strength in faith and honor. As Christian parents we are called to raise strong young men and women and not lose them to the world. They have had the witness of Christian faithful throughout thousands of years. Sure we want our children to be “happy”, but more importantly don’t we want them to be strong and faithful? We are promised life and life more abundant in Jesus. There is nothing more compelling and inspiring then a man or a woman who lives a life of strength and integrity in Jesus, and as Marge recognized, that was made possible by a mother who was given to her by Jesus in order to be a strong woman and mother in Jesus and one who would live a marvelous life and then a life beyond all description in the resurrection.

The peace of God which surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Amin and Shalom

Holy communion, a time of great reverence and thankfulness, Jesus gives us His Body and Blood for our forgiveness and strengthening

I did a blog awhile ago on the Lord’s Supper and I have wanted to pick that discussion up in more detail because this is a real sore spot with people who try to make this out to be some sort of egalitarian issue. It’s not and I need you to put aside your prejudices, and your idea that it’s all about you, it’s not, it’s about God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I intend to do a series of blogs on this, the issue is not as simple as many would like to make it out to be, the reason why I’m doing it in a series of discussions.

The Lutheran view of the Lord’s supper is unique in Christianity. There are two sacraments in the Lutheran Church, baptism, where the Holy Spirit gives the recipient new life, they are born again in Christ. The Holy Spirit becomes part of that person and that person becomes a child of God. The second is the Lord’s Supper, where we receive the true Body and Blood of Jesus. As God’s child, we receive our Savior’s Body and Blood in order to be assured of our forgiveness by Jesus’ sacrifice and to receive the nourishment that we need as I say ” to strengthen body and soul to life everlasting”.

So here’s the rub, this is exclusive, you have to be baptized, a triune baptism, and you have to be a member of the Lutheran Church. This is not to impose some arbitrary exclusivism, this is to honor and treat with great reverence the Body and Blood of our Savior. We are in agreement with Roman Catholics that the Lord’s Supper is about the true Body and Blood. We however disagree on the means, but that will be part of a later discussion in this series and yes that difference is a fundamental issue.

I don’t make membership a long process or jumping through hoops. I take people through what we are about, why we do what we do and to impress upon people that it is about God, not about us. A lot of the discussion in the previous post was in the sense of “that’s not fair to me”, “I should have what anyone else has”, “Why can’t I”, etc, etc. Basically, it’s all about me and how I should be treated and very little in terms of treating the Lord’s Body and Blood with due and extreme reverence. I am a Lutheran pastor, I take the responsibility of administering the Lord’s Body and Blood with the utmost reverence and giving me arguments that it’s all about me is not going to be received with any respect and is just not valid. After I go through instructions, we take time during worship to ask them if they understand the teachings of the Lutheran Church and if they vow to abide by these teachings. This is the sense of a wedding, as I wrote about in an earlier blog, we treat weddings as worship, taking vows, making promises in the presence of God and brothers and sisters in Jesus. We do the same with membership, that you understand what we are doing and you promise before God and brothers and sisters that you will honor and uphold these teachings. It’s not your call, it’s what Scripture tells us it is. I am retired enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard. Every four years I had to re-enlist and take an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. I took those vows very seriously and I should, my country is important. But by far God is more important. If I take the U.S. Constitution seriously, I take God much more seriously. When people take a vow before God you need to take it seriously. At that point, knowing that they understand and accept the Church’s teaching, I with great joy welcome them into the Church and happily give them the Lord’s Body and Blood, there is no higher act, the Body and Blood that was sacrificed to pay for our sins and to give us the assurance of life everlasting in the Resurrection. Why someone thinks I should take that less than seriously is totally bizarre to me. In short, those of a Reformed, Arminian or other Protestant, non-denominational etc church do not have this understanding, why would they with any integrity still insist on taking the Lord’s Body and Blood?

It is a very deep issue and deserves much more discussion than the superficial treatment given by many other Christian churches. I welcome you to join in that discussion as I try to honor the Body and Blood in subsequent blogs.

Rev Dr Kurowski quotes the following in his book and it underscores the discussion about how our worldly attitude towards the Lord’s Supper is just not valid, God tells us what it is and that is what we honor and not our “opinion”: “In their case the god of this world has blinded the mind of unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as servants for Jesus sake.” (2 Corinthians 4: 4-5)

I would highly recommend a book by Rev Dr Peter Kurowski on the discussion of close/closed communion “Close Communion Conversations”. I am sure your order will be happily received at  lawgospel@lawgospel.com  or 877-CMS-1962

We serve the ultimate Commander in Chief Veterans Day observance First St Johns Nov 9, 2014

Traducción española sigue el Inglés

We make our beginning in the Name of God the Father and in the Name of God the Son and in the Name of God the Holy Spirit and all those who know Jesus as the leader of their life said … AMEN
Before I begin the planned sermon, I would like to take a moment to remember our brother, the Rev. Donald Biggs. Pastor Biggs has been a member of our congregation since he retired from the ministry. I have very much appreciated his guidance and support as I started my ministry. We certainly offer our condolences to his wife Mary Lynn our beloved sister and their two sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren. We continue to keep Mary Lynn in our prayers as she has been suffering from health problems and we trust in the promises of Jesus that Pastor Don is in the presence of Jesus, now in perfect health and in perfect bliss before the throne of our Lord. (Time for silent prayer)
Today we honor our veterans, men and women who made a commitment to serve, protect and defend. Many of whom were often put into, at least, uncomfortable situations far from home, if not outright dangerous situations. The military teaches leadership right from the very beginning, even the most junior people are put into leadership positions or responsibilities. Beginning in boot camp there is a recruit company commander and other recruits put into leadership positions. Even in day to day situations junior people are often given authority for different tasks. The U.S. Military is unique among any other organizations in the world, often you are expected to follow commands without question, but quite often responsibility is pushed down to the lowest level to make decisions, part of being in the military is to not just be a good follower, but also a good leader. It has been recognized throughout history that quoting Aristotle: “’He who cannot be a good follower cannot be a good leader.” Despite the stereotype of those who have served in the military, you usually find people who are much more balanced, much more aware of the need to be an effective leader, much less concerned about their own gratification. There’s a very good reason for that, in politics, in government, in business, science, academia, it’s all about me and how I get ahead. There’s no danger, there’s no sharing, there’s no need to watch out for someone else, unless it’s to your benefit, it’s all about how anything enhances your life, everyone else just has to take care of themselves. Yea, in the military the consideration can be to your benefit, that you don’t get killed. But because you have built that sense of camaraderie with brothers and sisters, you also want to watch their backs. It is also much more about the common good, the good of each individual, when one benefits usually everyone does.
Again, too many times our “leaders” are only about how they are enhanced by being a leader. That’s simply not leadership. Leadership is about that agape love, that selfless love, that love that wants what is truly best for each person God leads you to, that love that Jesus showed to us on the cross and gives to us everyday through His grace, His hope, His promise. Napoleon said “A leader is a dealer in hope.” No doubt Napoleon’s motivation/definition of hope was in a very worldly sense and he wasn’t thinking about Jesus when he said that. But it is certainly true in Jesus, not in a cynical way, but in that true agape love way. The hope that He gives us in His resurrection, in the hope that He gives us for life eternal. Pastor Don liked to tell me how on Easter everyone was kept out of the sanctuary at sunrise, he came out on the roof of a tomb that had been built and with the sun at his back announcing to all who gathered “he is not here, He has risen”. We have that hope of eternal life, “He is risen…[He is risen indeed, hallelujah!]
Imagine a world where you did not have that love/leadership, not knowing that Jesus did step up, as Jesus tells us: “I have overcome the world.” This is so empowering, so comforting, so reassuring. In a recent study it was show that when people were monitored at work their quality and productivity was worse, they were stressed over being constantly watched, versus being enabled to be productive. Business is not a very forgiving environment, there may be ‘love’ when you’re on top, but there sure isn’t any if things aren’t going well. That’s what the world is all about, an old saying: “The world doesn’t want to hear about the labor pains, they just want to see the baby.” The further implication that not just having the baby, but also that the baby better stack up in terms of the expectations of the world, otherwise both mother and child have failed.
We know that the Holy Spirit dwells within us, we are a temple of the Holy Spirit. We are loved, we are inhabited by love and leadership, we have ready access to the forgiveness that is Jesus. He knows when we try for Him, when we demonstrate that sacrificial leadership of discipleship. He encourages us, He strengthens us, He picks us up, He dusts us off, maybe gives us new direction with promise and hope and then puts us on our feet, makes sure we know that we are loved with an everlasting love, squares our shoulders in the direction He wants us to go and then leads us on the path He puts us on. The Law/the world, monitors and checks us and usually intimidates the toughest of us. The Law/the world, never loves, it keeps us in fear and bondage and because of that we suffer, we don’t live to the level that God intends us to live at and when we fail (not if), the world just casts us into the junk heap. True leadership picks us up, equips us, loves us, is always with us “And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matt 28:20 ESV) The Coast Guard motto is Semper Paratus always ready and we are always ready in Jesus.
Like the military you can be a new disciple and still be used mightily by the Lord, it is a lot like the military when you can be a junior person and still have responsibility over more senior person. I was in Puerto Rico for Tall Ships in 2001 to do security as coxswain of a 41 foot boat. Ended up doing a lot of taxiing, because it was the biggest most comfortable boat. Had to drive the zone commander from one end of the harbor to the other, going past where all the tall ships were moored. At one point a helicopter roars overhead and the commander tells me to hurry up because the vice commandant of the Coast Guard is on the helicopter. I had about a dozen passengers on board going past a bunch of historic ships and chose to ignore the commanders request. The safety and integrity of other people and boats took priority. He was just going to have to be a little late for the vice commandant. Often we have to ignore the world and rely on what the true CNC tells us, God is always our commander in chief, He wants what is best for us and for us to minister to those around us accordingly. When we are true leaders, true servants of Him, ready to serve and sacrifice as so many who do who are serving or have served in our military, then we are truly doing His will.
The peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Shalom and Amin.

Servimos el último comandante en jefe Día de los Veteranos observancia First St Johns 09 de noviembre 2014

Hacemos nuestro comienzo en el Nombre de Dios el Padre y en el nombre de Dios el Hijo y en el Nombre de Dios el Espíritu Santo, y todos los que conocen a Jesús como el líder de su vida dijo … AMEN
Antes de comenzar el sermón planeado, me gustaría tomar un momento para recordar a nuestro hermano, el reverendo Donald Biggs. Pastor Biggs ha sido miembro de nuestra congregación desde que se retiró del ministerio. He apreciado mucho su orientación y apoyo cuando empecé mi ministerio. Ciertamente Ofrecemos nuestras condolencias a su esposa Mary Lynn nuestra querida hermana, y sus dos hijos, hijas-en-ley y nietos. Seguimos mantener Mary Lynn en nuestras oraciones como ella ha estado sufriendo de problemas de salud y confiamos en las promesas de Jesús de que el pastor Don está en la presencia de Jesús, ahora en perfecto estado de salud y en la felicidad perfecta delante del trono de nuestro Señor. (La hora de la oración en silencio)
Hoy honramos a nuestros veteranos, hombres y mujeres que hicieron un compromiso de servir, proteger y defender. Muchos de los cuales fueron a menudo ponen en, al menos, las situaciones incómodas lejos de casa, si no en situaciones francamente peligrosas. El ejército enseña liderazgo adecuado desde el principio, incluso las personas más jóvenes se ponen en posiciones o responsabilidades de liderazgo. Comenzando en el campo de entrenamiento hay un comandante de la compañía recluta y otros reclutas puestos en posiciones de liderazgo. Incluso en el día a día situaciones de las personas jóvenes a menudo se dan autoridad para diferentes tareas. Los EE.UU. Militar es única entre las otras organizaciones en el mundo, a menudo se espera que siga órdenes sin cuestionarlas, pero muy a menudo la responsabilidad es empujado hacia abajo al nivel más bajo para tomar decisiones, parte de estar en el ejército es no sólo ser un buen seguidor, sino también un buen líder. Se ha reconocido a lo largo de la historia que citando a Aristóteles: “.” El que no puede ser un buen seguidor no puede ser un buen líder “A pesar del estereotipo de los que han servido en las fuerzas armadas, que se suele encontrar personas que son mucho más equilibrada, mucho más conscientes de la necesidad de ser un líder eficaz, mucho menos preocupados por su propia gratificación. Hay una muy buena razón para ello, en la política, en el gobierno, en los negocios, la ciencia, la academia, es todo acerca de mí y cómo me pongo por delante. No hay peligro, no hay intercambio, no hay necesidad de mirar hacia fuera para otra persona, a menos que sea para su beneficio, es todo acerca de cómo nada mejora su vida, todos los demás sólo tiene que cuidar de sí mismos. Sí, en el ejército la consideración puede ser para su beneficio, que no te maten. Pero debido a que usted ha construido ese sentido de camaradería con los hermanos y hermanas, que también quiere ver a sus espaldas. También es mucho más sobre el bien común, el bien de cada individuo, cuando uno se beneficia por lo general todo el mundo hace.
Una vez más, muchas veces nuestros “líderes” son sólo sobre la forma en que se ven reforzadas por ser un líder. Eso simplemente no es liderazgo. El liderazgo es acerca de que el amor ágape, el amor desinteresado, ese amor que quiere lo que es realmente mejor para cada persona que Dios te conduce a, de que el amor que Jesús mostró a nosotros en la cruz y nos da todos los días a través de su gracia, su esperanza, su prometer. Napoleón dijo: “Un líder es un distribuidor en la esperanza.” No hay duda de la motivación / definición de Napoleón de esperanza fue en un sentido muy mundana y no estaba pensando acerca de Jesús cuando dijo eso. Pero lo cierto es en Jesús, no de una manera cínica, pero en la que el verdadero camino del amor ágape. La esperanza de que Él nos da en Su resurrección, en la esperanza de que Él nos da la vida eterna. Pastor Don gustaba decirme cómo en Pascua todo el mundo se mantuvo fuera del santuario al amanecer, salió en el techo de una tumba que había sido construido y con el sol a sus espaldas anunciando a todos los que se reunieron “él no está aquí, ha resucitado “. Tenemos la esperanza de la vida eterna, “Él ha resucitado … [Él ha resucitado, aleluya!]
Imagina un mundo donde no tiene que el amor / liderazgo, sin saber que Jesús intensifique, como Jesús nos dice: “. Yo he vencido al mundo” Esto es por lo que empodera, tan reconfortante, tan reconfortante. En un estudio reciente se muestra que cuando las personas se controlaron en el trabajo de su calidad y la productividad era peor, se destacaron por haber sido constantemente vigilado, frente está habilitado para ser productivos. Negocio no es un ambiente muy indulgente, puede haber ‘amor’ cuando estás en la cima, pero no seguro que no es ninguna si las cosas no van bien. Eso es lo que el mundo es todo alrededor, un viejo dicho: “El mundo no quiere oír hablar de los dolores de parto, lo que quieren es ver al bebé.” La implicación, además, que no sólo tenga el bebé, sino también de que el bebé mejor apilan en términos de las expectativas del mundo, de lo contrario la madre y el niño han fallado.
Sabemos que el Espíritu Santo mora en nosotros, somos un templo del Espíritu Santo. Somos amados, que están habitadas por el amor y el liderazgo, tenemos fácil acceso al perdón que es Jesús. Él sabe cuando tratamos de Él, cuando se demuestra que el liderazgo sacrificial de discipulado. Él nos anima, nos fortalece, nos levanta, nos desempolva, tal vez nos da una nueva dirección con la promesa y la esperanza y luego nos pone en pie, se asegura de que sabemos que somos amados con un amor eterno, plazas nuestros hombros en la dirección que quiere que vayamos y luego nos lleva por el camino que Él nos pone. La Ley / el mundo, los monitores y los controles de los Estados Unidos y por lo general intimida el más duro de nosotros. La Ley / el mundo, nunca se ama, que nos mantiene en el miedo y la esclavitud y por eso sufrimos, no viven al nivel que Dios nos tiene la intención de vivir en y cuando fallamos (no si), el mundo sólo nos hace caer en el montón de chatarra. El verdadero liderazgo nos recoge, nos equipa, nos ama, está siempre con nosotros “Y he aquí que yo estoy con vosotros todos los días hasta el fin del mundo.” (Mateo 28:20 NVI) El lema de la Guardia Costera es Semper Paratus siempre listo y estamos siempre listos en Jesús.
Al igual que los militares puede ser un nuevo discípulo y todavía ser usado poderosamente por el Señor, que se parece mucho a los militares cuando se puede ser una persona menor y aún así tener la responsabilidad sobre más persona mayor. Yo estaba en Puerto Rico para la Tall Ships en 2001 para hacer la seguridad como timonel de un barco de 41 pies. Acabé haciendo un montón de rodaje, porque era el mayor barco más cómodo. Tuvimos que conducir el comandante de zona desde un extremo del puerto al otro, más allá de ir a donde estaban amarrados los barcos de altura. En un momento un helicóptero ruge encima de la cabeza y el comandante me dice que se diera prisa porque el vice comandante de la Guardia Costera está en el helicóptero. Tuve una docena de pasajeros a bordo que van más allá de un puñado de barcos históricos y decidió ignorar solicitan los comandantes. La seguridad y la integridad de otras personas y embarcaciones tomaron prioridad. Él sólo iba a tener que ser un poco tarde para el vice comandante. Muchas veces tenemos que ignorar el mundo y confiamos en lo que el verdadero CNC nos dice, Dios es siempre nuestro comandante en jefe, Él quiere lo mejor para nosotros y para nosotros para ministrar a los que nos rodean en consecuencia. Cuando somos líderes verdaderos, verdaderos siervos de Él, dispuestos a servir y sacrificio como tantos que hacen que están sirviendo o han servido en nuestras fuerzas armadas, entonces estamos haciendo realmente su voluntad.
La paz de Dios que sobrepasa todo entendimiento, guardará vuestros corazones y vuestros pensamientos en Cristo Jesús. Shalom y Amin.

Los santos de Jesús, los que viven con autenticidad Primera Saint Johns, 02 de noviembre 2014

Hacemos nuestro comienzo en el nombre de Dios Padre y en el nombre de Dios el Hijo y en el Nombre de Dios el Espíritu Santo. Yo voy a decir buenas santos de la mañana de York y vas a dar los buenos días en Saint Jim, buenos santos de la mañana de York …
Y todo el pueblo de Dios dijo AMEN! Celebramos hoy el Día de Todos los Santos, que es también el mismo día como Día de la Reforma que observaremos en el culto de esta tarde, el día en que Martín Lutero clavó sus 95 tesis.
Halloween, que se observó el viernes, tiene sus raíces en un día de fiesta pagano gaélico llamado Samhain [Sawin pronunciado], que es cuando se pensaba que los espíritus y hadas podían moverse con mayor facilidad en el mundo físico. Las almas de los muertos visitaban los lugares donde vivían. Halloween es la segunda fiesta más observado después de la Navidad. Para aquellos en el mundo secular que les gusta pensar en cómo pragmático y la realidad que son impulsados​​, un escritor señaló que “Halloween es él último día de fiesta de fingir … nos vestimos y ‘pretender’ ser alguien o algo distinto de nosotros mismos. .. “En otras palabras, simplemente pone de relieve la falsedad del mundo en que vivimos. un mundo que niega la realidad de un cariño, Dios Creador y trata de hacer en algo mucho mejor que no lo es. El mundo ama a preocuparse de su auto con el aspecto falso de “espiritualidad” que muchas personas hoy en día comprar fácilmente en y negar la verdadera espiritualidad que es Jesucristo. Sigo buscando, pero no encuentro donde explica que lo que la gente realmente piensa que tipo de espiritualidad va a hacer, excepto que les da la sensación de estar en control, pero nunca realmente cómo se realiza ese control. ¿Cómo funciona en términos de la eternidad? Nadie parece ser el más mínimo interés. El mundo habla un buen juego de ser “auténtico”, de autenticidad, pero que rara vez se ve, es sólo en términos de su percepción ilusoria de un mundo sin Dios y luego se preguntan por qué siempre se siente perdida, asustada y sola. Sólo hay una fuente de autenticidad y que está en Jesús. Cuando estamos a un santo en Jesús son verdaderamente auténtico, parte de la cual está siendo humilde, que es cuando confiamos en el Señor para vivir la vida que Él nos ha salvado para. Para estar seguro de ser cristiano es mucho más que las Bienaventuranzas, nuestra lectura de hoy, pero sin duda modelar autenticidad cuando hacemos nuestro mejor esfuerzo para vivir esa vida a través del poder del Espíritu Santo. Las Bienaventuranzas no son nuestras obras, que son el fruto del Espíritu Santo que está trabajando a través de nosotros. Todavía el pecado, el mundo piensa que debemos vivir en la perfección. No, los santos siempre serán personas falibles, el anciano vive en cada uno de los santos, pero el Espíritu Santo nos mueve una y otra vez a la altura de las Bienaventuranzas. El mundo trata de vivir sus propias virtudes, pero es muy claro que esas virtudes son sólo para mejorar su propia vida y el fruto de su propio espíritu, el espíritu del mundo y no del Espíritu Santo. Roy Lloyd dice lo siguiente: “… un hombre que llegó en 1953 en la estación de ferrocarril de Chicago para recibir el Premio Nobel de la Paz. Como él bajó del tren … como las cámaras destellaron y funcionarios de la ciudad se acercaron … él les dio las gracias cortésmente. Entonces él pidió ser excusado por un momento. Caminó a través de la multitud hacia el lado de una mujer de negro anciano que lucha con dos grandes maletas. Él los recogió, sonrió y la escoltó hasta el autobús, la ayudó a subir y le deseó un buen viaje. Luego Albert Schweitzer se volvió hacia la multitud y se disculpó por mantenerlos esperando. Se ha informado de que un miembro del comité de recepción le dijo a un reportero, “Esa es la primera vez que vi un pie sermón. ‘” Schweitzer fue un teólogo alemán, luterano, un organista que estudió Bach, un médico, un médico misionero a África. Fue galardonado con el Premio Nobel de la Paz por su filosofía de “Reverencia por la Vida”, se evidencia en su fundación de un hospital en Gabón alrededor de la vuelta del siglo XX. Es interesante cómo un santo de Cristo, que produce tanta fruta como un discípulo cristiano, por lo realizado y aún en una gran multitud, era el único que se dio cuenta de una anciana que necesitaba ayuda, entonces y allí, para hacer su próxima conexión para su viaje. Un simple acto de un hombre que sirvió a nuestro Señor de una manera tan magníficas, un gran santo de Cristo.
David Kinneman fue el orador en la conferencia en Carolina del Norte que asistí. Una cosa que él regresó a una y otra vez en su presentación fue que las generaciones más jóvenes de hoy en día y, a mi juicio la mayoría de la gente en el mundo, están buscando, es authenticty, genuinness. Ellos saben y nosotros, los que están en Cristo saben que el mundo no es genuino. Todas las instituciones del mundo fallan en repetidas ocasiones y, sin embargo tratar de convencer de su autoridad y autenticidad, incluso mientras ellos imponen en nuestra sociedad y en repetidas ocasiones fallan. Todos nosotros podemos relacionar con la forma en que podemos ver a través del fino velo de la hipocresía que nos rodea. La iglesia es a menudo acusado de hipocresía y, a menudo por una buena razón. Tratamos de convencer al mundo de que somos santos perfectos en Jesús y sin embargo nuestro intento se hizo añicos cuando nos fijamos en los santos verdaderos. Pablo llamó a sí mismo el jefe de todos los pecadores. Él no dijo que en un intento de que parecen ser piadoso, él sabía de los pecados que había cometido en contra de Jesús y su iglesia y él los reconoció y continuó a producir el fruto del Espíritu Santo. No es como una especie de forma de expiar sus pecados. ¿Por qué? Sus pecados han sido pagados a la Cruz, Pablo sabía que no había nada que pudiera añadir a sacrificio de Jesús por nosotros. Jesús pagó por nuestros pecados a través de Su sufrimiento y sacrificio. Nosotros, como sus santos, somos salvos en Su sacrificio, sino como sus santos que fielmente seguimos el liderazgo, ánimo, esperanza y promesa del Espíritu Santo, que es la única manera en que podemos vivir las Bienaventuranzas. Reconocemos nuestras faltas, nuestros pecados. Cuando tratamos de convencer al mundo de que somos perfectos, y sobre todo el mal del mundo, el mundo puede ver a través de nosotros. Pero cuando reconocemos que la única manera de que somos perfectos es a través de Jesús y sólo a través de su gracia y el perdón, que todavía luchamos y todavía fallamos en el pecado, entonces el mundo conozca la salvación a través de Jesús.
Estamos valioso, nosotros somos su creación y somos salvos por Él a través de Cristo. Tenemos que recordar lo valioso que somos para Dios. Juan escribe: “ver qué tipo de amor [que es el amor ágape} el Padre nos ha dado: que seamos llamados hijos de Dios; y así estamos. La razón por la cual el mundo no sabe de nosotros es que no lo conocía … pero sabemos que cuando él se manifieste, seremos semejantes a él, .. “Vamos a ser sus santos y vamos a ser perfecto, no en nosotros mismos, sino en Aquel que murió por nosotros, y debido a que somos valiosos para el Padre y Él ama a sus hijos con la expresión más alta del amor.
Dr. Lutero escribió: “Mañana tengo que dar una conferencia sobre la embriaguez de Noé [Génesis 9: 20-27]; así que deben beber suficiente esta noche para poder hablar de que la maldad como alguien que sabe por experiencia. “Lutero era auténtica, no te estoy diciendo que imitar autenticidad a ese grado, pero es reconocer que somos tentados y ocasionalmente fallar.
Dado que los ancianos, los santos en Cristo se reunieron alrededor del trono de Dios en el cielo, como leemos en Apocalipsis 07:12, los santos alabando a Dios y lo adoran, vamos a tirar hacia fuera las letras insertadas en su boletín y Alabemosle aquí y ahora: Te amo Señor, letra de Petra …
La paz de Dios que sobrepasa todo entendimiento, guardará vuestros corazones y vuestros pensamientos en Cristo Jesús. Shalom y Amin.

Where are you being guided to in Jesus? First St Johns, York, Pa. October 26, 2014

Please click on the above link to hear the audio of this sermon

We make our beginning in the Name of God the Father and in the Name of God the Son and in the Name of God the Holy Spirit and all those who are led by and follow the Holy Spirit said … AMEN
Paul’s charge to the Thessalonians tells us that: “…we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.” (1 Thess 2:12) Those who are faithful brothers and sisters in Christ are constantly being guided, are constantly being charged to walk, to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. Marge and I were moved to pick up our lives in Massachusetts to go to St Louis for a season, complete education and then to be led to where? We didn’t know, but as things unfolded and we were faithful, we were guided to be in York, Pa. Dr Jerry Kieschnick asked me, as I received my call papers if I knew where York, Pa was? Not really, but in our faith we didn’t question where York was, we were led here and have been made a part of this great family in Jesus here in York.
On this Reformation Day, we remember Dr Martin Luther, posting the 95 Thesis on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg on All Saints Day. As I’ve said before, Dr Luther wasn’t looking for some kind of showdown, too many times we see him depicted as a Christian version of a gunfighter at the OK Corral. That was not his intent. He was a brilliant man who never stopped studying, as he studied, the more he realized that there were problems with the doctrines that the Roman church was teaching. He was a teacher at the time and the more he had to deal with these doctrines, the more he felt led to start a journey of inquiry. He never anticipated what would happen as he nailed his document to that door. His whole intention was to raise these issues in a genuinely collegial sense. He wasn’t looking for a brawl, a battle, but I have no doubt that God led Luther to do this in order to raise issues about God’s church that demanded discussion. The Roman church, at the time, chose not to discuss those issues. Luther wrote: “In the year 1516. I began to write against the pope. In the year 1518 Doctor Staupitz released me from obedience to my order and left me alone at Augsburg when I had been summoned before Emperor Maximilian and the pope’s legate, who was then at the place. In the year 1519 Pope Leo excommunicated me from the church and so I was released a second time. In the year 1521 Emperor Charles excommunicated me from his empire and so I was released a third time. But the Lord took me up.”1
Many times when we are led to leave, by God, we’re told to leave by the world. Luther has the distinction to be told to leave three times, you think you have it rough, you may be told to leave your work, your school, wherever, because of your Christian beliefs, but probably only once. Luther got “shown the door” by the head of the Augustian Order where he had lived and served as a monk, by the head of the Roman Catholic Church and then by the head of state of the largest empire in the world. Luther could honestly say that he had been thrown out of better places then most people. Sometimes to be thrown out of places that are just frankly not good to be in to begin with, is a badge of honor. No one wants the shame of being publicly asked to leave, but afterwards you realize that being thrown out was the right thing, was something that needed to happen in order to glorify God, then so be it and God speed.
It is then usually a case of not just being led somewhere, but also a commentary on being thrown out of somewhere. Jesus told His disciples that they would be thrown out of houses and towns; “And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town.” (Matt 10:14, Mark 6:11 and Luke 9:5), each of the Synoptic Gospels. The Synoptic Gospels, do not tell all of the same events or sayings, but apparently they were all so aware of the fact that they would get tossed out of places, that they all made a point of relating this direction of Jesus. Did that mean that they had failed, or were somehow not completely adequate disciples? No, it could well mean that Jesus was making sure everyone knew that they had a chance to hear the Gospel, if they rejected it, well too bad for them, Matthew 11:23-29: “And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.” If any place had its chance it was Capernaum. Jesus had been led there, most of the disciples lived and worked there, all sorts of miracles and preaching went on there. What happened? Luke 4: starting at verse 17, do you remember what Jesus did? After reading Isaiah He declared that He fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy that “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me…” Jesus was the anointed of God, the Messiah. Their response? Woe, wait a minute there, this is Joseph’s son, He’s saying that He’s the Messiah? No, I don’t think so. Jesus responded, yea, kinda figured, because no prophet is acceptable in his hometown, and that is when the people in the synagogue tried to hustle Jesus down to a cliff to throw Him off of it. Yea Jesus got run out of Dodge, but did that make Jesus find a corner to sit and cry? “They threw me out of my hometown, wah, what will I do?
Sometimes we are moved as Paul described to the Thessalonians. Now Paul had certainly been moved around by the Holy Spirit, a lot of places we don’t know about. But he tells the Thessalonians: “…like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.” (1 Thessalonians 2: 11). The Greek word Paul used peripate,w like the English can mean how we conduct ourselves and to also literally walk. No doubt Paul expected that some of those in Thessalonica that he was preaching to would be led on their own literal walk or journey.
Luther was led on a walk, to initiate that walk he was thrown out of somewhere else. The door was closed on him at the monastery he was at the church he preached at and even the country he lived in. Clearly God was using an exclamation point to emphasize that it was time for Luther to step out in his Christian faith. That wasn’t Luther’s perception, no doubt he was otherwise comfortable and at home where he was. God emphatically moved Luther so that Luther was left without any choice. He had to pursue the issues that he raised. These issues weren’t going to be in terms of some hypothetical debate, something that maybe would result in changes or maybe not. No! God didn’t leave any room for Luther to maneuver, there was only a straight line and that was to see through the establishment of a church that would faithfully preach the Word of God. A church that would be faithful to Scripture, God’s Law and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The question before you is this: Are you truly listening to what God is saying to you? Are you faithful in prayer, not the kind of prayer that’s “OK God listen up, this is what I need from You and what I need You to do!” But prayer that is also asking and seeking God’s will in your life, where he wants you to walk to? I doubt that most, if any of you, are being asked to pick up and leave York. Dick and Gloria have already gone and returned from their mission trip in Liberia. But, God might be guiding some of you to short term mission in Africa, Haiti, Guatemala, or maybe to Helen Thackston charter school, your next door neighbor, the man or woman in the cube next to you at work, to a young man or woman who may be making bad decisions and needs someone to turn them to Jesus. You might have to walk across the world or across your lawn.
Ya, here we go, take out that journal and pray over it and listen for God’s guidance. Where is He directing you to and who is He directing you to witness to or to serve, to faithfully build a relationship with in order for them to come to know the love of Christ? What comfortable place are you being asked to move out of? You may have to stand up against the powers, but the Holy Spirit will give you the words.
The peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Shalom and Amin.

God uses all creation, because He made all creation. Isaiah 45: 1-7 First St Johns October 19, 2014

Please click on the above link to hear the audio sermon:

We make our beginning in the Name of God the Father and in the Name of God the Son and in the Name of God the Holy Spirit and all those who know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him said … Amen!
“Thus says the LORD to his anointed Cyrus…” That’s rather odd, who is Cyrus?… Why is God telling Isaiah that Cyrus is His anointed? … Isn’t anointing reserved for those who are God’s? Cyrus is a pagan from Persia. Quoting from the Chronological Study Bible; “In 559 BC Cyrus the Great became the ruler and founder of [a dynasty] of Persia which expanded quickly in all directions to become a world empire. … Cyrus ultimately conquered the Neo-Babylonian Empire …”1 The writer goes on to point out that those in the ancient world would ask “What God has empowered this Persian king, Cyrus?” Well ancient people had it right in the sense that God does empower us. They had it wrong in the sense of trying to figure out “what ‘god’”. Why … Ya, there’s only one God. Cyrus would have worshiped Marduk, Bel and/or Nebo. Did any of them give Cyrus what it took to conquer most of the known world? No! Why? It says right here in our reading in Isaiah; “Thus says the LORD to His anointed, To Cyrus, whose right hand I have held – to subdue nations before him … For Jacob [when we see that, we know Yahweh is talking about … Israel] My servant’s sake, and Israel My elect, I have called you by your name; I have named you, though you have not known Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other; There is no God besides Me… I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the LORD, do all these things.” (Isaiah 45: 1, 4-5, 7 NKJV) So for all those in the world who like to say; “Well my ‘god’”. Well that’s all it is, their ‘god’. Even in writing that’s twenty-five centuries old, I don’t hear any mumbling here, do you? Yahweh is clearly saying … I am the LORD, and there is no other and in the Hebrew I am, there is are all forms of the name that God told Moses what His Name is, what Jesus told the Jews who questioned Him, God’s Name is the great I AM and there is no other.
Sure we can make it up, we can live a life that is deluded and full of lies. We can make these little idols in our lives and call them “god”, rely on them, but as Yahweh speaks to Cyrus, He is telling us; “I am the LORD, and there is no other”. Scripture is God’s word to us and when He tells us who He is and what He does, that’s the way it is and we need to get over anything else we think or do about Him.
There is a cylinder, which is the form of writing that the people in the Middle East used at the time, dated 538 BC that announces that Marduk chose Cyrus to conquer the world.2 Well … NO! Have you seen that cylinder? I haven’t. It is one archaeological artifact that’s certainly interesting, but what writing from that period has survived from then until now that the entire world knows? The Bible, Holy Scripture, which says very clearly, “I am the LORD, and there is no other.” We know that from 2500 years ago until now, I’m pretty sure that what Marduk “says” today, doesn’t matter to anyone.
The Babylonians had originally conquered Israel and Judah. They deported the best and the brightest of Israel to Babylon and they abused the Israelites and had shown them no mercy. Israel may have been conquered by Babylon as a judgment on the Jewish people, but contrary to the thinking of the time, that did not give Babylon the right to abuse God’s chosen people, they were still God’s elect. It’s like with my little brother, I can pick on him, but no one else better try to pick on him. In Isaiah 47 God makes it very clear to the Babylonians what happens when they picked on Yahweh’s people: “I was angry with my people [Yahweh says in chap 47] I have profaned my inheritance, And given them into your hand. You showed them no mercy: For you have trusted in your wickedness; You have said, ‘No one sees me’; Your wisdom and your knowledge have warped you; And you have said in your heart, I am, and there is no one else besides me.’ Therefore evil shall come upon you; You shall not know from where it arises. And trouble shall fall upon you; You will not be able to put it off. And desolation shall come upon you suddenly,”…(Isaiah 47: 6, 10-11 NKJV) God is now going to use Cyrus to bring judgment on the Babylonians who have abused His people. Remember when God says: “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (Rom 12:19) He’s making it very clear to the Babylonians that is the case and His vengeance, through Cyrus on behalf of His people, Israel, will not be pretty.
God tells us He’s a jealous God, well this is partly what it means, He can take us out behind the woodshed and let us have what-for, but He’s not going to stand by while we are being abused by the world. We are His, and He expects us to trust in Him, to put our faith in Him, the faith that He give us. When we fail to do that, when we sin, when we make ourselves, our own idol, He is going to discipline us. That’s a good thing, do you really want God to just stand by and watch you sink into sin, to fall away from Him and be swallowed up by the world? Would a Holy, faithful, loving father do that? No! So He will resort to discipline to get our attention, to get our focus back on Him and away from a violent and cursed world. He may use people like Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus to impose that discipline, does that mean He loves us less? No, it means He loves us enough to do what it takes to keep us in His will and not lost in the world’s.
God uses many trials and enemies to focus on Him. In the movie God’s Not Dead there is a twenty-something young lady who is right on the top of her game. She has built a big-media following, she is on the go, interviewing the movers and shakers of entertainment, her boyfriend is a wealthy and powerful financier, the sky’s the limit and then one day she goes in for a medical exam. “You have cancer, the doctor tells her and you may not live.” Her response: “I don’t have time for cancer.” I’m not going to tell you how that plays out, you have to come and see the movie, but she was her own idol, it was all about her and how she had created her own world. God forces His way into that world and tells her, that it’s all about Him, not about her. She may have done all these things in her life, but at some point there will be a day of reckoning and she will have to surrender to the fact that it is all about God. We will all have that time of reckoning. For her that time was when she was told she had cancer. You can be in denial of these things, you can run your own game. But in the end God makes it very clear to all of us, that we will have to turn to Him. We may still resist, but it will be a done deal and God will have His way, just as He did with a king, Cyrus, who did not know Him and a people, Israel, who rejected Him.
Rev Dr Dale Meyer in his “Meyer Minute” for October 17 talks about how God can use the result of our sin to bless and benefit many generations. We certainly watch with concern the events surrounding the Ebola virus. We forget that there have been many serious diseases that have spread through our country. Only about 60 years ago, polio spread through the United States. Dr Meyer writes about a cholera epidemic that swept through St Louis in 1849. “The epidemic was devastating to Johann Friedrich Buenger, an immigrant and Lutheran pastor.” His first wife died in the epidemic and their three sons had died in infancy before the epidemic. He remarried and had four daughters with his second wife, two who died in infancy. He was led by God to establish the Lutheran Hospital in 1853, from which the Lutheran Foundation of St Louis, Lutheran Senior Services and Lutheran Family and Children’s services now serve thousands.3
Ebola is not of God, war and abuse are not of God, cholera is not of God and a king in the Middle East 2,500 years ago may not know God. All the evil in the world is the result of man’s sin, yours, mine, the whole world’s. We certainly don’t like it, we are certainly going to have fear about it, but as those who are saved in Christ, we trust that our fear is rapidly turned into faith. Not because of what we do, but because through the sacrifice of Jesus, we are saved, we know how the story ends, for the world, and for us individually. Remember our reading from a few weeks ago: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Rom 8:28 ESV) God will unleash evil on those, like the Babylonians, who were evil, we who are saved in Jesus, who are made holy in His sacrifice, we will also deal with evil, but out of that God will use it according to His purpose. As Dr Meyer notes: “the love of Christ motivates God’s people to meet human need and God multiplies the blessings.” How is that agape love that we have from Jesus motivating you? You trust that God is just and will repay those, like the Babylonians, who abuse His people. Since we are freed from the hate and bitterness of the world, we go on to the things of God. He guides His Israel, us, back to our promised land and by doing so enables us to serve Him and all of His creation. How can you trust that God is protecting you? You don’t have to fuss about the evil that’s going on around you, and because you are free from that, what do you do in order to serve those in the world to the glory of our God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Shalom and Amin.