Faith Lutheran News

From the Pastor’s Desk…

From the Pastor’s Desk…

Greetings children of God.

Mark 1:16-18 – “As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea—for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him.”

Have y’all ever noticed that sometimes it’s inconvenient to be a Christian? We live in an instant society. The rate of our travel, communication, and access to information spoil us with their immediacy. We’re frustrated with long lines and annoyed with delays. This is a problem for Christian discipleship. Christians devote themselves to the call of Jesus, “Follow me,” but to follow Jesus is neither convenient nor quick. Life in an instant society has produced a “Christianity of convenience.” Follow Jesus on your own terms. Fit him neatly into your pocket or your calendar.  Make your faith work for you. When Christianity gets hard or makes unpleasant demands, find an easier way.

Convenient Christianity doesn’t have the patience to follow after Jesus. It’s in a hurry to find short cuts. “How can we do this Jesus thing easily?” But Jesus said, “The road is hard and the way is narrow” (Matt. 7:14). “How does faith fit into my schedule?”  Jesus says, “No, how does your schedule fit into my time?” “How can I fit Jesus into everything else I have going on in my life?” Jesus says, “No, how do you fit into everything I’m doing?” Jesus teaches us inconvenient things that take time and require sacrifice, like this, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matt. 16:24) Convenience is not inherently evil, nor is inconvenience inherently a virtue. But our greatest virtues are only acquired in the school of inconvenient experience.

The long and weary roads of life teach us that we have limits. Slow and laborious circumstances confront us with our frailty and urge us to faith.  Here we learn the necessary skills of the Christian life: patience, perseverance, devotion, sacrifice, self-control, and love. Such virtues cannot be learned in a hurry, nor can they be expressed in haste. We need to let God challenge us even when it’s uncomfortable. We need to orient our lives around Jesus even when it’s inconvenient. When we do, we grow in our faith and as disciples. Where are you choosing convenience over Jesus?

Blessings on your day,

Pastor Tim

Faith Formation at Home from Bishop Daniel

Faith Formation at Home from Bishop Daniel

I want to share Bishop Daniel’s thoughts on this with y’all.

Dear Friends in Christ,

“Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:6-9).

 

On Sunday morning September 27, I led worship at St. Paul, Jenera. For the children’s message, I simply read the story “Words or Actions?” based on Matthew 21:23-32 in the Whirl Story Bible. After the story I mentioned to the congregation that one of my earliest memories as a child is of my grandmother reading Bible stories to me from a children’s Bible. I then encouraged the grandparents and parents present to take the time to read Bible stories to their children and grandchildren.

The response to that simple encouragement caught me off guard. There were many comments after worship and two e-mails. “Bishop, I do that every time my grandkids visit!” “That’s a great idea. We’ll start today!” “What was the name of that Bible you used? And where can we get one?” A long e-mail arrived on Monday from a woman sharing her memories of sitting with her grandma who read her Bible story after Bible story.

This simple encouragement (which I’ve shared in many parishes) was heard in a new way on Sunday morning and I’m trying to sort out why? Surely the COVID-19 pandemic plays a part. And a longing for a simpler time, perhaps. Or maybe God is reminding us once again, of the importance of faith formation in our homes.

The Rev. Dr. David Anderson is a Lutheran pastor who serves as the co-director of Milestones Ministry. This is a ministry committed to faith formation in the church and in the home. “A healthy church is a church that practices faith at home!” I am intrigued by Pastor Anderson’s five principles of faith formation.

1.      Faith is formed by the power of the Holy Spirit through personal, trusted relationships – often in our own homes.

2.      The church is a living partnership between the ministry of the congregation and ministry of the home.

3.       Where Christ is present in faith, the home is church, too!

4.      Faith is caught more than it is taught.

5.      If we want Christian children and youth, we need Christian adults who practice the faith with them.

As you reflect on the words from Deuteronomy 6 above, what are some of the ways we have encouraged our children to keep God’s Word in their hearts and on their minds?

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Tim

This just in…

This just in…

Greetings children of God,

This year, the NWOS is inviting everyone to join them in 2021, as they read through the entire New Testament in Chronological Order. Not Matthew to Revelation, but James to Revelation. You may be surprised to know that many of the New Testament Letters were composed before the Gospels were written. You can click on the link below to get the daily reading guide. Spending time reading God’s Word daily is something we should all do and many times, it feels daunting or more like a task, something we have to do instead of something we want to do, because we’re not sure how long we should read for or how much we should read. The daily reading guide for the New Testament solves those issues as the readings are a chapter a day, sometimes less. Reading a chapter a day takes about 3-5 minutes and after reading, I encourage you to spend some time reflecting on what you’ve read. You may just be surprised as to what you think, feel or experience. I look forward to this journey with you.

God’s blessings,

Pastor Tim

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