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Meeting Together On-Line Around God's Word (Matthew 18:20)
Dear Friends, If you joined our last Worship Service on-line (May 3rd), you might remember me broaching the important topic of continuing to attend on-line Services to maintain good spiritual health. I mentioned that there is the danger of slow spiritual death for one who does not to continue to meet together (even from afar) around God’s Word. "Where two or three are gathered in My name..." Jesus says. Even on-line? Well, yes. Also, there are at least three in physical attendance every time we stream a Service. Thanks to Rich Hanney and Nancy (my most spectacular, beautiful, caring, loving wife) I am not alone. AND THEY DO A MARVELOUS JOB taping the Services! In addition, Tracie Hall and Jeff Radt are doing an equally MARVELOUS JOB in seeing to it that the Services are available on-line and that they get to all of you! What good is it if we live through the pandemic, but even one of us dies spiritually? I want us ALL to come back together as soon as we can safely do so. I long to see you all again and share the Lord’s Supper with you. Especially now, all we have is God’s Word. Please read your Bible, your Portals of Prayer, and make it a point to attend worship HERE every Sunday.
Just pray! At times like what we’re going through right now, that brief statement says it all. Just pray. People have a tendency, especially when dealing with something like this pandemic, to focus too much on saying (praying) the right words. Just pray! Go to God and talk. Say what’s on your mind. Poor out your emotions. State your case. Share your fears and wants. And then, be still. Surrender to Him. Listen. The encounter will prepare your heart to accept (receive) whatever His will might be and give you peace. And you will be better prepared to then understand and help others during this time. And that starts with you doing what needs to be done to protect yourself and those around you. And to keep doing it! Fear and panic can destroy the peace God gives, while a “no big deal” attitude about the situation, can destroy you, your loved ones, and others. Just go, pray, and do! Focus on your life, your relationship with God and your loved ones. Those are the things that will make the biggest difference. Now. And forever!
Dear Members and friends of Redeemer and St. Martin’s Lutheran Churches, You are constantly on my heart. This predicament is stretching us in ways we never could have imagined. Who would have thought in January and February that we would be “sheltering in place” at all, much less for “who knows how long?” But God is with us nonetheless with unlimited grace. Families are spending much more me together and some are even gathering at the dinner table together. We are making and receiving many more phone calls with loved ones checking in and checking on each other. Cards of well wishes are being sent and received. And our on-line Worship services still deliver God’s grace to us in His word. The blessings of absolution and prayer and hymn singing continue to abound in our lives despite certain barriers. And if you do not have internet access, devotions, prayer, and scripture can bring you much peace and joy in this troubling time. We can start and end each day ever mindful of God’s presence in Christ our Savior. I cannot wait for the day we can gather again in God’s House and at Christ’s Table! Until then, worshipping together online (together, yet apart) will keep us near to God and to one another. Christ is with us, even as we for a time long to come together again in one place. May our desire for one another and Christ’s body and blood grow even more intense as we “shelter in place”. I thank God always for my call here and for the privilege of fellowship with each and every one of you. Under the precious blood of Christ + -- Pastor Dom
March 26, 2020 Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you. (Jeremiah 32:17) Sometimes we find ourselves in battles that seem unwinnable and like the kid who gets bullied by someone twice his size, thinks, “It’s no use, I (we) just can’t win! Well, that is how it seems for some now in the battle against coronavirus. But things aren’t always as they “seem”. Our Country is fighting back. Big time. And things are happening. Good things. Prospective treatments for the corona virus. A flattening of the curve (who ever thought we would echo that phrase?). And more and more people and corporations are joining the fight. But nevertheless, we are in the middle of an unprecedented situation. Although the Church of Jesus Christ has endured plaque, pestilence, persecution, and war for over two thousand years, in recent times we have been mostly shielded from them. But God brought His Church through those times sometimes with a great show of power and other times by working behind the scene. Could it be . . . He is why things are improving. So, let’s keep praying like Jeremiah did and wait for the Lord’s response: “The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” Pastor Dom
March 23, 2020 (Read Matthew 26:36-46; John 17:1-5; Mark 14:32-52; Luke 22:40-53). "These are the four Gospel accounts of the same event. My favorite account is in the Gospel of John. However, I believe the differences in the accounts are important. Sometimes we need a Jesus who shows us how to be strong in the face of adversity. John shows us this as Jesus knows why He came to earth—to die for us. He was not going to let anything deter Him from His mission of love. Sometimes we need a Jesus who shows us that it is okay to tell God that our souls are overwhelmed with sorrow—that we really don’t want to suffer. Jesus prayed that God take His suffering and His fate away. One of the Gospels says that Jesus was so distressed that an angel came and strengthened Him. Haven’t you ever been so sorrowful that it has taken all of your energy? Jesus was even sweating blood. Anguish, sorrow, fear, and trepidation are all human emotions. Jesus was fully human and fully divine. From these Scriptures we are able to identify with Jesus’ humanity and because of His experiences, He is able to identify with ours. When you need to be strong, think of Jesus’ prayer in the Gospel of John. When you are overwhelmed with sorrow, think of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke, imagine the angels strengthening you, know that it’s okay to express your feelings to God. How are you feeling today? Jesus knows." Had to share this devotion I just read. Pastor Dom