Over the years I have written several "book" or "booklets" and many, many, many newsletter and bulletin articles. Because the book market seeks writings to meet specific needs at specific times, my material has never been accepted. I have a tendency to write what is on my mind and so I am left with self publishing. So, with the encouragement from my wife and others, I am beginning this blog in order to put my "ramblings" "out there"! I hope you enjoy!


Please note that while my intentions are to use good grammar, because of the way in which some of the material presented here is presented (orally) the grammar and syntax might not always be the best English. Also note that good theology is not always presented in the best English so there may be times when the proper grammar rules are purposely broken.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Thoughts From Your Pastor

Have you ever wondered what is on the pastor’s mind? Well, I will tell you. I have a great concern, not only for our world, for our country, for our congregation, but for you the members of this congregation. I have a great concern for the simple fact that on any given Sunday so many people refuse and reject the gifts God has to give. I am, however, greatly encouraged in the fact our congregation is growing with faithful members excited to be in the Word of God, but my concern as shepherd of this congregation is for those sheep who wander off and absent themselves from where God’s gifts are given. Now, most of you are adults. I am not your parent. I am sure you understand the fact that I cannot force you to be in church. I cannot make you come and be given the gifts God has to give. Neither do I have the power to make you stay away. Indeed if I had such power as to make you stay away, that would mean I would have the power to make you come, and I have neither such power. I find it interesting that as I visit our shut-ins and those who are ill and in the hospital, I see they have a great desire to be in worship but are unable to come, and God understands. Yet there are many who are capable of being in worship and have many opportunities to be there but elect to not come. And how often have I heard such excuses for continued absence of church such as, “I don’t like the pastor.” “I don’t like that every time I attend the pastor is talking to me.” “I don’t like this or that.” “The music is too loud (soft).” “I was made to attend as a child so now I don’t go.” “It’s too cold (hot) in church.” “I have something else to do, fill in the blank, which is obviously more important.” Have you ever thought your excuses through? How would they sound before God?

God:    Why have I not seen you in church?
You:    I don’t like the pastor.
God:    Is he preaching false doctrine?
You:    No.
God:    Is he not preaching the Gospel, administering the Sacraments, visiting the sick and shut-in?
You:    No.
God:    He is the man I have called to be there, what is the problem.
You:    Well, every time I attend it is as if he is preaching to me.
God:    Yes, that is what he is supposed to do. If he were not preaching to you, what good would he be? I have sent him there to speak my word. If he is speaking my word, then truly you have no excuse.

You:    My parents made me go to church as a child so I stopped going.
God:    Well, your parents did their job in raising you in my nurture and admonition. Now I am saddened that you have chosen to reject me and the gifts I have to give.

You:    I don’t like (fill in the blank) so I don’t go.
God:    Is My Word being preached? Are my Sacraments being administered? Then you have no excuse.

As your pastor, I have the unenviable task of pointing out your sin with the objective being that you repent and be given forgiveness. And I would remind you that to repent means not only to stop sinning but to attempt, with God’s help, to go in the other direction and sin no more. Too often it seems to me there is a concern for one’s spiritual well being and that of others only when in fact that is not the case. How often it is that when I speak to people concerning the spiritual well being of their family, they have all kinds of excuses for why nothing can be done. While I attempt to make accommodations, there seems to be no attempt on the other side to meet those accommodations which gives me the impression that I care more for their spiritual well being than they do.

Again, as your pastor, my concern is the fact that God loves you so much, enough to send His Son to shed His blood, to give His life for yours. God has so many gifts and blessings to give to you and yet, Sunday after Sunday so many people, sometimes more than three-fourths of the members of St. Matthew believe they do not need the gifts of God: forgiveness, strengthening of faith, etc. It is kind of like telling God, “No thanks, God. I’m good. I don’t need any of Your gifts this week. I don’t need to be forgiven. I don’t need faith.” Or absenting themselves shows they have something else as a higher priority, so they refuse and reject the gifts of God, and I ache for Jesus. I wonder how He must feel when we constantly reject Him and His gifts? We live our priorities. The First Commandment says we should have no other gods before the one true God. Anything, anyone, any event which takes priority in our lives over our Lord breaks that commandment and pulls us further and further away from our Savior.

Ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters in Christ, I truly do not want that to happen to you. I love you, and so I will continue to urge you to come and be given the gifts God has to give!!

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