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October 2018 Pastor C

Ask someone what is significant about October 31, and the vast majority of people will say, “Halloween.” The reality is that October 31 marks the five hundred and first anniversary of the Reformation. A priest, named Martin Luther, hung 95 theses (discussion statements) on the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. The goal of these discussion statements was to have the Church take a serious look at itself and see if it was being true to the teachings of the Word of God.

Every institution, including the church, needs to take a serious look at itself from time to time to see if it is being true to its foundational principles. Luther believed that the foundational principle of the Church was, and is, the Word of God. One of the phrases that came out of the Reformation was that of “Sola Scriptura” which means “Scripture Alone.”

The guiding force, the “true North,” for the Church is the Word of God and the Word of God alone. The Church’s sole reason for existing is to follow and proclaim the Word of God. Everything that the church does is driven by the Word of God and is done for the express purpose of proclaiming the Word of God.

Jesus’ command to the Church was to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you…”

The mission statement of Immanuel Lutheran Church is quite simple. “To Proclaim, Live, and Share God’s Word.” Our sermons, our Sunday School, our youth, and our educational programs are grounded in the fact that we have, are now, and always will proclaim God’s Word and God’s Word alone.

“To live,” means that the decisions we make in life, are guided by God’s Word and by God’s Word alone. Living it out means we are kind, caring, forgiving, and loving. The Word of God literally affects me in the way I relate to others, my work, leisure time activities, and the list goes on and on.

“To share,” means that I support those who go to the ends of the earth bringing God’s Word to those who have never heard it. It means providing for the poor, the widow, and the orphan. “To share” also means that I am not ashamed to share my faith, my belief in God with others.

If the Word of God is not the final authority on all matters of faith and life, are we the Church?

Veritas, Curt 

September 2018 Pastor C

In this month of September we celebrate a holiday called, Labor Day. It’s original intent was to celebrate, to pay homage to the laborer: i.e. the factory worker, the electrician, the stone mason, the assembly line worker, etc. But over the years it has kind of lost its original intent.

So, to kind of bring us back to what this holiday is really all about, let me tell you about a phone call I got the other day from a good friend. I recognized the number, it was my good friend and mentor Martin Luther, the 16th century reformer. We talked about family, work, baseball, and what was up with these last three Star Wars movies.

“Joe,” he continued, he always called me Joe, “I think you folks in the good old USA have kind of lost the significance of Labor Day. Perhaps what you should do is re-name it to, ‘The Priesthood of All Believers Day.’”

The Priesthood of All Believers was a concept that Marty had developed during the Reformation. In short what he meant by that was, everyone has a vocation (life calling from God). No vocation is more important than any other. The stone mason, the pastor, the lawyer, the teacher, the plumber, the stay at home parent, the farmer, the doctor, the sanitation expert, all are called by God to a ministry. Each one of us is called, is chosen by God for a particular way to serve, to share the faith through our vocations.

Luther said that in reality our vocations were not only ways to serve people, but to serve God as well. Each one of us has his own ministry. The pastor has a Word and Sacrament ministry, the doctor a healing ministry. the lawyer a justice ministry. The farmer a ministry of feeding people, the teacher. a ministry of education. The builder is not just building a house or an office for people, but he is building a building for God.

Marty said, “If each one of us truly believed that we were called to our vocations by God, then as we carried out our vocations we would understand that we were not just serving people, but serving God as well and just think how different would be the way you look at your vocation.”

Psalm 127: 1 says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.”

So, on this first Monday in September both Martin Luther and I wish you a “Happy Priesthood of all believers day.”

Veritas, Curt 

August 2018 Pastor C

From Pastor "C"

I saw an article the other day put together by a pediatrician who works with terminally ill
children. He asked each of these dying children, “What is really important in life?” We
read in Isaiah 11:6 that, “…a little child shall lead them.” So, take a moment and let
these little children lead you.


1. Spend less time on line and more time with people. Real relationships, lasting
relationships happen in real life not in the artificial online world.


2. Dogs make life better. There is no more faithful companion than a dog. You can
tell your dog your secrets and they will share them with no one. They will never betray
you and they will love you unconditionally.


3. Spend more time with parents. Call your parents, write you parents, eat dinner
with your parents, go to a movie with your parents, sit on the porch with your parents.

4. Read more. Not in magazines or on line. Get a book, a classic, and read it.

5. Worrying is a waste of time. And when the end comes we all wish we had a little
more time. Don’t waste time worrying about things that will, in the vast majority of
cases, never happen.

6. Everyone loves the beach. Feel the sand between your toes. Breathe the fresh
sea air. Build a sand castle. Sit and watch the waves roll in and let those waves carry
your worries back out to sea.

7. Be kind. You can’t make it any clearer than that.

8. Laugh. Make jokes, laugh at yourself, laugh with others, laugh til you cry. It makes
life a whole lot easier.

9. Toys. Take time to play with your toys. Less time on line and watching TV. Play
with your toys.

10. More time with my family. Turn off the computer, turn off the TV, turn off your cell
phone, turn off the tunes and spend time with your family because the day is coming
when they won’t be there any more.

11. EAT MORE ICE CREAM! Don’t know what to do? Feeling alone? Feeling down
in the dumps? Go get an ice cream cone.

Jesus said, “I have come to give you life and give it to you abundantly.” These
kids got the message. There are no guarantees that you will live a long life. But no
one, no power anywhere can stop you form living a FULL LIFE.

Veritas,
Curt

June/July 2018 Pastor C

I saw an interesting article the other day entitled, “Nine Reasons People Aren’t Singing in Worship.” The reasons are as follows:

1. THEY DON’T KNOW THE SONGS. With new songs being released and sung weekly, it does not give people the opportunity to learn the songs. Add a new song a month and sing it every week so people get to know it.

2. WE ARE SINGING SONGS NOT SUITABLE FOR CONGREGATIONAL SINGING. Many new songs are written for soloists, have too wide a range of notes, and rhythms too difficult for the average person.

3. WE ARE SINGING IN KEYS TOO HIGH FOR THE AVERAGE SINGER. The people we lead in worship generally have a limited range and do not have a high range. When the song goes too high, they just quit singing.

4. IF THE MUSIC IS TOO LOUD, THEY QUIT SINGING. If the people in worship cannot hear the people singing around them, then they quit singing. If it is too quiet, they won’t sing either. The right balance has to be found.

5. WE HAVE CREATED WORSHIP SERVICES THAT ARE ENTERTAINMENT. When the lighting, the staging, the music, the visuals demand too much attention to those on stage, people in the pew feel they are watching a performance.

6. THE CONGREGATION FEELS THEY ARE NOT EXPECTED TO SING. Worship leaders are often so intent on making worship more like a stage production, instead of inviting the congregation to join in the worship experience.

7. THE NEED FOR A COMMON HYMNODY. Very similar to Number 1. Just as there are a certain number of hymns in the hymn book, so the number of new songs should be limited as well.

8. WORSHIP LEADERS AD-LIB TOO MUCH. Keep the melody clear and strong. The congregation is made up of people with limited musical ability. When the leaders stray from the melody, the people quit singing.

9. WORSHIP LEADERS ARE NOT CONNECTING WITH THE CONGREGATION. Leaders often get caught up in their own music production and lose sight of the real purpose, which is to lead in worship.

Veritas, Curt

May 2018 Pastor C

I met a hero the other day. It was a cold, rainy Monday and I was walking across the parking lot to the grocery store. He was coming toward me, all five foot, six, 150 pounds of him. He was stooped over and walked slowly. On his hat was a patch that said he had won the Purple Heart.

As I drew nearer, I saw the bumper sticker on his pick-up truck, “Semper Fi.” As he turned his back to me to load his groceries I saw the patch on the back of his jacket. It read, “The Chosen Few.” The lump appeared in my throat and my eyes welled with tears. Here was one of those who fought in sub-zero weather for 17 days at the Chosin Reservoir in Korea.

I said, “Excuse me,” and put out my hand. I shook his and said, “Thank you for your service. You are my hero.” He stood just a bit taller and said, “The heroes are those who didn’t come back.” I was taken by his humility and he went on.

“Thirty-seven hundred of us went in and we faced sixty-thousand Chinese. Only three-hundred-ninety-one of us came out.” The rain kept coming down and my eyes overflowed with tears.

“We ate garbage near the end, took ammo and other things from the dead so we could keep on. We fought with rifles, bayonets, rocks, and our bare hands.” The rain kept coming and he was growing taller.

“I lost too many friends, young kids, like those across the street at the high school. It was the longest seventeen days of my life.” The rain kept coming, I kept listening, and he was a giant now.

The brief conversation came to an end and once again, I said, “Thank you. You are my hero.”

He smiled and started to speak, “The ones who didn’t…” I cut him off, “Sir, you are a hero because you were there and because you claimed not to be a hero.” He smiled and I said, “God bless you!”

The tears come down my face now as I think of him and all of those from Lexington and Concord to Iwo Jima, from Gettysburg to Normandy, from The Argonne Woods, to Khe Sanh, from Anzio to Afghanistan who opposed evil and said, “This is as far as you go and no farther.”

One day they were throwing baseballs across the diamond, the next day they were fighting for freedom. One day they were studying chemistry, the next day they were studying a battle plan. One day they were asking their sweethearts to the prom, the next day they were fighting for seventeen days in sub-zero weather.

The next time some stuffed shirt starts apologizing for this country remind him of the Chosen Few and all the people who are free because millions of American boys and girls gave their last full measure of devotion in the cause of liberty.

On May 28, remember it’s not about the day off work, it’s not about the picnics, it’s not about ballgames, it’s about ordinary men and women who did extraordinary things when the world needed them. God bless them all!

I met a hero the other day.

Veritas,

Curt

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