The Pastor’s View 2018-06-09T16:50:51+00:00

The Pastor’s View

June 2018

On Thursday, May 17, people from area LCMS congregations were invited to St. John, Casey, to discuss how we might work together to maintain our congregations while continuing to grow disciples for our Lord in this area of Iowa. We had 46 people gathered for a very positive meeting which included our Iowa District West President Steve Turner who was there to listen. Some sorrow was expressed over St. John, Adair, having to close; the difficult decisions that Immanuel, Adair is facing, and some other congregations’ concerns as well as some joys in area ministries. While some ideas and suggestions were shared, it was decided to pray and think over the issues posed on the meeting agenda (see page 6 for a copy) and then meet back together.

We will met again on Thursday, July 19, (this meeting is more aimed for pastors and elders although others are welcome) and Thursday, August 23, (when we would hope to have  an even  larger group than the May meeting). Both meeting will be at St. John, Casey, at 7:00 p.m. A couple of key points is that it isn’t just about numbers but also about disciples of Jesus maturing through Word and Sacrament ministry and each congregation needs to look beyond her parish borders and concerns toward helping all the Kingdom of our Lord. Please keep this process in your prayers and any thoughts, suggestions or ideas can be passed on to me. May our Lord bless us all as we work in His Kingdom.

See you in Church,

June 1st, 2018|

May 2018

As we conclude the Easter Season let’s remember the “Memorial Acclamation” which has been sighted as “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.” But “We proclaim your death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection until you come again.” comes closer to the original Latin. The main thing is rejoicing that Jesus died for our sins, rose from the dead, has ascended into heaven, and will return for us (eventually for both our body as well as our soul). That’s what our Christian true hope and true comfort is based upon — Jesus our Savior!

Often lost in the business of the spring, graduation, Mother’s Day, switching to summer focus of this time of year is Christ’s Ascension into heaven where He now intercedes for us who have been called to faith in Him by the Holy Spirit. This Ascension Church Holiday is celebrated 40 days after Easter so it always falls on a Thursday — May 10th for 2018. Our Adair Circuit will celebrate Ascension on May 10th with a Joint Worship Service at Immanuel Lutheran, Adair, with Holy Communion and First Wiota’s new Pastor Mike Bodkins preaching.

Also an important focus (especially with Memorial Day) that gets lost in the rush to “summer time” is remembering those who serve and have served our country in the Armed Forces. Their sacrifices and service keep us physically safe and free just as Christ’s once and for all sacrifice on the cross gives us freedom from being condemned by our sins. Be sure to thank our veterans as well as rejoice in our Lord Jesus.

Closing thought: Christ doesn’t take a vacation from being our Savior so let’s not take a vacation from thanking and praising Him even when we’re “out of town” for a bit of time.

See you in Divine Service,

May 1st, 2018|

April 2018

The Pastor’s View

“Alleluia, Christ is risen!… He is risen indeed, Alleluia!” We are now in the Easter season as we remember that Jesus indeed died for our sin and rose victorious from the dead. As He lives, we who trust in Him will live also. For now, we live to Him who is our Savior as we seek ways to grow in faith, to encourage one another in the faith, and bring others into our faith. One of the means to encourage one another that we employ at Zion is having Elders who assist the Pastor especially in maintain contact with all our members.

But who is your Elder? There is an alphabetical list of our members last names on p. 6 where you can look up your Elder; however, who is your Elder as a person?

During April to help each member get to know his or her Elder better and for the Elder to get to know the people assigned to him, we will be having “Meet Your Elder” events on Sunday mornings after church in the parish center. Every one is invited to each session but we especially encourage those whose last names start with A through H to come April 8, I through O to come April 15, and P through Z to come April 22. Praying to see you there to meet your Elder.

MEET YOUR ELDER                                                                            

Sunday April 8 10:30 a.m. in Parish Center: A-H – Ed Jensen & Jeff Johnson

Sunday April 15 10:30 a.m. in Parish Center: I-O – Rob Tarrell & Bob Sharp

 Sunday April 22 10:30 a.m. in Parish Center: P-Z – Tony Davis & Fred Klute

 

See you in Divine Service,

March 29th, 2018|

March 2018

Lent is the special church season in which we especially remember the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus. Some focus on what we should give up for God, and as long as the motive is based on what God has first done for us that can be a very good spiritual discipline. But it all has to start with our generous God; indeed, we love and respond only because He first loved us (1 John 4:19 ). Of Course, our Lenten Midweek theme this year is taking on something for Lent — Luther’s Catechism. Try to read through his Small Catechism each day and through the Large Catechism once during this Lent season. And remember that it’s still all about Jesus.

I’ve seen a couple of versions of this poem (most anonymous) but still running down a claim by a Lyle C Rollings III to have written it about 2006. I really like the thought:

The greatest man in history, Jesus, had no servants, yet they called Him master. Had no degree, yet they called Him Teacher. Had no medicines, yet they called Him healer. Had no army, yet kings feared Him. He won no military battles, yet He conquered the world. He did not live in a castle, yet they called Him Lord, He had no earthly throne, yet they called Him King. He committed no crime, yet they crucified Him. He was buried in a tomb, yet He lives today!

Great thought and Luther’s Catechism so reinforces a true and certain trust in this Lord and Savior that we focus on during Lent. Please join us throughout March as looking at the Catechism helps us grow in our understanding, appreciation, and love for our Lord Jesus. We end March this year with Holy Week and start April with Easter, when we remember how Jesus takes away our sins, gives us life in Him now and forever and gives us a solid foundation on which to build our lives upon. Without Him… we can do NOTHING! But remember His Words: “Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit” (John 15:5). Or Paul’s inspired words: “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13).

 

See you in Divine Service,

March 1st, 2018|

February 2018

      The Lent Season begins this year with Ash Wednesday on February 14, Valentine’s Day, and ends with Easter on April 1, April Fools’ Day (no kidding!). Of course, Lent is something we should take seriously because it reminds us of how much our Lord Jesus sacrificed for our privilege to be part of God’s Kingdom. “In Lent, many Christians commit to fasting, as well as ‘giving up’ certain luxuries in order to ‘replicate the sacrifice of Jesus Christ’s journey into the desert for 40 days’” (Wikipedia). For our Lent midweek services, instead of giving up something we will be taking up something — a focus on Luther’s Catechism. If you would like a printout of Luther’s Large Catechism to read through this Lent season, they are available at church.

A totally different but also serious subject: at the last Atlantic Ministerial meeting a couple of our local police officers talked with us about responding to an active shooter. Unfortunately, the news makes it clear that this is a situation to which even a Christian congregation has to consider how to respond. One message that we need to know which I’m not sure how best and most appropriately to communicate is how we could best respond individually to such an emergency in our midst. If our response is to cower and try to hide under the pews, we’re all easy targets. But if the attacker is being hit with hymnals and other objects thrown at him or her, the attacker’s intention is much more difficult to carry out. Pray that we and no other congregation ever face such an emergency because we live in a world corrupted by human sin. Of course, the only real, ultimate answer is found in Jesus.

See you in Divine Service,

 

February 3rd, 2018|

January 2018

I recently ran across an article that suggested you should dress up to fly on an airline because you’ll get treated better. “Joking aside, the other reasons are the more obvious ones: However unfair it is, you’re generally treated better if you’re dressed better.” https://www.cntraveler.com/story/why-you-should-always-dress-up-to-fly

We often say “One cannot judge a book by its cover.” And yet so often, don’t we do just that. Someone looks better so we think more of that one or are more patient, more accepting, nicer…. “My friends, as believers in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, you must never treat people in different ways according to their outward appearance” (James 2:1 GNT). None of us meets God’s perfect standard under the Law and we all are in need of God’s grace. At times though, we Christians have been guilty of giving other the impression that one has to get cleaned up before you can come to church… that one has to do a certain amount of righteous works before God will apply His grace to us. However, the essence of the Christian faith is that salvation is through Christ alone, not by human good works. With the new year, let’s make sure we focus on loving people as God loves them and not on their outward appearance. Let’s make sure that our congregation’s buildings and grounds don’t just look good but are a place the love of God is found shining through for all people . Transformed by His grace, let’s share His grace with all.

As we’ve been singing in our Offertory this past month: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me…”

See you in Divine Service,

December 31st, 2017|