The Pastor’s View2018-06-09T16:50:51+00:00

The Pastor’s View

October 2018

As of this writing, I have not made a decision between the call Zion issued to me over 13 years ago and the part-time call that Atonement Lutheran of Omaha issued the end of August. When I reach a decision, I will announce it at the beginning of our Divine Services. Because they were issued by congregations of our Lord’s people, both calls are divine and I must prayerfully decide — trusting the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Please keep me and my family in your prayers.

The month of September has brought some sad changes. We lost 3 members from this physical life in a week.  St. John Lutheran, Adair, had their last Divine Service on Sunday, September 23.  Also, Immanuel Lutheran, Adair, and Holy Trinity Lutheran, Atlantic, both decided to close on Sunday, September 16 (Immanuel hasn’t set a closing date at this time). While sad, those who leave this physical life while trusting in our Lord Jesus now live with our Lord Jesus. Also, congregations serve to share Christ’s Gospel and build up disciples for our Lord as long as they share the pure God’s Word and properly administer His Sacraments. We are all only here for a time, indeed such a short time. The seven churches of Asia Minor with whom John first shared his Revelation no longer exist; however, the message of Revelation that we have the victory in Christ even though it appears that Satan and his forces are winning is still true! What we believers, guided by the Holy Spirit, accomplish through Jesus is crystal clear in Revelation 7: “9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’”

Rejoicing in our victory in Christ, see you in Divine Service,

September 28th, 2018|

September 2018

With the approach of autumn, school starts again.  I encourage us all to keep our schools in prayer.  Our young people (and their teachers) have so many challenges and distractions today.  As someone recently told me, “Prayers are the greatest help.” Or as Proverbs 15:29 reminds us: “The Lord hears the prayer of the righteous.” And through faith in Christ, we have the righteousness of God.  Besides our local schools, please also be praying for our adult Bibles Studies, Weekday, Sunday School, Preschool and Daycare.  As James 5:16 informs us: “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”  Or as Romans 12:12 encourages: “Be constant in prayer.” Please keep praying for our young people and all those in need.

We also rejoice in the answer to many prayers as work continues on our Access for All project.  Thank you to everyone who is helping to make this dream a reality.

August 29th, 2018|

August 2018

Every so often through the grapevine, I hear that someone is wondering if I’d had a divine call to another congregation or declined such a call. I have not received an actual divine call from another congregation since I came to Zion in 2005. If I receive a such call from another congregation or church institution, pleased be reassured that you will hear about it (in worship services, the Together, this Newsletter, etc.). Since it’s been several years since Zion has gone through a call process for a pastor, I’ll share some more information on page 7.

Our access for all project is moving along fairly quickly. We should be able to use the handicap bathroom and lift elevator sometime this fall. I’ve been sharing some pictures showing updates of the work on our Facebook account. If you search for Zion Lutheran Church LCMS on Facebook, you should find it. Or stop by church and check out the progress. Please keep this project and our congregation’s ministry in your prayers.

August 1st, 2018|

July 2018

Ah summertime, “Summertime and the livin’ is easy  Fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high  Oh, your daddy’s rich and your ma is good-lookin’  So hush little baby, don’t you cry.” Or so the myth goes. For so many of us, summer is one of the busiest times of the year.

Perhaps it should remind us that the unofficial start of summertime is Memorial Day, “a day on which those who died in active military service are remembered.” And its unofficial end is Labor Day which “honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws, and well-being of the country.” So summertime is bookended by those who sacrificed their lives and those who worked and sweated hard. Therefore, we shouldn’t expect it to always be “easy.”

I don’t know of an English translation of the Bible that uses the term “vacation.” There is rest and quiet time but those mentions would be closer to a spiritual retreat than a modern vacation. God’s Word doesn’t take a vacation for it keeps confronting us with the Law and comforts us with the Gospel. Yes, please take some needed time for a rest, but make sure spiritual refreshment is included.

See you in Divine Service,

July 2nd, 2018|

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|