The Pastor’s View

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The Pastor’s View2020-01-17T11:54:14-06:00

June 2020

I begin each sermon saying ‘When we hear the sounds of children in the sanctuary, we say…’ and the congregation responds ‘Praise be to God! There are children in the church!’ I love the sounds of kids wiggling and squirming around in the pews Sunday mornings. After spending the past few months recording services by myself to post online, I’m happy hearing the sound of anyone in the sanctuary with me now!

But there is a particular reason I begin my sermons the way I do. Sadly, the amount of young families worshipping together is not what it once was. Many young fathers these days don’t know how to fulfill their role as the spiritual head of household. Sadly, many children also don’t have parents who are married. If parents weren’t raised in the church, or have drifted away over time, sitting in the pews on Sunday, especially with noisy children, this can be intimidating.

This is why we as a congregation must rejoice when they come in our doors. When we hear the sounds of children in the sanctuary, we know there are little ears that are hearing God’s Word. Little eyes that are seeing the stories of the Bible displayed in the stained-glass windows. Little arms that will greet their pastor with hugs and high fives. And this is EXACTLY what God wants!

The first worship services in history having an order for how things should be done were the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. God gave instructions for these services to Moses, who then gave the instructions to the Nation of Israel. In Exodus 12:43-49 God gave to Moses the statute of the Passover. It would take place once a year, and was only for the Nation of Israel and those who would live amongst the Israelites and obeyed the laws of circumcision. Each year the day after the Passover, Israel would begin the week long Feast of Unleavened Bread.

During this week, Israel would eat bread without yeast. They were commanded by God to do this because this would be a reminder for Israel of all that God had done for them. When God gave the instructions to Moses, He specifically addressed how to respond to noisy kids asking questions during the worship service. God said answer their questions! Exodus 13:14 says ‘And when in time to come your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?’ you shall say to him, ‘By a strong hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, from the house of slavery.’

When you’re in church with your kids or grandkids, and they’re being noisy asking questions about what pastor is doing or saying during worship, remember one thing; this is EXACTLY what God desires. God wants families to worship together, for children to ask questions to know more about their God who loves them, and parents to patiently teach the children what they’ve been blessed with.

See you on Sunday!

Pastor Kyle McBee

 

May 31st, 2020|

May 2020

On May 31st we will celebrate Pentecost, the day the Holy Spirit came to the apostles in the form of tongues of fire resting on their heads. The apostles were given a full understanding of all things concerning Christ, and also the gift of speaking in tongues. Because of this they were able to proclaim what the Holy Spirit had revealed to them to the masses. As Christian’s, we associate Pentecost with this event. But the day the Holy Spirit visited the apostles was assuredly not the first Pentecost.

Early Christians referred to Easter as Pasch, from the Hebrew word for Passover. The name Pentecost comes from the Greek word for fifty, since Israelites and Christians celebrated what was called ‘The Feast of Weeks’ fifty days after the Passover. Knowing this, we’re able to understand why there were so many Jewish people from different lands, speaking different languages, all in Jerusalem on one day. They were there for the ‘Feast of Weeks’.

 

The ‘Feast of Weeks’ is discussed in Leviticus 23:15-21. In the sacrifices commanded of the Israelites on that day, God reminds them He is the source of their salvation. It was God who preserved their lives during the Passover and then freed them from bondage in Egypt. But there are also blessings for people who are not of the Nation of Israel, regarding how God instructed the Israelites to serve Him through serving others during the ‘Feast of Weeks’.

Leviticus 23:22 says ‘And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, nor shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.’

 

While the Israelites are God’s chosen people, God also shows He cares for all people He has created. This love God has for all mankind is further displayed on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit visited the apostles. Jesus had called fishermen and tax collectors to be His apostles. They weren’t the leaders of the synagogue, they weren’t priests or scribes, they were ordinary men.

By the power of God almighty, the Holy Spirit revealed to these ordinary men what they could never comprehend on their own. The Holy Spirit then gave them the ability to proclaim what they now understood to people in languages they’d never studied. They were now able to preach the Word of God in languages they’d never understood before.

 

The same Holy Spirit who accomplished these miracles on that day of Pentecost continues to speak to us today. The Holy Spirit speaks to us through the Scriptures passed down to us from the Apostles. God has continued to give men the ability to learn languages so His Word has been translated into hundreds of languages.

This was all done for us because just as God cared for the poor and sojourners in the days of Leviticus, God continues to care for us today. This is why He has given His Son to die and rise again for us, and also why the Holy Spirit has been sent to give us the gift of faith. The hymn of the month for May is ‘Holy Spirit, Light Divine’ on page 496 of the Lutheran Service Book.

 

Look at that hymn; pay attention to the words we’re singing, and read the Scripture passages the hymn is based upon (John 16:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; 1 Corinthians 6:19; and 2 Timothy 1:7). While you may be enduring isolation during this time, remember the Holy Spirit has never and will never abandon you. Even while we remain in this broken world, we also remain firmly in the hand of God.

 

I’m looking with joy to the day we can celebrate the gifts of God together in person. While we wait for that day, I’ll be keeping you in my prayers.

Pastor Kyle McBee

 

April 27th, 2020|

April 2020

Going to a restaurant, seeing a movie at the theater, running over to the Library to check out some books, simply having people over for dinner. I honestly didn’t think I’d be giving up this much for Lent. This has been a frustrating time for all of us, and it will continue while we wait for clarity on what comes next in a constantly fluid situation. But while we wait, it is good to remember the strength God gives to us.

I can do all things through Him who gives me strength. It’s likely that you’ve heard this Bible passage before. It’s Philippians 4:13. Sometimes it’s misused, like when a Christian says it as they are about to try and accomplish a difficult task. Someone about to climb Mount Everest might say “I know the mountain is huge, and many people have tried and failed, and hundreds have died trying, but I don’t need to worry because ‘I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.’

It’s good to have faith in God. It’s important to look to Him for strength in everything we do. But it’s also good and important to understand Scripture appropriately. No where in the Bible does it say “All Christian’s who set out to climb Mount Everest will survive and succeed.” The fact of the matter is, more than 300 people we know of have died climbing Mount Everest. Climbing any mountain is dangerous, but Mount Everest? It’s the world’s highest mountain, so of course it’s going to be dangerous!

The exact time and place when Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians is not clearly stated, but traditionally it has been considered a letter Paul wrote while in prison in Rome. This is important to remember; believing the Holy Spirit moved Paul to write the words ‘I can do all things through Him who gives me strength’ while likely sitting in a prison cell put a whole new spin on the concept.

Paul’s not writing these words as He’s about to try and climb a mountain or accomplish any other type of feat. He writes them knowing he can do nothing at all, but Paul still finds his strength in God. This makes sense reading the previous verses. Paul’s letter to the Philippians is written out of gratitude for them having supported him in the ministry. Beginning at verse ten Paul writes:

10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

Verse twelve reveals to us the context of what Paul is talking about. In any and ever circumstance, Paul learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. Paul can do all things through Him who gives him strength. All that we’re enduring now, the isolation, the uncertainty, this is when we must remember it is God who gives us strength. Just as Paul could endure prison on the strength given to Him by God, we can endure this and all things on the strength God continues to give to us.

To respect those who are trying to keep a distance from others during this time, I’ll not be initiating visits. But if you desire a visit, and if I’m able to do so, please contact the church and I’ll be happy to visit with you. I look with joy to the day we’re able to gather again for worship in our sanctuary.

Until then, I’ll continue recording the services and posting them online. If you or someone you know doesn’t have a way to watch the services online, please contact the church and we can have a DVD made for you. If that is also not an option, the services will continue to be broadcast on the television and radio station as they have been before.

Until we’re able to meet together again, and while you’re waiting for answers to questions which we’re all asking, remember the truth you can be certain of when it seems like everything else wavers: God is all powerful. There is no virus which can defeat Him or take away His control over all things. While this world can leave us fearful and trembling at times, your strength as a Christian is in Jesus’ death and resurrection. By this you’re freed from captivity to this world because you live with the assurance of life with God in the world to come.

In Christian love,  Pastor Kyle McBee

 

 

March 30th, 2020|

March 2020

During the season of Lent, many Christians take this as a time to fast, to give up something from Ash Wednesday through Easter Sunday. Scripture does not command us to fast. We’re not required to fast if we want to to call ourselves ‘true Christians’. Fasting isn’t a requirement, it isn’t something a Christian should be forced to do, but is in reality a privilege Christians have the opportunity to participate in. The true motivation for someone to fast should be their desire to give something up to remind themselves of what Christ endured in giving up His life for us.

If you have no desire to fast during the season of lent, do not feel guilty. You’re not any ‘less’ of a Christian than one who does decide to fast. But if you do decide to fast, don’t brag about it. Don’t go around telling everyone what you’ve given up. Doing this just brings attention to yourself, instead of bringing glory to God. Also, consider strongly what you would like to give up for your fast. And no, you can’t say “I enjoy waking up early on Sunday and going to church. I’m going to give that up for Lent.”

You also can’t count it as a fast if you’re refraining from something you shouldn’t be doing anyways. If you have a problem with a particular sin, it doesn’t count as a Lenten fast if you’re giving up. You can’t say “I’m going to gossip less during Lent.” You’re not supposed to be gossiping at all to begin with! So, stop gossiping, or whatever sin you know you ‘enjoy’, and in addition to refraining from that sin look for something else to give up if you desire to fast. Maybe you spend a great deal of time watching television. Instead of watching television for the season of Lent, spend the same number of hours praying and reading through Scripture.

Whether you participate in a fast this Lenten season or not, I hope you will be reminded of what Jesus gave up so He could claim you as His own.

 

Blessings in Christ,

Pastor Kyle McBee

 

February 28th, 2020|

February 2020

I want to say thank you to all the people who worked so hard to get the parsonage ready for my family and I. We feel truly blessed to have such a wonderful home, and we’re already very happy to have been called to serve here at Zion Lutheran Church and looking forward to what God has in store for us in the following years.  I’ve already gotten to meet many of the church members, and I appreciate everyone understanding that while most of you have my name memorized already, it’ll take me some time to get the right name with everyone else’s face.

I’m sure the many pastors who have preceded me have all served you well by proclaiming the Word of God, and they have also each had unique gifts and passions when they’ve served you. As a young father I’m very passionate about helping young families understand the blessings which come in regularly hearing God’s Word both in church on Sunday morning, as well as studying God’s Word as a family in their own homes.  The best way we can work to support young families, especially those with young children, is to shower love abundantly upon them when they’re in church. We’ve already taken our first step by saying aloud during the worship service that when we hear the sounds of children in the church we say     “Praise be to God! There are children in the church!”  Take this one step further by saying it outside of the church as well. If you’re at someone’s house and there are noisy children in the room, tell them about your new pastor. Say to them “Pastor Kyle would love these kids in church. He loves to hear noisy kids during worship so much, he even has the whole church say so!”

We must cherish the sounds of children in church because it reminds us of the faith we need to have as Jesus said when putting a child in the midst of the disciples, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”  See you at church,   Pastor Kyle McBee

 

January 31st, 2020|

January 2020

 Peter 4:17 – “For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” The Gospel had freed us from all fear. God the Father loves us to the ends of love, and He has sent His Son to die for us and call us into His kingdom through the rebirth of water and Spirit. Saint Peter views this not as an excuse to sin but as encouragement for godly living. The judgment of the Lord is a real event, and it applies to the household of God. As members of His household, we desire to serve Him.

 

Matt. 3:15 – “But Jesus answered him, ‘Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ ” The reason God sent His Son into the world is to fulfill all righteousness for us, to do what we could not do. So here Jesus plunges Himself into our sins and soaks them up in His Baptism, so that in our Baptism we might be cleansed and renewed. The whole of Jesus’ life, everything He did and said, was one great offering to the Father in our stead to fulfill all righteousness for us. All our offerings back to our Lord are in thanksgiving for this one great, true offering.

 

 

Thank You! I want to thank Zion Lutheran Church and it’s members for the cards and the generous gifts that you have given.  The words of love and exhortation were certainly a large part of the gift all of us celebrated last weekend, even Jesus incarnate.  May God continue to bless you, that you might have a joyous and prosperous Holiday season and New Year Glorifying God, Serving Others and Imitating our Savior.

Pastor Daryl Tompkins

 

January 4th, 2020|