A Word from Pastor

  A Word from Pastor  
Last updated on May 31, 2016
Jesus is my Savior by Faith
"Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned." Mark 15:16

In many places, June ushers in warmer weather. Summer begins in earnest, and that means people like to be outside and enjoy the warm temperatures. One activity that many enjoy is swimming. It might be a backyard pool, a community pool or beach, or even a lawn sprinkler. Whatever the method, people love to get wet.

Followers of Jesus get wet too, when they are baptized. Baptism is a wonderful gift of God where water is applied and the words are spoken as Jesus commanded, “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). When those words and the water are combined like this, according to Jesus’ promise, baptisms take place. Through this special means, God creates faith in people – infant or adult. Sins are washed away, and by faith in Jesus God makes them members of his family.

After baptism, learning continues so that people grow in their faith and grow closer to God for the confidence and joy of life with God both now and forever. There is much to learn and know in the Bible. It guides us. It refreshes us. And its message saves us! It is the “living water” (John 4:10) that Jesus gives us. Much more refreshing than any pool or beach or sprinkler! It quenches our thirst for belonging to God, for truth about God, and for true peace with God. The Word of God creates and strengthens faith in Jesus as our Savior.

Without faith in Jesus, people will be “condemned”, that is, lost forever in hell when they die. As Christians, we seek to invite everyone to hear Jesus’ message and be baptized, so hell is not their destiny. This is because Jesus told us to baptize and teach, so that people can have saving faith and will enjoy heaven when they die.

Many people think of summer as a gift, when we have rest and relaxation. But the real gift that lasts forever – not matter the weather – is the gift of faith in Jesus that comes through baptism and God’s Word! Come and share with us the joy of being members of God’s family.

Remember, you are always welcome at Peace Lutheran Church. We worship Saturdays at 6:00 PM at our Holiday Campus and 10:00 AM on Sundays at our Trinity Campus. Click here to see a map to our locations!

    Jesus is the Risen Savior
  • Because I live, you also will live. – John 14:19

    Finding something empty can leave you feeling a wide variety of emotions. When you have a craving for something sweet, you reach into the cookie jar to satisfy yourself. However, when all you find are crumbs, you feel ________. When you let your teenager use the car for the weekend and on Monday morning, when you are late for work and you see the fuel gauge on empty, you feel ________! When you prepare to pay bills and find your saving account is empty, you feel ________! When death has emptied your life of mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, child or best friend, you feel ________!

    Perhaps you filled in the blanks with words such as devastated, disappointed, frustrated, angry. Finding something empty is usually never good. I do not think anyone has ever been happy finding an empty treasure chest. I do not think anyone working in the hot sun has felt overjoyed having an empty water bottle. I do not think waitressing for a table of six and find the tip tray empty has ever caused anyone to cry tears of happiness. To be honest, finding something empty is all of these—devastating, disappointing, frustrating, anger provoking!

    hat is—until this month! This March God’s Word once again leads us to Jesus’ tomb. It is here at Jesus’ tomb where we hear the angel proclaim, “He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him” (Mark 16:6). From reading the Bible, what do we find when we look into the tomb? We find it EMPTY!

    Finding Jesus’ tomb empty can leave you feeling a wide variety of emotions. When your conscience condemns you because of your sins, knowing Jesus’ tomb is empty makes you feel ________! When you are bothered by the thought of dying and being placed in the ground, knowing Jesus’ tomb is empty gives you a feeling of ________! When you know that someday you will meet your Maker, knowing Jesus’ tomb is empty makes you feel ________!

    Did you fill in those blanks with words such as at peace, comforted, content, reassured, overjoyed, jubilant, relieved? To be honest, finding Jesus’ tomb empty brings to me all of the above! May Jesus’ empty tomb fill your heart with the same!

    Enjoy finding your Savior’s tomb EMPTY this Easter.
    Jesus is the Suffering Savior of Love
  • He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. ...He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities, the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. - Isaiah 53:3,5
    Valentines Day cards contain words that are chosen very carefully. They are meaningful words of love and affection. Sometimes when we are sending a valentine to someone, we might even agonize over which words to use. We want to choose the right words that express the deep love we have.

    How about the words printed above by the prophet Isaiah? Would you include any of his words in a card to your loved one? At first thought you would say “absolutely not!” Words like “despised… rejected… sorrows… suffering… punishment” would be the last choice for a Valentine’s Day card! But the Bible surprises us. These words from God are really a wonderful expression of his true love for people.

    The first thing to understand is that Isaiah was writing about Jesus. Jesus, God’s Son, was sent to earth to be the world’s Savior. The Bible tells us that because of sin there was a punishment looming for all people. But Jesus took that punishment on himself. Jesus is our Savior who suffered for sinners. He took all this suffering on himself, including death on a cross, so that people wouldn’t suffer eternally.

    The second thing to remember is that we are talking about something very personal to all of us. We were the ones Jesus came to suffer for. We were the ones who were headed to the punishment of eternal separation from God. Our sinful thoughts, words and actions condemned us. But as the prophet wrote, “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities, the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed”.

    Jesus’ love for us is deep and long lasting. It’s not a shallow love that we might receive from others, or a love that is here today and gone tomorrow. Jesus’ love is eternal. He promises that since he suffered and gave up his life for us, he will continue to love us each and every day. Every time you open the Bible it’s like Valentine’s Day. These are G
    Jesus is the one and only Savior
  • A common resolution at New Year’s is to lose weight and improve fitness. There are various ways people seek to reach that goal. Some strive to improve their diet, either eating smaller portions or switching to healthier foods. Others focus more on exercise, building up their strength or following a cardio workout plan. Picking any or all of those options can help a person reach a weight loss and fitness goal. There is a certain goal, however, that has only one way to reach it. If the goal that you want to obtain is eternal life in heaven, the one and only way to reach that goal is through Jesus. Jesus is the world’s one and only Savior. Many people disagree with that. The common thought is that there are many ways to reach the goal of heaven and eternal life. Many consider Jesus to be one option of many. But Jesus didn’t come to be a path; he came to be the path. Jesus didn’t come to show us how we could obtain heaven by ourselves; he came to show us his glory and to be our Savior. Consider how many New Year’s resolutions will be abandoned. We know how weak we can be. But Jesus is true God who came from heaven.

    Yes, he became human like us, yet he was without our weaknesses and he was without our sin. His great love caused him to leave heaven and dwell among us. He came to take away our sins by giving his own life as the payment for our sins. Calling us to be his followers by trusting him as our Savior, he freely gives us the gift of heaven and eternal life. Following Jesus isn’t like so many other resolutions that get discarded after a few months. To follow him is a goal that lasts the entire year. Having seen the true beauty and glory of the world’s one and only Savior, we can’t help but want to learn more and grow in the knowledge of Jesus, the world’s one and only Savior.
    We Are Living in the End Times, So What?
  • We’re in the thick of the “holiday season.” The commercials and holiday specials on TV attempt to dictate what life should be like this time of year. We often see families smiling and laughing. But how often do our lives really look and feel anything like those overly produced moments we see in movies and on TV? Is our holiday experience filled with laughter and delight, or is it mostly filled with stress and anxiety? The chaos of this life and the whirlwind of increasingly busy schedules can leave us with a sense of longing rather than fulfillment.

    The pain and hardship of this life, whether in this time of year or anytime, should come as no surprise. We are living in the End Times, the last days before the end of the world comes. But so what? What difference does that make? God makes it clear that we shouldn’t be surprised when life isn’t the Hollywood ideal. In fact, because of sin in this world, God says that this life is going to be troublesome. He even warns us that wickedness will increase in the last days.

    However, we live in the End Times like a child watches the calendar for Christmas. We wait with that same sort of eager excitement because we, too, are waiting for a gift. We’re not waiting for toys and games wrapped in shiny paper. There is something much better coming.  As the apostle Paul wrote in the Bible: “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).

    God promised a Savior right at the scene of the world’s first sin. He followed through on that promise by sending Jesus to pay the price for everyone’s sins by dying on the cross. God’s forgiveness is ours now; trusting in Jesus we are God’s children! And as his children we stand waiting for the rest of that gift: rescue from this world of hardship to be brought to an eternal life where only good exists.
    Jesus’ work for us, his death and his resurrection, assure us of his love. While there may be dark times in this life, none of those change God’s love. He is with us now to help us get through the rough times. Because of Jesus and the gift of salvation that he won for us, finally God will take us to be with him forever in heaven. These End Times will give way to an eternity of true joy!
    What is the Importance of Baptism?
  • A man lies in the recovery room after serious, lifesaving heart surgery. The surgeon walks into the room and gets down on his knees beside the bed. With tears in his eyes the doctor says “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I can’t thank you enough for what you have done for me!”

    There’s something backwards about that scene. Shouldn’t the patient be the one thanking the doctor? After all, that surgeon saved his life. The patient owes that medical man a huge debt of gratitude.
    Many people get Christian baptism backwards. They think that baptism is something we do for God, a way of showing obedience to Him. That seems appropriate. After all, parents are the ones who bring their children to the baptismal font. However, in baptism God is really the one who does something for us.

    And what wonderful things God does for us in baptism! The apostle Peter said “repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). In those words Peter describes two of the wondrous blessings of baptism: the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). We are all sinners. Sin separates us from God. Sin takes away the blessings he wants us to have. Sin keeps us out of heaven. So God did something about sin. He sent Jesus, his Son. Jesus lived perfectly in our place, died on the cross to pay for all our sins and rose again to assure us of eternal life. In Baptism, God gives us this forgiveness that Jesus won for us.
    The other blessing, the gift of the Holy Spirit, is faith or trust in Jesus. Faith is the hand that receives all the blessings that Jesus won for us. In baptism God miraculously works faith in our hearts so that we don’t miss out on a single blessing that Jesus won for us. Through faith worked in baptism, God gives us all the blessings earned by our Savior: forgiveness of sins, a new life of peace and hope, and eternal life in heaven.

    Is baptism important? Absolutely! In baptism God is at work for us. Through baptism God saves us.
    What is a Christian Worldview?
  • Sam and Harry are two brothers who are able to see eye to eye on just about everything. But every August, it seems that they have a hard time agreeing on anything. Whenever football season starts up, Sam and Harry are always at odds. Though these two men had been born brothers, they grew up rooting for different teams. And whenever their rival teams play each other, Sam and Harry leave the stadium with very different views of the same game.

    In many ways, Christians and non-Christians are able to see eye to eye when it comes to the ways of the world. Most people, no matter what their beliefs may be, like to be treated fairly, to have a feeling of personal security, and to have a sense of purpose in life. There are times, however, when a Christian’s view of this world can be very different than their neighbor’s. Often, it’s the joys and woes of daily life that demonstrate the differences. Whether celebrating a milestone, or coping with a disappointment, or even facing a death, Christians and non-Christians can think, talk and act very differently.

    What makes a Christian ‘tick’? Why do believers look at their world with such a different perspective? The answers to these questions reveal what Christian faith is all about. While the world around them believes in things like fairness, decency, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, a Christian believes in the God who is this world’s Maker, Savior and Counselor. Simply by speaking the words of a creed, every Christian makes a powerful statement of who they really are – not only in relationship to their world, but also in relationship to the God whose world it is.

    While a non-Christian sees a lifetime’s worth of achievements as the sum total of hard works or simple dumb luck, the Christian sees the hand of God. When a non-Christian sees a world filled with madness and uncertainty, the Christian sees a world for which Christ died. When a non-Christian struggles to see their purpose in life and where they ought to fit in the world, the Christian sees God’s own Spirit at work.

    Christians confess their faith in God. “This is the God who made me what I am, gives me what I have, and who holds this whole world in his hands!” Even if Christians and non-Christians can’t see the world eye to eye, the truth of God is always in view.
    Knowing Jesus or Knowing About Jesus... What's the difference?
  • What's the difference?

    Isn't social media wonderful for staying in touch? Watch a video of your nephew's first steps. Share your grandmother's recipes. Make personal contact with your best friend on his birthday. Monitor your classmate's battle with cancer.
    Even though separated by a distance, you carry your friends and family around with you in your pocket or purse. But it's not the same as being there in person, is it? There's no substitute for holding your mom's hand at the clinic when she gets the bad news, or sitting by your dad's side at the funeral. A relationship is more than following a news feed, it’s being an eyewitness to history and experiencing it.
    What kind of relationship do you have with Jesus? Most people know the facts about his life, as told to them by parents and preachers. In Nazareth, the people knew who Jesus' parents were. They heard reports about his preaching and his miracles, and they were thrilled to have him come for a visit. But they didn't know him as well as they thought. He announced "no prophet is accepted in his hometown" (Luke 4:24). And when Jesus started to tell them what needed to change, the people of Nazareth tried to kill him.
    Just knowing the facts about Jesus doesn't change my behavior or attitude. Just following the story with my head won't make me feel ashamed of my sins and lead me to trust him as my Savior. And it certainly won't get me to heaven, because knowing about Jesus isn't the same as knowing Jesus. Knowing Jesus means taking to heart what he says about my sins. Knowing Jesus means there's nothing I can do to make this relationship work, but that he makes it all possible. Knowing Jesus means experiencing his love and forgiveness. Knowing Jesus means walking with him through the darkest days of my life. Knowing Jesus means a relationship that never ends, no matter how bad the news is.
    How can you be close to someone who lived so long ago? Read the eyewitness accounts written in the bible. Put yourself in their place and apply what they saw and heard to your own life. Stay in touch with your Savior by regularly reading and listening to God's word, and speak to him in prayer. Join together with other Christians to grow in your knowledge about Jesus and what he means to you. It's true: no Jesus, no peace. Know Jesus, know peace.
    What does the Holy Spirit do for us?
  • A famous doctor once conducted a series of autopsies in which he made a stunning observation. Here is how it happened. He had carefully examined the body of a convicted murderer when he noticed a connection to the body of a convicted thief. The two individuals had the exact same internal problem. It got a little crazier. He went back over the notes from a few other cases and he discovered that a few more bodies had the same internal problem. But it didn't stop there. He went back over all his cases and, regardless of the person's background, all of the people had that same internal problem. The doctor shared his findings in a book which is still the top selling book of all time.

    Do you want to know what the connection was between all of those people? They all had heart problems. You have probably heard the name of the doctor. His name is Jesus. Jesus once pointed out (Mark 7) that all evil thoughts and actions come from within the heart. When someone cuts you off on the highway and your first reaction is NOT to smile and wave, it comes from within the heart. When someone hurts your feelings and you want to hurt them back, it comes from within the heart. When you say something in anger that you immediately want to take back, it comes from within the heart.

    That is the problem. So what is the solution? One man said it well, “create in me a pure hear, O God” (Psalm 51:10). We need new and pure hearts and God is the only one who can create them. This is where the work of God the Holy Spirit comes in. He uses something sharper than a surgeon’s scalpel to penetrate and change the heart. The Holy Spirit uses the Word of God. Like a skilled surgeon, the Holy Spirit cuts deeply in order to heal divinely. The Holy Spirit uses that Word of God to teach us that the “blood of Jesus purifies us from all sin” (1 John 1:17). The Holy Spirit uses that Word of God to change the heart so that it beats with faith and hope and love. The Holy Spirit uses the Word of God so that it pours out joy, peace, patience, kindness and goodness. Thank the Holy Spirit for your new heart!

    Remember: you are always welcomed at Peace Lutheran Church. We worship on Saturdays at 6PM at our Holiday campus and Sundays in Trinity at 10 AM. Click here for maps and directions!
    Why is Jesus' resurrection from the dead significant to me?
  • It was refreshing, though the situation certainly wasn't. Sandy's mom had spent a wonderful, joy filled day with her and her ten month old daughter. But it took just one moment. What started as a minor health scare quickly escalated, resulting in an emergency trip to the hospital. Less than two days later, Sandy's mother went home to heaven.

    They weren't ready to lose her. If they could have their way, she'd still be here. So what was so refreshing? "We ask that God's will be done. I'm glad she is in Jesus' arms." Throughout the entire tragedy, that's what Sandy wrote.

    How could she be so upbeat? In the midst of mourning, she was a modern day Martha. Martha, fighting through tears for her brother Lazarus, freshly laid in the grave, boldy proclaimed to Jesus, "I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day." (John 11:24)

    How could she be so confident? How can I be so confident? As a result of Adam and Eve's first sin, death was introduced into the world. As a result of sin, I've lost loved ones. As a result of sin, I myself will lose my life one day. And as a result of sin, God tells me there's only one place where I deserve to go: hell.

    How can I be so confident? Because I have a loving Savior. Where I struggle and fail each day to love and obey God, Jesus didn't ever fail. Even when loving God meant dying for me, Jesus obeyed. His love for me took him to the cross. His love has taken away all the guilt of my sins.

    How can I be so confident? Because I have a living Savior. Jesus died, but he is not dead. His resurrection is more than just an occasion to commemorate once a year on Easter. It's the proof that Jesus not only forgave my sins and conquered hell, it’s also the promise that because he lives, I also will live. When I die, in his loving and living arms, I will live!

    Jesus' resurrection gives me confidence. It makes me confident to say "I know that my Redeemer lives". I am refreshed in every joy and every sorrow because I know that my Redeemer lives. And when at last my earthly journey is done, I will wake to live forever with my Savior because my Redeemer lives.

    Remember: you are always welcomed at Peace Lutheran Church. We worship on Saturdays at 6PM at our Holiday campus and Sundays in Trinity at 10 AM.
    How is Jesus the Savior of the world?
  • On September 11, 2001, passengers on United Airlines Flight 93 attempted to gain control of the hijacked airplane that was by most accounts headed for a target in Washington, D.C. The plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. All 44 passengers were killed. The valiant passengers sacrificed their lives so that possibly many more lives were spared. Those passengers were lifesavers in the sense that they substituted their own lives for the lives of others.

    Christians refer to Jesus as a lifesaver. Jesus saved our lives and the lives of every single human being. That is quite an astounding assertion. How specifically did Jesus save the human race? The answer hinges on Jesus serving as our substitute.

    The Bible clearly states that God is absolutely holy, righteous and just. The problem is that we human beings are not in God’s spiritual league, far from it. The apostle Paul bluntly reminds us that no one is perfect: “There is no one righteous, not even one…All have turned away and have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one” (Romans 3:1012).
    We are sinful; God is not. Left to ourselves, our lack of holiness will prevent us from living eternally in our holy God’s presence. God’s Word says, “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Instead of going to heaven, our final destiny is eternal death in hell. Jesus said that those who are not righteous will be cast by God into the place of torment (Matthew 13:4950), the abode of the evil angel Satan. It is an ominous and bleak eternal outlook! 

    But God intervened. We have a lifesaver. We have a substitute. In unimaginable love, God the Father sent his Son, Jesus, to save us from death and hell. As true God and true man, Jesus lived a holy and sinless life in our place. Jesus substituted his holiness for our lack of holiness, so that because of Jesus God counts us completely holy!

    Then in remarkable humble love for all of us, Jesus suffered and died. On the cross, Jesus suffered the agony of eternal separation from God the Father’s love. We deserved that eternal punishment for our sin, but God put Jesus under the sentence of death as our substitute. 

    Then victoriously Jesus rose from the dead to prove that he fully accomplished our salvation. He is the Savior who rescued the world from the guilt of sin, the hold of death, and the power of hell by his perfect life and his death for us. Trust Jesus who is your “substitute” Savior, and all these eternal blessings are yours! We worship our Savior on Saturdays at 6 PM at our Holiday campus and Sundays at 10 AM at Peace-East in Trinity. Remember you and your family are always welcome at Peace Lutheran.
    I'm not perfect; I make mistakes. So what?
  • In 2013, the Florida State Seminoles were celebrated as college football’s BCS Champions after completing a perfect 14-0 season. In the 135 year history of Major League Baseball, only 23 pitchers have tossed a perfect game. Each of those 23 pitchers is widely celebrated for accomplishing one of baseball’s rarest individual feats. In 2009, USA Today reported that a Michigan teen got a perfect score on her ACT–and her SAT–and her PSAT! She was rewarded with a full-ride scholarship to Princeton University.

    If perfection is so celebrated because of its rarity, should the opposite be true as well? Should imperfection be condemned? I mean, if perfection is considered the rarest of all feats, shouldn’t it be considered acceptable if the rest of us don’t achieve such a vaunted status? Nobody’s perfect at life! We all make mistakes. Who cares?

    God cares. While imperfections are an accepted part of life for us, they are not acceptable to our God. Imperfections run contrary to the way God intended this world to function. When he finished his work of creation, God was pleased to know that everything worked in harmony. There were no imperfections; “God saw all that he made and it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). Our imperfections are therefore an offense to our perfect creator God. They are not excused; they are not overlooked. They are punished for the offense that they are.

    Sure, nobody’s perfect. That’s why we need someone to be perfect for us.

    “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Yes, Jesus Christ who had no sin or imperfection became our imperfection so that he might receive all of the punishment that we deserved, paying for it all by his death on the cross. In return, he grants us the perfection that we could not achieve on our own. In Christ we become “the righteousness of God.”

    As much as we celebrate individual accomplishments of perfection–the perfect season, the perfect game, or the perfect test score–how much greater can we celebrate the perfection that is ours by faith in Jesus Christ! In Christ you are perfect; believe it! Celebrate it! Live it! We celebrate this gift of Jesus and his perfection each week. Join us at 10 AM on Sundays. We meet at Trinity Elementary School. Remember, you are always welcome!

    For more Questions & Answers, go to www.WhatAboutJesus.com, then Questioning God.
    Happy New Year!
  • Happy New Year!

    "But how can I be happy when the future is so uncertain?"

    Every generation talks about the "good ole days". As we embark on a new year, many people would be more than happy to go back to the "good ole days" of years ago.

    Today, stock market swoons, foreclosures and unemployment are all too common. Grumbling and complaining occur as many people find it difficult to provide for their personal needs. These things, along with other personal struggles, may make us long for the "good ole days".

    Amidst all the turmoil, even when nest eggs crack and portfolios decline, we can still move forward with certainty that all of our needs will be met. Why? Because Jesus has met all of our true needs and promises to provide for our future!

    Jesus came into the world so that we can be happy every day with the kind of joy that only he can provide. He blesses us - makes us happy - by the powerful things he accomplished in our place: he lived a perfect life as our substitute; he died on the cross to win forgiveness of sins for each of us; and he won the victory over sin, death and the devil by his triumphant resurrection from the grave.

    God tells us about all these blessings in the Bible. In his written Word, God's plan for our future is laid out, and we are informed how Jesus fulfilled God's saving will for us. Jesus said "Blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear." Our Savior teaches us that we can be happy as we give attention to God's love as it is described and explained for us on the pages of Scripture.

    Jesus' work is not limited to the spans of generations; it is a gift to all people for all time. God's faithfulness to his world of people has remained the one constant since he created all things. Trusting in his love, we can overcome concerns we have due to personal circumstances. We can be truly happy because we see in the Bible how our Savior gave his life for us and how he is now preparing for us an eternal home in heaven, the place of unbridled joy.

    God invites everyone to hear the good news of Jesus and celebrate the wonderful message of salvation. With that confidence, we do not have to look back to the "good ole days" for a sense of happiness but rather look forward to the eternal happiness that awaits us in heaven - all because of God's great love for us in Jesus!

    Joins us as we listen to Jesus' comforting words about our future. We worship each week at 10 AM at Trinity Elementary School in Trinity. We also worship at 6 PM on Saturdays at our Holiday Campus. Remember, you are always welcome at Peace Lutheran Church.