the view from the pew 7-16-17

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This is an art piece made in Latvia made by an unknown artist. It was gifted to the Indianapolis Latvian church by a fellow, now deceased, named Janis Karklins. It was carved from a single piece of wood. What do we see here? There are mostly homes. I see at least one church with a steeple. There might be another steeple to the right of the first. Down and to the left of the church looks to be a bird house, where you see the hole. Latvians are big fans of birds as well as trees, fish, animals, and, well, just about anything to do with nature. Top middle is a cross with Jesus on it and a banner over the top. It reads “Dievs Svētī Latviju”. Translated to English, “God Bless Latvia”.

It was English service at the Latvian Lutheran church in Indianapolis. We sang hymns.

Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty!

God, Whose Farm is All Creation

What Feast of Love

What a Friend We Have in Jesus

We confessed our sin against God and one another:

Eternal God and Creator, in You we live and move and have our being. Look upon us, Your children, the work of Your hands. Forgive us all our offenses, and cleanse us from proud thoughts and empty desires. By Your grace draw us near to You, our refuge and our strength; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

We were forgiven of our sins long ago by Jesus:

Since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit given to us. In the mercy of almighty God, Christ died for us. In the mercy of almighty God, Christ died for us while we were sinners; and for His sake, God forgives you all your sins. Amen.

My wife, Susan, read the scripture reading, Romans 8:1-11. She also read Prayers of Intercession. An excerpt of it was:

“For victims and perpetrators of race-based crime. For all who suffer sorrow, illness, or injury. Bring them justice, healing, and new life by the power of Your Spirit. Hear us, O God…”

(to which the congregation responds) Your mercy is great.

Mācītājs Lazdins began his sermon with reading the Gospel, Matthew 13:1-9; 18-23, The Parable of the Sower of The Seeds. It applies mostly to church leaders such as pastors because they are in a position to preach to the most people at one time. It applies to anyone else who follows Jesus’s command to make disciples of all nations (talk to people about Jesus). The parable explains how when the Gospel word is spread, four things can happen but three of them are bad.

The first situation is when the seed (gospel) is spread it can land on hard ground and never take root. The birds (satan) swoop down, eats the seed and it never has a chance. There are many people who do not want, for many reasons, to hear about ‘all that Jesus stuff‘. They are hard hearted and trust in themselves to get through life. Or they trust in cultural rot such as music with harsh lyrics toward life, or chase after television stars, or dabble in dark arts. None of it will come to a good end.

The second situation is where the seed lands on rocky ground with some dirt where the seed took hold but was too shallow to grow deep roots. When the sun came out it withered the grass. This explains how some people are happy to attend church but are so new to the faith they fall away after the first disaster hits their lives.

The third situation is where the seed (the gospel Word) falls among good soil but the ground also sprouts weeds and thorns. This describes how some Christians can’t quite separate themselves from the habits of their past. Perhaps they still hang out with nefarious rascals, watch unwholesome films or television, still spend the day at bars, and so on.

The fourth situation is where the seed lands on good soil and grows tall with deep roots. This means that the hearer understands what the Word means and is able to devote his time, wealth or skills to help others come to the faith.

The first three situations don’t suggest that anyone is helpless or hopeless, just that they require more effort and love to help open their hearts to God. Remember your son, mother, brother, aunt, neighbor, anyone who has yet to come to Jesus. Do not ever give up on them regardless what they tell you. There was the day your heart was melted and re-set in the shape of God. If it happened to you, who can say that God cannot melt another?

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