the view from the pew 12-29-18

Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Indianapolis, IN

5:30 pm, Pastor Sattler

The songs we sang were “Now Sing We, Now Rejoice”, “Jesus, Name Above All Names”, “Emmanuel”, “Once in Royal David’s City” and “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing”. Thank you, Paul, for the effort you put into our music.

As we do each week, we went through a complete liturgy. This is done so we cover the important parts of worship. These include welcoming and acknowledging God, Jesus and The Holy Ghost into the sanctuary to be worshiped. That’s pretty important, wouldn’t you say? Two thousand years ago Jesus commanded us to be in communion with Him and fellow Christians by taking Holy Communion with Him and fellow congregants. We recognize our need for Jesus as the savior by confessing our sins, of which we have many. We have the sins we know we have committed, the ones we forgot we committed and we the sins we are totally unaware of.

With as much regret we might feel over our known sins, imagine how much worse we’d view ourselves if we were aware of every sin? Is it possible God keeps us unaware of all our transgressions? If we knew them all would we be paralyzed with fear, too frightened to make a single move? OK, let’s not think too much. We are forgiven no matter what.

By following our liturgy we are made certain to pray, pray, pray. It is important that we pray for the good spiritual health of God’s church worldwide. We pray for our church, Holy Cross, to be able to see to the needs of those in our neighborhood, persons who are lost, hungry or uneducated. We pray for those in our congregation who are hurting, need help and need healing. We pray for those who are involved with the safety, security, justice and laws in our nation, state and local principalities. And it isn’t just asking for things in our heart but prayer helps us actually talk to God even if our pastor is leading the conversation.

Our liturgy keeps us on track with reciting on a regular basis, The Apostles Creed and The Nicene Creed, and because of its length, The Athanasian Creed once a year. What’s a creed? Wiki sez: A creed is a statement of the shared beliefs of a religious community in the form of a fixed formula summarizing core tenets. Members of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod believe God is a triune God (three Gods in one), that Jesus was made flesh to redeem our sins, that Jesus rose from the dead, He ascended into Heaven among many other positions on which we hang our faith.

We utter The Lord’s Prayer to thank Jesus for giving us what we need to live so we can serve Him. We read and respond to psalms and other various scripture. Finally, Pastor Sattler sends us on our ways with a final prayer and benediction.

If you have visited non-LCMS churches, were there any differences from their order of worship? What did you think they emphasized? If you are ‘church shopping’ (looking for a church to join) consider all aspects of what that church offers. Mission opportunities, choirs, kids programs and whatevers might be appealing but also consider the advantages of a well-rounded list of worship items.

Susan read Exodus 13:1-3, 11-15 and Colossians 3:12-17 while Pastor Sattler read Luke 2:22-40. These are pasted below.

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Sermon: “Try or Train”

Did you know that the world wants you to have everything you desire? Yes, it does. It especially wants Christians to have everything it offers. It offers luxury boats, trucks and campers. Your kids’ schools offer any number of after-school activities, sports and accelerated academics classes. Your job offers a career ladder which can take you to the top of the heap with pay, benefits, business phones, laptops, technology for you to be on call and maybe even a bright, shiny car to get you to the airport. You like the gym or biking? They are yours for the taking. Those things you dreamed about are right there for the taking.

Yay for you!

What is the one thing the world cannot give you? You’ve a top notch job which takes you places for days and, sometimes, weeks at a time. You own all the goodies you can stare at to go boating, camping and biking on weekends. Your wife is signed up for yoga, mudpacks, wine tastings and book clubs. Your kids are in it for the long haul with soccer, chess, football, baseball, basketball, cheer leading, German classes, Latin classes, tae kwon do, dancing, track and not to mention hanging out with their friends, playing video games and ordering pizzas. And all your family wants from you is for you to spend time with them in their endeavors. That’s all. Just time.

Where do you go to buy the time? Nowhere. That store doesn’t exist.

Not only that but you can’t really have everything the world offers because there will always be a ‘next’ thing to own or be involved with. Besides, Jesus says pagans run after all these things. By following these things in your heart you cannot fully follow Jesus. If you are a follower of Christ, how can you find time to spend time with your family, at church, in devotion on a daily basis, and helping those who need your help? where do you find the time to give the God who created you? Ya gotta change your ways if your ways are in the way. Spiritual growth is not a hobby with time found between watching ball games on a wide screen television and getting ready for a night out on the town. Sometimes spiritual growth is forced upon you by force. This can happen with a death in the family, a job loss, a child leaves home or after a drunken brawl. Nothing ruins a good buzz like a moment of clarity. A sudden disaster falls in your lap and you are open to receive instruction from a pastor to help you make sense of what turned your life upside down. Not everybody has the luxury(?) of a life-altering event to help them make sense of the world around them. Mostly, when we want to change a habit it isn’t so easy. It requires diligent training.

Paul tells us the following …

1 Corinthians 9:24-27
The Need for Self-Discipline
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

Self-discipline? Ugh.

You can not just go out and run a race without having practiced for it. You can try to do it but trying leads to no avail. Even Jedi master, Yoda, will tell you that.

[Luke sees his X-Wing is about to sink into the bog]
Luke: Oh, no! We’ll never get it out now!
Yoda: So certain, are you? Always with you, what cannot be done. Hear you nothing that I say?
Luke: Master, moving stones around is one thing, but this is… totally different!
Yoda: No! No different! Only different in your mind. You must unlearn what you have learned.
Luke: All right, I’ll give it a try.
Yoda: No! Try not. Do… or do not. There is no try.

If we want to change a habit we must change our behaviors leading to it. My wife and I use to buy cars every few years when we didn’t need them. We’d spend a Saturday morning running errands and drop in to a car lot ‘just to look’. We’d be signing the papers for another un-needed car within a few hours. How did we break that habit? We stopped visiting car lots. Breaking a habit requires self-awareness. What is it you do before you smoke a cigarette, eat a bit of chocolate, kick the dog, swear at your neighbor, gossip about your family, ogling things you ought not be ogling? Think of the things which lead to your habit, change it thus altering the course of action. If you smoke after a beer, omit the beer. If you eat chocolate after dinner, take a walk outside instead of a walk to the pantry. Those sort of things. Maybe put The Book of Lutheran Prayer at your bedside instead of your i-phone so you don’t get worked up reading politics before bedtime. Reading scripture will help you adjust how you approach your issues.
1 Timothy 4:7
Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.

Luke 6:40
The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.

While there is oodles more to any self-help program program, always know this:

God would not command it if you could not do it.

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Exodus 13:1-3, 11-15
Consecration of the Firstborn
13 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Consecrate to me every firstborn male. The first offspring of every womb among the Israelites belongs to me, whether human or animal.”

3 Then Moses said to the people, “Commemorate this day, the day you came out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery, because the Lord brought you out of it with a mighty hand. Eat nothing containing yeast.

11 “After the Lord brings you into the land of the Canaanites and gives it to you, as he promised on oath to you and your ancestors, 12 you are to give over to the Lord the first offspring of every womb. All the firstborn males of your livestock belong to the Lord. 13 Redeem with a lamb every firstborn donkey, but if you do not redeem it, break its neck. Redeem every firstborn among your sons.

14 “In days to come, when your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?’ say to him, ‘With a mighty hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 15 When Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, the Lord killed the firstborn of both people and animals in Egypt. This is why I sacrifice to the Lord the first male offspring of every womb and redeem each of my firstborn sons.’

Colossians 3:12-17
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Luke 2:22-40
Jesus Presented in the Temple
22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31 which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.”

33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

36 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

39 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.

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