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Share the Vision at Faith

Over the past two months, we have learned about seeking God’s vision for our church as we studied the book of Nehemiah. In the book Visioneering by Andy Stanley, he says “Everybody ends up somewhere in life. A few people end up somewhere on purpose” (p. 8). This is how Nehemiah lived his life and this is the biblical model that we can follow at Faith for intentional ministry.

During the 5-week series in September and October, I talked about creating a new vision for our church. Nehemiah gave us a model on how God gives His people a vision for their future and how we can pray and plan for what God is calling us to do. Stanley defines vision as, “Vision is being angry about the way things are in light of the way things could be. Dissatisfaction with the status quo. Something could be done, should be done, must be done” (p. 17).

God used Nehemiah to share his vision which began as a concern in the hearts of God’s people. It wasn’t just one man’s plan. The vision was caught, not taught. When we pray about what the Lord has laid upon our hearts, we will see that God calls us to seek His will for meeting the needs of those around us.

This is what I would like to invite you to do at Faith on November 15 and 22. We will have 2 special “Share the Vision” worship and prayer services at 7 pm. Just like Nehemiah sought God’s vision through prayer, we must seek God-ideas rather than just good ideas. In the Sunday bulletins this month, we will have a survey that you can use to jump start your ideas for Faith’s future plans. The questions I want you to pray over and answer are:

1. What do you believe is a significant ministry, service, opportunity, and/or vision emphasis that Faith Lutheran Church should pursue in the next 5-10 years?

2. How do you plan on participating with and contributing to that ministry, service, opportunity, and/or vision emphasis in the future at Faith?

3. What prayers for our church would you like us to collectively pray for together?

Please join us for the “Share the Vision” Worship Services on Nov. 15 & 22 at 7 PM to pray over these suggestion!

You can send your answers by email or leave them at the church office. We will collect them and ask for God’s Spirit to direct us to do His will in our church and community. We will see how faith is key in leading us to serve God in our community for His glory, not our own. When we seek to live and be as Christ made us to be, we will grow into the vision God has for us as individuals and as a church. But we cannot expect others to take greater risks than we ourselves are willing to take when it comes to God’s vision. That is why it is important to ask yourself, “How is God calling me to serve Him at Faith?” We might have differing ideas. Yet through prayer, God will draw us together to a common vision!

Thanks and God bless!

Pastor Paul

Opening Our Ears

As I prepare my message for Sunday, Sept. 6, 2015, on Mark 7:31-37, I was thinking about why Jesus wanted to do the miracle of giving hearing to the deaf man a secret. Jesus had done other previous miracles in view of an audience but not this time. He takes the deaf man aside and does some strange things to him–poking his fingers in his ears and putting spit on the man's tongue. To many people, this would be repulsive. However, I believe Jesus was trying to communicate what He was about to do to the man. In an ancient form of sign language, Jesus was probably showing him that He was about to unplug his ears and free his tongue to talk! And the means by which this would happen would be through the personal touch of Jesus. After all, Jesus only had to touch people and they would be healed. Since this man couldn't hear, Jesus communicated that He would heal his ears and tongue!

Isn't it amazing how Jesus still personally touches our lives? In baptism, Jesus washes our sins away and in a sense, proclaims to our heart, "Be Opened!" By pouring His love into us, we are truly opened to love others with the love of God! I love that Jesus still speaks to the brokeness in our lives as well in Holy Communion. Jesus intimately feeds our souls and proclaims to people whose lives get clogged with sin, "Be Opened!" Just like going to the doctor to get ears cleaned out or even more severely, when one has to get an angioplasty to get arteries cleaned out, so too Jesus is our Great Physician ready to clean and clear out sin in our lives!

Sermon musings

As I prepare my message for next Sunday, Aug. 30, 2015, on Mark 7:14-23, I was thinking what a shock it must have been for the Jewish people to hear Jesus tell them that all of their ceremonial and Kosher Laws were to no avail for righteousness! That's like telling Christians today that drinking and smoking are oaky while going to church doesn't make you better in God's eyes. We all want our good behavior to count for something but we always want to ignore the effects of our bad bahavior.

For the Pharisees who rejected Jesus, they were in for a big surprise because they thought they were better than Jesus because of their observnaces of the Law. Jesus was calling them to a greater holiness that could not be obtained on theor own–one given by Jesus to those who trust in Him. Even today, we cannot rely on our good habts and traditions to get in good with God. We still need Jesus' love, forgiveness and the holiness He won for us on the cross in order to approach God.

And that's the Good news–Jesus makes us clean inside out!

New Improved Web Site!

It is great to see 1 Cor. 12 in action! God promises to supply His Church with all the necessary people to make the church work well. Even though “Web Designer” is not in this list, it should be! Thank the Lord for our own, Brad Hellickson, who put in so many hours to fix and upgrade our church’s website.
Pastor Paul