8.1.20 Saturday

2020-08-01T06:20:01-05:00
Good Saturday morning. August 1st! I hope you are getting in some summer fun–before it’s gone!


Today, I’ll post the entire letter of Jude. Who ever reads this book? Jude is another form of the Hebrew word Judah (Greek Judas). He could be a brother of Jesus. This letter contains a stern warning, beautiful creative language and a lovely prayer to end it.


Jude NRSV


1 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James,


To those who are called, who are beloved in God the Father and kept safe for Jesus Christ:

2 May mercy, peace, and love be yours in abundance.


3 Beloved, while eagerly preparing to write to you about the salvation we share, I find it necessary to write and appeal to you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. 4 For certain intruders have stolen in among you, people who long ago were designated for this condemnation as ungodly, who pervert the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.


5 Now I desire to remind you, though you are fully informed, that the Lord, who once for all saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not keep their own position, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains in deepest darkness for the judgment of the great day. 7 Likewise, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which, in the same manner as they, indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural lust, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.


8 Yet in the same way these dreamers also defile the flesh, reject authority, and slander the glorious ones. 9 But when the archangel Michael contended with the devil and disputed about the body of Moses, he did not dare to bring a condemnation of slander against him, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” 10 But these people slander whatever they do not understand, and they are destroyed by those things that, like irrational animals, they know by instinct. 11 Woe to them! For they go the way of Cain, and abandon themselves to Balaam’s error for the sake of gain, and perish in Korah’s rebellion. 12 These are blemishes on your love-feasts, while they feast with you without fear, feeding themselves. They are waterless clouds carried along by the winds; autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, uprooted; 13 wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the deepest darkness has been reserved forever.


14 It was also about these that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, “See, the Lord is coming with ten thousands of his holy ones, 15 to execute judgment on all, and to convict everyone of all the deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” 16 These are grumblers and malcontents; they indulge their own lusts; they are bombastic in speech, flattering people to their own advantage.


17 But you, beloved, must remember the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; 18 for they said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, indulging their own ungodly lusts.” 19 It is these worldly people, devoid of the Spirit, who are causing divisions. 20 But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; 21 keep yourselves in the love of God; look forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on some who are wavering; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; and have mercy on still others with fear, hating even the tunic defiled by their bodies.


24 Now to him who is able to keep you from falling, and to make you stand without blemish in the presence of his glory with rejoicing, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.


Jude doesn’t mince words as to the nature of false teachers. He refers to certain leaders who have infiltrated the Christian churches as being “Godless men”, “creamers who pollute their own bodies,” and “like unreasoning animals they destroy themselves,” “shepherds who feed only themselves” and on and on. Very harsh criticism, very beautiful language!


There are false teachers in our world today. They work to undermine the message of the redemptive work of Jesus Christ through many tactics: fear, prosperity, corruptive teaching, sowing doubt, enticement of entertainment over Gospel, and more fear. Jude’s prescription is, “build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; look forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.” Good stuff!


Blessings on your day,

Pastor Sue

8.1.20 Saturday2020-08-01T06:20:01-05:00

7.31.20 Friday

2020-07-31T06:26:50-05:00
Good Friday morning. The last day in July already!

Today, we finish the 3 letters of John.


3 John NRSV

1 The elder to the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth.


2 Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, just as it is well with your soul. 3 I was overjoyed when some of the friends arrived and testified to your faithfulness to the truth, namely how you walk in the truth. 4 I have no greater joy than this, to hear that my children are walking in the truth.


5 Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the friends, even though they are strangers to you; 6 they have testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on in a manner worthy of God; 7 for they began their journey for the sake of Christ, accepting no support from non-believers. 8 Therefore we ought to support such people, so that we may become co-workers with the truth.


9 I have written something to the church; but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. 10 So if I come, I will call attention to what he is doing in spreading false charges against us. And not content with those charges, he refuses to welcome the friends, and even prevents those who want to do so and expels them from the church.


11 Beloved, do not imitate what is evil but imitate what is good. Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God. 12 Everyone has testified favorably about Demetrius, and so has the truth itself. We also testify for him, and you know that our testimony is true.


13 I have much to write to you, but I would rather not write with pen and ink; 14 instead I hope to see you soon, and we will talk together face to face.


15 Peace to you. The friends send you their greetings. Greet the friends there, each by name.


The purpose of this letter is to enlist Gaius’ continuing support for traveling missionaries associated with the Elder’s church, especially in light of opposition from Diotrephes, who apparently has some authority over Christians in the region.The early Christian mission depended on hospitality. In the language of ancient diplomacy, refusing hospitality to an envoy meant rejecting the message he brought as well as the sender.


Blessings on your day,

Pastor Sue

7.31.20 Friday2020-07-31T06:26:50-05:00

7.30.20 Thursday

2020-07-30T07:21:13-05:00
Good Thursday morning.

Little Ole was having trouble with his arithmetic. when Great Grandpa came in the room, Little Ole said, “Grandpa, vill you help me find da common denominator?” “Uff Da,” grumbled Great Grandpa, “Dey were looking for dat ting when I vas in school! Haven’t dey found it yet?”


Today we get the entire 2nd letter of John. It may have been written by someone other than the writer of 1st John, but the love language follows the same pattern. The opening line indicates the writer is an elder of the church writing to one of the Johannine house churches in Asia Minor.


1 The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth, and not only I but also all who know the truth, 2 because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever:


3 Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, in truth and love.


4 I was overjoyed to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we have been commanded by the Father. 5 But now, dear lady, I ask you, not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning, let us love one another. 6 And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment just as you have heard it from the beginning—you must walk in it.


7 Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh; any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist! 8 Be on your guard, so that you do not lose what we have worked for, but may receive a full reward. 9 Everyone who does not abide in the teaching of Christ, but goes beyond it, does not have God; whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 Do not receive into the house or welcome anyone who comes to you and does not bring this teaching; 11 for to welcome is to participate in the evil deeds of such a person.


12 Although I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink; instead I hope to come to you and talk with you face to face, so that our joy may be complete.


13 The children of your elect sister send you their greetings.


This is a strict warning against offering hospitality to the dissidents. To aid them would be to participate in their diabolical work. The new commandment to “love one another,” is definitely an identifying Johannine mark. Ancient letters frequently end with a notice of the sender’s future plans.


Blessings on your day,

Pastor Sue

7.30.20 Thursday2020-07-30T07:21:13-05:00

7.29.20 Wednesday

2020-07-29T05:20:25-05:00
Good Wednesday morning. Very, very early. Thanks to Mickey who was whining for me to get up.


John’s epilogue begins with verse 13. Verse 13 has a blessed assurance of eternal life. We might as well finish out this book today. Be prepared for deep stuff about sin!

1 John 5:13-21 NRSV



13 “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.


14 And this is the boldness we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have obtained the requests made of him. 16 If you see your brother or sister committing what is not a mortal sin, you will ask, and God will give life to such a one—to those whose sin is not mortal. There is sin that is mortal; I do not say that you should pray about that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that is not mortal.


18 We know that those who are born of God do not sin, but the one who was born of God protects them, and the evil one does not touch them. 19 We know that we are God’s children, and that the whole world lies under the power of the evil one. 20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.


21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols.”


From St. Thomas Aquinas: “All sin is an offense against God and a rejection of his perfect love and justice. Yet, Jesus makes a distinction between two types of sins. We call the most serious and grave sins, mortal sins. Mortal sins destroy the grace of God in the heart of the sinner. By their very grave nature, a mortal sin cuts our relationship off from God and turns man away from his creator. St. Paul’s letter to the Hebrews tell us that “if we sin willfully after having the knowledge of the truth, there is now left no sacrifice for sins” (Hebrews 10:26). The second type of sin, venial sin, that of less grave matter, does not cut us off from Christ. However, venial sin does weaken grace in the soul and damages our relationship with God. A person who frequently indulges in venial sin is very likely to collapse into mortal sin if they persist in their evil ways.”


Mortal sin is intentional. Intentionally turning away from God is dangerous business. We Lutherans believe that all sin deserves damnation, but all sin is forgiven by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Martin Luther’s quote, “sin boldly,” is used incorrectly most of the time. It was written to his friend Melanchthon and not to the public. It is believed that he meant we are all sinners so stop with the catholic penance and just say thank you, Lord for forgiveness!


Blessings on your day,

Pastor Sue

7.29.20 Wednesday2020-07-29T05:20:25-05:00

7.28.20 Tuesday

2020-07-28T05:55:47-05:00
Good Tuesday morning. Come join us outside this morning 9-noon for fellowship cafe. Bring your own chair, coffee and snack. The kitchen door to the bathroom will be open.


1 John 5:6-12 NRSV


6 This is the one who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with the water only but with the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one that testifies, for the Spirit is the truth. 7 There are three that testify: 8 the Spirit and the water and the blood, and these three agree. 9 If we receive human testimony, the testimony of God is greater; for this is the testimony of God that he has testified to his Son. 10 Those who believe in the Son of God have the testimony in their hearts. Those who do not believe in God have made him a liar by not believing in the testimony that God has given concerning his Son. 11 And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.


This is kind of like a confession of faith, a creed. Have you ever given a testimony in public? A testimony of your faith, your faith journey, how you see God at work in our world today? It is an amazing experience. Many times we are given opportunities to witness to our faith and we pass on it. Some are afraid to speak up; some don’t think anyone wants to hear it. But, I believe the Holy Spirit is at work providing opportunities for us to spread the good news. Be brave and grab that opportunity. Be bold and tell someone about the Son of God. You just might save their life!


Blessings on your day,

Pastor Sue

7.28.20 Tuesday2020-07-28T05:55:47-05:00

7.24.20 Friday

2020-07-24T07:14:37-05:00

Good Friday morning. Get ready. It’s going to be another hot one. I bet we are even divided on how we like the weather! Some love the heat; others don’t! Except the humidity is going to drive the heat index over 100. That’s rough in my book!


This next section of verses contains the classic, “we love because he first loved us.” That explains a lot, doesn’t it? Don’t forget to clap! “We love–clap, clap–because God first loved us! We love–clap, clap–because God first loved us!We love–clap, clap; we love–clap, clap; we love–clap, clap, because God first loved us!” I know you sang along, didn’t you?


1 John 4:13-21


13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world. 15 God abides in those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, and they abide in God. 16 So we have known and believe the love that God has for us.


God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them. 17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness on the day of judgment, because as he is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. 21 The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.


John sounds like a broken record right now, but honestly, it is worth repeating. We need to hear it over and over. “we love because God first loved us!”


I also love verse 18, “there is no fear in love.” Reflect on that for both your relationships with others and with God. Any purported “love” that has fear in its relationship does not have God abiding in its relationship. “Perfect love casts out fear.” Because with God in our relationships, our love corresponds to the nature of God and God IS LOVE!


Don’t you just love John?

Blessings on your day,

Pastor Sue

feeling blessed.

7.24.20 Friday2020-07-24T07:14:37-05:00

7.23.20 Thursday

2020-07-23T07:52:22-05:00
Good Thursday morning. What a wonderful Food Truck Fellowship experience we had last night. Hundreds ( 800-900!) of people came to our parking lot. It was a raging success. Our Congregational Life Team outdid themselves. Great bunches of thanks to all who helped make this such a wonderful evening of community fellowship.


Once again, the writer of John 1 talks about love. Don’t you just love that?!


1 John 4:7-12


7 Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.


This is how we demonstrate to the world who God is, by loving one another, not fighting, not hating, not dividing! I love the idea of God living in us while his love is perfected in us. I attribute the whole notion of “love” to our creator. Animals are devoted to us and one another, but we can’t prove that they “love.” Humans didn’t invent it; it is not quantifiable. But, think of the difference it makes in relationships and in the world.


I pray that you feel loved and that you express your love freely. Don’t withhold your statement of love; love is from God. And, you know how much God loved us: John 3:16!


Blessings on your day,

Pastor Sue

7.23.20 Thursday2020-07-23T07:52:22-05:00

7.22.20 Wednesday

2020-07-22T06:14:57-05:00
Good Food Truck Fellowship Wednesday! I can’t wait for the yummy food and seeing you. I hope you are planning to come. Remember to bring your mask and your lawn chair! I’m sorry to all of our distant followers that can’t join us. Watch FaceBook for a live posting at 6 pm.


1 John 4:1-6


4 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. And this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming; and now it is already in the world. 4 Little children, you are from God, and have conquered them; for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5 They are from the world; therefore what they say is from the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us, and whoever is not from God does not listen to us. From this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.


The writer is addressing the believers who have to answer to the secessionists leaving the church. The secessionists denied that Christ “came in the flesh.” In verse 5, it appears that they are having success with their message in the world.


In John 16:13-14, he writes about the Spirit of truth.

13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14 He will glorify me, because he will take what is mine and declare it to you.


Truth is precious, especially when the Holy Spirit is allowed into your life to guide your words and your actions. There are as many false prophets in our world today as there were when this was written. The Holy Spirit will also guide you to discover truth if you ask God for guidance and listen quietly for God’s answer.


Blessings on your day,

Pastor Sue

7.22.20 Wednesday2020-07-22T06:14:57-05:00

7.21.20 Tuesday

2020-07-21T06:36:10-05:00
Good Tuesday morning. I’m up early waiting for the rain to come. I just heard a good rumble of thunder. Exciting! I had such a wonderful dinner of roasted veggies last night thanks to Donna L. I discovered I am not a fan of turnips, however. I guess I had never had them before.


1 John 3: 18-24


18 Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. 19 And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him 20 whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 Beloved, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have boldness before God; 22 and we receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commandments and do what pleases him.


23 And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 All who obey his commandments abide in him, and he abides in them. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit that he has given us.


I love verse 18 because it reminds us that just talking about love is not enough. We need to be active in our love for one another. What does that look like? Sending boxes of clothes and toiletries to Jim Werronen’s Street Life Ministry, bringing loads of food to the food shelf, including fresh produce from the community garden, jumping a car’s battery after a parking lot worship, providing an umbrella to someone sitting in the sun, looking after a single person who might be a tad lonely, providing a ride for someone without transportation, offering to babysit so tired parents can have a night out. These are just some of the acts of love that I have observed just this past week.


Remember the song, “We Are One in the Spirit….They’ll know we are Christians by our Love”? That was the first song I taught myself to play on the guitar with just two chords. It is simple enough, but oh so true. Love one another. Just do it! Grow in your relationship with God by loving God’s other children.


Blessings on your day,

Pastor Sue

7.21.20 Tuesday2020-07-21T06:36:10-05:00

7.17.20

2020-07-20T06:50:18-05:00

Good Friday morning. How can it be Friday again already?! Get ready for a hot humid weekend. What a summer, eh? We had a lovely visit outside the church yesterday with about 20 for our WELCA meeting. God is good all the time! Reflect today on what it means to be God’s child. 

1 John 3: 1-10 NRSV
See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. 3 And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

4 Everyone who commits sin is guilty of lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that he was revealed to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in him sins; no one who sins has either seen him or known him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Everyone who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. 8 Everyone who commits sin is a child of the devil; for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The Son of God was revealed for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. 9 Those who have been born of God do not sin, because God’s seed abides in them; they cannot sin, because they have been born of God. 10 The children of God and the children of the devil are revealed in this way: all who do not do what is right are not from God, nor are those who do not love their brothers and sisters.

As God’s children, we become like Christ. What a gift! What distinguishes us from others? Love. God loved us so much God sent God’s son to die for our sins. We are called to love one another to a great degree. What does that love look like to you? How do you know you are loved? 

Blessings on your day,
Pastor Sue

7.17.202020-07-20T06:50:18-05:00
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