Why the double feature? Well, in sifting through the archives, I realized that the use of pictures was not consistent from week to week. And, to have a picture for sharing on Facebook, I figured to feature two different Friday night faiths

Rerun: Originally sent September 30, 2016

The apostles said to the Lord, ‘Increase our faith!’ The Lord replied, ‘If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, “Be uprooted and planted in the sea”, and it would obey you. – Luke 17:5-6

The ability to command a tree to uproot itself and plant itself into the sea (and the tree obeying you) is not a power to disparage. This is cosmic power! This is the power of a divine being! And we all know that mustard seeds are tiny, and so it seems that even if a person had the tiniest amount of faith, they could bend or break the scientific laws of the universe.

I do not know about you, but I, for one, do not even have the ability to tell a tree to uproot itself and then have it obey me. I also imagine that the apostles did not have this power within themselves either. So it seems that there are two definitions of faith going on here. The apostles were asking for their own faith to be increased, but then Jesus says that even if one possessed the smallest amount of faith, trees would obey the speaker’s commands. It seems that even the apostles did not have the kind of faith Jesus was speaking of.

But, we know that Jesus has the power to command the powers of Creation, and they obey him (remember the storm?). We know that Jesus is one who is faithful. Now, what if we realize that Jesus isTHE Faithful One? The three persons of the Trinity have power over Creation because they are God. If Jesus is saying that a particular kind of faith gives rise to this kind of ability, it is something only God has.

What does this mean, especially for Christians who ardently state that it is, “Salvation by grace through faith”?  Remember Luther’s Small Catechism!

“I believe that by my own understanding or strength I cannot believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to him, but instead the Holy Spirit has called me through the gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, made me holy and kept me in the true faith, just as he calls, gathers, enlightens, and makes holy the whole Christian church on earth and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one common, true faith.” – Explanation to the Third Article of the Creed

Jesus loves you and has chosen to set you free. God has chosen to make you one with Jesus in baptism and has grafted you into this faith.

I am hoping you will join us around the Word and Sacrament this Sunday. Remember, as always, 10:45AM. May God bless you and keep you!

Benevolent, merciful God: When we are empty, fill us. When we are weak in faith, strengthen us. When we are cold in love, warm us, that with fervor we may love our neighbors and serve them for the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

Yours in Christ,
Pastor Paul

Rerun: Originally sent September 23, 2016

But as for you, human of God… pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness.Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life, to which you were called and for which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. – 1 Timothy 6:11-12

We were baptized into Jesus Christ, and this has dramatically changed our way of living. Baptism is a way that our life is aligned with God’s will for the whole of Creation. Baptism is how God unites us with Jesus and brings us into a new way to be human, giving us a direction and the virtues that we get to live out.

This week, we will be reading from 1st Timothy where we will hear the above passage and some of the verses around it. We like to focus mostly on the virtues that Paul outlines, but I think that the most important words he writes are, “to which you were called.” The importance of these words is that they make it clear that we get to participate in the life of faith because Jesus has called us to it.

The reason that Jesus does this is because he loves you. He crosses the chasms of death to bring you this life. It is a gift of God to you.

I look forward to seeing you on Sunday. Worship is at 10:45AM.

O God, rich in mercy, you look with compassion on this troubled world. Feed us with your grace, and grant us the treasure that comes only from you, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

Yours in Christ,
Pastor Paul