Pastor's Message

The Power of the Forgiveness

Posted by nancy on May 19, 2015

Mitsuo Fuchida, commander of the Japanese Air Force, led the squadron that attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. 

 

American bomber Jacob DeShazer was eager to strike back, and the following April 18th, he flew his B-25 bomber, the Bat Out of Hell, on a dangerous raid over Japan.  After dropping his bombs on Nagoya, DeShazer lost his way in a heavy fog.  He ejected from the plane as his plane ran out of fuel.  He was taken prisoner and tortured.   For two years DeShazer suffered from hunger and cold and dysentery.

 

In May of 1944, he was given a Bible.  He was told that he could keep it for three weeks.  He clutched that Bible and always kept it close to him.  He read it through several times.  He tried to memorize passages.  Matthew 5: 44 meant a lot to him, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” He tried to put it onto practice he best way he could.  His own personal anger melted away.  As he prayed and lost his anger he noticed the guards treated him much better.  They often gave him extra food and supplies. 

After the war DeShazer returned to Japan as a missionary.  He wrote a book entitled “I was a Prisoner of the Japanese.”  Thousands wanted to see the man who loved and forgave his enemies as his book had stated.  He even established a church in Nagoya.  One man was affected very much by the testimony that was found in the book.  The man went to visit DeSazer.  What was his name?  Mitsuo Fuchida, the man who led the attack on Pearl Harbor. 

Coincidence?  Not at all!  The power of forgiveness that comes from Christ and is shown in his people made all the difference.

 

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How Much “I” Should there be in Worship?

Posted by nancy on March 10, 2015

 

 

How Much “I” Should there be in Worship?

As I sat in church this last Sunday, the thought kept going through my mind. As I sat there in God’s house, hearing his Word, singing his songs, I kept thinking, “This isn’t about me.”

The problem is that it can so easily become about me. Without realizing it, many Christian people fall into the subtle trap of making worship about me. They look for music to entertain and inspire me. They pick hymns that talk about how God makes me feel. They preach sermons that focus almost entirely on me and my life. Now, don’t get me wrong. All of those things can be good in the proper perspective.

But, really, worship isn’t about me.

Worship is first and foremost about my God and Savior. The music of our worship shouldn’t focus so much on how I feel as much as on what God has done to save me. Good preaching should first and foremost proclaim the forgiveness and freedom that Jesus won for all people on the cross. Worship is about our God and what he has done.

Worship is also about those sitting around me. The writer to the Hebrews encourages us: “Do not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another” (Hebrews 10:25). Worship is about engaging and encouraging each other. We not only sing our hymns to God. We sing them to encourage one another. We lift our voices in prayer for one another. In the creeds, we proudly proclaim to each other what we believe.

Think about that the next time you park yourself in the pew. This isn’t about me. This is about my God who speaks to me in Word and Sacrament. This is about praising and thanking my God for the wondrous works he has done. This is about encouraging and building up those who are sitting around me. And the amazing blessing is that through the gospel message proclaimed in worship, I too will be encouraged. I too will be built up. I too will be inspired.

In Christ,

 

Pastor

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THE VITAL JOURNEY

Posted by nancy on February 10, 2015

The Vital Journey

 

An advertisement for the NCAA basketball season that begins in November and goes to March has been dubbed the “Journey to the Tourney.”  There are over 300 college basketball teams that are trying to make it to the NCAA tournament and hundreds more that are trying to win the smaller school tournaments that brings an end to the college basketball season. I have my favorite team.  I am pulling for them to do well.

 

During this very time of the year we also have another more vital journey that we commemorate.  It is the journey that Jesus took to the cross to make all who believe in him winners.  Because of the supreme significance attached to the suffering and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Christian Church has designated the six weeks preceding Easter as a season in which to center its attention on Christ’s cross in a special way.  We know these six weeks as Lent. 

 

Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, a day so named from the ancient custom of worshippers coming to church in sackcloth and ashes and bare feet and having their foreheads daubed with ashes from palm.  These are signs of repentance.  That’s what Lent is – a time to repent and remember the vital journey Jesus took to Calvary to forgive you.  Join us for this special journey every Wednesday starting February 18th through March 25th.

 

Looking forward to seeing you!

 

Pastor Larry A. Zahn

 

 

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OFFERING JESUS TO YOU

Posted by nancy on December 16, 2014

 

 

Offering Jesus to You

 

In her book Legacy of a Pack Rat, Ruth Graham writes about meeting a young man named Pashi.  He was a student enrolled in college not far from where Ruth Graham lives.  She spoke to him about Jesus.  He, however, didn’t have too much good to say about Jesus.  He said, “I would believe in Jesus, but I never see a Christian who was like Jesus.” 

 Who has?

 Someone once said that Christians are merely “pilgrims in progress.”  Everyone of us falls short of being like Christ.  Besides, what does it mean to be Christ-like?  How are we to be like him?  Heal?  Cast out demons?  Face accusers calmly? Chase people out of God’s church when they become too money-minded?

 Being like Christ is to have an attitude like Jesus toward our Heavenly Father. In speaking through the psalmist the Savior prophetically spoke about his life, “I came to your will…I delight in doing your will.” (Psalm 40)  He had come to do what the Heavenly Father wanted.

 Yet we do that imperfectly.  That’s why we believe in Jesus as our Substitute and Savior. He did what we couldn’t do.  He did his Father’s will perfectly for us.  He bore the sins we have done perfectly on the cross so they are no longer held against us…for every sin ever committed in history past and history future.

 While it is true that God want us to imitate him so others see Jesus in us, we won’t be perfect, just forgiven.  We don’t offer you ourselves, we offer to you Jesus.   

That’s what we do at Messiah 365 days a year.  Come anytime.  Call Pastor anytime at 770-751-9357.  Especially do we invite you this Christmas Eve at 7 PM and 11 PM for our Candlelight worship, but please come anytime.

 Love in Christ,

 

Pastor Larry Zahn

   

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THE LIVING CHRISTMAS

Posted by nancy on December 04, 2014

 

 

The Living Christmas

MessiahLutheranChurch

4765 Kimball Bridge Road

Johns Creek, GA.

 

What is it?

  • ·         A live nativity within a set constructed to be Bethlehem
  • ·         Live animals from The Little Red Barn (You will love them!)
  • ·         Citizens of Bethlehem dressed in costume
  • ·         Music and skits by choir and Sunday School from Messiah
  • ·         Visitor participation in your favorite Christmas hymns
  • ·         Games and crafts for the children
  • ·         Refreshments
  • ·         Friendship and fellowship

 

Purpose

  • ·         To glorify Jesus, the Savior of the nations
  • ·         To aid in the celebration of Jesus’ birth
  • ·         To celebrate our Christian heritage of Christmas
  • ·         To help everyone take their minds off the busyness of Christmas
  • ·         To aid moms and dads to teach their children about Jesus’ birth.

 

 

Cost

  • ·         It’s free
  • ·         It is a ministry of Messiah Lutheran Church; we want you to enjoy this event
  • ·         A free will offering with 100% of proceeds going to North Fulton Community Charities if you would like to give

 

When

  • ·         Friday December 12th and Saturday December 13th
  • ·         6 PM to 9 PM each night

 

Parking

  • ·         Follow the luminaries
  • ·         Follow the attendants
  • ·         Please be careful and alert for everyone

 

Please come! 

 

May the blessings of the newborn King and Savior be yours always!

 

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THANKSGIVING GRATITUDE

Posted by nancy on November 13, 2014

Thanksgiving Gratitude

 

Barbara Ann Kipfer began keeping a list of her favorite things as a teenager.  It was such a habit that she saw good things in everything and everywhere she went.  She would see things eating breakfast or riding the bus.  She would keep a notebook at the side of her bed and think of things in the middle of the night.  Twenty years later and dozens and dozens of notebooks later she published a book entitled, 14,000 Things to be Happy About.

 

The Bible says, “…always giving thanks to God in everything, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5:2o)  As we approach the Thanksgiving celebration it is a good idea to approach the celebration with optimism and with a positive attitude.  We can give thanks for everything – even the trials that we go through.  How?  The child of God needs to remember that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and resurrection from the dead has made you sure of God’s love.  He gives the benefits unconditionally.  He gives the benefits because he loves you.  Because he loves you, all he does shows he loves you even when he tests you and puts you through trials.  There are lessons he wants us to learn.  I can’t tell you what they always are.  He simply asks you to believe it. 

 

The apostle Paul went through all kinds of trials.  He was imprisoned, he was beaten, and he was in shipwrecks and a whole lot more.  One thing he knew without fail.  God loved him.  The proof was the cross and the grave on which Jesus died and rose.

 

Count your blessings!  We invite you to our Thanksgiving service on Wednesday evening November 26th at 7:30 PM.  

 

Pastor Larry Zahn     

 

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DON'T NEGLECT THE CHILDREN

Posted by nancy on August 28, 2014

Don’t Neglect the Children

 

Someone said that 85% of the adult personality of a person is developed by the time the child is six years old.  The Nazis had the philosophy that if a child were given to them to educate at age six, the child would belong to them for life.  An elderly Chinese man told me he was educated by schools in China when Mao Tse Tung was leader.  While he married a Christian woman and he would never hinder his wife and child from worshipping Jesus, he didn’t see the need for himself.  He said, “That is something that must be taught in childhood.”

There is no shortage of passages in the Bible directed to parents to teach children about Jesus.  It is a most serious responsibility.  One of my favorites is found in Mark 10: 13-16, People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them.When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.”  Even his apostles needed to learn the value of children coming to Jesus.  Jesus even gives one of the great lessons of faith using a child.  Adults need child-like faith in Jesus. 

            At Messiah, we take this admonition from Jesus very seriously.  I can tell you that we have a Sunday School that is fabulous.  Our teachers are tremendous and take this trust of teaching children very seriously that God has given to them.  God wants children to know and believe in Jesus too.  Parents, they need to hear Jesus from your lips and see the Christ-like example from you.  We also want to help.  Send them no matter what their age to our Sunday School every Sunday 9 AM through 10 AM.

            Watch for our new education building soon to give us more room to help more families. 

 God bless you!

 Pastor Zahn    

 

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Evidence of the Resurrection

Posted by nancy on April 30, 2014

Evidence of the Resurrection

 

John Stott suggests in his book Basic Christianity, “Perhaps the transformation of the disciples of Jesus is the greatest evidence of all for the resurrection.  It was the resurrection which transformed Peter’s fear into courage and James’ doubt into faith.   It was the resurrection which changed the Sabbath into the Lord’s Day and the Jewish remnant into the Christian Church.  It was the resurrection which changed Saul the Pharisee into Paul the apostle and turned his persecuting into preaching.”

 

For those who are reading these words who are Christian, Stott’s observation speaks directly to our hearts.  Christ’s resurrection is transformational.  Jesus’ disciples were never the same.  The fearful became fearless as they took seriously the commission to go into the world and preach and proclaim the Good News of Jesus.  They knew his resurrection was true.  They knew the sins of all were forgiven by Christ.  As God’s people we want to make that known and live for him. As I said, the message is transformational.

 

For those who might not be Christian and are reading these words, I challenge you.  No Christian is sinless in this world.  As the bumper sticker says, “Christians aren’t perfect; we just know we are forgiven.”  Yet I pray that you would see sincerity in the lives of God’s children to be more like Jesus.  While we all fail mightily at times, we really do want to do our best to thank him for what he has done for us.  If we were holy already, we wouldn’t need his death and resurrection.

 

All who are reading this are in the same boat; we are sinners.  We all need what Jesus came to earn for us – he reconciled us to God. It is a wonderful message we would like to share with you.

 

Pastor Larry Zahn    

 

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Come and Share the Joy of the Empty Tomb!

Posted by nancy on April 03, 2014

Come and Share the Joy of the Empty Tomb!

 

On Sunday April 20th, you are invited to join us as we celebrate the resurrection of the Lord, Jesus Christ. Our Easter schedule is: 

Easter Sunrise service - 7:30AM
Easter Breakfast - 8: 45– 9:45 AM
Easter Worship - 10:30 AM

Easter Egg Hunt - 11:45 AM

 

Come for worship. Come for breakfast. Come for the children’s Easter egg hunt. You and your family are welcome to participate in all our Easter activities.


According to Scripture, we believe that Jesus was raised from the dead three days after his death on the cross. Through his death, burial, and resurrection, Jesus paid the penalty for all sin, and purchased eternal life for all who believe in him.


What a cause for celebration! And, that’s what Easter is about – joyful praise for all Jesus has done for us. So, come and experience this joy with us!

 

(770) 751-9357 www.MessiahLutheran.ws

 

 

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ISN'T IT STRANGE

Posted by nancy on March 04, 2014

Isn’t is Strange?

 

 

Isn't it strange…

How a 20 dollar bill seems like such a large amount when you donate it

to church, but such a small amount when you go shopping?

 

Isn't it strange…

How two hours seem so long when you’re at church, and how short they seem when you're watching a good movie?

 

Isn't it strange…

That you can't find a word to say when you're praying, but you have no trouble thinking what to talk about with a friend?

 

Isn't it strange…

How difficult and boring it is to read one chapter of the Bible but how easy it is to read 100 pages of a popular novel?

 

Isn't it strange…

How everyone wants front-row-tickets to concerts or games, but we do whatever is possible to sit at the last row in church.

 

Isn't it strange…

How we need to know about an event for Church 2-3 weeks before the day so we can include it in our agenda, but we can adjust it for other events in the last minute?

 

Isn't it strange…

How difficult it is to learn a fact about God to share it with others, but how easy it is to learn, understand, extend and repeat gossip?

 

Isn’t it strange…

How everyone wants a place in heaven but get serious about it only when it is time to go.  

 

Isn't it strange…

How we send jokes in e-mails and they are forwarded right away, but when we are going to send messages about God we think about it twice before we share it with others?

 

One of our members sent these to me.  I thought these to be thought provokers so we can be so grateful for Jesus’ journey to Calvary to bring us forgiveness.  

 

In Christ,

Pastor Zahn

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