Posted by nancy on November 29, 2012
Why Church Holidays?
I just saw an article that said that 45% of Americans would rather bypass Christmas. I am convinced that news organizations devise polls so that they can then be the news. It appears that according to the headline the Grinch and Mr. Scrooge are in this year. A celebration like Christmas is the difference for most stores and companies supplying the gifts between a profitable year and bankruptcy.
Why not make the holidays that we celebrate a time of personal introspection? Prior to Christmas the church celebrates a season called Advent. It really is a wonderful season of the church year. Advent means that Jesus is coming to us. He comes to us and lives in us by means of his Word and sacraments (the Lord’s Supper and Baptism). He is coming again on the last day to judge the heaven and earth. He came to this world in flesh and blood atBethlehem. I can see why Satan is pleased to have Christmas turn more toward the fat guy who likes the red clothes; I can see why Satan is pleased to see that companies see the need to avoid the red and finish in the black and Christmas is what makes the difference.
Put Jesus front and center. Remember what the apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 2 when he said that Jesus who is God humbled himself and “took on the nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” God became flesh so he could become obedient unto death and pay the penalty of sin…for the entire world! He became flesh to die for us. He came to be tempted in every way that you and I are, but he never sinned. The perfection God demands from us, he supplied for us. If you have difficulty following what that all means, then explore some more. My name is Pastor Larry Zahn and I promise to explain it all. Just ask me. When you understand what I wrote about in the last paragraph, you will easily see why Christmas is really about a baby born to save than that fat guy who climbs down chimneys.
Peace in Christ,
Pastor Larry Zahn
Posted by nancy on October 18, 2012
For Lutheran Christians the Reformation marks a key turning point in the history of the visible church. After centuries of decline, during which the church moved away from Scripture, the Lord of history once again returned his truth to his people. Although our gracious Lord works through men and women, using earthly events to carry out his divine purpose, the fact still remains that the Reformation is God's doing.
Martin Luther's posting of the 95 Theses on 31 October 1517 is generally considered to be the beginning of the Reformation. The 95 Theses attacked the abuse of indulgences. Technically an indulgence was a payment for sin to take away years from purgatory. Pope Boniface VIII had offered the first Jubilee Indulgence in 1300. Although the original intent was to offer these pardons from the church's treasury of merits every 100 years, indulgences were such a financial boon that it was decided to have one every 50 years, then every 33 years and finally every 25 years. Additional benefits became available in 1476 when Sixtus IV established an indulgence for the dead in purgatory.
None of this is Scriptural and insulted the “once for all sacrifice of Jesus” for all the sins of all people. Luther first attempted to correct this situation through his sermons. Luther, as a doctor of theology, believed that he could not remain silent any longer. This feeling of responsibility, together with his inner conviction that people were being misled, forced Luther to take action.
The 95 Theses were intended only for theological discussion. It was for that reason that the theses were written in Latin and not in German. But if Luther believed he could keep this an academic discussion, he was sadly mistaken. Within weeks his theses, translated almost immediately into German and printed with the Gutenberg’s printing press, were available throughout Germanyand beyond. Friedrich Myconius in his Historia Reformationis suggested, "It was as though the angels themselves were the messengers carrying the news to all peoples." Thus began the Reformation which we celebrate every year. Come celebrate with us on Sunday October 28th at 10:30 AM.
Posted by admin on June 15, 2012
Love Your Children
I love children. I love my own more than life itself. Besides Jesus and my wife, they are the most treasured of the countless blessings God has given me. As a pastor I love children. Unfortunately a statement like that said by a clergyman almost invites suspicion these days. That’s so sad. Children are the future of the world. They need to be ready to take the leadership when it is their turn. As a pastor they need to be ready to run with it when it is their turn. They cannot do that without the LORD.
I am afraid that so many aren’t ready to run with it because the good LORD is being left out of their training. My generation, the Baby Boomers, made a serious error when the left religious training to their children. They left the decision to go to church up to their children because they weren’t too keen on it themselves. Many Baby Boomers have no clue of the relevance and importance of Jesus Christ and now their children are doing what their parents are doing – nothing when it comes to Jesus.
I love to teach children who Jesus is and what the Bible says. What is so interesting and fascinating for this pastor is to see them grow from a simple “Jesus Loves Me This I Know” kind of faith to a deeper faith that wants to understand more about the Bible and what Jesus means to them. It makes me smile when children give awesome testimonies about their Savior to their friends and bring those friends to church.
Please parents, take this responsibility seriously. “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he won’t depart from it,” says the writer of the Proverbs. All need to know the Savior. Living life in this world is so short. They need a future of an eternal nature. They need Jesus and have Jesus as their eternal Savior. Like I said, parents, love your children!
Our new Sunday School year begins August 12th at 9 AM with a potluck breakfast. Come. Love your Children.
Pastor Larry Zahn
Posted by admin on February 1, 2012
I am writing this at the car dealer where I get the oil changed on my car. They told me that I really do need a brake job. I asked about another situation that I thought was a problem. Guess what? There is a problem. It will take a couple of hours and a good wad of money. Good time to do some work. I am in the customer waiting area. There are a lot of people here. Most are talking on their I-phones. How much time do you spend waiting? How do you use it?
As I was waiting, I did a translation for my sermon for Sunday. God is giving me some time to think about the sermon. It is a good time to do some prayer. We have some members and people outside our membership that can use our prayers. I can use this time to talk to God about other matters too. There are always things that are on our minds or even on our chest that we need to talk over with the good Lord. God gave me some time to do that too.
What’s my point? People use the excuse, and so do I, that they don’t have enough time for this or that…as if God made a mistake in not creating days long enough. Take an inventory of the time the LORD has created for you. All the people here on the I-phones seem to have time to communicate. Just think if we did this in conversation with our God or by just meditating on the mysteries of God’s grace - to simply think about his love and mercy. I am feeling pretty much at peace right now. I am sure I will be stirred up when I see the bill, but you know what? After the water pump is replaced, maybe they will find something else wrong. That might not be so bad. God is giving more time to focus on him. I am sure that he does the same for you. Do you take advantage of it?
Posted by admin on November 30, 2011
Bugs on the Windshield
I usually allow my wiper blades on my car to go beyond the time they need to be replaced. With rain the wipers don’t clean the windshield completely. Sometime ago I had a head-on collision with a moth and its graveyard became my windshield. I noticed that the windshield wipers don’t do a good job of washing off the remains of the moth. I have also noticed that when I drive, my eyes tend to wander to the accident scene and it drives me crazy. Do you, like me, have a tendency to have a hard time looking past that spot even though there is plenty of opportunity to look around it? Or am I the only one that seems to focus on that messy grave of the moth?
We are in that time of the year when “bugs on the windshield” can do us some spiritual damage. I am talking about the distractions that come at this time of year when there is a danger to focus our attention on things other than the real reason for the season. The bugs on the windshield (partying, enormous monies spent on gifts, the extravagant meal preparations) can get in the way of celebrating the birthday of our Savior. The angel said, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” This is a time of repentance. This is a time to confess our sins. After all, that’s why he came - to be our Savior. What a pity if we missed the point of his coming and failed to give him honor and thanks he deserves.
Please come by our Living Christmas card on December 9th and 10th from 6-9 PM. We are also celebrating Christmas Eve with a candlelight service at 7 PM and Christmas Day we are having a song service at 10AM. Please join us! Merry Christmas!
Pastor Larry Zahn
Posted by admin on November 2, 2011
Thanksgiving Under All Circumstances
When the first American Thanksgiving was celebrated, it was done so in sight of forty graves in the Plymouth cemetery. There were fifty five-English speaking people including only four women who survived from the original band of pilgrims who came to America. The weather had been brutal; there was an epidemic that brought death in that first year for so many. In thanks to God, however, they set aside time and enjoyed their meal and compatriots even though there was a lot of suffering.
Martin Rinckardt wrote the popular Thanksgiving hymn entitled “Now Thank We All Our God.” He penned that hymn during an epidemic in which the number of people who died was so great that they had to bury the dead in trenches. His own wife was taken away; he lost his property and was driven to extremes to find food and clothes for his own children. Yet he triumphed over despair to sing –
“All praise and thanks to God
The Father now be given.”
How could he give thanks? While health and wealth and even our stealth can go away from us, one thing can’t be taken away – God’s grace in Christ. Regardless of how rich or poor we may be in life, no matter how important or insignificant, the Son of God opened up heaven for us. We are forgiven of our sins and assured an eternity with Christ. No amount of money, no promise of food and clothing for a few short years on this earth will ever compare.
While circumstances certainly have been better in our nation, yet compared to the pilgrims and Martin Rinckhardt, we are living in Paradise. Remember that no matter what our circumstance, whether bleak or beautiful, the best is yet to come, promised to us through the blood of Jesus.
Come celebrate with us on Thanksgiving Eve November 23rd at 7 PM at our favorite hymn service.
Pastor Larry Zahn
Posted by admin on August 24, 2011
When I was going to college, the rock opera “Jesus Christ, Superstar” was being performed for the first time. It was wildly popular. It was made into a movie. I had never seen it. I loved the songs in them with the snappy and lively rhythms. It wasn’t a movie I would recommend people to see since there was a lot in it that was simply not true and gave the wrong impression. The last scene, however, was done well. It was very moving. It was the scene of the crucifixion. While the crucifixion was done so as to touch the human emotion, there was something seriously wrong. That’s where the movie ended as if to say, “That’s all folks!” I was trained to know that there was more. I know there was more. The Bible says there is more. Without the resurrection the Bible says that our faith is futile and we are lost in our sin. Jesus with no Easter? Christ’s life with no resurrection? I’m sorry, Mr. Andrew Lloyd Webber, that’s not all folks. Jesus Christ has destroyed death by his resurrection. Jesus destroyed the eternal effects of sin. If Jesus remained in the grave, what proof is there that sins are paid for. How do we know that we are really all right with God? Jesus is alive and well and lives with us everyday. He promised, “I am with you to the very end of the age.” The Crucifixion? That’s NOT all folks.
Join us this Easter and hear the good news of the empty grave and how Jesus fills our lives.
In Him who has risen from the dead,
Pastor Larry Zahn