Shedding your sins

Blindfolded group "sheep" herding! by MarkAndMarina

 

How are you doing in that department? 

I’m not doing so well. I never have done so well at it. In fact, the longer I am in Christ, the more I realize just what an impossibility it is for me to shed my sins. But the longer I’m in Christ the more I realize that someone took all my sins upon Himself, that they might no longer condemn me.

And that, my friends, is what they call, ‘the good news’.

This evening’s sermon was along those lines. 

                    click here > Working on your sins

 

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Thanks to flickr and MarkAndMarina for the photo

Take the Blinders Off!

319/365 - I've got my blinders on... by Geekgirly

Got a rosey picture for the world and how it’s progressing? Got a rosey picture of how it will all end up for yourself?

Everything is progressing quite nicely, is it? Hmmm…

Here’s the truth about it…

                 click here >   The Truth about You, and Me, and the World

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You are all are invited to Lenten services tonight at 7pm.  2900 Pacific View Dr., Corona del Mar, CA 92625

This year’s theme is  ‘Breaking free of Religion’

From 6pm – 7pm is a soup dinner, then worship, then pastor’s class. Come for all, or part of the evening.

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Thanks to flickr and Geekgirly for the photo.

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Don’t take it anymore

 

Disneyland 2007 029 by KpakoI heard another guy on the radio today urging believers to really get “serious” about their Christian faith. He urged them (us) to give up “milk” for the real “meat” of the Christian faith by “getting busy”. By buckling down and acting serious about being a Christian. And he said, “If you…” at least 4 times. “If you really get serious, you will unlock all the blessings that God has in store for you.” “If you get serious about growing in Christ, you will have a much more fulfilling Christian walk of faith.”

Says who? The guy who reads the Bible like we would read an instruction manual for assembling a lawnmower?

I think he has it exactly backwards. I think that the “meat” of Christianity is realizing that we really are NOT serious about all of this God stuff. And that the only One who is serious about it is… God. Who was so serious that He actually became one of us, and lived down here with us, amongst people who would reject Him, revile Him and eventually kill Him. He was so serious that He forgave His murderers from the cross that they had murdered Him on. He was so serious that He uttered with His last breaths, “Father forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”

Yep… ‘Christian religion’ has it exactly backwards. For the religionist, it is all about OUR seriousness, and our efforts to be  what we ought be, SO THAT we will be more acceptable in the eyes of God…and to PROVE to themselves (and others around them) that they really are believers.

Give me a break. God does not need our seriousness, for He knows it is all a sham. He knows the thoughts and motivations that lie within the hearts of men and women. He knows fully well that if it wasn’t for Himself making believers out of us unbelievers, not a one of us would come to Him.

But He loves us anyway! He wants us anyway! He is after us and He wants to assure us of that fact in His promised Word. And in water, bread, and wine, attached to that Word of promise. 

“If you…”        Forget all that “if you” stuff!   When you hear that kind of talk connected to something that you should, must, or ought be doing to become a better Christian…turn off the radio…leave the Bible study…walk out of the church…because there won’t be any gospel there…only law. Law can’t help you where God is concerned. That is why St. Paul calls it the “ministry of death”. (that’s right – google it)

  God in Christ Jesus loves you. He died for you. He forgives you. He wants you. He will never leave you.  He will raise you from the dead when you need Him to. He has prepared a place for you with Himself.  He has freed you! Not the ‘cleaned up’ you , but the real, sinful, you… the you that really needs a Savior.

 If you would rather live by the “if you’s” and the religious/spirituality/self-focused growth projects… then go ahead. But you are going to rob yourself of the comfort and assurance and rest and freedom that Christ Jesus has ALREADY won for you on that bloody cross. And you are probably going to be so busy with yourself, that you might not have much time for those around you that could really use the help of someone who is available and free to help them.

So, here’s my advice. Chuck all that navel-gazing, Christian self-improvement religion, and trust in what the Living God has already done for you, is doing for you, and will yet do…for you. And realax a little.  And enjoy being what God made you to be in this world, a person… nothing more…nothing less.

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Thanks to flickr and Kpako for the photo

 

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Who is a Christian… and who is not?

Just because someone does not understand the Sacraments as Lutherans understand them, does that mean that they are not saved?

No, it doesn’t mean that at all. All it means is that the assurance that God’s so dearly wants us to have, is compromised. It also means their Christian freedom, that God wants them to enjoy, is compromised. It means (quite often) that they will be engaging in “religious activities” to prove to themselves and others that they really do have the faith that they claim to have.

We don’t know who the true believers are. “The wheat and tares grow together.” Only God knows the hearts of people and He will separate those whom He knows from those He doesn’t know, at the Day of judgement.

Anyone who professes Christ Jesus, I call brother, or sister. After that, we can have some good discussions about just what that means.

I just wanted to make this clear to anyone who thought I was being judgemental in the last post. As St. Paul said, “I judge no one. I don’t even judge myself.” Only Christ is qualified to fill that job description.

Thanks.

‘The Baptism of Jesus’

The Baptism of Jesus by Travis S.

This was not the sermon for the 2nd Sunday in Lent 2011, but it is a Lenten sermon about Holy Baptism.  Yes, “Holy Baptism”.  Baptism is an act that God performs for us, so it is set apart for God’s special purpose, which more than qualifies it to be “Holy”.

Yesterday while driving to church, my wife and I were listening to a radio preacher who has a program called  ‘The Jesus Christ Show’, where he speaks and takes caller’s questions as though he were the person of Jesus Christ. He says things like this, “I walked on the water in order to…”    Anyway, a caller called in to ask about baptism, infant baptism, etc., and this radio preacher proceeded to demolish baptism as an act of God and made the thing into into an act of faith on the part of believer.  Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. This heretic radio preacher proceeded to rob the assurance, that God wants His children to have, right from under them. It was sickening. But hey, that’s what Southern Baptist (non-denominational) preachers do, they turn the whole thing (Christian faith) into a spiritual ladder climbing project that focuses on ‘your faith’, ‘your seriousness’, ‘your feelings’, ‘your whatevers’. It always ends up that way.

Here’s a sermon that explains  Holy Baptism:

                                 click here > The Baptism of Jesus

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For those of you expecting to hear yesterday’s sermon, the master (CD) was inadvertantly taken home by a parishoner. Once I get it back, I’ll put it up for you.

 

If anyone wants to defend heretical forms of baptism such as “believer’s baptism”, feel free to chime in. We may not love heresies, but we love heretics, and we’re always happy to fill you in on what the Bible has to say about these bones of contention that we have together. 

And we are not afraid to do a little theology in order to make the Bible more clear in bringing forth Christ and His great love for sinners. 

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Thanks to flickr and Travis S. for the photo.

 

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What is it that stands between you and God?

Apple Temptation by Lawrence OP

Here’s a Lenten message delivered by Pastor Mark. The first few seconds were cut off, due to my ineptness on the sound board. The sermon opens with a passage from an accounting of events from WWII by German pastor and theologian Helmut Thielicke.

There’s a very tough word of law here. But a soft and gentle and easy word of grace that wipes away every tear, at the end.

Enjoy.

                  click here >What is it that stands between you and God ?

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Thanks to flickr and Lawrence OP for the photo.

 

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Last night’s class

It ‘s on the Lutheran difference in the understanding of the ‘external Word’.

It’s about an hour, and it’s a good one. I usually listen while I am working on the computer, but you can download into an mp3 player.

(I have no idea what I am talking about)

 

Listen here > Wed. night class in Lent

 

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