This kid will probably be a great theologian one day…

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Thanks to Elizabeth Evans, and youtube.

 

 

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If Christians around the world could just believe this one overarching truth, there would be another Reformation

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I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

   –  John 8

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Ask most Americans what they value most and the response will probably be ‘freedom’. Ask them to define freedom and the answers will have something to do with being able to do as we please. Interestingly, the founders of this country defined freedom as being able to do as we ought, not necessarily as we please. 

Freedom is actually defined by its choices as reflected in this classic definition; 

“Freedom is the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action.”

The implications are obvious. Authentic freedom only belongs to those who always and in every thought, word, and deed choose the right and the good.  A simple inventory of our own life’s timeline of thoughts, words and deeds, will reveal that  we are anything but free. For our  choices of thoughts, words, and deeds often reflect not the absence but the presence of “necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action.”  And that which is present in us driving these things is sin. 

We don’t like hearing this of course. ‘What do you mean I’m not free? Of course I am! I have free will, don’t I?” Actually, there is a no better witness against us than our so-called free will. It is our ample backlog of free willed thoughts, words and deeds that contain the record of the countless ways we have chosen the bad instead of the good. This is the truth. And unless we know and hear the truth about ourselves, we will continue to live the lie, calling bondage freedom. But the implications are even more serious.

True freedom belongs belongs to God alone. Only God is free because only God’s willing always, and in every sense results in the good. This why to claim freedom for yourself – including free will – is, in fact, blasphemy against God. For such a claim shows contempt for God , wittingly or not, by claiming for yourself something that belongs to God alone.

Jesus was speaking to a fundamental truth; if you sin you are slave to sin. You are not free. And because of sin we have no permanent place with God. For the wages of sin is death. But to this ominous and sobering reality our Lord added an even greater truth; “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” 

In Jesus God has done some free will choosing of His own. And God’s choosing is not polluted with the taint of self interest. Out His great love for us – we who are bound in our free-will pretensions – He has chosen to extend grace and mercy. 

The ringing note of this glorious grace so struck the Apostle Paul that he could sum up the whole Christian life in one, simple declaration, “For freedom Christ has set us free.”  This is the authentic paradigm of the Christian life and faith. For we are not the free ones who simply misuse our freedom, and must be coerced into choosing rightly. We are the bound ones, enslaved in sin, who must be set free, and have been, “by The Man of God’s own choosing”, Jesus Christ our Lord.

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                         – Pastor Mark Anderson

>>>>>>>>>>> Lutheran Church of the Master Corona del Mar, CA

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From    Pastor Mark Anderson’s Daily Devotional blog site

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Thank you, Pastor Mark.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Reformation. Looks like not too much stuck.

It’s been almost 500 years since Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany . 

They were huge, earth- shattering ideas then. 

But if you look around at the Protestant landscape in America today, it seems as if that great event (period) in the history of the world never happened.

I visit many Christian blog sites and I find scant freedom from the religious, spiritual ladder-climbing projects that Luther railed against. ‘ A little bit of me, and a lot of God’ is still the overwhelming mindset that inhabits the church in America, if not the world. Not to say that there are not churches and pastors and preachers that have heard the pure gospel and the freedom found within that liberating Word of truth and promise. They are there. Few and far between. But they do exist.

But most churches cannot help themselves when it comes to adding onto Christ and His pure gospel. ”You gotta have a Pope’. ‘You gotta make a decision’. ‘You gotta show you are serious’. ‘You gotta show some fruits.’ ‘You gotta have an inerrant Bible (text).’ ‘You gotta do this, you can’t do that.’

Well, we say no. All ‘you gotta have is Christ Jesus who forgives your sin’. 

We stand with Luther, who stood with Paul (and others), who believed that Christ, alone, is enough.  He is enough.

The first one on Luther’s list of 95 grievances was this; #1 “The entire life of the Christian is one of repentance.”  So much for our religious projects.

Maybe we’ll get it right during the next 500 years. But I don’t see many  signs of that happening. But with God, and His Word alone, all things are possible.

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The Sacrament IS the Gospel.

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Why we believe this is so, and why we believe that  the “enthusiasts” (those who say it’s merely a symbol) are wrong.

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Listen to > The bread and the wine ARE the Gospel

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Thank you, Pastor Mark.

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And thanks to flickr and latteontheroad, for the photo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“What must I do to inherit eternal life?”

This is really THE QUESTION… isn’t it?

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This is what all the God seekers want to know, and Jesus answers the question of the rich young man in no uncertain terms.

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Listen in to Pastor Mark’s sermon as he gives you his take on Jesus’ answer and what it means for you in your quest to attain eternal life:

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Click > “What do I need to do to attain eternal life?”

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Thank you, Pastor Mark.

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And thanks to flickr and practicalowl, for the photo.

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“When the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.”

From Pastor Mark’s blog     http://www.lightofthemaster.net/apps/blog/t

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by Pastor Mark Anderson

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From time to time I flip through the television channels to watch various T.V. preachers, just to see what they’re up to. Not long ago I came across a woman who was speaking to a packed auditorium of several thousand people. I listened in for a few minutes and the message was clear; if you expect anything from God, if you want success, you had better get your life in order.

It didn’t seem to occur to the preacher that these folks had spent the last week doing just that in any number of ways, mostly with limited or no success, and that some relief might be in order. It’s hard to understand why she would simply remind them of their wounds and then put the verbal whip on them to try harder. It’s also hard to understand why people would return week after week and subject themselves to reminders, couched in omnipotent terms, of their inadequacy. Well, actually, it’s not hard to understand at all.

Preying on people’s fears, inadequacies and brokenness works. And it works precisely because we are so terribly vulnerable in this life. Once we get our wits about us in this world it becomes quite obvious that to get along we have to be good for something. We must demonstrate our value in tangible ways. Some are more or less up to the challenge, some fail miserably, and most people wobble along in fits and starts anxious for security, looking for shelter from the storm. They are suckers for bootstraps religion. Nothing else in life is free, why should God be free?

Well, based on the generally lackluster performance most of us produce in this life I can fully appreciate the question. I’ve asked it myself. And the answer, surprisingly enough, has been given by God Himself.

 “When the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.

We call that the Good News. It is what I was hoping the T.V. preacher would get around to but she never did. So, here, in an unvarnished quote from that late purveyor of God’s glorious grace, Gerhard Forde, is the word of irrepressible freedom delivered to you this day; it is a word of pure gift. 

“We are justified freely, for Christ’s sake, by faith, without the exertion of our own strength, gaining of merit, or doing of works.  To the age-old question, ‘What shall I do to be saved?’ the confessional answer is shocking: ‘Nothing!  Just be still; shut up and listen for once in your life to what God the Almighty, creator and redeemer, is saying to his world and to you in the death and resurrection of his Son!  Listen and believe!’”

(Gerhard O. Forde, Justification by Faith (Philadelphia, 1983), page 22.)

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Isn’t it great?  There is nothing left to do.  Christ Jesus has done it all!  Let go of your bootstraps, sit back, relax and take a deep breath of the free air.  The Son has set you free!

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How do we know that we are really hearing God’s Word?

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There are a lot of versions of God’s Word going on out there.

Listen in to Pastor Mark as he not only explains it, but also as he proclaims it, so that God’s Word is actually done to us:

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click> How do we know we are really hearing God’s Word?

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Thank you, Pastor Mark.

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And thanks to flickr and aash.stpl, for the photo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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