God Incomprehensible

VBS

July 26, 2017

God Incomprehensible

“… no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— 1 Corinthians 2:9

Even with all the faculties that God has given us we still cannot comprehend what He has done, who He is, or what He has in store for us. Nor can we even imagine it.

Yet, to enable children to grasp somehow that knowledge on some level, the dedicated and talented volunteers of Vacation Bible School are making their best effort. Their students use all their senses: ears that hear music and words of praise and prayer, eyes and hands that see and create art and music, voices that praise, pray and shout, “The victory is won”, minds that learn the Word from its stories of faith, hearts that embrace the wisdom of that same Word, and the whole body that runs, jumps, and throws as they express without words what the Word means. Fed with food for the stomach and the soul, the children can perhaps begin to comprehend how much God loves them and believe what He has in store for them.

By the time you read this, Vacation Bible School may be done. It has been a lively week of learning, rejoicing, and growing friendships. Who knows what fruit the Spirit will produce and grow in the receptive souls of children, helpers, and teachers as they have all sought to imagine God’s love for them. “God’s Word does not return to Him void,” is Isaiah’s promise to us.

People of Faith, give thanks to God that a mighty and incomprehensible thing happened at your Church this week. Faith was shared, love was shown, God was glorified and the Good News was proclaimed. We do not yet know what faith was cultivated. We do know that God equipped His people to labor in His vineyard this week. Their work was well done. God will get the glory as we get the grace.  That is enough, for even that is incomprehensible.

Thank you VBS.

Pastor Tom Konz

Pastor Tom Konz

Repeal and Replace

Untitled drawing (25)

July 19, 2017

“Repeal and Replace”

1The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me…                                       3to grant to those who mourn in Zion—to give them a beautiful                                        headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning,                 the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; Isaiah 61:1a, 3a

In the context of today’s headlines, “repeal and replace” may evoke a number of responses: “replace with what?” or “I’ll believe it when I see it.” For some it suggests a broken promise, for others, a threat. We have heard these words often enough to wonder if they are just that—words. Though our Lord did not express His plan for us in these exact words, He did promise to repeal and replace. The question is, “repeal what and replace with what?”

Isaiah’s prophecy cited here is one of many Messianic promises that would begin their fulfillment with the first coming of Christ.  In fact, after Jesus read these words in the Nazareth synagogue, He proclaimed that Isaiah had written them about Him. These words promised that Jesus would repeal the ashes of mourning over sin and faint spirit and replace them with a beautiful crown, joy, and praise.

Our Lord is not someone who makes promises, or threats, which He does not intend to keep, or which He is unable to keep. He does not need our vote or even our consent to keep them.  Nor does He wait for us to be worthy of His blessing.  What a relief that is.  We who mourn our sins may have confidence before God, because He has forgiven them fully and freely. He who promised is faithful and He does what He promises.  Therefore, let us not doubt, but respond with joy and praise, for even now we wear a crown of victory and will forevermore.  Jesus has repealed our sin and guilt and replaced it with grace and salvation.  Amazing: a promised kept.

Pastor Tom Konz

Pastor Tom Konz

Grip, Stance, Sight

christian-target

July 12, 2017

“Grip, Stance, Sight”

I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. Psalm 119:11, 15

Yesterday I had my first lesson and practice on how to shoot a pistol, while deepening a friendship and creating new ones.  Besides reviewing the vital and valuable safety measures, I learned the essential elements of successfully hitting the target: How to grip the gun, stand, and align the sight of the gun with the target. With these properly accomplished, we can hit the target when we pull the trigger, which in itself is another skill to be learned.

Reviewing these steps brings to mind the essential elements of hitting the target in our Christian walk.  Since the Biblical word for “sin” means literally “to miss the mark”, we definitely want to “hit the target”, in other words, to live in alignment with Christ’s teachings.

First, we need to get a good grip of what those teachings are. We can only follow Christ if we know what He has taught.  So we “store up” God’s Word in our heart and mind. Just as weak grip on a gun can result in a missed target, a loose grip on truth will cause us to “miss the mark”.

Secondly, we need to take a proper stance on the things that God has revealed in His Word.  Sometimes, we dig in our heels about things that do not matter for our salvation.  If we fail to focus firmly on the Gospel, we will “miss the mark” because we will have let lesser concerns create conflicts with others and needlessly bind our conscience.

Thirdly, properly aligning our sight on the goals of Christ helps us to stay on target. If we let our attention wander, letting distractions tempt us, we will certainly miss our goal.  The sinful nature, the world, and the devil are only too eager to have us look at other targets.

Jesus certainly set his sights sight firmly on the way of the cross. He took a stand on the truth of His mission, instead of being sidetracked by tricks and traps. He knew the Truth, because he is the Truth.  He had a firm grip on who he was and why He came: for our salvation.

To live the life of Christ that is, to pull the trigger and successfully hit the target instead of miss the mark, we need to get a grip, take a stand, and fix our sight on His saving work of salvation for us. May you, by the grace of God, hit the target.

Pastor Tom Konz

Pastor Tom Konz

Join the Side You’re On

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July 5, 2017

 “Join the Side You’re On”

And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve,

… But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

The title of this week’s meditation comes from a recent article written for Imprimis by journalist Michael Goodwin.  He is encouraging citizens not to sit on the sidelines and passively watch those with whom you agree fight the culture wars for you.  Join them.  If you believe in a cause, go all out and fight for it, support those on the front lines, engage, and participate.

Why is that so important also in our walk of faith?  In an interview with Brother Andrew, who for the last 60 years has ministered to persecuted churches throughout the world, he shared the following conversation:

A pastor came into my office. He said, “Andrew, those Muslims now they have brought another empty church and they are going to convert it into a mosque. Isn’t that terrible?” I said, “No, that is not terrible.” He said, “Why not?” I said, “You know what’s terrible–that your church was empty. That is terrible. If your church were full there would not be a mosque, would not be a place nor a demand for a mosque.”

I just experienced another Independence Day parade in our community, but this time from the sidelines, with friends, in a shaded and grassy area.  Nice breeze.  For the first time in a long time, I was not “in” the parade walking the hot street in the baking sun.  Of course, there is no point in a parade if there are no sideliners to watch and cheer.  Yet, in sitting on the sideline, I realized how tempting it is to be the one who never takes the heat or does the preparing and hard work–not in parades, but in the significant causes of life. Just as there would be no parade if people were not willing to be “in” the parade, so there would be no free nation, family, civic club, or congregation if people did not put their convictions into action.

Thanks be to God, Jesus did not, and does not, sit on the sideline.  He came to us, died for us, rose to secure our life, and sends His Spirit to work through us the mission He gave us—to share that Good News of sins forgiven with everyone.  By His grace and gifts, you have all you need to “join the side you’re on.”

Pastor Tom Konz

Pastor Tom Konz