So Faithful we forget to use it

I heard a message the other night based on Luke 8, 9, and 10. The thing I took away was how even the faithful; sometimes fail.

Verse 24:  24 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”

These were the twelve that were with our Lord day and night. The twelve that had been given the joy to follow beside yet seemed to lose trust the moment they needed faith the most. Instead of using the faith they were given to find the peace in the storm they threw up their hands and frantically said “Save Us!” This happens to all of us at times, we get overwhelmed and beg for help. Jesus comes to our rescue just like the disciples.

“He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. 25 “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples.

Next we went to chapter 9; “Jesus sends out the twelve”;

Verses 1, 2

When Jesus had called the Twelve together he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.”

Yet a few verses later we see them struggling with their faith again.

Verse 12-14;

12 Late in the afternoon the Twelve came to him and said, “Send the crowd away so they can go to the surrounding villages and countryside and find food and lodging, because we are in a remote place here.”

13 He replied, “You give them something to eat.”

They answered, “We have only five loaves of bread and two fish—unless we go and buy food for all this crowd.” 14 (About five thousand men were there.)

We know the rest of the story; Jesus feeds the five thousand with the five loaves and two fish with extras at the end. Did you see the test? Jesus’ most instructed followers missed their chance to trust their faith again. Even after all they had been told and had seen they still doubted their faith.

Next we go to chapter 10, Jesus sends out seventy-two more. These weren’t the inner circle; these were seventy-two people just like us, believers in Jesus Christ and His message, everyday people who had a true trust in God. Look at the outcome;

Verse 17: 17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

And what did Jesus do?

Verse 21

21 At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.

The lesson here; the amount of faith you have has nothing to do with your training, it has nothing to do with your title, it has only to do with your heart. It comes from acceptance of the Holy Spirit in your own life and living it.

Jesus praised the Father for the work of the simple people. Not the “wise and learned”. God’s work on earth is not the work of the highly trained or the specially educated; it is the work of all of us. His plans are revealed to the little children to understand. Trust your faith in times of trial and watch the Spirit shine.  God is Good and His Words are simple and true.

Pastor Scott

 

Freedom Isn’t Free

Freedom is a word that we proudly shout in our country. It is a part of our lives that we hold sacred. The line that “Freedom Isn’t Free” is so huge. It has cost many lives to win our freedom from tyrant, self serving rulers. It has cost many lives to maintain that freedom from the threat of tyrant dictators. Now it takes many lives to protect us from terrorist groups who hurt us in the name of tyrant led religious groups.  I used the word tyrant in each case because the definition of the word tyrant is worthy of each cause we fight against.

Definition of Tyrant: an absolute ruler unrestrained by law or constitution, a ruler who exercises absolute power oppressively or brutally.

The brutality of men causing fear and pain has been part of our sinful world for centuries. We read about the ancient Israelites being taken into slavery by tyrant pharaohs; forced to build cities for the glory of Egypt’s power. Our ancestors were forced by kings to do as they were told; to live and worship according to their decree. In our own country we have had men and organizations claim too much power and direct our land in directions that have caused separation and civil war. We didn’t recognize them as tyrants because they were “one of us”; they were our leaders. The lust of power causes many to fall; the claim of personal rights with no regard for our fellow man causes the loss of compassion and the common good.

The exciting part is when the oppressed people, the hurt, the abused, the ones in need of a new hope turned to God He delivered them. The Israelites were led from slavery when God answered their prayers. The early colonists found this United States when they fled religious persecution and followed their true sense of God’s call. “911” brought us back to church for healing following a tragedy we couldn’t comprehend on our own. God has always been here for us.

Our country is in a crisis right now with our freedom being misused; we have strayed away from God and His guidance to our own sinful natures. Our young people are being taught a false freedom with no sacrifice, a freedom that is easy and self centered. It will be a tragic consequence if we let history repeat itself and lose what God has given us.

God’s law says love Him first and then one another; this means sacrificing for the good of each other, no matter what it takes. Freedom has never meant having it your own way, freedom is living together under God’s watch, following His perfect plan; with liberty and justice for all.

Just My Thoughts

Pastor Scott

Dreams

Sleep is such a precious part of life. It is when we get to shut down and just forget about everything. There are things called dreams that accompany our sleep at times. Some are good others are “night-mares”. Dreaming is not uncommon for me; I seem to dream a lot. There are times when the dreams are hard to be a part of and I wake myself up. Most of the time I don’t remember a thing after my eyes open but there are times the thoughts are still vivid in my conscious. It is confusing why my mind goes into the places it does. I look to God and ask: “Why do I have to go there? It’s uncomfortable, it scares me, and I don’t like it.” I have learned to say a prayer for peace and understanding of what I have just experienced. It may be new or it may be something I have relived from a time in my past; either way I feel the need for comfort and I know God is my only source for true peace in this time of trial.

I had one of those thought provoking dreams the other night. I dreamt I was still doing my old life. You know the situation; I was working my “800hrs” per week, I was trying to be part of the local crowd, I was trying to understand the political scene, (of course I still haven’t figured out which side of that to be on), and I was in constant turmoil.  No I didn’t dream all that at once, but that’s the base line. The bulk of this dream was me arguing with my father. He is gone now as is my mother, so they never had the joy of seeing what God has done with their son’ life, whether the news is announced in Heaven I am not sure. The point is I look back now and I would like to “Kick Myself in the Rear” for being so disrespectful. At that time of my life it was my thoughts, my opinions, and my wants that drove my personality. I had no regard for the experiences that my father had and no regard for his opinion. I could have done it so much better if he would have just gotten out of the way.

Have you ever been there? If not, you are one in a million and I salute you. In most of our lives we have done things that were so selfish we can’t start to imagine how hurtful we’ve been. We put those things in the back of our minds and try to forget them. We put a lid on them and make believe they have never happened. Then history repeats itself. Not in your own actions but in the actions of those close to you.

You may have a child that is going thru growing pains as the world directs. You remember the script; it doesn’t matter if the person you are hurting is your parent; it’s all about you. Follow the words and directions of the world now; for it is about you. Be important in the eyes of the people around you and don’t worry about God after all; this is all about you. Get what you want.

You may have a spouse that seems to be getting distant; remember the world script tells us marriage is all about being independent and not losing yourself. Two people just cohabitating and if it doesn’t work out you get a divorce and try again. That is not what Jesus, the author of the word marriage said. When two people come together and accept the vow of the other; it is forever and two become one. They are to support each other through everything and respect each other through anything. Love accepts no less.

We seem to forget our lives are short and it is easy to make mistakes. Our Father in Heaven doesn’t want us to live in turmoil. He gives us a memory so we will not stumble over the same stuff again. When we hide it away in the unused part of our brain it does us no good. We need to deal with our sins and give them to God. The next time you have one of those dreams that “hurts” realize that is the Holy Spirit helping you clear out your attic. Give the hard thoughts to Him and watch your dreams eventually become peaceful. Repenting of your sins means you give it all to God, even the ugly stuff. I have a long way to go for I have been a hoarder of “My thoughts” for too many years. Don’t live life wishing you would have done different. Live your life so your dreams are truly joyful. Say that prayer of understanding and peace. God will Bless You.

Just My Thoughts

 

 

The Church Challenge

We celebrate Ash Wednesday March 6th 2019. Lent begins the following Sunday March 10th. We’ve all seen the ice bucket challenge, and we’ve heard of the unthinkable challenges on the internet that cause our young people great harm. I want to do a challenge that will change your lives forever. It will literally mean an eternity of blessings.

It’s called The Church Challenge,

The  challenge is simple; you and your family go to church on Ash Wednesday, then you get up and go again on the following Sunday. Then you go again on Wednesday and then on Sunday. See how many times you can go to church before Easter.

Listen to the message, feel the love of those around you, let God into your hearts. Give the Holy Spirit the chance to help you find peace for a couple hours each week.  Watch how Easter and the meaning of Jesus Christ become so much more exciting. Believe me in no time at all it will not be a challenge.

The best part is, everyone who tries this is an absolute champion for the rest of their lives. Keep track of your victories, for each time you go to worship will be a win. Talk to God about how great it felt, give your families the coaching they need to continue. Congratulations early on taking the challenge, may you find God’s peace and love.

 

Pastor Scott Krohn

Living Word Lutheran Church

Seward NE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

True Faith

Are you a follower?

But of course I am, I go to church on Sunday, I wear a cross around my neck. I tell others all about Christ, when the subject comes up. I mean just look at me I have” Christ follower” all over my house, on my car, and on my phone case.  How could you ask that question? “Don’t I look like a Christ Follower?”

Fact is; it isn’t what you LOOK LIKE that counts, it is what is in your heart that matters. God sees thru all the fake costumes and all the human distractions. If you are truly a follower and want to wear things that display your faith that’s great, but don’t think that will help get you to heaven.  Too many times we try to impress the pastor or our neighbors on how religious we are but it isn’t the pastor you have to answer to. He just asks the questions here on earth so you will be ready when you are met by the one who really has power over your soul.

If I ask; “Will you go to heaven?” what are the most common answers; “I don’t know for sure”, “I really hope so” and simply “No”. The worst part is the last one is the most honest; that person is sure they aren’t worthy and they don’t trust God for any salvation, it is a sad place but probably a true answer. So what about the other answers and where is “yes I will”.

That’s our dilemma; we as God’s children are taught so many rules and reasons and different religious patterns we forget to trust what Jesus tells us. We get ourselves so mixed up listening to human rules we lose the joy of being a child of God. Jesus tells us His thoughts; you know those red letters in the Bible, the true words of Jesus Christ. He never tries to fool anyone into a false hope, He never gave two ways about anything, and He never left the question unanswered. Jesus said if we believe and obey His words we will go to heaven.

John 14 (NIV) 23 Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. 24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

 

So what about our original question? “Will you go to heaven?” Well if you believe God’s words and obey His commands you can trust Him when He says He will make a home for you. Don’t get too caught up in all the religious hype and the so-called rules. Let your faith show you the way to Heaven and follow that guidance.

 

Then when someone asks “Will you go to Heaven?” you can say “I am a follower of Jesus Christ and I am sure I will for He told me so.”

 

 

Cause or Effect?

From the Pastor’s Desk:

Cause or Effect?

What is the cause and what is the effect? I often wonder why we put so much time and effort into working on the effects of our problems, and so little into the cure of the cause. Even as children we are told “Don’t do this or that because you could get hurt” or “I wouldn’t do that if I were you” Somewhere in the course of life we decided it doesn’t mean us and we do it anyway. When do we reach that point in our existence that we decide we are invincible and get to do it our way?

Take car accidents; according to the site drivers.com, Distracted driving, speed, and drunk driving are the three leading causes of fatal car crashes. How heartbreaking is that? The times in our lives when we are in control of the biggest, fastest, heaviest piece of equipment that any of us will ever use and we don’t care enough to watch what we are doing. Then we speed, so we can get into an accident sooner. Let alone being impaired by alcohol or drugs. Now honestly when you take down the shield of excuses of why you just had to do what you did, it looks pretty simple to solve. Watch the road, slow down, and don’t drink and drive. Wow we just solved the cause. Now we just have to do that every time we get behind the wheel and car wrecks could be almost avoided, thus changing the effects.

Life gives us choices; God gives us free-will to choose our destiny. When we choose not to follow the laws of the land we will get hurt. When we choose not to follow God’s commands we will get hurt. Adam and Eve started the fall and it has only gotten worse. So how do we change our view of the causes so we can stop trying to clean up the effects?

First we must understand it is going to take a lot of time. Second we have to choose to change. Our laws tell us “we have to follow the law or pay the fine”, God tells us “we have to believe in His Son or we will surely die”, and our sinful nature tells us “they can’t tell us what to do.” I think I have just found the solution to the cause.

Our sinful nature must be taken under control. Our hearts and minds must change. The Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ are the only way this will happen; without the Holy Spirit we can’t gain control, and Jesus Christ has the only true answer. We must choose to accept His help even when our sinful nature says it’s not needed. Change the cause and the effects will follow. God has the answer but only if we will follow the teaching. It’s up to us to change.

 

 

Compassion

Compassion; just another person not being held to the hard truth, after all if we have compassion on everyone they are not getting what they deserve. They may need to be taught a lesson. Sounds familiar right? The problem is if we take the act of compassion and make it a judgment call we have just hurt ourselves as well. The Bible uses the word compassion or compassionate over 80 times. Most were referring to Jesus Himself.

Matthew 9:36 (NIV)
36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
Matthew 14:14 (NIV)
14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
So if Jesus has that much compassion on people and even went to the cross for them, what’s our hang up with having compassion?
It’s simple we have made compassion an earned right. Those people in prison; they get too much compassion. The victims don’t get any revenge for what happened. Or the illegal aliens; those people need to go home, who wants to give them any compassion. Or the kids caught up in gangs on the street; they need to be locked up and taught a lesson. Or the drug addicts, and drunks, etc.
I can go on for hours but the point is compassion should have started long before the illegal stuff happened. The kids shooting up schools; how can you have compassion on them!!? Well they weren’t born killers. They were kids just like any other and the world said “let the strong survive”. Maybe if someone would have had compassion and noticed the hurt in that child’s life when they were growing up, and helped them get better we wouldn’t be cleaning up the mess now.
As we read in; Matthew 22:37-39(NIV)
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.
Loving our God as well as our neighbor requires compassion. It is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength. It takes a stronger man to hold someone up than it does to knock someone down. What if it were you that had the problem in your life? Should we knock you down or hold you up? Compassion is not a choice, it is a command. Let’s get the definition correct, and remember it starts with us.

I’m trying to be a Christian

I had an instructor tell me once there is no such thing as trying to be a Christian. You either are or you aren’t. It really upset me at the time. I told him it was surely a human trait to try to be a Christian.

His answer was if you are just trying, you haven’t made the commitment to be a Christian. Being a Christian is who you are, not what you are trying to do. We struggle with our young people not going to church and not grasping what we talk about as “Being a Christian”. It takes a strong heart to look at one’s self and say “What about me sets me apart from anyone else? What in my life says I am a Christian?” It is sometimes hard to figure out who is a true follower of Jesus and His preaching and who isn’t when we are just talking the talk and not walking the walk. We know we don’t get to heaven by what we do, but we do influence people by what they see.

We want a middle ground where we can do the things of the world yet say we are following our faith. A part of me wants to say there is a middle ground that would make me more in step with the world yet I know in my heart there is only one way into heaven. As a new preacher I remember the advice of a contemporary preacher friend who told me “Don’t get too strict or you will chase people away. Our job is to draw the people in and let God do the rest. Like a bear with some honey. Don’t upset them or they will not give and then you will surely be out of a job.”

I struggle with that more now than ever. Isn’t that the absolute wrong way to treat people? It comes back to the part about trying to be a Christian. Are we here to help people try to be Christians or are we here to show them how to be Christians. The decision has to be made one way or the other. There really isn’t a place of either-or. God was very plain in His words;

Revelation 3:15, 16 New International Version

15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

You are or you aren’t, it’s a pretty tough thought to swallow. That’s what my instructor was trying to tell me. In God’s eyes you are a Christian and you live your life to the glory of what God wants or you are not and you live your life to the glory of yourself. Sounds like the pastor has gone law crazy right? After all Jesus came to save us no matter what we do.

Well the truth is; Jesus came to save those who die to their old life, repent of their sin and believe in His saving grace. The only catch is if you don’t do those things before it is too late you will be left behind trying to be a Christian. Just as He says “I know your deeds, that you are neither hot nor cold, I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Please note the last phrase “I am about to spit” He hasn’t done it yet. There is still time as long as you can read this.

It is like when the doctor told me I might have throat cancer from smoking. He said there still may be time if you change your habits. You have to quit smoking not just try to quit. You have to make the decision to be different in your ways; otherwise things will not change. You are either a smoker or you are not a smoker, there is no middle ground.

Well I guess that’s what I realized with my faith.  I was either a Christian or I was not. I was either going to be healthy and live or I was going to continue to kill myself with my sins and say “I was trying to be a Christian really I was.”

The part that gets confusing in this world is the fact we think we are all ok as we are. Our young people see the difference between “being” and “trying”. They need a solid place to start from or they will never make a decision either. What a scary, heart breaking thought to have our kids spit out for being “lukewarm” in their faith. Make that decision in your life to be “Hot” for God, take the step to be a Christian and not just trying to be, teach your children the same ideas. Let’s get this country back into motion, kicking our old habits that are killing us and starting to live again;      “Being Christians

Just my thoughts,

Pastor Scott

 

Lead Us Not Into Temptation

The Lord’s Prayer is the main example of prayer that Jesus Himself gave us. It is used as a prayer in itself but also to show us how to pray. I want to examine the line; “lead us not into temptation”. What exactly is Jesus saying?

 Well it is simple; we are asking God not to give us too much. To limit us to the amount we can handle.

“Give us too much?” What’s that supposed to mean?

First we must realize God tempts no one, but sin turns blessings into temptation. We are sinful by nature; we unfortunately lack self control in many areas. If the Lord gives us His bounty in His loving way we can be overwhelmed. See we all need things in life to survive; water, food, shelter just to name a few. God loves to give us these things and the Bible tells us some will be given more. Does that mean they should consider themselves rich? By no means; that is the danger of temptation. When we receive more than we can use we are tempted to store it away and claim ownership of the blessing. God provides what we need and the rest is to be used for the blessing of others. It is not for us to hide away, it is to be used wisely. He will show you how if you let Him.

 Luke 12  (NIV Bible)

The Parable of the Rich Fool

16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”

20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

 The blessings that God gives are not ours alone; he expects us to manage those blessings wisely. Trust God to guide your steps in all you do. He will not “lead you into temptation” “but deliver you from evil”

Pastor Scott

Habits

Ever had a habit? I still do. Habits aren’t bad; it is what you do in your habit that can make it undesirable. I have a habit of taking my medication in the morning; I have the habit of petting my cat before I leave the apartment in the morning. I think that may be the cat’s idea but it still doesn’t hurt anything.

I used to have a bad habit years ago. It was killing me. I smoked cigarettes like a mad man. I was sure I needed those cigarettes as much as the air they were taking away from me. I knew better, but how was I going to break the bad habit? First I wasn’t worried about it, second there was always tomorrow. Unfortunately it takes something more powerful than the addiction to make our minds let go. In my case it was the diagnoses of possible cancer. Long story shortened I went for a hearing test and the doctor says he must look me over first. After a short examination I was in a room with a video camera down my throat. Following a few ooos and ahhs between the nurse and the doctor he spun me around in the chair and there it was; my throat from the inside. It was covered in black spots to which the doctor said “these spot are either step four of five of throat cancer or it is the tar from your cigarettes deposited on infection in your throat.” Well when I got my heart back into my chest, after all it was pretty devastating news, I asked the doctor “What next?” He said go home, quit smoking, come back in two weeks, if the spots are gone you will be alright. If not two weeks is not going to make a difference in the outcome. I was devastated; needless to say I never smoked another cigarette after that. The good news was that when I went back He put the camera in and everything was pink and perfect. His only words to the results were,” I don’t mind fixing things that nature messes up, I HATE repairing things we mess up ourselves for stupid habits. Congratulations you are in perfect health.”

I knew I was hurting myself but I continued doing the wrong thing. Why??

Well it’s called sin. When we do things that are against the common sense of right, when we ignore the warnings and the facts; it is our sinful nature in control. There is no part of sin that is good for us; it gives us our bad habits.

So let’s look at the facts; we are dying from our sin. We are destined to eternal damnation for the price of our sin against God. There is a cure for this damnation, it is called Jesus Christ. He died on the cross in our place to conquer sin and death. So by believing in Him, being baptized, taking part in the sacraments, and most importantly attending church services regularly we can destroy death and the effect of sin on our lives.

Like the habit of taking my meds to help with my already bad habit caused physical ailments, Church is good habit that can help cure our sinful bad habit ailments. As the New Year starts give yourself a new habit; start putting Jesus Christ in your life every day. The power in this habit will be the way to cure the old bad habits that are destroying your joy and your life. Give Him the chance to change you for the better.

Happy 2018

Pastor Scott