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.”

 

 

Safety Check or Faith Check

Have you ever been through a “Safety Check Point” on the highway? My wife and I had the pleasure a few nights ago; it was a pleasure for me as I was sitting in the passenger seat. My wife was much more concerned with the drill as she was in the driver’s seat of the car. She was the one in control of the vehicle which meant any infractions or broken laws would fall onto her shoulders. She was the one who would take the punishment for the crime. Thankfully the officer found nothing wrong.  I must say it wasn’t by luck or by coincidence that everything was ok; it was the fact that being a licensed driver my wife keeps all the correct paperwork in order, she keeps her vehicle in good working condition, and she obeys the laws set before her to operate that vehicle on public streets. She takes her responsibility seriously.

It made me wonder what Jesus would find if He stopped me for a “Faith Check”? Would it be a nerve racking experience? Am I taking my responsibility seriously? What would He ask; would I know the right answers? Would I have all my issues in order? I’m not saying we have to be perfect, for God tells us He will give us another chance in places we are going wrong. He tells us we are forgiven as long as we; are faithful and believe in His Son, repent of our sin, and change our sinful ways. But would I pass the test?

How about you, would you have trouble if Jesus stopped you on the street and checked your faith life? Are you confident you are saved and know the reason why?

If there is any doubt in your mind maybe you need to look closely at what is causing the confusion. Then if you are still questioning why, you may want to get some free instructions. They are available on Sunday morning at a variety of places called “Church”. Be careful though, there are some instructors that don’t follow the true manual and will steer you wrong. They will not prepare you for that the check point in accordance to the true laws of God.

Bottom line is when you are stopped; you are responsible for your own life, Jesus paid the price for the sins you can’t cover; but it’s up to you to take care of the ones you can. It is like that check point my wife went through, she had to be prepared. It was better to hear “Go ahead, everything looks good. Have a nice day and enjoy the ride” than to hear “Sorry we can’t let you continue the way you are going”.

A “Safety Check” or a “Faith Check” we all need to be ready;   Are You?

Why Drugs

I was listening to a News cast the other night and they said addiction to “Opiates” was at an all time high. Records are being broken for the number of overdoses causing deaths in this country. It hurt my heart to think that so many people are looking for an escape from this life and that they are losing their lives to a cruel end.
What is happening that so many people hate their lives? We are one of the most educated countries in the world, so ignorance on the effects of drug addiction is not the issue. We actually have one of the highest standards of living of any country in the world. Sure there are poverty stricken areas in our country, but need is almost non-existent compared to many third world countries. Unfortunately statistics show that most drug addiction is in middle class America. The money is more available; so having money is not a cure but a symptom. In fact the majority of middle class drug abusers end up in poverty before they quit.
So WHY do we do it? Have lost our reason for living? Ask someone why they are alive sometime and what will be the answer. “I don’t know “is common or “To have as much fun as possible” is another great myth. “To live and die” is one of my favorites. We are floundering in frustration and a lost sense of values; people don’t know who they are anymore.
Time goes by either too fast or we are bored to death. Our ability to manage our daily existence has somehow been lost. We seem to search for a reason for living but can’t find it. Life is so much more than having fun or just being alive to die. The art of just being alive to enjoy God’s world has been put so far back in our minds we no longer understand the simplicity. Drugs have become a way to leave this existence and not think about who we are and who we could be.
The problem with drugs is they are a FAKE answer to any problem. The few moments that a person “gets away” don’t begin to cover the miserable hours of terrible existence that follow; the hours that person tries to get money to support the monster they have to feed.
The person that introduces another person to drugs is a selfish fool. They are demon possessed as bad as any rapist or murderer on death row. The issue is after the initial dose the new person’s mind is forever flawed also.
So what is the answer? Well God has given us an answer in His Spirit if we listen.
Jesus went through everything we have ever dreamed of and more. Did He do drugs? “No!” He showed us the tool we have to make it through the torment and trials. Prayer is that tool. God has given us the power to overcome anything in this world. We can talk to Him any time of day.
We may be bombarded by the world’s hate and lies and foolish theories as “man” tries to show his authority. But with God’s guidance we can overcome all our problems.
With true love and help from each other there wouldn’t be need or a want to leave this world by doing any kind of drug. We would be too busy showing others how to live life in a way that was satisfying; in a way that would fulfill all desires for joy and happiness, in a way that at the end of the day we could be proud of.
So where do we go to find this life style? Well if you look real close it already exists in a building called the church. It is God’s house and He makes the rules there. No drugs allowed, no Satan allowed, only prayer and healing. Think about how fulfilling it could be, to be part of a place that is known for helping during the disaster not coaxing you to become part of the heartache.
Drugs; Man’s way of coping for a moment. Faith; God’s way of curing for eternity.
Just My Thoughts
Pastor Scott

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.

 

 

Easter is About Jesus! (Not a Bunny)

Do we live like people of Easter? Did you know the dictionary doesn’t mention the Easter bunny in its definition? Now don’t worry I’m not protesting the Easter bunny but I am protesting our first priority. When Easter is (sold) on TV and in stores, it is all about eggs and a magic bunny that brings kids candy etc., (Jesus is in the back isle by the religious stuff)

Our religious holidays were started and remembered for a much more important reason than to make them into a sales plan. Easter is honored as the day Jesus Christ rose from the dead and fulfilled His promise of eternal life for all who are baptized and believe in Him.

As with all things we need to be careful of the origin. The egg was pagan tradition before it was used as any part of Christianity. The egg was the symbol of new life and the coming of spring. The Easter egg is not a holy symbol but a “Scramble of pagan and Christian tradition”.

The Easter bunny is another pagan tradition that has made it to main stream through the art of salesmanship and desire. Desire? , wow pastor that is quite a word to use. I use it because the Easter bunny is known for bringing baskets of goodies and treats; it fulfills our desire of stuff. There is a huge line between our celebration of an animal bringing us what we want and our Savior dying on the cross and giving us what we need; the Forgiveness of our sin.

So why am I talking so negative about some simple, good, wholesome traditions. Well it’s my job; not to talk negative but it’s my job to remind people that there is more to faith in Jesus Christ than following the traditions of a culture. See many of those traditions can lead us away from our faith in Jesus Christ without us ever noticing. It’s when we combine secular and Holy ideas together that we end up with a watered down, weak Faith that is “Luke Warm”;

Revelation 3:15-17

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. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 

We have a Holy holiday of Easter to reflect on; we have a Holy holiday of Christmas at the other end of the year. Let’s keep them Holy; about the God who they are meant for. Let’s be People of Easter, worshipping our “Risen Lord” all the time, every day, every minute.

Be “Hot” for Jesus others will see your “Reason for the Season”.

Just My Thoughts

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.