Welcome to our blog from the Red Roof Church and the wonderful, Spirit-filled folks here at St. Paul. I’m Lee Harder, the senior pastor, inviting you to spend some time giving thanks to the author of all our blessings not just the coming Thanksgiving Day, but each and every day. We have much to be thankful for. If you’re in the neighborhood of Hwy 281 N. and 1863 this Wednesday evening, November 27, stop by for our worship celebration of Thanksgiving at 7:00PM. We offer warm fellowship and a seat at our Lord’s table of Holy Communion. If you can’t make Wednesday, join us this Sunday at 8:30AM or 10:45AM as we celebrate Christ the King Sunday. You’ll always find us here ready to welcome you into our family.
Thanksgiving Day is a day set aside by Abraham Lincoln for a nation to give thanks to God. Yes, you hear correctly even in these “PC” times, thanks TO GOD for all His blessings. Barring a few minor changes, every president and this nation’s people have made it a point to thank God, the one and only true divine presence, for the love He gives to each of us and every day in a myriad of ways.
Sometimes it’s not easy to remember to give thanks. Like children who need a gentle push to say “thank you,” we must often have some formal nudge so that we bow in humble gratitude to the author of all our blessings. In addition, we can easily fail to realize an event that causes us worry, concern, disappointment, sorrow or difficulty today, is being used by God to build us up for tomorrow. Thus it, too, becomes a blessing for which we should give thanks.
I cannot help but think of the many challenges facing our Church. The current trend of vast branches of the Christian Church toward a secular agenda empowered by a social gospel causes great sorrow in my heart. I fear for our Christian heritage, our children and the direction of Christendom as a whole.
Yet, these very concerns have resulted in a renewal in study and examination of our Confessions and Scripture itself. Personally, I have learned and come to understand more about the bedrock foundation of my own faith because I seek God’s Word for guidance. Even in adversity, God’s work is being done and I am thankful.
Again soon in the body of believers I serve, we are daring to engage in another bold adventure of recommitting ourselves to God’s great commission of proclaiming the gospel and loving the church which is His body on earth. It’s not our first endeavor to move ourselves into true discipleship nor will it be our last. The work progresses, sometimes slowly, but always forward. We are coming to know that we must not underestimate the work of the Spirit. Some have truly risen to take first steps toward dedicated service in God’s name. That’s cause to give God our heartfelt thanks.
We have so much for which to render our thanks to God. His blessings shower us with witness to His ever present love and support. The most precious gift is our Lord, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself so that we might have life and forgiveness of sin in His name. There are not enough words or ways we can respond in thanksgiving.
As disciples of Christ, called to bear testimony to the Gospel of Salvation, our difficulties and hardships, the times of testing we confront, must cause us to raise our prayers of gratitude. It is in adversity that our lives are tempered for strength in God’s service. So, for these, too, we gave thanks to God.
May we remember to give thanks for all our Lord provides for us, that which we know to be good, as well as those things which God puts to good use within us. As Paul said in Romans 5:3-5 — We also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
And those are my thoughts. Have a blessed Thanksgiving.
Greetings from the good people of the Red Roof Church. I’m Lee Harder, senior pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Bulverde, Texas, wishing you God’s blessings and much joy at this time of thanksgiving. We invite you to join us every Sunday for worship at 8:30 AM or 10:45 AM as we celebrate Christ in our lives. With the celebration of Thanksgiving soon upon us, I would offer a special invitation to come worship with us Wednesday evening, November 27th at 7:00 PM as we give thanks to our Creator for all He has done for us.
This past week Karen got a picture from someone that speaks volumes. She ended up sharing it with her Facebook friends and I’m sharing it with you. It was actually a collage of four pictures. The top picture showed the massive crowds that gather along the streets lining a Thanksgiving Day Parade. The city in question doesn’t matter because the amount of humanity seeking to catch a glimpse of the floats & marching bands is pretty much the same any where you go. It is mass humanity. The second picture was a shot of the huge crowds pushing at the doors of some store ready to stampede for the Black Friday specials on sale. (I wonder if the crowds will be as big the day after Thanksgiving this year since Black Friday seemed to start last week already. Probably, since people can’t pass up the big screen TV or game system on sale, even if they have several already.) They’ll be out in force. The third picture was of an stadium packed to over whelming at a Saturday sporting event, probably football; but, other sports are drawing their share of crowds, too. People, people, people, packed so close together that one could faint and never fall to the ground due to the closeness of those standing near.
Then came the last picture of the collection. It was a picture of a church service. It wasn’t difficult to count the people attending because there were so few. You could almost hear the echoes coming from the empty space.
It’s a sad epitaph on the state of affairs in our world today.
According to one of the latest revelations from the Pew Foundation, research indicates that people who consider themselves to be Christian and religious are leaving the church. Every age group is leaving even if some are doing it more energetically than others and they are not coming back. Oh, they shuffle around for a while, departing from the mainline churches and checking out the non-denominational, “happy” churches, but they are in the long run leaving. Apparently God is too demanding and restrictive.
Similar things happened in the days of Solomon when the people migrated away from God and found a fascination with the pagan gods he imported thanks to his many wives. This went on for the second half of his forty-one year reign as king over Israel. In the end, after he died and his son Rehoboam took over the kingdom, it was divided and ultimately, lost as Babylon destroyed the temple and much of Jerusalem, carting off the cream if Jewish society to slavery.
Judging by the diminishing church involvement today and the rise in pursuing the pantheon of modern day false deities we seem infatuated with, we may find ourselves facing the same kind of challenges.
As we approach a national time of thanksgiving, it might be the right time to remember the God who loves us, died for us, and seeks nothing less than to spend eternity with us. We have much to be thankful for, even in our modern world, with which God has blessed us. I hope you’ll find a church that offers a thanksgiving service and in worshipful praise, give thanks to the author of our lives.
And those are my thoughts. God bless and see you in church.
Welcome to this week’s blog from the Red Roof Church in Bulverde, Texas. I’m Lee Harder, the senior pastor at St. Paul, welcoming you and your family to join us in our regular blog and at worship this Sunday. We have worship celebrations of Word and Sacrament at 8:30 AM and 10:45 AM. We would be honored to have you be a part of our spiritual family.
This week I’m preaching from the Old Testament. Specifically, I talking about the call of Moses from the burning bush. Now this might sound strange, but I connected it to the purchase this week of a new dishwasher for our home. I make the connection under the title “Truth in Advertising.”
When I searched the internet for dishwashers I settled on getting a Bosch 100 series in black. All the reviews were great & it might be nice not to have to turn the TV up to a deafening level to overcome the sound of the running washer. We also got a good price. We only paid $700.00 for a $449.00 dishwasher. Apparently, the well advertised price did not include “EXTRAS” that were absolutely essential if the machine was actually going to wash dishes. Delivery was free since it’s Black Friday (I thought that was the day after Thanksgiving. Silly me, what do I know because everybody has got Black Friday sales on now and it’s not even Friday.). That was the only extra that was free. There is sales tax, I dig that. The kit cost (Bosch is German & requires a special kit which they do not give away), the installation cost (expected), the special plug cost (I suppose plugging it in is necessary) & the charge to take the old machine away. In any event, we got to pay a whopping $250.00 more for a machine advertised for sale at $449.00. Where is the truth in advertising?
When God called Moses from the burning bush, He made it clear what He expected of Moses to do. Go to Egypt and free His people from slavery. Do whatever is necessary, but convince Pharaoh to “Let my people go!” God would help him, but it wouldn’t be easy and it wouldn’t be quick, but God expected Moses to deliver the people.
Jesus had the same expectations of us when it comes to being disciples. He expects us to go out into the world and spread the word of salvation in Christ. Let people know that Jesus died to pay for our sins. God loves us that much. When Jesus gave that assignment to all who believe in Him, He didn’t lie and tell us it would be a piece of cake, easy and no problem at all. Instead, He told us that it would be hard. People in the world would persecute us and hate us and maybe even try to kill us to silence God’s message.
I think we would have to say that God is all about truth in advertising. He means what He says and doesn’t hide any of the extra costs. Wouldn’t it be great if the world operated the same way.
I’m a big fan of truth. That’s why when it comes to my preaching on Sunday mornings, I don’t mince words and I don’t pull punches. You will get the truth based on God’s Word in the Bible, not how our culture would like it to be but how God intended it to be understood. There will be both Law that reminds us we are sinners in need of God’s salvation and Gospel that gives us hope that our sins can be washed away and our relationship with our loving God restored. God has expectations of us when we enter into His family as believers and calls on us to respond truthfully in our devotion and commitment. Moses came to understand that and so did Jesus’ disciples and so must we as Christians today. Truth in advertising.
And those are my thoughts.
God bless and have a great week.
Greetings from the people of the Red Roof Church in Bulverde, Texas located near the exit of 1863 on highway 281. I’m Lee Harder the senior pastor welcoming you to our regular weekly Blog. I hope you check in with us every week at redroofchurch.org to see the latest edition. We’re also on Facebook and YouTube. If you are someone looking for a church to call your spiritual home, then I would like to invite you to join us for worship this Sunday at 8:30AM or 10:45AM. Our friendly folks will make you feel welcomed and a important part of the St. Paul family.
This Sunday is a special day in the Christian Church. It’s All Saints’ Sunday. On this day across the Church, we remember and honor the saints, those men and women who were pillars of the Church by their examples of faith and devotion to God and discipleship in Jesus Christ. They believed in Jesus as the source of our salvation and surrendered their lives before Him. While we honor all that they did, we also recognize them as an inspiration for our own love of the Lord Jesus.
Yet, as Christians we know there is more to the saints than those great names of biblical history and the Church in the past who have gone on to their heavenly rewards. There are also those saints who have touched our lives by their commitment to Christ and the work of the Church they did while they lived among us. Even more intimately connected to us, these are the people, family and friends, witnesses and examples of Christ-like living that were a model for our lives. They not only inspired us, they became the guides and patterns by which we built our lives and relationships in the world and in the church. I know that each of us have loved ones and people we care about that are still very much an influence on how we live our lives. They, too, might be gone from this life, but they will never be gone from our personal lives because they are forever a part of us.
However, understanding the saints doesn’t even end there. It can’t, because we also need to see ourselves as saints as well. While we are still very much works in progress, we are saints. And that’s what is so neat. The Holy Spirit in His work of sanctification in each of us is making us holy, preparing us for heaven. That process is a life long one. It starts in our baptism and doesn’t come to a completion until we breath our last. Let me explain with this: Today, the Spirit of God is making me holy. I am more holy today than I was yesterday, but not as holy as I will be tomorrow — A work in progress. Simply, if we believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we are counted among the number of the saints and the Holy Spirit works within us.
That’s fantastic! It is also a little overwhelming since it means we are to be an example and an inspiration to those around us. Being a saint carries with it an awesome responsibility. Saints need to let others come to know Christ and the salvation He alone offers. To accomplish that goal, people need to see Jesus living in us with the things we do, the things we say, and the way we conduct ourselves.
So, to my fellow saints, I bid you God’s love and blessings. Let the world see our love for Christ in everything we do.
And those are my thoughts.
Take care and God bless.
Pastor Lee R. Harder