Greetings from the good folks at the Red Roof Church of Bulverde, Texas. I’m Lee Harder the senior pastor of St. Paul coming to you with another Blog. We would like to invite you to stop by and worship with us this Sunday at either 8:30 AM or 10:45 AM. If you can’t make it this week, then check out our celebrations at our web site at www.redroofchurch.org. The services are loaded up by 2:00 PM for you to watch.
This coming Wednesday, February 26th, is the first day of the Lenten season. It’s surprising how many in the Christian church are unaware of the different seasons that make up the church year. Oh, they know about Christmas and Easter, but the rest of the year can go by unnoticed. It’s too bad because for the liturgical churches, like Lutheran and Roman Catholic, to name a few, there is a greater appreciation for the big two.
The 40 days of Lent, beginning with Ash Wednesday, gets us ready for the celebration of Easter giving a fullness it would otherwise lack. During that time, we make a journey of self-examination which culminates at the foot of the cross on Good Friday. If we fail to make that journey and just skip to the joy of Easter Sunday we miss what our Lord did for us and the terrible price He paid to free us from sin. Lent is a season where we are invited in our worship via lessons and music to take a good, hard, honest look at ourselves. It becomes a time of penitential preparation through public worship and personal reflection.
In our examining of our relationship with God we painfully realize how we have sinned against Him and against our neighbors. When we realize we can’t save ourselves, we recognize our need for the forgiveness God makes real in Christ, we repent. To repent is to change our lives to conform to God’s will as we seek to live as Christ, humble, obedient, and compassionate.
One of the traditions connected to Ash Wednesday as Lent starts is the imposition of the ashes. For those unfamiliar with the practice, the sign of the cross is marked on the forehead of the believer with ashes made from the palm leaves from Palm Sunday. This is the day Jesus made His triumphant entrance into the city of Jerusalem just days before He goes to the cross. As the ashes are applied, the pastor or priest says, “Remember that you are dust and to dust you will return.”
It reminds us that the God who made us did so from the dust of the earth. He is also the One who can take us out should He so choose. He reigns supreme and when we engage in sin and disobedience we separate ourselves from Him. If not for the saving action of Jesus Christ on the cross, we would be hopelessly lost. However, because of His ultimate sacrifice, Jesus paid the price of our sinfulness.
Yet, even in the serious and solemn time of Lent, there are reminders of hope and joy. In the 40 days that make up Lent, if you count the days between Ash Wednesday and Easter the numbers don’t jive. There’s a reason, a real important one. Even in Lent’s solemn tone, Sundays are reflections of Easter’s resurrection life. Call them mini-Easters if you want. They are not a part of the 40 day countdown.
As Ash Wednesday draws closer, I hope you will give some serious consideration to spending some quality time with our Lord. Ask Him to help open your heart to see the need for change, to stop living from day to day to satisfy a world adrift in darkness and turn towards the light of life and liberty in God’s family through Christ our Savior. Lent just might be a great starting point for you.
And those are my thoughts. God bless & welcome aboard.
Welcome to this week’s blog from the Red Roof Church of Bulverde, Texas. I’m Lee Harder the senior pastor at St. Paul wishing you God’s blessings for this coming week. I would also like to invite you to join us for worship this Sunday at 8:30 AM or 10:45 AM. I guarantee you will hear God’s Word from Scripture and celebrated every week. If you can’t stop by in person, why not check out our recorded services. They are uploaded every Sunday by 1:00 PM. at redroofchurch.org We would love to have you be a part of our worship.
This past week has been a week of endings. First, the Super Bowl game has been played. It was a good game with winners and losers. The ads, eagerly anticipated, have aired, which some find more entertaining than the game itself, to the joy of all. The halftime performance is now a thing of the past. Did you see it?
I find it terribly frustrating and painfully disappointing to have a halftime show of a grandiose, family orientated celebration come across to be less than family friendly. The Super Bowl has become an American icon of celebration with the parties and gatherings of family and friends geared to watch an historic sporting event surrounded by good food and good entertainment. The halftime program of bump and grind wasn’t part of it.
Are these talented women gifted performers? Yes! Are they demonstrating the qualities (which they profess) that raise the standards for women as something other than objects of sexual exploitation? I don’t think so, at least I didn’t see it.
The halftime performance was not for families and most definitely not for children. For people who supposedly advocate a higher standard so that women are not treated as sexual objects, they can only be branded hypocrites.
For people who speak of care and sensitivity for the needs of children who cavort in such scandalous fashion are frauds. I would suggest that the NFL give more consideration to how they are perceived in the public eye by the ones who finance their francize, but realizing some of the behaviors expressed in recent years, it would be a waste of effort.
I mention this not to moralize over a football game halftime show, but to raise the issue of where we are headed as a nation. Our value system of right and wrong seems to be on a continual decline. Anything goes as long as it makes a person happy and content. And it’s not your happiness that matters, it’s mine. So what if we help cause a young boy to think that a beautiful woman is only a side of beef hanging before our eyes for pleasure and satisfaction. It doesn’t matter if we inadvertently cause a young girl to think that the only way to be attractive is to dress scantily and grab ourselves in inappropriate ways. I repeat, our nation is in trouble.
If you still have doubts then I refer you to this past week’s political theatrics. First, President Trump was acquitted of impeachment. Yet the party of opposition made it clear that they would never accept the verdict. Instead, they were to begin the same process over from a different tack in the near future. More inquests. More testimony. More expressions of contempt. The pontificating on the floor of the senate before the vote, in some cases, defied description. However, that was only the beginning as the vitriolic hatred for this president boiled over at the State of the Union.
Do I wish the president would have shook the hand of the Speaker of the House? Yes. Do I wish she could have refrained from her contorted facial expressions of ridicule capped by tearing up the president’s speech? Definitely.
Our nation is divided and that division has created a hatred that is palpable. You can cut the hatred with a knife, but one doesn’t dare use one because it will be plunged into the back of their political opponent. The only other time I have seen such contempt, historically, is with the civil war — North against South. Today, it’s right against left, elitists versus the deplorables.
You know why this hatred, this vulgarity, this promiscuousness, this absence of ethics and morality exists in our culture today? Much of the nation, its people, have turned their backs on God or adapted Him to fit into a modern, sophisticated world, with what they want God to be, not who He is. The standards of values, morality and ethics that God has laid out for humanity are too demanding. So we look for an easier path, even in the church which should know better. We want to do what feels good.
I suggest we spend a little more time in the Bible to see how the Hebrews faired when they took on God by disobedience and opposition. God has been known to teach some pretty dynamic lessons to His chosen people. Historically, check out the empires, the civilizations that lost sight of their ethics and morals to embrace a depraved value system. They cease to exist.
Something to think about before the God who brought us into the world decides to take us out or call the class to order.
And those are my thoughts.
God bless and have a great week.
Greetings from the folks at the Red Roof Church here in Bulverde, Texas. I’m Lee Harder, the pastor of St. Paul Lutheran, wishing you God’s peace in this coming week. We would like to invite you to join us for worship as we celebrate Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. We gather for worship at 8:30 AM in the main sanctuary for traditional services and in our Christian Faith Center for worship with a contemporary flavor at 10:45 AM. We would be honored for you to be a part of our celebration. If you are seeking a spiritual home where you can know you’re going to feast on God’s Word from Scripture, we just might be the answer to your needs. Why not check us out by going to our web site at redroofchurch.org and seeing the ministries we offer and catch one of our worship services. We’d be glad to have you join our family.
This Sunday is a big day. Well, every Sunday is a big day for those who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, or should be. After all, it is the Lord’s day as we come to worship Him. Although, I suspect this Sunday, February 2, might offer a distraction that will impact those coming to worship and not just here, but everywhere. It’s Super Bowl Sunday.
Even though the game itself is not played until the evening, kick off at 5:30 PM CST, you can be pretty sure the Super Bowl parties will probably begin Saturday night and continue into Sunday. At the latest, they will kick off long before the game starts. Having or attending such a party requires organization and planning. You’ve got to start early. Let’s see? Go to church or get ready for the party? Hummm?
As a pastor, I recognize the reality of competing with such powerful competition. Attendance might be a little down.
I realize that the Super Bowl is a big thing, but I agree with Aaron Rogers when he said God probably doesn’t care about football. He is concerned for the people. but not who wins. I don’t think God is a sports fan, any sport. He is a people fan and has set aside time and opportunity to build on a relationship with Him. He loves us so and is so passionate about our future that He took on flesh and died so we could have life with Him.
Yet, think of all the reasons, which is only another word for excuses, we give to explain why we don’t have time, even one little hour, to have a relationship with our Creator, to hear the extent of His love, to appreciate what He has done for us and what we can do to show how much we love Him.
I know, the Super Bowl is only once a year, but it doesn’t start until the evening and the pre-game hype is recordable. Most of us can DVR it. On other Sundays it’s shopping for the big sales, the roast for the noon meal when the company arrives, traveling to someplace, and so many more. My favorite comes from those with families that don’t come to worship because “they want to spend time with the kids as a family.” Personally, I can’t think of a better, richer, more fulfilling place to come together and spend time as a family than in God’s house of prayer sharing our faith and love of God. But I suppose I could be wrong.
I’m confident that God is not going to disinherit you from His heavenly kingdom because you missed this Sunday for worship with fellow believers. He knows it’s Super Bowl Sunday. God knows everything. He’ll understand next week, too, that we’re tired and just can’t get up for church. The week has been murder, hustling here and there without a moments rest. Besides, it’s only one day.
Somebody asked me on both of the two Sundays I was on vacation in January, “Why are you in church? Aren’t you on vacation?” I think my reply surprised them. I said, with a smile, “Since I’m always telling people how important it is for them to worship, I figured since I was at home, I could and should come to worship.” Then I winked and mentioned how I would hate to be a hypocrite.
More importantly, I wanted to worship and as a special bonus, I got to do it with my wife. A rare thing indeed, since I’m always in front leading worship. It felt a little weird, but it was very nice.
I don’t like to miss any opportunity to build on my relationship with God or His people. God doesn’t take a vacation from me. I figure I should make sure I don’t take one from Him. Something you might give some thought to the next Sunday you want to spend time with the family. There’s a family eager to spend time with your family in a body of believers who share your love for Christ. They miss you when you’re not here. So does God.
And those are my thoughts.
Pastor Lee R. Harder