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Category Archives: outreach and missions

Faith and the Rear View Mirror

We don’t see the end of the story until the end of the story.

Abraham didn’t know the location of the promised land, and he never saw the big nation God promised to him. God told him, “Pack your bags and head to a land I’m going to show you…”

Moses was told to lead God’s people out of Egypt. When he looked at the situation all he could see was plenty of reasons NOT to upset a very powerful king of Egypt.

David was told by God he’d be king – except there already was a king named Saul who was none too happy about this.

The bible reads like a who’s who of frightened, anxious and reluctant people. Abraham, Moses and David were only three of many people who learned the all important truth: we don’t see the end of the story until the end of the story. Let me say it a different way. We don’t how God is going to do what he’s promised until we see it in the rear view mirror – until after he does it. That’s why the most powerful times of worship and spiritual renewal in the Old Testament involved remembering. Take a look into the rear view mirror and remember what God did a few miles back, and be encouraged for the upcoming journey.

We look at Abraham, Moses and David and we see ourselves. We see people doubting, sometimes struggling to follow the Lord. We also see how God led them through what appeared to be impossible circumstances. We have the benefit of seeing the big picture and what happened after the fact as we read our bibles. We see that God calls it faith because he asks us to follow him when we don’t know the whole story – HE ASKS US TO TRUST that he he will lead us in the right direction and take care of us along the way.

God is asking our congregation to step out in faith in a fundraising campaign called FORWARD in faith, prayer and promise. We can’t see exactly where he’ll lead us, and so we get a little nervous and reluctant. Being out of our comfort zone isn’t easy. But the good news is God has always been faithful, and he’s not going to stop now!

By the way, Abraham and the whole family who received the promise was rescued from famine and certain death by the Lord. Moses watched God humble the king of Egypt to the point that he gave God’s people permission to leave…with a large sum of Egyptian gold. David was crowned king and would be forever known as a man after God’s own heart. God had it all under control.

God has everything under control at First Lutheran, too.

Grace & Courage dear friends!

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2012 in devotional, outreach and missions

 

One Minute Mission Trip

How long does a “moment of truth” take? If you’re a visitor to a church, it takes about a minute. In that amount of time someone can smile at them, say “Good morning” or simply welcome them. The moment of truth for a church visitor is the point when they feel welcomed or ignored.

Though they appreciate the pastor noticing and welcoming them, they also expect this. It’s what pastors do. But when a church member goes out of their way to greet them…well that’s something special.

 

Here’s some ONE MINUTE MISSION TRIP ideas:

  1. Cross the aisle during the greeting time…it’s okay, you won’t fall in.
  2. As you enter the church, look for faces you don’t know…say hello as you walk to the seat you and your family have occupied since JFK was president [any smiles, here?]
  3. Before you sit down at a bible study or meal, look for people sitting alone…and join them. You don’t have to entertain them, just be yourself!

Think of visitors as guests in your home. What would you do to make someone feel welcome if they came over for dinner? Several years ago, after we moved to New Hampshire to go to graduate school, we attended a a church for the first time. Afterwards, a couple named Doug and Holly walked up to us and asked us if we were visiting. We said, “Yes”, and they replied, “Great, can we take you out for lunch?” We found our church.

Grace & Courage, dear friends!

 
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Posted by on February 23, 2012 in outreach and missions

 

Turning Inside-Out

Jesus does amazing things in his Church.

The Church does amazing things in Jesus.

Jesus asks us to take the road less travelled [to do something amazing!] when he asks us to turn ourselves inside-out.

When we show the world what Jesus has accomplished inside us, that’s turning inside out. It takes several forms.

In the home, it happens when we serve and help out. When we show compassion to the world around us, and choose to take action…that’s turning inside-out. When we tell someone that Jesus loves them, it happens again!

The rhythm of the Christian life is to receive and proclaim. We receive God’s good gifts and then we speak or act to tell of his goodness, mercy and love. Sometimes we get stuck thinking that we need to give a speech or stage some kind of community event. Not so. Next time you see an overwhelmed young mom with whining children pulling items off the shelf at the grocery store, pick up the boxes for her and say, “Jesus loves you”. That’s it…that’s all it takes.

There are three key attitudes that need to grow in our hearts:

First, Christ died for my sins, and took my place on the cross. The Gospel is personal, and we need to constantly keep this in view. Our vision of the depth of Jesus’ love for us [and for the world] opens our hearts to share his love with others.

Second, @#!*% is a real place. If we believe this, our hearts will be moved with true compassion and urgency for the lost. Time is short.

Third, be available and watch for opportunities. Be available on Fri Oct 14, 6-9 pm and Sat Oct 15, 9-12 pm for the Contageous Christian workshop in the the FLC fellowship hall. A soup supper will be provided on Friday, and rolls & coffee provided on Saturday morning. You will be refreshed in God’s word and equipped to turn inside-out.

The opportunities? They’ll come…just watch.

Grace & Courage, dear friends: Pastor Greg

 

 

Yeah, but do the natives dig what we’re saying?!

It’s Missionary Man…tirelessly reaching out to the unsaved with the Gospel. Wild animals, trackless jungles and hostile savages cannot keep him from his mission. He’s a combination of Billy Graham and Indiana Jones all rolled into one…

At least that’s what we often think of when it comes to missions. How often do we think about the mission field on the other side of our back fence? In a six-year long study, the Barna Group discovered that most Americans do not believe in sin…or if they do, not in sin that they are personally accountable for. This represents a powerful shift in our “National Conscience” in the past 25 years as the line between right and wrong has become blurred or non-existent. If knowledge of one’s own sin is necessary to convince us of our need for a Savior, then our culture needs missionaries. If churches are full because they avoid the question of sin, we need missionaries.

We need them here.

We need them now.

As Christians we need to ask ourselves if what we do on Sunday Mornings can speak to this present generation. I’m not suggesting we eliminate any discussion of uncomfortable topics [like sin], but check to see if our worship uses words people can understand. Missionaries don’t arrive in Mozambique with a puritan English book of prayer and hymnal: they speak the language of the culture. For maybe the first time in America, people have no “christian vocabulary”, basic biblical literacy or a concept of the God of the bible. We need to speak so that the natives can understand.

Grace & courage friends,

Pastor Greg

 

17280

On Friday evening May 6 from 6-8 pm volunteers from First Lutheran packaged 17280 meals for hungry children in different regions of the world. Each meal serves six. Making a God-sized difference in people’s lives is easier than you think!

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2011 in outreach and missions