What's Happening Newsletter

What's Happening October 23, 2020

Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you." (Genesis 28:15)

Most people operate with the idea that God is full of demands. Do this. Don't do that. Rules. Regulations. Watch your behavior. But if you read the Bible, you'll see that God is all about making promises to people who haven't really earned or deserved what He has to give them

Jacob was a liar and deceiver. He stole his brother's birthright and blessing. But Yahweh came to him, showed him Jesus (the ladder between heaven and earth) and promised to bless him with land and descendants and the future Savior from his family line.

Jesus does the same thing. He makes promises, one after the other. "Come to me, you who are weary." "My Father will give you whatever you ask in my Name." "I will give my life for many." "I am with you always." Promises. Jesus gives us His Word, and His Word is full of forgiveness, life and salvation.

His death on the Cross is a promise. It's a promise that thieves and sinners will be with Him in paradise. His resurrection is a promise that He has overcome sin and death.

We make and break promises, and experience promises made and broken by others. But God is all about making promises and keeping them, and not horrible, deadly, bad promises, but good, loving, merciful, and forgiving promises of putting away your sins and giving you life beyond this life--an everlasting life with Him.
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What's Happening October 16, 2020

Did you have one of those glow-in-the-dark crosses on your bedroom dresser growing up? You know, the kind that gathers enough light energy during the day to glow all night in your dark, dark, dark, dark, dark, dark bedroom. For any child afraid of the dark, it was a most welcome sight. And yes, maybe it was God’s way of saying, “I’ll leave the light on for you.” What better symbol than a cross.

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). That little cross on my dresser provided much comfort, for it slit the darkness that veiled the room. Its glint was all I needed, in fact, more than I needed, considering that its memory still gleams in my often-forgetful mind today. It was the only light I needed.

The message of that cross was both simple and profound. Sin’s darkness can be either frightening or inviting. The world harbors and even nourishes much evil that stalks you under the cover of darkness. You’ve experienced how long and unsettling night is when you’re sick or awaiting a long overdue loved one or message. You yourself, though unlikely a criminal, have hidden a few of your own sins under the shadowy security of darkness too.

Under whatever circumstances—confessing secretive sinfulness or seeking relief from sin’s roaming ravages—God has left the Light on for you. Let that little cross, lighted by the sun remind you of the real cross, the one lighted by the Son.

This weeks devotion was written by E
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What's Happening October 9, 2020

Is it possible that gazing at a cross might remind you of a stress test?

One viewpoint could indeed induce some stress. Consider the sinner who never feels completely forgiven. Do you have any colleagues, friends, or family who feel that way? Or, gulp, yourself? While such feelings evoke pity, they also express weak faith—that God couldn’t or wouldn’t fully forgive repented serious or egregious sins—or even sins of which believers are unaware. God through Mark says, “I promise you that any of the sinful things you say or do can be forgiven no matter how terrible those things are” (Mark 3:28 CEV). Note that the only unforgiveable sin is refusal to be a believer—the sin against the Holy Spirit.

Like a medical stress test, the cross reveals the condition of the heart. And here are the results: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27 ESV). Now, get to work. And put your heart into it. The cross says you’re going to live forever.
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What's Happening October 2, 2020

Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7 The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring[c] I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him. Genesis 12:6-7

Loyalty seems to be something that is in short supply these days. Where it seems like we should easily find loyalty it is not there. However, God is not like us. He gives this promise to Abraham and he was loyal to Abraham and his promise long after Abraham passed away. In fact, God was so loyal to this promise that it did not come true until the Israelites were able to conquer the land of Caanan almost five hundred years later. If this is how God demonstrates his loyalty to Abraham we can be sure that he is loyal to us with his promises. He promises to never leave us nor forsake us (Deut. 31:8). He says that if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed (John 8:36). He says do not fear for I am with you (Is. 41:10). He says come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest (Matt. 11:28). In the midst of these uncertain times, you can trust that God is loyal to his promises.
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What's Happening September 25, 2020

Now Jesse said to his son David, “Take this ephah of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread for your brothers and hurry to their camp. Take along these ten cheeses to the commander of their unit. See how your brothers are and bring back some assurance from them. They are with Saul and all the men of Israel in the Valley of Elah, fighting against the Philistines.” I Samuel 17:17-19

This is a little known section of Scripture but I believe that it has a lot to say to us. David is the smallest of his brothers and so wasn’t a part of the army and instead was in charge of his father’s sheep. His father, Jesse, sent David on a seemingly simple task of bringing lunch to his brothers who were with the army. However, this simple task would be a life changing event in David’s life and in the history of Israel. Once David makes it to the army he hears Goliath and we all know how that story ended. The important thing for us, I think, is that God knew this would be a life changing event in David’s life but he doesn’t tell him. There is no billboard by the side of the freeway that says, “David, this is going to be a big day for you.” Same with us, God may give us seemingly mundane things to do and we obey not knowing if this simple thing God has asked us to do will end up changing our lives. God asks us to be faithful in small things knowing that if we are faithful in small things we will be trusted with bigger things. My encouragement for you today is that God is working in your life and you never know when a small thing will lead to a big change. He just asks us to be faithful.
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What's Happening September 18, 2020

Scripture says, “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18).

It’s all in the way that you look at it. The cross that today sits atop steeples and hangs on walls has a mercifully different reputation then its original purpose. Originally, it was made to strike terror into those that saw it, the ultimate form of deterrence. However, as the Christian gazes upon a cross, instead we thank and praise Jesus that he hung there in our place. Not only this, but we thank God that the cross, like the tomb, is empty. This causes the Christian to have a deep gratitude to the faith-delivering and sustaining Holy Spirit, who empowers us to see the cross as a gift from someone who loves us and not an instrument of torture. It’s all in the way you look at it.
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What's Happening September 11, 2020

Whew, what a first week. A big thank you to all of the parents, teachers, and students who have put so much time and energy into making our online classrooms a success. To each family, thank you for partnering with us in the proclamation of the Gospel to children as we help students grow in grace and knowledge.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” Galatians 2:20-21

Was St. Paul really crucified with Christ? That’s not what tradition tells us, so what does he mean? I believe that St. Paul was talking about crucifying our sinful nature. Luther said that the Christian is at the same time 100% sinner and 100% saint. These two natures compete within us and we are only able to live a life pleasing to God because Christ takes up residence in our hearts. Thus, every day we must crucify our sinful natures and listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. So the life we live now we live by faith. Because of his grace and mercy, Christ takes our sin and gives us His righteousness. May you continue to live in His grace as you serve Him in this body and life.
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What's Happening September 4, 2020

So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. II Thessalonians 2:15

Our world is so full of different voices chirping in our ears and they all seem to be saying different things. It also seems that people are so polarized into different tribes now a days. In addition to this, everything seems so unsettled and out of our control. It’s especially true that during these times that we stand firm on the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. That we test the sprits by looking in scripture ourselves to see if what people are saying aligns with the Word. There is an old hymn that has as its refrain, “On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.” In these uncertain times, may you always have a firm foundation based on the Word of God.
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What's Happening August 28, 2020

Come and see what God has done, his awesome deeds for mankind! (Psalm 66:5)

When I read this verse the other night I let out a loud whoo in my apartment because I was so excited. I was so excited it was hard for me to go to sleep! When I look back on even the past year the awesome things that God has done that are woo worthy. I feel like letting another whoo out right now, but won't because people in the office will think that I'm a little off. I'm sure you can see the same things in your life in the past year, let alone your life as a whole. Think about the blessings he has poured out to you not because of any merit on your own but purely out of His grace and mercy. Not only has God done awesome things in your life but think of the awesome things that God has done THROUGH you to bless the life of someone else! My God, my God, it's enough to make you go Whoo. Come and see what God has done, His awesome deeds for mankind. Hallelujah.
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What's Happening August 21, 2020

Isaiah 43:1-3 "But now, this is what the Lord says—he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;"

This is my favorite selection from Scripture. To me it presents a comforting image of God. God made creation with a Word and is so omnipresent that he fills all of creation but that he also takes the time to call me by my name is very reassuring. In the course of three verses he reaffirms his desire to be a personal God who deals with us individually and who walks with us. Not only does he walk with us but he protects us and saves us from the water and the fire that we face in our everyday lives. What a wonderful God we serve. Hallelujah.
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