Saturday, January 31, 2015

Deuteronomy 18:15–20; The Fourth Sunday of Epiphany; February 1, 2015;


Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Creston & Mount Ayr;

“The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen— just as you desired of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’ And the LORD said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken. I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him. But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’” (Deuteronomy 18:15–20, ESV)

Grace and peace to you from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen

But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.

Now there’s a sticky wicket. I’m not sure I like the sound of that at all. Sure it’s true that when I prepare a sermon I first have to figure out how the text applies to me, but this… well, it’s pretty obvious. And it is most serious. And it is speaking most directly to pastors… that’s me. But not just me.

We live in a country that has loads of denominations, and more every year. New little clusters of churches pop up with all kinds of different beliefs. Most of them say that doctrine, that is, what a church teaches, isn’t really all that important. In fact, you probably have friends and neighbors and relatives that say that. Or maybe you even think that it’s true. Most of these other churches / denominations / people say it’s how you feel about Jesus that’s really the key thing. What Jesus and his apostles taught is important, but not as important as what you feel about God, what you feel in your heart to be true. That is in spite of what Jesus says in Matthew 28:19-20 (which happens to be our Mission statement).

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”” (Matthew 28:19–20, ESV)

Now, I want you to understand, it is good for you to have feelings about God and what he has done for you in Jesus Christ. It’s important to live out your faith with feeling, confidence, passion, and compassion. But faith comes through the hearing of God’s Word and the Sacraments of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion, not feelings that come up. Faith is created and grows as a result of the teaching of everything that Jesus taught.

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:14–17, ESV)

Now, I’m sure you’ve heard that we Christians in the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod over-emphasize correct doctrine. I think it is true that we focus on doctrine / teaching more than any other denomination in the U. S. We have a written confession that emphasizes it. It’s called the Book of Concord. It spells out what we believe, teach and confess in great detail. Whenever you have a new pastor installed here, he promises to teach according to it. And you promise to support him in that effort. We get the rep of being legalistic. Most other Christians and maybe even some of you think that Closed Communion is over the top legalism. But practicing correct doctrine / teaching isn’t legalistic, really. It is being faithful to the Gospel that Jesus taught. We teach what he taught very carefully, because he died for us on the cross, and he rose again from death. He saved us from sin, death and Satan. So we want to do what he has told us to do. We want to teach what he told us to teach. We pray for this very thing every time we say the Lord’s Prayer. Luther explains the First Petition: Hallowed be Thy Name.

How is God’s name kept holy? God’s name is kept holy when the Word of God is taught in its truth and purity, and we, as the children of God, also lead holy lives according to it. Help us to do this, dear Father in heaven! But anyone who teaches or lives contrary to God’s Word profanes the name of God among us. Protect us from this, heavenly Father! (LSB 323)

And notice how Luther sticks that prayer in the explanation that asks doubly for this to be done among us.

And, in 25 of the 27 books of the New Testament, there are specific instructions to beware of fals teachers and prophets. (Matthew 7:15, Mark 13:22, Acts 20:28ff, Ephesians 4:14–15, 1 Timothy 1:3, Hebrews 13:9, 2 Peter 2:1, 1 John 4:1) Not to mention that the first sin was doubting what God said. Satan asked Eve, “Did God really say?” Not taking what God teaches to be true is literally the oldest sin in the book.

Now there’s lots of pressure on pastors these days. Well, the truth is, it has always been so. God’s Word calls upon pastors to be faithful to teach what God says. Just look at the text for today for an example. Pastors are to teach carefully with humility, love and gentleness. (2 Timothy 2:24-25, Galatians 6:1, Ephesians 4:15, 1 Peter 3:15) And it is, in fact, the duty of the whole church to teach while at the same time doing it with gentleness and love. There is no excuse for being harsh.

So, who are you supposed to know if your pastor, or some television preacher for that matter is teaching according to God’s Word? How do you know if anyone who claims to be God’s teacher is not a false prophet? It is very important for you all to know what God’s Word actually teaches. You hear it read hear every Sunday. You have a bible at home. Bibles are to be read and studied. You actually pay me to read to you and teach you. I spend a great deal of time preparing Sunday morning bible study that most of you have never attended. You officers and board members really have no excuse. You are leaders of the congregation and you should be in bible classes. But there is more than that. Every Sunday we confess our faith together in one of the Creeds. They are a ruler you can lay beside anything a teacher says and decide whether he is teaching God’s Word. I quote Luther’s Small Catechism all the time in my teaching and preaching. You memorized it in confirmation. It also is a ruler for teaching. Do you regularly review it with your family? You should do that, too.

Now this text from Deuteronomy isn’t just about your pastor and other people who claim to teach God’s Word. In fact, it is about much more than that. Who is this new prophet that Moses is saying will come? After Moses, God sent many prophets. Samuel, Nathan, Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah, John the Baptizer. It is in John’s Gospel that we see clearly Jesus is the New Prophet.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’ ”) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:14–17, ESV)

And at Jesus Baptism and his Transfiguration, God the Father says to listen to Jesus. Back to what Moses says is God’s promise.

And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.

And so, pastors strive to teach what God teaches through Jesus, with your help. And what is that? Jesus is God and man who came to the world to forgive human sin through his life, death and resurrection. That he ascended into heaven and is coming again to judge the living and the dead. You have forgiveness in him. You are declared to be righteous, that is, without sin, because he has washed you clean in Holy Baptism. Through the promised Holy Spirit, also given in Holy Baptism, you are empowered to live your faith in a world that needs to hear what Jesus taught. Amen.

The peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

John 1:43-51; The Second Sunday after Epiphany; January 18, 2015;

Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Creston & Mount Ayr;

The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”” (John 1:43–51, ESV)

Grace and peace to you from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Nathanael speaks correctly. “Rabbi, you are the Son of God!” But Jesus wants him to get the big picture. “You will see greater things than these. In fact, you’ll see heaven opened and the angels of God going up and coming down on me.” Jesus isn’t making up new stuff. He’s referring to a dream that was dreamed centuries before. And the disciples knew it well. They were told the story by their parents. They heard it read in the synagogue. It was an important story about their ancestor Jacob.

Jacob stole his brother’s inheritance. He tricked his blind father into thinking that he was his hairy brother Esau by slaughtering a goat and covering himself with it. When their father died, Esau was out for vengeance. Jacob had to flee for his life. While he was running, he stopped to sleep on a mountain. While he slept shivering on a stone for a pillow, God gave him a dream. He promised the land he was on to his family. He promised that his family would be as “many as the dust of the earth”. God had not forsaken him, he would always be with him. In the dream there was a ladder going from the place where he was lying to heaven. And the angels were going up and down. Jacob called the place Bethel, meaning “the House of God”. The temple in Jerusalem was built on that very spot.

Now the disciples knew well what happened at the temple. God came to be with his people. Heaven and earth were joined together. Sacrifices were made to God for the sins of the people. Lambs were slaughtered and the blood was sprinkled on them. Prayers were offered to God. It was an amazing place. The link / ladder for God’s people to be connected to God by his very presence.

Jesus pulls it all together and makes it about himself. He says his disciples would see heaven opened and the angels going up and down on him. Jesus is claiming to be the link to heaven, the way that people have a connection with God. He’s saying the old dream the disciples grew up with was about him. Nathanael makes a wonderful confession about Jesus. “…you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” It’s correct, but I don’t think he has any idea of what it really means or what Jesus must do to be Jacob’s ladder.

The disciples did see greater things than Jesus miracle of seeing Nathanael under the fig tree. They saw Jesus turn water into wine. They saw Jesus healing a paraplegic. They saw Jesus feed 5000 men with a boy’s lunch, healing a man born blind, and raising Lazarus from the dead. All were greater than seeing Nathanael under the fig tree. And while Jesus may have been talking about these things he was more talking about the one greater / greatest thing he would do. The thing that he, the Son of God, God-in-human-flesh, had come to do. The place where heaven was opened and the ladder between God and man set up, Jacob’s dream fulfilled.

It was right after the Wedding of Cana, where Jesus turned water into wine, that he turned the tables in the temple and chased out the money men. “This is a house of prayer!” he shouted. “This is the place to come to meet God, not a place to buy and sell!” The Jews asked Jesus what right he had to do such things. “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” He wasn’t talking about the physical building, he was talking about himself. Jesus replaces the temple. Everything that it was for people, Jesus is. Heaven and earth are joined together. Jesus is God and man joined together in one person. God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary and made man. He is the sacrifice made to God for the sins of the people. Suspended between heaven and earth, bound to the cross. Held there not with the nails that pinned his hands and feet but with the purpose he had come to accomplish. He is the Lamb of God slaughtered and the blood poured out for the people. He is the one who prays (still) for his people, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Jesus is the greater thing that brings forgiveness, God sacrificing himself in the place of sinful humans, to satisfy the forever punishment due for sin. Jesus is the amazing place where God and man, heaven and earth, meet.

It is what St. Paul means when he says in Colossians:

[Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” (Colossians 1:15–20, ESV)

And it is still true. Jesus ascended into heaven to be at God the Father’s right hand, and yet he is not gone. He is still very present in this house of prayer. Jesus is after all God’s Word made flesh come to dwell among us. Here he does it. Jesus off the page written through the Holy Spirit and into your ears to tell you the Good News of your restored relationship to God through forgiveness. Jesus in the water of Holy Baptism, connecting himself, in his death and resurrection, to you. He promises resurrection there, rescue from hell there, forgiveness there. Jesus present in the body and blood that hung suspended between heaven and earth. The body and blood that poured out on the earth and into your mouth, bringing you a connection directly to God through forgiveness.

Jesus tells the disciples and Nathanael that they will see greater things. They do. He tells them

And whoever sees me sees him who sent me.” (John 12:45, ESV)

In Jesus we see God who comes in grace and forgiveness. God who comes to earth to restore our connection to him. God who goes up and down on Jacob’s ladder, from heaven to earth and back again. Making the climb for us. He says it clearly to Nicodemus.

No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. (John 3:13–18, ESV)


The peace of God that passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Romans 6:1-11; The Baptism of Our Lord; January 11, 2014;

Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Creston & Mount Ayr, Iowa;

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6:1–11, ESV)

(from a devotion by Robert Bernhardt,

Grace and peace to you from Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

There’s a lot going on in that little bowl. I know it doesn’t look like much, but it’s really kind of a storm. None of you is looking at this little splash of water thinking dark thoughts of fear and trepidation. But maybe you should. In fact, these waters are downright treacherous. Here, right here, for some of you, you knocked on death’s door. St. Paul says it,

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?

It’s a drowning. A dying. We experience death with Jesus. The moment the pastor says, “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”, a killing, a drowning takes place. You are dead and raised. Death swirls around you in the water. Jesus’ death and yours. And don’t think for a moment that his death wasn’t real, or yours for that matter. He was pierced by nails, and stabbed by a spear. His heart filled with blood and stopped beating. He was taken down and buried in a tomb.

You see, death is the problem isn’t it. The grave. The place you will go sooner or later. A problem brought to us because of Adam and Eve. They rejected God. They fell into sin. To reject God is to reject the life he gives as a gift. They brought God sure promise of death as punishment, and not only death but permanent death, death that is total separation from God. Hell, created for Satan and the fallen angels, is the destination for all those who reject God. But it’s worse than you want to believe. Sin is in you. It’s proof of your own personal rejection of God. If you didn’t reject God, you wouldn’t sin. And the wages of sin is death. (Romans 6:23). You can’t get away from it. It’s like being stuck swimming in a stormy sea. You can’t get to shore. You can’t swim forever. The sea is too deep and the waves are too high. Eventually you will drown in death.

Ah, but that’s what Holy Baptism is all about. Jesus is there in your death. Paul declares it. It is God’s promise in Baptism. Jesus is there in your death. He grabs you out of the water you are drowning in. He pulls you out of the darkness.

Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.

It’s not an idle promise either. Jesus didn’t just die he was raised. He wasn’t just carried into the tomb, he walked out of it. Jesus promises resurrection though the stormy bowl. Luther said it clearly.

What benefits does Baptism give?

It works forgiveness of sins, rescues from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare.

He’s only saying what Paul says.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.

Jesus dead and buried and raised again. We are united with that, with God’s Name connected to the Water. Promised a resurrection after death. Jesus proves he has power over death.

We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him.

It’s all good, but sin is still pulling you down. Every day you have to deal with falling short of what God tells you to do and not do. Most days it doesn’t feel like swimming but drowning. So what about that walking in newness of life that is promised?

It’s you sinful nature. The part of you that has evil thoughts and desires you hate. The part of you that lives for sin. Paul knew it. He says

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.” (Romans 7:18–19, ESV)

You know it. It’s the life you live every day.

Well, that too, is dealt with at this stormy little bowl. Luther

What does such baptizing with water indicate?

It indicates that the Old Adam in us should by daily contrition and repentance be drowned and die with all sins and evil desires, and that a new man should daily emerge and arise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.

Confess your sin and repent. Drag that old sinful nature, that heart of sin, to the bowl. Let him be drowned and die. Let the evil desires be washed away in the water. Die again to sin.

So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

It’s the only way to beat it. Jesus does it. He stand hip deep in the Jordan River, baptized by John. He’s in the water with you. Your sinful nature is washed onto him. He walks up out of the water and to the cross.

For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.

Once and for all time, he crucifies your sinful nature dead, done, buried in the tomb. And the life he lives now is yours.

There it is in that little, terrible, dangerous, wonderful, stormy bowl of water. Amen.

The peace of God that passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Luke.2.40-52; The Second Sunday after Christmas; January 4, 2014;


Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Creston & Mount Ayr, Iowa;

And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him. Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” (Luke 2:40–52, ESV)

(From a Devotion by Matt Wait

Grace and peace to you from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

It’s a bit like the movie isn’t it? I mean, the family has been gathered for Passover in Jerusalem, and the vacation is over. Everybody’s packed the caravans for home. Everyone is in a rush and isn’t very observant. It is only when they are finally out of Jerusalem that someone does a headcount and finds “the boy” missing. Then panic! Mom and dad rush back to town. It takes three days to find him.

Jesus has been hanging out in Jerusalem. But he hasn’t been perusing the candy stores or playing games with the other kids. Jesus is sitting in the temple hanging out with the teachers of the law and asking them questions. The teachers are amazed. The questions he’s asking are beyond a 12-year-old without any schooling. He seems to be more than just an inquisitive child. Apparently Mary and Joseph are confused also. After a long search they find him and they ask “Why did you do this to us?” Even though both of them had multiple messages from God by angels. They are surprised at finding him in the temple. The family that lived with Jesus had eyes to see and yet they didn’t really see him. The teachers in the temple watched Jesus ask questions beyond his years and yet they really didn’t seem him. They were shocked at what they saw. All through Jesus life people looked straight at him and yet didn’t really see him. “That isn’t God! I know what God is, and that isn’t him.”

People today do the same thing. They love the baby in the manger. For most people he’s the embodiment of love. They love Jesus the story teller that tells them to love other people as you would love yourself. They love the self-sacrificing Jesus who gives up his life for his friends. They love the non-violent Jesus that says to pound swords into plowshares. They love Jesus, as long has he is human. “I know what God is. And, although Jesus has lots of good stuff to say, that’s not God.” “No god that I would have would tell me that all other religions are false.” “No god that I would worship would tell me that I’m hopelessly sinful.” “No god that I would have would send people into eternal punishment.” “No god that I would have would make me stop doing what makes me happy.” “No god that I want to worship would let children suffer” “That isn’t God!”

The artist Ad Reinhardt (1913-67) painted a deceptively simple painting around the year of my birth. It’s called “Abstract Image Number 6”. Your first reaction to the painting is “That’s not art!” because at first look it seems to be only a big black square.

While it appears entirely black at first, Ad Reinhardt’s Abstract Painting is composed of an almost imperceptible grid of nine squares distinguished by subtle variations in color. Close examination reveals a red hue in the squares at its four corners, blue at the top and bottom of its vertical axis, and hints of green across its horizontal center. These nuances, however, reveal themselves only after an extended period of careful looking, and the sustained encounter they demand, in Reinhardt’s view, marks the distance between aesthetic experience and everyday life.


The painting, weather you think it is art or not, has something more to offer than you think at first glance. It’s easy to take a quick look and write it off as inartistic.

It’s also easy to look at Jesus and write him off as only human, and nothing but human. He’s actually easier to deal with that way. He laughs, and eats and sleeps, and cries, and talks. All things that mere humans do. The thing is, Jesus as more than human, demands something from you. You can’t just live your life the same way as always. If he is truly what he shows to be, then all that he says and does is more important than what any mere human would say.

He is more than human. The 12-year-old in the temple shows it. He is about his Father’s work. He is in the temple teaching. He isn’t only Mary’s son. Jesus is the Son of God. In fact, the more you look at Jesus the more he shows you he isn’t just human. The words he says are bigger than human words. He claims to be more than human. And he says he’ll prove it by rising from the dead. If you look and listen to God’s Word, the story of Jesus, more and more of his life will show itself to you, and Jesus, who is God, will show through. The longer you look and study, the more you learn and love. He did rise from the dead, and he is God.

That black square painting: If you stare at Abstract Painting No. 5 long enough you begin to see not only shades of black and squares, but also a cross that is formed in the center of the painting, a faint cross but a cross nonetheless. I’m sure the painter wasn’t trying to say anything about Jesus, but the faint 9 squares are highlighted by the 5 in the center. They make a cross.

If you look at Jesus long enough you’ll see a cross, too. He is what God is doing in human flesh. A God-man with a purpose. He is showing what God’s love is all about. Your rejection of God, played out every day in your sin, your rejection of God’s rules, is the reason God comes in the flesh. The boy questioning in the temple begins to show it. The young man who turns water into wine at the wedding in Cana, shows it more. The man who teaches on the road and gathers sinners to himself, shows it more. The healer who has compassion on the sick and sent lepers home clean, shows it more. The exorcist who sent demons into screaming pigs and back to hell, shows it more. The sacrifice who doesn’t speak in his defense when he is nailed to the cross, says it again. The body laid in the tomb, and standing before the disciples in the upper room alive again, says it. Jesus is God, come to do all that is necessary to redeem you from your sin. He has come to restore you and me to God. He has come to heal and forgive. He has come to be Savior of the world. He has come for you. Amen.

The peace of God that passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.