Messiah Lutheran Church 6201 W Patterson Av
Chicago IL 60634
773-725-8903
   

June 2014

A CHRIST-LESS PENTECOST?

This month we celebrate the event of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the Christian Church.

But, how can you tell whether the Holy Spirit is fully functioning in the life of an individual as well as in the life of a local church, such as Messiah?

1 Corinthians 12:3 tells us that "No one can say that Jesus is Lord except through the Holy Spirit". That doesn't just mean saying, "Jesus is Lord" with our lips, but includes how we communicate "Jesus is Lord" in all aspects of our individual lives and as well as the life of our church.

Hence, it is the Lordship of Jesus Christ that is the criteria to use to determine whether an individual is truly filled with the Holy Spirit as well as whether the Holy Spirit is properly functioning in the life of a local church.

If Jesus Christ is not the primary focus of all of our thoughts, words, and actions then something is amiss! This is why the Holy Spirit is sometimes referred to as the "shy member" of the Trinity, because He is always pointing people away from Himself and towards Jesus.

1 Corinthians 14:1 tells us that we are to be eager to have the gifts of the Spirit. But we also must keep in mind that the whole reason the Holy Spirit has gifted us as individuals and as a congregation is to make Jesus Christ known to us and to others.

As important as those gifts are to use in the life of the church, we must never fail to keep in mind that the purpose of those gifts is to glorify Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

As Jesus warns in Matthew 7:22-23, "Many will say to Me on the Day, "Lord, Lord, didn't we prophesy in Your name, drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name?" Then I will tell them frankly, 'I never knew you. Get away from me, you who are so busy doing wrong.'"

The event of Pentecost is a reversal of what happened at Babel. At Babel people were trying to make a name for themselves, but at Pentecost the disciple's sole motivation was to make the name of Jesus known to others.

The results of Babylon were confusion and scattering, while the results of Pentecost were order and unity in making Christ known to the nations.

As the Holy Spirit works in us as individuals and as a congregation, in spite of our differences, we will become one body united together in glorifying the name of Jesus and making His name known to others.

St. Teresa of Avila depicts this work of the Holy Spirit in the body of believers, in the following prayer:

Lord Christ, You have no body on earth but ours, no hands but ours, no feet but ours.
Ours are the eyes through which your compassion must look out on the world.
Ours are the feet by which you may still go about doing good.
Ours are the hands with which you bless people now.
Bless our minds and bodies that we may be a blessing to others. Amen.

A true "Pentecostal" church is one where Jesus Christ is truly Lord of her individual members as well as the entire church body. The focus is not on our selves or other auxiliary things, but first and foremost on Jesus Christ and Him crucified for the forgiveness of sins!

The danger of a Christ-less Pentecost in our own lives and in the life of our church is very real! Martin Luther referred to such "Christ-less" people in his day as "Schwarmerei" from the German word, "Schwarm", as in a swarm of bees (for when bees form, they are engaged in excessive behavior). These "Schwarmerei" wrongly believed that they could be plugged into the Holy Spirit without the means of grace.

But by attempting to experience the Holy Spirit apart from God's Word and Sacraments, the "Schwarmerei" were taking their focus off of Jesus. And so Luther derided them by saying, "They have swallowed the Holy Spirit, feathers and all".

No doubt Luther would have similar biting words if he were to observe some of the goings on in the individual church members and churches of today, who in one way or another have turned their eyes from Jesus. Who have lost their focus!

The Holy Spirit has been given to us to be our counselor, equipper and guide us in our earthly sojourn! We cannot ignore the importance of the Holy Spirit in our walk with the Lord. Thank God for the Holy Spirit! But we must also keep in mind that the primary function of the Holy Spirit in our own life, and in the life of our church is to point people to Jesus.

As God serves us through His means of Grace (i.e. Word and Sacrament) offered in the Divine Worship Service, the Holy Spirit is able to do His Sanctifying work, as He points us to Jesus.

May the Holy Spirit work without hindrance in Messiah Lutheran Church that together we might know and make known Jesus Christ and Him crucified to the nations!

By His Spirit,
Pastor Wendt

SOME GOALS TO PRAY FOR AND ASSIST WITH AT MESSIAH:

The Board of Deacons has asked me to set some goals for the coming months ahead. Among some of these goals are as follows:

In addition, two of the primary goals we have set for our Board of Deacons is to answer and follow up on the questions: "Who in our congregation needs spiritual care?", and "Who in our congregation have not been in regular worship" at each of our meetings.

Please, prayerful look over these goals, and how you might assist me and the Board of Deacons in accomplishing them in order that we might serve Messiah more effectively! (e.g. pass on the contact information of prospects who might be interested in becoming a part of the Messiah family, supplying your contact information to our church office, pre-planning your "Home-going" service, setting up a time to meet, talk and pray, keep us informed of your spiritual and physical needs as well as your family members, contact members you know who haven't been in regular worship, lately, etc.).

Of course, there are additional goals that could have been included in this list. I'm always open to hearing how I might better serve you, your family, Messiah, as well as our community!

As the saying goes, "If you want a better pastor, pray for the one you already have! MiRan and I covet your prayers! We thank God that He has brought us here to know and love the members of Messiah! We pray daily that God will richly bless each member of Messiah along with the entire Messiah Lutheran Church family!

The following is a translation from a Korean Song titled: "God Bless Our Church to be like this"! Please join us in saying this prayer for Messiah on a daily basis!

GOD BLESS OUR CHURCH TO BE LIKE THIS

A church that has inspiring worship where the Lord is master

A church that is filled with answered prayers and the highest praise

A church where God's word is made alive and the love of members overflows

A beautiful church that yields fruit through joyous service and dedication

A church where people love each other with the heart of Jesus

A church which proclaims that Jesus is the Light of the World for God's glory

A church that grows deeper and deeper in love with God every day

A church where God's vision is continually sought after and followed.

A church that is founded on the Changeless Word of God in an ever-changing world.

God bless our church to be like this! Amen

FREE DISCIPLE-MAKING SUMMIT, JUNE 19TH-21ST

Trinity Lutheran Church-Roselle in partnership with Life Spring Network is hosting a free Disciple-Making Summit, June 19th-21st The Life Spring Network is A Christian discipleship and leadership development ministry. Its mission is to help pastors and church leaders train, mentor and equip believers to grow in Christlikeness through building holistic, transformational disciple-making communities.

Personalized track details and registration for this conference can be found on the website: www.lifespringnetwork.org/disciple-making-summit-2014 or call to answer any questions you might have: (630)-259-8438.

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