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

July 2014

THE DANGER OF FAMILIARITY

Jesus once said that "Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor" (Matthew 13:56).

And such was the case of the people of Nazareth. They had the privilege of God in flesh, living among them! He was the only perfect person who has ever lived. No one could legitimately accuse him of doing anything wrong! And when Jesus spoke, he spoke with the very Authority of God! Jesus must have stood out from the rest! And yet the people from his hometown didn't give him the awe and respect, He deserved.

Perhaps, it was because his outward appearance wasn't all that difference from the rest of the people of Nazareth, for as Isaiah 53:2 describes, "He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him." Whatever the reason why, somehow the people of Nazareth took the took the only perfect human being who has ever walked this earth, God Himself in the flesh, for granted!

Matthew 13:58 goes on to say that that Jesus could not do many miracles in his hometown of Nazareth because of their lack of faith. And we can imply that the main cause of their unbelief was due to their taking Jesus for granted! Can you imagine - taking God in the flesh for granted?! But, can you imagine wretched sinners like you and me, taking God's amazing grace and the forgiveness He offers to us through Jesus Christ, for granted?!

May the forgiveness of our sins through Christ's sacrificial death on the cross, and made available to us through the God's Word and Sacraments, never be taken for granted! And along with that, may we never take our church for granted, where the means of God's grace may be found!

Unfortunately, the devil, the world and our sinful flesh would get us to do just that. And so I believe God would have us reflect, reconsider, and renew our appreciation for our forgiveness and salvation in Christ, for the sure and certain hope we have of an eternity in heaven, for the Good News of the Gospel, for our baptism, for the Lord's Supper, for Words of Absolution, as well as for all the other things God has done for us, and continues to do for us out of His great love and mercy!

In addition, I believe God would have us renew an appreciation for our church! As He continues to use Messiah Lutheran Church, as He has been doing for nearly HO years, to proclaim the Good News of Christ Crucified for the forgiveness of sins - a message that never gets old or out of date! For all of us are in need of the Good News of Christ Crucified for the forgiveness of sins!

May the joy of your salvation never grow old - but be restored continually in the faithful receiving of God's Word and Sacraments! Then your faith will not wax old in familiarity, but instead will grow even stronger in appreciation and thanks to God!

May the miracle of our salvation won by Jesus, never be hindered, but instead be seen in such abundance in the life of our congregation that it will cause others to know that "Surely, God is with us!"

Let us "Thank the Lord and sing His praise, and Tell everyone what He has done"! As we pray along with David the petition found in his penitential psalm, "Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit" (Psalm 51:12). May Your Blessings be Countless, Like Grains of Sand!

Pastor Wendt

A SUMMER BLESSING

May our loving God
Watch over you
and keep alive in your heart
all that you have learned this year.

Keep your mind on God.
Remember to pray often,
and to celebrate your faith,
at home with your family,
and at worship with your faith family.

Keep your faith in God.
Let all the joys of summer
remind you of God's goodness.
Never forget that God
is always with you, no matter what.

May the God of all creation,
who comes to us in Jesus,
and lives among us in the Holy Spirit,
keep you safe, happy, and holy
this summer and always!
Amen

A SUMMER PRAYER

As I begin the summer months,
gracious and loving Jesus,
remind me of Your ever present
guidance and love.

Give me confidence in Your presence,
remembering all that I have been
taught this year and let me
live it in my summer experiences.

As I work, play, and enjoy
my family and friends this summer,
may I feel Your love within me,
guiding me toward all
that is right and just.

Let me be grateful for the gift
of summer, Jesus. Allow me
to enjoy it safely and remind
me daily of Your love for me.
Amen.

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