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

February 2016

LISTEN: GOD IS CALLING!

In order to illustrate how God uses imperfect people to accomplish his purposes, "Creative Youth Ideas" (www.creativeyouthideas.com) offers the following illustration:

ATTENTION

Jesus, Son of Joseph,
Woodcrafters Carpenter Shop
Nazareth 91365

Dear Sir,

Thank you for submitting the names of the twelve men you have chosen for management positions in your new organization. All of them have now taken our series of tests; and we have not only run the results through our computer, but also arranged personal interviews for each of them with our psychologist and vocational aptitude consultant.

The profiles of all tests are included and you will want to study each of them carefully. As part of our service, and for your guidance, we make some general comments, much as an auditor will include general statements. This is given as a result of staff consultation and comes without any additional fee.

It is the staff opinion that most of your nominees are lacking in the background, education, and vocational aptitude for the type of enterprise you are undertaking. They do not have the team concept. We would recommend that you continue your search for persons of experience in managerial ability and proven capability.

Simon Peter is emotionally unstable and given to fits of temper. Andrew has absolutely no qualities of leadership and would surely stay in the background. The two brothers, James and John, Sons of Zebedee, place personal interests above company loyalty. Thomas demonstrates a questioning attitude that would tend to undermine morale. We feel that it is our duty to tell you that Matthew has been blacklisted by the Greater Jerusalem Better Business Bureau. James the Son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus definitely have radical leanings, and they both registered high on the manic-depressive scale.

One of the candidates, however, shows great potential. He is a man of ability and resourcefulness, meets people well, has a keen business mind, and has contacts in high places. He is highly motivated, ambitious, and responsible. We recommend Judas Iscariot as your accountant and right hand man. All of the other profiles are self-explanatory and will follow.

We wish you every success in your new venture.

Sincerely yours,

The Jordan Management Consulting Company
128 Money Changer's Court
Nazareth 91365

Sometimes our human evaluation of a person's suitability to ministry and God's evaluation are quite different.

Sadly, Judas Iscariot was the one who ended up betraying our Lord in spite of his potential. And yet, Peter says in Acts 1:17: "Judas was one of us twelve and was given a share in the work we're doing".

In the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, article 7, paragraph 19, we read that " ... the Word and Sacraments are powerful even when administered by the wicked".

In addition, the Large Catechism, article 5, paragraph 16, asserts the following: "Even though an imposter takes or distributes the Sacrament, a person still receives the true Sacrament, that is, Christ's true body and blood, just as truly as a person who receives or administer it in the most worthy way." For the Sacrament is not founded upon people's holiness, but upon God's Word.

And the Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord, article 7, paragraph 24, states that "Even though an imposter takes or distributes the Sacrament, a person still receives the true Sacrament, that is, Christ's true body and blood, just as truly as a person who receives or administers it in the most worthy way." For the Sacrament is not founded upon people's holiness, but upon God's Word.

The writers of the Lutheran confessions repeatedly made this confession, because they wanted to assure God's people that God's Word and Sacraments are still efficacious even when administered by the wicked and unfaithful.

Consider how the early Christians might have responded to Judas' fall from grace.What about those who had been baptized by Judas? What about those who believed Judas when he preached the Kingdom? Had they believed for nothing? Was their faith in vain?

Peter responds to such fears by insisting through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that "Judas was one of the twelve disciples and was given a share in the work we're doing".

God's Word had done its work through Judas' office as a disciple of Christ, in spite of his eventual falling away from the faith.

The joyous news of your forgiveness, salvation, and sanctification doesn't depend upon anything or anyone other the powerful, life-giving, life-changing, Word of God!

Unfortunately, many people have had their faith stunted or have even fallen away from the Christian faith altogether, due to the failures and shortcomings of leaders in the visible church, as well as others who have claimed to be followers of Christ.

Don't let the poor table manners of others prevent you from partaking from the delicacies of God's Holy Word! As Psalm 34:8 urges, "Oh taste and see that the Lord is good!"

My shortcomings as your pastor shouldn't prevent you from receiving the Word of God that I proclaim or the Sacraments that I administer.

Nor should the shortcomings of any other messenger of God prevent you from receiving God's Word being spoken through them.

Peter's commentary on Judas's ministry reminds us that we are not to put our confidence in man, but in the sure Word of God.

We are, to look to Jesus as the author and finisher of our faith, who alone has the words of eternal life.

And so whenever God's Word is being proclaimed, no matter who the messenger happens to be, we join with the prophet Samuel in saying,

"Speak, Lord for your servant is listening"! (1 Samuel 3:10)

In His Service,
Pastor Wendt.

"Listen, Listen, God is calling Through the Word inviting, Offering forgiveness, Comfort, and joy" (LSB 833 Refrain)

THIS YEAR'S LENT.SERIES:

"Going Places with Our Savior"

As part of our Lenten journey this year, we will be visiting the following places where our Lord has been in fulfilling His role as the promised Messiah: The Garden of Gethsemane, "The High Priest's Palace", The Praetorium, The Via Dolorosa, and Calvary. By going to these places, we will appreciate even more what a wonderful Savior we have. In addition, we will discover the significance that these places have for our own life's journey. As we visit these Passion scenes, I invite you to prayerfully mediate over the significance of our Lord's journey to these places. May this Lenten Season serve to increase your faith, along with your hatred for sin and your desire for a more Christ-like life! " ... we share in His suffering in order that we may also share in His glory" (Romans 8: 17).

We will focus on these Passion places as follows:

"He took the twelve aside and said to them: "Look, we're going up to Jerusalem, and everything the Prophets wrote about the Son of Man will be done: He'll be handed over to the non-Jews. They'll mock and insult Him, spit on Him, whip Him and put Him to death. And on the third day He will rise." (Luke 18:31-34).

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