The following exhortation was given to the members of Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Standish, Michigan who have recently graduated from High School and is a good reminder for all of us during this time of year of graduations and parties.…
There is no way to simply "spend time" with Jesus so that He "rubs off" on us. Jesus is present in us through water, word, bread, wine, body and blood.
If you are gathered with people who first and foremost consider felt needs, personal desires and tastes; if more prominence is given to the style of the service than the substance; the flash and splash is more front and center than the Word and Sacrament; if the leaders of your gathering succumb to fads and the whims of the culture, then you are very likely not in Jesus' church but in somebody else's church and that "church" probably does suck.
Maggie Karner is dying. She isn't alone. We are all dying, actually, but Maggie has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. At the same time, Maggie is a true Sacramental Minion. Baptized into Christ, she trusts and relies upon her Lord and Savior and seeks to die trusting fully in Him no matter the circumstance.
Luther once said, “thank God, a seven-year-old child knows what the church is, namely, holy believers and sheep who hear the voice of their Shepherd.” Healthy Christians are sheep who hear the voice of their Shepherd.
Any good business or leadership resource will tell you that to achieve your goals you must have your objectives clearly in view. It seems odd, then, that so many business and leadership gurus seem to fail to ask and answer the fundamental questions when they apply their gimmicks to the Church and especially when it comes to our youth.
The problem of upstarts pushing forward with startups in the church is not new. De-emphasizing the commands of God in favor of the ideas and thoughts of men is as old as the Church itself. Adam and Eve were induced by Satan to set aside God's Word and eat of the forbidden fruit. And, the Pharisees and teachers of the Law in Jesus day were regularly called out by Jesus for setting aside the Word of God for the traditions of men.
Every Christian is recreated by the power of the Holy Spirit working through the Word and Sacraments. All true Christians have been turned from a rebellious, militant revolutionary who seeks to overthrow God's rule and authority, into a minion of our Lord, Jesus Christ. And He accomplishes this through His Word and Sacraments.
GOD is the one and only real "Sacramental entrepreneur." GOD has established the church it continues to be grown, sustained, nurtured and nourished by Him through the means that He has established for that purpose.