Tag Archives: message

Paul Preaches in Rome

After they had set a day to meet with him, they came to him at his lodgings in great numbers. From morning until evening he explained the matter to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the law of Moses and from the prophets.Some were convinced by what he had said, while others refused to believe. So they disagreed with each other; and as they were leaving, Paul made one further statement: “The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your ancestors through the prophet Isaiah, ‘Go to this people and say, You will indeed listen, but never understand, and you will indeed look, but never perceive. For this people’s heart has grown dull, and their ears are hard of hearing, and they have shut their eyes; so that they might not look with their eyes, and listen with their ears, and understand with their heart and turn— and I would heal them.’ Let it be known to you then that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.” He lived there two whole years at his own expense and welcomed all who came to him, (Acts 28:23-30, NRSV)

Why do some hear and not hear, listen and really don’t get the message?

Sometimes we feel like we need to make everyone understand how much God loves them. But see here in this reading, Paul, one of the greatest evangelists in history didn’t convince everyone after he spoke to them all day. Making people believe is not our job. We are to go and share our story which shares the love of God.

So don’t feel like you have to make anyone believe.  You just need to share your story and show people how God is active in your life and can be in theirs.


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Paul Defends Himself

Just as Paul was about to be brought into the barracks, he said to the tribune, “May I say something to you?” The tribune replied, “Do you know Greek? Then you are not the Egyptian who recently stirred up a revolt and led the four thousand assassins out into the wilderness?” Paul replied, “I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of an important city; I beg you, let me speak to the people.” When he had given him permission, Paul stood on the steps and motioned to the people for silence; and when there was a great hush, he addressed them in the Hebrew language, saying: ”Brothers and fathers, listen to the defense that I now make before you.”When they heard him addressing them in Hebrew, they became even more quiet. Then he said: ”I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, educated strictly according to our ancestral law, being zealous for God, just as all of you are today. I persecuted this Way up to the point of death by binding both men and women and putting them in prison, as the high priest and the whole council of elders can testify about me. From them I also received letters to the brothers in Damascus, and I went there in order to bind those who were there and to bring them back to Jerusalem for punishment. (Acts 21:37-22:5, NRSV)

So Paul knew the crowd he was speaking to.

When talking with the authorities of the city he spoke in Greek, and when he spoke to the crowd that had brought him from the temple he spoke in Hebrew.

You see in our understanding of being a disciple of Jesus context is very important. You use clues from the society you are speaking to to make sure they understand the message you are delivering. To speak to the authorities in Hebrew wouldn’t have worked. Well maybe one could have understood, and the same for the crowd from the temple. You have to deliver the message contextually so it is understood.

How do we deliver our message of good news? The way we always have? Or in the context of those to whom we are speaking?


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shake off the dust…

Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and every sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Then Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness. These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon, also known as Peter, and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him. These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. You received without payment; give without payment. Take no gold, or silver, or copper in your belts, no bag for your journey, or two tunics, or sandals, or a staff; for laborers deserve their food. Whatever town or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy, and stay there until you leave. As you enter the house, greet it. If the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it; but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town. Truly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. “See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles. When they hand you over, do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you at that time; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next; for truly I tell you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. (Matthew 9:35-10:23, NRSV)

Jesus called the disciples to go and to share His message. And the instructions were clear. Take nothing with you, receive without payment and give without payment. Only wear what you need nothing more. When you enter a town find one place and dwell there while you are in that town. Give your peace to that place and if it will not accept your peace, take it back. And if they will not listen, shake the dust off your feet so you take none of that place with you and go on to those who will listen.

Seems a little harsh, but Jesus was trying to help the disciples I think. And He was saying if people won’t listen, it is ok, and it is there lose not yours. Do not get hung up on people not being perceptive to the message of grace, just move on to those who will be.

So when you encounter those who don’t want to hear the good news, just shake off the dust and move on…


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Message Collage

23Message Collage


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Blessed to be a blessing!

Stewardship - a way of life

18 months ago I arrived at St. John’s Lutheran Church as the call rostered leader. It has been wonderful being here, even with the welcome we received with the below 0 temperatures to close down school! We have grown together as a mission post in the body of Christ and are doing wonderful ministry together.

And now we are approaching summer, a time when families head to the cabins, and go on vacations. And this is something we need to do. We need to get away when we can for rest and relaxation and time with the family. So go! And remember that you are the body of Christ as you go. You will be sharing His love and grace and mercy with everyone you see and meet.

But as you go, remember we are still here at St. John’s. We are still a part of your life and your faith journey. We will be here, with the same needs we have during the non-summer months. Council met last night and discussed the dwindling checking account. This made me rethink my newsletter article this month, and come into the office and look at some numbers and trends over the time I have been here.

Over the 18 months I have been here, income has been over expenses in 6 months. Which is good, as those spikes can carry us through some of the low spots. And they are what you think they would be, Easter, the car show/auction and November/December. And we are close in the other months.

An easy response to this is, we need more people. Well that is not always a way to solve money issues. As new families do not understand stewardship concepts. I remember the first time I attended worship at a congregation and they started talking about giving. I gave $5 or $10 a week. I did not understand the Biblical basis of giving. And some of our “new” members come from other congregations, and they do have a concept of giving, and stewardship, but maybe life situations right now do not allow for them to give, with children and bills. So more people does not automatically mean more in the plates.

So then we ask our members to give more, when some of us are giving all we can give. And we have given, and have given to special projects and other things the congregation needs. So we just can’t squeeze any more out. And I get that. Some of us are giving all we can.

So what do we do? I wish I had the easy answer and could say, “Here is what we need to do to make this problem go away!” I don’t. So what do we do? Well we start by praying.

Let us all continue to Gather, Grow and Go. Let us gather together for worship and fellowship and building up of each other. Let us grow in our understanding of that we are not giving money to God and trusting Him to do the right thing with it, we are giving back to God what He trusted us with.  Let us grow in our discipleship and our relationships with God and each other. And let’s go into the world to share His love and our understanding of the relationship we have with Him and help others have that same thing. But as we go, let us not forget to still be here at St. John’s through our giving. This can be made easy by joining in on the Simply Giving program which allows you to give electronically any amount you would like on your chosen day of the month. This can be set up as a one time giving or a reoccurring giving option. So even when you are away, you can still be here too!

We can all look at what we have been blessed with and pray about how we can be a blessing.

I am ready to buckle down and live into the relationship we have started and build this mission outpost for God. Are you ready to buckle down with me? Let us be a blessing as God has blessed us!

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Posted by on 2015/06/01 in Newsletter Article


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