From the Pastor

R
eading an article sent to 
me by Jane Hendricks,
Justin Steckbauer, author and 
blogger at ChristianPost.com 
(you can access the article here)
 along with 
our ongoing study in the book 
“Who Broke My Church” by 
Kent Hunter and Tracee 
Swank, has led me to consider 
just where the balance is between “saved by grace” and 
“take up your cross and follow me.”

I am a Lutheran pastor who has come out of a Roman Catholic background that, for
me, was guilt oriented, penance driven, and characterized by my “participation in grace” by working at my salvation with much fear and trembling, never quite sure of
where I 
stood with God. To have discovered, along with Martin Luther, that I am, rather, saved by grace, that the work of the cross where Jesus said, “It is finished,” well, finished it, I took comfort in knowing that God had saved me, that I was made righteous in Christ’s work, not my own. But, the problem is, I not only took comfort, I got comfortable. Saved by grace meant that I was no longer responsible for my salvation, right? Well, yes.

But then, what was it God was asking of me to further my participation with him in the
Gospel? What is this thing called “discipleship,” when Jesus asked people to follow him, and they did?! I’ve spoken much over the years about the “R word” – relationship. Indeed, it may be how I am remembered most by any confirmands with whom I ever came in contact. What I’m learning is that God has so much more in store for us through our relationship with him that “saved by grace” alone leaves unaddressed.
That’s just a starting point, the opening salvo, if you will, in a grace-filled, power-saturated, Spirit-led intimacy with God that God desires to have with each and every one of us. This isn’t works righteousness or do -it-yourself faith; this is “gettingto-know-you, getting-to-knowall-about-you” intimacy with the Father who loves us and wants
nothing more than to walk with us in the garden in the cool of the evening to further that relationship.

Now these are not entirely new thoughts for me. It’s just that it’s now getting through
the thickness of my skull in such a way that “working out your salvation with fear and trembling” becomes more and more a desire to grow in intimate relationship with the God of the Universe, the King of creation, who actually desires to spend time with me, who has empowered me with His Spirit to be able to know Him better, and has equipped me for His Kingdom in ways I’ve never thought or imagined!

Frankly, I don’t know where all this leads. But if it leads me closer to the One who knows me best and still loves me most, than it’s a path I not only want to walk, but look
forward to the journey! 

May the message of Holy Week bring you closer than you have ever been before to the marvel of the God who has sent His Son to save you. And then, may you grow in the knowledge of His great love for you in such a way that your discipleship will be a joy,
a great desire, and a foregone 

Power to you!

Pastor Pastor Pat

April 2019
Caring, Growing, Serving
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