Pastor's Desk
November 27, 2017, 12:10 PM

Friends

Dear friends in Christ Jesus,

In a world that seeks to crowd Jesus out, where busyness abounds, and hearts are stirred to focus on other things, it can be hard sometimes to choose to keep Jesus first. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the whole hurried dash of the holidays, giving our attention to what seems more urgent. Our focus gets blurred; and the most important gets pushed aside.  It takes an active and daily choice to put Christ first, especially in a culture that says it’s not that important.   

 May God help us to choose wisely, listening for the Savior’s voice, keeping our focus on Jesus. He is the One who brings true meaning to Christmas. He is the One who brings real peace in this all-too-often hectic season. He is the only One worthy of our time and attention as we slow down the maddening rush around our lives. We can know all of this in our heads, but may He help us to really believe it in our hearts...and choose to live it out this season.

Dear Heavenly Father, 

Help us to keep our focus first on Christ this season. Please forgive us for giving too much time and attention to things that are not relevant. Help us to reflect again, on what Christmas is really all about. Thank you that You came to give new life, peace, hope, and joy. Thank You that Your power is made perfect in our weakness. Help us to remember that the gift of Christ, Immanuel, is our greatest treasure, not just at Christmas, but for the whole year through. Fill us with Your joy and the peace of Your Spirit. Direct our hearts and minds towards You. Thank You for Your reminder that both in seasons of celebration and in seasons of brokenness, You’re still with us. For You never leave us. Thank You for Your daily powerful Presence in our lives, that we can be assured Your eyes are on us, and Your ears are open to our prayers. Thank You that  we are safe in Your care. We choose to press in close to You today…and keep You first in our hearts and lives.

In Jesus’ Name,  Amen.

I look forward to worshipping the Christ Child this Christmas with you!

Pastor Gran




October 30, 2017, 11:30 AM

Friends

Dear friends in Christ Jesus,

We typically care about the news in direct proportion to its relevance to our personal daily lives. With the advent of social media and digital news sources, we can limit what we see to what we want to see more than ever before. If a topic isn't obviously relevant to us today, it's not relevant at all.  Eternal salvation, an eternal home, divine intercession, advocacy when we sin, and omnipotent protection—none are visible to our senses, so what bearing do they have on our daily lives?      

We have been led to believe the materialistic lie that success is measured by our possessions and popularity. But what about issues that matter most? What you can't see is infinitely more significant than what you can see.                  
• Jesus is granting salvation to every person who turns to Him in faith (Romans 6:23). No one is beyond the reach of grace.
• He is preparing a place for His followers in heaven (John 14:2–3). 

• He is interceding for us at "the right hand of God" (Romans 8:34). Jesus is praying for you at this very moment.
• He is advocating for us before the Father when we sin (1 John 2:1). The next time you sin, remember that your Savior is praying for your forgiveness and restoration.   

God has given us extra time to respond to His offer of forgiveness, but one day will be our last day.                                                       

When our challenges are growing and our prayers seem unanswered, it is easier to question our Father's providence than to trust His provision. In Psalm 22, David cries to the Lord, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (v. 1). But David’s affirmation is just two verses later: "Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel" (v. 3).                                                                

We need not worry about justice in this life or the next. "Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap" (Galatians 6:7). If we ask God for the strength to pardon those who hurt us, we free them from the cycle of vengeance and ourselves from the prison of pain, showing a skeptical world that the hope of heaven can transform lives on earth.                                                     

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Pastor Gran




September 25, 2017, 11:17 AM

Friends

Dear friends in Christ Jesus,
With the recent devastation that hurricanes Harvey and Irma have left in their wake, we have many LCMC congregations in great need.  Here are some ways that we as the body of Christ can do to lend a hand.

First of all, we all can pray for God to have mercy on those who have been affected by these tragic events.  Thank God for the miraculous preservation of so many lives.  Pray for a speedy and full recovery, that families, homes, businesses, schools and communities can come back stronger and better than ever. 

We can also support congregations and individuals by making an offering to LCMC Disaster Assistance Fund.  Funds can be sent directly to:  LDA, C/O St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, 8300 C Avenue NW, Marion, IA 52302. 

There are also opportunities to volunteer with the relief and recovery efforts.  A recovery center at Our Savior’s Lutheran in Victoria TX is coordinating the efforts of volunteers in the gulf coastal area of TX.  In the Houston area, North American Lutheran Church is setting up a recovery center in the suburb of Rosenberg and will warmly welcome your help.  Also the LCMC Texas District has established a Facebook group to be an online message board to help coordinate recovery efforts:  www.facebook.com/groups/LCMCHurricaneHarvey .  The goal is to connect those who want to help with those who need it most.  If you can assist in any way, communicate that on the message board and be specific with when and what help you are prepared to provide.  As needs are identified by our congregations, new opportunities to serve will be posted.  

With this stressful time, we remember that we are ambassadors of Jesus as we minister to and among those who are suffering.  WE are called to bring a message and spirit of hope, love and thanksgiving even in the midst of despair.  Please continue to pray for God to have mercy and to give strength to those who are suffering. Please pray for God to use those of us who aren’t suffering to give aid to those who are.  Let’s be the hands and feet of Jesus to our neighbors in need.   More information is also on the LCMC website. May God bless Texas!

Pr. Gran