If you’re learning to drive a car, the natural thing to do is to drive with two feet...one for the gas and one for the brake. As a result some people drive with two feet their whole life. The reason people learn that way is because in the beginning they were more interested in getting on the road than learning the right way to drive. They were more interested in the outcome than the method. They were more interested in driving time than learning time. The impatient “wanna-be” driver thinks learning the method is a waste-of-time. He’d rather just get out on the road than study some manual and practice a method…not realizing that the better the method, the better the outcome.
Apply that to the life of the church, our church and any church. In the Christian life and church there is both method and outcome. We read in the book of Acts how, on the first Pentecost, Peter preached a magnificent Law/Gospel Sermon. And the outcome?... “There were added that day [to the Church] about three thousand souls?” Peter, that sly dog…how did he do it? What was his method?
Peter underwent three years of “Membership Classes” in the church of Christ after he dropped his fishing nets to follow Jesus. Three years of unemployment. Three years of learning. Three years of Jesus and Jesus only. For three long years Peter studied the Word of God. And he stuck to it…
Somewhere along the way Jesus had gathered a bunch of disciples following him while he was “out there,” “driving,” doing things—working miracles and helping people with their own personal health problems. But one day he wasn’t healing and being compassionate. One day he was only teaching them things…mysterious and enigmatic things and it made them grumble with impatience. Go ahead and read John Chapter 6 to get the whole picture. Otherwise take my word for it. I think it’s pretty clear what these people, these so-called “disciples” were grumbling about. Jesus was teaching instead of doing.
You see, the people wanted Jesus to work miracles. But rather than perform, Jesus just taught. As a result, many of these disciples turned back…bored I expect. Nonplussed and annoyed. They hadn’t the time or patience to listen to such mumbo-jumbo about eating his flesh and drinking his blood. And so they left Jesus to go find something useful to do.
Jesus, disheartened, asked Peter if he would turn back as well. And guess what Peter said. He didn’t say, “Jesus, enough of your jibber-jabber; give up the lecture and let’s get on the road.” He didn’t say, “all of this confusing learning time could be driving time, so smarten up.” No! Peter said, “Lord we have no one else to turn to, for you alone have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). In other words…Jesus keep on teaching!
Peter was wiser than all of the fools that left Jesus that day…even if they were once called disciples. Because when Jesus had a difficult teaching, Peter didn’t leave. Peter didn’t get impatient with the Word of God. Instead Peter realized just how much more he needed to hear the words of eternal life before he could understand them…before he could live them…before he could preach them…before he could add about three thousand souls to the church. Peter needed to know Christ…intimately…before he could receive the Holy Spirit and spread the news about him. This knowledge came to Peter, by and large in the classroom listening to the teacher…the Word of God himself (John 1:1).
That’s a message to our church and every church today. Everytime I drive to Calgary, I see a huge Alliance Church on the Deerfoot and I jealously think to myself…”that’s impressive!” What a stupid thought. After all, a big church is not a church with large facilities, or generous donors who gave it birth. It’s not a church that has the best governance or the most passionate and colourful pastor. It’s not a church that can “git-er-done”…without specifying the ‘er.’” The biggest church is the church that hears the Word of God and keeps it (Luke 11:28).
Some churches dumb-down the teachings of the bible into one phrase. “You must accept Jesus into your heart.” Balderdash! Acceptance is a one-time thing. You accept gifts…both gifts that you use and gifts that you shove in your closet or on your shelf and forget about. Jesus does not want you to accept him, like you accept a trophy. Nowhere…NOWHERE in the bible does it say to accept Jesus, and here’s why. If you merely accept Jesus, he’s just a name… trophy on your wall…a license in your wallet…he’s gonna get bored and he’s gonna get boring. Sure, you’ll be licensed to drive, but not well.
Jesus doesn’t want you to accept him. He wants you to abide in him (John 15), remain in him, learn from him every day…now and forever. And how do you remain in him? How do you practice driving with one foot before you get on the road now and always? What’s the best method? Well, it’s not by accepting Jesus like a fruitcake at Christmas. It’s not doing impressive things…“miracles.” And it’s not even helping your neighbor. Even the pagans help their neighbor…and for the record, I’m not complaining, only clarifying. The best method to grow the church is if we, the members of his church, abide in him, in His Word…in the Bible.
So do like David and delight in the Word of the Lord. Meditate on His Law day and night. Study your Catechism and your Bible. For there is no better method to grow the church, than to Hear the Word of the Lord and keep it.
PARISH COORDINATOR UPDATE
The Hiring Committee has offered the position of Parish Coordinator to an applicant. This applicant has orally accepted the position. However, until this acceptance is finalized and official, it would be discourteous to release the individual’s name. We can announce that we expect to have an active Parish Coordinator sometime around the middle of June, 2012. Once again, this is new ground for Immanuel, and has little if any precedent anywhere in the Lutheran Church. We thank you and continue to ask for your patience in this process as we have undertaken to do it carefully, respectfully, and in fear and love of the Lord.
Are you interested in becoming a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church? Are you a member in need of a refresher course in who we are and what we’re here for? Pastor Nathan will be teaching a 12 Session Membership course to be held every Tuesday evening from 6 – 7:30 p.m. beginning June 12th. If you are interested please put your name on the sign up sheet on the bulletin board in the Foyer or else call the church office directly. (403) 327-4336.
VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL
Vacation Bible School will be held the week of July 16-20. Registration forms and volunteer forms are available in the narthex and can be left at the office or with Debbie Lemke. All children aged 3-12 are welcome. We are still in need of volunteers to help out in various areas. If you are able to help, please let the office know or you can call Debbie Lemke at 403-328-8172.
On Sunday, May 13th the Sunday School ran a very fun carnival again this year, in the Fellowship Hall, during the 11 am service. Thanks to everyone that helped to set up and run it and clean it up! It was enjoyed by all!
The Sunday School staff, plans on running a number of activities, during the summer months, from 11:15 to 12:00. If you are interested in leading a fun activity once or twice during the summer please let Tammy Baedke know by calling her at 403-380-2642.
September 9, 2012 will be our opening day of Sunday School after the summer holidays. We will run a registration time on this day before the children resume Sunday School for the year. All children attending Sunday School will need to be registered.
7th ANNUAL GOLF TOURNAMENT
Our 7th Annual Golf Tournament will take place on August 18th at Keho Lake Golf Course at 2:00 p.m. It is ‘best ball’ game and even if you are not a good golfer, it’s a lot of fun to be had. If you would like to car pool or follow someone out there, please let Candice Miller know so we can set up a time to meet at the church) A sign-up sheet is posted in the narthex. We are accepting any prizes, certificates or cash for prizes.If you are not a golfer and just want to come out for Prime Rib supper, it will be at 5:30 p.m. in the Club House.
Beginning on June 17, we will move to our summer schedule with one service being held at 10 a.m. Holy Communion will be celebrated on the first and third Sunday as usual.
FINANCIAL STATEMENT - IMMANUEL LUTHERAN CHURCH April 30, 2012
MISSION OFFERINGS A-BC District Mission Donations for Month . . . $540.00 A-BC District Mission Donations to Date . . . 1,243.00 CLWR Mission Donations for Month . . . . . . . . 235.00 CLWR Mission Donations to Date . . . . . . . . . . 736.00
BANK ACCOUNTS Servus Credit Union Cheq. Acc.t Balance . $34,642.50 Dedicated Accounts Balance . . . . . . . . . . . . 22,069.65 Church Extension Term Deposit . . . . . . . . . 10,176.50