The type of questions a person asks can be very telling. I know that if you call the hospital and ask, "Is so-and-so there?", they won't tell you. But if you ask, "What room is so-and-so in?" they'll give you the room number. Funny ain't it? Both questions amount to pretty much the same thing and yet, in the mind of the receptionist one question raises trust in the caller, the other doubt.
It's the same within Christianity. There is one question in particular that can reveal the motives of the Christian you're dealing with. You can be fairly certain where someone is coming from when they ask, "Have you accepted Jesus in your heart?"
Now there's nothing necessarily wrong with considering whether Jesus is in your heart. Paul prays to the Father that "Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith" (Ephesians 3:17). Christ dwells in the heart of believers, no doubt. The real question, though is, "How does he get there?" And the answer given by a large segment of Christianity is..."You ask him in." In other words, Jesus enters your heart through the individual's prayer. This is a mistake. Let me explain:
It is true that Jesus says, "Ask [pray] anything in my name and I will give it to you" (John 14:14). However, that's not the whole gospel. You can pray for daily bread and believe that God will send it, but that doesn't mean that when you ask him for daily bread, "poof" there it appears immediately on your plate. Sure God's powerful enough to do it that way, but he has not promised to give you bread that way. Instead God promised, "By work [the sweat of your brow], you will receive your bread from me." (Genesis 3:19).
To get your daily bread you pray to God for it, then you go work to get it. And if you expect God to give you daily bread without working, you are testing God. Why? Because God promised your food will come by work, not by your prayer. You pray for bread and God--because he loves you and listens to your cries--he then delivers it to you through your work. But if you pray and simply wait for a windfall from God...you gotta wonder if it was a prayer borne of true faith or of laziness.
It's the same with the forgiveness, life and salvation we continually receive from Jesus. To get Jesus in your heart, yes you pray to God for him. But then you go to receive him where he promises to be delivered. And your assurance comes because God promised that Jesus will be delivered to your heart in Word and Sacrament. If you expect him to simply "poof" appear in your heart at the moment of prayer, you are testing God. Why? Because prayer is meant to ask for Jesus, NOT to deliver him.
So, how is Jesus delivered? By faith? No! He is not delivered by faith; he is delivered to faith. Nor is he delivered by prayer. It is unbiblical to teach that Jesus is delivered to faith by prayer. Prayer is not the "delivery system" of Jesus. Prayer is a sacrificial act, not a sacramental one. Prayer is a plea for grace, not a means of grace. Nowhere in the bible does God promise to deliver Jesus in prayer--that is, in the very act of asking him into your heart.
So it is, if somebody's central way of talking about Jesus is that "He's in your heart," in my experience that usually indicates that that person has bought into the false teaching: (1) that prayer is a means of grace, and (2) that Jesus is in their heart because they asked. It's not wrong to say "I have Jesus in my heart", or even that you ask him there. But the real question is, How did he get there? Did he get there by something you did for yourself (prayer), or because of something that was delivered to you (Word and Sacrament).
The truth is that Jesus does enter your heart and you accept him by special delivery. He comes through your ear when the Word is preached to you. He is delivered into your mouth when his you drink his blood and it becomes yours. Your heart is covered, shielded, "clothed" by Christ in baptism and he washes it clean and makes it holy. Of course you didn't see Jesus doing these things, but Jesus promised to be in these things when his church does them (Matthew 28:19-20). And because Jesus is faithful, you believe that he keeps his promises and shows up for you where he says he'll be.
Grace and Peace to You,
Pastor Nathan Fuehrer
Zephaniah 3:17 (He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exalt over you with loud singing.)
Thank-you for your generous donations to the Puerto Penasco Mission. Hector and Victor will love their new gifts!
The Sunday School is really rolling now. Advent is coming up soon. Debbie Lemke will begin practicing a song or two for the Christmas Pageant on Sunday, November 3rd during our Sunday School time. The Christmas Pageant will take place on Sunday, December 15 at 10:30 a.m..
The Sunday School staff is not yet complete. We still need some teachers for the Pre-School and for the Grade 4/5/6 classrooms. Please talk to Kathy Withage to let her know that you are interested in one of the teaching positions.
To all the present staff, “Thank-you for your generous donations of volunteer time! Your efforts make Sunday School a memorable, learning experience for the Sunday School children.”
The Sunday School staff includes:
Pre-School/Kindergarten: Debbie Lemke, Caitlin Purcell, Sarah Lindemann, Joanne DesRoche, Bonnie Anton, Julia Anton, Kayla Hamilton and Alannah Crawford.
Grade Four/Five/Six: Greg Fischer and Adrien Corbiere
If you ever want to see what teaching Sunday School would be like, please let me know and a team teaching experience can be arranged. You would be welcome to help out in our Sunday School program at any time during the year!
If you need more offering envelopes, any time during the year let me know.
If you ever have any questions about Sunday School or any issues let me know. My phone number is 403-345-5454.
Psalm 3:3 (But You, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.)
Yours in Christ,
Sunday School Coordinator
LITTLE LAMBS CHRISTIAN PRESCHOOL
The new school year has been busy so far for Little Lambs Christian Preschool! The children have been on a field trip to the Corn Maze, made stone soup, had picture day, and this past week were learning about places around the world going on an imaginary flight with their classmates to visit different cultures, and getting their 'passports' stamped!
The preschool committee would like to extend thanks and appreciation to Kathy Withage and Michelle Rogers for their service on the committee and we wish them well in their future endeavors. If you are interested in joining the Preschool Committee, please contact Tanya at 403-892-6627.
PUERTO PENASCO MISSION
"For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God." 2 Corinthians 9:12
As promised, this article is coming to you from Puerto Penasco, Mexico where it is a balmy 28 C at the moment. Our mission trip is just around the corner and I'm sure you are anxious to hear about the preparations at this end.
On October 21st we were able to meet with Mission Jim and took an expanded tour of the neighborhood where Immanuel participants will be building, starting November 11. Because of your generosity, our budget for the project has been surpassed and therefore we are able to extend our original plans. We will be covering the costs for the home for Maritza and her two sons. The power and water are nearby and it looks promising that she will have services in the next few weeks. Therefore, we can build more than just a "shell" of a home. In addition, we can provide materials and labor to assist 3 or 4 other families in order for their homes to be functional. For example, one family now has power to their property so we can offer wiring and drywall and a bathroom addition. Another needs a bathroom and a third needs wiring and drywall. These folks are excited and grateful to know that someone cares for them and is willing to help them provide a better home for their children.
Our friends at the resort are also excited about what is about to happen and are offering their support. Many of them will be available for transportation, food prep and assistance at the site. Some have also contributed financially. Although they may be Christians, many have never been directly associated with a church or worked hand-in-hand with church-goers. So, I believe we will have many mission opportunities all around us. What a challenge and blessing it will be!
Please keep all the participants in your prayers as they prepare to travel to Mexico. Pray for the families of Puerto Penasco who will be receiving assistance and for those who still wait with hope for someone to bring them out of their poor situations.
Next month's article will be a summary of the project and highlights of our experiences. Until then, adios.
In His Service,
TURKEY DINNER & SILENT AUCTION
Tickets for the Turkey Dinner & Silent Auction on Nov. 23rd are now available after the worship services or stop by the church office Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $15.00 per person, $6.00 per child under 12 years. All funds raised go toward our Building Fund and Faith Life Financial will match funds raised to a maximum of $500.
Volunteers are needed for the Turkey Dinner/Silent Auction. A sign-up sheet is now up in the narthex by the fellowship hall. Volunteers are needed for Set-Up, Clean-Up, & Cooking etc.
Donations for Silent Auction are needed and appreciated. Donations may be dropped off at the church office. Please only new items for the silent auction. Attach your name to your donation for recognition or it will be labeled as an anonymous donor. Thank you for your generosity.
HEADING SOUTH THIS WINTER?
Are you new to this congregation? Are you or friends of yours driving south this winter? Do you know of a group who might be driving to Mexico or another Spanish speaking country to do some social or charitable work? If you answered yes to any of these questions, do we have a deal for you. Immanuel has about 2000 copies of the books “Un hombre llamado Jesus – El vivió enter nosostros” available for free distribution. In English this means: ”A man called Jesus – He lived among us”. It is a small booklet with wonderful illustrations of the life of Jesus. An ideal gift to a young person who is just learning to read. Maybe you befriended someone and would like to leave them with the great story of the gospel. Take some with you next time your planning to for fun in the sun. The books are 50 to a box, but you may take whatever number you are willing and able to take along. Questions? Ask Walter Egli or anyone at the church office.
MOMS & TOTS GROUP
Moms & Tots Group continues to run the second & fourth Thursday morning of each month 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. Our next session is Nov. 12th and 26th. All moms with their tots are welcome.
Thanks to everyone who made an effort and had their picture taken.
A REFORMATION READING
(This is a selection from the writings of Martin Luther called, "Against the Heavenly Prophets in the Matters of Images and Sacraments". Luther is writing against a former colleague Andreas Bodenstein von Karlstadt and his companions: "The Heavenly Prophets." They were "spiritualists", a type of religion that minimizes the importance of external forms and organization and that even diminishes the authority of the written word of Scripture in favor of the authority of God "in the heart." In other words, they are those who falsely teach that the Holy Spirit can be found and accessed by the believer apart from God's Word and Sacrament).
OUR TEACHING is that bread and wine do not avail. I will go still farther. Christ on the cross and all his suffering and his death do not avail, even if, as you teach, they are “acknowledged and meditated upon” with the utmost “passion, ardor, heartfeltness.” Something else must always be there. What is it? The Word, the Word, the Word. Listen, lying spirit, the Word avails. Even if Christ were given for us and crucified a thousand times, it would all be in vain if the Word of God were absent and were not distributed and given to me with the bidding, this is for you, take what is yours...
So that our readers may better perceive our teaching I shall clearly and broadly describe it. We treat forgiveness of sins in two ways. First, how it is achieved and won. Second, how it is distributed and given to us. Christ has achieved it on the cross, it is true. But he has not distributed or given it on the cross. He has not won it in the supper or sacrament. There he has distributed and given it through the Word, as also in the gospel, where it is preached. He has won it once for all on the cross. But the distribution takes place continuously, before and after, from the beginning to the end of the world. For inasmuch as he had determined once to achieve it, it made no difference to him whether he distributed it before or after, through his Word, as can easily be proved from Scripture. But now there is neither need nor time to do so.
If now I seek the forgiveness of sins, I do not run to the cross, for I will not find it given there. Nor must I hold to the suffering of Christ, as Dr. Karlstadt trifles, in knowledge or remembrance, for I will not find it there either. But, I will find, in the sacrament or gospel the word which distributes, presents, offers, and gives to me that forgiveness which was won on the cross. Therefore, Luther has rightly taught that whoever has a bad conscience from his sins should go to the sacrament and obtain comfort, not because of the bread and wine, not because of the body and blood of Christ, but because of the word which in the sacrament offers, presents, and gives the body and blood of Christ, given and shed for me. Is that not clear enough?
"WHAT ABOUT..." PAMPHLETS
Many of the things that the church believes, teaches and confesses are entirely unknown to people outside the church, and often misunderstood by people within the church. The What About pamphlets were prepared to assist pastors and other church workers as they go about their ministry.
A survey of several hundred pastors was conducted asking them, "If you could have a series of brief doctrinal pamphlets, what subjects would you find to be most helpful?" The responses to that question led to the preparation of this series of 29 tracts. Key points of Lutheran teaching, moral issues, and topics often discussed are explained from the point of view of what the Bible and the Lutheran Confessions have to say.
This series of tracts has proven to be the most widely distributed tracts in the history of the Lutheran church, with well over 15 million copies in circulation. Topics include:
< Abortion < Angels < Being a Lutheran < Christian Families < Stewardship < Confession and Absolution < Creation and Evolution < Death and Dying < Fellowship in the Lord's Supper < Holy Baptism < Homosexuality < Islam < Living Together Without Marriage < Lutheran Worship < Mormonism < Ordination of Women to the Pastoral Office < Pastors < Telling the Good News about Jesus < The Apostles Creed < The Bible < The Differences between the ELCA and the LCMS < The Gospel < The Jehovah's Witnesses < The Lord's Prayer < The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod < The New Millennium < The Sacrament of the Altar < The Small Catechism < The Ten Commandments
These pamphlets are now available on a brochure rack in the narthex. Help yourself!
Immanuel Lutheran Church Financial Statement September 30, 2013
A-BC District Mission Donations for Month............................................................................................................... NIL
A-BC District Mission Donations to Date ........................................................................................................... 1118.50
CLWR Mission Donations for Month ................................................................................................................... 330.00
CLWR Mission Donations to Date ..................................................................................................................... 5104.20
Servus Credit Union Cheq. Acc.t Balance...................................................................................................... $11,936.08