Pastor's Page

April 2018

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.
Luke 24.30-31

In the days following our Lord's resurrection he appeared numerous times to his disciples. At the open tomb he appeared to Mary. Later that day he appeared to the disciples (minus Thomas). Ten disciples had locked themselves away for fear of the Jews, imagine their surprise when suddenly Jesus was in their midst! Somewhere between the early morning to Mary and His time with disciples... Jesus took a walk with two disciples on the road to Emmaus. You can read about it in Luke 24. All three meetings were surprising. But the one with two on the road was remarkable! Why remarkable? They invited a stranger (Jesus) to eat with them as guest. But the guest became host; taking the bread, asking the blessing and serving them. Then, and then only were their eyes opened.

Somewhere over the years many have gotten this backwards, thinking the reason they go to church is to do something for God. They go to just praise, to let Him know how much they love Him, to be there just in case there's something to do. But this is backwards. In the real world of church (invisible to human eyes) we come to church to be served by Jesus. Jesus our Good Shepherd has good things for His flock! We come to be forgiven. We come to be blessed and strengthened by His gifts. Then and only then do we go out to serve. ORDER IS IMPORTANT HERE!

An old Lutheran Hour illustration put it like this: Have you ever seen cows chewing their cud? What is cud, and why do cows spend so much time chewing it? These animals fill their stomachs with grass and then lie down . . . they regurgitate (!) and enjoy a good, long chew. While it doesn't sound appetizing, it is actually during this phase that the cow receives the best nutrients. [[Thank you missionary Carlos Sosa – LHM writer]]

The writer of Psalm 119 understood this. The Word of God should be consumed slowly, intentionally, and with great respect. The Bible is not 'fast food' to be eaten in a hurry and then forgotten. It is to be read carefully, slowly, re-read if necessary. It is to be read prayerfully seeking the Spirit's enlightenment. It is to be read earnestly looking to apply to our mind, heart, and life! (How many times have you heard someone say, I used to read the bible but then stopped because I couldn't get anything out of it?) God's Word is not fast food! Slow down -- Re-read if need be. Ask any dairy farmer, they'll tell you: You can't expect to get out if you don't put in. In other words, come to God to be fed first . . . then go out to serve. At Emmaus Jesus was the guest who came to serve.

Martin Luther once said, The Bible is alive, it speaks to me; it has feet, it runs after me; it has hands, it lays hold of me. So knowing Jesus has good things for you, knowing all He's done for you – all that's left missing is you. For further info on topic, keep reading!

Last September we took up Zion's preamble sub-points in the newsletter. This month:

SUB-POINT (D)

HELP EACH OTHER GROW IN THE WORD

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.
Ephesians 4.11-14

Imagine that you were asked to communicate an important message to a colony of ants. What challenges would you face? As great as the distance between people and ants, the distance between God and people is 'countless' times greater. God is infinite, eternal, all-knowing, all-present, and fully sufficient with no deficiency. People on the other hand are finite, with numerous limitations and weaknesses. Unlike God we are incapable of knowing all things and greatly weakened by our human nature. In terms of communication we are limited to understanding earthly languages. And if God were to speak to us in His own heavenly language we'd never understand! It would be easier for an ant to comprehend English than for us to understand the Almighty.

But God out of love chose to speak to us in ways we can understand by His Spirit in His word. Long ago at many times and in many ways God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed the heir of all things, through whom also He created the world. And this is the Word given to you. It is God's Word of life given by Christ that we might mature, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.

Therefore let us help each other to grow in God's Word. Whether you are in church, bible class or studying at home ... Remember these things:

  1. Pray before reading, asking the Spirit for insight to understand and apply.
  2. Read God's word in context, in relation to surrounding verses. Read Inside Out first the verse, second the chapter, third the book and the entire Bible.
  3. Keep in mind for every verse there's only one correct understanding. Some verses in the Bible challenge our understanding – ask the Spirit for help.
  4. Let scripture interpret scripture. Interpret difficult passages by the clear.
  5. Assume the original correct meaning of words unless the writer signals that he is using them in a figurative sense. Figurative passages are explained by literal.
  6. First ask, What did the passage mean in its' original setting? Then ask, How do I apply the original meaning to my life today? God the Holy Spirit alone will help and guide you to do this.
  7. Keep in mind that the two main doctrines throughout scriptures are the Law and the Gospel. To understand and apply God's word correctly these must be known.

  8. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom, teaching, and admonishing one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
    Colossians 3.16

Pastor Kelly Mitteis
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by Rev. Kelly Mitteis
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Happy Birthday Zion!
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by Rev. Kelly Mitteis