The month of February is here. February is the month of love, and the month of Valentines.
Tradition has it that we celebrate Valentines Day because of St. Valentine. He was a Christian high-ranking Roman Senator. He had household slaves that were Christians. They decided to have a worship service for our God out in the middle of a forest, in the middle of nowhere. The Romans found out, and arrested all the household servants. At this time, the Roman Government wanted to stamp out Christianity. The Romans blamed the Christians for starting the Great Fire of Rome. Also, the worship of Christians disrupted the Roman culture in which many and various gods were worshiped.
After being arrested the household slaves were jailed. They were then given the opportunity to deny that they believed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and their personal Savior. If anyone of them denied, they would then be set free. If they did not, they would found guilty and sentenced to either torture, or put to death for sport in the Roman Coliseum by gladiators or starved animals such as lions. None of St. Valentine’s household slaves denied the faith. They were all facing death.
When St. Valentine heard of their imprisonment, he was heartbroken. He tried to support them in a unique way. He acquired some red paper and cut out hearts. On each heart he wrote a Bible verse and words of encouragement. This was the first Valentine.
St. Valentine then decided to offer a trade to the Romans. Himself for his household salves. As a high-ranking Roman Senator, St. Valentine would make better sport than his household slaves. The Romans agreed.
St. Valentine was then asked why he would do such an thing? St. Valentine replied, “This is what my Jesus did for me. How could I not do this for my household servants that I love?” Jesus said, “No greater love does one have for another than they lie down their life for them so that they can live.” (John 5:16)
All of this reflects the great love of our God. Our God has a unique kind of love. It is the love that St. Paul the blessed Apostle wrote about in 1 Corinthians 13. Our god’s love is unconditional, sacrificial, supportive, and encouraging.
This is why we celebrate Valentine’s Day and give valentines to our loved ones.
Have a Great February Pastor Brad Rick
The month of December is here. For us as the holy people of God, the birth of Jesus as our Savior gets the focus of our attention. Behind Santa Claus, Rudolf the Red Nosed Raindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and the Grinch that stole Christmas, is our Jesus, born of Mary in Bethlehem. God incarnate, who took upon Himself human flesh, to be God’s and our Replacement and Substitute, to keep the 10 Commandments perfectly, because we can’t, and to go to the Cross and take the punishment for our sins, so that we are not punished for our sins, but, for His sake, forgiven, receiving life, and salvation.
The Christmas story is filled with miracles, wonders, and mystery. There is something for everyone. What is your favorite?
For those who like God keeping all of His promises, we have all of the Old Testament promises and prophesies about the Messiah fulfilled in Jesus. These include, “The Virgin will conceive, and give birth to a son.” (Isaiah 7:12) Also, “But you Bethlehem Ephratha, from you shall come forth for Me One who is Ruler in Israel, Whose coming forth is from old, from ancient of days.” (Micah 5:2)
For those who like power politics, there is Caesar who issued a decree that all Jewish people must counted, for a census for taxes. Each Jewish person and family must return to the town of their family origin and be counted. This brought Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem.
If you enjoy a love story, what can beat the story of Joseph and Mary? How the Angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would be the Mother of the Lord? How Joseph was told and wanted to divorce Mary quietly? How the Lord appeared in a dream and told Joseph to take Mary as his wife, because she was carrying the Christ child in her womb? So, by faith, Joseph obeyed. For Joseph and Mary were chosen by God to be the parents of His Son.
If you like God working in mysterious ways, there were the Wise Men. The Kings from the East that brought to Jesus, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, gold, incense, and myrrh. The gold was used by Joseph and Mary to finance their trip down to Egypt. For King Herod had found out that the Promised Messiah was born Bethlehem. So, He ordered that all Jewish boys 5 years old and younger be slaughtered. But Joseph warned in a dream, fled with Mary and Jesus down to Egypt, staying, until after King Herod died.
The most important part of the Christmas story is you. It was for you that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Jesus as your Savior is and will always be the best Christmas present ever.
May you grow closer to our Lord as you remember the Christmas story this Advent- Christmas Season.
The Lord’s Richest Blessings, Pastor Brad Rick
Come join us for some pancakes!
Thanks to the LYF for painting the church parking lots!
The month of October is here. The time of the harvest draws nigh. Signs of the harvest are everywhere. The temperatures are cooling off. The green leaves of the trees are starting to turn. The color of the corn stalks are changing from green to golden brown. The farmers are getting combines, trucks, and semi-trucks, ready to haul grain to the grain bins.
The Scriptures also have a lot to say about the harvest. The Lord’s harvest is awesome. It began with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. God gave dominion over the land, plants, animals, water, and air of the Garden to Adam, to tend as the Gardener. The theme of growing crops and harvest continues throughout the Old Testament, as the Lord declares Israel His vineyard, and Him as the Owner and Master. It continues in the New Testament with the parables of Jesus in the Gospels. It climaxes with Jesus on the cross on Good Friday paying for the sins of the world with His life, body, and blood, with a thief that came to faith on His right, and a thief who did not on His left. It continues with His resurrection on Easter Sunday morning. Mary Magdalene saw the resurrected Christ and mistook Him for the Gardener. Jesus is the new Adam who has replaced the old. Jesus is also the new Gardener who replaced the first one named Adam. The Lord’s harvest will culminate in the return of Jesus on the Final Day.
In Matthew 13, Jesus explains the “Parable of the Weeds” to His disciples:
He answered, “The One who sowed the seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age and the harvesters are the angels. As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will weed out of His kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. The righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears let him hear.” (Matthew 13: 36-43)
The Lord’s harvest is ongoing, and continues each day. It involves the two great works of gathering and separating. The Lord’s separation in His harvest stands for all of eternity.
We are living in the Final Days. All has been fulfilled in Christ. He can return at any moment in time. The Final Days will be filled with trials, tribulations, and troubles, as Satan has been unleashed for a short period of time. God however, will also continue to watch over and provide for His people. Until His return, we as His people will do the work God has assigned to each of us according to our Vocation and Offices in His vineyard. As we do them, Christ is reflected through our thoughts, words, and deeds. While we are working, we await with expectation and anticipation. For we know by faith, that in the Lord’s harvest, the best for you and me is yet to come.
Have a Blessed October,
Pastor Brad Rick
Hope to see you tonight!
The July Council meeting will be Wednesday, July 15, 2015 at 8:00 p.m.