Monday, August 14, 2017

August 12-14, 2017 Pastor Timothy J. Spaude Text: 1 Chronicles 29:10-13   THE DOXOLOGY


THE LORD’S PRAYER DOXOLOGY

August 12-14, 2017

Pastor Timothy J. Spaude

Text: 1 Chronicles 29:10-13



THE DOXOLOGY

1.     A reminder to check motives.

2.     A boost of confidence.



1 Chronicles 29:10-13 (NIV 1984) David praised the LORD in the presence of the whole assembly, saying, “Praise be to you, O LORD, God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. 11Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is Yours. Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom; You are exalted as head over all. 12Wealth and honor come from You; You are the ruler of all things. In Your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. 13Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.”



          It’s called the Doxology. The end of the Lord’s Prayer where we pray, “For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.” In general a doxology is a hymn or statement of praise to God. You might think of the hymn “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.” That’s known as the Common Doxology. There is some disagreement about how the Doxology got added to the Lord’s Prayer as it does not appear in Matthew’s Gospel account in the earliest manuscripts that we have. There is no disagreement that it’s been used by Christians for as long as anyone can tell and that it is a fitting ending to the Lord’s Prayer.

          It’s a fitting ending to the Lord’s Prayer because whether it’s the things we pray about or the decisions we are making on a daily basis motive is important. Motive answers the question “Why?” Why are we doing the things that we do? What’s our goal? What’s our purpose? What are we about? More specifically who are we about. In our Bible reading our brother in faith, King David, had it right. I don’t know if the Doxology of David served as the basis for the Lord’s Prayer doxology but it sure sounds like it could have.  David praised the LORD in the presence of the whole assembly, saying, “Praise be to you, O LORD, God of our father Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. 11Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is Yours. Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom; You are exalted as head over all.” Here’s how this happened. David was near the end of his life. Some of you know of the ups and downs of his life how he could at times demonstrate great faith like when he went against the giant Goliath and great weakness with his adultery with Bathsheba and murder of her husband Uriah. But this David was a man after the Lord’s own heart. He repented of his sins and was forgiven by God. In thankfulness King David had wanted to build a Temple for the Lord, a great Temple that would honor God. God said No. His son Solomon would build it. David was allowed to gather materials for the Temple. He gave freely from the wealth he had. The people gave freely. In today’s values about 4 billion dollars worth of gold and silver had been collected. Then as you heard, King David doxed. He praised. He acknowledged the truth. Since God is God He is to get the glory. His people were to live for His glory. Not their own.

          Just like the Doxology of the Lord’s Prayer reminds us. “Yours is the glory.” God’s, not mine, not ours, the Lord’s. As we pray that prayer daily let the Doxology be a good reminder for each of us to check our motives. We need to, daily.  Have you ever noticed how painfully easy it is to be about yourself? To live for yourself, to take everything you hear, every decision to be made through the filter of “How does this affect me?” But self-centered selfish living is not pretty in a 3 year old, 33 year old or 93 year old. Me and Mine don’t have to be taught they come naturally. It is the default setting of our sinful nature. But like David you and I have been rescued from the slavery to self centeredness. We have been freed to live for God’s glory and God’s kingdom. When David desired to build a temple to worship God his motive was thanks and God’s glory. But God had so much bigger plans in mind. The Temple worship pointed to the work Jesus Christ would do. Sacrifices for sin were pictures of what Jesus would do on the cross. A High Priest would picture Jesus as the substitute and mediator. The Temple Court would proclaim salvation is for everyone, Jew and Gentile. Whether he realized it or not by living for God’s glory David did work that would last forever and ever.

We get to as well. Let’s think about our existence as a congregation. In just a few years we will be 150 years old. That’s a long time. Wow! Isn’t St. Jacobi great? No. God is great. For all these years God’s people have been gathering to worship Him regularly and proclaim the Good News of Jesus. And God has used our past, is using our present and will use our future to bring and keep people in His kingdom. Today as a new school year is just around the corner and we install new teachers our thoughts turn to the school we operate. Why? For our good? So we can say we have a private school or our kids go to a private school?  No! For God’s glory. To carry out His work. For our new teachers, why did you agree to teach in our school? For your honor? To get a paycheck? Of course not! To give glory to God. Whether we eat, drink, have a school, teach or learn, use God’s gift of Baptism, whatever it be, do it all for the glory of God. And brothers and sisters, something very neat happens when we switch from our natural born it’s all about me life to our Spirit born it’s all about Thee life. We find we are part of something much bigger than our own puny selves. We take our place in the kingdom of God that will last forever. We get to be part of the greatest work there is, the saving of souls. God’s is the kingdom and the glory.

          And the power. That’s another way praying the Doxology helps us. It gives us a boost of confidence. David expressed that in his doxology too. “Wealth and honor come from You; You are the ruler of all things. In Your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. 13Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.” In God’s hands are strength and power. God can do anything. When we pray on a daily basis we can ask God for anything. The Doxology reminds us that God has the power to do anything. But why should He? Why should He when we sin against Him daily? Why should He when sometimes selfishness appears even in our prayers? Why should you new teachers be able to count on God’s help as you take up your work?

          The Doxology tells us why. God has the glory and the power. It is to the glory of God to save sinners, to forgive those who don’t deserve it. God combined his glory with his power on the cross in the miracle of Jesus substitutionary payment for sin. Yes we are sinners who don’t deserve God’s help. But we are forgiven sinners that He loves to help. He has all power and you can count on Him to use that power for you in the way that is best. There are days that you feel like you just don’t want to go on. Maybe you have a stressful job situation or you find yourself always surrounded by sin and evil and you just want to walk away from it all. There are times when the family and extended family that God gave you to be a blessing are just draining and exhausting and you wish you could ignore it all. Kids, with school starting soon, you may have some worries or anxiety about how it’s going to go especially if you will be at a new school. And teaching, even in a Christian school is not always easy. You have sinful teachers teaching sinful students who have sinful parents guided by sinful pastors. We’re not always going to get it right. But God has all power. Let your daily praying of the Lord’s Prayer provide you that boost of confidence that while you may not always get it right God does and in the big picture we are really along for the ride as He takes to our heavenly home. God’s almighty power provides a boost of confidence.

          That’s why we say “Amen” you know. While for some Amen may signal the end of a prayer, hymn or sermon that’s not what it means. Amen comes from a Hebrew word that our brothers and sisters in the past used to express confidence. You could translate it, “Yes, so shall it be” or the Lutheran “This is most certainly true.” Or let it stand as its own word. Its purpose is for God’s people to let others know they have confidence in Him. And while in my church it is not our custom to call for a “Hallelujah!” or try to get an “Amen!”  it is appropriate that when we say that word we say it like we mean it letting all know we trust the one true God whose is the kingdom and the power and the glory. Can I get an Amen? Amen.

Monday, July 24, 2017

July 22-24, 2017 Pastor Timothy J. Spaude Text: Luke 7:36-50   “THE FIFTH PETITION: LOOK TO JESUS!”


THE LORD’S PRAYER: 5TH PETITION

July 22-24, 2017

Pastor Timothy J. Spaude

Text: Luke 7:36-50



“THE FIFTH PETITION: LOOK TO JESUS!”

1.     Who has forgiven you.

2.     Who has forgiven others.

3.     To help you forgive others.





Luke 7:36-50 (NIV 1984) “Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, 38and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. 39When the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, He would know who is touching Him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.” 40Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. 41“Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said. 44Then He turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give Me any water for My feet, but she wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45You did not give Me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing My feet. 46You did not put oil on My head, but she has poured perfume on My feet. 47Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.” 48Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” 50Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”



          “Grow up!” Have you ever said that to someone in your life? Has it ever been said to you? It’s a phrase that sometimes comes out in frustration when you notice someone who is not acting their age, or is acting immaturely. It seems to me that in the prayer Jesus gave us, the Lord’s Prayer, he is helping us to grow up as Christians, to be more mature in what we are praying for and then how we live. So he has us focusing on spiritual matters first, then needs and not wants. He has pray that prayer that takes a miracle to mean, “Your will be done.” And then we come to the 5th Petition. “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” Hey, wait a minute here. Do I really want God forgiving me the way I forgive others? Humor me for a moment. You have my permission to close your eyes during the sermon. Now I want you to picture the face of someone who has hurt you, who keeps hurting you, whose words and actions just keep getting your goat. OK, what kind of feelings did you have? I’m guessing negative ones. Hurt. Anger. Resentment. Maybe a desire to see them pay. Now I ask again, do you really want God to forgive you the way you forgive others? Do you remember when Peter asked Jesus how many times he had to forgive someone and Jesus told the parable of the Unmerciful Servant who refused to forgive after he had been forgiven? Do you remember how it ended with that servant cast away and then Jesus said, “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from the heart.” And we are to pray “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us?” Yes. We are. We can. We can mean it as we daily look to Jesus.

          Look to Jesus who has forgiven your sins. That’s the lesson a man named Simon needed to learn. He was one of the Pharisees. From the way he acted toward Jesus it does not sound like he was being nice in his dinner invitation to Jesus but rather wanted to criticize him. He displays the characteristics of a typical Pharisee. He was better at seeing the sins of others than his own. He was more bothered by the sins of others than his own. All of the sudden an uninvited guest came in. A sinful woman. A woman who had lived a sinful life. No other details are given. Perhaps she had turned to prostitution to feed her family when her husband died. Perhaps her reasons were less noble. She had lived a sinful life. But now she was forgiven. Jesus said so. “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven.” And she knew it. That’s why she came uninvited. That’s why she spent a lot of money so others could see she was thankful to Jesus. If only Simon could know how much he had been forgiven!

          That’s why Jesus told the parable.  “Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.” Now when Simon heard this parable which debtor do you think he would identify with? More importantly when it comes to the Fifth petition which debtor do you identify with? This is the key to practicing forgiveness. You need to see that Jesus has forgiven you, a lot. Like Simon we can also be better at seeing and being more bothered by the sins of others. Like the sinful woman we need to be better at acknowledging our own. We are bothered by others sexual sins like unfaithfulness. God is bothered when we are unfaithful to Him, when something or someone else has first place in our hearts. Seriously how often each day are we really thinking of God first? We deplore the murders and shootings that are happening on a daily basis in our city but we don’t hesitate to murder others with our words and shoot arrows at their character, wisdom and reputation. How big is your debt? It’s zero. Look to Jesus. He has forgiven you. Everything. Even what you haven’t done yet.

          He’s also forgiven others. What do you think Simon felt when he heard Jesus say the sinful woman was forgiven? What would you think if you heard the now famous “Ladies of the Daylight” the prostitutes propositioning our pastors on the southside were forgiven? Would it help if you found out they were forced into prostitution by their pimp who hooked them on heroin and used that to control them? What if they’d gotten in willingly? Does it make a difference? Sin is sin. And forgiveness is forgiveness. What about that person you thought of before? You know the one that has hurt you? Look to Jesus. When he was on the cross He was punished for their sins too. Paid in full does not just apply to you and me, good people, like Simon. Ooh, maybe we don’t want to be included with him. Come to think of it, if we had to be like someone in this account, we’d rather be the sinful woman because she was actually the forgiven woman.

          That’s what moved her to show love for Jesus even though it was hard and it cost her. And that’s what enables us to forgive others too, even though it’s hard and costs us. When you forgive others you are not saying what they did was right. When you forgive others your pain and hurt and memories don’t automatically go away. When you forgive others it’s not always one and done. You may have to keep forgiving them in your mind because you remember. When you forgive others you are not giving them permission to sin against you again any more than Jesus’ forgiveness of us is permission to keep on sinning. When you forgive you are letting go of your desire to see them pay. When you forgive you give the matter over to God to take care of. Hopefully people who sin against us will apologize just like hopefully we are apologizing to others. But even if they don’t we can forgive. Look to Jesus. Look to Jesus who forgave the men who crucified Him. Ask His help. He’s helped others. He helped Joseph. Think of the years of hurt in slavery and prison that those brothers put Joseph through. He was able to forgive. He trusted God who worked it for good. He helped Stephen who forgave the men who were stoning Him. Look to Jesus. The forgiven can forgive and in the way that Jesus always works obedience is blessed. When we forgive others the hurt and resentment that rolls around in our hearts when we don’t forgive and holds us back from following Christ and having peace disappear.

          Brothers and sisters, it was love for Jesus and thankfulness for her forgiveness that moved this sinful woman to do something hard. Go into that room with all those men looking at her with those judging eyes. But she had been forgiven much and so she loved Jesus much. Love and thankfulness for Jesus will help us sinful men and woman to do hard things, things we may not want to like forgiving those who have hurt us. Can we pray “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us” and not be scared and really mean it. Yes we can. Look to Jesus. Amen.

Monday, July 17, 2017

July 15-17, 2017 Pastor Timothy J. Spaude Text: Luke 12:13-21   THE FOURTH PETITION: A Prayer of Daily Trust and Thanksgiving


THE LORD’S PRAYER: 4TH PETITION

July 15-17, 2017

Pastor Timothy J. Spaude

Text: Luke 12:13-21



THE FOURTH PETITION: A Prayer of Daily Trust and Thanksgiving



Luke 12:13-21 (NIV 1984) “Someone in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15Then He said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” 16And He told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. 17He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ 18“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19And I’ll say to my soul, “Soul, you have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ 20“But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ 21“This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”



          When we began our sermon series on the Lord’s Prayer we started with the Address. We pray to Our Father in heaven. It reminded us of the picture God wants us to keep in mind that He is our loving Father in heaven and we are his children. All of us here were children at one point. Some would still be considered children. I have a question for all children here today. How many times did you ask parents if you could please have a meal to eat? I’m not thinking about the times you may have used the hyperbolic “I’m starving! When are we going to eat?!!” I mean when you actually asked your parents for the privilege of a meal. The reality is that most of the time children simply expect that their parents will feed them. They think it’s their right. They take it for granted. To be sure I know of no moms who would even think of not feeding their children and most if not all feel it is a privilege to feed their babies. But if you just take the first sixteen years of childhood and 3 meals a day each of us would have had 17,520 times to say please give me my daily breakfast, lunch or supper. Now the reason I bring this up is because when Jesus taught us to pray He included in that prayer the 4th Petition. “Give us today our daily bread.” Why does Jesus have us praying for daily bread when God just seems to give it anyway? Pastor Luther picked up on that in his explanation to it when he said, “God surely gives daily bread without our asking, even to all the wicked.” That’s true. Just like parents feed their children even though babies can’t politely ask and other children don’t God continues to provide food for man and animal alike. And yes, the wicked, the evil, the god haters and people hurters they get to eat too. So what’s this petition all about?  It’s about living each day with trust and thanksgiving.

          Jesus taught that lesson quite clearly when he told the parable that’s known as the parable of the Rich Fool even though from the outside he looks kind of wise.  Jesus was teaching the crowds, warning them about the importance of faith in Him as Savior when a man in the crowd spoke up. “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But settling inheritance laws was not why Jesus came. “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15Then He said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Jesus came to save and so he warned against the sin of greed, of setting our hearts on things.

          Then he told the parable of the rich fool but pardon me if I’m wrong but doesn’t the guy seem kind of wise? “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. 17He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ 18“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19And I’ll say to my soul, “Soul, you have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” OK, so this wealthy farmer found himself harvesting an abundant crop. Now we all know and most farmers know that they are God dependent for good crops. We all also know and most farmers know that they have to put a lot of hard work in as well to get a good crop. This has to be a hardworking landowner who knows what he’s doing. That sounds wise to me. He’s also a planner. His barns are too small. So he plans on building bigger ones. That sounds wise. He’s even doing retirement planning. He knows his upcoming expenses. He knows his assets. He plans it out and says I can retire, not work so hard, enjoy life. Now if that’s a foolish thing to do I’m looking at a few fools and I’m planning on being one. Financial advisers and retirement planners say it’s wise to save. Healthcare professionals encourage taking it easy later in life and finding enjoyment after employment. Sounds wise to me.

          But not to God. “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ 21“This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.” When God calls someone a fool everyone needs to pay attention. What makes this man who looks so wise on the outside a fool? It’s what’s going on on the inside. He was not rich toward God. Now you might think that his problem was his giving, that he wasn’t giving an honorable amount of his possessions to God. Now it’s true that stingy giving, living in luxury while pitching pennies in to the offering basket is wrong and sinful that’s not what rich towards God means. Rich toward God means giving to God what He really wants, our hearts. Hearts that are filled with thanksgiving and trust. Remember Jesus told this parable as a follow up to his warning against greed. Greed, always wanting more, never having enough betrays a lack of trust in God to provide daily bread. Greed, hoarding for yourself without generosity towards others betrays a lack of thankfulness to God. This is mine. I earned it because I’m so good and smart, not because God is so kind and giving. That’s why this man is a fool. Not because he planned and saved. He did it without a heart that trusted and thanked God.

          That brings us back to the Fourth Petition. Give us today our daily bread. Jesus included that prayer to help us, the children of God remain thankful and trusting, rich toward God. He has us pray for daily bread, not weekly, monthly or yearly so that on a daily basis we will remember who is really taking care of us. It is God who causes food to grow. It is God who gives us the ability to work. It is God who provides us with jobs or other means of income when needed. It is God who established the government that provides assistance when needed. All of those areas are masks that God hides behind to provide but expects the children of God to peek behind those masks and to know He is the real provider. And then to respond with thanksgiving. Not acting like little children who take meals for granted or consider it their right but with turning to God each day with a heartfelt thank you for my daily bread. The 4th Petition also helps us express daily trust in the Lord. It’s easy to trust when the fridge and pantry are full and when income is covering expenses. It’s harder when you are in a drought and ravens are bringing you food like with Elijah or when a job unexpectedly ends. Praying the 4th Petition daily points us to the God who provides, the God who did not spare his only Son but gave Him up for us all. Of course He will take care of us. It might not be the way we would want or expect (ravens delivering groceries!) but the Father will provide.

And let’s never forget the daily bread we have in Jesus, the bread of life. Through faith in Him God sees us as perfectly thankful and perfectly trusting children. In Him our own greed, arrogance and lack of gratefulness have been washed away. In Him we can be more like Him, like grown up children. Have you had that happen where the kids grow up, live on their own then come back and ask for that home cooked meal and say Thank you to boot? Brothers and sisters, praying the 4th Petition helps us to be the grown up children of God who realize how good we have it and why, Because God is good. He deserves our daily trust and our daily thanksgiving. Amen.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Pastor Timothy J. Spaude Text: Colossians 3:15-17 “YOUR KINGDOM COME!”


THE LORD’S PRAYER 2ND PETITION

July 1-3, 2017

Pastor Timothy J. Spaude

Text: Colossians 3:15-17



“YOUR KINGDOM COME!”

1.     To us.

2.     To others



Colossians 3:14-17 (NIV 1984) Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”



          This is what is recorded in Acts 1:6 right before Jesus ascended to heaven: “So when they met together the disciples asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”  Now, let’s get the timeline straight here. These are the men who had spent three years being discipled by Jesus. They had heard Him say many times that he had come to save sinners and that would happen when he would go to Jerusalem, be handed over to the chief priests, killed and then come back to life. 40 days before this Jesus had done just that. For forty days after His resurrection Jesus met on many occasions with his disciples proving he was alive focusing them on carrying out his work. So last question you ask Jesus before he visibly leaves is about setting up a kingdom on earth? Why don’t they get it? Actually this isn’t anything new. God’s people through the ages have gotten sidetracked on what the kingdom of God is all about. We always seem to get tricked into being more concerned about earthly kingdoms than God’s kingdom. Think of the Jewish people before Christ trying to throw off the Roman empire not realizing how God was using that Empire to advance His kingdom, providing safe travel and good roads and how He would use the Roman persecution to spread Christianity. Think of the crusades. A lot of killing in the name of Christ to control a piece of land. Closer to home as we celebrate our nation’s birthday we think of how it was founded by many Christians fleeing religious persecution and then trying to set up a nation based on Christian principles. We’ve enjoyed that influence in our country for a long time but now as it has changed have you noticed how easy it is to think our job as a church or as Christians is to get those laws back that we like? But our good old USA is not the kingdom of God. Modern day Israel isn’t either. Neither was Israel at the time Jesus was here. So just what is the kingdom of God? What does this petition teach us to pray about and be concerned with?

          Nebuchadnezzar knew. After God humbled him great king Nebuchadnezzar who ruled the great earthly kingdom of Babylon, a fabulous empire, knew. God’s kingdom was so much bigger, greater than his. God’s kingdom is eternal, unlimited. Jesus tried to help the Pharisees understand. God’s kingdom doesn’t have borders. It’s not seen like others. It exists inside people. Pastor Luther in his explanation to the 2nd Petition put it this way: “God’s kingdom comes when our heavenly father gives his Holy Spirit, so that by his grace we believe his holy word and lead a godly life now on earth and forever in heaven.”  

          When we pray, “Your kingdom come” we are praying for Christ to rule in our hearts more and more. Just like Paul wrote to the Christians in Colosse. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” The kingdom of God is within you. This petition forces each of us to look in our hearts to see who sits on the throne there. Who is ruling us? Our sinful nature wants to. And when it does we are selfish and mean. We don’t live at peace with each other. If you open your Bibles to Colossians three you will see that is the context, encouragement for Christians to forgive each other, to put up with each other’s weaknesses, to live at peace. But when our sinful natures are ruling in the throne room of our hearts our pride will stop us from doing that. We’ll only see other’s weaknesses not our own, other’s sins, not our own. Yes, we are capable of being just as mean spirited and selfish as the unbelievers in our country.

          But we don’t have to be. Christ can rule in our hearts and God has graciously given us a way to answer our own prayer. “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” Just as a farmer who prays to God for good crops also plants seed, fertilizes and waters knowing these are things he can do but only God can make it grow Christians who are serious about Christ ruling in their hearts use God’s word regularly. Let the Word of Christ dwell in your richly. Richly. How’s your daily Bible reading or devotion time going? Richly or poorly? Do you still try to memorize some passages or is all that hard work from Lutheran school, Sunday school and Confirmation class squandered, wasted away? How can the word dwell in us if we don’t have it in our head so it can sink down to our hearts? Where the word of Christ is Christ rules. God’s kingdom exists. And then it will show on the outside. “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” What a wonderful world it would be if all people did this. But it starts with us. We pray for God’s kingdom to come to us and we show we mean it by devoting ourselves to Christ’s word.

          The Second Petition, “Your Kingdom Come” has also been called “the Mission Petition.” What’s meant by that is our love for other people leads us to think about them and want them to know Christ and be saved. I have question for you and I want you to think about it seriously and to answer it truthfully in your heart. Do you believe that people who die without faith in Jesus suffer an eternity in Hell? I’m not being flip here. We all know what the Bible says, “Whoever believes in Jesus is not condemned but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” That’s what God says. Do you believe it? If so does it show? Just like we can’t make faith grow in our hearts but we can devote ourselves to the word of Christ and use Baptism, the same is true for others. We can’t bring people to faith ourselves but we can get them the word and sacraments. When you pray the Lord’s prayer ask God to get His word to others. Consider if God might use your words, your abilities, your money to make that happen.

          What a wonderful world this would be if more and more people had the peace of Christ ruling their hearts, what a wonderful country this would be. No, the United States is not the kingdom of God. Yes, we do have to be careful that we don’t get sidetracked into thinking it is and that our main work as the Church or as Christians is to change laws and force other Americans to live God’s morality. Our main task in the kingdom of God is proclaiming as Savior. At the same time we do love our country. As we celebrate another Independence Day, another birthday of America as members of God’s kingdom with the peace of Christ ruling in our hearts let’s keep our country in our prayers. Let’s strive to be a blessing to it even if it’s not exactly what we hope it to be. This is not new for citizens of the kingdom of God. When God’s people found themselves in a foreign country he told them through the prophet Jeremiah, “Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”  To the Christians in Rome under a very evil government God said, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”

          No, this won’t change our country into the kingdom of God. No Jesus is not going to come back and set up an earthly kingdom. There is no heaven on earth. But there is a heaven in heaven. Someday that kingdom will come and by God’s grace we will be a part of it. Amen.

Monday, June 19, 2017

THE LORD’S PRAYER SERMON SERIES 1 June 17-19, 2017 Pastor Timothy J. Spaude Text: Psalm 103:8-14


PENTECOST 2

THE LORD’S PRAYER SERMON SERIES 1

June 17-19, 2017

Pastor Timothy J. Spaude

Text: Psalm 103:8-14



“OUR FATHER”

1.     By Creation.

2.     By Redemption.

3.     By Compassion.



Psalm 103:8-14 (NIV 1984) The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. 9He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor His anger forever; 10He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. 11For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; 12as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. 13As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; 14for he knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust.”



          Don’t mess up God’s picture! If you have been a boy going through Confirmation Class with me and I taught you about the Lord’s Prayer you heard me say this. Don’t mess up God’s picture. Here’s how that comes up. The Lord’s Prayer starts with the Address, “Our Father in heaven.” When I begin that lesson I say, “Now boys, some day you’re going to grow up. Some of you may get married. When you are married God may give some of you children. If He does, don’t mess up God’s picture!” You see no matter how foolish people in our foolish world try to make God in their own image, calling Him she or other such nonsense the fact of the matter is when our Lord Jesus taught us to pray He told us to pray to God as Our Father. Here we are on Father’s Day. For some this is a happy day as the father God gave you is doing his sinful best to care for you like God does and that is a good thing. Count your blessings. For some today is a hard day. Maybe you are missing your earthly father as he is now in heaven. For some of you, your father messed up God’s picture. He did not take care of you like he was supposed to. He may have hurt you. Please know this was not God’s will. Every father or future father here needs to understand the privilege and honor we have to help the children of God view God properly as a much better and perfect edition of us. At the same time we need to dread the awful ability we have to mess up God’s picture. You see the Bible makes it very clear. God is our Father in heaven. That phrase that starts the Lord’s Prayer helps when we pray. If we think about it, it makes us bold in prayer and confident of a loving answer.

Let’s see how. God is our Father. First by creation. Do any of you know who is considered the Father of Electricity? It’s not Thomas Edison or Ben Franklin, but a man named William Gilbert. How about the radio we like to listen to? A man named Marconi. Getting more modern, who is considered the father of computing? It’s way before Apple. A man named Charles Babbage. Now a really important one for the kids. Who is the Father of video games? You’re right. Ralph Henry Baer.  How many did you get right? These men are all considered the “Father of” because practically speaking they got it going. Kind of sad that few people really give them the credit due, don’t you think? A similar but much worse thing has happened with God. He is the Creator of all. Sadly many don’t give Him the credit He is due. But you and I do. We are happy to know that God is our Father by Creation. He made us. We belong to Him.

          God is also our Father by Redemption. Through the prophet Isaiah God said, "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” Redemption signifies ownership. If you’ve ever taken the time to read the fine print on a coupon you will discover that the coupon actually belongs to the manufacturer who promises to redeem it from the store for the monetary value printed on it. Until the manufacturer buys that coupon back its lost to them. That  happened with us and God too. God our Father created us. We belong to Him. But we became lost to Him through sin.  Take any relationship you can think of: father/child, husband/wife, friend, work, what ruins those relationships? It’s always the same. Sin. Selfishness. I becomes more important than we. You all know how hard it is to mend a ruined relationship. It took the death of Jesus to buy us back from sin. God paid it, in fact He went ahead with creation knowing that going ahead meant the sacrifice of His Son to redeem us to get us back to Him. That’s the second way we belong to Him and the way He is our Father. Because He redeemed us He says, “You are mine!”

          But all of this really hinges on a characteristic of God that explains why He created, why He redeemed, why He continues to put up with us. Compassion. “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. 9He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor His anger forever; 10He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. 11For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; 12as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. 13As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; 14for he knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust.” In my working Bible, my study bible, I have written a little note, that this is the John 3:16 of the Old Testament. Notice how it focuses our attention on how God so loves. He is more gracious, more giving than any earthly father can be. His patience is perfect as he is slow to anger. You know how dad gets mad when you do wrong or stupid things? God has the right but He gives it up. He doesn’t treat us as we deserve. Two word pictures. As high as the heavens are above the earth. How high is that?   One guess is 936 sextillion miles. See if you can get that in your calculator. But God the Father’s love for you is bigger. How far is the east from the west? They never meet. That’s how far God has removed your sins from you. As a father has compassion on his children. Gut check time dads. How are you doing with God’s picture? Do you parent with compassion? It’s needed. We all need it. Why? God knows. He remembers that we are dust.

          Unrealistic expectations can cause a world of hurt. When fathers expect their children to do something they are not capable of it frustrates the children, hurts them, makes them feel unloved. Fathers are not to do that. That’s what God meant when He said, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children, instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” God doesn’t do that with us. He doesn’t have unrealistic expectations. Now wait a minute you might be thinking. Doesn’t He demand that we live perfectly? That’s unrealistic. Yes, He does expect and deserve perfect obedience from us. But remember what He also did. He demands perfect obedience but that gave it to us by having Jesus live in place. We have His obedience. And for our sins, so that He could separate them from as far as the east is from the west, He punished Jesus in our place. This is a perfectly loving Father who does not exasperate His children.

          He knows you and me as we really are. Oh, we can come in here with our brave faces and give the standard answer, “Fine” to the expected question, “How are you doing?” but the reality is every single one of us here is broken. We are not fine. We are dust. We have weakness in trust. We have thoughts and deeds we are ashamed of and are glad other people don’t know about. But God knows. We put up a good front like we have it all together but inwardly we face often daily the gut rot of “How do I handle this one?” And God knows. He loves. He watches. He’s like dad running behind his daughter as she rides that bike without training wheels for the first time, letting her go free and feel the scares of a tippy bike but keeping her from any real danger, even though she doesn’t know it of feel like it. God is filled with compassion, a deep care that hurts when we hurt, is joyful over our success, always there when we need Him, sad when we choose to live without Him. You know, a perfect Father.

          Now what does this have to do with prayer? It’s motivation. God wants you to know that He is your Father by Creation, by Redemption and by Compassion so that you will pray to him a lot. So that you will pray to Him about everything, big things in life, like sickness or finances and little things like skinned knees and lost phones. He wants you to know that His answer whether it looks like yes or no always comes from love. He wants you to know that whether your earthly father was good or bad with His picture, you can always count on Him and He will always love you. He is your Father in Heaven. Amen.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May 27-29, 2017 Pastor Timothy J. Spaude Text: John 15:9-17 “REMEMBER TO REMAIN IN CHRIST’S LOVE!”


EASTER 7

May 27-29, 2017

Pastor Timothy J. Spaude

Text: John 15:9-17



“REMEMBER TO REMAIN IN CHRIST’S LOVE!”

1.     It’s what He chose you for.

2.     It’s seen in loving obedience.



John 15:9-17 (NIV 1984) “As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Now remain in My love. 10If you obey My commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have obeyed My Father’s commands and remain in His love. 11I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14You are My friends if you do what I command. 15I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from My Father I have made known to you. 16You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in My name. 17This is My command: Love each other.”



          Originally it was called Decoration Day, this day we know as Memorial Day. Back in 1868 a group of veterans from the Union Army during the Civil War located in Decatur Illinois established a day for people to decorate the gravesites of Union soldiers who had died in the war. People would turn out in droves bringing flowers and other decorations, remembering those who had died. Eventually some other similar observances merged to become a national holiday. Memorial Day. Did you know that in the year 2000 Congress passed the National Moment of Remembrance Act? It’s true. Now at 3 PM on Memorial Day all Americans are asked to stop what they are doing and to take a moment to remember those who died so we can enjoy freedom. I wonder why that was done. Do you suppose it’s because leaders in our country realized that too many Americans were not remembering? That for them Memorial Day had just become another paid holiday with a picnic if the weather is nice but too many were not remembering? You see, Memorial Day is a call to remember those who gave their lives for us.    In the words of Jesus before us today we also hear a call to remember the one who gave His life for all. Jesus calls on us to remember to remain in His love. And just like we need to as Americans check how well we are remembering those who died for our country, as Christians we need to check how well we are remembering to remain in Christ’s love.

Why? It’s what you were chosen for. Jesus said, “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from My Father I have made known to you. 16You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in My name.” Jesus spoke these words to His disciples as they were gathered in the Upper Room on Maundy Thursday when Jesus was betrayed. He wanted them to know things were going to be different. Their relationship would different. He called them His friends. Jesus has the right to call those who follow Him anything He wants but He chooses the word friends. Why? It gets to the heart of the matter, the age old question of why you do the things that you do. Because you have to or because you want to? Servants or slaves do what they are told because they have to. Now think of how it is with a friend. Have you ever had a friend who needed you? Was it a burden to help them, or a privilege? You know.

So is the way we live our lives for Jesus. It is our sinful nature that looks at God’s commands as burdensome. It is the inborn selfishness that chooses self over others. We all know how good it feels to get chosen for a position or a promotion. Just like He chose His disciples Jesus has chosen you and me. We didn’t decide to be loved by Jesus. We didn’t choose to be in His love. He chose us as friends. Friends of the King of kings and Lord of Lords. He picked us to be his own and appointed us to bear fruit that will last that means to do things that will have results lasting all the way to eternity.

How does that happen? When we remain in Christ’s love by obeying His commands. “As the Father has loved Me, so have I loved you. Now remain in My love. 10If you obey My commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have obeyed My Father’s commands and remain in His love. 11I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14You are My friends if you do what I command. 17This is My command: Love each other.” Twice Jesus says it. “As I have…” As I have obeyed my Father. As I have loved you. He’s drawing our attention to the way we obey and the way we love so that we remain in His love. How did Jesus obey the Father? Perfectly probably jumps to your mind first and right there you are saying, “Well that’s not going to happen.” We know that no matter how hard we try the sinful nature even in us Christians is so strong we are not capable of perfect obedience. The only reason we are perfect in God’s eyes is because Jesus gives us His obedience. But there is another way that Jesus obeyed the Father that you and I can do. Willingly.

Children, I know that sometimes you struggle to obey your parents. And sometimes the only reason you obey them is so you don’t get in trouble, so that you don’t get punished. Did you know that doesn’t really make your parents happy? Sure they are glad that you obeyed but they don’t really enjoy forcing you. Do you know what makes them happy? Ask them. It’s when you obey willingly, because you want to without getting threatened. When you smile and say OK mommy. OK daddy. Just like Jesus said to His Father. Here I am. I have come to do your will. Not my will but yours be done. That’s love based obedience. And that’s a sign that we are remembering to stay in Christ’s love. Willing obedience. And we can do that because Jesus first loved us.

 And what to obey isn’t really hard to figure out either. “Love each other. As I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” That takes us back to Memorial Day doesn’t it? The history books are full of the true stories of soldiers who lay down their lives for their friends, who jumped on the grenade to protect the rest, who went through murderous machine gun fire to rescue an injured comrade. When you read about their heroic actions or see it replayed on TV or as a movie you easily recognize the honor of sacrificial love. As one chosen by Jesus you are uniquely equipped to see much more. You see a picture of Jesus. That’s how He loved us. He lay down His life for us.

His followers do the same. The Bible showed us the Deliverer Samson giving his life to free his people from the idol worshipping Philistines and Stephen trustingly giving his life for Jesus. Now we probably are not going to get opportunities or be asked to give our lives for each other but we certainly can live our lives for each other. Part of that is easy to figure out. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. How do you want to be treated? But Jesus adds something here. “Love each other as I have loved you,” said Jesus. Jesus cared about where we would spend our eternal lives. He gave Himself not for our perceived needs of food for our bellies and healing for our diseases. He gave Himself for our eternal needs. That’s how we show we are remaining in Christ’s love, caring about the eternal needs of others. Don’t get me wrong. Helping with physical needs is great. You’ve responded to food drives and clothing drives and shoe drives. You help each other with rides and meals when there is need. “As I have loved you,” said Jesus. “Fruit that will last,” said Jesus. When you pray for each other’s spiritual needs, when you have the Jesus talk with the family member, when you give offerings to proclaim Christ here or through missions, that’s fruit that will last. That’s loving others as we’ve been loved by Christ. It shows we are remaining in Christ’s love.

So what do you think you will do at 3 PM on Monday? Will you remember to remember? More importantly what will you do with the words of God we have heard? Remember. Remember to remain in Christ’s love. Amen.

Monday, May 1, 2017

April 29-May1, 2017 Pastor Timothy J. Spaude Text: 1 Peter 1:17-21 “YOU DON’T BELONG HERE!”


EASTER 3

April 29-May1, 2017

Pastor Timothy J. Spaude

Text: 1 Peter 1:17-21



“YOU DON’T BELONG HERE!”

                                      1. So Live Your Lives in Reverent Fear.

                                      2. You’ve Been Redeemed.

                                      3. Your Faith and Hope are in God.



1 Peter 1:17-21 (NIV 1984) “Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear. 18For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, 19but with the precious blood of Christ, a Lamb without blemish or defect. 20He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21Through Him you believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and glorified Him, and so your faith and hope are in God.”



          You. Don’t. Belong. Here. Those are four words. The tone with which you say them makes a big difference. “You don’t belong here!” are mean words when they are said to exclude a person from a playground game or planned sleepover. “You don’t belong here!” are loving words spoken by a mom scooping up a child whose crawling toward danger. It just matters how you say it. Through the Apostle Peter God says those four words to us today. You don’t belong here. How does He mean them? Let’s find out.

          “Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.” We call on a father who judges impartially. God doesn’t play favorites. With these words Peter reminds us that lip service to God does not cut it and never will. God did not put up with the lip service of the Jewish people even though His Son would be born from them. When they drew close to God with their lips but their hearts were far from Him God didn’t put up with it. Do you remember how they did that? Made sure they got to church each Sabbath but once they left the stole from each other and had no mercy. How would it look among us? Coming to church and then leaving only to curse at the guy who pulls out ahead of you in the parking lot or street. Worshipping God here, calling on His name for help, but then living the rest of the week with me in charge, giving no time to God, His word and prayer.

          Instead we are urged to live in reverent fear. There is a lot of fear mongering going on these days. And so you might find yourself fearing what North Korea is doing or Syria. You might fear growing crime. Maybe you fear how you will be treated as a Christian who holds to God’s Word and God’s morals in a country that more and more does not. Reverent fear is different. It means living with a desire for God’s approval and a fear of disappointing Him. Reverent fear happens when we hear God’s voice in our heads and our hearts saying “You don’t belong here looking at things that cause you to lust. You don’t belong here breaking up someone’s marriage by flirting with their spouse. You don’t belong here harming your body with drugs. You don’t belong here in this facebook post, chat room or Instagram/twitter feed that uses filthy language or is mean and derogatory.” You don’t’ belong in those places because you don’t belong here in a world filled with sin. Heaven is your home.

          Why? You are a redeemed child of God. “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, 19but with the precious blood of Christ, a Lamb without blemish or defect. 20He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.” You don’t belong here, you aren’t really a part of this world because you’ve been redeemed with the precious blood of Christ. To redeem means to buy back. They don’t seem to be real popular up here but down south there are pawn shops everywhere. If you need a little extra money you bring an item. They give you money. If you did that with something special to you, if you want your guitar or video game system back you have to buy it back. Not by God’s choosing but because Adam and Eve chose to sin they and we and all people were lost to Him. We pawned ourselves to the devil through sin. But God wanted us back. He wants us with Him in heaven. So He redeemed us. Even though God owns this entire world there is nothing in it that could pay the price so God paid the ultimate. Jesus. He came. He lived. He suffered Hell. He died. We are bought back. At the time Peter wrote this he acknowledged that the Old Testament believers didn’t know the whole story but New Testament believers like us do. It’s been revealed.

          And now we don’t belong here. We’ve been redeemed from an empty way of life. The empty way of life for people at Peter’s time included Jewish people whose religion was just a formality, a ritual. They went to church every Sabbath, they brought their tithe, they adhered to an outward keeping of the 10 Commandments but it was done just because that’s the way it was. It included Gentiles who tried to keep all their many gods happy knowing that in the end the Fates would decide what would happen to them. Today there are all kinds of empty ways of living. Think of a worker who hates his job, drudges through, gets home, falls asleep in front of the TV waking up to eat and go to bed, living for the weekend when a case of beer will make it seem bearable. Think of the teens who feel so empty only the drug high makes life bearable. Think of the millions who live to surround themselves with things only to realize to late that things don’t bring happiness. You don’t belong here says God. I’ve redeemed you. Heaven is your home. Because the tomb is empty your life is full. You get to live storing up treasures for heaven. You get to treat things as things. You get to have your  God sized heart hole filled with God. You don’t belong here.

          Your faith and hope are in God. “Through Him you believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and glorified Him, and so your faith and hope are in God.” Think of all the phrases or mottos that talk about believing. “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. - Eleanor Roosevelt

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. – Buddha. Think of how many sports teams urge on their fan base with sayings like “You just gotta believe!” But see there’s this thing about belief. It’s only as good as what you believe in. Did you believe the Bucks would advance in the playoffs? Why didn’t they? Because you didn’t believe enough? No, they couldn’t deliver. I can believe all I want that I have the ability to fly but if I jumped off of a high rise building I would find my trust in myself misplaced. I can believe with all my heart that a board will hold my weight as I step on it to cross a narrow canyon but if it is not strong enough I will fall no matter how hard or how sincerely I believe. We don’t belong here, trusting in things or people that will inevitably let us down.

          Your faith and hope are in God. He has the power to deliver anything. Go back to Easter. God raised Jesus from the dead. He has the power to do anything. So you don’t belong here getting your hope and confidence from how much money you have saved up. You don’t belong here only being happy when things seem to be going well and getting all down and worried when you have to face obstacles or challenges or dealing with sickness and death. You don’t belong here letting your inner peace be robbed by countries and politicians behaving badly. Your faith and hope are in God who has promised never to leave you nor forsake you. Who has promised to work all things for the good. Who disciplines those He loves.  Your faith and hope are in God who gives us back our dead so you can look forward to the life to come in our real home where the peace, joy and happiness never wavers or gets robbed because we forget where we belong.

          Because, brothers and sister, you don’t belong here and neither do I. God says that us in love. He saw before the Creation of the world that it would not be the perfect place he intended. He knew we wouldn’t belong here. So from the start He planned and carried out our salvation. He committed Himself to paying the price of His Son. The next time you see a believer dying or are gathering at their funeral, remember what really happened. God said, “Shh! You don’t belong here with hurts in your heart and a body that is failing. It’s time to come home.” And until that day happens for you live in such a way that shows, you don’t belong here. Amen.