Monday, June 24, 2019

June 22-24, 2019 Pastor Timothy J. Spaude Text: Luke 7:1-10 "JESUS IS AMAZED!"


PENTECOST 2

June 22-24, 2019

Pastor Timothy J. Spaude

Text: Luke 7:1-10



"JESUS IS AMAZED!"

1. When God’s people grasp grace.

2. When God’s people accept His authority.



Luke 7:1-10 (NIV) "When Jesus had finished saying all this in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. 2There a centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. 3The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. 4When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, “This man deserves to have you do this, 5because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” 6So Jesus went with them. He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. 7That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 9When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” 10Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well."



          I still remember the first book I ever paid money for. I was an avid reader as a kid and mostly read whatever books my older brother was reading. I’d make weekly trips to the library to find more. But somehow an ad for a book so grabbed me that I had to part with hard earned cash to get it. It was called, “Strange stories and amazing facts.” And it was good. All sorts of short articles about true things that had my head spinning and eyes wide. I don’t think I’m the only one who likes to be amazed though. On our recent trip to the Smoky Mountains Chris and I went through Gatlinburg which is a lot like the Wisconsin Dells with the same sort of attractions like Ripley’s Believe It or Not and the Guinness World Records and many more and I remembered downtown San Antonio has those same things. People like to be amazed. I don’t know how it works for you but in order for something to amaze me it has to be something I can’t do or don’t understand. Now in God’s Word before us it tells us Jesus was amazed. That grabs our attention. There is nothing that Jesus can’t do. There is nothing beyond His understanding. What amazes Him?

          First Jesus is amazed when God’s people grasp God’s grace. Often, they do not. If you have your Bibles open to Luke’s Gospel you see that Jesus had just finished preaching what’s known as His “Sermon on the Plain.” The content is similar to His Sermon on the Mount. The location is different. He’s in Galilee by the city of Capernaum which served as His home base when he was up north. The Roman government’s presence in that city was in the form of a garrison of soldiers led by a centurion. From what Luke tells us it’s clear this centurion had converted to Old Testament Christianity and was also waiting for the Messiah and believed Jesus was that Messiah. But he had a problem. His servant was sick to the point of death. We can see how the Gospel had changed this man. Many centurions would not care about their servants this way. Most centurions would not have given money to build a synagogue.

          It’s not really surprising then that the God fearing people of Capernaum who knew him reacted as they did. “The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. 4When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, “This man deserves to have you do this, 5because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” 6So Jesus went with them.”  Did you pick out why the church leaders felt Jesus should help the centurion? He deserved it. Why did he deserve it? Because of the good things he had done. Now this is a very normal way of thinking, even for the people of God who know better. We judge people based on the only things we can. What they say and what they do. People who do nice things, especially nice things for us are good people. People who murder and steal and have no respect for others’ well being or property are bad people. Good people deserve good things. Bad people deserve bad. And while that makes a natural law kind of sense person to person it does not with God.

          To be a good person before God you must be a perfect person. And unless you are a perfect person the only thing you deserve or earn from God is a one way ticket to Hell. That’s why we are so thankful God has revealed He acts on the basis of grace. Grace is God’s undeserved love. It can’t be earned. So when we say or more likely think, “Well Grandma deserves to be healed of her cancer, she is such a good person,” we are showing we aren’t grasping grace. When we see a faithful believer continuing to have struggles in their lives and we say or think, “Well, that’s not really fair, God,” we are showing we aren’t really grasping grace. And when we do that our Almighty God would be well within His rights to say, “Hello, McFly, what part of undeserved don’t you understand?”

          But we can, understand. We can grasp grace. The centurion did. Look at his response. “Jesus (He) was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. 7That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you.” There’s a man who grasps grace. “I’m not worthy. I do not deserve. I want your help, Lord. I need your help, Lord. But I don’t deserve it.” And Jesus was amazed.

          He was also amazed at this believer’s acceptance of authority. “But say the word, and my servant will be healed. 8For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” 9When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” 10Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well." We are Americans. We value independence and freedom. We don’t live under a governing system where any one man has absolute authority. That may be why American Christians struggle so much with the Bible’s teaching on authority. A good definition that I’ve heard of authority is this. The right to have the final say so. And that definition really fits with something that amazed Jesus. This centurion’s faith. It enabled him to accept Jesus’ authority in his life. “Just say the word. If you say so Jesus. I’m just a centurion and I make things happen by saying so. You are Jesus, the Christ. Just say so and it will happen.” And Jesus was amazed.

          Brothers and sisters, you know what I find amazing here? That you and I have the ability to amaze Jesus. He can do anything. He knows everything. And we can amaze Him? Yes. How? Like the centurion when in faith we take Jesus at His word. You know that’s really what faith is, taking Jesus at His word no matter what these eyes see or don’t see. When you listen to people talk their god talk and their religion talk these days a lot of times you just have to shake your head and say, “You’re just thinking too hard.” Just take the Lord at His word. Not only does that make your relationship with God so much simpler it amazes Jesus. Some examples. When all the nice sounding arguments on why same sex marriages or relationships are all right start to hammer at your moral compass how simple to say well that’s wrong because God says so. When seemingly scientific arguments support the idol of evolution how simple to say the world was created because God says so. When you feel like a spiritual failure because you fell into that pet sin again and Satan makes you feel unforgiven how nice to say I am forgiven because God says so. When the wisdom, mercy and love of God leads Him to allow a difficulty in your life, especially the kind that make your heart hurt so you don’t feel loved or that all things really will work for the good how nice to tell your thoughts they are wrong, God does love you and will work this for the good. You know why? Because God says so.

          That’s faith. Simply taking God at His word, accepting His authority over us and all. And you know what’s really cool about this? As we let grace be grace and simply take God at His word, Jesus is amazed. With the Spirit’s blessing may Jesus enjoy reading the books about our lives. Amen.

Monday, June 3, 2019

June 1-3, 2019 Pastor Timothy J. Spaude Text: John 17:20-26 “WHAT JESUS PRAYS FOR”


EASTER 7

June 1-3, 2019

Pastor Timothy J. Spaude

Text: John 17:20-26



“WHAT JESUS PRAYS FOR”

1.     Unity

2.     Glory

3.     Love



Sermon Text:   John 17:20-26 (NIV 1984) “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me. 22I have given them the glory that You gave Me, that they may be one as we are one: 23I in them and You in Me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me. 24“Father, I want those You have given Me to be with Me where I am, and to see My glory, the glory You have given Me because You loved Me before the creation of the world. 25“Righteous Father, though the world does not know You, I know You, and they know that You have sent Me. 26I have made You known to them, and will continue to make You known in order that the love You have for Me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”



          This past Thursday we once again celebrated the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ. In one sense it seems to be an odd thing to celebrate…Jesus visibly leaving. But when you understand that Jesus ascended because His saving mission was completed and that He continues to serve His Church in spectacular ways you understand why it’s something to celebrate. One of those ways is as our intercessor. Jesus intercedes on behalf of the Church for its good. He prays for us. As one verse of the great Easter hymn “I know that my Redeemer lives” puts it, “He lives to plead for me above.” That leads to a question. What does Jesus pray for? Many years ago a fad swept our country that I don’t think would fly any more. WWJD. Do you remember? It stands for What Would Jesus Do and was meant to help Christians think about their actions and decisions. While it could certainly be done right as a guide, kind of like love your neighbor as you love yourself, soon, if you recall, it got ridiculous. People started to ask questions like what would Jesus drive insinuating if you were a real Christian you would only drive an environmentally friendly car and what stores would Jesus shop at and would he really buy a coffee that came from a country where the governments were not democracies on and on it went into silliness. Some Christians shot back with WDJD.  That stands for What Did Jesus Do as they correctly pointed out that more important than what we do is what Jesus did for us. That’s true. What we do is important in that it serves Jesus and shows Him love but nothing we do gets us to heaven. Nothing saves us. What Jesus did does. With that background I would normally hesitate to answer a question like what would Jesus pray for except that the Bible tells us. The portion of God’s Word we are looking at comes from what is known as Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer. It’s part of the extended prayer He prayed in the Upper Room with His disciples the night He was betrayed. As Jesus intercedes for us today we know what Jesus prays for. We see His prayer priorities.

          First of all, unity. “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me. 22I have given them the glory that You gave Me, that they may be one as we are one: 23I in them and You in Me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me.” We know what Jesus prays for as here He clearly says He is praying for all who will believe. He prays for unity among all believers. There is one Lord Jesus Christ. There is one Bible. It makes sense there should be only one Christian church on earth. Sadly we know there are several thousand different church bodies with differing teachings. What happened? The Devil did. Sinful natures did. The Devil knows the strategy of divide and conquer. The sinful nature of man never likes being told what to do or the way it is. From the beginning sinful people have felt free to substitute what they think for what God says. False teaching when it is tolerated spreads and grows and divides. Some have suggested that the way to achieve the unity Jesus prays for is to overlook doctrinal differences and ignore them and let people believe whatever they want about how the world began or what marriage is or what good Baptism does. But that’s not the unity Jesus prays for. “May they be one as we are one.” Jesus and the Father never agree to disagree. The Son submits to the Father and they are one. So how do you get unity? Jesus has told us. “Sanctify them the truth. Your word is truth. If you hold to my teachings you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” Brothers and sisters, we get to be part of the answer to Jesus’ prayer. As we devote to God’s word and submit our opinions and wants to what God says and demand that all Christians worldwide do the same and refuse to join with them until they do we are working for what Jesus prays for. Unity. Real Unity.

          Jesus also prays for glory. “Father, I want those You have given Me to be with Me where I am, and to see My glory, the glory You have given Me because You loved Me before the creation of the world.” Jesus prays for you to have the glory of heaven and to see Him in all His glory. What that full glory is we can only speculate but it’s important that you know Jesus is praying for you to have it and to see it and that He has already done everything needed so you will get it. It’s important that you know that because now following Jesus will not be filled with glory nor does it look like Jesus has glory. When people use the name of Jesus Christ as a curse word or words of anger and are not immediately struck dead for blasphemy He doesn’t look very glorious. When the visible Christian church declines you will wonder about the glory. When Christians try to stay faithful to Christ’s teaching and get ridiculed or shunned is marginalized it will not feel very glorious. But the glory is coming. My dad had many sayings. One oft repeated one to us boys was “Work first, then play.” He was teaching us priorities and responsibility. Do the work, the hard part first. Then have fun. Jesus’ prayer reminds us of the same. Struggle first, then glory. Live in the sin messed world for a short time and then have glory forever. Jesus prays for you to have it and so you will.

          And Jesus also prays for you to have love. “Righteous Father, though the world does not know You, I know You, and they know that You have sent Me. 26I have made You known to them, and will continue to make You known in order that the love You have for Me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” Jesus prays for the love of the Father to be in us. This is not what passes for love for so many people which is like as long as you are pleasing me or tolerate sin and say nothing. It’s the Father’s love. A commitment love. A caring for the needs of other love. It’s important that we have it. Not only did Jesus say that if we hold to his teachings we are really his disciples. He also said, “By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Listen to what He had the Apostle John write in his first epistle.  Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” If we love one another—God lives in us. Look for those ways to care for another’s needs, to forgive, to sacrifice. That’s the love of the Father.

          I certainly have no desire to add more alphabet soup. I’m not suggesting that in addition to WWJD and WDJD that we have WIJPF. I do want you to know that Jesus prays for you and that His prayer priorities are unity, glory and love. Then as we dedicate ourselves to those priorities we find that we get to be an answer to Jesus’ prayers. Amen.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

May 11-13, 2019 Pastor Timothy J. Spaude Text: Isaiah 40:9-11 “BEST SHEPHERD EVER!”


EASTER 4

GOOD SHEPHERD SUNDAY

May 11-13, 2019

Pastor Timothy J. Spaude

Text: Isaiah 40:9-11





“BEST SHEPHERD EVER!”

1.     The most powerful Shepherd ever.

2.     The most loving Shepherd ever.



Isaiah 40:9-11 (NIV 1984) “You who bring good tidings to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!” 10See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power, and His arm rules for Him. See, His reward is with Him, and His recompense accompanies Him. 11He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young.”



          May means graduation season according to the American education system. It’s also the time when yearbooks are handed out. Do you still have yours? I’m not sure if all high schools do this but mine did as did the one my girls went to. It’s called senior superlatives. The class would vote and the yearbook would list the senior with the bestest or mostest. Like Most Likely to Succeed. Or Best Smile. I suppose at St. Jacobi we could have pastor superlatives and so Pastor Waldschmidt would get tallest pastor at St. Jacobi which of course means I would get pastor with the most hair. I think. And there you realize that the importance of a superlative is really dependent on the size and quality of the people in the pool. And that’s what makes a Savior superlative we observe today so awe inspiring. The pool is everyone who ever has or will live and the superlative we celebrate today on Good Shepherd Sunday with all eyes on Jesus is this: Best Shepherd ever!!

          Truly all eyes need to be on Jesus. I have a direct command from God to make that happen. Did you catch it? Things were not really all that easy for believers at the time of the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah had the privilege of announcing that what was left of the once great nation of Israel, the southern kingdom called Judah, would be destroyed and most of the people carried into exile into Babylon as punishment for the rampant idolatry. As you can imagine the relatively few believers left in Judah were a little down in the mouth about what was to come. So God had Isaiah give instructions to their pastors, often called prophets. “You who bring good tidings to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!” No need for God’s people to be down. Look up, not down, was the message. Here is your God.

          Same thing today. Jacobi. Here is your God. The best Shepherd Ever. Picturing the Savior God, picturing Jesus as the Good Shepherd is not new. God uses the picture throughout the Bible. Think of that 23rd Psalm. Think of Ezekiel 34 and John 10. Shepherds take care of sheep. God’s people are like a flock of sheep and lambs. They need care. Jesus provides it. What makes Him the best Shepherd ever? Isaiah tells us. First He is the most powerful Shepherd ever. “See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power, and His arm rules for Him. See, His reward is with Him, and His recompense accompanies Him.” How often is fear the reason you do the things that you do? How often does fear prevent you from doing what you want to do? Fear is a powerful motivator. The believers at Isaiah’s time were dealing with fears. What would happen to them when Babylon attacked? What would happen to their families, their children in the long march to exile? What good did it do to be a believer if you got caught up in the punishment of  the unbeliever? We face fears. What’s the outcome of this political nastiness for our country? How bad will the anti Christian sentiment get? What will it be like for the kids and grandkids? Will our retirement savings last? Will he get better? Fear.

          Jacobi, here is your God. All eyes on Jesus. Fear is not your master. The most powerful Shepherd ever is. He’s the Sovereign Lord which means He’s in charge. His arm ruling means He’s in control. He comes with power. Isaiah’s people did not need to fear because God’s power was for them. If you are on the other side of God then be afraid. As our nation observes Mother’s Day and still we allow the legal murder of babies called abortion I wonder what will happen on the day of Judgment when the baby hitmen doctors stand before the Good Shepherd, the best Shepherd ever, the most powerful Shepherd, and He asks, “And why did you think you could slaughter my lambs for money?” I have recompense with me and it is time for payback.” It also makes you think, mom and dad, do you really want to teach the lambs in your care that worshiping the Good Shepherd weekly isn’t that important? Do you really think that lovingly prepares them for eternity? Do you want to stand before the most powerful shepherd ever and say, “I thought their short lived grade school sports career was more important?”

          How much better to be on His side and know that no matter what happens the Best Shepherd ever has all power and uses it for your good? How much better to know that when conquest happens, like it did for Isaiah’s people, or setback like it does for us that there is purpose and reason guided by the Best Shepherd ever. Oh yeah, and that, “What good does it do to be a believer anyway?” Did you hear what He said? His reward is with Him and His recompense accompanies Him. No one who has trusted in the Lord has ever been put to shame. No one who has sought first the kingdom of God and His righteousness has been left hanging. No one who has forsaken others to follow Christ has been forsaken by Christ. Jesus has promised that those who do His work on earth will never lose that reward. Remember that mom when you are caring for the lambs and they kick you in the teeth or disciplining is hard and wearisome or teaching the kids to listen in worship seems to rob you or your own. You’ve got the best Shepherd ever, the most powerful shepherd ever and He knows full well how to take care of His sheep.

          And the Best Shepherd ever, who happens to be the most powerful Shepherd ever, is at the very same time the most loving Shepherd ever. Jacobi, here is your God! “He tends His flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young.” While sadly, we too often, let fear motivate us only one thing motivates the best Shepherd ever. Love. Love for you. For me. For all people. There is supposed to be no greater or more sacrificial love than that shown by mothers to their children. That’s why even though it’s not fair, Mothers Day is a bigger Hallmark holiday than Fathers day. For some Mother’s day is a hard day because you miss your mother who loved you dearly as she is in heaven. For some it’s a hard day because a sinful mom failed you. For some moms it’s a great day because they get some attention, props and presents. Later in the week when you are taken for granted—again, you’ll wonder if you are still appreciated. You are by the best Shepherd ever. He is the most loving Shepherd ever. He loves you.

          There is a reason that pictures of Jesus as the Good Shepherd are so dear to Christians. Pictures like these. They help us visualize the most loving shepherd ever. He takes special care of those who have young. Remember that, mom, when you feel things are going badly. If the Shepherd used his staff to give you a yank or trip you up it’s only because he loves you and is saving you from something harmful. Remember that when your kids are growing up and you need to let go. He won’t. He’s the best shepherd ever. Here’s a picture some of you may have not seen. You notice who He’s carrying? The black sheep of the family. Now who are you thinking of? Hopefully yourself. We all like to stray. And what does the the best Shepherd ever do? He carries us close to His heart. Special individual care.

          And then when the time came for the price to be paid, when someone needed to carry all sin to the cross, when there was no other way for sin to be paid except through the shedding of blood, the best Shepherd ever didn’t offer up any of His sheep or lambs. He didn’t say, “Hey, here’s ___________________. How about we sacrifice him?” No instead the shepherd became the sheep, the Lamb of God whose death makes me His own. You know what you have to say to that? Best shepherd ever. Jesus. Amen.

Monday, April 22, 2019

April 21-22, 2019 Pastor Timothy J. Spaude Text: Luke 24:1-12 (NIV 1984) THREE WORDS OF TRUTH He Has Risen!


EASTER

April 21-22, 2019

Pastor Timothy J. Spaude

Text: Luke 24:1-12 (NIV 1984)


THREE WORDS OF TRUTH

He Has Risen!



Luke 24:1-12 (NIV 1984)  On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6He is not here; He has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” 8Then they remembered his words. 9When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.”



          Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Dear friends in Christ, Friday before the first service I was here at church just a little early to make sure all looked nice when a very nice lady came out of the bathroom. She was here quite early so I welcomed her and told her she had the pick of the seats. That’s when she said to me, “Thank you and I saw your dad.” Now of course I was a little puzzled because my dad has been in heaven for ten years now so I asked, “Really where?” He was getting out of the blue car. “Ah!” I said, “so you saw Pastor Waldschmidt!” As you can imagine I was just bursting with joy. I couldn’t wait to tell Pastor the good news that he had been mistaken for—my dad!” What I really can’t wait to do is tell you the good news of Easter with three words of truth. He has risen! Those of you who have been able to be here throughout the season of Lent and during Holy Week know that we have been following a series called Three Words of Truth. Each service has focused on three words of truth from the Passion History of Jesus that have given meaning and comfort to our lives. Today is no different. Three words of truth spoken by angels provide the Easter message in a nutshell: He has risen!

          I’m sure all of you saw an image of it and many of you watched it live on TV, the burning of the cathedral of Notre Dame. Not everyone cares about old buildings and cathedrals in the same way but can you imagine what that must have been like for those who do, for the people of Paris? As smoke filled the sky and word began to spread there must have been a collective, “No way! It can’t be!” And then when the truth became evident a sadness at the reality. The next day would be for them one of those “I just got punched in the gut” days. The news was devastating. So it must have been for the women on the way to Jesus’ tomb that first Easter morning. Everything had happened so fast. Jesus had come to Jerusalem and was welcomed in on Palm Sunday like a king! What joy and happiness there was for the followers of Jesus. The week had gone by as expected as they prepared to celebrate the Passover. On Thursday the women had heard that Jesus was observing the Passover with the disciples. The next thing they must have heard was that Jesus was arrested and crowd was gathering at the Roman governor’s palace and they were calling for Jesus to be killed. What! Wait! No way! This can’t be happening. But it was. So they followed Jesus as He carried His cross out of the city. They watched him nailed to the cross. They saw the cross hoisted in position. They heard the seven sayings. They saw Jesus die. In grief and shock they returned to their homes prevented by Sabbath day rules from getting Jesus’ body ready for burial. They would change that as soon as they could.

          On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.” I’ve always imagined that as a quiet walk there. What do you talk about? Let’s just get this over with. But God had other plans. Jesus’ body was not there. You know how it goes. You come up with all the reasonable explanations that you can. His enemies had stolen the body. Maybe Joseph of Arimathea changed his mind about letting Jesus have his tomb and move it elsewhere. But there was no reasonable explanation. “While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6He is not here; He has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” 8Then they remembered his words.” Three words of truth. He has risen!

          Three words of truth gave these women the power to believe everything Jesus has said. Do you think they had a “duh” moment? You know one of those where you go, “What was I thinking? I should have known that!” It was true. They should have. Jesus had told them ahead of time everything that would happen. And it happened just like He said. He was delivered, crucified and raised back to life. Now can we really blame them? All of that would have been hard to believe. But He did it. He has risen. And since He did that they and we can believe everything Jesus says. When Jesus says, “Your sins are forgiven!” you can believe him even if you still feel guilty because He has risen. Whatever He says is true. When He says, “Whoever believes in me will live even though He dies,” and you are standing before the casket of your loved you can believe Him. It’s true. He has risen. When He says He is with us always no matter what we are going through to the end of the age you can believe Him. He has risen. And when He says He will come back for you, believe Him. He has risen.

          Those same three words of truth fill our lives with hope. The people who love the cathedral of Notre Dame hope it can be saved and restored. Will it? Structural analysis needs to be done. A billion dollars has been pledged—but not given. Time will tell. Hope built on Jesus is different. You know the help is coming. You just don’t know when. Peter would experience that on Easter.  “When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.” Poor Peter. His last personal interaction with Jesus had been the eye contact in the courtyard after the third time Peter had with swears denied even knowing his good friend Jesus. If only, if only he could have another chance. Could it be true? He ran to find out. He hoped so. He didn’t see Jesus right then but he did later. He has risen. Jesus. I’m sure he was hoping to make amends for his denial. He got better than he was hoping for. Jesus picked Peter to work for Him. Can you relate? Ever said something you wish you hadn’t? Do you sometimes live in the world of shoulda, woulda, coulda, didn’t? He has risen. You have hope. The fix might not happen when you want it and how you want it but with Jesus it will happen. In the book of Revelation Jesus told us to look forward to this, “Behold, I am making everything new. Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true!” It is possible that you may have to live your whole life with some regrets over things you have said and done. You may have to live with the consequences of some sins you have committed. You may have to struggle with certain sinful desires until the day you die. But it will end. Jesus lives and when He comes again He will make you and everything new. I can guarantee it because of three words of truth that I’ve been bursting with joy to tell you. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Amen.

Monday, April 8, 2019

April 6-8, 2019 Pastor Timothy J. Spaude Text: Isaiah 43:16-21 “YOU AIN’T SEEN NOTHING YET!”


LENT 5

April 6-8, 2019

Pastor Timothy J. Spaude

Text: Isaiah 43:16-21



“YOU AIN’T SEEN NOTHING YET!”

1.     Dwell on God’s Promises not the past.

2.     Remember your purpose.



Isaiah 43:16-21 (EHV) “This is what the LORD says, who makes a road through the sea and a path through mighty waters, 17who brings out the chariot and the horses, the army and the strong warrior. They will all lie down together. They will not get up. They are extinguished. Like a wick they go out. 18Do not remember the former things. Do not keep thinking about ancient things. 19Watch, I am about to do a new thing. Now it will spring up. Don’t you know about it? Indeed I will make a road in the wilderness. In the wasteland I will make rivers. 20The wild animals, the jackals and ostriches, will honor me, because I am providing water in the wilderness, rivers in a parched wasteland, to provide water for my chosen people to drink. 21This people that I formed for myself will declare my praise.”



          Now for all you English grammarians out there let’s get this out of the way. I know. I know ain’t ain’t a word in proper English. But it is in American English and the well know phrase that serves as our theme so I’m going to keep using it! You ain’t seen nothing yet! That’s what God’s word urges us to hold on to and to help you remember that I want to show you something. This used to be one of my prize possessions. It represents and proclaims the high school state championship that my team won in 1984. As I said it used to be a prized possession. Now it is a work jacket. It is dirty. It has holes. And while I don’t totally agree, Chris says it smells and should go. I think not because I still like it—as a work jacket. What happened? Why don’t I care anymore? Well at the time in life when I first got this jacket that championship was important to me. So were my other sports trophies. But as I’ve gotten older I’ve gotten better trophies. A trophy wife, trophy children and you are my trophies. You matter to me. Old victories don’t. Something better does.

          In a similar but much more important way the Holy Spirit through the prophet Isaiah calls on all God’s people to dwell on God’s promises, not the past. He said, “This is what the LORD says, who makes a road through the sea and a path through mighty waters, 17who brings out the chariot and the horses, the army and the strong warrior. They will all lie down together. They will not get up. They are extinguished. Like a wick they go out.” Those of you who are in the Sunday morning Bible Class know exactly what this is talking about. It’s alluding to the time when God parted the Red Sea so the Israelites could walk through on dry ground and then when the Egyptian army pursued them God let the waters flow and they all drowned. Can you imagine what that must have been like to see? You are walking on what minutes ago was a muddy river bed covered over by water with walls of water on either side of you miraculously held at bay. Then when you are out and this fleet of that time’s tanks called chariots is bearing down on you and all of the sudden whoosh! The walls of water let loose and they are destroyed. There’s a trophy for you. That’s was worth remembering and talking about and even supposed to be talked about when the Passover was celebrated. And yet what did God say? “Do not remember the former things. Do not keep thinking about ancient things.”

          What gives? You ain’t seen nothing yet! God doesn’t want His people dwelling on the past. Even the dwelling on the past commanded in the Passover celebration was to help the people dwell on God’s promises. His promises of help and deliverance. So it was for the people of Isaiah’s time. “Watch, I am about to do a new thing. Now it will spring up. Don’t you know about it? Indeed I will make a road in the wilderness. In the wasteland I will make rivers. 20The wild animals, the jackals and ostriches, will honor me, because I am providing water in the wilderness, rivers in a parched wasteland, to provide water for my chosen people to drink.” “You ain’t  seen nothing yet!” God was saying. A little context. The people who were listening to Isaiah had heard that they and their families would be carried off to the far off land of Babylon. Their nation conquered. Many killed. This was because idol worship had become so common place the believers’ faith life was threatened. Yet not what they wanted to hear. You can see why they were longing for the good old days of God’s miraculous deliverance. God said, “Don’t dwell on the past! Dwell on my promises. I’m going to save you in a miraculous way too. When the people heard how God would provide life for them like making a barren desert a lush garden, they had something to look forward to. God would deliver them too. Dwell on the promises not on the past.

          Brothers and sisters, that’s a good message for us to take from here. Don’t dwell on the past because you ain’t seen nothing yet. Dwell on the promises of God’s deliverance. You see, at our time, what Isaiah proclaimed is history. It’s the past. God kept His promise. He rescued the people from Babylon. He brought them back to their land and even though it seemed lifeless then God gave them new life. And still they hadn’t seen anything yet. Because all of that was part of the bigger plan of salvation. They were brought back to the land because of God’s promise to send a Savior. And Jesus came as promised. His perfect life for sinners slain. He has given us new life. And although it almost sounds blasphemous to say when we think about what our Savior went through and the glory of His resurrection, dare I say it? You ain’t seen nothing yet! God has promised we will see greater things than parted Red Seas and Babylonian rescues. We will see greater things than Good Friday and Easter Sunday. That’s hard to say but true. We are going to see God face and face and He will dwell with us and we with Him in such a glory that we can only begin to imagine. Friends you ain’t seen nothing yet. So don’t dwell on the past, dwell on the Promise.

          And remember your purpose. You see God has a reason for telling His people things ahead of time. Here it is. “This people that I formed for myself will declare my praise.” What God was expecting to happen with the people of Isaiah’s time is the same thing He was expecting when He delivered Israel and brought them through the Red Sea. Praise. Grateful praise. God had formed them and shaped their lives for that very purpose. They would rejoice in what God had done for them and realize they ain’t seen nothing yet and the would lead to people who  praised God by giving Him the credit. It would lead to a people who felt privileged to be called His people and let is show in speech and actions. Now those who are in the Sunday morning class know how the people back in Moses’ time responded. How about the people in Isaiah’s time? Here are the next three verses of Isaiah 43. “Yet you have not called upon Me, O Jacob, you have not wearied yourselves for Me, O Israel. 23You have not brought Me sheep for burnt offerings, nor honored Me with your sacrifices. I have not burdened you with grain offerings nor wearied you with demands for incense. 24You have not bought any fragrant calamus for Me, or lavished on Me the fat of your sacrifices. But you have burdened Me with your sins and wearied Me with your offenses.” Sounds like they forgot their purpose.

          But you won’t. Brothers and sisters, you ain’t seen nothing yet. You can look at the history of what God has done to save you eternally. I also ask you to look into your past. Think of all the things that caused you to worry. All the problems you have had that seemed like they would break you. All the problems and struggles and unfair happenings. Now give glory to God. He has brought you safely through all of them. Whether you can pinpoint the actual reason or not He has worked all of them for the good. And with every time you responded with a failure of faith or a weeping and gnashing of teeth He has swooped in with the sweetness of forgiveness won by Jesus and remembered your sins no more. Now, forget about it. Don’t dwell on the past. Dwell on God’s promise. You ain’t seen nothing yet. God’s best for you is yet to come. And may the next three verses of your life read: “You keep calling on me in time of trouble, O Jacobi! You weary yourselves for Me, so busy and careful with the work I gave you to do! You bring offerings of thankfulness and honor Me with your daily lives as living sacrifices. You do your best and offer your best. And rightly so because you are the people I formed for myself to declare my praise and just wait until heaven. You ain’t seen nothing yet. Amen.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

April 3, 2019 Pastor Timothy J. Spaude Text: John 18:33-40 WHAT IS TRUTH?


MIDWEEK LENTEN 5

April 3, 2019

Pastor Timothy J. Spaude

Text: John 18:33-40



WHAT IS TRUTH?

1.     The truth is Jesus is not who people want Him to be.

2.     The truth is Jesus is who people need Him to be.



John 18:33-40 (EHV)  Pilate went back into the Praetorium and summoned Jesus. He asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” 35Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?” 36Jesus replied, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight so that I would not be handed over to the Jews. But now my kingdom is not from here.” 37“You are a king then?” Pilate asked. Jesus answered, “I am, as you say, a king. For this reason I was born, and for this reason I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” 38“What is truth?” Pilate said to him. After he said this, he went out again to the Jews and told them, “I find no basis for a charge against him. 39But you have a custom that I release one prisoner to you at the Passover. So do you want me to release the King of the Jews for you?” 40Then they shouted back, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” (Now Barabbas was a rebel.)”



          Our three words of truth meditation today ironically is about truth. It’s the three words Pilate spoke as he cross examined Jesus. “What is truth?” Pilate asked. How do you think he asked that question? When you are reading dialogue in any work you have to try to figure out how a person said something because how they say it is oftentimes just as important as what they say. Was it an innocent “What is truth?” A cynical “What is truth?” A don’t bother to answer “What is truth?” It’s hard to say. These days we struggle with figuring out the truth. News reporting which used to have some standard of objectivity does not seem to any more. We are used to fake news, slanted news, getting only parts of the story reported and the all time favorite, “It must be true. I read it on the internet!” What is truth indeed! Maybe Pilate was in a situation just like us.

          And yet there is truth. Absolute truth. It’s found in the Bible. The first truth we need to get through our thick skulls is that Jesus is not who people want Him to be. If you think about it, the arrest and trial of Jesus before the Jewish religious leaders and Pilate was not so much about what Jesus did but about who Jesus was. If you recall the High Priest had tried using false witnesses to accuse Jesus of something worthy of death but it didn’t work. They couldn’t agree. Finally in frustration the High Priest spit out, “I charge you under oath by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” To which Jesus replied with the truth. “Yes, it is as you say.” Now that was all the religious leaders needed to hear. Since they didn’t believe Jesus, they accused him of blasphemy, worthy of death.

          But that would not cut it with the Roman governor, Pilate. They changed the accusation to something that would catch his attention. Jesus is claiming to be a king. By Roman law that was worthy of death. But Pilate has a problem. Jesus doesn’t look like a king. He doesn’t act like someone leading a rebellion. He is bruised, battered and bound, yet quiet, peaceful and respectful. “You are a king, then?” asked Pilate. Really?

          Now Pilate and Jesus’ accusers had this in common: Jesus wasn’t who they expected Him to be and Jesus wasn’t who they wanted him to be. It would have been an easy call for Pilate if Jesus really was trying to be an earthly king. Sentence him to death and be done with it. Pilate had likely done that before. If only Jesus really were an earthly king. And that’s what the Jewish people wanted Jesus to be too. Do you remember how they reacted when he fed the 5000? They tried to make him king. Free food for all. While Jesus did many miracles to prove He is the Son of God when prompted to he refused. He wasn’t sent to be a miracle worker. Jesus was not who people wanted Him to be.

          And we need to hear that truth too. Sometimes we want Jesus to be what He is not. Pastors want a Jesus who will make all the members come worship every weekend and give generously. Teachers want a Jesus who will make students obedient and faithful at their work and all parents understanding. Parents want a Jesus who will make their kids stop fighting and complaining and be kind, compliant and grateful instead. People want Jesus to be their financial planner, dietician, a social activist who makes sure only good laws get passed. People want Jesus to be someone who in love never calls any lifestyle wrong or sinful and so none of you should either. What is truth? First, Jesus is not who people want Him to be.

          For while Jesus has the power to melt away belly fat and change our financial fortunes in a blink of an eye, while Jesus has the power to heal every disease and give us back our dead that’s not what we need. What we and all people need is a Savior from sin. And that is exactly who Jesus is. “Jesus replied, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight so that I would not be handed over to the Jews. But now my kingdom is not from here.” 37“You are a king then?” Pilate asked. Jesus answered, “I am, as you say, a king. For this reason I was born, and for this reason I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

          Jesus told the truth. He is a king, but not of a puny earthly kingdom. He came to testify to the truths that people needed to hear.  What truth? That the wages of sin is death and since all have sinned all deserve to be separated from God and His goodness forever in Hell. That God is holy and just and sin must be paid for in full. That for this reason Jesus came into the world so that as the one and only God man He is the substitute for the world. That His perfect life is credited to all who believe. That His death did in fact pay the penalty price for all sinners. The truth is Jesus did not come to make people behave better or stop them from sinning. He warned Judas. He warned Peter. He didn’t stop either of them. But He did give His life for them He did pay for their sins He warned them not to do. He did that for you and me too. The truth is Jesus is exactly who people need Him to be—who we need Him to be, the Savior from sin.

          This part of God’s word ends sadly. Jesus spoke the truth that everyone who belongs to the truth listens to Him. And then this. “After he said this, he went out again to the Jews and told them, “I find no basis for a charge against him. 39But you have a custom that I release one prisoner to you at the Passover. So do you want me to release the King of the Jews for you?” 40Then they shouted back, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” These people rejected Jesus and chose a criminal because Jesus was not who they wanted him to be. They didn’t belong to the truth. But you do. Don’t get tricked into wanting any other Jesus than the one you need. The Savior from sin. Amen.

Monday, March 25, 2019

March 23-25, 2019 Pastor Timothy J. Spaude Text: 1 Corinthians 10:1-13 “BREAK THE CYCLE!”


LENT 3

March 23-25, 2019

Pastor Timothy J. Spaude

Text: 1 Corinthians 10:1-13



“BREAK THE CYCLE!”

1.     Be aware of past unfaithfulness.

2.     Rely on God’s faithfulness.



1 Corinthians 10:1-13 (NIV 1984)  “For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. 2They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3They all ate the same spiritual food 4and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. 5Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert. 6Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry.” 8We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. 9We should not test the Lord, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. 10And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel. 11These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. 12So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”



          It is a sad observed and documented pattern of human behavior. Cycles of bad behaviors that can dominate a family. It is sad but true that kids who get bullied are more likely to be bullies to others. Children that are abused by their parents are more likely to abuse their own children. And so it goes for other kinds of sins like alcohol abuse and drug abuse. There are these repeated cycles of bad, sinful behavior. As bad as those are there is one worse than them all, unfaithfulness to God, knowing  His love and goodness and care and leaving Him, deserting Him. It’s a cycle that has too often been repeated by those privileged to be called the children of God. In our Sunday morning Bible Class we are going through the book of  Exodus. In that book you see a pattern of how God works with his people. It goes like this. Deliverance. Covenant. Worship. First God delivered the people of Israel from their slavery where they were helpless to help themselves. Then God made a covenant with them that had the promise of great blessing. Finally God gave them instructions on how to thank Him with worship.

          In the word of God before us the Apostle Paul uses that pattern to teach us about our own relationship with God. “For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. 2They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3They all ate the same spiritual food 4and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ.” With these words Paul reminds us of how our spiritual forefathers, the Israelites were delivered by God from slavery in Egypt passing through Red Sea that destroyed the pursuing Egyptian army. How God brought them into a covenant relationship where if they would keep Him as their God and not serve others He would provide for them and bless them. And then they were to worship God. But what happened?

          “Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert. 6Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry.” 8We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. 9We should not test the Lord, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. 10And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel.” What happened was unfaithfulness. Different sins are mentioned. Idolatry. Pagan revelry—think drunkenness and gluttony. Sexual immorality. Testing God—pushing His patience with their ungrateful behavior. Grumbling—probably not on most of our top 10 list of detestable sins but certainly on God’s. God gets to the heart of it by saying all of these are examples of setting hearts on evil. And when God’s people want what they want instead of Him that is evil. Sadly they have had a history of doing so. You can see the cycle repeated.

          But the cycle can be broken. By comparing what Israel went through to a baptism and spiritual food and drink and having the rock Christ, he was helping New Testament Christians see God’s faithfulness has not changed. We too have been delivered by God, from the power of sin, death and the devil. God has made a covenant with us as well. It’s the covenant sealed by the blood of the Lamb Jesus Christ. It’s a one sided covenant from God to us where He promises, He promises us His everlasting love and ongoing forgiveness. He lets us know that it pleases Him when we live lives that show thankfulness, that demonstrate dependence on Him and that the most meaningful way for us to show our love for Him is willing obedience to His commands. How will we respond? Will we continue the cycle of unfaithfulness or…? There is a maxim, a truism, that works for many areas of life from evaluating a car, to mutual funds, to people behavior. “The best predictor of future performance is the past.” In other words if you want to guess how a player or a fund or a used vehicle is going to perform in the future look at its past. There is a caveat to that statement. The best predictor of future performance is the past unless something big has changed.

          Our big is God and His faithfulness to help us. “These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. 12So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” The reason Paul was writing to the Corinthians, the reason he was making them aware of past unfaithfulness was so that they would break the cycle, not repeat the bad behaviors of the past. It’s the same reason we have this word of God today. Just because God’s people in the past fell into unfaithfulness doesn’t mean we have to. We have been given examples as warnings. Not everyone who grumbles or commits sexual immorality got killed or gets killed. God made examples of them. This is serious. And then for our encouragement Paul points us to the faithfulness of God. Every temptation that God allows to come our way He has already given us what we need to handle it. He’s given us Jesus who has beaten every temptation for us. The covenant God made with us is one sided. It’s based on forgiveness. Now so we can worship Him daily by fighting sin and doing right He’s given us His word. It’s the double edged sword of the Spirit. It’s what Jesus used when He perfectly defeated every temptation in our place. It’s what will make sure we break the cycle of unfaithfulness. If we use it.

          That brings us to another cycle by God’s grace we will break. The cycle of taking the Word for granted. Consider these words written by Pastor Martin Luther some 500 years ago: “I consider that Germany has never before heard so much of God’s Word as now. There is no trace of it in history. But if we let it pass by without thanks and honor, I am afraid that we shall have to suffer plague and grimmer darkness. My dear Germans, buy while the mart is at our door; gather in while the sun is shining and the weather good, make use of God’s Word of Grace while it is there. For know this, that the Word of God’s grace is like a sweeping downpour, which never returns to where it has already been. It has visited the Jews; but it has gone. Now they have nothing. Paul brought it to Greece; from there it has also gone. Now they have the Turks. Rome and the Latin lands have had their visitation; but it has gone. Now they have the Pope. And you Germans must not think that you will have it forever, for it will not stay where there is ingratitude and contempt. Therefore, let all take hold and keep hold who can.”   Let’s break the cycle. Amen.