I'll be honest--- I'm an Olympics junkie. A Summer Olympics junkie that is. These are my 6th Summer Olympics. Of course, my first Olympics (Barcelona '92) occurred when I was still unborn and I can't exactly remember the next two either. But these past three Games, I've been inspired as well as glued to my television. I used to question the reason for my fascination with the Olympic Games. I like sports, but certainly not all the sports that somehow seem to make the Games. And I also like the historical significance of them. But my favorite part of the Olympics, and the real reason I am so inspired by them, is the unity it seems to bring to the world. There is no unity quite like the Olympics... Well, except that unity with our fellow Christians of the past and present when we partake of Christ's Body and Blood during Communion... And our unity with Christians of the past 2000 years when we read and hear the Word... Not to mention our unity with our LORD when we receive these things.... Come to think of it, the Olympics don't hold a candle (or should I say 'torch') to any given Sunday. After all, which is more astounding: An athlete breaking an Olympic record? Or Jesus Christ breaking apart our record of detestable sins, wiping our slate clean with His sacrifice? I'll go with the latter. So a happy Olympics to all! And to all, a life rich with Christ's blessings and gifts.
P.S. Go Team USA!
Saturday, July 14, 2012
This is my first entry ever! I want to talk about two trees. Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, which I think must have been a pretty spectacular place (being perfect and all). There were two trees with special purposes and special rules- the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and also the Tree of Life. Adam and Eve were in paradise and were walking with God in the garden!!! Yet, even though this was true, they chose to eat of the first tree anyway. Though they only had one rule to follow and paradise to enjoy, they broke that rule and were banned from paradise.
We are sinful just as Adam and Eve were. We are born sinful and are naturally inclined to "have it our way" rather than God's way. We rebel, as Adam did, against God's will. We all think in our own minds that we know better than God, the God who gives breath and takes away, the God who created the entire universe in six days (though six seconds would have sufficed).
We are wrong. We hurt ourselves when we sin. We are condemned because of it. We will always sin, but we must repent. We have no hope in our sin because our holy God has no tolerance for contaminated sinners.
The second tree in the Garden was the Tree of Life. Adam and Eve were banned from it. But God had a plan. He was going to save His people. He would reconcile His people to Himself. A sacrifice was needed to atone for the sins of His people. He sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, down to earth. Jesus died upon the Tree at Calvary. Though Jesus died there, that tree is not a tree of death for us. It is the Tree of Life. From His sacrifice on Good Friday and resurrection victory on Easter, we have life after death. We have forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation because of His death for our sake. His death on that cross gives us life. This Jesus on that cross is our only hope for the forgiveness of sins that we so desperately need. We are now and forever clothed with Christ's righteousness. What a great thing! That's an understatement). Thanks be to God, who cares, guides, protects, and provides for us each and every day.
-- James (Guest Writer)
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Happy Independence Day, American blog-o-sphere! I want to wish the USA a happy 236th birthday. Not a day goes by when I'm not happy to live in America. So I'd like to thank all of the soldiers, politicians, and common American people who have worked so hard to make this country great. I'd also like to thank all of the faithful pastors out there (including my own) who focused on Christ last Sunday, and not on America. Every Sunday before the 4th of July, pastors all around this great country fall into the temptation to get patriotic from the pulpit. While these servants of Christ are almost always well-meaning, and while patriotism is objectively a good thing, bringing the 4th of July celebration into church is not appropriate. The Church exceeds all borders and ethnicities, and therefore sermons and church services need to reflect that fact. So while God Bless America is a wonderful song, let's not sing it in church. Let's sing songs that Christians around the World can join together in singing. Let's praise the One who died and rose again for the forgiveness of our many sins, including the sin of losing sight of Christ during the n th Sunday after Pentecost. So thank you, pastors who preached sermons focused on the Gospel reading last Sunday instead of on the American flag. Thank you for fulfilling your vocations marvelously by the Grace of God through preaching the Word and administering the Sacraments to us. Because even on Independence Day, all Christians need a little break from national pride and a large dose of Jesus Christ, crucified and risen for us. God bless you pastors, and God bless this country.