1st Sunday in Advent – Sunday, November 30, 2014

Readings for the day:

Isaiah 64:1-9

Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19

1 Corinthians 1:3-9

Mark 13:24-37

Dear friends in Christ, grace to you and peace from God our Father, and our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ.  Amen.

Today we begin a new church year and a new season.  We have come to the end of the long green season of Pentecost and we now sit and wait with anticipation to once again hear the story of the Christ child being born.  Except we have a hard time waiting for things don’t we?  Christmas won’t be here for another 25 days, but most of the Christmas festivities will all take place before December 25th, and by December 26th, Christmas will appear to be gone.  Even though Christmas is actually celebrated for 12 straight days beyond December 25th.  I think that the 12 days of Christmas has gradually disappeared from our traditions because we have a hard time waiting for things, like Christmas.  We become impatient.

I think we all can be impatient at times.  For about 8 years of my childhood, our family would travel to the Park Rapids area in northern Minnesota to spend a week at a resort on a lake.  We would fish, swim, sit by the campfire, and do more fishing.  Most years, this was the highlight of my summer vacation; going and spending a week at the cabin.

It was about a six hour drive to get to the cabin, and so we would usually leave around 8:00 am to get to the resort with enough time to unpack, launch the boat and fish for a couple hours.  Since we would leave early on a Saturday morning, we made sure that almost everything was packed and ready to go the night before.  I was always pretty excited and anxious to get to the cabin.  The six hour drive seemed to never end.  But I do remember one year, I was particularly anxious and excited to get to the cabin.  I was probably 10 or 11 years old at the time.  I don’t remember the reason why, but I was so excited that I just couldn’t fall asleep the night before we left.  All I needed to do was close my eyes, fall asleep and when I woke up, we’d be ready to leave.  But I couldn’t do it.  I couldn’t fall asleep.  I wanted to just leave for the cabin then, at 10:00 at night.  I was so excited, I just couldn’t wait to get to the cabin.

Have you ever been this excited about something; been so excited that you can’t sleep even though you’re tired?  Maybe it was starting a new job, or going off to school, or the night before your wedding, or maybe the night before your last day of work before a vacation or retirement.  We get excited.  We get anxious.  We get impatient.

We certainly do get this way with the coming of Christmas.  But do we get this way with Jesus’ second coming?  Probably not a lot.  In talking about His coming again, Jesus says, “But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”[1]  Therefore, we should be excited.  We should be anxious.  And we should be impatiently waiting for His return.  Because our savior has promised us that one day he will return and the world will be renewed, restored.

So what do you do when you have to wait for something?  If you’re waiting for Christmas presents, you probably start asking some probing questions, “Is it big or is it small?”  “Is it something I can use right away or do I have to wait until it is warmer out?”  “Can you tell me what store you got it at?”  Or if you’re waiting in the doctor’s office, you probably grab a magazine or pull out your smartphone.  When you think about it, we spend a lot of time waiting for things: waiting for a doctor’s appointment, waiting for the light to turn green, waiting for the driver ahead of us to realize that the light has turned green, waiting for a child or grandchild’s practice to get done, waiting for the pastor to finish his sermon.  You see, we spend a lot of time each day waiting.  And we usually find something to fill the time as we wait.

Jesus tells us what we are to fill our time with as we wait for his return in bodily form.  He says that we are to wait in such a way that it would be like our boss, leader or master left on a long trip or vacation and put us in charge so that he didn’t have to micromanage from a distance.  And the task that the master gives to you is this: always believe that Jesus will indeed return one day.  So put your complete trust in God, not in this world.  And you know how you do that?  By paying attention to the words that you are saying when we recite the Apostles’ Creed and actually believing in those words.  We also stay at the task at hand by acting and talking like Jesus will actually be coming back some day.  We’ve heard from scripture that this life is not all there is for us, but do you actually believe it and live your life accordingly?

Jesus, our master, tells us that we need to stick to the task at hand because we do not know the day or the hour of His return.  It could be tonight or tomorrow, maybe by the end of the week, or even next year some time.  No one truly knows except the Father.  Therefore we must be prepared by continually believing that Jesus is coming back.  After all, you wouldn’t want the master to return and find you sleeping on the job would you?

Because God’s Word has always proven to be true, we can trust and believe that the master is indeed coming back some day.  This is what we have been told and through our baptisms we also have been given this promise – that Jesus will return for us one day.  And when Jesus does return and He sees that you are fulfilling the work that he gave you to do (which was to simply believe that He is coming back), God will then say to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant of mine.  You remained awake and alert. Enter into my glory.”  I tell you, Jesus is coming back.  When don’t know when, He doesn’t even know when.  So we don’t have to waste our time trying to predict that.  We simply believe that Jesus is coming back.  And He is coming back for you because He died and rose again so that you would be with God.  This season of Advent is a reminder of the hope that Jesus will be coming back for you so that you will be with God for eternity.  Amen.

© 2014 Anthony Christoffels.  Used with permission.

[1] Mark 13:32, NRSV

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Christ the King – Sunday, November 23, 2014

Readings for the day:

Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24

Psalm 95:1-7a

Ephesians 1:15-23

Matthew 25:31-46

Dear friends in Christ, grace to you and peace from God our Father, and our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ.  Amen.

As we begin the final week of the church’s liturgical year, would you consider yourself to be a sheep or a goat?  After hearing the Gospel reading, you probably want to be a sheep.  You probably would even consider yourself to be a sheep.  And after all, who wouldn’t?  The sheep are the ones who are sitting at Jesus’ right hand.  The sheep are the ones who receive eternal life with God.  The goats are at His left hand, but are then sent away to the eternal punishment.  It is the end of the church year and so we hear and get a small glimpse into what the Last Day will be like.  So we all really want to know, “Are we sheep or are we goats?

Did you know, the answer to this question is that you really are a goat?  It’s true!  You are a goat because I bet there was a time when you saw someone who was hungry on the side of the road, and you kept right on driving.  You’ve probably seen a stranger and have gone out of the way to avoid them.  Has there ever been a visitor here at church that you avoided and didn’t introduce yourself and welcome them?  Your closet is probably full of clothes that you rarely wear, even though you know there are people who don’t have many clothes or even the right type of clothing for the winter ahead.  Or when was the last time that you went and visited someone in a prison?

See, you are a goat!  You think only of yourselves.  When you see someone in need or an organization asking for donations or volunteers, don’t you use the excuses, “I’m too busy to help out.”  “I don’t have enough money to donate.”  I’m guilty of this too, I use very similar excuses.  I’ll even think, “Well my taxes help provide government agencies that are there to help people in need.  Why don’t people just go there?”  Or the one excuse that I know I can be guilty of and you as well is when we think or even say, “Well they just need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps.”

You know, every time that we do, say or even think of one of these excuses as to why we can’t give of ourselves, we ought to be considered as a goat rather than a sheep.  Whether you like it or not, your actions and your attitudes fit the classification that Jesus uses for the goats.  Another term for goats would be, sinner.  You are a sinner.  Someone who only thinks of themselves, who doesn’t play nice with others, who wants to do their own thing without being held accountable for their actions.  You are a sinner!

A couple of years ago, I was at a youth gathering and there was a vendor selling T-shirts.  I had some time to kill, so I looked around to see what they had.  And I found this shirt. (See pictures of the shirt at the end of this post.) When I wear this shirt and look down, the shirt reads, “Sinner.”  The shirt reminds me that I am indeed a sinner, a goat, a selfish person.  But when I flip this shirt around, for everyone that I encounter, the shirt reads, “Saint.”  The shirt reminds everyone that I am indeed a saint, a sheep, a child of God.  Yes, it doesn’t take much effort to figure out that we are goats.  But because of our baptisms, where we were claimed as God’s children, we are His sheep.  We are at the same time, both sinner and saint, both goat and sheep.

In the Gospel reading, Jesus says that neither the sheep nor the goats actually knew that they were or were not caring for Jesus.  The goats, the unrighteous ones, will ask, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?”[1]  And the king will respond, “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.”[2]  Likewise, the sheep, the righteous ones, will ask, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink?”[3]  “And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’”[4]  Neither the sheep nor the goats knew that they were or were not caring for Jesus.  The sheep were just feeding the hungry, caring for the sick, and visiting the lonely because they wanted to be nice and care for others.  The goats were not doing any of these things because they were selfish, they wanted everything for themselves.  Plus they wanted Christ to reveal Himself to them.  And He did reveal Him to them; just not in the way they wanted Him to.

Jesus has revealed Himself to us through the people around us; through the people that we would least expect.  And you don’t have to look very far to see Christ in your daily lives.

Now doing nice things like what we hear Jesus listing off in Matthew’s Gospel will not affect our salvation in any way.  Feeding the hungry, welcoming the stranger, clothing the naked, caring for the sick, or visiting the lonely will not affect our salvation in any way.  Your salvation was determined at the font, when God claimed you.  You’ve already been promised eternal life.  For free!  You don’t have to do anything to get yourself to heaven.  That has already been promised to you. But, doing nice things like what is listed in our Gospel reading this morning will indeed affect your neighbor’s lives right now!  You don’t have to worry about your salvation, but you wouldn’t want to be hungry, or thirsty, or cold, or lonely, waiting for God to fulfill the promise He made to you?  People have urgent needs now that can’t wait for Jesus to come back again.  And so, it is up to us as God’s hands and feet in this world to care for one another.

And you are already doing that.  You are caring for others.  Over the last six weeks, you have seen the food shelf table fill up with donations of food (you have even contributed some).  By doing this you are helping feed the hungry.  Which is also stewardship.  Remember we are to be good stewards of God’s creation.  Well, we all belong to God, even the least of these.  So, that means we care for one another.

Yes, sometimes you may act like a goat (some of us more than others), but because of your baptism you are all sheep.  You are part of God’s flock who are cared for, who are comforted, who are fed, who are forgiven, and who are protected.  And some day, Jesus will come again to separate the sheep from the goats and when that day comes, He will gather His entire flock together (including you).  There you will graze in peace, drink in comfort, and rest without worrying; for you are one of Christ’s sheep.  Amen.

© 2014 Anthony Christoffels.  Used with permission.

[1] Matthew 25:44, NRSV

[2] Matthew 25:45, NRSV

[3] Matthew 25:37, NRSV

[4] Matthew 25:40, NRSV

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23rd Sunday after Pentecost (Lect 33) – Sunday, November 16, 2014

Readings for the day:

Zephaniah 1:7, 12-18

Psalm 90:1-12

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

Matthew 25:14-30

Dear friends in Christ, grace to you and peace from God our Father, and our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ.  Amen.

Would you consider yourself to be bold or reserved?  When you see something that needs to be done or when you have a question, do you get up and do what needs to be done or go and ask your question?  Or are you reserved and wait to see if someone else is going to get the work done or see if maybe someone else will ask your question?

I remember during my first few classes at seminary, whenever I had a question, I would hold on to that question hoping that someone else in the class had the same question – because I was shy and didn’t want to look like a fool in front of my classmates.  I have been learning over the years that if I have a question, the only way I’m going to get an answer is if I am bold, and ask my question.

At home, at work, at school, or at church, are you bold or reserved when it comes to getting things done.  Do you see a counter full of dirty dishes and start washing them?  Or do you hope that your spouse will do it so that you don’t have to?  Are you bold or reserved?

In Matthew’s parable this morning, we hear of two bold individuals and one who is reserved.  A master gives five talents to one of his slaves, two talents to a second slave, and one talent to another.  The slave that was given five talents goes off and trades those talents for five more talents.  Likewise, the slave that had two talents trades for two more talents.  These two slaves were bold; they made best out of what they were given.  The third slave was given one talent and out of fear, went and buried the talent until the master returned.  This slave was fearful and reserved.

So what do you do with what God has given you?  Do you make the best of it?  Or do you bury it and keep it reserved out of fear?  God has called each one of you to make the best of what you have been given.  Each one of you has been blessed in different ways.  Not all of us can be farmers; otherwise who would care for us when we were sick, or who would teach our children?  The question is not about what you do; it is about how you are doing it.  Are you making the best of what God has blessed you with?  You are one of God’s managers.  Are you doing a good job?  Or are you on the verge of being fired?

Now in this parable, the term talents actually means a form of money.  One talent was equal to about fifteen years of an average worker’s labor.  But this parable is not just about money.  Just like stewardship is not just about money, it is a way of life.  Giving a portion of our earnings back to God is only a part of what it means to be good stewards of God’s creation.  All of us have been blessed with a variety of talents and skills.  Are you using your God given skills to the best of your ability?  Are you being like the two bold slaves, or are you being like the reserved slave who buries his talent in the ground?

As God’s managers we are entrusted with a lot of responsibilities.  We are to give to God, help each other, care for creation, and do our part in God’s mission.  Last week we already talked about giving to God.  Next week we will be talking about helping each other. So today, how are we doing in caring for God’s creation and how are we utilizing the gifts and talents God has given us?

God has entrusted us with caring for his creation.  Everything that we see, touch and us is from God.  Therefore, since it isn’t ours.  We should treat it like it is someone else’s.  A rather simple example is recycling.  As Trimont and Welcome are the main towns that I am in on any given day, I have been so surprised to see how few recycling bins or out at the curb on collection days.  This is such an easy way for us to better care for God’s creation.  At your home, are you mindful of your waste and what you are doing with God’s resources?  You probably have noticed and you will continue to notice slight changes to the format of our bulletins.  This is because we are trying to be aware and mindful of our use of God’s paper resources and how much we are wasting.  I challenge you to take a closer look at your waste and the waste at our church.  Are we being good stewards of God’s creation and God’s resources?

Christ has also entrusted us, the church, with his gifts.  We, therefore, are obligated to use his gifts, our talents, to the best of our ability.  When we utilize our talents well, then we are certainly being good stewards of God’s creation.  If you bury your talent or ignore it, you are not helping yourself or Christ’s church.  Not one of you can say, “Pastor, I’m really not all that good at anything.  So there’s nothing I can really do.”  Oh, you couldn’t be more wrong though.  Every talent that you have has come from God.  And when something comes from God is always serves a purpose for his kingdom.

All good comes from God, including you, your talents, and all of creation.  God has, and promises to continue providing for you far more than you need.  Christ died on the cross so that you would be free to use your talents with the best of your ability.  Because Christ died for you, you can be bold, you can ask questions without waiting for someone else to ask.  And you can be an excellent manager of God’s creation being a bold servant of Christ, rather than burying your faith out of fear.  For Jesus died and rose again so that his abundant grace may abound for you.  Amen.

© 2014 Anthony Christoffels.  Used with permission.

22nd Sunday after Pentecost (Lect 32) – Sunday, November 9, 2014

Readings for the day:

Deuteronomy 26:1-11

Psalm 100

1 Corinthians 16:1-2

Mark 12:38-44

Dear friends in Christ, grace to you and peace from God our Father, and our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ.  Amen.

This morning we are going to take some time to talk about money and stewardship.  During my preaching classes at seminary, I remember a professor telling us to never, ever say the words money and stewardship in the same sermon.  Well I’ve already said money and stewardship now three times (and I’m still in my opening paragraph).  The professor didn’t want us saying these words in a sermon because usually when the preacher mentions stewardship, the first thing people think of is money.  And anytime money is mentioned in a sermon it usually gets associated with a plea to have people give more money to the church.

Well, this morning is not going to be about a plea to have you give more money to the church.  I am going to talk about stewardship, but stewardship actually means much more than just money.  Stewardship really is how we, as God’s creatures, take care of what God has given us.  How are we to be good stewards of God’s creation?  This certainly does mean money, but being a good steward also means taking care of the land, being mindful of our waste and pollution, and caring for all of earth’s creatures.

When we think of being good stewards of our money, this actually is a spiritual matter.  When we talk about money, and specifically giving, we are talking about our spiritual life.  So this morning I want to help you with your spiritual life because after all that is why you called me to be your pastor; to help you with your spiritual life.  There are many different spiritual practices that we take part in and when we work or exercise these spiritual practices we strengthen our faith, grow our trust, and deepen our relationship with God.  Some of these spiritual practices include: prayer, silence, worshipping, studying scripture, giving, and service.  Giving is a spiritual practice.

So how can our giving exercise our faith?  Easy, just as walking, running, and lifting weights is good for exercising and keeping your physical body healthy.  So to, giving to God is good for exercising and keeping our faith in God healthy.  Think for a moment about exercising your physical body.  Let’s use lifting weights as an example.  Let’s say lifting a 5 pound weight is pretty easy for you to do.  There is no real effort needed in order to lift these 5 pounds.  So since 5 pounds is easy, let’s increase the weight to 10 pounds.  Now that’s a little bit harder to do.  As you lift the 10 pounds you will probably feel your muscles working and begin feeling that workout burn.  But now if you go and lift 50 pounds, you will probably injure yourself; so you don’t want to do that.  But how will you possibly be able to lift 50 pounds; by starting small and gradually increasing the weight or resistance.  If your exercise plan is to just lift 5 pounds all the time, then you will never get to 10 pounds; let alone 50 pounds.  Your muscles will never be strengthened.

Now let’s change this example from weights to how we give.  If the money that you are giving away is comfortable (the 5 pound weight), then your faith is not being exercised because you are putting your trust in yourself and in your money instead of putting your trust in God.  When you give a meaningful amount that is a little beyond what you are comfortable with (the 10 pound weight), that exercises your faith and makes you aware of God.   But of course we don’t want you doing any drastic change in your giving that would cause you a financial hardship.

If you look at the handout that is in your bulletin (see image posted below), maybe this will help.  Along the left-side, you will see a list of numbers for what your weekly household income is.  You can decide if this is before or after taxes.  Then you look to the right of that number and follow that along until you see the amount that you give each week.  Finally, go up from that number and see what percentage you are giving.  Let’s say your giving is 3% of your income.  If you increase to 4% that may challenge you a little, but you probably could do it.  If you increase to 10% that will probably put you into a financial hardship (something we don’t want to have happen).

When we talk about giving, there are three principles to think about.  We give first.  We give proportionately.  We give regularly.  When we give first, we are giving God our best rather than our leftovers.  When we give first, we discipline ourselves to live on whatever is left.

Proportionate giving is important.  God has blessed each one of us in different ways.  For some, $20 per week is practically pennies for them.  For others, $20 per month is probably more realistic.  So when we talk about giving, we talk in percentages.  Wherever you’re giving certainly stands, challenge yourself to increase the amount you are giving by 1% each year.  Don’t jump to the full 10%, which is what the Bible tells us to do (unless you are at 9%).  When Stephanie and I started here, we figured out what percentage we were at and agreed that each year we will be increasing our giving by 1% until we get to a tithe (10%).

The third principle in giving is regularly.  Whether your giving is every week, every other week, or even every month; regular giving is important to your spiritual life.  Because when we give, we are putting our faith and trust in God.  When we give, we give first, we give proportionately, and we give regularly.

In the gospel reading today, the widow gives two small coins that total in value to about a penny.  The gift that she gives appears to be so small and insignificant in value that we may even wonder, “Why bother even putting forth the effort into giving those two small coins.  It’s not like it really is going to make that much of a difference.”  Except, Jesus says that she gave more than all of the other rich people who were giving large sums of money.  I wonder if it was because this woman was giving based on the three principles (give first, give proportionately, give regularly).  The gift that she gave was probably at a much higher percentage than the rich people.  But regardless of how much, or how little, she gave;Jesus has made it very clear that what she gave was of more value to God than what the rich people were giving.

In this world, the face value of the coin or bill, or the amount written on the check is the designated value of that object.  For God, he could really care less if you put a George Washington or a Benjamin Franklin in the offering plate.  God doesn’t value what goes in the offering plate, he values the reasons why you are putting money in the offering plate.  God values how much faith and trust you have in him.

So, in your spiritual life of giving have you gotten fat and flabby?  Or are you healthy enough to run a half-marathon?  When you give a meaningful amount to God, then you become more aware of God and put more reliance and trust on God.  When you are more aware of God and have more trust in him, then your faith grows and your relationship with God strengthens.  Remember that because of your relationship with God, he has given you the greatest gift of all, Christ’s sacrifice on the cross in order to forgive your sins and one day for you to be with God in paradise.  None of this is dependent on how much you give.  Rather it is freely given as a gift.  Amen.

© 2014 Anthony Christoffels.  Used with permission.

Giving Worksheet

21st Sunday after Pentecost (Lect 31) – Sunday, November 2, 2014

Readings for the day:

Micah 3:5-12

Psalm 43

1 Thessalonians 2:9-13

Matthew 23:1-12

 

Dear friends in Christ, grace to you and peace from God our Father, and our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ.  Amen.

 

Do you like to go to banquets?  (like weddings or other fancy social gatherings around a meal)  I don’t like going to these things all of the time, but you know, when I go, I get to eat and usually (not always) but usually the food is really good.  Stephanie and I once went to a banquet where we had to pay $25 per plate for some steak that had no flavor, mashed potatoes that really weren’t mashed, and a dessert that wasn’t all that desirable.  But now when I go to a wedding reception or banquet, I really would like to sit as close to the head table as possible.  Why?  Well, not because I care all that much about being noticed, but because when you sit close to the head table you get to be one of the first people to eat.

Did you know that we really actually act like the Pharisees from time to time?  The Pharisees always liked to sit in places of honor at banquets, but not just because they wanted to eat first, but because they wanted to be noticed by everyone.  They also wanted to have the best seats in the synagogues.  Even though our church isn’t full today, I see that we do have some Pharisee like people worshipping with us this morning because the best seats of the church are taken – the pews in the back!  The Pharisees would teach about the Law of Moses, but then their actions would not matchup with their own teachings.  Jesus told the crowds and his disciples that they should indeed listen and follow the teachings of the Pharisees because after all they are teaching on the Law of Moses.  But, he told them not to do what they do because they do not practice what they teach.

Do your words and actions matchup?  Or do you say one thing and do something else?  You say that you are a follower of Jesus Christ, but do your actions reflect that statement?  Let me ask you, “How is your spiritual life?”  When do you pray?  You say that you are a Christian and that you have a relationship with God, but in any relationship there is talking; from both sides.  Are you talking to God on a regular basis by spending time in prayer?  Praying in thanksgiving before meals, praying when times are tough and praying when times are good.

What about your study of God’s Word; the Bible?  Are you digging into God’s Word on a regular basis?  As you read and study God’s Word, you will hear God speak to you.  And what about silence?  I think this one is a really hard one for all of us.  We live in a very, loud, fast paced, busy world.  It becomes difficult to hear God speaking to us when we don’t silence the world for a little bit.  Try to take some time, even if it is just a couple of minutes a day, to sit in silence, not sleeping or watching TV or playing a game on your smartphone.  Just silence.

I mentioned three things that we should be doing as Christians because if we don’t want to be like the Pharisees, then we must practice what we teach.  If we say that we want people to come to church and more importantly, we want them to be followers of Jesus Christ, then we need to act like followers of Jesus Christ.  So if we want people praying and having a relationship with God, then we need to be praying and having a relationship with God.  If we want people to be reading their Bibles when they aren’t at church, then we better be reading our Bibles outside of the church too.

The point is, we can’t just tell people that church is important and that they need to make their faith a priority if WE aren’t even making our faith in God a priority.  We have to be giving people the right message about being a Christian.  Unlike the Pharisees, I want my actions to properly reflect what I am teaching.

The disciples of Jesus thought they had his teaching all figured out, but they didn’t think that his actions were reflecting his teachings.  When Jesus was talking about his kingdom coming, they thought that he was going to take over Israel as king.  So when it came time for Jesus to be arrested, you may remember, one of the disciples took out a sword and cut off a guy’s ear because he thought that they needed to fight to gain control of the kingdom for Jesus.  But they were wrong!  Jesus says that all of those who exalt themselves will be humbled and all those who humble themselves will be exalted.  The disciples wanted to exalt Jesus while he was walking the earth.  But instead he humbled himself to the point of death, even death on a cross in order that all of God’s children will be exalted.

Today we observe All Saint’s Day; the day that we remember all of those saints who have gone before us.  All of the saints who have been great leaders who have led by example, teaching us through their actions how to be a faithful follower of Jesus Christ.  All of our beloved saints have taught us that regularly going to God in prayer is the key to maintaining our relationship with our Creator.  They also taught us that reading and studying our Bible helps us to better understand and listen to God.  And they also taught us by example, that regularly attending worship is essential in our walk with Christ.

So as we remember and give thanks to God for all of the saints who have gone before us, we also remember that none of this would have ever been possible or even happened had not our savior humbled himself to the point of death, even death on a cross.  Christ, who was exalted, humbled himself so that you, someone who prays, studies Scripture, and worships, a humble servant of God, will be exalted when Christ comes again in his glory.  Then at that time you won’t have to worry about which pew you will sit in or which table to sit at during the banquet because wherever you are, you will be the best and the greatest…at the feet of Jesus.  Amen.

 

 

© 2014 Anthony Christoffels.  Used with permission.