The Good News in Bethlehem

John 1:14 “The word was made flesh and dwelt among Us,..”
Not in Jerusalem the city of the great king, Micah calls
this small town “little among the thousands of Judah.”
Where the simple shepherds gathered to share about their
Sheep, sharing about where the grazing is best, where the
best water was for thirsty sheep, a small market town,
where necessary supplies for another day of life were bought.
Here Jesus was born, in Bethlehem among the lowly, in a stable
Where “cattle were lowing” laid in a manger where bossy cow
Licked it clean with her coarse tough, God comes to us in facts
God’s word brings to us Facts; earth had heard a promise 5000
Long years ago “I will send the seed of the women” “to Him
Shall the gathering of the people be” “But when the fullness
Of time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a women,
Made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law.
Galatians 4:4,5 Born to fulfill all righteousness, fact . Born to die
An ignominious death on a Roman cross; Fact. Risen from the
Dead the mighty conquer’ sin and death had no power over
Him. Fact. Sin was atoned for, law was satisfied, Our Holy God is
Reconciled with us,Fact. Let us praise the child of Bethlehem,
Greatest Gift ever given, Fact. “For there is one God, and one
mediator between God and men the man Christ Jesus. Fact.
Jesus really is the reason for the season, Fact.
Merry Christmas!
Pastor Mark

Rejoice, rejoice this happy morn,
A Savior unto us is born,
The Christ, the Lord of glory!
His lowly birth in Bethlehem
The angels from on high proclaim
And sing redemption’s story!
My soul, extol
God’s great favor;
Bless Him ever
For salvation;
Give Him praise and adoration!

Birgitte C. Boy 1778

Posted on 24 Dec 2014 

Prayers for Lent

Almighty God, most merciful Father, we confess to you, and to each other, and to the whole body of Christ in heaven and on earth, that we have sinned against You; in thought, word and deed; by what we have done, and by what we have not done. We have not loved you with our whole heart, and mind, and strength. We have not loved our neighbor’s as ourselves. We have not forgiven others, as we have been forgiven.
Have mercy on us, Lord.

We have not listened to your call to serve and suffer as Christ, who suffered for us, leaving us and example that we should follow in His steps

We have not been true to the mind of Christ. We have resisted your Holy Spirit.
Have mercy upon us, Oh Lord.

We confess tonight Lord, all our past unfaithfulness: the pride, hypocrisy and impatience, the self- centered indulgences’ of our lives.
Have mercy upon us, Lord.

Father forgive us for always seeking preeminence over each other and in the world which we live. Forgive us for our self-serving appetites and ways, taking advantage of each other.

We confess all our anger, malice, and evil speaking, our lying tongues, our envious jealous hearts, and discontentment with such things that we have, for our love of worldly possessions, and comforts. We have brought shame to Your Great name!!
Have mercy upon us O Lord.

Accept our repentance, Lord, for the wrongs we have done, they are many and evil, turn us and we shall be turned, renew a right spirit within us, lead us in the way that is everlasting.

Have mercy upon us Oh Lord for the sake of Jesus who shed His Blood for the remission of all our sins becoming sin for us, having no sin. of His own, that we this Ash Wednesday, are your children.

Posted on 04 Mar 2015 

Will You Forgive Her?

A teenage girl stood before the congregation as her pastor made an unusual announcement and a special request. Looking at her that day, no one would have known; looking at her a few weeks later, many would have begun to suspect. She was pregnant. She was not married. What should she do now? What should her pastor do?

The End of Her Life as She Knew It

She had acknowledged her guilt. She knew that she deserved nothing�that is, nothing but condemnation. But her pastor also said more.
Her pastor announced to the congregation that she had confessed her sin of fornication to him and that she was now with child. He furthermore announced that she had repented of her sin. She had acknowledged her guilt. She knew that she deserved nothing�that is, nothing but condemnation.

But her pastor also said more.

The pastor announced publicly to the congregation what he already had announced privately to her: that God had forgiven her of all her sins, including this one; that in Christ she is a new creation; that through the Spirit of adoption, she is God’s own dear child and an heir of everlasting life in His kingdom of grace. With confidence, she could look back toward her Baptism, knowing that God has washed away all her sins. With joy, she could look forward to receiving the Lord’s Supper, knowing that Christ once and for all gave His body and blood for her redemption.

Her pastor did not stop there. He had a request as well as an announcement. “Will you, as her brothers and sisters in Christ, now also forgive her? Will you receive her back into this congregation as a fellow heir of everlasting life?” The congregation replied in the affirmative.

And that was the end of the matter, but also a new beginning.

A New Beginning

No longer did she live in fear, no longer would she wear the rags of shame. As the baby grew and she began to show, people did not whisper any of the standard inquiries: “Did you know she’s pregnant?” “Which boyfriend was it?” “Doesn’t she know any better?” “If my daughter ever….” In place of gossip, there would be generosity. When people spoke about her it would be to help, not to humiliate.

In place of gossip, there would be generosity. When people spoke about her it would be to help, not to humiliate. “Let’s sit next to her this Sunday.” “I’m sewing some booties for the little one’s feet.” “I wonder if she’ll need help finishing high school. Perhaps I could tutor her this summer.”

Most of all, there was grace. “I’m so glad you know you are forgiven,” people could tell her. “I know I need God’s forgiveness for my past, too. That’s really what church is all about.”

The Real Meaning of Church

Unfortunately, the young man who got her pregnant did not attend church. He did not step inside the building. Nor was he a member of the 501(c)3 organization registered as a church with the IRS. But the sad part has nothing to do with these externals and everything to do with the real meaning of church.

“The church,” wrote the Lutheran reformers of the sixteenth century, “is the congregation of saints, in which the Gospel is rightly taught and the Sacraments are rightly administered” (Augsburg Confession VII, 1). When the pastor and the young lady met privately for confession and absolution, that was church. When the congregation gathered publicly around the same Gospel message that in Christ all our sins stand forgiven, that was church. As Luther explained (Large Catechism II, 55):
Everything, therefore, in the Christian Church is ordered to the end that we shall daily obtain there nothing but the forgiveness of sin through the Word and Sacraments, to comfort and encourage our consciences as long as we live here. Thus, although we have sins, the grace of the Holy Ghost does not allow them to injure us, because we are in the Christian Church, where there is nothing but continuous, uninterrupted forgiveness of sin, both in that God forgives us, and in that we forgive, bear with, and help each other. Ordinarily, the mutual forgiveness of which Luther speaks can take place quietly. “Love covers all sins” (Proverbs 10:12). Sometimes, however, the situation requires a more open corrective. “For where the sin is public, the reproof also must be public, that every one may learn to guard against it” (Large Catechism I, 284). What a joy it is when public reproof is followed by public repentance and public reconciliation!

The preceding story is true. A young lady really did confess her sin before her congregation, and they really did forgive her. This happened on the basis of what Christ Himself accomplished for her and her congregation two thousand years earlier.

As in the Church, So Also in Our Homes

Because the Christian home is the Christian church in miniature, a cycle of reproof, repentance, and reconciliation regularly takes place within godly families, just as it does among the larger family of God. When a parent pauses to help two feuding children get to the root of the matter, apologize, and forgive, that parent models for them what occurs on a grander scale in the divine service when the members of a congregation confess their sins and the pastor absolves them in the name of Christ.
What a privilege parents have to herald that Gospel message in their homes, even as pastors proclaim it in their congregations. Wherever such a message is heard and believed, there the Holy Spirit grants lasting peace.

Confession and absolution are the lifeblood of the Christian faith, for there we confront our sin face-to-face, and there Christ removes our sin and guilt, embracing us with His free gift of love and teaching us so to love one another. Just as parents teach their children never again to mention a sin that has been forgiven between siblings, so also the Christian congregation learns to live anew with their reconciled brothers and sisters. What a privilege parents have to herald that Gospel message in their homes, even as pastors proclaim it in their congregations. Wherever such a message is heard and believed, there the Holy Spirit grants lasting peace.

Dr. Ryan C. MacPherson is the founding president of The Hausvater Project. He lives with his wife Marie and their children in Mankato, MN, where he teaches American history, history of science, and bioethics at Bethany Lutheran College.

Posted on 04 Nov 2014

Gratitude =’s Thanksgiving

Gratitude: An appreciative awareness and thankfulness, for kindness shown or something received.

Thanksgiving: An act of giving thanks; an expression of gratitude, especially to God.

Titus 3:4-6”..But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5. Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6.Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;” Jesus said “…I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” John 10:10

Psalm 25:6 “Remember, O LORD, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old. “ From everlasting to everlasting; You are the same Lord, we thank You that Your mercy endures forever.

Isaiah 63:7 “I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the LORD, and the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses.”

Colossians 3:14-17 “And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. 15: And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.16. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

Psalms 100:4-5 “ Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endures to all generations.”

James 1:17 “ Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

“Martin Luther’s prayer. “We give thanks to Thee, Lord God Almighty, that Thou has revived us through thy heavenly gift. We pray that by thy mercy we may attain to a firm faith in Thee and a fervent love for one another through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord. Amen.”

Almighty God eternal Father, Lord Jesus Christ eternal Saviour, Holy Spirit eternal Comforter , we thank You for all Your good gifts which You provide, above all for salvation full and free, forgiveness, righteousness peace and joy provided by Jesus Christ’s atoning death for us sinners, and resurrection , as Jesus lives we also live and that forever. We praise you this thanksgiving for this great “unspeakable gift.” Amen.
Have a happy and blessed thanksgiving!

God’s Peace! Pastor Mark

Posted on 21 Nov 2014

Forgiving and Forgiven

Matthew 6:14-15

14For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Mark 11:26

25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.

Colossians 3: 13

13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

O Man forgive thy mortal foe,
Nor ever strike him blow for blow;
For all the souls on earth that live
To be forgiven must forgive.
Forgive him seventy times and seven:
For all the blessed souls in Heaven
Are both forgivers and forgiven!
Alfred Lord Tennyson

Brothers, Sisters, let us forgive one another.

God’s Peace! be with you all.



Posted on 15 Aug 2014

Two Harvests

The days are still getting shorter; the harvest bounty of food crops is winding down here in the Columbia Basin where we live. For these blessings, we thank God.

God’s word Genesis 8:22 after the flood. “While the earth remains seed time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, day and night shall not cease.”

God’s word; Luke 10:2 Jesus words “…The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth laborers into his harvest.” Jesus then tells us; verse 3. “Go your ways: behold, I send forth as lambs among wolves.”

This troubled world is full of conflict. Maheim death and destruction of all types are taking place all over the globe. Just read, hear, or look at the news, the United States of America; is not exempt. “When men’s hearts are failing them for fear seeing the things coming upon the earth”

How should we Christians be in these last times, as we hear and see what is going on around us. Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee”

The Bible says Luke 21:28 “And when these things begin to come to pass, look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws nigh.”

We are on a Journey to heaven above, the Lord has promised to bring us Home.

Oh lord grant us not to be afraid or to tremble and be fearful, believing we have life through Jesus name, and all sins are washed away in his blood

1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear has torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love..”

Look up brothers and sisters, soon Jesus comes’
God’s Peace! and rest be upon you.
Pastor Mark

Posted on 25 Oct 2014 

What the Slain Lamb Brings to Us

“… perhaps you will say: we know well enough that God gave His Son into death on our behalf, yet we, on our part, have by many transgressions and sins proved ourselves totally unworthy this His grace and mercy; from which it follows that God has again become our enemy on account of our crimes, though He may formerly have loved us for His Son’s sake. St. Paul tell us that this is false reasoning , and that we by no means give way to it, (don’t give the devils sermon of unbelief, any place in your heart) for he distinctly declares: “Christ died for us while we were yet sinners.” Remember this and be comforted by it. These words give us the explicit assurance, when our sins accuse us with God’s wrath and dire punishment, that Christ for no other purpose than to save sinners, and for no other persons. If, therefore, we commit new sins, if our conscience accuses us, and if we have merited anew the vengeance of God, we ought ever to remember that Christ died for us as sinners, for such sinners that we are, and shall remain. (sinners) though we may constantly exercise penitence and faith and new obedience with a good conscience. Yea, though we be ever so saintly, we will always need this consolation, that Christ died for us sinners, as St. Paul says “Though I know of no sin, I am not therefore justified;” and the Psalmist, Psalm 143 “Enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in Thy sight shall no man living be justified.” It therefore remains a fixed fact, eternally unalterable, that the passion and death of Christ took place for our sin, no matter when committed, and while we were yet sinners, and that therefore we are freed from the eternal wrath of God, that we have forgiveness, that the atonement is made once for all, and that we can now obtain eternal life.” Martin Luther

Words in parenthesis are mine.

Brother and Sisters in Christ “Casting all your care upon Him; for He cares for you.” 1st Peter 5:7

Jesus ever lives making intercession for us.
Oh Lord Give us grace, this Lenten and Easter season, to behold what You have done. Worshiping, You with prayer, praise, and thanksgiving.

Easter Blessings!

Posted on 03 Apr 2014

Keeping Vows and Promises

Psalm 61
1.Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.

2.From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

3. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.

4.I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.

5. For thou, O God, hast heard my vows: thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear thy name.

6.Thou wilt prolong the king’s life: and his years as many generations.

7.He shall abide before God for ever: O prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him.

8.So will I sing praise unto thy name for ever, that I may daily perform my vows.

“ Some people object to taking vows, but in the Bible you will find many great men of God directed by covenants, promises, vows and pledges. A carnal man refuses the discipline of such commitments. He says “I want to be free. It is legalism.” There are many religious tramps in the world who will not be bound by anything. Now here are five vows I have in mind which we do well to make and keep.

1. Deal thoroughly with sin.

2. Never own anything ie. Get rid of the sense of possessing.

3. Never defend yourself.

4. Never pass anything on about anybody else that will hurt him

5. Never accept any glory.” A. W. Tozer

“Pour Out Thy Spirit from on High”
by James Montgomery, 1771-1854

1. Pour out Thy Spirit from on high,
Lord, Thine assembled servants bless;
Graces and gifts to each supply
And clothe Thy priests with righteousness.

2. Before Thine altar when we stand
To teach the truth as taught by Thee,
Savior, like stars in Thy right hand
The angels of Thy churches be.

3. Wisdom and zeal and faith impart,
Firmness with meekness, from above,
To bear Thy people on our heart
And love the souls whom Thou dost love;

4. To watch and pray and never faint
By day and night strict guard to keep,
To warn the sinner, cheer the saint,
Nourish Thy lambs, and feed Thy sheep.

5. Then, when our work is finished here,
We may in hope our charge resign.
When the Chief Shepherd shall appear,
O God, may they and we be Thine.

Oh Lord this is our prayer, Thy will be done in our lives,
In your strength keeping covenants, vows and promises
made, to thy honor and glory Amen.

Posted on 20 May 2014

God’s Word is Sure Always

“… if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart,
and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us
not, then have we confidence toward God.” John 3:20-21

When your heart is filled with “doubt’s un-certaines, by
trembling fears” or your heart rejoices with “joy unspeakable
and full of glory.” “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday today
and forever.” Cling to the word and sacraments, the promises
of God therein shall stand forever. Christ-Word-Solid-Rock!

“Feelings come and feelings go,
And feelings are deceiving;
My warrant is the Word of God
Nothing else is worth believing.

Though all my heart should feel condemned
For want of some sweet token,
There is One greater than my heart
Whose Word cannot be broken.

I’ll trust in God’s unchanging Word
Till soul and body sever,
For, though all things shall pass away,
Martin Luther

“Heaven an earth shall pass away, God’s word abides forever”
Light for the journey, strength for the day, look to the word of
God, which is Christ who said “Thy word is truth” ‘the sword of
the Spirit is the word of God. Yes the word is everlasting truth.


Posted on 08 Feb 2012 

Peace is Union with Christ

Jesus said “My peace I give unto you…” This is the
“..peace that passeth understanding…” In other words
the peace Jesus gives is so great and wondrous that by
words it cannot be explained. It is only know by God’s
children who have it. It comes with the Joy of the Lord,
by the Holy Spirit. It is not a outward thing or things but
a heart matter as Apostle Paul writes “… righteousness,
peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. Rom 14:17

In the 1700’s Jonathan Edwards wrote of this peace.
“The peace which believers enjoy, is a participation of the
peace which their glorious Lord and Master himself enjoys,
by virtue of the same blood which Christ himself has
entered into rest. It is in a participation of this same
justification; for believers are justified with Christ. As he
was justified when he rose from the dead, and as he was
made free from our guilt, so believers are justified in him
and through him; as being accepted of God in the same
righteousness. It is the favor of the same God and
heavenly Father that they enjoy peace”

This peace comes to the lost through the children of God
blessed peacemakers called to bring the gospel of peace
to the lost broken souls wondering aimlessly in the dark
night of unbelief and sin without hope. We proclaim Jesus,
what he has done is the hope of the gospel of peace.

Can you hear the Savior saying go!! Let us obey whether
far away or close to home. Peach it sing it teach it with
words and loving deeds. Proclaiming Jesus blood and
righteousness. The gospel of peace. Which delivers from
death and the Devil; closes Hells wide gate opens Heavens
Gate giving eternal salvation to all who believe.

Posted on 11 Jan 2012
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