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February 6, 2018, 10:19 AM

Let the Little Children Come. ~Jesus


Dear Friends:

This past Sunday, my youngest grandson, Eli was over tired and a “crank-pot” during worship. As I was reading the lessons for the day I could see him squirming in his mother’s arms in the back of the church, crying louder and louder. That was until the Gospel reading was finished and I invited the children to the Altar for our children’s message. Eli then calmed down and came into MY arms where he stayed, contented and peaceful throughout my time with the children.

Eli fell asleep during the sermon (no comments, please) but then was awake for communion. As is our practice at Our Redeemer, young children are invited to come to the communion rail to receive a blessing, and Eli did just that. He stood on the kneeler in front of his father and after I gave his father the communion wafer, Eli reached out his hand for one. Even though a wafer was not offered to him, he seemed contented that grandpa put his hand on his head and said the words, “May God continue to bless you and keep you always as His child.” And when all had received the Sacrament and blessing, he turned, waved and said “bye-bye”.

Throughout my history in the church, I have heard a few people express disdain for children in church causing a disturbance. I have also known parents who won’t bring their young children into worship for “fear” of their children’s behavior. And while I understand full well the need to be able to worship in peace, I also recognize the importance of bringing your children to worship!

“Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, 14 but Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.’ 15 And he laid his hands on them and went away.”  Matthew 19:13-15

When I read these words of Jesus, I not only hear Him correcting those who would keep children out of church, but I hear Him speaking to their parents and “urging” them to bring their children into His presence.

Whenever anybody other than Jesus rebukes, it is wrong.

Scripture does not tell us exactly what the disciples’ objections were to the children being there, but  Jesus called for them to be brought to Him that He might touch them, bless them, forgive them and to let them experience His love. That “calling” is still in effect today!

If you have children, or grandchildren, do not be afraid to bring them to church. They are invited… they are invited by Jesus to be there! In our Baptism liturgy, sponsors and parents are instructed to witness the child’s Baptism, to pray for them and to support them in their ongoing instruction and nurture in the Christian faith and encourage them toward the faithful reception of the Lord’s Supper. While this can be done in many ways, bringing a child into worship in the Lord’s house is a great way to make sure that they know the Lord and be in the fellowship of other Christians!

The season of Lent begins in a week or so. What a wonderful time for families to gather to hear of the love of God through the sacrifice of His Son for all of us… both young and old.

May God bless your Lenten Journey.

May God bless the children’s Lenten Journey.

Pastor Sadlo




April 5, 2017, 7:21 AM

It's About The Cross



Devotion – April 5, 2017

It’s About the Cross

 

It's not just about the manger where the baby lay.

It's not all about the angels who sang for him that day.

It's not just about the shepherds or the bright and shining star.

It's not all about the wise men who travelled from afar.

It's about the cross. It's about my sin. It's about how Jesus came to be born once so that we could be born again. It's about the stone that was rolled away, so that you and I could have real life someday. It's about the cross.

 

It's not all about the good things in this life I've done.

It’s not all about the treasures or the trophies that I've won.

It’s not about the righteousness that I find within.

It’s all about His precious blood that saved me from my sin.

It's about the cross. It's about my sin. It's about how Jesus came to be born once so that we could be born again. It's about the stone that was rolled away, so that you and I could have real life someday. It's about the cross.

 

The beginning of the story is wonderful and great, but it's the ending that can save you and that's why we celebrate!

It's about the cross. It's about my sin. It's about how Jesus came to be born once so that we could be born again. It's about God's love nailed to a tree. It's about every drop of blood that flowed from Him when it should have been me!

It's about the stone that was rolled away so that you and I could have real life someday.  So that you and I could have real life someday.

It's about the cross!                                (Words and Music by Jamison Statema & Daniel Ball)

 

 

It’s about the cross!

 

What a wonderful text to be able to meditate upon. What a wonderful song to sing!

I’ve sung these words many, many times over the past few months, not just so I can learn the music that goes along with them but so that I can get them firmly implanted in my heart. If you have never heard the song sung by the Ball Brothers you can find it here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYSJj-EHAAk

 

I’m a Dad, a grandpa, a pastor, a teacher. In all of those roles I want my children, grandkids and students to be successful in life. I want them to be happy, accomplished, and healthy. I think everyone who reads this would agree with me. But there is so much more that I want for them. I want them to know Jesus. I want them to know of His love. I want them to know just what He has done for them. I want them to know about the cross.

 

 In Matthew 26:36-46 we read: Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” 37 And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 42 Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43 And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44 So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. 45 Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”

 

The words that I want you to think about in this text are highlighted.

 

Why did Jesus fall on His face when He prayed? Why was He sorrowful, even unto death? Why did He ask God if the certain future could change?

 

There’s an old saying (well maybe I just made it up) that says, “If there are sharks in the water, stay out of the water.” There were lots of sharks in the water, circling Jesus and waiting for the right opportunity to pounce… and He knew it. Jesus knew that men who hated Him were coming for Him. He knew that a terrible death awaited Him. He knew that His friends would forsake Him. But yet… He went to the cross.

 

He went to the cross for you. He went to the cross for you if you tell Him “thank you” every day. He went to the cross for you if you don’t think of Him at all. He went to the cross for those who love Him and those who don’t know Him. He went to the cross for you.

 

That’s what I want my children and their children to know. I love them greatly, but my love can’t compare to God’s love for them. Jesus’ death and resurrection opened the door to life eternally with Him in heaven, and that is something that we all need to carry with us. That’s why we have a school at Our Redeemer, so that we can make sure that our children know of God’s love. That’s why we have a Sunday School… so we can teach our children. That’s why God gave us His word, that each one of us can share that word within our families.

 

Sunday, April 9 is Palm Sunday. During worship you can hear this song sung. You can hear the story that begins “Holy Week” as we witness the parade of people who entered Jerusalem with Jesus. You can be reminded of the love of God as we begin our journey with Jesus and hear, once again of His faithfulness to us as He allowed Himself to be crucified for us.

 

May the Lord bless our journey together as we are told the story of His love.

 

May God bless your day (I know He will)  – Pastor Sadlo




March 20, 2017, 1:35 PM

My Jesus, I Love Thee



My Jesus, I Love Thee

A Devotion

March 20, 2017

 

            My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine.

            For Thee all the follies of sin I resign.

            My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou.

            If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ‘tis now.

 

            Jesus, Jesus how I trust him! How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er.

            Jesus, Jesus precious Jesus! O for grace to trust Him more.

                                               

                                                          (Text by Louisa M.R. Stead, 1882)

 

Who do you say that I am? That was the question Jesus put to His disciples. It was time for them not to repeat what they had heard, not to give answers to a test, not to join in with the crowd. It was time for them to answer from their hearts.

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed  in heaven.” 20 Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.  (Matthew 16:13-20)

 

The lyrics from the anthem, “My Jesus I love Thee” are taken from words written by Louisa Stead. Louisa Stead was a Christian missionary in the late 1800’s. History tells us that she wrote these lyrics after watching her husband drown in Long Island Sound. While she was able to thank God for saving her daughter who survived that accident, she had lost her husband forever.

 

In her deepest despair she turned to the only place that she could go which would bring her peace in the face of tragedy, her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  These were her words that could not just be spoken as a teacher teaches facts. They had to come from her heart, drawing on her faith that Jesus truly is God’s Son who died for her.

 

All of us will face a time in our lives when the Lord will ask us, “Who do you say that I am.” Your answer can have a profound effect on others… but more importantly, it will have a greater effect on you!

When Peter confessed His faith in Jesus, He was blessed by Jesus! Isn’t that what we are looking for in life? Isn’t that the most important part of life, knowing that we are living with the blessing of Christ upon us?

 

And our confession isn’t just for us. Jesus told Peter that His confession and the confession of His church would be what brings life into this world by bringing Jesus into the world.

 

The Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Philippi:

And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

                                                                                                                                  (Philippians 2:8-11)

 

May God bless you today and always as you grow in faith and love and service to our one true God who blesses us each and every day.  May your faith be as strong as Peter who confessed the Lord and may you rely on your faith following the example of Louisa Stead.

 

God is good…. All the time!

Pastor Sadlo

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March 9, 2017, 9:51 AM

Bow the Knee



Bow the Knee

A Devotion

March 9, 2017

 

There are moments on our journey following the Lord where God illumines every step we take.

There are times when circumstances make perfect sense to us, as try to understand each move He makes.

When the path grows dim and our questions have no answers, turn to Him.

           

            Bow the knee; trust the heart of your Father when the answer goes beyond what you can see.

            Bow the knee; lift your eyes toward heaven and believe the One who holds eternity.

            And when you don’t understand the purpose of His plan, in the presence of the King, bow the knee.

 

There are days when clouds surround us, and the rain begins to fall, the cold and lonely winds won’t cease to blow.

And there seems to be no reason for the suffering we feel; we are tempted to believe that God does not know.

When the storms arise, don’t forget we live by faith and not by sight.

           

            Bow the knee; trust the heart of your Father when the answer goes beyond what you can see.

            Bow the knee; lift your eyes toward heaven and believe the One who holds eternity.

            And when you don’t understand the purpose of His plan, in the presence of the King, bow the knee.

 

(Words and Music by Chris Machen & Mike Harland)

 

I have trouble memorizing words. It doesn’t matter if it is the lyrics of a song or passages of scripture. To borrow a phrase from others; I am word challenged! But one thing that helps me is to repeat lines that I am trying to memorize over and over again or even write them down to imprint them in my brain!

 

The above lyrics are words that I am trying to memorize… but they are much more than that. They are lyrics of a song which share with us the Biblical truth of God’s love. He is faithful and trustworthy and wants to have a daily relationship with us. He promises to be with us through the ups and downs of life and promises to hear us when we pray.

 

Maybe the best examples of when to pray come from Jesus himself:

 

Jesus prayed at His baptism. Luke 3:21-22 – We don’t know anything about Jesus’ prayer life before His baptism, but as He began His public ministry… He began it with prayer.

 

In Matthew 4 we are told that Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. He fasted for 40 days. Matthew doesn’t say the words, but I would believe that there was a lot of prayer spoken in those 40 days in preparation for the temptations to come.

 

There are many times in the Bible that Jesus went by himself in solitude to pray:

Matthew 14:23 – Jesus went to be by Himself before walking on the Sea of Galilee to be with His disciples.

Luke 6:12-13 – Jesus prayed by Himself before choosing His 12 Apostles.

Matthew 26:36-46 – Jesus took His disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray before He was arrested.

 

It seems that whenever there was to be a major ministry event, Jesus turned to God in prayer.

            He prayed on the cross.

            He prayed in the Garden.

            He prayed at the Last Supper (said grace!)

            He prayed before healing people.

            He prayed before feeding the 5000.

            He prayed before He was transfigured.

            Jesus prayed!

 

Jesus invites us to pray. He invites us to say thanks for His grace. He invites us to pray for what we need. He invites us to pray for one another. We should pray… often…always.

 

May God bless each one of us as we live in His Kingdom. We have a Father who loves and cares for us and wants to speak with us each and every day. To quote a phrase I recently memorized, “Bow the knee, trust the heart of your Father…”

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August 15, 2015, 9:53 AM

Never Give Up


 

I just finished viewing the Women’s World Cup Soccer match between the USA and Brazil. What an emotional rollercoaster! I love sports, especially football and soccer. I’m not sure if I have been to more football games or soccer games, but they are both my first loves. But while watching this soccer game today, I almost swore off soccer forever. The USA fell victim to some horrible refereeing at the beginning of the second half which cost them the lead in the game and also their momentum. On top of everything else, they had to play more than half the game one player short. To say the least, I was besides myself and the announcers were in agreement with me which further fueled my fire. Later in the game the USA team gave up a great goal and were down 2-1.

But then it happened…the USA scored a great goal just SECONDS (yes, seconds)before regulation time and tied the game sending it into overtime…all this while playing one player short!! The game moved into the penalty kick phase and the player who was hurt the most because of the earlier bad call, USA goalie Hope Solo, made a spectacular save and the USA went on to win the game. They never gave up…they never quit…they just kept pushing forward towards their goal.  At the time of this writing the game ended 4 hours ago and I am still “stoked”.

This mornings Gospel reading came from Matthew 13: 1-9, 18-31, the Parable of the Sower and the Seed. In the parable, the sower sows the seed onto the ground and in  75% of the places the seed is planted, it doesn’t grow!  That is a very disappointing statistic! If an elected official only had a 25% job approval rating, they would not be reelected. If a farmer only had 25% of their crop come to harvest, they would lose their farm! If a teacher is only reaching 25% of their students, they are not teaching successfully. When we are not successful in our work, we may be tempted to quit.

But this parable gives encouragement to all who share the Gospel of Christ. The seed, God’s Word, is not just any seed. When the Gospel is shared, the harvest will be plentiful…that’s a promise from God. “As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty”. (Matthew 13:23)

We are encouraged with these words to never give up reflecting the love of Christ. We all know people with whom we have tried to share Christ who have rebuffed us or were “too busy”. But don’t give up…don’t stop sharing the Word with them or other…God promises that there WILL be a plentiful harvest.

The Lord WILL bless our proclamation. To HIM be the glory.


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