Greetings Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Last week, June and I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League Convention, in Mobile, AL. What a blessing it was for us to be together with 3400 women and 100+ men who love their Lord. The theme of the convention was “In Praise to the Lord.” And I can definitely tell you, from a first-hand perspective, that was exactly what took place on the southern coast of Alabama on Thursday-Sunday. It was an unbelievable atmosphere of singing, praying, dancing, shouting, worshiping, and studying God’s Word in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord for all He had done for those of us who were present. It was certainly a Spirit led mountaintop experience which we were blessed to be a part of for those few short days.
When a person has the chance to share in a dynamic Christian gathering like the one we were at on our trip down south, you get spiritually invigorated in a very mighty and powerful way. There seems to be no inhibitions in the participants to share or profess their faith, or show their love for their Lord and their neighbor. It presented an environment that has to be experienced by one-self, since there is no way an individual can fully convey, to anyone else what it is really like, and do it proper justice. The next one will be in two years, in Lexington, KY, and I hope we will be blessed to attend again. The nice thing is that it will only be a five hour drive next time. Yeh!
There is a downside to attending one of these great Spirit led activities. You eventually have to go back out into the world and get back into your regular routine and schedule. And guess what my dear friends that is exactly what I am doing as I write this newsletter article. But, you know what? That is OK because this is one of my duties that I enjoy doing as your Pastor. It is my chance to connect with each of you on a more personal note and to be able to share my thoughts and feelings with you. It also gives me an opportunity to share God’s Word with you and encourage you in your walk of faith as a child of God and a fellow member of the Body of Christ.
In the last three newsletters I have been writing little snippets about a revitalization program I want to see us implement here at Emmanuel on the Ridge. In today’s society it is so easy to lose our focus on why we are here on this earth. The bottom line is you and I have been created to bring glory and honor to our great God, and to do His will as we live in this amazing world He has created for us to dwell in. Our gracious Lord has showered each one of us with so many blessings and it should be our desire to fulfill the purpose for which He made us. We are to be the kind of people who have a passion to be in His Holy House regularly, to study His Word diligently, and to be in conversation with Him constantly. As we do these things which He has called us to do, He will empower us to carry out His good and perfect will in our lives. Romans 8:28 tells us, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” We are called to obediently and faithfully serve Him as His redeemed and saved children. And He has promised to watch over us and guide us in all our ways, if we are willing to submit to His plan for our lives. Spiritual revitalization is an intentional process set on submitting our will to His will.
I have been here at Emmanuel for 5 years as your Vicar/Pastor and God has blessed us by healing the many wounds and settling the strife which was quite evident when I first arrived. This is a different congregation than 5 years ago, but we must not rest on the positive progress which has taken place. We need to be mission minded, Spirit driven workers for the Lord. There is much work for us to do in bringing the love of God in Christ Jesus to this love starved world. You and I have been chosen by the King to be His soldiers of the cross and He has given us His marching orders. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20) Spiritual revitalization begins in the heart. I pray your heart is ready and willing to serve the Lord with gladness and be His faithful workers in the vineyards of this world. And may all we do be “In Praise to the Lord.” God bless and a happy 4th of July!!!!!