Messages from Pastor Bob

December 2018

Dear Friends of Zion,

The mad rush toward Christmas has begun. Maybe you are already caught up in it. It seems that the closer we get to Christmas, the busier our lives seem to become. There are decorations to put up, social gatherings to attend, gifts to buy and wrap, and preparations to make. That is a lot for such a short amount of time in the weeks before Christmas. No wonder people seem to be overwhelmed at this time of year. But the true spirit of Christmas is not so much found in the things that we do and the gifts that we buy. It is found in what God has done and what God has given to us. As the angel said to those shepherds who were out in the fields keeping watch over their flocks by night: “To you is born in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11) God knew what we needed the most and He provided. Some people go to great lengths to get into the Christmas spirit. They get into debt buying the best gifts for the ones they love. The go all out on Christmas decorations for their home and house. Maybe you’ve driven by some of those houses. I actually enjoy seeing some of the sights of the season. And even in our church we enjoy the pot-luck and tree-trimming, which is on December 12th at 6:00 PM this year.
Please come and share in the fellowship. And there is a lot of preparation for the services, which include the Sunday School Christmas Service on Sunday, December 23, at 10:30 AM, Christmas Eve at 7:00 PM and 11:00 PM, as well as Christmas Day at 10:30 AM. This is all for the celebration of the birth of Christ.
Christmas is undeniably a huge event. God sent His own messengers to announce the news of the birth of the promised Savior. And those heaven-sent messengers broke out in a loud praise, saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!” (Luke 2:14). What a powerful statement all because of the birth of Jesus Christ, the Savior! Unfortunately, not everyone will receive that precious gift that our Lord offers. Some families have all of the trimmings of the season, but their celebration does not include Jesus,the Savior. Surprisingly, many today are not involved with church and the focus on God’s gift of a Savior to a fallen humanity. And for many, the focus on Jesus can easily become lost in the countless decorations that can hide or distract us from the true reason for the season. I pray that you will find peace and joy as you focus on the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem. He is God’s gift to you. He is the Savior of the world. It is through faith in Him that we have peace with God in a world where peace is often missing. May the celebration of Christ’s birth
fill your heart and mind with true joy!Have a blessed and merry Christmas!

Pastor Bob Hass


November 2018

Dear Friends of Zion,

When I think of November Thanksgiving Day always comes to mind and the importance of giving thanks to God.  Psalm 92:1-2 states, “It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; to declare Your steadfast love in the morning, and Your faithfulness by night.”  Yes, it is good to give thanks to the Lord, our God!

There are many things for which I thank God here at Zion Lutheran Church.  These are but a few:

–         For the faithful church officers who serve the Lord and this congregation…

–         For those who serve on Altar Guild, preparing the chancel for worship each week….

–         For our Sunday School and teachers as they teach the children “the one thing   needful” (Luke 11:42)…

–         For Little Zion Preschool, our director, teachers, and staff as they equip children with the love of God in Jesus Christ…

–         For the families who bring their children into our midst, without whom we would have no future…

–         For our Youth, whose presence among us brings joy and purpose…

–         For our musicians, choir director, and choir, who bless our worship with song…

–         For those who see the importance of  worship and the need to feed on God’s Word and Sacrament regularly…

–         For the many volunteers who make the    Scarecrow Festival a joyful success…

–         For those who beautify the church property through mowing, weeding, and general maintenance…

–         For those who respond to the Lord’s generosity with their tithes and offerings, and gifts…

–         For those who will help set-up for and  clean-up after church events, who make life better for us all…

–         For those who continually offer prayers  on behalf of the needs that arise each week…

–         For those who work on media and publicity, so that others may know who we are and what we are doing…

–         For those who visit others with the compassion of our Lord Jesus…

–         For those who are committed to making this congregation a place to be connected to the love of God in Jesus Christ…

–         For those I may have missed – forgive me – you will be on my mind right after this is printed.

 

It is good to give thanks to the Lord.  Psalm 136:1 says, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever.”  In that Psalm the phrase “for His steadfast love endures forever” occurs in every one of the 26 verses.  What a great reason to give thanks to the Lord – not just at Thanksgiving Day, but as a way of life for God’s faithful people!

In Christ’s Service,

Pastor

 


October 2018

Dear Friends of Zion,

The Church on earth has a mission, and that mission involves all of those who are part of God’s redeemed people on this side of heaven.  Our mission is to make disciples.  We are to reach out with the Good News of our Lord Jesus Christ to people who do not know the power of God’s love for our sinful humanity. 

That mission can seem overwhelming.  I am sure that the Eleven Apostles felt that way when Jesus told them to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19).  That was a pretty huge calling for such a small band of disciples.  Sometimes we can lose sight of what we are able to do.  Sometimes the task can seem so big we do not know where to begin.

In our local church here at Zion Lutheran Church, we can be involved in that mission in many ways.  One way is to see our attendance in worship as a means to be mission minded.  Visitors who come to church are more inclined to join when they see a lot of people rather than an empty parking lot and empty pews.

I knew of one family looking for a church.  They found a nice church, but there were no children.  Since they had children, they decided to look elsewhere.  I heard of another family with a couple of teenagers.  But when they visited a church, there were no teenagers.  They decided to look elsewhere.  Even though the congregation had children and teenagers and others on their membership list, they did not take the time to be involved in worship.  As a result, a mission opportunity was lost.

I believe that one way we can be involved in mission is to see that our weekend worship provides a welcome environment for those who may be looking for a church.  We are blessed with people of all ages in our congregation.  But they need to be seen and involved in the heart of our worship experience.  It is in worship that we take time to praise and glorify God and He offers forgiveness and strengthens our faith.

It is my impression that most people here at Zion Lutheran Church would love to see more people in worship.  Teenagers would love to have a larger number involved in Youth activities.  The Men’s group would like to see more at the Men’s breakfast.  Other groups would appreciate more people to whom they can share the blessings of being loved by God.  And everyone would enjoy seeing a greater number of children go up for the object lesson.

May God open our hearts and eyes always to see our lives and the lives of our fellow sisters and brothers in Christ as being involved in a great and wonderful mission.  And may we support each other in this calling so that we can effectively reach out with the Good News of God’s love for us through our crucified and risen Savior, Jesus Christ, our Lord!

In Christ’s Service,

Pastor Bob