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The Word of the Lord; "Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 3:12-14

This month we celebrate Confirmation Sunday. Six youth confirm their faith and trust in Christ Jesus. They themselves have confessed their faith and vowed their fidelity to the Lord God. In church it is a celebration. In some homes, families further celebrate this important milestone in their son's or daughter's life. Hopefully it will be a day they will always remember with fond memories. Perhaps you can think back and recall the day of your Confirmation.

I can remember my Confirmation at Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Duluth, Minnesota. But my growth in the Christian faith did not end that day. Since then I have daily needed to study God's Word and pray to my Savior. I have needed to grow with other Christians in Bible Study, the Divine Service, and by receiving the Sacrament of Holy Communion. This has been important because I have not yet been made perfect. I have not yet arrived in heaven. I still struggle with my sinful nature and the temptations and troubles of this world. My Christian race is not yet completed.

The Apostle Paul made a similar statement in the words of Philippians 3:12-14. When Paul said he needed to press on toward the goal this was quite remarkable. After all Jesus had appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus and called him to faith. Paul had seen revelations of heaven that we can only dream about. (2 Corinthians 12:1-6) Paul was inspired by God to write many words of Holy Scripture. Paul had preached the word; he had been beaten and imprisoned for his faith. He had demonstrated that he was willing to lose everything, even his own life, rather than forsake the Christian faith. Yet Paul wrote that he still needed to press on toward the goal for he had not yet arrived in heaven or achieved perfection.

This is a truth that I pray each confirmed person understands as well. Not just the confirmed of 2019, but each and every one of us regardless of what year we were confirmed. Not one of us has already been made perfect. Not one of us reading this article has already arrived in heaven. Our faith has not yet achieved its final goal. It is important for us to "press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus."

We cannot do this on our own. It is only something that God in His grace will work in our lives. When Jesus was tempted to avoid the cross, He pressed on to Calvary to make payment for our sins. When Jesus was buried in the tomb, He pressed on to Easter. He rose to life opening heaven for all who believe in Him.

Now God desires to cause your faith to grow so that you may receive his perfection in heavenly glory. It is God who will bring this work to its completion (Philippians 1:6), but He does so through the means He provides - namely His Word and Sacrament. It is therefore important that we continue to gather regularly in church for the Divine Services, that we regularly receive the body and blood of our Lord shed for us for the forgiveness of our sins, and that daily we press on toward the goal through our own Bible reading and study. It is important that we make good use of these means of grace for through these means God will bring to completion the good work of salvation He has begun in our lives.

Our Christian run is not a short sprint that ends when we are confirmed but it is a marathon. Whether we were confirmed this year or 75 years ago, it is important that we press on toward the goal for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus.

May God grant to you His Holy Spirit so that by His grace you may run with perseverance the lifelong marathon of faith which was confirmed in you.

Pastor Schoenfeld

We Have  Saturday Worship at 4:00 PM

When life gets busy and you are unable  to make it to our regular Sunday worship service, join us Saturday at 4:00 PM.

This service will be more informal than Sunday morning while including the essential aspects of Christian worship.  Everyone is welcome to attend.

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  Romans 3:23

Ever since Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3) every human being has come into this world as a sinful being.  Our sin separates us from God.  Left to ourselves we would perish for eternity in hell (John 3:36 & Hebrews 10:26-27).

For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  John 3:16

God loves you so much that He came into this world as a human being (Luke 2:1-20).   Jesus, the Son of God, lived a perfect life for you (Hebrews 4:14-16), suffered and died upon a cross for you (John 19), and rose from the dead for you (Luke 24).   Now our risen Lord will forgive your sin (1 John 1:8-9) and grant eternal salvation to you if you believe in Him.  

“Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved…”  Acts 16:31

When God blesses you with a living faith in Jesus you will have a place in heaven.  Such salvation comes not by our works but by grace through faith in Jesus (Romans 3:28; Ephesians 2:8-10).  

And He died for all, that those who live, should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.”  2 Corinthians 5:15

Now as those who have been given the gift of heaven we live no longer just for ourselves but to serve God and our fellow human beings.  (Ephesians 2:10)