300 S. Ardmore Ave. Villa Park, IL 60181

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Saturday - 4:30 pm Sunday - 8:00 am & 10:30 am Christian Education Sunday - 9:15 am

Blessed are those who have not seen

and yet have believed. John 20:29b

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pastor Rob Rogers was born in Seattle Washington. He has a B.A. in Communication from Concordia University, Austin, TX and a Masters of Divinity from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, MO. READ MORE >>

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This piece was written by Jackson Scofield, recipient of the 2016 Rev. Arno Schlechte Scholarship for students preparing for professional church work.  Jackson is a lifetime member of Trinity Lutheran Church, Villa Park and will be attending Concordia University, Chicago this fall.

On a dark and crowded street with minimal light, a bus surges on with all its lights burnt out. A man without a loud voice hears a faint horn and warns another man nearby. The second man then says nothing and runs away, saving himself but allowing several others to suffer the unpleasant death of being hit by a bus 30 seconds later.

Now, when the first man, instead of running away, immediately warns just a few others, those men too can warn a few others before most, if not all, of the people have heard and been given the opportunity to avoid the oncoming vehicle catastrophe.

Unfortunately, not everyone who hears will listen. Even more unfortunate is how few will sound the alarm.

As human beings, two things are sure: we’re not perfect, and we’re not even close to perfect. We don’t always honor our fathers and mothers. We don’t always love our neighbors as ourselves.  We covet what isn’t ours and in general, we do so many things wrong that we don’t remember half of them.

Because of our imperfect, sinful nature, we haven’t earned our spot on life’s honor roll. By our life’s doings, not one of us qualifies no matter how many good things we can recall ourselves doing, we still do that much more evil.

That is why God sent Jesus Christ, his only begotten son, to die on the cross for our sins. It doesn’t matter what titles have been bestowed upon you – whether you have been raised knowing Christ or if this is the very first time you’ve heard of his sacrifice, what race you are, what your sexual orientation is, what atrocities you have committed in the past (and we’ve all committed them) – God didn’t just send Christ for the choir boy who lives next door or the kid with the rich parents driving his Lamborghini to school Monday morning or the excessively proper guy from the office who invites you to worship every Sunday. God gave his son to die to save YOU. Even if you were the only sinner in the world, God would have sent Christ for you and you alone, despite the wrongdoings you have committed against him.

If you ever feel alone, lost in the chaos of your own world and nothing seems to be going right and you honestly think nobody else will understand because you are the only one in the world going through those struggles, know that God is there at all times. He loves and cherishes you as one of his prized creations despite your sins.

There is no need to worry about going to Hell or some other traumatic outcome in the afterlife. For by hearing his word, God allows the Holy Spirit to come upon you. So long as you do not flat-out reject the Spirit as he holds Grace and fills you with faith, you have a one-way ticket to a paradise that we cannot even comprehend in our earthly limitations.

And this is made possible because somehow, somewhere God compelled another – whether a parent, a sibling, a friend, a coworker or some random guy on the street – to tell you that they believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of Heaven and Earth, and in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; He descended into Hell, and on the third day rose again from the dead and He ascended into Heaven and is seated at the right hand of the God the Father Almighty, from thence he will come to judge the living and the dead; and that they believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. Amen.

All of us who have heard the word and seen Christ’s interaction in our lives are truly blessed for so many more still haven’t. We’re lucky God put the right people in our lives to tell us, whether it was easy or not for us to come to terms with the faith that was bestowed on us, whether there were concerns over whether your family would accept it or how it would make you look to your friends to skip practice to go to Church and worship our Savior. But just as we’re glad about God giving us his word and the people he put into our lives to accomplish this goal, what are we if we do not tell the next person?

                How can we know what kind of eternal suffering and damnation we have just avoided on merits that are not our own and not pass out one of those extra free admission vouchers for the alternative – a life with Christ? Why has it become so awkward for someone to mention Christ in passing and so unacceptable to mention it to others in public? Why do we treat telling someone about the greatest gift they could ever imagine as though it was politically incorrect?

                Christ has become a taboo in a country whose very constitution was intended to reflect the Bible’s commandments. Children grow up without him because fewer and fewer people are instilling the values of Christianity into their children, and his very mention isn’t allowed in school. Not to mention, going to Church isn’t the first thing on a child’s or teenager’s agenda. Others are deterred by hate that disguises itself as Christianity and leaving a bad impression. When raised without Christ, a life without Christ becomes all the more likely.

                It isn’t something that can be brushed off either, for the fate lasts forever. We Christians need to be better at spreading the Word of God and making sure everyone knows that Christ died in their place for God loved us and them so much.

                So listen. Listen for the opportunities God lays in front of you. Listen that they may listen. Listen for when there is someone starving: starving for the Word and Sacraments, starving for God’s grace, starving for the Savior. And fill his plate.

                By allowing God to do his work and not being concerned that others may think negatively of you for showing to them God’s boundless love and mercy, we provide a chance for others to walk on the same path towards the eternal paradise on which we now stroll.

                Life has its ups and downs, but with the right one of the two outcomes, the ups far outweigh the downs. Fear not, and rejoice in the Lord.

 

Jackson Scofield

 

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