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

Straighten up and raise your heads,
because your redemption is drawing near.

Luke 21:28b
















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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Worship Service

November 27, 2019
November 24, 2019
November 17, 2019
November 10, 2019
November 3, 2019

Pentecost 23 – November 17, 2019
Text:            Malachi 4:1-6
Theme:         Things Are Fine Until They Are Not


        Like most of us, I have people who are close to me who are not Christian.  I’m not talking about my friends from other denominations who may be quasi-heretics, but they are faithful in worship and Bible Study.  And I’m not talking about people who have a deep faith in Christ, but, for any number of silly reasons, just don’t frequent worship very often.  I’m talking about people who have no faith in God.  They do not believe in our God; the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; the God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Some follow a false religion of man: Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jews, Muslims, Mormons, Hindus; and some are atheists. 

        It is the atheists I want to think about today. Now, understand that atheists are really theological narcissists.  Every human being believes in something.  An atheist believes in himself.  Atheists think of their god as the best parts of themselves.  When we are kind to others, it is godly.  When we take care of our family, it is godly, when we are successful, it is godly, but they in no way think of their god in the way we know our God as a real, personal, being with whom we have a deep and abiding relationship.  Not only that, but, because of the way they think of their god, they see me, a pastor in the Church, as a little bit of a charlatan, albeit a nice charlatan.  After all, I make my living off of people who believe in a god they don’t think is real. They see me as preying on the mental weaknesses of human beings. 

        It is sad for them.  They do not know the joy of having a relationship with God and because their hearts or so hard, the Holy Spirit cannot create faith in them.  Remember that the one power we always have over God is refusal to believe.  He will never force us to believe in him.

        We are moving quickly now toward the end of the Church Year, and our texts focus on the end of the world.  The prophet Malachi pointed out that the unbelievers will be burned like stubble.  Think of the California wildfires enveloping all people who have no faith in Christ.  It is not a comforting thought, and the reason the prophet is so pointed is that he wants us to take it seriously! 

        Now, neither Malachi, nor I expect you to quit your job tomorrow and head off to a foreign land to become a full time missionary.  Although, while the mission fields used to be the Congo or New Guinea, now, they are the Gold Coast of Chicago, or maybe even our own block.  At any rate, regardless of whether it is in the Congo or on the campus of Northwestern, Malachi and I understand that you may not be able to drop all your current responsibilities and go witness your faith fulltime.  We don’t expect you to do that, but what we do expect is that you would take the end of the world that is coming quickly very seriously.

      I am continually surprised by people who speak of the end of the world with doubt.  I just had a discussion with an LCMS pastor who asked me in the tone one might use when speaking to a lunatic, “Do you really believe that the world will be all burned up and recreated?”  I said, “Um, yes.  What do you believe?”  He said that all that fire and brimstone was just a metaphor for global warming.  Our lack of concern for the environment and our failure to be good stewards of creation has caused damage to our environment and now we are suffering the consequences of global warming.  Really?  Do you think the people to whom Malachi spoke were concerned with carbon emissions, landfills and rising sea levels?  Sometimes people are just ridiculous in their outlandish efforts to avoid believing that they are not the almighty center of the universe; that God runs the universe not human beings and that God will keep all his promises, including the one about destroying the earth with fire.

        See that is what is behind all the doubt of God and his power. An all-powerful, all-knowing God boots us out of the center of the universe! We like to think that we are all that and a bag of chips. You might be more mature in your faith so that you have ceased to believe that the earth revolves around you, but we all have been through those times when we either forgot that God is in control or we refused to believe that God is in control.  During those times we scramble to secure our place at the top.  We put other people down to build ourselves up.  We minimized God and his promises to comfort ourselves with the illusion that we are in control. But we are not in control of much of anything beyond our own bodily functions, and the older we get, the less we believe that as well.  We are a fly speck on the dung pile that is left of this world after sin has ravaged it for a few eons.  We are less than worms.  We are weak, and we are helpless.  My heavens, we cannot even fight off a simple little infection without the help of antibiotics.  The only thing that makes us powerful is God.  Without God, we are nothing.

        God chose to wash us in Baptismal water and feed us with his Word and his own body and blood.  God chose to clothe us in the breastplate of righteousness so that we can withstand the arrows of Satan.  God is what made us a formidable force on this earth.  He created us with no fur, no claws, no razor-sharp teeth, but he blessed us with his image.  Then when we corrupted his image with sin, he sent his son to die on the cross and suffer Hell for us so that we could continue living with Him for all eternity.

      Malachi wants his people to understand that it is not their charm and good looks that keeps them whole in this world.  It is not their bravado and battlefield acumen.  It is not their obedience to rules and regulations.  It is God and only God who keeps us whole through this life.  Remember that God is not separate from this life.  It is not as though now we are in the world and then we will with God.  We are already living eternally with God.  We are already being guarded and protected by God.  We are in the palm of his hand as we travel through this part of eternity and we look forward to the day of the Resurrection when we will no longer need to be protected from evil, but we are already with God right now.  All of our ancestors are all around us with God right now.  It’s just that there is a veil of mortality between us and them for now, and so we cannot see them nor they us, but God sees us all.  Behold! The day is coming.  Stay in the palm of his hand and he will deliver you just as he has delivered them.