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123 Park Lane • Moorpark, CA 93021 • (805) 532 1049 • Email Directory

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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

January 2017 - New Year's Message

Dear Friends of Faith Lutheran Church,

It is custom for many to make New Year's resolutions. Many want to be better at doing something: losing weight, eating healthier, read more books, spend more time with family and/or friends, any number of things. While this can be laudable, I have never met a person who was able to keep those resolutions farther than a month into the year. I'm sure there are people out there who have been able to stay on the bandwagon, but I've never met them.

I'll be honest: I have not made New Year's resolutions for a few years now. I don't make any because of my depression necessarily, but because I hate being enslaved by the Law, and when I don't lose those certain amount of pounds and so on, I find myself thinking I've sinned in some way. However, that is not the case. One does not sin because they haven't lost weight or eaten something over something else. Nowhere in God's Word does it say, "Thou Shalt Eat a Certain Way" or "Thou Shalt Lose More Weight." You will never find it there. Yeah, the Old Testament Israel was given dietary restrictions. But as the New Testament Church we have since been set free by Christ from such things as the dietary and ceremonial Laws.

There is one resolution, however, one may be able to try and keep instead: live in the freedom of Christ. Live in the freedom given through the forgiveness of your sins. Live in the righteousness of God. Live in the freedom of the Gospel. How do you do this? Remember your Baptism. Receive the Holy Absolution from your Pastor. Partake of your Lord's Body and Blood in the Holy Supper. These things are what truly set you free from sin, death, and the Devil. And guess what? You can live a life boldly now, and even guide you into the glory of eternal life.

I challenge you to make this your New Year's resolution. I've never heard anybody try this out before. Why not now?

Your Brother in Christ,
Pastor Jonathan Holmes

The full newsletter can be downloaded here:
http://www.faithmoorpark.com/files/pdf/2017/2017-01-Newsletter.pdf

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

December 2016

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I'm sure everyone has started - maybe even finished - their Christmas shopping. Finding the good deals, trying to beat the hustle and bustle since everyone is in such a frenzy to get whatever those CEOs think we want this year.

With that in mind, I remember seeing a picture on Facebook a couple years back that had a caption on it that said something to the effect of, "Black Friday is the day after everyone has been so thankful for what they have. Yet, Black Friday is the day where everyone needs more than they already have..."

For our society, this is what this season has become. A season marketed to such an extent we can hardly find any semblance of what is really going on: the worship of the god Mammon... With that said, however: MERRY ADVENT! Yes, there is a season that takes place before Christmas and the season of Advent is not just all about December 25th. Don't get me wrong, though, Christmas is a very important day. It is the day we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is the day that shows to the world and us that our Lord Jesus descended into flesh and blood just like the rest of us, with the ultimate goal to die, but rise from that death. The same death and resurrection that provides us poor, miserable sinner with free forgiveness, life, and salvation.

Dear friends, it is upon Jesus death and resurrection that we rest our hope upon. However, our hope also goes beyond the events of Jesus death and resurrection and our own lives. Hence, Advent. Yes, it does prepare us for the coming of our Savior's birth by the Virgin Mary. Yet, it also prepares us for another great event we all await: Jesus return to resurrect the dead, and give life everlasting to us. At the same time, though not as blatant as Lent, it is a time of repentance and forgiveness. A time to repent, to acknowledge our sinfulness, that we are the weak, feeble sinner incapable of doing any good on our own, and to place it all on Christ. Therefore, Advent is a time of sure and certain hope of the resurrection and eternal life to come. We rest our hope on Jesus, because "On the Last Day He will raise me and all the dead, and give eternal life to me and all believers in Christ." (Luther's Small Catechism, Meaning to article 3 of the Creed)

This is good news for us during Advent. We look forward to the return of our savior to take us to our true home in everlasting innocence, righteousness, and blessedness. We look forward to the full fulfillment of Christ's righteousness for us as we look forward to the promise of the gift of our own resurrection. We look forward to the eternal life in the perfection of heaven, where there is no pain or sorrow, no sin and no consequences of sin, just absolute peace and paradise. After all, everything Jesus did for you is for this very reason. So, don't forget about Advent since it points to your sure and certain hope in the eternal salvation of Christ. This future is certain, and no one, not even the Devil, can change this unconditional fact.

With all of that said, have a Merry Advent, Joyous Christmas, and Happy New Year. I pray this season brings to you the hope and peace which only Christ can give to you and me.

The Peace of the Lord Be With You Always. Amen.

Your Brother in Christ,
Pastor Jonathan Holmes

The full newsletter can be downloaded here:
http://www.faithmoorpark.com/files/pdf/2016/2016-12-Newsletter.pdf

Faith Lutheran Church • 123 Park Lane • Moorpark, CA 93021 • (805) 532 1049 • Send Email