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Saturday, October 27, 2018

Building Blocks

"Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!" Psalm 107:1

Surely, we give thanks to the Lord for all that he provides for us. Without His creative power and provisions, we would be nothing. And therefore, in the month of November, as we gather with our family and friends and partake in turkey and all the fixings, we are reminded of the object of our thankfulness.

Dwelling upon the Apostles Creed reveals the reason for our thankfulness.

1) Creation: Our Lord is the maker of the heavens and the earth (Psalm121:2). Repeating the words from the Small Catechism, "God has made me and all creatures" and therefore without Him we would not have "clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, wife and children, land animals and all I have" (SC Apostles Creed Art I Explanation). Therefore we always praise God and give Him thanks for all that He has done and continues to do in our lives. Just look around, so much to be thankful for!

2) Redemption: Through the fall of Adam and Eve, sin entered the world and thus we face the sin condition with these words, "no one is righteous, not even one" (Rm3:10), "and you were dead in your trespasses and sins" (Eph2:1). There is nothing within ourselves that could remedy the depravity of sin. Thus, our much deserved sentence is eternal death and condemnation. "But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ-by grace you have been saved" (Eph2:4-5). We give thanks for the death and resurrection of Christ as He paid the ransom price (Mk10:45) not by silver or gold but by His precious body and blood sacrificed on the Cross for you. For by the shedding of His blood, we are forgiven and our sins are washed away. A great abundance we have as we meditate on the Lord's gift to us in the redeeming work of His Son!

3) Sanctification: In faith we cling to the promises of God, yet we must ask who grants faith to believe? "I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith" (SC Apostles Creed Art III Explanation". The Holy Spirit creates faith by the power of the word of God. It is through the Word (Rm10:17), that we have been brought to faith. That is, the saving faith in the Gospel and the Sacraments. Without the Holy Spirit, who could say Jesus is Lord? (1Cor12:3). Therefore, we are thankful for our Lord who not only "calls, gathers, and sanctifies" but keeps us in the one true faith.

It is in these building blocks that our faith remains. For it is the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit that we remember and continue to dwell upon the glory of our Lord. For without him, we would be nothing.

"I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing" John15:5

Have a thankful November!

✝️ Pastor Jeong  

The full newsletter can be found here:

Friday, September 28, 2018

October 2018

"You be You" said Professor Joel Biermann at our recent district-wide pastors' conference. "You be you" means: find your truth, pursue your own desires, choose your own reality and live by your autonomous self-governing way. Dr. Biermann discussed this saying to present an accurate picture of what has become of our society today.

Stemming from the seventeenth century, enlightenment thinker, Rene Descartes famous words, "I think, therefore I am". Or in our most current context, "you be you. You are encouraged to recenter your life on yourself rather than God and you will find what you are looking for. Self-fulfillment, self-satisfaction are a few goals that man attempts to find in "You be you".

This reminds me of my children whenever we went on a long road trip. As I was driving the minivan, they would always ask , "are we there yet?". And with great reluctance, I would respond, "No, not yet, we have a ways to go". And as a few minutes passed, like a broken record, they would ask the same question and I would respond with the same answer.

So it is with life. "Are we there yet?". Some will define "there" as a big house or car. Others will define "there" as our reputation, social status, and career. "You be you" the world says, but will we find what we truly need? Though the allure is freedom, prosperity, and fullness, this path will inevitably lead to confusion, despair and utter hopelessness.

"Freedom is found in relationships", Dr. Biermann said. And so true this is! For the world will say that your greatest relationship is "You be you", yet as we look at scripture our greatest and most fulfilling, satisfying, freedom-giving relationship is found outside of ourselves.

"If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free" [Jn 8:32].

The truth is, the Lord answers "Are we there yet?" with the sending of His Son. No longer are we wondering if we are there yet but through Jesus' death and resurrection, He has delivered us to a grace-filled alreadyness. Through His body and blood shed on the Cross we live in the true alreadyness. That is, forgiveness of sins, eternal life and salvation. No longer are we toiling over the quest of self-fulfillment but through Jesus' words on the Cross, "It is finished", we have received the greatest fulfillment in the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

"You be you" is not defined by self but by the promises of God. "You be you" in the work of Christ. "You be you" in the blessed waters of Holy Baptism. "You be you", in the holy meal of Christ's body and blood given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. For by the grace of God, you have been set free! "Yet to all received Him, to those who believe in His name, He has given the right to become children of God" [Jn1:12]. This is you!

So go forth in His name as you live a life- already fulfilled. Loving and serving your neighbor in the alreadyness that has been given to you by the merits of Christ and the Cross.

Glory to God in the Highest! Have a blessed October!

✝️ Pastor Jeong  

The full newsletter can be found here:

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