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Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Arrival

Intently looking at the arrival flights board at LAX is something I will always remember as a child. With all the ancestors living across the water, it was always a special time for us. The great anticipation would reach its peak as we saw them come through the hallway at Tom Bradley International. Big hugs, kisses, smiles and excitement would surround all of us as great joy filled the air.

However, as we rewind a few days before their arrival, there was great preparation as well. We vacuumed, dusted, washed, cleaned, and wiped as we prepared for our extended family. Our parents lead the charge as they frantically commanded all of us to assist in providing a clean home for our arriving guests.

I know this story resonates with all of you, but this also reminds me of the greatest anticipation of the Advent season. From the Latin word, "Adventus", [meaning "arrival", "coming"] we begin the church with great preparation and joyful anticipation in our Savior Jesus Christ.

Harkening back to St. John the Baptist as he came to preach in the wilderness of Judea, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" [Mt3:2]. As the coming of Christ was near, St John called all people to turn and repent of their sins. Likewise, as we dwell upon the Advent of our King, we ask the question, "Why did Jesus come for me?" As we look at the mirror of the law, we are well aware of our sinful condition and the need to be set free. Captive by sin and death due to the fall in the Garden [Gen3, Is53], we confess our sins as we prepare with hearts of repentance.

A humbling season, as we are constantly reminded of why we need the Incarnate Son Jesus Christ. For without Him, we would be "dead in our transgressions", and "children of wrath"[Eph2]. Yet by God's merciful hand, the Lord promised "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel"[Gen3:15],[also Is53:6,Rm3:23;5:12]. By His grace, the Lord gives the first Gospel as Christ would come to crush the head of Satan, wash away sins and give life to the world.

And thus, in joyful anticipation, we remember the greatest gift that was sent for us. The perfect gift in Jesus Christ . This babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, who "had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire Him" [Is53:2], would be the Savior of the World. Jesus brings His eternal light, His wondrous, and gracious work of reconciliation as He is "the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world"[Jn1:29]. And the joyous celebration would follow as the angel and the heavenly hosts rejoiced, "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!"[Lk2:14], we too celebrate the coming of the good news of great joy!

Where would be without the free gift given in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?
Thanks be to God for His gracious and merciful hand that has set us free in Christ Jesus!

LSB Hymn 331 "The Advent of our King"

[First Stanza]
The Advent of our King
Our prayers must now employ
And we must hymns of welcome sing
In strains of Holy joy

[Second Stanza]
The everlasting Son
Incarnate deigns to be
Himself a servant's form puts on
To set His servants free.

Have blessed December!

✝️ Pastor Jeong

The full newsletter can be found here:
http://www.faithmoorpark.com/files/pdf/2018/2018-12-Newsletter.pdf

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:
http://www.faithmoorpark.com/files/pdf/2018/2018-11-Newsletter.pdf

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