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

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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:

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

November 2016

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The month that so many have looked forward to coming and going is finally here. November. And it's 2016 so that means presidential elections. While I don't frequent Facebook all that much, when I do there are many sorts of things posted concerning Secretary Hillary Clinton and Mr. Donald Trump. Many of these posts have had an effect on me – none of them good. I'm not talking about my own viewpoint concerning the candidates. Nothing what people are saying on Facebook has helped me make up my mind one-way or the other. Why? All of it is fear mongering – whether that is the intention or not.

What troubles me are all the posts proclaiming hopelessness and anxiety about the future of our country – as if it is the end of the world as we know it without feeling fine. I've seen so many people exclaim that if one person is elected over the other they are going to move to another country – like anyone else is better off than we are. People are acting as if whoever is elected will define them as a person. People seem to be acting as if there is no hope for our country, and therefore there is no hope for them. They worry what the next president will do that will affect them as if it all matters in the end.

Don't let anyone fool you: it doesn't matter. Your earthly life, while dependent on the government to guard and protect you, is not going to come to an end in the foreseeable future. Now, will there be rough times ahead? Only time will tell. So what? For you see, something even greater than all the earthly authorities and power exists: Christ Jesus. His power and authority "trumps" all the competition. His power and glory are what give you eternal life. This makes the difference in the entire world. Because through His forgiveness, life, and salvation you can live boldly with a good conscience, a peaceful, joyous conscience that the Devil, world, and your sinful nature cannot give.

Remember, if someone gets voted into office as president, you can rest assured that at some point their term will end, be it 4 or 8 years. Christ, on the other hand, His reign is eternal – beyond time and space - and it's all for you. You are a baptized child, and through that baptism you can rest assured that the struggles of this present life are meager compared to the coming age. This is where your life truly rests: in Jesus, the founder and perfecter of your faith, who died and rose for your forgiveness, life, and salvation. Thanks be to God, for you can now live in freedom because of it. Therefore, fear not; for the Church and many people before us have survived worse times in history than anything that results from this next election. Fear not; for you are a redeemed child of God.

The Peace of the Lord be with you always. Amen.

Your Brother in Christ,
Pastor Jonathan Holmes

The full newsletter can be found here:

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