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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Hispanic Outreach Ministry with Centro Cristiano Hispano

The following presentation took place after the 2nd service on November 16th. The slides have been copied here for those that missed the presentation or would like to refer back to it.

Hispanic Outreach Ministry - 11/16/2008 PDF

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Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Meal of Thanksgiving

I don't know about you, but as I look back on the last few months, it really seems that the tone in our nations has been one of fear and frustration. Sky-rocketing gas prices, crashing markets, political debates, and on the list goes. And in the midst of all of this we are going to take a holiday to give thanks?

This is one of the great things, I think, about Thanksgiving. We are trained to be so negative and full of fear that we forget so often to remember the good things God has blessed us with. We get so caught up in the state of education of the cost of school that we may forget to be thankful for our kids. We may become so upset with food prices we forget to be thankful that we can afford food. Thanksgiving is such a wonderful day because it brings us to a place of reflection where we recall all the good things God has done and is doing.

It is interesting to me that much of Thanksgiving is centered around a meal. The meal not only serves as a reminder of the abundance of blessings God has given us, the meal itself is a blessing as we sit with our loved ones and partake of the fruits of our labor. It strikes me that every Sunday we participate in a thanksgiving meal as well when we gather together around the sacrament of the altar.

In some churches the Lord's Supper is called the Eucharist. This is Greek for "thanksgiving." The Lord's Supper has historically been known in the church as a meal of thanksgiving. And, just like at our Thanksgiving meals, we gather around this meal of bread and wine, which is Christ's body and blood, to be reminded of the death Christ died in our place. He says, "Do this in remembrance of me!" (Luke 22:19, 1 Corinthians 11:24-25). But not only do we remember with thanks what Christ has done for us, we receive with thanks the fruit of His labor! In this meal Jesus comes to us to give us His body and blood for the forgiveness of our sins. He says, "This is my body... This is my blood of the covenant poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." (Matthew 26:26,28). And, as Christ gives us His body and blood for our forgiveness in this meal, we cannot help but respond with praise and thanksgiving! How wonderful a Jesus it is we serve, that He comes to us in such magnificent ways to give us His gifts of life and salvation!

This Thanksgiving, let us not forget the wonderful salvation that is ours in Jesus Christ. Though the world does look bleak and times are getting to be tough, we can always come to the altar and give thanks. There Christ comes to us to remind us of His death died in our place and to five us what He won for us, that is, the forgiveness of sins which strengthens our faith and empowers us to live in this world so full of fear. What a blessed God who holds His cross ever before our eyes and freely gives us His forgiveness. How can we help but respond with thanksgiving?!

Pastor Bob

Community of Believers

Recently several members of Faith Lutheran attended a service at St. John's in Oxnard. It was the celebration of the 25th anniversary of Centro Cristiano Hispano, Oxnard. This church started as a mission church sharing the facility with St. John's Lutheran and is now flourishing. It was a moving service that I with more from Faith could have experienced. St. John's has a large sanctuary which was filled with people of several cultures speaking at least 3 languages - English, Spanish, and Mixteco (the languages of the Oaxacan people of southern Mexico). The scene reminded me of the second chapter of the Book of Acts following at Pentecost.

During the service, a young Hispanic girl of high school age spoke of what it meant to her to have Centro Cristiano Oxnard available to her. How it had enabled her to avoid the temptation of the streets - drugs, drinking, and gangs. She cheerfully witnessed to her teenage friends telling them of her loving God who protects her and provides for her. She tells her friends that she does not need alcohol or drugs to feel accepted. But rather she is loved and accepted by her Lord. And because of that she joyfully sings praises to God. I tried to put myself in the place of the non-English speaking people there. How would I feel if I could not worship God in my own language? Lonely and isolated! After all, church is a community of believers.

We have been given an opportunity to provide a place for non-English speaking children of God to worship in their own language. We have been blessed with a facility and with riches that we can now share with our Moorpark neighbors so that they, too, may become a community of believers, a church. We are not trying to merge two separate cultures into one. Rather we are attempting with God's help to provide for both groups to worship God in their own language. As two separate congregations, we will have times when we will fellowship together and learn more about each other.

In Christ,
Dave and Joyce Bovey

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