Pastor's Notebook

 

Dear Friends in Christ,

              "Time flies!" A common greeting as we reflect at the end or beginning of a New Year. Part of my reflection is that I have been at Prince of Peace longer than another any other call I have had during my almost 30 years of ministry. When I was in Philadelphia for almost thirteen years I had four different calls, that is, four distinct though inter-related ministries. However, my residence never changed. My call as a missionary to Korea lasted from 1994 to 2001, though only roughly five years of that time was actually in Korea.

 

Time seems to go faster when we have things to do, deadlines or people to meet, and places to go. For many people it is their job that makes "time fly!" Jobs keep us busy. Our work can give us a sense of purpose. And having a sense of purpose is good for us in terms of our overall well-being, emotionally and physically. Work is good for humans. God designed us to work. (By the way, "work" is not synonymous with the "9-5" paying job! I saw on TV a retired man who volunteered at a hospital and his "job" was holding little babies. Google "ICU grandpa David Deutchman" and you'll be glad you did!) But God also designed us to rest.

 

Part of my job, my calling, my ministry, is to call you, Dear Friends, to rest! To encourage you

not only to serve the Lord and your neighbors by your active working jobs, or even your volunteer activities in your retirement, but to rest in the Lord. That is done by receiving His gifts as He works for you.

 

You know how Jesus came to earth, and lived perfectly, and died to take away our sins. He rose and ascended. God worked for you, so that you might rest in Him. This is what the term "Divine Service" means when we talk about Worship. God (the Divine) serves us, works for us still. How so? He says, "Come to my house (Prince of Peace)." "Let me take your burdens from you." "Hear what I have to say to you through my Word." "Talk to me." "Talk with your fellow family members." "Let me feed you with a meal you can get no where else." "Take my blessing as you leave for a new week in the world." "I will be with you." "Come again real soon!" "Your purpose is being My Children/My Disciples in the world."


During a recent sermon (December 22, 2019) I asked the congregation if going to church every week for Worship was enough for our spiritual health and life. The answer was "No. It is not." Daily devotions from God's Word was, and still is, being encouraged! I then said I wished that all our members did even that: come weekly to church!

 

A New Year means a fresh/new start! If you have been out of the habit of coming to Church now is the time to start a new habit. Listen to God's Word from Hebrews 10:23-25: Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, forwho promised is faithful.24

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,25not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, andall the more as you seeDay drawing near. (Our Sunday morning Bible class on Hebrews will be discussing this passage in the New Year too!)

 

Indeed, "time flies!" I already think that 2020 will fly by for me. How do I know this? I have things to do, people and deadlines to meet, places to go! Each month from February-May I'll be traveling for English District church business. I'll keep you informed about that. In March, I'll even be going back to Korea for a week, with District President/Bishop Hardy. At the congregational meeting, January 13th, I'll let you know about a trip in April to St. Louis, related to our "Dollar for missions" model, in relation to the rest of the LCMS.

 

Finally, let me give you another phrase: "Time flies when you're having fun." It's my joy to be your pastor. In the Lord, in whom are all our days and times (Cf. Psalm 31), we can rest securely and with the greatest of hope for this New Year. He works out everything , yes everything, for the good of those who love Him (Cf. Romans 8).

                                                                                                    Blessings 

                                                                                                    Pastor Engler


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