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March 31, 2016, 1:36 AM

Pastor's Easter Post

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I find it rather ironic that in 2016 both Easter and April Fool's Day are in the same week. As I realized this, I began to wonder, "How did we ever come up with this day - April Fool's Day?" As I researched its origins, I found that no one really knows. There was a Roman festival called Hilaria held on March 25th. In 1539, on April 1st, several people were tricked into going to the Tower of London to "see the Lions washed." But, my favorite explanation came from Joseph Boskin, a professor of history at Boston University.

Professor Boskin revealed that April Fool's Day began under Constantine. A group of court jesters told the emperor that they could do a better job running the empire. Constantine was amused, and allowed a jester named Kugel to be emperor for a day. Kugel passed an edict calling for absurdity on that day and it became an annual event. The best part of this explanation is that the following day, April 2nd, Professor Boskin revealed to his class that he had made the whole thing up as an April Fools Joke!

 While we may never know how this day came to be, I do know how fools came to be. The Devil deceived Adam and Eve into the foolishness of thinking they could become wise by defying God. Ever since then, fools abound the world over. Please don't think that we as Christians are immune to this; we all can be and are deceived by the Evil One thus making fools of ourselves as we fall to temptation.

And there is the beginning of the Easter Message. What a wonder that Jesus entered this land of fools taking the form of the fool upon Himself, and even the foolishness of the cross. He did it so we could stop playing the fool and become wise unto salvation in Him! Contrary to popular thought, Christ alone is the way to salvation. Christ alone is the Son of God. Christ alone took our sins to the cross and paid for them there. Christ alone rose from the dead, assuring us that he really does have the power to raise us too. Christ alone ascended into heaven. Christ alone will return to take us home. Which leads me to encourage each and every Christian this Easter Season to live for Christ alone and thank him alone for the salvation He has won for us.

Together in His Service,

Pastor Matt

February 28, 2016, 3:41 PM

Pastor's Post

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Have you ever asked yourself, "Why does Pastor Matt call us brothers and sisters in Christ?" If you haven't, maybe you should! You see, that is part of the Lent and Easter message. Lent reminds us that we are sinners and fall short of the glory of God. It lays before our eyes the awful truth that there is an accounting or recknoning; that our sins demand a payment in the Heavenly court. It also vividly displays the cost of that payment every time we look at the cross of Christ and the events of Good Friday.

The only reason we can call it Good Friday is because we know the rest of the story. HE ROSE! And with His resurrection, Christ brings to us:

  • The promise that we too shall live, even though we physically die, with Him in heaven.
  • The promise that just as Christ rose from the dead, we too will be physically raised to be with Him on the last day.
  • The promise that our citizenship is in heaven - right now!
  • The promise that we have already begun eternal life because our souls will never die.
  • The reality that Christ calls us brothers and sisters and has made us a part of God's forever family.

So, my dear brothers and sisters, I would like to invite you to our Zion family reunion where we will rejoice, laugh, sing, enjoy each other's company and give thanks and praise to the One who has made us family. It all begins on Easter Sunday with our breakfast at 8:30 a.m., Easter Egg hunt at 9:15 a.m., and worship at 10:00 a.m. I hope we have the biggest and most glorious reunion ever!

In Our Risen Savior's Name,

Pastor Matt

February 28, 2016, 3:41 PM

Have You Heard About "The Lutheran Hour"?

In 1917, a group of Lutheran laymen banded together to discover innovative ways of sharing the Gospel. The Lutheran Hour Ministries grew out of this grassroots effort, beginning with The Lutheran Hour radio program launched in 1930.

Today, The Lutheran Hour is still proclaiming the clear message of the Gospel, reaching an estimated 800,000 listeners weekly in more than 50 plus countries.

The exciting news I want to share with you today is that Lutheran Hour Ministries will open a new ministry on location in Istanbul, Turkey. Today there are less than 160,000 active Christians in this predominantly Muslim nation. Seventy percent of Turkey's population is secular and non-religious.

You may remember that it was in Antioch that believers were first called Christians. The Apostle Paul was from Tarsus. This land is rich with Biblical history.

Of course, there are stringent laws hindering Christian content on secular radio stations, however, "We are in talks with Christian stations in Istanbul and Ankara to produce original programming," says Rev. Peter Kirby, Lutheran Hour Ministries' Regional Director for Europe, who oversees the endeavor. "There are mosques everywhere in Turkey, but Islam is a religion of works. It does not offer the forgiveness of sins and assurance of salvation that we have in Jesus Christ."

If you would like to hear the weekly words of encouragement from Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz, you can tune into radio station KMJ Fresno 580 AM on Sundays at 7:00 a.m. or KCIV Modesto 99.9 FM on Sundays at 8:00 a.m. You can also listen online here.

For more information and ways to support this wonderful Gospel outreach arm of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod go to their website here. For daily devotions, click here.

May God bless us as we grow together in Christ,

Mary Lou R.

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