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This summer for VBS, kids will explore branches of Christ’s story and learn how their salvation is His mission! In Christ, they find the Tree of Life. Sign up, and get ready to get to the root of things.

Monday, August 15 – Friday, August 19 from 9am-12pm

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Thoughts from Pastor Miller

“Keep your eye on the ball!”

It didn’t matter if we were playing baseball, golf, or ping-pong, that was my father’s universal sporting advice. A good game results from keeping our eyes and our focus on the one thing that matters: the ball. Taking your eyes off could mean a dropped ball, a missed pass or some other “error.”

So it is with the Christian faith! There is one thing that matters: Jesus Christ crucified. We are given by the Holy Spirit a faith that keeps our eyes on Jesus. When our eyes are kept on Jesus we
are rejoicing in God’s gifts, all the gifts that Jesus gives: the forgiveness of our sins, eternal life, salvation, heaven, His kingdom, etc.

The devil wants nothing more than to divert our eyes from Jesus, to steal our joy. The devil tempts us to look at ourselves, at our own sin. The devil wants us to see how bad we are, saying, “Could God really love a wretched sinner like
you?” Taking our eyes off of Jesus and looking at ourselves can only lead to
hopelessness and despair.

The devil also tempts us to take our eyes off of Jesus and look at the sins of others. “Look at how bad so-and-so is. You should be glad that you’re not a sinner like them.” Taking our eyes off of Jesus and looking at the sins of others only leads to pride, the feeling that we are better than others.

In the Bible account of St. Peter walking on the water? When the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water they were afraid, thinking they saw a ghost. Jesus comforts them, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid” (Matthew 14:27). Peter answers, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” Jesus says, “Come,” and Peter does, walking on the water with Jesus. But then Peter ‘takes his eye off the ball.’ The text says that “when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried out” (14:30). Peter was distracted with the wind and the waves, and taking his eyes off of Jesus, he began to sink.

But Peter’s cry was a cry for help, “Lord, save me!” And Jesus answered his prayer “immediately” stretching out his hand and catching him. The same Lord Jesus is faithful to answer our prayers. As our focus is distracted and our eyes drawn away for the gifts of God in Christ Jesus, we, too, cry out, “Lord, help us!” Jesus is quick to save, to draw our eyes back to Him and the gifts He desires to give us.

So let’s ask the Lord to help us “keep our eye on the ball”, that is, to keep our attention and focus, not on ourselves or the sins of others, but on Jesus Christ crucified. Then we can all rejoice together in the full forgiveness of all of our sins.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2

 

 


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If you are looking for a church home, we encourage you to consider First Luther! We love to share the Good News of our Savior and the help that God’s Word gives to our everyday lives! Our congregation consists of people like you from every part of our nation. People seeking a sense of belonging and an opportunity for worship, growth and fellowship. May you find grace and blessing in the time we spend together. We would love to tell you more about our congregation.

First Lutheran School provides a Christian education that nurtures the spiritual, intellectual, and personal growth of each child. The school provides another means for First Lutheran Church to bring the Word and love of God in Christ Jesus to more families.

Special thanks to those in the Armed Forces! We welcome our military and others far from home. We pray for you.