Set in the time following the Babylonian captivity, the prophet Zechariah was a contemporary of Haggai. He was sent by the Lord to encourage the people for the rebuilding of Jerusalem and in preparation for the coming Savior. The message of this book is deeper in nature and full of picture language drawn from Ezekiel and Daniel. It contains 8 visions, which we will discuss briefly in this podcast. We will also see how Zechariah clearly points to the coming Savior, describing Him and His work in great detail. He would be the stricken Shepherd, the Branch, the Righteous King and coming Judge, and the Cleansing Fountain. Join us for this intriguing study!
What does it mean to trespass? We usually think of crossing a line or boundary into an area where we are not supposed to be. Pastor Ben Libby tackles the Biblical concept of trespass in our Word of the Week. In a spiritual context, Scripture describes us as crossing a line when we sin. In His Law or 10 Commandments God tells us where we should not go and what we should not do. When we disregard Him, that action is a trespass deserving of death. We have failed and miserably! But through Jesus our failures have been erased. He was perfect and never failed. His righteousness becomes ours through faith, and our trespasses are not imputed to us, since they have been paid by Him. Join us for the study of this important Biblical concept!
Is the Devil real? What about devils? Pastors Ben Libby and Nathanael Mayhew take a look at C.S.Lewis's "The Screwtape Letters" which is written from the perspective of a demon teaching a young temper the ropes in leading humans away from God. In the 31 letters, it describes how the devil and his evil cohorts use the things of this life to destroy faith. While it is a work of fiction, Lewis has a good grasp on human nature and gives Christians something to think about in their own lives. This is especially appropriate during Lent as we reflect on the temptation of our Savior and how He endured the devil's temptations in our place. It is an eye-opening and soul-searching read!
The word "penitence" is related to the word "repentance" and has a two fold meaning: Sorrow over our sins, and trust in Jesus for forgiveness. In some cases people only think of the first of these two parts, but miss the most important. John writes "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:8-9). King David also describes and gives us an example of true penitence. In Psalm 32 David speaks of the LORD's promise of forgiveness, but also his deep sorrow over his sins. Part of this Psalm is used in the Confession of our sins in our Worship services, and is especially fitting during our Lenten reflections.
Why would someone worship Satan? That seems like a pretty strange concept to us Christians. But Satanism is an actual religion that is very real. Whether someone is drawn to this religion because of curiosity over the supernatural or merely identifies as a Satanist as a statement against religion entirely, many people are drawn to Satanism. How can we witness to such people? What about demon possession, should we be afraid of something like that happening to us? In this Podcast, Pastors Mark Tiefel and Ben Libby address the topics surrounding Satanism and talk about what the Christian mindset should be when confronted with this religion. Jesus says of Satan, "He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him." (John 8:44) Even though we once were a part of his kingdom and "once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh", we now have been saved through God's Almighty power and truly are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2).
As we begin the season of Lent on this Ash Wednesday, we learn about the history, meaning and symbolism in the practice of the Imposition of Ashes on Ash Wednesday. It is sad that many see this as a "Roman Catholic" practice and do not make use of it in our Lutheran churches. While this practice has been misused by some, if properly used, it is a beautiful and very meaningful practice that was used in the Ancient Church and has been used in Lutheranism even to this day. It is a clear reminder of our mortality (Law) as well as our Baptism, though which our sins were washed away (Gospel). What could be more clearly Lutheran (or Christian) than that? Lord, bless our Lenten meditations on this Ash Wednesday and throughout this Passion Season!
The Season of Lent begins this year on March 6th on what is known as Ash Wednesday. Since the very earliest years of the Church, Christians have celebrated the resurrection of Jesus. In 325 AD, at the Council of Nicea, a firm date was established for the annual celebration of this important festival. Already during these early centuries, Christians prepared for the Easter celebration with a period of repentance called Lent (which is an Anglo-Saxon word meaning “spring” since it was at that time of the year this took place). In the 700's AD this period of time was set at 40 days (not including Sundays) based on the 40 days Jesus was tempted while in the wilderness at the start of His ministry. Join Pastors Ben Libby and Mark Tiefel as they discuss the focus, importance and meaning of this ancient season of the church year.
What is the Sabbath and how does it affect us in the New Testament? Pastor Tom Naumann takes us into the book of Genesis and the foundation for the Sabbath, which means "rest". God knew our need and required that His Old Testament people rest from their work, and dedicate that time to God. This rest was a picture of the ultimate rest that God would give through the death of Jesus on the cross. This day of rest was a shadow of our rest in Christ. As New Testament believers, we are not required to keep the Old Testament laws of the Sabbath, because they are fulfilled in Christ, but we do rejoice in the salvation won for us as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus every Sunday.
Pastor Ben Libby joins Pastor Sam Rodebaugh to study the Old Testament book of the Prophet Haggai. Haggai had the changeling task of prophesying to the people of Judah who had just come back from the exile in Babylon. He was sent with the job of taking these people to task over their attitude of apathy and inadequacy, and to get them to "consider their ways". They needed to rebuild God's Temple. While this was a seemingly daunting task, God assures them that He was with them, and they could expect blessings. God does promise earthly blessing to His believers, but even more powerful was the ultimate blessing that He was going to give. He would shake heaven and earth and send forth "The Desire of Nations" (Jesus Christ), and He would fill this new temple with His presence. Join us to learn more about the book of Haggai and the blessings that are promised to His believers!
In another word which relates to worship and the worship service, Pastor Nathanael Mayhew discusses the word "communion" and what it means from 1 Corinthians 10:16-17. Communion is a word that is often used as a synonym for the "Lord's Supper" - the sacrament instituted by Christ before His crucifixion. From these words of Paul we will discuss the Scriptural foundation for the teaching of the "Real Presence" of Christ's body and blood in and with the bread and the wine, as well as the Scriptural foundation for the practice of Closed Communion. This a very fitting title for this Sacrament and very important section of Scripture as well. Join us for this valuable study!