Saturday, March 30, 2013

A Dead Husband is the Living Lord

Christians and their pastors bring God's comfort and message that our Husband was killed. That's the Good News. He did it to protect us. To save us. To give us victory over sin, death and the devil.

The Groom of the Bride was mercilessly slaughtered. He didn't deserve it. He didn't do anything wrong. But someone had to do it. Only God could do it right. Jesus is the Groom and the Church is the bride (Rev. 19:7). The height of the glory of God is in His death.

Our Husband stepped in front of the Evil One (Mt. 6:13) to protect us from Satan's acerbic and wicked arrows of death. The Father condemned Jesus to hell as He poured out His wrath for the sin in the world and throughout history - then, now, and until the Last Day. Cross and suffering is the glory of every Christian.

Why, then, is Easter such a glorious day?

Because Easter is "in your face." The resurrection of our Groom is a victorious celebration. It is our, "I told you so!" It is when Christ's bride has the "right" to have attitude.

We have the right and responsibility to get into the world's face and tell people, "Oh yes He did!"

He did pay for your sins.

He did suffer eternal death for you.

He did crushed Satan's head.

The attitude is because of God's mercy.

He does forgive you.

He does give you peace.

He does give you the resurrection. 

He does give you His resurrected body and blood for the forgiveness of sins every time you go to communion. Today's church is about then, today and forever. Attending church is how He delivers His
gifts of salvation. Our attitude is one of grace, mercy and thanksgiving. We are not afraid to live our lives and serve where He places us. He makes us parents, children, neighbors, employers and employees. 

Easter is not only about the day that Christ rose from the dead, rather it is about our daily baptized life, where the resurrection is meaningful (Rom. 6: 3-4).  Our attitude about Easter is because of the work of Jesus. The death of the Bride's Husband becomes the life of the Living Lord. 

He is risen!
He is risen indeed! Hallelujah! 

Mt. 28:19, 20 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Holy Week - Salvation in Suffering

When you are hurt. When you are down.
When you are depressed.
When you are confused.
When you can't go any further.

Holy Week is for you!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Holy Week, Holy LIfe, and Our Savior Fenton

Lord have mercy; Christ have mercy; Lord have mercy!

It is a comfort to live the life of Christ throughout the Church Year. The most Holiest of times is Holy Week. It is the last week of Christ's life. It is the beginning of forever.

Choose One? No Way!

It is easy to look at our schedules this week and think, "Wow, a bunch of Services to choose from." As if the instructions from God reads, "For Holy Week, since you have to attend church once a week, choose from one of the following..."

Going to church is not about how often you go. Rather, it is a matter of God calling you into His holy presences for the forgiveness of sins. This is why believers attend church to receive forgiveness and meet with God as He speaks to us.

Holy Week

Holy Week is participating in the will of God in His last days. From Palm Sunday to Easter, it provides Christ's Bride (the Church) the opportunity to be comforted with the gifts that Jesus earned for us. The Lord's Supper is central to the life of the Church. It is where Jesus' resurrection takes place and in, with, and under the bread and wine He forgives your sins.

Please join us all week.

"Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord."

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Christ Triumphantly Enters Jerusalem: Palm Sunday

Lamb of God, by Tom Dubois 
Palm Sunday

It is a glorious event hidden to the eye without faith. The fact is that were you to see Jesus riding a dirty stinky donkey, you wouldn't think it a special event. He was a man who smelled like all other men. Dusty and dirty would be his clothes and feet.

So whats' the big deal? That man was God, who was riding on a donkey with the stench of humanity.

The people shouted out,

Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the highest. (Mt. 21:9-11)
When Christ entered Jerusalem, some of those present wanted someone to fight against the civil authorities. Others understood that this was the promised Messiah from the Old Testament.

The Vocabulary and Culture of Believers

This event was so important that immediately the Christian Church grabbed hold of the events and made the words spoken that day a focus of her understanding of God's presence on earth. The very sustenance of the Church.

Around Jerusalem and into the churches, the people of God began to sing "Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord, Hosanna in the highest." (I'm sure they used LCMS' maroon hymnal.) So important are these words that identify the God who was slaughtered for our sins, that the church has used them ever since. Believers know that these words echo the words of the prophets and the fulfillment of their prophecies in Jesus.

The donkey rider on Palm Sunday is God. He is man. He is the payment for the sins of the world. He is the Sacrificial Lamb. This Messiah rode this exciting day, knowing it was His ride to death to endure the wrath of God.

Our Savior's Palm Sunday (PARENTS see News)

Please join us this Palm Sunday as our children remind us of the simplicity of faith that accepts the complexity of Jesus' death and resurrection. The children will process down the aisle of our church, singing the Palm Sunday hymn that we all remember from our childhood. They and we - will declare,

Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord, 
Hosanna in the highest.

These are the words that prepare us for the Lord's Supper. Jesus is present. At church. In His Supper. Then, in Christ's Holy Feast the same Jesus whose sin-bearing body rode on the donkey, will call us to the victory feast of His resurrected Body and Blood. Forgiveness will flow from our altar.

Bring your children to join in the celebration!

Mt. 28:19-20

Monday, March 18, 2013

Nerve Racking First Weekend

Who had more questions about Pastor Sell's first weekend in the pulpit? Pastor Sell or the congregation?

From my (Pr. Sell's) point of view, it was I.

As I said after the service, everyone was still awake... that's a good start. :)

Sure, I went over the bulletin when Gail sent it to me for my approval. Sure, I've prayed the liturgy before with many congregations. I've preached many children's sermons before. Used Divine Service I from the hymnal. I've celebrated communion too many times to count.

However, this was still different. Why? Because it was my first time shepherding Christ's flock at Our Savior.

Thanks for your patience as I began to familiarize myself with the sacred space of our church and her procedures inside and outside of the service. I'm looking forward to seeing all of you at the Congregational Assembly on Tuesday (7:10) night.

Sunday Morning Bible Study

Since I'm still familiarizing myself with things around OSL Church and School, My Sunday Bible Study is on Mt. 28. It is a four week study on the Great Commission. That will take us through two Sundays after Easter (No Bible study on Easter Sunday).

The Great Commission is exactly what you think it is - getting the Gospel out to the world. However, this study will put that common understanding into the context of Christ, His authority He gave to the Apostles, the Church (all believers), the Holy Spirit and the sacramental life.

Please join us for an in depth study in four weeks.

Up Next - Continued Preparation for Holy Week

Peace be with you.
Mt. 28:19-20

Friday, March 15, 2013

More Installation Pictures

Ah! These are the fun pictures from the March 10, 2013 installation service. Enjoy the fruits of  Gary Johnson's labor. He does a great job of recording our history in pictures at Our Savior.

By the way, "I don't have a bald spot!" Denial can be good. :)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Blessings Flow at Pastor Sell's Installation

Thanks to everyone who worked hard to pull together a wonderful and blessed day for the installation service. I would only get in trouble if I tried to mention everyone who made the day so special. The Lord has blessed me and my family with a gracious congregation full of saints who focus so clearly on Jesus.

Feast at the Altar

God opened the gates of heaven and blessed us all as He made us one with His Son. In HIs holy Word the Resurrected Christ came down from heaven and communed us in the Feast of Victory. Together in humility we cried out for mercy, starving for forgiveness with repentant hearts. In turn, He gave us a Feast of mana from heaven, His resurrected body and blood. We ate as one holy family, rejoicing in the comfort and joy of our salvation, cleansed from our sins. 

Installation of Pastor Mark Sell at Our Savior, Fenton MO
Here are the pastors who participated in the installation and granted me their blessings. 

Back Row: Pastors Miesner, Harrison, Mirly, Shank, Mitchell
Front Row: Pastors Baue, Cullver, Sell, Kinnaman, Moeller

From the Feast at the Altar to the Feast in the Gymnasium 

Wow! Donna and I, several times later in the evening, kept talking about how great the food was - and the turkey was to "die for." We both thought it was the best turkey we've ever had. Thanks to everyone who brought food, cooked food, set up and cleaned up.

It was truly an enjoyable day of getting to know the people of God.

Mt. 28:19-20

Saturday, March 9, 2013

LOOK who is preaching Sunday at 10:30

Pastor Harrison is preaching this Sunday at the installation service (10:30).

I thought you might want to hear him via his Lenten Message.

Pastor Harrison has been a pastor in the inner-city, in rural farming communities, and is the face of the synod who brings mercy to those who suffer.

Enjoy the his simple, down to earth style.

Prepare yourself for a blessed service this weekend along with a brass ensemble to support our voices in praise to the Lord for His gifts.



Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Fresh Start for Pastor Sell

Here we go! This was a subject line in an e-mail with one of the elders of Our Savior last week. This Sunday Our Savior will install me as her pastor. What an honor it is to serve you with God's Holy Word.
His Word and the sacramental life of the Christian is what brings comfort, peace, and unity in Christ. It is Jesus who gives the forgiveness that He earned in His perfect life as a sacrifice for our sins at Calvary. He gives forgiveness and His Holiness to each believer by faith, that is, when we trust in His work.

So this Sunday the Holy Ones of Our Savior will install her "new pastor." However, please remember that the Holy Ones of Our Savior are Holy by faith. Christ forgives your sins. My sins. My faith in Christ brings His forgiveness and holiness to me too.

In other words, the Holy Ones of Our Savior elected a poor miserable sinner. During Lent, we fully accept our responsibility for our sins. Yet we prepare to celebrate the death of God, the sacrificial Lamb upon whom our sins were placed. As I wrote in my acceptance letter to you,

Immediately upon making my decision, I offered up prayers of thanksgiving, repentance, and mercy. Prayers of thanksgiving for the innumerable blessings God gives through His creation and His holy Word: Prayers of repentance because Our Savior elected a poor miserable sinner to be her pastor. Prayers of mercy because only God’s death on the cross for our sins provides the mercy I need to serve Christ and His sheep.

Thanks be to God.
Pr. Sell
Mt. 28:19-20