Marriage and Fathers

Posted on May 24, 2016 in Pastor's Desk | No Comments

From Pastor Becker’s heart to yours……
We live in a time spoken of by the prophet Isaiah: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (5:20). As you read the selection from Martin Luther’s Large Catechism on the sixth commandment below, realize that while the sad condition of our sinful hearts has not changed, the promotion of whatever is contrary to God’s Word by the government and the entertainment industry as good and normal should cause us alarm. In light of recent assaults on Biblical morality by these agencies, we might well thank God that the pastors and congregations of our church body, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, are pledged to faithfully confess the unchanging truth of God’s Word.
But inasmuch as there is such a shameless mess and cesspool of all sorts of immorality and indecency among us, this commandment is also directed against every form of unchastity, no matter what it is called. Not only is the outward act forbidden, but also every kind of cause, provocation, and means, so that your heart, your lips, and your entire body may be chaste and afford no occasion, aid, or encouragement to unchastity. Not only that, but you are to defend, protect, and rescue your neighbors whenever they are in danger or need, and, moreover, even aid and assist them so that they may retain their honor. Whenever you fail to do this (although you could prevent a wrong) or do not even lift a finger (as if it were none of your business), you are just as guilty as the culprit who commits the act. In short, all are required both to live chastely themselves and also to help their neighbors to do the same. Thus God wants to guard and protect every husband or wife through this commandment against anyone who would violate them.
However, because this commandment is directed specifically toward marriage as a walk of life and gives occasion to speak of it, you should carefully note, first, how highly God honors and praises this walk of life, endorsing and protecting it by his commandment. He endorsed it above in the Fourth Commandment, ―You shall honor father and mother. But here, as I said, he has secured and protected it. For the following reasons he also wishes us to honor, maintain, and cherish it as a divine and blessed walk of life. He has established it before all others as the first of all institutions, and he created man and woman differently (as is evident) not for indecency but to be true to each other, to be fruitful, to beget children, and to nurture and bring them up to the glory of God. God has therefore blessed this walk of life most richly, above all others, and, in addition, has supplied and endowed it with everything in the world in order that this walk of life might be richly provided for. Married life is no matter for jest or idle curiosity, but it is a glorious institution and an object of God‘s serious concern. For it is of utmost importance to him that persons be brought up to serve the world, to promote knowledge of God, godly living, and all virtues, and to fight against wickedness and the devil.
As we mark Father’s Day on June 19, I call on and challenge all Christian fathers – myself included — to become the spiritual leaders God has called them to be. That involves at least two things:

  • Instruct the members of his house in the chief articles of the Christian faith, the Ten Commandments, the Apostles’ Creed and the Lord’s Prayer, “As the head of the family should teach them in a simple way to his household” and
  • Faithfully bring them to the Divine Service on the Lord’s Day. “For where the heart stands idle and the Word is not heard, the devil breaks in and does his damage before we realize it” (Large Catechism, 4th Commandment).

If this doesn’t happen, it matters little whom we elect to represent us at the local, State or National level.
Pastor Paul Becker

Open my eyes that I may see wondrous things from Your law (Psalm 119:18).

Ascension Day

Posted on May 24, 2016 in Pastor's Desk | No Comments

From Pastor Becker’s heart to yours…..

What is special about May 5th this year? Clue: what happens 40 days after Easter? You are correct – The Ascension of our Lord!
Why do we make such a big deal out of Ascension Day? Several reasons:
The writer of Hebrews says of our Lord Jesus, “But this man, after offering one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God.”

  • But this man; the same man who was born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried, this man who rose on the third day, this man who was like us in every way except sin, now 40 days after his glorious resurrection has ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
  • After offering one sacrifice for sins forever; this summarizes so well the meaning of what happened on Good Friday, what we try to say with words like salvation and redemption, one sacrifice was efficacious because Jesus is true man AND true God, for ALL SINS – no exceptions, forever – without limit, assurance of eternal life.
  • Sat down at the right hand of God. One of our hymns says, “Man with God is on the throne” and in “Christ’s Ascension we by faith behold our own” At the right hand of the Father, Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth, prays for us, and from thence he will come to judge the living and the dead on the Last Day.

I’m not sure why Pr. Steven Starke’s hymn about Jesus sitting at the right hand of the Father was placed in the Sanctification section, but I’m glad I found it for this article

1.     Christ sits at God’s right hand, His saving work complete, To reign till ev’ry foe will lie Beneath His feet— All that the Father planned, The Son sought to fulfill, When first He said, “Lord, here am I To do Your will.”
6.     All praise to Christ we bring, Our Lord who intercedes, Our great High  Priest enthroned above Who knows our needs; And to the Father sing Our songs of thankful praise, Who with the Spirit reigns in love For endless days.

© 2002 Stephen P. Starke. Used by permission: LSB Hymn License .NET, no. 100010138.

Pastor Paul Becker
Open my eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of Your law.

Christians vs. Society

Posted on May 24, 2016 in Pastor's Desk | No Comments

From Pastor Becker’s heart to yours…..

“But choose capable men from all the people, men who fear God, men you can trust, men who hate corruption. Put them in charge of groups of 1,000, or 100, or 50, or 10 people. (Exodus 21:18)

Matthew Henry (1662 – 1714) comments on this verse: “That great care should be taken in the choice of the persons who should be admitted into this trust; they must be able men, etc. It was requisite that they should be men of the very best character, For judgment and resolution—able men, men of good sense, that understood business, and bold men, that would not be daunted by frowns or clamours. Clear heads and stout hearts make good judges. For piety and religion—such as fear God, as believe there is a God above them, whose eye is upon them, to whom they are accountable, and of whose judgment they stand in awe. Conscientious men that dare not do a base thing, though they could do it ever so secretly and securely. The fear of God is that principle which will best fortify a man against all temptations to injustice. For integrity and honesty—men of truth, whose word one may take, and whose fidelity one may rely upon, who would not for a world tell a lie, betray a trust, or act an insidious part. For noble and generous contempt of worldly wealth—hating covetousness, not only not seeking bribes nor aiming to enrich themselves, but abhorring the thought of it; he is fit to be a magistrate, and he alone, who despiseth the gain of oppressions, and shaketh his hands from the holding of bribes.”

In the years preceding and following the American Revolution, many sermons were preached on this passage of Holy Scripture. That such exhortations no longer obtain in the vast majority of Christian congregations accounts in no small measure for our national malaise. I encourage all of us in our family gatherings, small study groups and conversations with friends and neighbors to raise these concerns often in the coming days. Christians living in the light of Jesus’ resurrection dare not be manipulated by the secular media, political advertising, or the pronouncements of those who fear men rather than God. Of the first Christ-followers it was said, “…These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also,“ Acts 17:6

Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed. Alleluia!
Pastor Paul Becker

Open my eyes that I may behold wondrous things from Your law. Psalm 119:18

Marriage

Posted on Mar 20, 2014 in Pastor's Desk | No Comments

From Pastor Becker’s Heart to Yours….

I recently contacted both Mayor Dennis Phillips and Governor Bill Haslam regarding a proclamation (from the Family Research Council) declaring February 7-14, 2014 as National Marriage Week, for the following reasons.

“Whereas, marriage in every known human society creates new families, binds men and women together in a network of affection, mutual aid and mutual obligation, commits fathers and mothers to their children and connects children to a wider network of welcoming kin; and

Whereas, a healthy, loving marriage deserves our special respect because it provides irreplaceable personal happiness and creates the safest place for children to flourish and to enjoy the full emotional, moral, educational and financial benefits of both parents; and

Whereas, research indicates that men and women who marry and stay married in mutually supportive relationships generally live longer, experience better health, and enjoy more satisfying lives; and

Whereas, marriage breakdown takes a toll on the emotional, physical and financial well-being of all family members and communities and also increases the cost to taxpayers of many public human services programs; and

Whereas, citizens of our community are committed to promoting enrichment opportunities and resources that strengthen marital relationships and enhance personal growth, mutual fulfillment and family well-being; and

Whereas, I wish to applaud and encourage efforts by community citizens, faith communities, businesses, organizations, and local government and community leaders to strengthen marriages in a variety of ways, including marriage education programs, conferences, enrichment seminars and public policies that support marriage;

Now, therefore, I _________ the [Mayor or Governor] of _________ do hereby recognize February 7-14, 20XX as

I urge each husband and wife in our community to reflect upon their relationship and to commit to building and maintaining a healthy, loving marriage and family.”

Pastor Paul Becker “But I will sing aloud of Your power; Yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning.” Psalm 59:16a.

Happy New Year

Posted on Jan 8, 2014 in Pastor's Desk | No Comments

From Pastor Becker’s heart to yours…

What do we really mean when we wish one another a “Happy” New Year? It certainly does NOT mean that we will get everything we WANT (which would likely be disastrous), or that we will always feel good, be relatively free of stress and conflict, and that all our plans, hopes and dreams will come true. Sounds like heaven! So what do we mean? Let’s boil it down to this (as Dave Ramsey says): “you can’t have financial peace unless you walk daily with the Prince of Peace, Christ Jesus!” Here are some of my hopes and dreams for this new year of grace:

 

  •  Strengthen Men’s Ministry by having a monthly birthday gathering in addition to the great studies from Lutheran Hour, attracting men who don’t regularly attend Bible Class or Divine Service, or who don’t have a church connection at all;
  • Make more use of our fellowship hall, e.g. offer a service to homeschoolers;
  •  Involve families with young children more often than just at Christmas and Easter;
  • See our average attendance increase to 70 or 80 plus;
  • Grow in our involvement with the men and women of Hay House;
  • Lead a short-term mission trip to an underserved area in North America;
  • Make a pre-Lenten spiritual retreat;
  • See at least five (5) families host neighborhood fellowship events;
  •  Grow in my involvement with the local community.

In addition, we will be having special attraction events throughout the year to introduce our neighbors to our community of faith. The first opportunity will be on Saturday January 18 @ 2:00 p.m. when we will host Mr. Russell Jordan, the area coordinator for Voice of the Martyrs. He will tell us about the realities of the persecuted church, our suffering brothers and sisters around the world, and how we can give them our love and support. Please mark your calendars for this special event, and invite folks who aren’t members of Concordia.

How can you help make these hopes and dreams a reality in 2014? Regardless of what turmoil and distress, pain and confusion the world around us tries to inflict, we have a sure and safe anchor for the soul, the means of grace and the hope of glory in Jesus, in whom we can always sing:

It is well, it is well with my soul!

Pastor Paul Becker

Welcome, Shaffer family

Posted on Dec 23, 2013 in Pastor's Desk | No Comments

ShafferFamily_BaptismWe are pleased to welcome the Shaffer family to Concordia, including Nick Shaffer (left) Sarah (center, standing), Chloe (babe in arms) and Serenity (held by Pastor Paul Becker). Sarah, Serenity, and Chloe were all baptized as part of Concordia’s worship on December 22.

We can’t think of a better way to celebrate the coming of Christ than by welcoming this lovely family to our family at Concordia . . and welcoming Sarah, Serenity, and Chloe into the Family of Christ through the sacrament of Holy Baptism.