Hephatha Lutheran Church Pastor's Weekly Letter
Pastor's Weekly Letter
Below you will find an archive of Pastor's Weekly Letter for Hephatha Lutheran Church and School. Browse through the issues below, or follow the link located at the bottom of this page to subscribe.

November 13 2017 Email (Nov 2017)
November 13, 2017 Greetings in Jesus Christ, Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive,” and I believe it. Do you? But does God really expect me to give as He has given to me? Let me be very clear about some expectations God does not have of you when it comes to giving. God does not expect you to have others decide what you give, and that includes me or anyone else you know. Furthermore, God doesn’t expect you to give reluctantly. God isn’t interested in coercing anyone to gi

November 6 2017 Email (Nov 2017)
November 6, 2017 Greetings! While we are in the midst of our Stewardship focus and thoughtful sermon series titled Enough, I wanted to be sure to write and let you know that we are grateful for the faithful Stewardship of the congregation at Hephatha Lutheran Church. What does “Stewardship” mean? A look at the Dictionary says: “One who manages another’s property, finances, or other affairs.” In reality, isn’t this what we are doing when we consider the fact that God has truly been the sour

October 30 2017 Email (Oct 2017)
October 30, 2017 Greetings! For many people in our culture, October 31st is merely a day to dress up in costumes and travel from door-to-door asking for candy. In some traditions, interestingly, it is even required that kids tell a joke before receiving candy! For many Christians, especially those of us in the Lutheran tradition, October 31st is known as Reformation Day. On this day we celebrate God’s work through his servant, Martin Luther, to preserve the message of the Gospel as the fre

October 23 2017 Email (Oct 2017)
October 23, 2017 Greetings! As you may recall, last week I made reference to Luther’s storm incident where he cried out to St. Anne that if she helped save his life from the storm, that he would become a monk. After surviving the storm, Luther had a deep resolve to keep his vow. Martin Luther chose to enter one of the strictest branches of monasticism— the Augustinian Order of Hermits. After about two weeks to arrange his affairs, the 21-year-old Martin had a farewell party with a few frie

October 16 2017 Email (Oct 2017)
October 16, 2017 Greetings! October 31, 2017, marks the celebration the 500th anniversary of the Reformation – and you can be sure that there will be much celebration and thanksgiving unto our Gracious Lord as we think upon the rediscovery of the Gospel. Though the big celebration will be a few weeks away, I thought that it would be good to do a series of articles leading up to that time that will focus on various aspects of the Reformation history and our Lutheran Faith. What was so impor

October 9 2017 Email (Oct 2017)
October 2, 2017 Greetings! More often than not, you will find most everyone on our staff, if not everyone, stays past work hours, or they often show up early because they can’t wait to get to work. Personally, I am so impressed with my co-workers who daily go out of their way to serve the Lord and serve others. It’s truly a ministry to them. I believe that’s what happens when people have a passion and discover their calling—it changes the way they work. As Christians, we understand that w

October 2 2017 Email (Oct 2017)
October 2, 2017 Greetings! More than a decade ago, my wife, Barbara, my then 2-year-old son, Ben, and I all went to small town in Iowa known as Waverly with a population of about 8,000 people. We went to see Barbara’s long-time friend from her high school youth group. My wife’s best friend-Sue-was a part of her youth group. While there, my wife reconnected with her old high school youth pastor-Jim-who is now known as the Rev. Dr. Jim. Further, she saw two more friends from youth group that

September 25 2017 Email (Sep 2017)
September 25, 2017 Greetings! The Bible teaches Christians are a part of the “body of Christ.” Writing to the church in Corinth, Paul writes, “Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it” (I Corinthians 12:27). When I make this statement invariably someone will turn to me and say, "I don't know what body part I am!" At times, other folks have said to me, “I feel like I'm the tonsils or the appendix. Something you don't really need in the body of Christ. "Do you ever feel

September 18 2017 Email (Sep 2017)
September 18, 2017 Greetings! As we move our attention away from the “lazy, hazy days of Summer”, and begin to focus on the fall season, I wanted to take just a moment to remind all of us of the tremendous value there is in living lives of service for the Lord in ministry. If you are part of this church, I’d like to encourage you to consider getting involved in an area of ministry that perhaps even on the surface, may not seem to be one that gets a lot of the accolades, yet there is a tugg

Fall Dinner and Auction (Sep 2017)
To Our Dear Hephatha Community: We are busy planning our 19th Annual Dinner, Dance, and Auction! Mark your calendars now for Friday, November 3rd at 6:30 pm. The venue is set and we can’t wait to see all the flappers and fellas come out to the Historic Fullerton Ballroom to enjoy a Roaring 20’s themed evening complete with dinner, dancing to live music and many opportunities to support our church and schools with card games, opportunity drawings and a silent auction you won’t want to miss! (PS

September 11 2017 Email (Sep 2017)
September 11, 2017 Greetings! Has life beaten you down? Job? A tough marriage? A messy divorce? One of your kids or grandkids going through a tough time? Are you feeling like you want to just throw in the towel? Before you make one more decision, stop for a moment and let me ask you two questions. My first question is: What is the most difficult, distressing, discouraging situation in your life right now? If there’s one thing that God could make different, what would it be? And my seco

September 5 2017 Email (Sep 2017)
September 5, 2017 Greetings! When I was in my first-year of ministry, I remember reading a book by Dr. Richard Selzer, a surgeon and professor at Yale Medical School, called Mortal Lessons: Notes on the Art of Surgery and in the book he chronicled his life as a surgeon. He wrote these beautiful words on the subject of the love of a husband towards his postoperative wife. I stand by the bed where a young woman lies, her face postoperative, her mouth twisted in palsy, clownish. A tiny twig

August 28 2017 Email (Aug 2017)
August 28, 2017 Greetings! In my personal observation, many people are wondering if there is more to life. There are a lot of people who are searching for peace and fulfillment in their lives, but not everyone finds it. There is good news for those seeking purpose and meaning. The good news is that we don’t need to search for fulfillment any longer. God has come to us in the person of Jesus Christ. This is the message of the Bible. It is referred to as the “Gospel” which means “Good News.”

August 20 2017 Email (Aug 2017)
August 20, 2017 Greetings! Are you familiar with the name Ted Turner? He’s an outrageous and generous billionaire. This famous media-mogul made a famous quip many years ago. In an interview, he said: “Christianity is a religion for losers.” He also told employees who observed Ash Wednesday that “Jesus freaks” should go work for FOX. He apologized for the latter comment, but his feelings towards Christians were clear. Originally, Turner’s remarks were meant as an insult to Christians. Yet

August 14 2017 Email (Aug 2017)
August 14, 2017 Greetings! In the early 1970s, Robert Greenleaf, a business leader and author, introduced the model of a “servant leader.” However, the concept of a servant leader is not a modern concept but can be found in the Biblical account of the life of Jesus Christ. As a matter of fact, serving others is a foundational principle that Jesus laid out for us many times during His ministry on earth. For example, in Mark 10:45, Jesus told His disciples that He had come “not to be served

August 7 2017 Email (Aug 2017)
August 7, 2017 Greetings! Let’s be honest, true friendship is not easy. Sadly, in my opinion, in our culture, many people do not understand—true friendship. Sadder still, others do not have what they would call is a true friend—at least—in the strictest sense of the word. But, where do we go for understanding about the important subject of friendship? Might I suggest we go to God’s Word for insight and wisdom about friendship? In this article, I want to look at insights from the book of Pr

July 31 2017 Email (Aug 2017)
July 31, 2017 Greetings! More recently, I watched a video conference online held for mission-minded ministers, and one of the main speakers said something that really touched my heart. He said: "Often times we Christians are found pressing our faces against the inside windows of our churches, looking out and wishing we could party like the world. What we really want to be doing inside our church buildings, is partying with such joy that outsiders would want to press their faces against our

July 24 2017 Email (Jul 2017)
July 24, 2017 Greetings! When I was an undergraduate student at a local Christian college, the chapel speaker (a missionary from a third-world country) made a comment that has stuck with me for over twenty-five years. He said these words, “Many Christians act more like consumers than disciples!” Do you agree? Someone wise once made this comment, “The culture of consumerism has become part and parcel of modern Christianity.” Many argue the greatest threat facing Christianity in the U.S. is

July 17 2017 Email (Jul 2017)
July 17, 2017 Greetings! Let me ask you a couple of questions: Have you ever been really excited when you bought the latest and greatest smartphone? Or when you finally found that perfect pair of shoes – and they were on sale? Do you remember how you just couldn’t wait to tell someone about it? The advertising agencies on Madison Avenue know full well that when we really love something – we naturally want to tell other people about it. It is my personal opinion that the greatest form of ad

July 10 2017 Email (Jul 2017)
July 10, 2017 Greetings! In my observation, technology rules the day, doesn’t it? Personally speaking, I'm using more and more of my computer on a day-to-day basis. I have my iPhone on me at all times and then it goes off all the time not just with phone calls but various "alerts" of new texts, Facebook posts, and other alerts that I have programmed into the phone. Of course, I have some great things loaded on my phone. For example, I have a Bible loaded on it. Oh, and I also have an iPad.

July 3 2017 Email (Jul 2017)
July 3, 2017 Greetings! This week take the time to appreciate and celebrate our independence and freedom as a Nation. What a privilege it is to be able to gather together and to have the freedom to worship God. This is a right we enjoy and should always do our best to protect and defend it, especially in a day when our rights are being challenged more and more. Far deeper and more lasting, however, is the freedom we enjoy as people of God who have been set free by the finished work of Chris

June 26 2017 Email (Jun 2017)
June 26, 2017 Greetings! Is it warm enough for you? We have certainly been enjoying some beautiful summer days and wonderfully cool nights haven’t we? As we head towards July, we do have some great fellowship opportunities coupled with this nice weather to take full advantage of: First off, we have a number of summer Taco Tuesdays. Our first dinner is this Tuesday at El Torito in Yorba Linda at 6:15 p.m. In many respects, fellowship around the table is where the church started. Christian a

June 19 2017 Email (Jun 2017)
June 19, 2017 Greetings! Which should we do: Be a light in the darkness, or just add more light to light? More recently, I had an interesting discussion about mission. It was with a person that I believe is more comfortable living in maintenance than in mission (discipleship). In our conversation, I asked him the hypothetical question, "What if a bartender who worked in the same "den of darkness," was to come to faith in Jesus because one of their customers lovingly and boldly saw the "bad

June 12 2017 Email (Jun 2017)
June 12, 2017 Greetings! I would like to take this opportunity to invite you and your family to our services on Father’s Day here at the church. This Sunday we’ll have a car show from 9:00 a.m.- 11:00 a.m. There will be prizes and trophies for some of the cars that participate in the show. Plus, you can get some food and drinks for a small donation that will help support both Caring Hands Food Pantry in Fullerton and Mission Possible benevolence ministry. This ministry provides food for the h

June 5 2017 Email (Jun 2017)
June 5, 2017 Greetings! The author of the book of Hebrews writes these words, "Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares" (Hebrews 13:2). Isn’t that a powerful section of Scripture? Christian Hospitality is more than just offering coffee and donuts on a Sunday morning. As I see it, biblical hospitality is when followers of Jesus put those who are not yet believers in a position to be in fellowship with Jesus Christ! When you take a

May 29 2017 Email (May 2017)
May 29, 2017 Greetings! On this Memorial Day week, I would like to take a few moments to recognize and appreciate those who have paid the highest price possible to secure our freedoms. It is a profound thought to think that one human being would sacrifice something of so much value, not only to themselves but also to their families and friends who tearfully said their good-byes as the call to serve beckoned. Yet, to take it even a step further and to realize these men and women died for peo

May 22 2017 Email (May 2017)
May 22, 2017 Greetings! I write this letter on behalf of the entire congregation here at Hephatha to extend an invitation to join us for a very special service(s) this Memorial Day Weekend. During this service, we want to designate time to appreciate the sacrifice of those who have served and lost their lives to defend our nation. In the New Testament, St. John wrote, “G reater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John15:13). Other than our Lord’s death on

May 15 2017 Email (May 2017)
May 15, 2017 Greetings! As Pastor at Hephatha, I wanted to be sure to send a special letter of congratulations to all our graduates, both at our school and other local schools and to let the graduates know that we are proud of them and their accomplishment. Whether you are graduating from elementary school, middle school, high school, or even college you and I both know that learning will never stop as new experiences and relationships will help to guide you along the way to true success. Wh

May 8 2017 Email (May 2017)
May 8, 2017 Greetings! What a wonderful time of the year! Once again, this time of year we are to “give honor where honor is due.” At Hephatha Lutheran Church, we honor all Mothers and ladies who play a mother role at our special Mother’s Day services. Of course, we are of the belief that ladies should be honored on a daily basis, and not just one day out of an entire year. And yet, it is always such a joy to simply take time during our services to recognize and appreciate those who give

May 1 2017 Email (May 2017)
May 1, 2017 Greetings! A teacher gave her class of second graders a lesson on the magnet and what it does. The next day in a written test, she included this question: ” My full name has six letters. The first one is M. I pick up things. What am I?” When the test papers were turned in, the teacher was astonished to find that almost 50 percent of the students answered the question with the word Mother. While many of us may get a chuckle out of this little story, we must also agree that there i

April 24 2017 Email (Apr 2017)
April 24, 2017 Greetings! Greetings in Christ! Personally speaking, perhaps one of the most discouraging aspects of sharing the Gospel is knowing full well that many people will reject the message, and yes, even at times reject the messenger…you. At times, we might think that if we could just be a bit more like Jesus then everyone would believe this life-giving message of the Messiah because we would minister the way He wants us to minister. We would share the exact words they need to hea

April 17 2017 Email (Apr 2017)
April 17, 2017 Greetings! Greetings in the wonderful Name of our risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! I trust you are enjoying living in light of the great news of Easter, and that our God is richly blessing your life. Personally speaking, I am excited about all that God is doing here at Hepahtha Lutheran Church and am looking forward to the great things He has in store for each us. We have a number of upcoming events taking place in the Hephatha family. First of all, we have secured the E

April 10 2017 Email (Apr 2017)
April 10, 2017 Greetings! In Luke’s Gospel, we read these words: “6 He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, 7 saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’ ” (Luke 24:6-7). Can you imagine what it must have been like for Mary and Martha along with certain other women to hear those words from the Angel at the tomb of Jesus? The range of emotions went from the lowest of

April 3 2017 Email (Apr 2017)
April 3, 2017 Greetings! Well, the words of the confession in The Lutheran Service Book say, “I a poor miserable sinner.” Some people will be offended, as these words seem rude and unworthy of creatures created in God’s image. In fact, one TV preacher said she “was not a poor miserable sinner.” Other people will be pleased, as these long-standing words seem to capture a spirit of repentance. So, which is it: Sinner or not? When our liturgies tell us we are “miserable” sinners, they are re

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