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.

January 22 2018 Email (Jan 2018)
January 22, 2018 Greetings in Jesus Christ, How would you finish this sentence: The Bible is all about __________. From my standpoint, how you fill in this blank makes a big difference in how you approach the Bible and God? I have no doubt that many, if not most Christians, would probably fill in the blank with the word “Christ.”  The orthodox Christian faith demands no other answer.  In John 5:39,  for example, Jesus said of Himself, “The Scriptures…testify about Me.”And yet,

January 8 2018 Email (Jan 2018)
January 8, 2018 Greetings in Jesus Christ, Let me ask you a question: “Are you too busy to pray?” More recently, I was talking to a busy college student who shared that he’s struggling with not having much of a prayer life because he has been working a job, going to school, and trying to have a social life. Other folks in Orange County have to commute long hours on the 91 freeway, 5 freeway, or 405 freeway and this can take away 1-2 or more hours per day. Mothers and fathers of young childre

January 1 2018 Email (Jan 2018)
January 1, 2018 Greetings in Jesus Christ, I wanted to take a moment and send a note to wish you and yours a very Happy New Year! In writing to the Church at Philippi, Paul said in Philippians 3:13-14: “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” The New Year ahead will no doubt

December 25 2017 Email (Dec 2017)
December 25, 2017 Greetings in Jesus Christ, Greetings in the Christ! Merry Christmas! The birth of Jesus signals a turning point in history—a new beginning of sorts. Similarly, the New Year prompts us to reflect on the past and thank the Lord for His many blessings He has bestowed upon us in this past year. It is also a time for new beginnings. How fitting that the new year should fall just days after we celebrate the birth of Jesus! While we enter this New Year with thanks to God, we also

December 18 2017 Email (Dec 2017)
December 18, 2017 Greetings in Jesus Christ, Here we are once again, less than a week before Christmas, and it’s the time when parents are thinking of what they can do for their Children in the way of gifts. There is nothing that quite matches the joy that a parent feels when their little child opens a gift on Christmas morning, and squeals in delight at the contents previously hidden by annoying wrapping paper. Some parents of very small children sit back and watch a child become more fasci

December 11 2017 Email (Dec 2017)
December 11, 2017 Greetings in Jesus Christ, What are some of the themes of the season of Advent? One of the overarching themes of the season of Advent is taken from the words of John the Baptist: “Prepare the Way of the Lord!” John the Baptist looms large during the season of Advent. In fact, in the New Testament, Jesus called John the greatest of the prophets. He was, after all, the culmination of the prophetic ministry of Israel. And he was the prophet who was able to actually point to

Adopt a Family (Dec 2017)
Mission Possible is sponsoring Adopt a Family again this year. We have two families that recently asked for our help: Here are their wish lists: Both families are in need of grocery store gift cards. Tamika—mother: Size 3X clothes, jacket, king comforter set, toiletries Braxton 4yrs old, size 10 shoe, size 5t, Clothes, shoes, twin comforter set, underwear, jacket, socks, and educational toys. Braelynn 2yrs old, size 8 shoe, size 3t, Clothes, shoes, pull-ups, wipes, jacket, educational toys, and

December 4 2017 Email (Dec 2017)
December 4, 2017 Greetings in Jesus Christ, The word “Advent” literally means “the coming.” This season of Advent is about preparation. What are we preparing? Basically, we are preparing our hearts to welcome Christ in His coming. As John the Baptist cried out, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord!” in anticipation of Christ’s manifestation to the world, we can mark Advent in simple ways that remind us and others that we are preparing the way of the Lord. In the season of Advent, we can prepare

November 27 2017 Email (Nov 2017)
November 27, 2017 Greetings in Jesus Christ, You have heard of the War on Christmas. But the real war is not about whether retailers use the word Christmas during December or not. In fact, it is not even the Christmas season until Christmas day anyway. The real war is happening in many American churches. It’s not a war on Christmas, it’s a war on Advent, and I want to enlist you on the Advent side. We need an Advent army that fights not with boycotts, but with an invitation to a quieter pat

November 20 2017 Email (Nov 2017)
November 20, 2017 Greetings in Jesus Christ, As you well know, Thanksgiving Day is fast approaching. Personally, I love this holiday as it is especially well-suited for Christians. God has blessed us in so many ways through Christ. But, for many this has been an especially tough year. Have you had a difficult year? Perhaps health concerns are plaguing you, financial downturn is depressing you, and relational conflict is overwhelming you. So, as we draw closer to this Thanksgiving Day, I su

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

Day 3 - 30 Days of Prayer (Jan 2018)
Day 3 Prayer: Dear Gracious God, thank you so much for calling me to You. I rejoice in the gift of salvation. Your grace and mercy have delivered eternal life to me. You, Lord, have delivered me from despair and given my true hope. Today, I offer my life as a living sacrifice to you. May my days under the sun bring glory to the Son. Give me the courage to persevere, wisdom to follow, and boldness to speak Your Word. I ask that your kingdom come and your will be done in and through my life. S

January 15 2018 Email (Jan 2018)
January 15, 2018 Greetings in Jesus Christ, I’ve always considered myself as a person who kept myself aware of the events going on in our world: natural disasters, unrest, trouble spots in the world, and, of course, the plight of the persecuted church. But when I began encountering “The Prayers of the People,” weekly and corporately, a new depth of prayer for the world around me began to emerge in my heart. I did not grow up Lutheran; in fact, I served in several non-denominational churches

Day 2 - 30 Days of Prayer (Jan 2018)
Day 2 Prayer: Lord, I am a sinner and I desperately need a Savior. I confess that I trust in Jesus Christ! I believe that Jesus died on the cross for my sin. I know you raised Jesus to life. Forgive me, O, God. Help me to forgive those who have sinned against me. I confess that you are Lord of my life. God, I wish to serve you with all that I am and all that I have. In Christ’s name, I pray. Amen! Scripture: If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God

Day 1 - 30 Days of Prayer (Jan 2018)
Prayer is a powerful response to life’s challenges. It opens doorways of God’s possibilities because God hears and responds to the prayers of His people. Prayer is an invitation to each of us to cooperate with His purposes, even when we’re not sure of the outcome. When we interact with the people in our lives by saying “Let’s pray,” we interject invitations to walk with God in a non-threatening way. In the next 30 days I want you to join me in prayer every day. Prayer changes things. People

Hephatha Lutheran Church and School
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