A Vibrant & Nurturing Faith Community

inviting others to experience the Grace of God

We welcome you to join First Lutheran Church — regardless of your age, race, gender, life experience, complexities and questions. You have a unique story that can only add to the richness of the larger story that makes up the First Lutheran Church family.  We are a church that shares a living, daring confidence in God’s grace. This faith comes through the good news of Jesus Christ and gives us the freedom and the courage to wonder, discover and boldly participate in what God is up to in the world.  There is a place for you here!
 
Located at: 302 S. 10th St., Saint Joseph, MO, 64501  Phone: 816-232-8378  Email: flcsj302@gmail.com

 

 

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This Week’s Advent Devotion:
 

During one of our staff meetings on a Monday morning, we examined Psalm 100 with a devotion written by Dr. Charles F. Stanley.  The more we talked about the Psalm, the more we realized how this could be an Advent devotional and not “just” a Psalm of Thanksgiving.  First read Psalm 100:1-5:

“Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing.
Know that the Lord Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting
And His faithfulness to all generations.”
 

Used as a daily prayer, this Psalm will show why we are to make room in our hearts in preparation of the Lord to come.  This Psalm tells us why we are to have peace, hope, and joy, in the Promise of God.  A daily affirmation is commonly used to boost self-esteem when trying to better ourselves in our earthly living.  Christians tend to use prayer as a daily affirmation.  In fact, many times we use prayer to give God our demands of what we think we need to have peace, hope, and joy; because, after all the bible told us he wants us to have these things.

Take this Psalm and pray the words every day.  No matter how you feel that particular day!  Take the time and pray these words and let them form you.  Allow God’s word to form in your heart as you make room and prepare the way this Advent season.   

Advent Week 1 – Peace

For the Lord is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting
And His faithfulness to all generations.
 
One of my favorite references when trying to define a biblical term is www.theopedia.com.  I wanted a definition of peace.  The section that popped up was titled, Grace.  “His lovingkindness is everlasting” is in reference to the Lord’s mercy, kindness, favor, and love towards us will never, ever, ever end according to Dr. Stanley.  But it is so difficult for us to accept.  Why? Oswald Chambers says, The gospel of the grace of God awakens an intense longing in human souls and an equally intense resentment, because the truth that it reveals is not palatable or easy to swallow. There is a certain pride in people that causes them to give and give, but to come and accept a gift is another thing. I will give my life to martyrdom; I will dedicate my life to service I will do anything. But do not humiliate me to the level of the most hell-deserving sinner and tell me that all I have to do is accept the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.”
 
  So, if we are unable to accept the gift of grace, then peace can be elusive. It’s not something that comes naturally to us humans; we tend to err on the side of chaos and division. We will give and give so that we feel we did something to earn grace or what we feel is peace.  We avoid conflict and call it peace.  We turn a blind eye to the problems around us and protect our own “peaceful” world as best we can.
 
When Jesus, the promised “Prince of Peace,” was on earth, the peace he offered looked different than we imagine. He ruffled feathers, called out hypocrites and knocked down the human-created cultural fences between the “clean” people and the “unclean” people. To those who broke down in front of Jesus, who begged for his mercy in messy and public ways “to the level of the most hell-deserving sinner”, he said, “Go in peace.”
 

It was to those who acknowledged the lack of peace in their lives, and their inability to fix the messiness of their lives on their own, that he offered peace – and still offers today. And what is this peace he offers? To be born of human flesh so that we can see God’s love, mercy, kindness, and favor.  To give us the ultimate gift of grace by dying and defeating death so that we can continue God’s work until he returns.

Consider what it looks like for you to invite the peace of God into your heart and home this Christmas. There is no amount of good deeds you can do to “earn” peace from God. Ignoring issues and conflict that need attention won’t bring you peace nor will avoiding the messy situations God called you into. Instead, admit to God the lack of peace in your life and your inability to fix it, and accept his gift of grace.