Questions and Answers Questions were published in the Transcona Views

Lent is a period of 40 days in which Christians are encouraged to prepare their hearts, souls and minds for the celebration of Easter – Christ’s Resurrection from the dead. Lent is also a time of penitential preparation, a time for us to reflect and confess all our sins before God, acknowledging that we are sinners and without God’s grace, mercy and forgiveness, we are eternally destroyed, left to face God’s wrath and judgement upon us. The purpose of this season of Lent is focused on the life, suffering and death of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ as He faithfully makes His way to the Cross at Calvary, where His Father releases all of His wrath and judgement upon His Son, Jesus, in order that we, His creation don’t have to make atonement, or payment for our sins. This however, does not mean that we can get away with all of the sinful things we’ve done, what it means is, that Jesus takes the punishment that we rightly deserve upon Himself, making atonement, full payment for the sins of the world. Without the sinless, spotless, Holy Lamb of God, Jesus Christ taking our place we would be left to atone for our sins as our ancestors before us had to do according to God’s Law. All the rituals and sacrifices would have to be completed and the curtain separating God’s people from His Holy Sanctuary would still remain. Our access to God would be only through His servants whom He has called and placed in that office. Therefore, since we have a great High Priest in Christ Jesus, we now have access to our Father in heaven without all the sacrifices required in the Law. Christ has torn down that barrier, or curtain, separating us from God. His life, His innocent suffering and death and His most glorious resurrection has granted us peace with our Father in heaven. We no longer need to fear God’s wrath and punishment for our lives are securely wrapped in robe of Christ’s righteousness. Read these passages in God’s Word from Daniel 9:3, Esther 4:1-3 and Matthew 11:20-24. These Words from God reveal the importance of confessing one’s sins unto God, in sackcloth and ashes, weeping loudly because of our sinfulness. May we, as God’s people, take this time to meditate, confess and prepare our hearts, souls and minds for the coming celebration of Christ’s resurrection from the dead and His most glorious return to claim all those who believe in His name in true God-given faith. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen. 

When we look at how people, especially young children grow in their knowledge of things, especially through family and friends or even peers, I believe it’s important that they be taught the truth concerning God and His Word, especially His living Word, Jesus Christ. If we have the desire for our children to know something important like how to play hockey, soccer, football, or even dance classes, music lessons etc, we take them to someone who can teach them what they need to know to be successful. The same is true when it comes to our knowledge of God and His saving Word! If we don’t take the time or hold knowing God of any importance then definitely our children won’t know Him either. Therefore, we bring our children to Sunday School, Confirmation Classes, Bible Study, but most importantly to God’s House of Worship, to hear His Word and receive God’s blessings of forgiveness, life and salvation. Jesus Himself, told His disciples: “Do not hinder the little children, for to such as these belongs the kingdom of heaven.” Dear friends in Christ, we can’t ignore our children and the faith that God has granted them when He made them His own in Holy Baptism, to do that is to deny them of God’s unending love. Being a Christian, a child of God, is more than just being Baptized, Confirmed or even attending Church. Being a Christian is all about living out our lives in service to God, His Church, our community and the world through the proclamation of God’s Almighty Word. Sunday School helps us to learn the importance of reading, listening and sharing with others just how much God loves us and we love Him. Don’t deprive your children of knowing Him Who loves your child and desires them to be in a personal close relationship with every day. Learning never ends, it is a life-long commitment by God and us, so that together we can grow closer and closer every day.

Quite often, you will hear people say, “I don’t have to go to church to worship God!” While that is true, you should worship God in everything you do, whether it be at home, at work, just out for the evening to have a good time or Sunday mornings, we should always be worshipping God. However, God calls us to Worship Him in a specific place, and not alone, but gathered together as children of God in song, praise, thanksgiving and hearing the Word of God proclaimed by those whom He has called to serve His people. Listen to the voice of God as He calls us to Worship: “Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He Who promised is faithful, and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, nor forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10: 19-25) The Psalmist also writes: “Come, let us worship and bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker, for He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you would hear His voice, do not harden your hearts!” Dear Christian friends, worshipping God is more than just sitting in the pews on Sunday mornings. Worshipping God is actively serving Him in all that you do, at work, home or at play. When we gather together as His people it is to be strengthened in Word and deed. God must feed us with His Word and Sacraments that we may be strong enough to fight the temptations of the world and our own sinful flesh. When you stay away from God’s house long enough, pretty soon, you stay away from God altogether. We need God, even if we don’t want to admit it! Without Him we are doomed for eternal destruction and rejection by Him Who so lovingly sent His Son, Jesus to suffer, die and rise again so that we are never forsaken, but welcomed with open, loving arms! The church is not perfect! But if it were, then no one would be able to enter! All of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God! Therefore, we gather together as sinners, to receive God’s forgiveness, love and strength to continue in the work He calls us to do for Him in our church, community and throughout the world. Come, let us Worship the Lord, for He is our God and we are His people! Let us join together in singing praises to Him for the joy of our salvation is in Him, and Him alone! To God be the glory, both now and forever more! Amen.

Let’s begin by asking ourselves a very simple question: “Have I ever felt a time when God wasn’t there for me?” Yes, there have been times when I felt as though God wasn’t there for me, and yes, even listening to my prayers. At times I felt as though I was left alone to deal with the problems and trials in my life. But then I remembered the words from that famous poem, “FOOTPRINTS”. That during the most difficult times in my life when I believed that God wasn’t around to help, it is at those times when God was actually carrying me through those difficult and troublesome times. God is always listening, watching and carrying us through the most troublesome times in our lives. Read the words from the Psalmist who tells us these words from God: “I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; from where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He Who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your Keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun will not smite you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul. The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever.” Dear Christian friends, our Lord Jesus told His disciples before He departed from them, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” In other words our Lord promises us that He will always be with us, He will never take the Summer Off, or any other time in our lives either. He is always there to strengthen, comfort and guard us from all evil. We may feel that we need time away throughout the summer, and yes that may mean not attending the Lord’s House to Worship, pray, praise and give thanks to God. I know many believe that they can do all these things from wherever they are. Yes, it is true! But let me remind you that our Lord calls us to gather together as His people, to lift each other up and to support one another in our daily lives. This we cannot do if we aren’t together as one, in faith, worship and prayer. Let us never take God for granted, forsaking the gathering together of His people in unity of faith and Christian love for one another. Together we shall stand, divided we will fall. Let’s stand up for Jesus in our daily lives as we gather together in Worship and praise every day of our lives. God grant this to us, for Jesus’ sake, I pray. Amen

Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus Who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead; and behold, He is going ahead of you into Galilee, there you will see Him; behold, I have told you.” And they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to report it to His disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshipped Him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and take word to My brethren to leave for Galilee, and there they will see Me.” {Matthew 28: 5-10} Happy Easter! What a joyous time of year! As God’s people we have been given a gift like no other, a gift that just keeps on giving! This Gift is God’s one and only Son, Jesus Christ, crucified, dead, but Risen from the dead unto life everlasting. Can you believe it? When it comes to the time of Easter, for many it has nothing to do with Jesus Christ or anything He has done! It’s just a time of year when we get time off work, or time away from school, or a time when we over indulge ourselves with fancy meals, and play all sorts of games like hunting for Easter eggs, chocolates and many other candies. It’s a time when people just relax away from the everyday routines of daily living. However, for those who believe, who have been given that one true faith in God and His Son, Jesus Christ, it’s a great deal more! Easter is a day that God has set aside to reveal His love, grace and mercy to a sinful human race. The suffering, death and resurrection of His beloved Son, Jesus Christ is for all people. Sadly, many refuse to believe, they have hardened their hearts against God and do everything possible to discredit the truth of God’s love for His creation. A people that have disobeyed Him and thereby fallen away from the true fellowship God desires for His people. Easter restores that broken relationship as Jesus suffers, dies and rises again in our place, for our sake. He was perfect, we weren’t, and this is why He had to take our place, to redeem us, to pay the debt we owed because of our sin and rebellion against God our Father. Easter, dear friends is all about Jesus Christ! His taking our place on the cross, suffering abandonment by His Father as He died, then rising from the dead to reunite Himself with His Father and thereby reuniting us with them. Through faith in Jesus Christ we are freed from the agony and pain of eternal death and separation from our Father in heaven. We can now rejoice and give thanks to our Father in heaven for loving us enough to send His Son, Jesus Christ to take our place and suffer the punishment and death that we deserve because of our sin. Yes, what a celebration Easter is! Jesus has freed us from sin, death and the devil, in doing so, He has granted us a New Life through faith in Him, our dear Friend and brother! May Easter, that is Jesus Christ, bring you joy and happiness not just at this time but your whole life long. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen. Happy Easter Everyone, in Jesus Christ our Lord!

While thinking about this question, I wondered if anyone really cares! Does CHRISTmas mean anything to people of today's world? Well, for many I'm certain it doesn't, but for all those who believe in CHRISTmas and are thankful for what CHRISTmas is, it means LOVE! "She will bear a Son; and you shall call His Name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: "Behold, the virgin shall be with Christ and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His Name Immanuel," which translated means, "God With Us." CHRISTmas is about GIFTS! Receiving them, but also giving them! The greatest gift I can think of that I received for CHRISTmas was given before I was even born. It was the GIFT of God's Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only CHRISTmas gift that keeps on giving, even when I don't deserve Him. I didn't ask for this Gift, I didn't have to pay for this Gift and I didn't do anything to be a blessed receiver of this Gift. Nevertheless, in God's great love for all His creation, He gave me this Gift of His Son, Jesus Christ when He called me by name and Baptized me into His family of believers. You see, CHRISTmas is not about you or me; it's all about God's love for us through the sending of His dear Son, Jesus Christ so that I can be forgiven and made holy in His sight! God didn't have to do this, He could have left us to continue just the way we were, dead in our sins, but then heaven would be an empty place and hell would be overflowing with all His creation. But thanks be to God, His love for us moved Him in compassion and love to send His own dear Son, Jesus Christ to redeem us from all our sins. He did this in His birth by becoming a man living as we do, with one huge difference, He was without sin. He lived out His life in faithfulness to the will of His Father and because of our sins He had to suffer, die and rise again so that we could be made sinless in the sight of His Father. His coming down to earth at CHRISTmas was not for His benefit, but for ours! So, Why Wish Anyone A Merry CHRISTmas? Because through faith in Jesus, God's Son, we are given a New Life, a life of innocence, blessedness and holiness! Everything we have ever done wrong is removed from our hearts and souls and placed upon the CHRISTmas Gift, Jesus Christ! CHRISTmas is the time to give thanks to God for sending Jesus to be born of the Holy Spirit through Mary, God's chosen, to be IMMANUEL, "God With Us!" Without CHRIST there is no CHRISTmas! Therefore, let us rejoice and be glad that Jesus is with us, for He is CHRISTmas everyday! He is the greatest Gift that keeps on giving, He will always be with us whether we like it or not! We didn't choose Him, He chose us! He loves us so much that He will always keep on giving us the free gift of faith, forgiveness and life! Believe in Him, acknowledge Him and ask Him to be with you always even when we know we don't deserve Him. On behalf of all of my family in Christ at Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd I wish everyone a very joyous and blessed Merry CHRISTmas in Jesus' name! Merry CHRISTmas everyone and may God be with you all!

To answer such a question is not the easiest, however, I will try to make this as simple as possible. First, in order for anyone to come to the Lord's Table and receive this most Holy Gift is given for believers in Christ and only believers. A believer is one who confesses the truth concerning God's Divinely inspired Word, not just certain parts, but all of it. This means that we confess the Truth about ourselves and the sins that we so easily commit on a daily basis. But, there is more than just confessing our sins, we must also believe that Christ Himself is the Host, He is the One feeding us with His Holy precious Body and Blood, that same body and blood He shed on the cross at Calvary and which also rose victoriously from the grave unto life. So, why do we feel that it is important to partake of The Lord's Supper: simply understood because Christ Jesus has instituted this Meal and He continues to institute it for us "Christians" that is believers in Christ to eat and drink His very Body and Blood for the forgiveness of sins, the strengthening of the Believers faith and the comfort and assurance of life forever with Him in heaven. To come in an unworthy manner, meaning with no remorse or sorrow for the sins that we commit on a daily basis, and not truly believing in the "Real Presence" the eating and drinking of Jesus' flesh and blood is to eat and drink this Holy meal to our eternal damnation. Therefore, it is a serious matter! God warns us of this when He says: "Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgement to himself if he does not judge the body rightly." {1st Corinthians 11: 27-29} We partake of the Lord's Supper because we know, confess and believe we are sinful in thoughts, desires, words and deeds, therefore, we profess with our mouths and believe in our hearts that Jesus Christ, God's One and only Son, suffered, died and rose again in order to pay the full price for our sins and the sins of the world. In His Supper He feeds us that we may be forgiven and strengthened to live a Christ-centred life all the days of our life.

To say that the Bible is the Inerrant Word of God means it cannot be changed because God is the Author. By the power of His Holy Spirit God instilled in the hearts and minds of the Prophets, the Evangelists and Apostles all God wants us to know that leads to salvation. God says in 2nd Timothy 3:16; "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God!" In 2nd Peter 1:21 God say's: "Holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." "Scripture cannot be broken." John 10:35 In 2nd Timothy 3:15-17 God say's: "From a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is give by the inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." God reveals to us through His servant St. Paul in 1st Corinthians 2:13; "We speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit teaches." To accept the Bible as the inerrant Word of God means we believe, trust and take comfort in knowing that this is not just human beings speaking, but God Himself revealing, that which is profitable for our life with Him now and for all eternity. Therefore, we acknowledge and accept God's Word as the only truth, which leads to our new life through faith in His beloved Son, Jesus Christ. As a child I recall these words that my Grandfather taught me, and they have stuck with me to this day: "God said, I believe, that settles it!" There is no changing what God has said, because He is the Author and no one can change what the Author of His Divine Word has revealed! Thanks be to God for He does not change, and in this I take great comfort knowing that His Word stands today, just as it did at the beginning of time!

Baptism is a gracious gift of God given to His people for the creation of faith and the salvation of our souls. God says to us in Acts chapter 2 verses 38 & 39: "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is for you and your children!" We also have these words of our Lord Jesus in Mark chapter 10 verses 13-15, which clearly speak to everyone concerning Baptism: "And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, "Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. "Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all." We also have these words of God recorded in Ephesians chapter 5 verse 25 & 26: "Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God." It becomes quite clear that Baptism is truly a gift from God our Father, therefore no one should have to suffer the pain and agony of hell, for God created us in His image and therefore we were at the beginning of all things, like Adam & Eve, holy blameless and without sin. But as with so many things today we just don't believe it so we ignore God and His Word along with God's command to Baptize. In so doing we are thereby rejecting God and His Holy Word for the ability to choose what pleases or tickles our fantasy. Baptism is a free gift from God to everyone, therefore, I encourage you not to reject it, but pray about it and receive God's answer to you for His will for you, here on earth, and for all time in heaven.

The true meaning lies in God's special Christmas Gift to everyone! This Gift came at a great price to God, but not to us. We receive this Gift by God's grace, without any goodness in us. This Gift is given to all; freely and with Divine Love! God tells us through the angel Gabriel: "Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favour with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus." "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you, and for that reason the Holy Child shall be called the Son of God." Along with Mary, let us ponder in our hearts the Peace and Joy that God gives in His One and only Son, Jesus Christ to all those who believe in Jesus as their Lord and Saviour! Merry Christmas to all in Christ Jesus the Lord this Christmas and for always. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

The only way to heaven is found in the words of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, Who says: "Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also." "I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no once comes to the Father but through Me." Through faith in Christ Jesus, we do not need to worry about our life after death, for our life is in His hands! He gave His life so that our sins are forgiven through faith in Him! No one, or nothing can take this away from us, except our own unbelief and denial of Him. Faith Saves! May God grant us this faith, today and forever! God grant it for Jesus' sake, I pray. Amen