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Pastor’s Message
6/02/2019 – 7th Sunday of Easter
Today is the seventh and last Sunday of Easter. We celebrate Jesus’ resurrection for seven Sundays—a week of weeks. Yet in the midst of the joy of Easter, today’s First Reading from Acts confronts us in gory detail with Judas’ betrayal of Jesus. We might think that those first disciples, having seen and heard the risen Jesus, would simply proceed from glory to glory and victory to victory. But instead they do things that churches have been doing ever since: gather together, pray, have meetings at which leaders are elected, and remember the sad stories of those who have walked away. Jesus’ death and resurrection does not remove us from the real world, but instead fills us with faith and hope and love as we faceboth the joys and sorrows of life. While the gory death of Judas disturbs us, the death of Jesus on the cross comforts, consoles, and saves us. Jesus death is gory too, yet it is at the same time glorious, for by it our true enemies—sin, death, and hell—are defeated
5/26/2019 – 6th Sunday of Easter

AS WE GATHER We are now far along in the season of Easter. The Easter lilies have faded. The world has gone on to other things, if it even paused for Easter at all. And, if we are honest with ourselves, sometimes we wonder about this odd tradition of celebrating a one-day thing—Easter—over a span of seven Sundays. We move so quickly on to the next best thing, that a season like Easter is a challenge for us—a significant number of days and weeks to contemplate, unpack, and celebrate the resurrection of our Lord. While lilies fade and our attention wanes, today in Acts we hear that signs of Easter emerge all over the world every day, as people like Lydia, a dealer of purple cloth from Thyatira, hear of Jesus, die and rise with Him in Baptism, and then bring forth the fruit of the resurrection in their lives. Today we are called to consider how our lives, like that of Lydia, might be signs of the resurrection of Jesus. Lydia’s response to being baptized was to offer hospitality to missionaries in her own home. While Satan works on us to make our lives stale and faded like six-week-old lilies, the Holy Spirit is at work in us to lead us, like the Spirit led Lydia, toward bearing the fruit of the resurrection in our lives.

Easter changes everything. Without the resurrection of Jesus, we have no true peace; we have no forgiven life now nor the eternal life assured. Easter changes everything! Though many in this world deny that fact or fail to admit the need for the resurrected Savior, Jesus comes to us still in the Means of Grace and speaks to us as He did to Thomas long ago, “Stop doubting, and believe!”
Because Jesus lives, we live. As we hear the vision given John in Revelation 1, we also look to where we see Christ with the keys of death and hell and the door opened for all who believe. As Easter has changed everything, let us live as His changed people — because Jesus is alive forevermore, so in Him we will live also!
AS WE GATHER THIS DAY…Voices are in our heads nearly every moment. Even when we don’t realize it, we are listening to the sounds of life that surround us. What do those voices say? What choruses do they sing? What refrains do they repeat? The voice we gather to hear this day stands in stark contrast to the multitude of others in our world. “The voice of the LORDis over the waters,” we read in Psalm 29:3. As He did for ancient Israel—and as He did for His only-begotten Son—our Father does for us today: He speaks over us words of life! Connected to Christ by water and Spirit—redeemed and called by His name—the Father makes us His own. Are we listening? Can we hear Him? He is speaking. Let’s open our ears to hear.

Pastor Todd’s  prayer: “Heavenly Father open our hearts, to regular worship and digging into the Word, praying for healing, guidance and direction, taking our thoughts captive to the LORD Jesus Christ, and refreshing our hearts on how to love as Jesus loved.  God bless us as we move forward together.“ Amen.

Moses said, “Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, that the Lord would put His Spirit on them!” (Numbers 11:29). Jesus said, “For no one who does a mighty work in My name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of Me. For the one who is not against us is for us” (Mark 9:39-40). Everyone expects a Christian pastor to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Quite often, however, the Gospel is preached by an ordinary Christian to a neighbor, friend or co-worker. The issue is not always who is preaching, but that the might Word of God be spoken, applied, and echoed throughout the world. Everlasting Father, source of every blessing, mercifully direct and govern us by Your Holy Spirit that we may complete the works You have prepared for us to do. Amen.
We live in a divisive world. There are so many things out there that can divide us, including political viewpoints, race, gender, age, fashion, and many more. There are wars, conflicts, and rumors of war floating around every day in the news. In the Epistle, Paul speaks of a dividing wall of hostility. We have many such walls. Yet in Christ, we are reconciled to God and to one another. The walls that divide us are toppled over, and Christ makes peace between nations and peoples by His own blood. We are now one Body, one Church, serving under one Lord. May God’s peace reign in your life and break down any wall that divide you from God or from others.
January 2018

I know you have had the Intention Interim Ministry explained at congregational meetings.  One of the first steps in this process is for me to gather a sense of history about COS.  I want to do that by personally talking to many of you.  I began that the second week of January, and hopefully we can continue that through the next # of weeks.  A New pastor will normally get to know his congregation gradually through worship, visits, meetings etc., but I am only here for a year, so I need to condense that into a few weeks at the beginning of this venture that we have together in order to better understand what the people of COS need to set up a very positive future.  I want to talk to many of you.I will certainly interview the leaders in this church, but if you have a viewpoint you want to express, feel free to call for an appointment.  I don’t want anyone feeling left out.  I pray that all of you will be open to regular worship and digging into the Word, praying for healing guidance and direction, taking our thoughts captive to the Lord Jesus Christ, and refreshing our hearts on how to love as Jesus loved.  God bless us as we move forward together.

~Todd Brunworth