Join Pastors Mark Tiefel and Nathanael Mayhew for an eye opening look into the fastest growing "religion" in our country - the religious "nones." According to a recent survey by the Pew Forum, nearly a quarter of Americans say that they have no religious affiliation. This number includes those who would consider themselves atheist and agnostic, but this number has doubled in the last decade. While this increase is largest among Millennials, there has been a decrease in religious commitment among every age group. Join us to hear more about who these "nones" are and what they do (and don't) believe, what is behind the growth of this group, and how we can best help them in their search for meaning and for God.
In our Word of the Week today, Pastor Ben Libby defines the word "saint" in Scripture. There are many false views of the word saint. For example the Roman Catholic Church uses this term to describe a person who has lived a "better" life than others. They even have a process called canonization for declaring certain people saints. But the ancient meaning of the word saint and the way that it is used in Scripture itself is different. A saint is a person who, by faith, has been saved from sin through the actions of Jesus Christ. So what does someone need to be a saint? Jesus! The work of God makes sinners saints through the work of faith. Rejoice that you are saints in Christ!
Pastor Nathanael Mayhew joins Pastor Ben Libby to dig into the shortest book of the Old Testament, the book of the prophet Obadiah. Obadiah was likely one of the earliest of the literary prophets, and was unique in that he prophesied against a foreign nation. He was sent to proclaim a message of judgment against the nation of Edom, which was a distant relative of the people of Judah (descendants of Esau). The theme of the Day of the LORD is used here and will continue through many of the following prophets. It point to a day of God's judgment upon a specific people or group, but also points us ahead to the day when the LORD will judge the whole earth on the Last Day. That day will be a day of judgment for some and a day of deliverance for others. Join us to learn more about the book of Obadiah!
As we conclude our recent celebration of the Reformation, we are reminded of what the Biblical word "righteousness" means. Pastor Tom Naumann takes us through the meaning and the use of the word in Scripture. In the Bible, God's Laws describe the character of God and the standard by which human righteousness is judged. The problem is we are not able to attain the God's standard of righteousness. The only means by which this is possible for us is through the righteousness of Christ which becomes ours by faith. Jesus has exchanged our sin for His perfection. We are declared righteous by God on account of what Jesus has done for us (2 Cor. 5:19-21). Thanks be to God!
Pastor Nathanael Mayhew joins Pastor Mark Tiefel for an in depth look at the Jehovah's Witness organization. They will briefly discuss the history of this group which began in 1884. While many people think that the Jehovah's Witnesses are Christian, we learn that they reject the three foundational truths of Christianity: The Trinity, the Deity of Christ, and Salvation by Grace through Faith in the Atonement of Christ. We also look at the New World Translation of the Bible, which isn't a translation at all, but a deceptive promotion of the false teaching of the Jehovah's Witness organization. Finally they will offer some suggestions about how to witness to a Jehovah's Witness, by directing them to the Gospel of Jesus.
Learn more about the meaning of the Biblical word "sanctification" in our Word of the Week. As we prepare to celebrate the Reformation this week, this word is certainly appropriate since the church of Luther's time taught that people had to earn their way into heaven by their good works. As we consider the Biblical word sanctification (and sanctify) we see that everything having to do with our salvation and even our lives of holiness are entirely the work of God, not our word. We will look at the two ways in which the word sanctification is used, both in the broad and narrow sense, what that means and how they differ. We hope you will join us!
Join Pastors Joe Naumann and Nathanael Mayhew as they dig into the Old Testament book of Esther. This is an interesting book that takes place late in the history of the Old Testament a little over 400 years before the time of Christ. It is set in the capital city of Persia following the Babylonian Captivity. It tells the story of God's work behind the scenes and through the lives of Esther and Mordecai, to preserve His Old Testament people from destruction. In this book we see that God puts people in particular places at important times so that He might use them in carrying out His plan of salvation. While God is never mentioned by name in the book, His fingerprints can be clearly seen in every event described in the book. God is in control! Join us to learn more about the important book of Esther and to grow in your understanding of God's plan of salvation.
In our Word of the Week we discuss the phrase "work righteousness" as we look ahead to Reformation. The phrase "work righteousness" descibes the idea that human beings can save themselves by works of rightesousness. But there is a problem. God's standard of righteousness (laid out in the 10 Commandments for starters) is impossible for us to achieve. All our righteousnesses are like filthy rags, Isaiah writes! When we try to save ourselves or earn God's favor by our works we separated ourselves from Christ and lost out on the grace He alone can give. Scripture clearly declares that we are not saved by our works of righteousness, but by God's grace in Christ: “But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness” (Romans 4). Thanks be to God!
Join Pastors Joe Naumann and Ben Libby in the second part of their study of the book of Philemon. Part two builds on the introduction to the book (Part 1) and gets into the book itself. They discuss the loving tone used by Paul in his writing to Philemon regarding his runaway slave. What is the application for us today? It shows us how we are to show love to our fellow believers. Join them for this review of a small but important book which deals with slavery and Christian love.
Nathanael Mayhew digs into a common name for Jesus in the New Testament and also one of the most important, since it was this name that guaranteed Jesus's death. It is the name "Son of God." This is used over 40 times for Jesus in the New Testament. It is the foundation and theme of the Gospel of Mark who begins by calling Jesus the Son of God. Jesus was decarled to be the Son of God by John the Baptizer, Nathanael, Martha, the Ethiopian eunuch, and the disciples as a whole. But what is more striking is that the Roman centurian at Jesus' crucifixion confesses: Truly this was the Son of God!" Even the demons recognized Jesus and called Him the Son of God. Was Jesus just a half god or demi god like Perceus or Hercules in Greek mythology? He was much more than that. Put under oath and asked if He was the Son of God, Jesus said: "It is as you say." For this He was condemned of blasphemy because He made Himself to be God! Jesus is True Man, but also True God, our Savior!