Tag Archives: Faith

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The Savior by Faith

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The Savior by Faith

June ushers in warmer weather. We hope. School is out and summer begins in earnest. Will you get outside and enjoy the warm temperatures? Do you plan to do any swimming? Our gracious neighbor has a pool she opens to us. We’re planning to hit the sands of the beach along Lake Michigan. My two-year-old Son has discovered the fun of sprinklers in the grass. In the summertime heat, people love to get wet.

Followers of Jesus get wet too, when they are baptized, but it is not just for fun. Baptism is a wonderful gift of God. Water is applied and words are spoken as Jesus commanded: “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). When those words and the water are combined like this, according to Jesus’ promise, baptism take place, which is a miracle of supernatural power. Through baptism, God’s incredible power is at work to take away the rebellion and disgrace that leaves you broken and cut out from his family. Baptism makes you a child of God and a member of his family.

Baptism isn’t just a magic act. The incredible transformation of heart birthed in baptism continues as you grow closer to God for the confidence and joy of life with him both now and forever. That growth is found in the message of the Bible as it guides the journey of life and refreshes when we grow tired, sapped, sore, and exhausted. The Bible is the “living water” (John 4:10) that Jesus gives us. Much more refreshing than any pool or beach or sprinkler! It quenches our thirst for belonging, for truth, and for peace – all found in Jesus, our Savior.

I hope you are excited about the gift of summer – relaxing on your deck, in the yard, at the pool, or on the beach. I also hope you know the gift of Jesus – a gift that lasts forever; a gift given in baptism and God’s Word.

Come and share with us the joy of being members of God’s family.


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August 2015

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Credo Pt. 3

Vicar Mike Schwab

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

These are the words that we say as part of our creed. In our creed we confess what we believe. What is the Holy Spirit? What is the holy Christian Church? The communion of saints? We say these phrases every Sunday, and I have to admit, often enough my mind goes on autopilot and my mouth does all the work. Sunday after Sunday the meaning is lost.

When we think about God, what comes to mind? We look around and we see God’s creation, and we are reminded of our heavenly Father. But what from God’s creation can tell us about the good news of Jesus our Savior? How can I come to know and believe in God’s saving work for the world if I was born into a sinful world?

The world into which we were born was fallen into sin. All people by nature are dead, (Eph 2:5) blind, (1 Cor 2:14) and opposed (Romans 8:7) to God.

The Holy Spirit is revealed to us in God’s Word as the sole provider for faith.

Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus Christ is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

–1 Corinthians 12:3

Simply by grace are God’s people brought to glorify his name. Popular thought in some Christian circles today establishes faith as a work that man does. You have to make your decision for Christ! Accept Jesus as your Savior! While we might be able to understand these statements correctly, there is a misunderstanding to avoid. The danger in this philosophy is that man is still weak with sin. The seed of faith is planted there, but he sprouts up and relies on himself. Then when trials and persecution come, he starts to wonder, what is Christianity all about? I thought things were going to be better now!

If we rely on reason to be holy, if we rely on intelligence to be right with God, our confession of faith only scratches the surface. If we think that being part of the holy Christian Church is something that we’ve grasped with sheer willpower, we’ve put aside the source of all wisdom and knowledge just for the chance to say, “I did this.” What’s the point in satisfying the prideful man inside, when you don’t give the new man a chance to grow?

“For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.”

–1 Peter 1:23

Those who confess Jesus as Lord can only do so with the help of the Holy Spirit, and by the Holy Spirit we receive blessings that come through Baptism, Holy Communion, and the Word of God. We receive forgiveness of sins, we get to cheat death (resurrection) and we have eternal life. These are the gifts that come to us through the means of grace (Word and sacraments) so that we can glorify his name. That awesome task is something we can do with all our gifts and talents in whatever we do. We also have the specific opportunity to glorify God as we gather for worship.

When we say our creed, we confess with the whole Christian Church on earth the glory that is due to God for all his grace. To create us, preserve us, redeem us, and preserve the Church for the glorification of his name.

Take a moment to see God’s hand in everything you do, that he has bought you back and restored you to a new life to live in his glory. We are his saints, washed clean in the blood of Christ.

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

–Ephesians 2:10


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Need More Faith?

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Do you?  Would you make that statement your own: “I need more faith.”  What if we changed it a bit?  “I need something I can believe in.” “I need something that won’t disappoint me.” “I need something in which I can place my trust, my confidence, and my faith.” Do the statements resonate more then?

Those things can be hard to find.  How many of us are rapidly losing faith in our elected officials as the government has come to a screeching halt? How many have lost faith in our judicial system over the years?  Have you ever lost faith in a business partner, colleague, or even a member of your own family? Faith can certainly be hard to come by, and we haven’t even talked about that idea of faith in religion, in church, or faith in Jesus.

So what about that kind of faith?  Even the Bible’s description of faith is a little hard to swallow: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1) I’m supposed to be sure about a hope?  I’m supposed to be certain about something I can’t see?  That sounds like a daunting task, but this faith is built on a solid foundation.  Just about every time the Beautiful Savior family gathers for worship, we join together to state our faith.  We usually use Creeds – “I believe…” statements. The key truths of the Christian faith are very briefly and yet adequately summarized in those statements. The foundation of this faith is Jesus and what he has done for us. That’s the important aspect about faith: knowing the truth about the true God and the Savior he has given us. Here is part of one of those statements:

I believe in Jesus Christ, [God’s] only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell.  The third day he rose again from the dead.  He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty.  From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.

Yes, it’s a lot to believe, but there is a huge comfort about this faith.  You don’t have to come up with it all on your own.  It’s a gift from God: “For it is by grace you have been saved through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8) Sometimes you might have a problem with the strength of your faith.  Sometimes you might struggle.  We’ve lost faith in so many things, how can we keep faith in Jesus? Then, it’s important to make the request that a greatly distressed father made to Jesus with regard to his son’s great need and his own weakness of faith: “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24 – Read the whole story.)

The most important thing to remember about faith is that it derives all of its strength from that rock-solid foundation.  A famous preacher once said, “It is not your hold on Christ that saves you; it is Christ. It is not your joy in Christ that saves you; it is Christ. It is not even your faith in Christ that saves you, though that be the instrument. It is Christ’s blood and merit.”

Are you looking for something you can really have faith in?  Have faith in Jesus, who loves you, who has saved you, who will never let you go.


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