Dear Soldiers of the Cross

 

Pastor John W. Fiene
Dear Soldiers of the Cross:
 
“Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.”                 Ezekiel 3:17.
 
This is what your watchman says: “Arise and prepare for battle, for your enemies are at the gate.” From the beginning, from the time of the fall, there has been a demonic war between God and that fallen angel. If we don’t understand how that Fallen One operates, we will lose the war. The consequence of a loss and the reward of a victory are both eternal. Please hear what your watchman has to say about it:
 
There are two fronts to the war. The first front is within our civil realm – within society. Side one on the battlefield is morality and virtue. Side two is immorality and vice. Side two always has the advantage. Man is corrupt by nature and because of that fallen nature is always under pressure to morally devolve. Immorality is like gravity: It is easy to fall down to it, but it is always much harder to rise out of it. To be moral and virtuous requires a lifetime of commitment and sacrifice, love for one’s neighbor, and an altruistic spirit in service to the greater well-being of society.
 
In this battle the Fallen One has the tactical advantage. When the moral and virtuous enter into battle, the Fallen One fires the arrows of their own moral imperfections and thus he condemns all moralists as hypocrites. As a result few people have the courage to stand their ground and fight for moral truth. This is how society develops into a “silent majority.” Silent majorities always yield the high ground to the immoral, which gives them the right to do all the talking and shouting. The immoral also stake a claim to morally superiority by claiming that they are trying to set society free from moral condemnation. Thus the battlefield is yielded to the immoral. One modern example, as one wise pastor observed, “The first wave of feminism made war on husbands. The second was on men in general. Now the third is on children, because it condemns all distinctions between the identities of male and female.” Even the US military, once immune from social fads and trends, is now yielding to LGBT pressures. The only thing that can prevent the collapse of morality is a catastrophe, most often war or famine or disease. The immoral are weak. They live only for themselves and their own pleasures. Catastrophe destroys them, but it also destroys peace and prosperity along with it, which makes the Fallen One happy. So either way he wins.
 
On the other side of the battlefield stands the Christian Church. Only the Christian faith has a weapon that can bring about a Satanic defeat. The Fallen One’s weapons are moral perfection (the Law), with which he can condemn all men, and the fear of punishment for imperfection (sin). Since fear and love are mutually exclusive, in using the fear of judgment, the Fallen One destroys all love for God. How then does the Christian Church win the battle? In Luther’s hymn, “A Mighty Fortress is our God,” we sing, “One little word can fell him.” That word is “Jesus.” Jesus brings divine forgiveness. Jesus covers us with His own perfection. No one is permitted to condemn or stand in judgment wherever Jesus has removed condemnation and judgment. So if “the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin,” then Satanic condemnations cannot harm us, even though the Fallen One and the world might rail against us.
Now you can see how faith works: It turns our hearts to love God for His mercy in Christ, and in loving God we find the power to serve – albeit imperfectly – but to rise against the “gravity” to a holy life that God calls us to live. And that imperfect but holy life is the only weapon our society has against the gravitational forces of immorality and vice.
 
So the watchman is calling upon you to take up your swords and come to the battlefield. Let there be no delinquency in worship. Let there be no apathy. No silence. No lukewarm hearts. Let there be virtue and strength, leadership and sacrifice. We must passionately resolve to fight the battle, not with the weapon of our own perfection, but with grace and mercy and forgiveness – not just for others, but also for ourselves, believing that it is ours despite being the imperfect and sinful people that we are. To win this battle we must step courageously and confidently into our world and take the heat and hatred that comes with speaking the truth. If we don’t speak moral and virtuous truth (condemning ourselves in the process), the world won’t believe us when we speak the truth of God’s infinite grace. Grace and grace alone wins the battle and brings eternal victory.
 
So the watchman says, dear people of Advent, “Arise and prepare for battle, for your enemies are at the gate.”
 
Pastor Fiene


Announcing New Officers and Boards of Advent

Announcing New Officers and Boards of Advent

Thank you to the officers and board members who served Advent Lutheran Church during the past year. Without volunteers to assist in the important business and spiritual concerns of the church, our congregation would not be as strong as it is today.
Below are the results of the elected officers and board members from the annual voter’s meeting, held June 12 Chairman—Christopher Colson Vice Chairman—Chuck Long Financial Secretary—Mike Deiss Treasurer—Dan Latimer (Assistant.Treasurer: Diane Sturek) Secretary—Brittney Herbert  
Board of Elders
Mike Brown Tom Casciani Craig Dykstra Mark Halvorsen Larry Irving Mark Mayer
Craig Phillips
Monte Weimer
Board of Stewardship
Adam Cmejla
Gene Konradi
Bob McCain
Ned Ryan
Board of Trustees
Woody Bredehoeft Mark Harris Dave Kopeschka Katie Krock
Pete Miller
Board of Evangelism
David Tonak
Jiaxin Oakley
Gordon & Joyce Pixley
Board of Fellowship
Donna Coomes
Spencer & Liz Bailey
Denise Long
Jacob & Allie Weimer
School Board Kathy Blackburn Gloria Bredehoeft Amie Cramer Abby Fritcha Linda Harris
Bliss Magill
Tierney Williams
Board of Education
Marnie Engleman Bethany Jackson Sarah Jones Shelley Kazmierczak Jim Kranich
Cathy Middaugh
Board of Missions Jacob Fiene John & Elsie Manaloor David & Denise Mullins Stacy Alldredge Holly Neff
Katelyn Redman


Pastor’s Message to Congregation in France

151114004230-08-paris-attack-reaction-1114-super-169
 
The following is a note that I have written to a congregation that has requested a kind of “sister” relationship in the coming years.  I look forward to sharing this message in person on Sunday.
 
-Pastor Fiene
 
###
 
Dear Pasteur Poillet:
 
Tomorrow we will remember the people of France and Eglise év. luthérienne libre of Muhlhouse in our prayers. The tragedies of the past evening have deeply affected many of us here in the United States. As victims of a massive terrorist attack ourselves, we now sympathize more fully and pray for your consolation more intensely. It is also the prayer of Christians that the greater will of God is at work through all tragedies. The will of God is that we come to know and believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. By the grace of God, this tragic event could stir the hearts and minds of Europeans to contemplate the goodness that Christianity can bring to the souls of men. Secularism is not just indifference to religion. It is an emptiness that becomes a vacuum which draws fanaticism. Islam cannot be defeated by removing religion from society. It can only be defeated by filling a society with a love and reverence for the true and gracious God that we have come to know in Jesus Christ. So our prayers will be for the consolation of those who have experienced tragic loss, but even more so, that our Lord would turn the evils of these men into something that will serve to advance the goodness of Kingdom of God.
 
Pastor John Fiene