As a family united in faith by the Holy Spirit, we exist to worship and praise the Triune God, to be nurtured through His Word and Sacraments, and to share His love in Christ with others.
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Archive: March Madness or How We Join Together in Our Efforts for Christ - Observer Message - March 2012
I love March because it is the month during which college basketball holds its national NCAA Basketball Tournament. Among us college basketball junkies it is known as 'March Madness’ and it is a time of the best of college basketball. With three teams as my favorites — for those who must know they are Wisconsin, Michigan and Michigan State — I have a lot for which to root. In sports it is the competition that provides the entertainment and excitement.
But throughout March Madness — the madness comes mainly from the fans — it is teams that win! One team trying to defeat another team is at the heart and core of what takes place during this tournament. Individuals stepping up and making moves and hitting shots that astound us are not how you win championships. It takes a team, a group of guys or gals working together – passing, screening, rebounding and dishing off — that win tournaments. It is a group of 5 who work together that invariably carry the day and earn the ultimate prize in college basketball, a National Championship. May the best TEAM win!
As Lutheran Christians, we are convinced that the Holy Spirit comes to us through the means of grace – Word and sacrament. He does not seep through the walls of our homes by some kind of spiritual osmosis. It is only by faithful and regular use of God’s Word, publicly and privately, that Christians can be full of the Spirit and wisdom. If we are not regularly in the Word, reading it, studying it, hearing it in church, our sinful nature grows stronger and stronger. Our sinful nature’s goal is to regain full control of our hearts. Also, a person’s new self (reborn in Christ) grows weaker and weaker when it is cut off from its power supply – the power of God’s grace in Word and sacrament. When we are daily in the Word, the power of the Holy Spirit enables us to “put off” the old self and to “put on” our new self (Eph.4:20-24).
Sola Deo Gloria
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life—in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. So you too should be glad and rejoice with me. (Phil. 2:12-18)
What Paul is trying to tell us in this message to the Christians who lived in Philadelphia is that we are called on to live in a new and different way! A “new and different” way? “New” and “different” from what?