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Pastor's Monthly Message

Pastor's Monthly Message for December 2010

The Light of the World

This last Sunday the first Sunday in Advent, we talked about Isaiah's reference to . Christ as the Light of The World. We are reminded that we are to be reflectors of that light. We are to shine also.

There is in each one of us, the desire to do right, to do good. We love and are loved, we hope for the future, we learn from the past. In very good deed that we perform, in every pleasure that we receive from doing good, there is evidence of the goodness in us.

And, there is evidence of our purpose in the world. Consistent with our natures, we are born to do good, to be good, to make the world a better place, and, in the process, to refine ourselves.

The impulse to do good springs not only from our eternal natures., but also from the Light of Christ, a light that permeates the world, touching and influencing all things, a light that call all of us to return to a loving Father in heaven who gave us life.

However, though the Light of Christ is in each of us and shines through us to the World, there are many in whom this goodness is dimmed-clouded by what they do and by what they do not do. The ability we have to choose means we are free to choose, free to choose even against ourselves; free to choose even against the truth that is in us.

And when we choose to do evil, to look away from goodness, a mist settles between us and the Light. Just as we are not infallible, neither is the goodness in us infallible-it must be protected to stay bright.

Pastor's Monthly Message for November 2010

The Religion of Sports

At no other time in the history of this country has the fever for athletics been as high as it is today, especially in this country. There have and are today, many rabid fans all over the world for all kinds of different sports. But on the whole, more people are enjoying some form of athletic activity than ever before.

The attraction reaches a high point in the fall and spring of the year when many of the sports overlap. In the fall, football holds the spotlight, but basketball is starting and baseball is in the middle of playoffs. Hunting and fishing are at their best and most other activities from golf to tennis continue to attract a large following.

Sports are good for the most part. For the fans it provides exciting entertainment. Many sports, like football have great season rituals, adding to community life. For the participants in all sports it means added self discipline and confidence, increased physical powers, and healthy exercise of competitive spirit.

Recreational sports have been with us for a long time. The Lord was always an advocate of physical as well as spiritual strength of a healthy body as well as a sound mind. In this respect, the interest in sports is good fora nation or the world in general.

But as in all good things, there is a need for mediation and responsibility in our recreational pursuits. If some unknowing visitor came to this country between September and April, he could conclude that the national "religion" is football or basketball. Unfortunately they have, in fact, become the only "worship" service many persons attend.

Pastor's Monthly Message for February 2010

An End To Discouragement

A characteristic of many people who succeed in life is an absolute unwillingness to admit defeat. Many a cause has been won after the cause seemed hopeless simply because there was an individual who refused to be discouraged and who saw beyond the possibility of defeat, the bright hope of success and believed in it.
There is no question that defeat is a part of life. The only persons who have not experienced failure and defeat are those who have never tried; the only ones who have never tasted the bitter legacy of failure are the ones who have never risked devotion to a cause.

They who would succeed must understand defeat and not be defeated by it. And it is possible. in the words of the hymn "There Is A Balm In Gilead", there is a moment of succeeding and hope beyond all our momentary failures and defeats.
All too often we are impressed by the limitations of our lives; all too often we focus on failed dreams and unfulfilled expectations; all too often we see not the seacoast-the vast and hopeful bounty of the sea-but rather, the sand which slips through our fingers and cannot be held. Certainly, there are those who have talent and abilities greater than our own; there are those who have suffered less, who have gained more. God, however, does not measure us with anybody else. He does not value our lives in the context of other's living. The hymn promises and persuades us:

If you can't preach like Peter,
If you can't persuade like Paul,
You can tell the love of Jesus,
And say "He died for us all",

Pastor's Monthly Message for January 2010

A Way Home

Home is where the heart is. Home is where mother and father are. Home is where children play and think about the holiday past and wonder what bright and beautiful surprises lay ahead. Home is where we long to be and where we need to be, especially at Christmas time. The spirit of the season reminds us that we are members of a family, that we are brothers and sisters, sons and daughters.

Our world is such that we cannot always be home and there are many in this season who will not be with the ones they love. Our occupations, educations, and all other aspects of our life frequently draw us apart, separate us from the home we love.
But there is a way home — The birth of Christ promises us that way home and not merely in the ultimate sense. Although geography may come between us, our love for one another —which is a sign of the love of Christ — can make us one.

When Jesus prayed for his disciples shortly before his crucifixion, He said, "Neither pray I for thee alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word: that they may be one; as Thou, Father, art in me and I in Thee".
There is no substitute for being home but, just as "home is where the heart is" the heart can take us home, or nearly there. As Christ's love reaches across the time and distance of creation to call us home to our Father, so our love for one another can be a bridge between family members pulling us closer together, no matter how far we are apart.

So in a sense there is a way home to one another and to God. Though we have wandered far, the joy of Christmas is its promise that the star of Bethlehem is a true beacon and a sure way home. Because of Jesus, because of His birth and ultimate sacrifice, because of Christmas, no one need wander or wonder. No one is without home or a way to find it.

Pastor Hans Lillejord

Pastor's Monthly Message for December 2009

Home and Christmas

"Home" is a very special word for us. Home is where our parents are. Home is where children play and think about the wonderful Christmas season to come and all the bright and beautiful surprises which lie ahead. Home is where many of us long to be and where we need to be, especially at Christmas time. Christmas reminds us that we are members of a family, that we are all brothers and sisters, sons and daughters.
Our world is such that we cannot always be at home. There are many people during this season who have no home, cannot come home or will not be able to be with the ones they love and care for. Jobs, responsibilities, and other matters quite often keep us apart, or separate us from the home we long for.

There is, however, a way home. The birth of Christ promises us a way home. Although we might be separated by space, our love for one another, which is the emblem of the love of Christ, can make us one.

When Jesus prayed for His disciples just before he was crucified, He said, 'Neither do I pray for these alone, but for those also who believe in me through their word; that they may be one; even as you, Father, are in me and I in You."
There is no substitute for being home. The philosopher said, 'Home, is where the heart is" so we understand that the heart can take us home, or nearly there. As Christ's love reaches across the separation of time and distance to call us home to our Father, so our love for each other can be a bridge between family members, pulling us closer together, no matter how far apart we are.

So, in a sense, there is a way home to each other and to our heavenly Father. Though we might have wondered far, the joy of Christmas is its promise that the star of Bethlehem is a true beacon and a certain way home. Because of our Saviour, because of His birth and His ultimate gift upon the cross, because of Christmas, no one needs to wonder or wander; no one is without a home or a way to find it.

Pastor's Monthly Message for November 2009

A Most Basic Need

Our needs in life are many and varied not the least of which is prayer to almighty God. We say to the Lord, "Hear our prayer", not because he is in need, but because we are in need. Many times when we want to help others, it is because we, ourselves, are in want of something, the desire to be wanted and needed.

It is sometimes difficult to satisfy this need in our complex society, because our world has changed so much throughout the ages. So has the means of service. But the need to serve and give of ourselves has always remained.

We are most richly rewarded when we help others on a one-to-one basis. Modern living requires us to be dependant on others for most of which we have. But that dependence is usually on people we never see, quite a contrast to the earlier times when neighbors helped neighbors build their homes, till their soil and weave their fabric. The fact that our world is specialized and complex need not take away from us the opportunity to enrich ourselves by serving others and being served by them There is no opportunity to enrich ourselves by serving others and being served by them There is no faster way to get closer to a person than to be asked to do something for them. Ina way we are being told that we have a needed ability, a talent that is valuable.

Most of our deep and lasting friendships are built on our willingness to help someone in a moment of need-out of our need for each other. We truly appreciate an individual when we are able to do something for them.

Our involvement with others and the opportunity to serve them brings happiness. And it is most keenly felt when it is a person-to-person involvement through church service, volunteer work or simple neighborliness.

Yes, we need each other. But more than that, we need to be needed. Not so much because others need our help, but because we need the self-esteem and satisfaction of knowing that we have served our fellowman.

Pastor's Monthly Message for October 2009

Free To Follow Your Heart

Like the lion cubs in the movie "Born Free" you and I also have a need to follow our heart. We call it "conviction" which is the belief and testimony which give us the courage to challenge life.

Conviction does not come easily. There will always be other people who have a different point of view, different beliefs, and different standards. To be able to decide for ourselves and to establish our own operating principles is part of what it means to be "born free".

Varying options will always create divisions. At best, we will find others who share our convictions; at worst we will stand alone, sometimes even find it necessary to defend our beliefs at great personal cost. It is when we stand alone that we must examine our position most carefully. There is not much of a challenge in accepting what everyone else believes; the difficulty lies in defending an unpopular viewpoint-especially defending it to ourselves.

Part of that challenge is to know one is right. No one wants to be wrong, but determining what is right requires soul-searching effort. Sometimes, both sides are right, or partially right; sometimes neither side. And so each of us must arrive at our own conclusions, develop our own convictions. If we are sincere in our efforts, we will rely both on logic and prayer. In order to have deep convictions we must trust the Holy Spirit to give us guidance.

There is something else we need to remember. We cannot condemn another person because they disagree with us. Even if we think them wrong, we should give them credit for their beliefs. No one should be faulted for acting in a way he honestly believes he should. Leaders are often placed in a precarious position of carrying out the will of the people while not violating their own personal beliefs. Sometimes, there is no choice, as one's conscience will not allow him to do other than what his convictions dictate.

Pastor's Monthly Message for September 2009

Reflections Upon Visiting Friends

During the last two weeks, I had the privilege to spend some amount of time with a large number of people who have been friends for some time, a visitation to past habitations where new acquaintances developed into friendships. Perhaps not enough has been said of these others with whom we share this world, our awareness, our feelings, hopes and joys.

The word "friend" has several synonyms, comrade, chum, confident, companion. A friend is one with whom we feel safe. A friend has seen beyond the shallow facade of our protective mask to the depths of our griefs and fears, to the heights of our joys and ambitions, and loves us still.

To accumulate wealth is noteworthy; to f succeed at business is something; but he who has a friend has done extremely well for himselWith this achievement he has doubled his joy while dividing his sorrow. He who has a friend has at once gained fame and honor.

It was the great Napoleon who claimed that he neither made nor needed friends. It was the same victorious monarch who spent the last years of his life in miserable solitude as a friendless outcast, alone with his arrogance and greed. He had conquered much of the civilized world but died without a single friend to mourn his passing. On the other hand, when asked to reveal the secret of his long and beautiful life, Charles Kingsley replied, "I have a friend".

In truth, even one good friend can tilt the scale of life toward happiness, regardless of what other acquisitions we may or may not have gained. When we are insecure and afraid, we cannot turn to wealth or comfort. It is not fame who will visit us in maturity to discuss politics and grandchildren. Our possessions will feel no loss at our death, but our friends will.

Pastor's Monthly Message for July 2009

Why We Celebrate

The pride that the citizens of the United States of America have in this country is most apparent each July as flags are unfurled and fireworks light up the sky. It's a time when our citizens contemplate their citizenship- a citizenship many people throughout this world would be most gracious to share.

The founding fathers of America believed that the most important thing in the world was a government in which the freedom and liberty of the individual was closely protected. They believed that this freedom was basic to individual development and happiness. They also believed that each person has an obligation to serve society, to assist in that government that helps guarantee our freedoms.

Without a doubt, responsibility comes with freedom. We must try to do the right thing as we see it without infringing upon the freedom of others. Since no one is perfect, freedom can be abused. This is why we have rules in this society – because absolute freedom can lead to anarchy and no society can or will survive in such a state.

The emphasis on the rights, freedoms and the dignity of each individual shows up often in all our great documents. We start by declaring, "We hold these truths to be self evident; that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." We live by this freedom theme and hold dearly to the sacredness and dignity of each individual. Ours is a government of the people, by the people, for the people.

Pastor's Monthly Message for May 2009

Control Your Temper

There is in each of us the seed of self-control, the power to be master of our own character, to act according to our conscience. But there is also a passion which often gets in the way of self-mastery. It is the loss of one's temper, and it has resulted in more tragedy and sorrow than almost any other trait. William Jordan said, "The second most deadly instrument of destruction is tht gun, the first is the human tongue."

We all have tempers. They area quality of disposition, an integral part of our character. But they must be regulated, because the degree to which we have mastery over ourselves is always measured by how well we control our tempers. "Temper, if ungoverned," said Anthony Cooper, "governs the whole man."

There will always be a need to control our disposition, perhaps more so today because of man's increasing and varied knowledge. We must not leave our tempers unchecked when there are varied knowledge. We must be tolerant of others. We must not leave our tempers unchecked when there are differences of opinion. Lord Chesterfield wrote, "A man who cannot command his temper should not think of being a man of business." And we could add, a man of politics, or public service, or education as well.

There is not doubt that it takes courage to control one's temper. Many say that a quick release of temper is a safety valve for inner tension. But the danger, of course, is the hurt which can be caused by a moment of anger, and the regret which comes when we regain our composure.

Perhaps we should remember the words of the great 17th Century Spanish philosopher Baltasar Grecian, "Never act in passion. If you do, all is lost. You cannot act for yourself if you are not yourself and passion always drives out reason. As soon as you notice that you are losing your temper, beat a wise retreat."

Pastor Hans Lillejord

12809 New Sweden Church Road
Manor, TX 78653
Phone: 512-281-0056

Rev. Hans J. Lillejord, Pastor
Cell Phone: 512-947-9044

Worship with Us

Services Held Every Sunday at 10:30am

Sunday School Held Every Sunday at 9:30am

Adult Bible Class Held Every Sunday at 9:15am


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