Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

June 2022

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”  Hebrews 4:12-13

This always reminds me that the word of God is no child’s play.  God’s Word is not some passive thing sitting there waiting for our consumption.  We do not act on it, bur rather God’s Word acts on us.

In fact, this is downright dangerous if you press this metaphor.  What the author of Hebrews is saying here is that God’s Word literally cuts to the chase.  It does not beat around the bush; it doesn’t leave stones unturned.  It exposes, it makes known, it calls a thing what it is.

God’s Word is sharper than any physical two-edged sword that man can wield.  In fact, swords, guns, knives, or any other weapon that people could hurt or kill you with can only do so much to you.  These things can end your temporal existence but that is it.   The weapons that we as humans make and wield can only do so much.    

But God’s Word has eternal consequences.  God’s Word can slay the unbeliever for all eternity.  Or, like an expert surgeon guiding his knife through the body to heal, the Word of God also comes in to cut out that cancerous tumor that we call sin.  It calls sin out.  It makes it known.  God’s Word can even splice apart your thoughts and intentions, something that we cannot even do ourselves!  God’s Word knows us better than we do.  God is after all, our Creator.  His Word is what made us.  His Word will undo us.  His Word will remake us.

This gets into preaching.  For the Word is living and active and not just words on a page that we have the habit of speed reading through.  God’s Word is active and alive.  That is the point of the sermon.  It can be tempting to believe that you are just sitting there hearing a nice exposition on life on Thursday evening or Sunday morning.  But make no mistake, God’s Word is a weapon for righteousness that is going forth to do its work in you.

The Word of God is a weapon that no one can tame, not even the preacher.  It flashes forth and does what Moses in Deuteronomy 32:39-43 says, what Hannah sings in 1 Samuel 2:1-11, what Isaiah proclaims in 45:7.  God’s Word kills us and makes us alive.  God’s Word will indeed slay you and bring about contrition and sorrow for your sin, it does to me all the time.  So if you feel convicted, good!  But that is not the end.

The goal with being convicted by God’s Word is to bring all of us to repentance, turning us away from evil and back to God.  That is sometimes the point in preaching.  But it is only after the conviction that comes God’s primary work: for it is the same Word from God which then makes us alive after we are killed.  It gives us peace, resurrects us, and forgives us.  That is the ultimate point, especially for preaching.  To kill and make alive.

The pattern of our lives as Christians is the pattern of Christ.  To die and rise.  This theological truth is everywhere in the Church.  Baptism kills you and raises you with Christ.  Preaching ties you to the one who died for your sins and was raised for your justification.  The Sacrament of Altar is how we “proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”  You can’t get anywhere with God unless you come to understand this point:  God’s Word exposes us for who we truly are.  And then clothes us in Jesus Christ, as the one who died so that we can die with him.  And was raised so that we may be raised with him too.

Ultimately the Word is Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh.  This is why Revelation depicts Jesus with a two-edged sword coming out of his mouth.  Jesus has the authority to accomplish what comes out of his mouth.  So, we commit ourselves to him, knowing that even if His Word tears into us, it will also raise us according to his promise (Hosea 6:1-3).  God grant that to each of us so that when we stand exposed before the Word of God on the last day, we will be found to be clothed in Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh for you.  Amen.

July 24th Voters Meeting:
Our semi-annual voters meeting is just on the horizon.  Please mark your calendars for Sunday, July 24th at 10:30am following the Sunday morning service at 9:00am.  We will also being having a potluck as well.  So if you plan on attending, please bring a dish to pass!  

If you would like to have something on the agenda, please feel free to reach out to myself, our elders, or our President.

We rebounded and covered some ground in the month of May, though we are still lagging behind overall for the year. Our ministry to preach the Good News still continues and as always we seek to be good stewards of what God has given us. We have a good God who always provides for His Church.

In May we were able to send $2472 from our tithe to the LCMS Ministry to the Armed Forces which supports military chaplains. They are a great and much needed ministry. More chaplains are always needed. If you know of a young man who is interested in the military and who you think would make a good pastor, perhaps encourage him to consider becoming a chaplain.

As hard as it is to believe, but August 1st-5th is coming up quickly for VBS!  Already we have started to receive sign ups and it is never too early to get yours in or your kids/grandkids signed up!
As we prepare for this year’s VBS, we will have some work nights planned for the weeks leading up to it.  If you are willing to lend a hand, feel free to come on out on July 13th, 20th, and 27th from 6-8pm.  A great job is always done to decorate the church and this year’s theme will be a Monumental one as the children will follow through the life and story of Joseph!
Call Decision:
I am sure most of you are aware, but I have received a few here or there that did not hear my call process decision, so best to say it here for everyone to have in writing: but I did decline the call to Zion Lutheran Church in Little Falls, MN.

Thank you to so many of you who reached out to me as I deliberated and gave so much support and encouragement, I easily heard from over a hundred of our members regarding the decision and all of you who asked me to stay.  It was one of many avenues that I had to consider during the call.  But more than that, every angle that I had to consider was pointing at me to stay and that there is a lot of work here to do that God wants me to get at.  So thankful to Him for that.

I think that is good enough for this month.  Feel free to reach out to me should you have any questions or comments. Know that I thank God for every one of you and for the work that Christ continues to do in our midst!
In Christ,

Pastor Andrew Belt