Posts with the category “pastor-andrew-belt”
December 2022 Newsletter
by Dana S on December 15th, 2022
“[Jesus said] ‘Are you able to drink the cup that I drink or to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?’ And they said to him: ‘We are able.’ And Jesus said to them, ‘The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism that I am baptized with you will be baptized.” Mark 10:38-39
September 2021 Newsletter
by Dana S on September 23rd, 2021
I have been asked about preaching a lot lately. How I learned to preach, style of preaching, etc. My preaching on Ephesians got a few inquiries come my way of which I am all thankful for and love. It is after all, my trade in life. So, I thought I would take some space to give more background into my training and the nature of homiletics (the study of preaching).
by Dana S on August 12th, 2021
To come into the presence of a king, let alone THE King, is no small thing. Esther’s point above is this, “Ask anyone who is alive, and they will tell you that you cannot just come into the King’s presence without being called by Him. That is a death sentence to approach the king without his permission.”
July Newsletter 2021
by Dana S on July 12th, 2021
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your doing, it is the gift of God, not a result of works so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8 The verse quoted above is but a mere sample of what is in those 6 chapters. Out of Paul’s letters it is my favorite, and arguably, perhaps my favorite book in the entire Bible. The jury is still out on that one because it is hard to settle for just one.
June Newsletter 2021
by Dana S on June 23rd, 2021
The word blessing in the book of Genesis is a key word that flows through the entire book. Used more than a dozen times in Genesis alone, it is placed at key moments between God and his chosen people. God blesses his creatures in creation. God blesses Noah after the flood. God blesses Abraham and through him, all nations will be blessed. God blesses Jacob. Each time the blessing is tied to a promise from God.
May Newsletter 2021
by Dana S on May 21st, 2021
How important is unity in the Church? I could give a theological paper on it. I could give a list of synonyms with unity in the bible: community, harmony, concord, oneness, & fellowship. Here are just a few passages talking about unity with God and with one another:
Decisive Moments - Sermon on Acts 10:34-48
by Dana S on May 10th, 2021
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Jesus Christ. Grace, mercy, and peace are yours from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who has poured out his Spirit now on us. Amen. If you were given a chance to answer, what would you say is the greatest event in human history? What moment in time forever changed the trajectory of mankind’s destiny here on earth?
March Newsletter Update
by Dana S on March 11th, 2021
You know the well beloved and cherished story of Zacchaeus. So well known that I can never read the account without bursting into the song that accompanies it. “Zacchaeus was a wee little man and a wee little man was he…” The point of that entire account is the conclusion that I have quoted above. Everyone is grumbling at what Jesus has done. He has chosen, of all people, this Zacchaeus, who is of short stature and character, and has dined with him. “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” That is what they say.
Lent 2021 - First Table of the Law (Belt)
by Dana S on February 15th, 2021
The First Commandment: You shall have no other gods. This brings up several thoughts. What is a god? Who has a god? Who is the true God that we should have?
by Dana S on February 11th, 2021
How often do you get a devotional thought from 2 John? It was tempting to just write the entire book down because it is only 13 verses. Here I have emphasized the words, “walking.” When the word “walk” is used in the Bible, both Old Testament and New, the visual that always goes with it is walking along a path, a road, a way.
Lent Devotional Introduction
by Dana S on February 11th, 2021
The Small Catechism again? That is the topic that we will focus on for Lent? You bet. My argument is that none of us know it well enough. I myself read it monthly, I have it read and sung in my car radio about 4 times a week (it takes about an hour to play through), I teach it in confirmation, and run through it cover to cover with about a dozen people every year, and I still don’t know it as well as I would like. So, if I do not know my small catechism as well as I should as a pastor and teacher of it, how much more worried am I about you?
by Dana S on November 11th, 2020
I always love looking at the pictures of all the confirmation classes in our Fellowship Hall. Every time I walk through that room, I will always stop and stare at a few of them. I love coming across many of your names that appear through the years. For some of you, these pictures provide me with some good dirt with those hairstyles you were sporting back then! Ha!
November 2020 Newsletter
by Dana S on November 9th, 2020
Well it is official. As of October 18th, I am now your sole pastor. Or as some have come to term it, your “soul” pastor. Ha! I like it. In response, I have heard this stated in my life by several pastors and now I stand in the same place to say it to all of you: Congrats to you all! You guys have, without fail, called and now affirmed a sinner to be your pastor.
October Newsletter Update
by Dana S on October 14th, 2020
October 2020“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29As one whose calling it is to do a lot of communicating, I must always stress that the verse above is my goal. Considering the tense times we live in where communicating is hard to do on a good day, the challenge is c...
A Letter for Transition
by Dana S on August 31st, 2020
What a year we have had so far, and we are only 2/3 of the way through! It has been a time of testing, blessing, endurance, and change. Frankly, it has been a time to be the people that our Lord Jesus Christ has called us to be. And I am excited now to be doing that with all of you. I am reminded of the wisdom from Proverbs, “as iron sharpens iron, so does one man sharpen another.”
Jesus Christ Proclaimed
by Dana S on August 12th, 2020
One of the things that I love about the book of Acts is that it quickly shifts from one scene to another. It almost reads like a comic book. From panel to panel the story moves. The coming of the Holy Spirit, miraculous healings, Apostles arrested, trials, Saul persecuting, Saul converted, Gentiles believers, shipwrecks, conspiracies, angels, dissensions, risks, arduous journeys, all in service to the proclamation of Jesus Christ.
Not Peddlers of Trifles
by Dana S on July 29th, 2020
“For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 2:17There is no greater, pathetic sight in our day than the sight of a church that grovels. Not groveling at the feet of her Lord, which is the picture of prayer. But groveling, begging for a place among the voices of the world that clamo...
God the Poet
by Dana S on July 8th, 2020
I remember a professor of mine saying this to our class in college: “Our faith is like the ocean. It is shallow enough that even a child can wade through it, but deep enough that you can grab snorkeling gear and never be finished searching the nooks and the crannies far deep below.”
What Do You Think Jesus Would Do About Current Events?
by Dana S on June 10th, 2020
Y’know, I sometimes wonder how Jesus would take current events. When approached with the issues that occupy our time, what would he say? Would he be outraged like us? Would he choose sides and condemn side x or issue z?
by Dana S on May 27th, 2020
70 years. Can you imagine being away from Church, from family, or from friends for 70 years? Most of us wouldn’t survive that long to see it. For me to wait 70 years right now would put me at the ripe old age of 98. Who even knows if God will grant me such a life!
Phase 1 of Reopening
by Dana S on May 20th, 2020
As we wrote last week, we find ourselves with the opportunity to gradually open our doors. Here is the plan for the first phase of reopening at Christ Lutheran. This will take place on Pentecost Sunday, May 31, at 9 a.m., with many safeguards and contingency plans in place. Though we hope to be able to go back to a full Sunday schedule in the future, we’re keeping with one service now so that we can do that one service as well as it can be done.
Day 6: Vocation Devotion
by Dana S on May 9th, 2020
As we prepare for tomorrow’s Stewardship Sunday, today we focus on the most important vocation of all: The vocation that belongs to Jesus Christ. Perhaps it is strange to think that way. Jesus Christ himself has a vocation given to him by the Father. It is the confession of the Church: Jesus Christ is Lord.
Day 5: Vocation Devotion
by Dana S on May 8th, 2020
What better way to think about Vocation than with music. Hymn #784, “Take My Life and Let It Be” is a beautiful hymn that covers vocation. It is more of a prayer set to music and teaches us how we should approach turning our vocations over to God and trusting that he will guide us in our callings. Today’s devotion is a call to just slow down and read the lyrics.
Day 3: Vocation Devotion
by Dana S on May 6th, 2020
Luther’s Small Catechism is many things. Among them is the fact that the Small Catechism is a practical guide on how to live your life with all the vocations God has given you. Luther’s Small Catechism will tell you how to be a creature of God. It will tell you how to be a Christian. It will teach you how to pray. It will teach you how to be a good parent/child. It will tell you how to live and treat your neighbors. It tells you how to have a great marriage, it tells you how to go about your day to day labors and work. It tells you take care of your neighbor’s livelihood. It teaches you how to be a good citizen, a good pastor, a good widow, a good you name it.
Day 2: Vocation Devotion
by Dana S on May 5th, 2020
I know that work can be a drag sometimes. Perhaps the labor itself is mundane or difficult. Perhaps you have lazy co-workers that make the day much harder than it needs be. Perhaps the worst part about your job is the fact that you butt heads with your boss. Maybe your boss is incompetent, harsh, or rude.
Day 1: Vocation Devotion
by Dana S on May 4th, 2020
Monday May 4th This Sunday, we are celebrating Stewardship Sunday. This year, our Stewardship team picked out the theme of vocation. Each day this week we will have a brief devotion to prepare and celebrate God’s gift of vocation.
by Dana S on April 22nd, 2020
As a Christian, there are views about humanity that can really rile me up. Here is an example: The view that humanity can do whatever it wants with this world is wrong. This is the Jurassic Park question. Just because humanity can make dinosaurs, doesn’t mean we should.
Pictures Lack a Thousand Gatherings
by Dana S on March 26th, 2020
I took the above picture on my iPhone back on December 24th, 2018. It was Christmas Eve and I was out at St. John’s in Sigel just about to preach their Christmas Eve service. The sky was magnificent. A Brilliant orange that faded to a deep royal blue and the further back behind the photo you see above was nearly black. The nearly cloudless sky allowed for the several pin pricks of light from th...
Our God and His People
by Dana S on March 19th, 2020
Just before God kickstarts the great salvation action of the Exodus, he tells Moses about what the upcoming plagues and deliverance will accomplish. In the verse quoted above, the Lord tells Moses that he is ransoming the people of Israel so that they can be his people. And when he takes them as his people, they will also ha...
Covid-10 Response: March 17
by Dana S on March 17th, 2020
It is with a heavy heart that this letter must be written. The following decisions are not made lightly. But we feel as your called workers in Jesus Christ that these are the best decisions that can be made. Perhaps this will give us time to realize how important we are to one another and what a gift our fellowship in Jesus Christ is.
by Dana S on March 12th, 2020
Covid-19 isn’t just in the news. It’s on all our minds one way or another. Already, our lives have been greatly impacted. Above all else we trust in God during times of crisis to help us as no one and nothing else can. Furthermore, we also seek how we may serve God and help those around us who may be in need. The church exists for times such as this.
Suffering Makes You Look Like Jesus
by Dana S on March 1st, 2020
“Count it a joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4That is hard. I do not count it a joy when I meet trials of various kinds. Temptations that plague the flesh. Sickness and ailments that rob how I funct...
Who Are You?
by Dana S on February 9th, 2020
“My son, do not forget my teaching...” Proverbs 3:1As a Pastor, I get to witness things that speak to the core of our faith in Christ. Many of these moments give sudden clarity to our task as Christians and to the work that Jesus Christ has for us.These moments also go unseen and unrecorded to all except God and those present. However, I wish many of you could witness these moments. They are hu...
Love is as Strong as Death
by Dana S on January 19th, 2020
“Love is as strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord. May waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, he would be utterly despised.” -Song of Songs 8:6-7What could be better as we approach Valentine’s Day than to talk about love? Especially since we have been...
by Dana S on January 12th, 2020
One of the hardest things in life is not being able to communicate with someone. If you have ever been around someone following a stroke, you know what I mean. There is nothing more frustrating for the person than having to play 20 questions with them or to ask them to repeat themselves for the 3rd time. My grandfather had his larynx removed due to cancer, and the pain on his face said it all when, more often than not, he became an observer rather than a participant in a discussion. He loved to talk and now it was taken away.
Knowing Worship - Sermons
by Dana S on January 7th, 2020
Why do Pastors preach? Have you ever asked that question? Preaching is a very odd thing. In fact, it carries a negative connotation in our day. “Don’t preach to me!” is the phrase in vogue. “Acta Non Verba” (Action not Words) goes the Latin phrase. Therefore, a pastor preaching will not find much reward or congrats in preaching. But honestly, that is okay. Pastors don’t preach to have the world smile and adore them.
Final Principle of Interpretation
by Dana S on December 29th, 2019
It is fitting that my last newsletter article of the year is joined to the Christmas Season and to my last principles of interpretation thought. I pray that these last few articles have really given you something to wrestle with when it comes to the text of Scripture as God has given them to us. This last one is the key point above all points. In fact, if you do not read the Bible in this way, it will never make sense to you.
4th Principle of Interpretation
by Dana S on December 8th, 2019
God speaks in two different ways. The Scriptures themselves call it Curses and Blessings. The Early Church called it the Law and the Promises. Lutherans have called it Law and Gospel. When reading the Bible, it is your job as the reader to always ask yourself: Is this Law or Gospel that God is speaking? This is no simple task, and it is easy to confuse them.
3rd Principle of Interpretation
by Dana S on November 17th, 2019
Have you ever run across a section of Scripture that seems very hard to understand? How can you gain understanding on something in the Bible that is not clear or needs more explanation? As we move onto the next Principle of Interpretation, we find out our answer: Scripture Interprets Scripture.
2nd Principle of Interpretation
by Dana S on October 27th, 2019
Here we are, back into how we can better read the Bible! The first Principle of Interpretation that I covered was: Context. The next Principle of Interpretation is a spin-off of context. The second Principle of Interpretation is this: Stick with the Plain Meaning of the Text, Unless Context says Otherwise. To shorten it, I will say: Plain and Simple.
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Lord\'s Prayer IntroductionMatthew 6:1-21Introduction PrayerFirst Petition of the Lord\'s PrayerExodus 3:13-20Romans 2:17-24Matthew 7:15-27First Petition PrayerSecond Petition of the Lord\'s Prayer1 Samuel 8:1-22Romans 14:13-19John 18:33-37Second Petition PrayerThird Petition of the Lord\'s PrayerMarch Newsletter UpdateMarch Library Update - JonahRevelation 11:15-19Romans 12:1-2Luke 22:39-46Third Petition PrayerFourth Petition of the Lord\'s PrayerProverbs 30:7-92 Corinthians 9:6-15Matthew 6:25-34