So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17)


    FEBRUARY 1, 2018

    "Come on, Pastor Golter, I thought you were so staunch about right Biblical doctrine! What's going on?"

    Well, of course, the Lord does not give His permission to tamper with His Word. The Holy Spirit through St. Paul's pen says as much!

    "We refuse...to tamper with God's word..." (2 Cor. 4:2). Paul's opponents accused Paul of fraud (2 Cor. 12:16, 19), attempting to undermine his mission work. Paul, however, works with integrity (1:12-14, 24). The Lord demands integrity, first and foremost, in not corrupting or diluting the Spirit-given word, and integrity by His workers (2 Tim. 3:14-16)! Preachers are merely God's workers, not those who call the shots (1 Cor. 4:1-2). They must and want to operate with integrity!

    How then are you a liberal Lutheran?

    Liberal in giving, loving, serving, and forgiving, taking after the Lord Himself. Look at what happened to Zacchaeus, who at one time stole from others. He was the "chief tax collector." This is the only time this word is used in the bible. Zacchaeus was rich, likely very rich, but poor of soul. He no doubt kept his eye on the Jerusalem Stock Exchange every day! Greed consumed him.

    Oh, how that changed! See his marvelous confession in Luke 19:8, "Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold." Take note of the activity he describes; it's already happening! The Holy Spirit does not delay in His production of good works! A new Lord reigns in Zacchaeus' life!

    That's how it is when one hangs around Jesus in the Divine Service, too! Jesus' generosity of forgiving sinners generates liberal Christians! The Temple choir's oft refrain was, "The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love," words retrieved from God's self-description (Exodus 34:6-7).

    The Divine Service is your Zacchaeus event!

    One sees liberal activity in the Good Samaritan story, where the Good Samaritan represents Jesus Himself, and then you, as you are baptized into Him. Jesus' telling of this parable is His definition of what is means to be "neighbor" (Luke 15: 36) to others: one does not count the cost! The Good Samaritan said to the Motel 6 owner, "Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back," (15:35).

    Whatever! You need forgiveness, I forgive you. You need help with your house, I am here. You need an ear, let's have lunch. Your heart is troubled; you have my full attention and, let me tell you about Jesus.

    Let's be liberal Lutherans....whatever!

    Pastor Golter is the Senior Pastor at Trinity Lutheran


    FEBRUARY 8, 2018

    Are you tempted to do more, pray more, and study more? Me, too. I want to look for practical guides to help me be a better Christian! I want to be better.

    Give me a formula or plan that I can follow. I know, let's plan this year's New Year's resolutions!

    Let's listen to Jesus, His two-word sermon to Matthew, "Follow Me" (Matt. 9:9). This ought to be easy, following Jesus! I'll be like Jesus, imitate Jesus, and I'll be just fine!

    Hold on for a moment. Jesus does not say to imitate Him, but to follow Me! 

    Of course, Jesus' call involved Matthew's moving of his feet, rising up and following Jesus. But Jesus is calling Matthew to faith - yea, an invitation-to believe! First the heart, and then the feet, is the great Physician's way.

    Christianity is not primarily a following of rules, a religious set of principles, but a person, the Person, God's Son, along with His Father and the Holy Spirit. Faith grabs onto Jesus!

    Matthew's following followed Christ's call to believe. Following Christ is the consequence of believing in the crucified and resurrected One. This faith in Jesus is sufficient for all of life, too!

    Many times, believers are tempted to start with the Gospel but look elsewhere for continued life and sanctification. Many look to a greater purpose or cause or discipline.

    Please listen up: It's not the purpose-driven life that works, but the Gospel-given life! The believer lives a Christ-given life. Real life is driven DAILY not by the goal but the ongoing Source, Jesus Christ! Attending the Divine Service one time won't do, as breathing in air one time is not sufficient for the blood cells to live!

    Sticks or stones don't drive you, but the Person of Jesus Christ. Baptismally speaking, to what Paul is want to refer often, you're "in Christ," (see Gal. 2:16; Eph. 1:1; 1 Cor. 1:30).

    Stunningly, imitation of Jesus for Paul is to be crucified, buried and raised with Him (Rom. 6:1 f). It's a daily dying to sin by repentance and by faith trusting in the One whose body and blood is given in the Holy Meal.

    Some years ago, a woman visited a church I was serving. She was desperate, for her marriage was nearly broken. Her pastor had been preaching a series of sermons on how to improve your marriage.

    Initially, it sounded so good, practical advice, she said. It was an 8-week series. But then she vocalized, "What I really need is forgiveness!" Don't we all?

    Faith is only sustained by oxygen of the forgiveness of sins, the Gospel!

    What followed in her life was quite stunning! Her life changed (see 1 Peter 3:3-5). Her husband was moved to repent of his sins, too!

    Repentance is starting from the bottom every day, as a beggar, and His love uplifts. Loved much you love much.

    That's the way it is, life in Christ.

    Pastor Golter is the Senior Pastor at Trinity Lutheran

    FEBRUARY 15, 2018

    Another mass shooting, now in Florida. Oh, my, how extremely sad. It's the third of 10 of the deadliest mass shootings in American history, happening in the last five months.

    How does one make any sense of this, at least a sense that helps to steer a path forward, even daily?

    I turned to Solomon, his Ecclesiastes, since I've been teaching this since last September. The wisest man in the world - except for the God/man, Jesus Christ, of course. Consider his insights:

    Be Realistically Optimistic!

    Remember, this is a fallen world! This is not God's intention, evil and its outbreak of destruction, pain and sorrow.

    Evil erupts like the Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone National Park. Don't be surprised or fall into despair. The "wicked" - often times - get rewarded, while the "righteous" suffer, (see Eccl. 3:16-22; 8:14-15).

    There's only One in whom there is abiding hope: Jesus Christ. Remember, He wept too at Lazarus' tomb (John 11:35). Your God is not detached from evil, sin and its consequences. Jesus remains the Father's Chief Scheduler and Time-keeper (Eccl. 3:1-8).

    Best to keep the Faith of a Child!

    You can't figure out the timing or destination of the outbreaks of evil. Even when the devil has his successes, he remains God's fool. You are totally helpless, yet remain strong in the One who was crucified in weakness and raised in power by the Father. It's best - in fact, it's your vocation - to remain His child, while He works everything out!

    Have Compassion

    It's what God does, and so do you, as the baptized into Christ. Life is hard, very hard, also for your neighbor, and your Florida neighbors!

    As God knew the suffering of the Israelites (Exodus 2:25), Jesus groaned deep down inside when He saw the helpless crowds (Matt. 9:36). That's why Solomon simplifies life: "Fear God and keep His commandments," (Eccl. 12:13).

    Trusting in the One who is deeply involved with His creation is the only way. Remember, He even feeds the "birds of the air," (Matt. 6:26). Every person is much more valuable than His birds!

    This final thought by Solomon may seem so out of place in this evil world, but he repeats it often: Enjoy life (see Eccl. 5:18-19; 9:7).

    With God running the show, there's freedom in having compassion, making other's burdens your own, while enjoying a lunch with your neighbor. The devil desires to snuff out your care-free trust and living beneath the Lord's mercy! The burden is all on Jesus to figure this life out! Don't take His vocation away!

    Gladly serving Him and the neighbor along with you,

    Pastor Golter is the Senior Pastor at Trinity Lutheran

    FEBRUARY 22, 2018

    I know this is a football analogy. I played quite a bit of football a while ago.

    The coach would instruct, "When you tackle lead with your shoulder!"

    Pastor, you didn't play football! Well, let me show you pictures of all my touchdown runs!! They look photo-shopped to me! Oh, sorry, I have to go read the Bible! Sure you do.

    Yes, it's a bit corny to apply this to spiritual matters, but bear with me. 

    Leading with your gospel shoulder means this:

    Lead with the Gospel in your relationship to others!

    Remember the Lord constantly and daily shows you His mercy; it's His practice! How odd and strange it would be if you don't do likewise with others! It is your baptismal nature. "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy," (Matt. 5:7). These words describe Jesus first, and then each of you "in Him," as you are by faith. The Gospel is your lens to view the other.

    Resist fixing the other person!

    Almost always fixing is the habit. But, who has perfect follow through? Only Jesus. One can't help but to be the judge, jury and executioner! Your fellow believer struggles-as you do-under the pressing Law; all fight to live by faith in Jesus. Arrogance and hypocrisy is not allowed! See Jesus' preaching in in Matthew 7:3-5, where our logs seem like specks and others' specks seem like logs. Yes, hypocritical judging is sin! God does require judging, of course, of teaching by others (Acts 17:1-11; 1 John 4:1), one's works (1 Cor. 3:13), others who have been overtaken by sin (Gal. 6:1-2), and one's attitude before participating in the Lord's Meal (1 Cor. 11:28).

    Relationship to the other is most important!

    Paul teaches this priority in Ephesians 4:3, "Eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." The English Standard Version says "maintain;" a better translation is "treasure!" Unity in Christ is of highest importance, and is given by Him through the Word! So be "eager to treasure" this God-given unity! Attitude along with effort is a must.

    Do you want to see those football pictures?

    Pastor Golter is the Senior Pastor at Trinity Lutheran