GOLTER'S MUSINGS january 2019

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

  • I WIsh Your Sins are Forgiven

    January 3, 2019

    Along with the pastors, the congregation kneels and confesses sin to Jesus.

    The pastor stands up, faces the congregation and says: “In the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ I wish your sins are forgiven in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

    Wish….oh, may it never be!

    The Lord does not deal in wishes or possibilities; He works with promises that make reality.

    Hear the Christmas proclamation by God’s angel: “I bring you good news of great joy…For unto you is born…a Savior, who is Christ the Lord,”

    (Luke 2:10, 11).

    No speaking of a possibility, but only the real, concrete reality of the Savior for you. “For you” brings it home to your heart personally, real and true.

    The center of the Christian faith is God’s words of promise, both of Law and Gospel, with His Gospel as the final word.

    God actually judges sinners for their sins, and promises eternal death. He did this already in Genesis 2:17, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you will surely die.” No uncertainty here. This is called the Law of God.

    God works with the promise of the Good News, the Gospel. Again, the Christmas angel’s preaching, “For unto you is born…a Savior,” (Luke 2:10). No pious wish or possibility statement; it’s real time. God is sending the Savior to save you.

    Promises of the Savior, the promises of the Gospel, create confident, joyful believers.

    The old man, Simeon, who picked up 40-day old Jesus in his arms, started singing and praising God for sending his Savior (Luke 2:25 f.). The same day, the 84-year-old Anna saw the divine Baby and started giving thanks to God, as she was “waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem,” (Luke 2:38).

    God does not deal with your sin via wishes.

    The pastor stands and faces the congregation: “In the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ, I forgive you of all your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

    The congregation responds: “Amen,” meaning, it is true.

    Pastor Golter is the Senior Pastor at Trinity Lutheran

  • Christmas Prompts Praise

    JANUARY 10, 2019

    Pastor Golter is the Senior Pastor at Trinity LutheranChristmas prompts praise, of course.

    There’s no other festival of the Church Year that owns so many celebrative songs and hymns. Even the Father splits the barrier between things seen and the unseen, letting His choir of angels erupt in praise in the sky (Luke 2:13).

    Christmas also prompts prayer.

    How so? Jesus became your Brother in the flesh.

    What does this mean?

    The author of Hebrews (4:15) says it well. “For we do not have a High Priest unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who is every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”

    Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven; He took His ears (and body) with Him. He, the Son of God, makes His ears available. Always. He offers a sympathetic hearing. Why?

    In the very Body His Father gave Him in the womb of the Virgin Mary, He suffered all that humanity ever suffered. Loneliness, hunger, temptation (without sin), and so on.

    He does not listen to you in a condescending way. He feels what you feel and is joined with you in your weakness.

    While sin’s poison poisons you, Jesus’ purity cleanses dirty hearts, hands and consciences. His Word makes clean (John 15:3).

    You don’t need a hammering word. “Look who’s coming; it’s Golter again. Can You believe it, My Father” No. He takes you as you are and rejoices over you.

    He hears and takes your prayers along with you to the Father. The One who stands before the Father is His Son, the Obedient Son, and His brothers and sisters, covered by His own holiness. This is the holy family, with Jesus as Brother. How could it not be a favorable hearing by the Father!

    Christmas prompts prayer.

    Pastor Golter is the Senior Pastor at Trinity Lutheran

  • Teach Them how to think

    JANUARY 17, 2019

    In his “Marching OFF the Map” book, Tim Elmore writes: Today’s young people are the first generation that don’t need adults to get information. It’s coming at them 24 hours a day. What they need from us is interpretation, (p. 53). 

    And, then Elmore writes: Teach them how to think.

    Likely, you won’t gain much ground these days if you just tell them what to think. They’re taught they don’t really need you. Why would they if, as taught, each person determines what is right and wrong.

    Rather, listen and learn and, perhaps ask: How do you know this? What’s your go-to place for what’s right and wrong?

    Consider the assault upon them—and us—daily over the topic of gender.

    Brenda Lebsack, a public educator in California, laments over the proposed changes in the California Health Framework new draft, 1,000 pages in length (who’s going to read this!). She writes:

    “In Chapter 3, Line 1847, the draft recommends the book Who Are You? For pre-K-3rd graders as a ‘guide’ for developing their gender identity…Gender is described as, “boy, girl, both, neither, trans, genderqueer, non-binary, gender fluid, transgender, gender neutral, agender, neutrois, bigender, third gender, two spirit…’” This ever-changing spectrum, the document asserts, leads to a: LGBTQQIAA. (EdSource: Highlighting Strategies for Student Success, Dec. 19, 2018).

    What happens in California likely is coming to your front porch!

    The center for truth, of course, is not in a person’s heart or imagination. Consider God’s word, as recorded by Moses: “For the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth,” (Genesis 8:21).

    The only reliable source of truth is the Holy Scripture. Jesus used it for teaching and correction (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10; Luke 24:25, etc.) If the One who is the Truth used—and uses—the Bible for His salvation and mission work, well, that preaches.

    Listen all the way through the thinking of the young people. Have compassion. Test, however, their logic and ask for the source of their thinking. Gently lead them to consider what the Holy Spirit says in the Word.

    “Have you thought about the fact that Jesus Himself used the Word?”

    Teach them how to think.

    Pastor Golter is the Senior Pastor at Trinity Lutheran

  • fighting the present onslaught of evil

    JANUARY 24, 2019

    The Church’s opposition is rising. Do you not at least sense the onslaught? Surely.

    The outright rancor at Vice-President Pence’s wife for teaching at a Christian school, which publicly holds forth the bible teaching of God-created gender and marriage is not surprising. The assault is not with steel, but the power of words, threats and logic. Steel bars may come, in the form of jails and prisons.

    If gender is separated from how God designed the body biologically and anatomically, then it’s the individual’s choice to judge and choose. If the culture sets the pattern for the design of marriage, then the culture owns the final word. Absolute truth, which is only found in the Bible, is now moved to the individual’s heart. There is no absolute truth, only as it is perceived by each person.

    How about the arena of life within the womb from conception? New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law that legalizes abortion up until birth. He has hailed it as a landmark decision and celebrates this act. How sad.

    Irrationality. Aggression. Hostility. Aligning of forces to attack the Christian Church.

    Don’ be surprised.

    It’s a spiritual war.

    The Devil is making war against the Church (Rev. 12:17). He uses the power of government and the corrupted churches that sing the same doctrine as the culture.

    The Church’s only hope is not steel, but her Christ and His powerful Word. Hostility and aggression expose any idols of Christians, and how powerless these idols are.

    Believers only have Christ; He is sufficient. The Church is always most useful for Christ when she is most exposed and weak.

    You better ground your kids and grandkids in Holy Scripture and prayer, or else they’ll be overwhelmed.

    And, remember, there are those who need rescue, who need to hear of Jesus, who will listen.

    Opportunity abounds to make a defense, a humble witness to the Lord of life.

    Pastor Golter is the Senior Pastor at Trinity Lutheran

  • Lutheran education

    JANUARY 31, 2019

    Congregations and parents understand this oh so well. The expense of tuition itself is a great sacrifice for all. How many other things could be purchased?

    Right after the beginning of the Reformation in 1517, the education of children took a hit in Germany. God , through Luther and many others, restored the purity of the Gospel. The forgiveness of sins found only in Jesus and given only by grace to each person through the Word was restored. Sinners don’t have to contribute to Jesus’ work of salvation on the Cross. It’s a One-sided gift by the Father of the Gift, Jesus Christ.

    The parents reasoned, however, that if the present schools of that day did not teach a solid grounding of the Christian faith, well, then why send the children to the schools at all. Attendance dropped, even at the universities, in the regions where the Reformation made headway.

    Martin Luther writes in 1524 to the ruling princes of the absolute necessity to train children. He maintained that the spiritual education of both boys and girls was absolutely essential “if they are to become useful citizens,” (American Edition, Vo. 45, p. 344).

    Interestingly, up to that point the education of girls did not happen frequently. Luther’s suggestion for both girls and boys was something essentially new. Even in 1520, he recommended an establishment of an all-girls’ school in Wittenberg (Ibid). Along with this recommendation, he would offer room and board accommodations to the teachers.

    Let’s understand the meaning of “useful citizens.” This was far more than a better morality, to instill morals and virtue in the young children. Rather, moral improvement, it was believed, did not happen unless it is based on the Holy Spirit’s work of a changed heart through the Word of God.

    Children need Christ, and Christ gives them life. They need God’s Spirit given through Holy Baptism to believe, love and to fight temptation from the Devil.

    Jesus’ own words fit: “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing,” (John 15:5).

    In the winter of 1542-1543, Luther and his colleagues discussed schools. Luther’s words still ring true:

    “When schools flourish, things go well and the church is secure. Let us make more doctors and masters. The youth is the church’s nursery and fountainhead. When we are dead, where are others [to take our place] if there are no schools? God has preserved the church though schools…Little boys have learned at least the Lord’s Prayer and the (Apostle’s) Creed in the schools, and the church has been remarkably preserved through such small schools,” (American Edition, Vo. 54, p. 452).

    Pastor Golter is the Senior Pastor at Trinity Lutheran