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


    MARCH 1, 2018

    So many believe death is natural.

    A quick perusal of the internet with this question: Is death natural? finds one comment: "Death is as natural as birth."

    It is true, one begins life with birth and ends life with death; it is a common happening. Death, however, is not natural. How should one consider and deal with death?

    God created death as His punishment for rebelling against Him.

    God tells Adam before the fall into sin this: "For in the day that you eat of it, you shall surely die," (Genesis 2:17; see also 3:19).

    God created Adam, and then Eve, in the state of absolute dependence upon Him, for everything physical and spiritual, nourishment for both the body and the soul.

    God's threat of death therefore is upon both body and soul. Death is both a temporal and eternal death, a killing of the body and placing of the soul that is destined for eternal separation from God, that is, hell.

    Death therefore is God's judgment, and must not be sanitized or minimized.

    As the "Judge" of all (Hebrews 12:23), God "will judge" those who sin, for He is able to judge by His Word even the "thoughts and intentions of the heart," (Hebrews 4:12).

    He retains His judgeship no matter how hard people resist; resistance won't matter. Solomon writes, "And the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it," (Eccl. 12:7). God keeps His vocation of being God and Judge, in giving and the taking of life.

    The best way to deal with death.

    Consider the church's center aisle as the road from Jericho up to Jerusalem! One joins the parade of fellow pilgrims heading to meet the Savior. "Did you hear, the Messiah has come!"

    One approaches the Lord's place, where His Word is preached and read, and where His Body and Blood are given. No fig leaves will do but only honest cries for help, "Lord, have mercy!" And the Crucified One does surprise, forgiving abundantly, covering all by His blood. The pilgrims leave then in peace.

    Every Divine Service is a rehearsal for death and the Last Day. How comforting!

    Pastor Golter is the Senior Pastor at Trinity Lutheran

  • LETS GO!

    MARCH 8, 2018

    See what happens when one prays?

    What do you mean?

    Consider Jesus' activity in Mark 1:35 and 38. "And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, He departed and went out to a desolate place, and there He prayed....And He said to them, 'Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach thee also, for that is why I came out.'"

    Jesus prayed...and then preached the Good News. There's a connection here. So much of American Christianity teaches prayer is something that we do by ourselves.

    Prayer's success is then dependent upon a Christian's willpower and persistence and, finally, how well one performs and lives the Christian life. This teaching leaves Christians exhausted ("I'll never get it right!") or puffed up with pride ("I'm doing it!").

    Rather, prayer is the action of faith whereby we by the Spirit's prompting acknowledge that we're completely dependent on God for everything. Dependence is the perfect posture of the heart and sets God apart from whom we receive everything.

    Such dependence upon God alone causes abundant activity! Jesus could not but go but first He cashed in on all His Father's promises. Compelled by His Father's care He goes. He then led the disciples to go even to the small villages for one purpose: To herald the radical Good News.

    Jesus continues to compel and even drag us along with Him, to His Father in prayer and into the villages to proclaim. Oh, by the way, this happens every Sunday; He brings us to the Father and then leads us out into the world.

    "Let's go" started with prayer; nothing has changed.

    Pastor Golter is the Senior Pastor at Trinity Lutheran


    MARCH 15, 2018

    Stunning it is how Jesus authors the "Our Father" by not stating "My Father."

    A popular opinion is that religion is just between me and Jesus.

    I don't need anyone else, and they don't need to know what I believe. Jesus does not agree.

    He needs you to be part of His family; in fact, you are His family through baptismal splashing and simple faith in Him.

    Christianity knows no "me and Jesus" mentality. Of course, one believes in Christ, but the motion does not stop there!

    Christ is always gathering more like you, more broken, restless and bruised sinners who need His help. Christ's intention - and always has been - is the more the merrier! And, heaven rejoices (see Luke 15:10)!

    The "Our" of the Lord's Prayer shows that this is not a solo practitioner religion! You are not drawn to the Divine Service gathering for self-improvement, and then leave without any word or relationship to those He has also gathered.

    His "Come home" words means: "Come home to Me and My Father, and all the others who need me." He takes you on His back, the one which owned the stripes of your salvation.

    Of course, one prays alone (see Jesus' teaching in Matt. 6:4-7), but the Father doesn't keep you there. The motion is always toward the group, the church, Jesus' brothers and sisters gathered before the Father! Again, the more the merrier!

    Those who stay home or who come and remain alone are deprived of the joy and fellowship of the many. It's like the one child who remains in their room, not wanting any fellowship with the family.

    No, we're in this thing together, with Jesus and Our Father. There's reason why Jesus penned the prayer "Our Father..."

    Pastor Golter is the Senior Pastor at Trinity Lutheran


    MARCH 22, 2018

    It's a good question, is it not?

    Why do we have a "blood-less" Divine Service?

    Well, actually we don't have a "blood-less" Divine Service, because Jesus' blood - and body - are present in the Holy Meal (Mt 26:26 f., Mk 14:22 f., Lk 22:14 f., John 6:53 f.; 1 Cor. 10:16, 11:23 f.). 

    Oh, yes, the Divine Service lacks animals' blood, but not God's blood!

    This helps calculate biblically not only no more dietary restrictions, as you find in the OT (Lev. 11:47), as well as no more tithing as a law, as you find in the OT (Numbers 18:21,24; Deut. 14:22, 27, etc.).

    The New Testament does not reinstate dietary restrictions or the tithe. Jesus and Paul had ample opportunity to reinstate both but do not.

    Paul teaches freedom, and to push back against those who want to push dietary or any other kind of restriction. "Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ," (Colossians 2:16-17, emphasis mine).

    The Hebrews teacher uses "shadow" also: "For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come...it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near," (Hebrews 10:1). See also, "They serve as a copy and shadow of the heavenly things," (Hebrews 8:5).

    The contrast is between the shadow of a person and the real person. The "shadow" is cast by the body beneath the sun light. The shadow is not the real body! The OT restrictions were the "shadow," the coming of Christ is the real thing. The shadows find their completion and end in the coming of Jesus, the Sabbath rest, the blood sacrifice, and all giving. All the demands find fulfillment in Him!

    It was in Wyoming when we lived on a farm at our first congregation. The sun was sitting to the west over the mountain ridge. Walking eastward with our oldest son, Jacob, he suddenly cried out. "Daddy, I see your shadow!" Then he tried to step on it.

    Then I realized the Holy Spirit's teaching of shadow and the Old and New Testament teaching. If Jacob followed my shadow, he'd find his daddy. Once he found his daddy, why would he ever go back to the shadow! Once Jesus is here, God made visible, why would we ever go back to the shadow of the Old Covenant!

    The NT Divine Service is no shadow, but in the Lord's Supper the real, true Blood and Body of the one, final Sacrifice. This reality causes all kinds of freedom and exuberance, in living by faith, where the only restriction is love without measure.

    Pastor Golter is the Senior Pastor at Trinity Lutheran

  • Extra nos

    march 29, 2018

    A Latin phrase, it means "outside of self."

    Elizabeth and I saw "Paul, the Apostle of Christ" last Friday. I was expecting a historical narrative of Paul's preaching and teaching, going from town to town, as the Book of Acts shows.

    Rather, this movie is of Paul's imprisonment in Rome and the absolute frailty of the small Christian church in Rome.

    The Christians were constantly under attach, terrified of Nero's accusation of the burning of Rome. Nero's soldiers were out to identify and arrest them.

    Division arises within the Christian group: some say, "Let's take up arms and rebel, let's kill the soldiers and Nero; others, let's fight with love, as our Lord did." Some of the young men did choose the sword but were killed. Others did not choose the sword and were killed.

    What was Paul's advice? He often says in the movie, "Christ says...." It was impressive. I like it. I often say, "Well the Bible says this...." I think for American ears, the Bible is a suspicious source. Whenever you and I say the Bible, ears shut down.

    Why not try, "Jesus says...." or "God says...." or "Jesus Christ says..." when engaging with others? Let's see their response. Of course, we can then lead them to the Holy Scriptures.

    Jesus speaks two ways: "Thus it is written..." (Luke 24:46), and as God Himself, "But I say to you..." (Matt. 5:22, 28, 32). There are many more examples.

    Whether we say "Jesus says..." or "The Holy Bible says..." both point to something outside of us, they point to God Himself and His writing.

    Luther did the same thing when arguing with Ulrich Zwingli (October 1-4, 1529), as to whether Christ's real and true Body and Blood is present in, with and under the consecrated bread and wine.

    Zwingli taught that the Supper was just a memorial feast, thinking that it was not rationale to believe otherwise.

    Luther, however, after writing "This is My body" in Latin which he had written with chalk on the table, says, "This is our Scripture passage...'This is My body.' I cannot pass over the text of my Lord Jesus Christ, but I must confess and believe that the body of Christ is there." (Herman Sasse, This is My Body, p. 207).

    The Scripture says, Jesus says, this is our highest comfort on this Maundy Thursday.

    By faith, we look, watch and give thanks to the One who has saved us from our sins, apart and outside of our contributions or efforts.

    By the way, go see the Paul movie.

    Pastor Golter is the Senior Pastor at Trinity Lutheran