We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that he has chosen you, because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of persons we proved to be among you for your sake.
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As the 500th anniversary of the Reformation draws near, I am more convinced than ever that we are standing on the fault line of the next great shift in the Christian movement. Luther pounded out 95 statements that called for dramatic overhaul in the way in which the Christian Church was impacting the world. It is time for another overhaul due to our own loss of focus on what it means to be a follower of Christ. I love the quote I read this morning by Dr. Martha Stortz who said, “To a pickpocket, the entire world is a pocket; to a Lutheran, the entire world is a neighbor.” Let this be the time when we stop the senseless and selfish pursuits of picking the pockets of the world for our own purposes and see the world as God sees it as neighbor, as brother and sister beloved by God. Period.
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Renew us, Lord. Amen.