Pastor’s Message by Pastor Bob Friese
Walking the Talk: The Integrity of Jesus
By the time Jesus finished speaking, the crowds were dazed and overwhelmed by his teaching, because his words carried such great authority, quite unlike their religious scholars.
These are the final words of Matthew 7. Jesus had given an in-depth sermon on a hill just outside of town. We often call it “The Sermon on The Mount.” Of all the amazing teachings he shared, perhaps these closing words are the most significant. To say that Jesus spoke with authority is a profound statement. That means he was the author of his own words, seemed very sincere about his message, and spoke with integrity. Another way to say is “He walked the talk”. What Jesus did was consonant with what he said. What Jesus said was consonant with what he did.
One author expanded this: When Jesus speaks of blessing, he blesses. When he counsels against judgment, he forgives. Before he calls others to be real, he is real, giving us himself completely. And when he tells us to turn the other cheek, he offers his whole body to us and the world in love upon the cross. Jesus speaks with authority because his word and his life are the same. His authority, I think, comes from being exactly who he is called to be.
(David Lose, Daily Bread, March 1, 2014)
Since we are baptized Children of God, we, too are to be who we are called to be. As I like to say, Jesus is the sacrifice for sin and our model of the godly life. So as we strive to follow Jesus, we are to become more generous, patient, forgiving, and committed to the service of others.
Even the briefest inquiry into our culture reveals that modeling our lives after Jesus and having a commitment to service with a local congregation are archaic concepts. So we wonder: Why are people leaving the Church? Why do people attend worship less frequently? Why do so few people give time and money to their church? Why do so many choose to avoid worship even at Easter and Christmas?
These are complicated questions, and the answers are complicated, too. But I believe solutions can be found when we start being who we are called to be. We are called to be people immersed in the peace of God, a peace the world cannot give. We are called to be fearless while living in a world where fear is foundational to our existence.
Fear causes us to hoard our time and money even when we see many around us in desperate need. Fear causes us, regardless of our political affiliation, to elect people who play on our fears. We are experts at following those who encourage us to ignore that our freedoms and privileges are gifts from previous generations. And as those gifts were passed on to us, I believe the idea was to pass them on to subsequent generations. But we are too afraid. We help and serve less and less. And the deeper our fears, the shallower our Christ-like presence in the world.
Peace Lutheran will have a bright future when we become more authentic in our faith and service, and focus on our Christian integrity. When we walk the talk, others see our fearlessness and our commitment to following Jesus. That’s when they become drawn to the Gospel.
Let us pray. When we speak of blessing, may we bless. When we counsel against judgment, may we forgive. Before we call others to be real, may we be real, and give ourselves to others completely. And when we tell people to turn the other cheek, may we tell them of how Jesus gave his whole body to the world in love upon the cross. Jesus speaks with authority because his word and his life are the same. May we live the same way, and be exactly who God calls us to be, for the sake of the world that needs Jesus. Amen.
With peace and gratitude,
Pastor Bob Friese
SUMMER WORSHIP (June 1 - August 29):
Join Us for Worship with Holy Communion
Wednesday Evenings at 6 p.m.
Thursday Morning at 11 a.m.
Sunday Morning at 9 a.m.
SUMMER CHURCH OFFICE & BUILDING HOURS CHANGED
The church office and building will be open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.Monday through Thursday for the summer. If you need to be in the church building when it is closed, please make prior arrangements with either Kate or Bob. Regular hours will resume on September 1.
If you need immediate pastoral assistance,
contact Pastor Bob on his cell phone: