Long ago God spoke to our ancestors in many and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom he also created the worlds. He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. –Hebrews 1:1-3a
Dear Friends of the Incarnate Messiah,
DO YOU HAVE A CLOSE FRIEND? My closest high school friend and I still make sure we are together for at least a few days each year–in good years, a few more days. When we talk together, nothing is out of bounds. We are so free in what we say that, at times, we offend each other. When that happens, we quickly ask for forgiveness, lest the lack of forgiveness break the relationship we both cherish and need. But most of the time, it is not that complex. We are together in the simple, liberating freedom of being in each other’s presence.
CAN YOU IMAGINE GOD BEING A FRIEND LIKE THAT TO YOU? Some people have been close friends with God. Exodus 33:11 reads, “The Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend.“ Wowser!!! Here is another one: The prophet Isaiah wrote that God Himself said, “Abraham, my friend” (Isaiah 41:8). God?!! A friend like that?!! It is a staggering thought. But actually, God has many friends like that.
“YOU ARE MY FRIENDS IF YOU DO WHAT I COMMAND YOU,” Jesus told His disciples. He continued, “I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last…” (John 15:14-16a)
GET IT? Jesus is God. Jesus said to His disciples, “You are my friends…” And YOU are one of His disciples. So that means YOU are a friend of God. Think of that! You are a friend of God. Really!
WHEN YOU TALK TO YOUR FRIEND GOD, WHAT DO YOU TALK ABOUT? When God and I talk, it is often about the strange, angry world these days. We are saddened by all the self-inflicted wounds and the determined rebellion from God’s love–which God intends for all. To be honest, the things God tells me bleed over into what I preach. When we talk, I do not always hear very well, but thankfully God is patient and repeats Himself. God gave us His message in a written word, yet His word says, “Faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the Word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17) Or, to quote a friend of God named Martin Luther, “The church is a mouth house, not a book house.”
God gave us His message in a written word, yet His word says, “Faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the Word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17)
ADVENT BEGINS A NEW CHURCH YEAR FOR THE FRIENDS OF GOD. This year, MLC will have Advent mid-week services of worship on Wednesdays, December 6, 13, and 20 at 12:00 noon and 7:00 p.m. The evening services will have Holden Evening Prayer for liturgy. At Noon we will have readings from God’s Word, music, and preaching. In these Wednesday Advent services, we will listen to three prophets–three friends of God: Moses, Isaiah, and John the Baptist will help prepare the way for us to celebrate the coming of our Lord Jesus.
So grateful for our Lord and for our partnership in the gospel,
Pastor Scott Peterson
(Pastor’s Message from the December 2017 Messiah Messenger, MLC’s monthly newsletter).