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Beginning August 31st through September 5th, the Traveling Wall – Vietnam War Memorial will be displayed at the Rice County Fairgrounds.  The Traveling Wall visits hundreds of small towns and cities throughout the United States every year.  Thousands of people will come to remember, honor, and pay tribute to the brave 58,282 American soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

Several decades ago the long overdue homecoming parade for Vietnam veterans was finally held in downtown Chicago.  It was an overwhelmingly emotional event for the unheralded soldiers, their families, and loved ones.

I remember hearing Pastor Bill Hybels describe the event.  He told how for an entire week, the TV news reporters covered the story and interviewed the soldiers who were arriving in Chicago to march in the parade.  One Vietnam vet was interviewed on camera.  He was standing there by the Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall with all the names of the soldiers who never made it back home.

One newscaster asked him why he had come all the way to Chicago from Seattle to visit the memorial and to participate in the parade.  The soldier looked straight into the face of the reporter and with tears flowing down his face, he said, “Because of this man right here.”  As he talked, he was pointing to the name of a friend whose name is etched on the wall.  And as he pointed to the name, he traced the letters of his friend’s name in the wall.  He continued to answer the reporter by saying, “This man right here gave his life for me.  He gave his life for me.”  And that said it all.  That explained everything.  No further questions.  As that news clip ended, that sobbing soldier simply let the tears flow without shame as he stood there, continuing to trace the name of his friend with his finger.

The Apostle John wrote these words:  “This is how we know what love is:  Jesus Christ laid down His life for us.”  (I John 3:16)  It is as though John were saying, “I never really knew what true love is or experienced its power, until one day I stood there and watched Jesus Christ, the Son of God, die on a cross  — giving His life as a costly sacrifice for the forgiveness of my sins.  Then, for the first time in my life, I understood what love is all about.”

The Vietnam vet stands there at the Wall with tears of gratitude and love streaming down his cheeks while he traces with his finger the name of his friend, and he says, “This man died for me.”  And Christians all over the world with a wonderment that never fades away praise the Lord with these simple words:  “Jesus gave His life for me.  He gave His life for me!”

Randy Hardy, Interim Pastor
(This originally appeared in the Faribault Daily News Faith Column on 8/13/2016.)

 

Vacation Bible School

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Dates: August 7th – August 10th

Free: No cost to attend, but please register in advance by calling

507-334-6608

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Photo credit: Bryan Voracek

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“Therefore, be Transformed” Romans 12

On his 91st birthday weekend, Pastor Jerry Stenberg shared a wonderful message of God’s goodness and grace. He’s been a pastor for over 65 years! We’ve been blessed to have Jerry and his wife Esther at Saint Luke’s for the past 2 years.

Message preached on August 23rd, 2015, by Pastor Warren Coe. Pastor Warren leads Village Schools of the Bible.  If you have not signed up for the Cover-to-Cover class on Thursdays from 6:30-8:30, please consider attending the first two classes to give it a try. The class starts this Thursday, August 27th, at 6:30.

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Message_8_23_15 – Warren Coe

 

Once again, God blessed us with a wonderful week of VBS. It was a delight to watch over 60 children learning God’s word.

Please enjoy watching a slideshow of the week:

VBS 2015

“Don’t hit your sister!” “Please, shake his hand.” “Don’t interrupt.” “You need to be kind to him.” As a parent, I am constantly instructing my children in how they are to treat other people. Ultimately, I hope that one day they will not need my teaching as they have learned the core principle of what I’m trying to teach them. I want them to learn to treat people as people.

This entails that all people should be treated with dignity, respect, and value, because every person is made in the image of God. The second half of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:12-17) and the second greatest commandment (Matthew 22:39) both emphasize this truth about people. People are of value and are to be loved.

I don’t think many would disagree with this statement. But if you watch the news or even just read the editorial page in your local paper, you will not see people treated with love as God has called us to. We do not treat people as people because we all break the First Commandment. We put ourselves in the place of God and attempt to say who is worthy of our love and who is not.

However, we don’t phrase it quite that clearly. Two-thousand years ago, in a question to Jesus, a leader from the community worded it like this, “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus responds by telling the parable of the good Samaritan. In this, Jesus makes it clear that in God’s perspective, all people are to be loved (Luke 10:25-37). Jesus did not simply teach this, he also demonstrated this principle in action. Jesus constantly searched out and sought after those whom people had treated as though they were less than a person: the diseased woman, the foreigner, the leper, the prostitute, the criminal. Others said to each of them “you are not a person.” They were not cared for, loved, or seen to have any societal value. From Jesus they each heard the biblical truth, they were made in God’s image and loved by Him.

Love speaks the truth. In seeking our ultimate good, Jesus does not say everyone is okay as is. Although, all people are made in God’s image, this image is broken. We need forgiveness for not loving God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and for how we treat other people. In true love, Jesus provided this by giving his life for us on the cross. Because of his resurrection, his followers personally know this love which empowers us to share love with all people through our words and deeds.

How do I treat a person who is in need? As a person, concerned with what will happen to him if I do not help.

How do I treat a person who is still in the womb? As a person, not as something less than human.

How do I treat a customer? As a person, not as someone you have no obligation to serve graciously.

How do I treat a person who has a different skin color than I do? As a person.

How should we treat others? Like people. We care for them as God cares for all.

How do I treat people? Treat people as people. No matter how big or small, it makes no difference their culture or ethnicity, treat a person as a person.

God demonstrates His love for all people by giving His one and only Son that no one should perish but have everlasting life.

How can we treat people as less?

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