Archive for the ‘Pastor’s Article’ Category

“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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Have you ever searched long and hard for lint you dropped out of your pocket? How about crawling through your house, searching every nook and cranny, to find a lost Cheerio? I never have; however, I have hunted for hours to find a lost ring. Many times I’ve run rapidly around my yard looking for one of my children who wouldn’t respond to my call to come inside.

We’ve all searched for what was lost that is of value. Flipping off sofa cushions and reaching a hand deep into the gaps to find what was lost. Walking rapidly through a shopping mall with eyes scanning for a young child. The greater worth, the more time and effort we will sacrifice to find what was lost.

God’s Word teaches us that every person is made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). Therefore, every person, no matter his age or her race has inherent value and dignity. And yet, the Bible also teaches us that we are all spiritually lost. Although we were made by God to know Him, we have all gone away from Him. In sin, we have chosen to seek after ourselves, make our own gods, and serve our sinful desires. We are lost.

But we lost sinners are not discarded by God. On the contrary, in the Bible we read that God is pursuing and seeking after those who have rebelled against Him. This mission to rescue us is costly for God. In order to save the lost, God the Father sends His Son to go to the cross and take upon himself our sins. In a mystery we cannot fully fathom, Jesus experiences on the cross what being completely lost entails, total separation from God the Father – hell itself.

The sacrifice fully paid, Jesus rose from the dead, giving us assurance that he is able to fully save the sinner. The lost can be found. Not by our works or our deeds, but through the gift of grace received when we place our faith in Jesus.

PriceLessReader, this should help you understand why your friend constantly shares the message of the gospel of Jesus with you. She believes what God says about you, that you are precious and loved. This should explain why Christians have always fought to stop infanticide and abortion and are consistently involved in helping the vulnerable, the homeless, the orphan, the refugee, and the foreigner. We do this because we believe what the Bible teaches, that all people are loved by God and have priceless value.

This is why Christians take risks when we share our faith with our families, communities, and to far off countries, even though this may lead to persecution and death. Christians know God’s great love for all people; therefore, they sacrifice to be used by God so that others who are lost might be found.

Dear reader, even though you are so lost that you cannot bring yourself to God, you are of value and loved so much God the Father sent God the Son as a sacrifice for you to bring you to the one true and living God.

Consider the price of the sacrifice of the God who seeks to find the lost. May it cause you to respond with faith in Jesus.

Pastor Aaron


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Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Will you clearly speak life into the dark confusion of this culture?

One in five pregnancies end in abortion (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Abortion brings pain and death. In this great nation, the darkness of abortion is widespread, adamantly defended, and even audaciously celebrated. Yet, many Christians are silent.

I partially empathize with this silence. As a father, it’s difficult to even know how to begin to explain this prevalence of abortion to my children. They are in awe and wonder when they encounter a mommy carrying a baby in her tummy. I remember when I first saw each of them on the ultrasound. “Fearfully and wonderfully made,” I said, as joy filled my heart (Psalm 139:14). What words do I use as I attempt to explain what happens to every 20 out of 100 young babies? I want to keep this reality from my children for as long as possible. Frankly, I want to turn away from the deathly pictures, gruesome procedures, and horrible facts of abortion. It’s painful to look. I also know that speaking for life with adults will likely be a costly conversation. (I’ve been warned that church attendance would decline if I as a pastor spoke on this subject!) Though silence might be tempting for a multitude of reasons, for the Christian it is not an option. As followers of Jesus we are called to expose the works of darkness (Ephesians 5:11) even when “turning on the light” reveals horrors that cause us to cringe and grieve and engages us in costly opposition. So as a Christian, I speak and I write. I encourage you to do the same.

Here’s a model of how you can do so:

First, start with the Bible. Share how God’s Word teaches us that every person is made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). And for that reason alone, human life is precious. Every person, no matter his age or her race has inherent value and dignity. Every life is a precious gift – no one is a mistake, an accident, or a consequence. Because of this, life is to be nourished and protected.

Ask the simple question, “Why do we feed a baby?” The baby is provided for not because of anything she has done or will do but because she is fearfully and wonderfully made by God in His image! Any view of a person that lessons his or her value because of age, race, chromosome count, or accomplishments contradicts God’s Word.

Many will agree with this and yet will still support abortion or the “pro-choice” position. How can they? Point out to them that the only way they can do so is to view a baby in the womb as somehow not (or less than) human. They can only justify death by saying that the life taken by abortion was not really a person. Make it clear to those who say this that the Bible teaches that life begins at conception. One of many places that the Scripture teaches this truth is in Luke 1:44. There we read that John leaps for joy in Elizabeth’s womb. (You could also look up Psalm 139:13-16, Job 10:8-12, or Jeremiah 1:5.)

2438276083_ba67a026cb_oAs you share from God’s Word, use the recent scientific advances that continue to reinforce the biblical truth that life begins at conception. For instance, we now know that from conception on, a baby has its very own and unique DNA. We can also look at the breathtaking pictures of a child in the womb and see clearly how even at an early stage of development, the child is visibly a child! Hopefully, this should silence all abortion arguments. No one that you are talking to could justify killing a toddler because of the nature of his conception or his present ability. Although recognizing that there are development differences, an honest biblical and scientific viewpoint equates a baby in the womb with a person. Or as Dr. Seuss put it “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

Share humbly and confidently that abortion is also a heart issue. God places special value upon those who cannot provide life-needed resources for themselves – the alien, the disabled, the widow, the orphan, the poor, the child. And God calls his people to care for the marginalized. The famous parable that Jesus told of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) emphasizes that we are to be like the Samaritan and “do likewise” by showing compassion to the one who needs help, even if it is a costly inconvenience for us. As you share, tell how this parable alone removes the option for you to be silent and by lack of action be “pro-choice.” Silence will lead to the death of those who cannot help themselves. The Christian must speak. Share with passion, that you cannot abdicate your responsibility to “do likewise.”

And then, Christian, speak the gospel. Tell how you have been saved from God’s wrath and hell by God’s grace through faith in Jesus. Explain how that now you, formerly a chief sinner with a deceitful heart, have experienced the compassionate love of Jesus in forgiving you of your guilt and shame. That wonderful, extravagant, saving love compels you to love others, even if it is costly to do so.

Christian, what’s it going to cost you to speak on this issue? Comfort. Popularity. Easy conversations. Time. Finances. A job. Facebook likes. Beloved of God, it cost Jesus his life to rescue you. Therefore, he’s worthy of the risk you take to bring light into darkness through your words and deeds.

Abortion is a horrific truth. Let us grieve that it exists and speak to change hearts and save lives.

May God give us all compassion and courage,

Pastor Aaron


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My heart has been broken these past two weeks. Daily I lament the tragedy in Charleston and subsequent demonstrations of racism (e.g. the church fires in the south http://www.worldmag.com/2015/06/church_fires_in_the_south_recall_past_violence ). This is sin. Each and every person has equal value and dignity, no matter his or her background, race, age, or culture. Every act of racism is in reality a hate-driven action against the God of the Nations who created all people in His image. “[God] made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place” (Acts 17:26).

My grief grows the more I reflect on these recent events, for as a pastor I know these atrocities are not far-off occurrences, having no real bearing on our community. Instead, these are painful reminders to me of the racism close to all of us. Though it has not manifested to national news, I grieve, knowing from personal experience here in Faribault that racism is rooted deep here too. I’ve heard the pejorative terms. I’ve seen the manipulative ways dominance is demonstrated. I’ve consoled the children who have run in fear from dogs unleashed upon them because of their race.

Friend, are you willing to see the reality of the depth of racism that still affects our nation and community? If so, will you join me in lamenting these atrocities that have occurred and still occur due to racism? To lament is to cry out to God. Cry out to Him for justice. Pray for conviction. Pray for repentance. Pray for reconciliation. “Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5:24).

As you pray, will you also examine yourself, before the Word of God, asking God to reveal any prejudice hidden in your heart? This is difficult. It is much easier to ignore sin or to point fingers at others rather than admit our own depravity. Let each one of us humbly pray that God would search us, revealing if there is any grievous prejudice in our hearts. “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23–24)!

If you have lamented and confessed, I would encourage you now to act for justice in Faribault and this nation. What are areas of oppression and discrimination that you can speak into? Where does the light of the gospel need to be shined: In your class at school? Online? With your neighbor? At a public meeting? In your group of friends? To whom do you need to extend a hand to, inviting them into a relationship with you because Christ has called you to the ministry of reconciliation? “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;” (2 Corinthians 5:18).

My prayer is that our church – brothers and sisters in Christ brought together in fellowship with the living God and one another through the blood of Jesus – would visibly proclaim the peace-giving power of Jesus, as people from every tribe and tongue gather together in worship. God’s Word says that when that happens, it will be heavenly news of the gospel of work (Ephesians 3:10)!

Broken and hopeful,

Pastor Aaron

To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 3:8–10).

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