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Pastor's Update 


July-August, 2018
Dear members and friends of Grace Lutheran Church,

 "The Fourth of July" might be the most universally recognized date in America, perhaps more easily recognized than December 25th or January 1st. Everyone knows that "the Fourth of July" is Independence Day, and it brings up lots of different thoughts and pictures in the mind. It is the date assigned to the Declaration of Independence of 1776, of course. But it also means for many people a day off of work, a barbeque with lots of tasty treats, a parade and fireworks, or time at the beach.

It could be said that each Sunday is a type of Independence Day. On Sunday we celebrate that we have been set free from sin and guilt. It is a day to be reminded that on the seventh day God rested from his work of creation and also that we are at rest and peace from the need to work off the guilt of our sins. It has precious food for our souls in the Word and Sacraments that Christ has supplied for us. We might not see any fireworks in a given worship service, but we do get more than just a brief show that fades almost as quickly as it started. Our worship, our prayer, praise, and giving thanks continue all week long.

Enjoy the holiday, but be sure also to take advantage of each Holy Day.

What Can You Do for Your Country?
Righteousness exalts a nation,
but sin is a disgrace to any people.

Proverbs 14:34

Who helped make our country what it is? Who comes to your mind? Leaders from years ago? Perhaps someone more recent? Who of us would think of our Christian parents, pastors, fellow congregational members, or OURSELVES? God blesses a nation because of believers. When believers stop letting their light shine or salting their nation, history has shown what can happen.

Solomon wrote in the book of Proverbs, Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people. His words can touch any one of us. They bring us a challenge, an opportunity, and yes, a responsibility. They ask us, “Do you want to do something for your country?”

America is more and more turning its back on what made it great. There is a growing disregard for authority of any kind, especially the highest authority of God and His Word. There’s an increasing disrespect for marriage, human life, both inside and outside the womb, and our own neighbor’s welfare - these are the very things that keep society’s fabric intact.

God was not bluffing or exaggerating when He moved Solomon to write, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” When people follow God’s ways a nation will be showered by God’s blessings. When the opposite is true, then watch out. Sin can only bring disgrace, decrease, and destruction.

What can you do for your country? Instead of contributing to the problem, you can be part of the solution. You can see sin as God sees sin. You can repent and turn from it in your own life, by turning to Christ. He offers full and free forgiveness, and with it the desire to follow God's will.

As followers of Christ we hold in our hands the only solution for the people of our nation. It is God’s Word and the compelling message of God’s righteousness found in Christ alone. Through Jesus God has pardoned us completely and has empowered us for lives of service to Him, service that will benefit our land and lead to the Lord's blessings. The more we can share what God has given us, the more people will be praying for God’s blessing on our land. Righteousness exalts a nation.

What can you do for your country? You can pray daily for it. You can live in repentance and faith and in the peace of God’s pardon. You can walk daily in the way of the Lord.
                                                        Pastor Hartwig


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