Pastor’s Message – Religious Liberty

Reverend Jonathan Kern

Dear Church Family,

There is much to share with everything that has happened in the last month. We had the privilege of hosting the Living Word Lutheran High School choir and band, and they provided a delightful concert to the 50 people we had in attendance. The director, Robert Cody, thought highly of our church facility as a place to sing and make music for the Lord and looks forward to the next time he can bring a group to the Springs. Thank you to everyone from Immanuel who made the event possible, from providing a meal to the students to hosting them in your homes. Your heart for hospitality is what makes it possible to invite these talented groups to our church. You are a blessing to our church family!

Some of you may be wondering how the elevator project is coming along. Being that we are still in the early stages, much of the work is happening behind the scenes as the elevator company and architect are completing their drawings for the project. This also includes filing all of the necessary paperwork for permits. We have posted a fundraising thermometer in the hallway to show our progress towards funding this project. I am excited to report that we have received $36,500 in just two months, which is 21% of our goal! Thank you to all who have donated towards this project.

On June 14-16, Kenny Stroud and I represented Immanuel at the 51st Rocky Mountain District Convention. The most significant news from that event is the election of a new District President, Rev. Roger Schlechte. Rev. Schlechte offered the following words: “I pray that as a District we continue to preach and teach the pure Word, that we grow in love for people who do not yet believe in Jesus as Savior, and that we serve our neighbors in word and deed.” If you have any other questions about the proceedings, Kenny or I would be happy to share with you.

The following week, we had the privilege of working with 28 kids in our Vacation Bible School! We had a great time learning about God’s Promises found in the Word, promises that ultimately find their “Yes” in Jesus. Thank you to the Education Team and all who made this great event possible!

In closing, and as we prepare for July 4th, I wanted to include an excerpt from an article by Rev. Dr. Greg Seltz, executive director for the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty in Washington, D.C.

Incredibly, here in the United States, God has granted American citizens even more freedom to serve their neighbors and to proclaim the Gospel. When Jesus says, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s,” such a statement existed where people were “subjects, not citizens.” With the constitutional limitation of government, with constitution protection of religion, free exercise, free speech and freedom to assemble, Christian American citizens don’t just have protected rights, they have exciting, new, public responsibilities to be exercised. American citizenship is a trust from God. It is a resource neither to be set aside, nor used for selfish gain, but to be used in service of the Gospel.

The first task then is to prepare ourselves for this moment. It is not enough to merely educate our own membership about governmental encroachment into the Church, we must deal with that for a greater cause. We must see clearly the harmful implications of any infringement upon the proclamation of God’s Word…And that is what makes our voice in the culture unique. Ours is a ‘two-kingdom’ voice that understands that God is at work in the world in two distinct ways: to preserve the world enmeshed in sin, and to save the world from the eternal ramifications of its sin. We know that God is at work.

As Christians we need to know the power of the Law and the Gospel, always clearly distinguishing their purpose and their power. We need to know the limitations of any or all involvement in God’s left-hand work in civil government. Why? Because that’s His finite, temporal, this-side-of-heaven work for the sake of the Kingdom, the Church of Jesus Christ, the Kingdom that never ends. He works in distinct ways for different ends, and these distinctions must not be blurred. But neither should they be divided one from the other, as though Christ has nothing to say to those for whom He died who happen to serve in government posts.

Pastor Kern

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