Roger's Postings

Saturday, April 22, 2017


1 Peter 1:3-9.                     Glorious joy!!!                                                   23/4/17



Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.



He is Risen! He is risen indeed!

Yes, our Lord Jesus has died and risen again for us so that we can get on with life with hope and confidence. In a world that is full of bravado, but no sure confidence for the future, this is a welcome relief. With all that is going on around us, that is disheartening and distressing we have here in Jesus that which enables us to lift up our heads and get on with life.



We don’t have to look very far these days to see a world that has lost its way, and constantly chasing false hopes and coming up disappointed. Politically, morally, economically and in almost every other area, we are seeing this taking place. All this is taking its toll on people’s lives.



We can see the results of this in the ‘escapism’ that is so prevalent all around us. Most significantly we see it in the alcohol and drug abuse and the high rate of suicides. But all around us we face lives that are trying to avoid the reality of life in our troubled world.



Unfortunately, people have also lost hope in the churches in our society. They see them as also giving false hopes and false messages. There is some truth in that, but the media and the whole of society has worked hard at discrediting the churches and its message.



Too often also, the message presented to the public is that Christianity is simply about being good moral people. If you read the Easter messages from the religious leaders, you would readily get this impression that this is what Christianity is all about. It seems that we need to present a soft and pleasing message rather than the central truth about Jesus Christ and the importance of his death and resurrection and what that really means for us today.



Easter is much more than an example of love and sacrifice for us to follow. It is far more than some vague notion of new life that we can now live. It is more than having courage in the face of terrorism and war. It is more than us being able to care for those less fortunate than ourselves.



Unless we understand the real meaning of Easter, all these attributes are something more that we are to strive after, as a burdensome task. They also become another form of ridicule and disillusionment with the churches when we fail to live up to these ideals. These are just more works that we have to perform in order to be ‘christian’ without and real impetus to do so.



Without the real meaning of Jesus death and resurrection they are just another thing that we have to work at, without the power and help to do so. They are nice words and good things to be done, but without Christ they are just more things to be done and failed.



First and foremost, we need to know and understand that Jesus Christ died for all of our sin and failures. He took our punishment on himself so that forgiveness of sins, life and salvation can be extended to each and every one of us. We can again then be a part of God’s family and live in a personal relationship with him. Then he was raised again on the third day so we can be absolutely sure that here God himself is at work, and that all who are connected to him have the assurance that they too will be raised again to be with him in heaven.



It is this which makes Easter, Easter. Here is what enables life to be turned around for us as people who are living in a sinful, troubled world. It is this which gives hope and meaning and purpose to our lives. Here, life changes for us and enables us to now live in the face of all that surrounds us with confidence and certainty. This is spelled out in this reading that we have before us.



Now we can look to the Almighty God with thankful hearts, full of praise for all that he has done for us so that we can have a sure and certain hope for the future. In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.



But more than that: into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you. Think about that. Despite our sinfulness he has freely given us an inheritance, with himself in heaven. Absolutely amazing. Now we can go forward with the certainty that everything will work out for the good of those who are in Christ Jesus.



Just because the promises and realities of life in this world, perish, spoil or fade; not so what God has here to give. Even though we might get old and frail in this life; or we lose our riches and health; and the like, we have God’s assurance that when our life us up here on earth, we then will go on to share in the greatness of what God has for us in heaven. There we will be truly beautiful, healthy, and all the rest, with nothing to hurt and harm us.



This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. All that needed is for us to trust that God is true to his word about this. We can have this faith because of the certainty of Jesus’ death on the cross, and his resurrection three days later. That power that raised Jesus from the dead will also shield us so that we can sure that this will take place for us.



The last time, Judgement day, will truly reveal and bring to light the reality of what God tells us here in this reading. It will happen because God says it will happen. We can be sure of it. So we can praise God and get on with living boldly and confidently into the days ahead.



In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. So even in the midst of all the problems and difficulties of life that we might be experiencing here and now in this life, we can still rejoice. In fact, it says that we can greatly rejoice, already here and now. We know now that this is not the end of the story. There is always, better things ahead. So even though we are in a state of grief and suffering, we can have an underlying confidence and even joy.



For here we are reminded that even these trials and difficulties that we face here, are now seen as a good thing. They have their purpose in the whole scheme of things. We read: These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.



So the trials we face are there to test our faith and to show how genuine this faith is. What God has promised us is sure, so we can stand firm and solid. Jesus death on the cross and resurrection are our guarantee that everything he has said is true.



This faith and trust that we have in this, will be proven to be true and will result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed on the Last Day. As we endure our trials and sufferings we can have a sure and certain confidence that our faith is not in vain; but will be proven to be genuine.



This genuine faith we are reminded here is far more precious than refined gold. Gold only has value here in this life, whereas a genuine faith has great value for all eternity. This is what God sees now, and what will bring praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.



Peter then concludes this reading with words of encouragement for us who have not seen Jesus and who are living at a time of great scepticism. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.



Yes, even now we can love him and be filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy. There is no need to see him and touch him as Thomas did after the resurrection. We can have every confidence that God is true to his word. It will all work out as he has said and promised. Jesus death and resurrection has happened and it has won for us forgiveness of sins, life and salvation. It is all sure and certain.



So now we can get on with life with confidence and joy. Because of Easter we are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. Of this we can be certain; and this then changes everything for us as we live out our lives every day. Even if are facing the lions as the people that Peter is addressing were.



We can have a great joy in our lives, underneath our grief and suffering. Jesus death and resurrection ensures it all. To him be all glory and honour, now and always. AMEN.

He is Risen. He is Risen Indeed!



Pastor Roger Atze

Glandore/Underdale Lutheran Parish

Saturday, April 15, 2017


Colossians 3:1-4.                               He is risen – Have you risen???                  16/4/17



{1)  Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. {2} Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. {3} For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. {4} When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.



He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed: Our Lord Jesus has risen from dead. He lives to ........... Ho Hum; and the world goes back to sleep, or gets ready for its picnic or whatever other recreation that they are into. Thanks for waking us up, so that now we can go and look for our Easter eggs. Let’s get on with our long weekend.



Sadly, the world today takes little notice of the message that come out from the churches on this day. It has got nothing to do with their lives. It is just some proclamation of an event that supposedly happened a long time ago; and it seems as though it is of no real importance for us today.



As a result, most of our fellow Australians are running hither and thither to enjoy a long weekend. Here is a weekend that they can go and get away from it all; enjoy the beauty of our Australian scenery and many other forms of relaxation. They know the joys and pleasures that can be got out of this Easter weekend. So they now aim to make the most of it. They will leave Easter celebrations to those of us who want to celebrate an event that is long past and seemingly irrelevant to their lives.



Yes, there are a good few who will take time out to spend 1 hour in church on this day and then rush back to what ever they were doing before. The message of Easter is again of no real great value to them; they sort of know that it is important and they will do the right thing and hopefully keep God happy. Then at the end of the year, at least they can say they have been to church.



But even amongst most of us Christians here today that message of the risen Lord Jesus makes little difference to our lives. Yes, we proclaim, quite readily, that Jesus rose from the dead; we hold to these truths of the Bible and pay lip service to their importance. But our lives display very little evidence to the relevance of this risen Lord to our everyday life. Our lives are little different to any others in our society. No wonder so many of our fellow Australians have lost interest in the real message of Easter; that life changing - life renewing message of Jesus crucified and risen again for you and me.



Sadly, so often, this change can't be seen. There is no evidence then, for those out there that this is for real. Too often all we do is pay lip service to this message; but where is the power and importance of this message for people’s lives? Where is its relevance for life today? When they look at you and me, do they see that Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection is all important to us?



Let us think back to those early Christians and their experience of the Easter message. To this point those first disciples were like ‘scared rabbits;’  that is until they heard the message that Christ is risen! Their master has risen from the dead just as he said he would. He really is the one he said he was. From that point on, everything he had said to them became important for their lives. His life giving Spirit filled them to overflowing and they became changed people.



The risen Lord - the Message of Easter transformed their lives. Now they could not help but speak of the things that they had seen and heard. They boldly lived by what they believed: right to the point of being flogged to death; or being crucified themselves; or even thrown to the lions. Their whole lifestyle changed. Their whole orientation in life was turned upside down. Their lives took on the whole thought of our text here.



Let us hear it again. Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.



With Christ's resurrection all who believe and are connected to him have been raised to a whole new life. The power which raised Jesus lifeless body is now at work in our lives. Instead of minds filled with how to survive this life and how to avoid persecution and hardship, our hearts and lives ae fixed on the Lord Jesus; on the one sitting at the right hand of God.



The Early Christians only concern was to live and do as the Lord wanted. And they could do it, because their life was hidden in Christ. He was the one who was all important to them. They knew that no matter whatever happened to them, they were sharing in his glory. Their whole life was now to be lived as Christ lived. They would seek to do as Christ did. And they could make a good fist of it, because He lived in them - he was their real life. So now they lived - now they loved - now their lives had a purpose and a direction.



No wonder people flocked to hear the Easter message. No wonder the church grew and grew. The power of God which raised Jesus was evident in his follower’s lives. They could see the changes God had made to their lives. They could see what the death and resurrection for the forgiveness of sins and the assurance of life and salvation meant for these people.



They could see how they were freed from the shackles that held them all back. They could see the truth of Jesus. They could see the love of God flowing forth from these people’s lives. The risen Lord Jesus had made such an impact; such a change. As a result, many of them wanted to know more: many wanted to be a part of this Jesus Christ.



That is surely the message that comes to us today. He is Risen! Our Lord Jesus has risen from the dead. The power of God has transformed life for us also. We too are given the new life that was given to Christ. To all who believe in him and are baptised, they have been raised to life with Christ.



We don't have to worry about death. We don't need to hassle ourselves and struggle in order to get on in life. Our life too is hidden in and with Christ. Trusting in him we have the certainty of eternal life; the certainty of sharing in glory with Christ. At our baptisms we were joined to Jesus and his death and resurrection.  We are a part of all this which is truly great.



Now then our minds also can be focussed away from ourselves and our own wants and desires. Now we can fix our minds on Christ and the things of his kingdom. Our whole life can take on a new meaning and direction: No longer looking down and around us; worrying about this and that. No, we can now look up - look out - we can live - we can love - we have true peace and joy in our lives. Our lives being transformed into the life of Christ. We are a part of this great One who died and was raised from the dead; and he assures us that now we too will be able to share in his glory forever more.



So now then our lives can reflect this Jesus each and every day of our lives. We can take up our crosses courageously and allow this Jesus and all that he has done be reflected to the people around about us. We know that this Jesus will work good out of the most tragic of situations, even if we can’t see how this can be.



We will continually speak of Christ and the forgiveness that he has won for us as being central to who we are and what we are about. Surely Jesus and what he says is important is what will be important for us. The things of this world that people strive after will fade from significance for us, compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing and being a part of Jesus Christ.



We too will take seriously what he says in his Word rather than change to the culture of our world today and the “I wants”. We now know that what he says in the Bible is what is good and right for us, even if it is out of step with the world around us.



Christ is risen! We too have risen. New life has come into the world - our world. We are changed people. We are people who can look up. No longer is our life the same as so many around us. We surely are different - we are new people. People who have what is important in life. A sure and certain hope the future is secure, no matter what we are facing in this life.



Now the power of God can also be evident in us his people. What a change has come over our world. A change that transforms our lives. New life has come to us also. New life has come to Christ and through him to us also. To him be glory and honour, now and always. AMEN.

Christ is Risen! - He is risen indeed!



Pastor Roger Atze

Glandore/Underdale Lutheran Parish






Thursday, April 13, 2017


1 Corinthians 11:23-26.  Proclamation of the Lord’s death!!                13/4/17

                

(23)  For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, {24} and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." {25} In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." {26} For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.



Here this evening we begin another Easter celebration. Here now our focus is narrowed right down to that which is of utmost importance to us as Christians. Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection and its absolute importance for us as God’s people. So much so that he here on the night he was betrayed, he establishes a meal so that we never forget our Lord Jesus and what he did for us on the cross. Week by week he wants us to proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.



More and more we are seeing why he has done this and why we must spend some time thinking about this meal once more. More and more we are becoming so self-focussed in our lives and our faith, that we are in danger of becoming all about me alone. And this is deadly destructive for us as humanity.



Yes, even the Christian faith is becoming more and more about what we think, feel and want, so we are making ourselves our own gods. Sure we will still talk about God and Jesus and the bible, but they are there simply to serve me, myself and I, rather than the other way around. We determine who God is and what he is like and what he says.



With that we can readily see the downplaying of the Law and of sin. We are changing what God says is right and wrong to suit ourselves and our culture. We simply talk about being loving; but how we do this is determined by ourselves rather than what God says. We don’t need his death on the cross, other than as a great example of self-sacrifice.



So then we also see ourselves as basically good people who only occasionally do some bad things. We fail to acknowledge that we are sinful rebellious people and the bad things we do are signs of what lies underneath. So repentance and confession are glossed over, and the sacraments downplayed. When we do talk about and participate in these things, again it becomes all about ‘me’.



However, God’s Word is quite clear that we all are sinful. We all fall far short of what God expects. None of us are prefect. As I have just spoken about we are rebellious people who have placed ourselves in the position of God. We ever since the Garden of Eden have chosen to do what we want, rather than obey the commands that God has given to us.



The results of this are just as God himself said would happen if we do. This rebellion and sin brings nothing, but troubles, suffering and finally death itself; both here and in eternity. This sin and its consequences has affected each and every one of us. None of us are immune. The future is absolutely disastrous, were it not for Jesus Christ and his death on the cross.



So we all desperately need reminding that God is God, and we are sinful human beings – creations of God. But also then, we need his forgiveness and help. We need reminding of what he has done to help us out of the mess that we are in. We need to be reminded of why Good Friday is essential for us all.



Because God knows that we continually need to be reminded of these things, he on the night he was betrayed establishes a special meal for this very purpose. Each time he wants us to know, remember, and be a part of, the centrality of him and his death on the cross for us. Even now, two thousand years later we still kneel at the foot of the cross and are reminded, receive and proclaim the importance of this important event for us and for our salvation.



He knows that despite our arrogance and bravado, we know deep down that we are sinful and unable to be acceptable to God without his help. He knows that our guilt is ever going to hound us through this life – the devil will ensure that. He knows that we will be distracted by the devil, the world and our sinful selves to take our eyes off of Jesus and the importance of his death on the cross.



So he commands us to regularly gather at this special meal that he establishes for our benefit. He takes some bread, gives thanks and the gives it to his disciples and us and says: "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." Then he takes the cup of wine and gives it to us saying: "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me."



Here he is shifting our focus away from ourselves to him who is all important. At the foot of the cross he is giving us his body which is there being punished for our sin and his blood which he shed there for our forgiveness. He is giving his body that is there dying on the cross and his blood, so that we can know for sure that we have forgiveness of sins, life and salvation. That we have a God who loves us and to whom we can look up to.



We also then are receiving Jesus Christ and his death on the cross into our very being. We are thereby reassured that he is with us as go forward day by day in our daily lives. We are there then also reassured of his love and forgiveness as we face all the ups and downs of our lives. Also he is right there with us to help and guide us in everything we say and do. He himself is with us always.



So week by week we are brought to the sobering reality that it is our sin that put him there on the cross. But there our Lord Jesus steps in and does what is necessary for us to be again acceptable to God and have a real hope for the future. As a result of the Lords Supper we are enabled to live as is pleasing to him and truly helpful for us.



We there at the foot of the cross behold this one who has done such a great thing. Surely now at the Altar rail we are again refocussed on that which is essential for us and for our lives every day. Here we are again reminded that the Lord Jesus has come and died so that we can have life and hope for all time. Not in ourselves, but in the Lord’s death on the cross.



In the midst of all that is going on around us and the constant focus on ourselves and our world around us, here we week by week are proclaiming the Lord's death until he comes. God himself is reminding us over and over again of that which is essential for our lives. Without his forgiveness, presence and love we have no hope and no power for living.



Without him and his death on the cross there is no release from the guilt of our sin and the eternal judgement that follows. Without him there is no eternity living in God’s presence, enjoying the very best of everything, free from everything bad and evil. So without him there is no life.



So now we will heed this proclaiming of the importance of Jesus death on the cross. Now we will regularly come forward to the foot of the cross and receive this wonderful food that he has to offer us. In so doing we too will be helping to proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.



In him then we will be able to go forward, boldly and confidently, knowing that that in connection to him and his death on the cross we have with us what is truly good and helpful. He alone will be our all in all, and has what is necessary for us each and every day. So to him again then be all glory and honour, now and Always. AMEN.



Pastor Roger Atze

Glandore/Underdale Lutheran Parish




Wednesday, April 12, 2017


Hebrews 10:16-25.                           Sacrifice for our sin!!!                                     14/4/17



16 “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord.
I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”

17 Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.”

18 And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.

19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.



Today we remember the greatest and most important day in all of history. Here is the event that changes everything for humanity. Despite the fact that it looks and seems to be anything but that which is history changing, for the better. Here in the suffering and death of Jesus Christ there is now a sure and certain hope for us as we face the future.



Here is taken care of, the most important need that we have, but are all too reluctant to acknowledge. Though deep down we know, our pride and arrogance all too often gets in the way. We don’t want to think about. For if we do, we know that the implications for our lives are great. We no longer will be in charge of our own lives; thinking and doing as we please.



Never the less, here on Good Friday Jesus does what has to be done so that we can be freed from the chains that hold us down. You see, here on the cross Jesus is taking on himself what we deserve. We are the ones who have rebelled against God and chosen not to do what he says. For this, God is quite clear, death is the consequence. We deserve the punishment that Jesus is receiving. We deserve to be rejected by God for all eternity and caste into hell. So serious are the consequences.



Again even though deep down we know all of this, for God has written it on our hearts and consciences, we don’t want to admit it. We would like to think that we are better than that: that we are basically good people, who might occasionally do the odd bad thing. We want some semblance of pride in ourselves left intact. However, God’s Word is very clear that death and hell are the best that we deserve. We are the ones who deserve to be on the cross.



But who do we see there; none other than God himself, in Jesus Christ. This is absolutely amazing. God’s Son himself taking the punishment that we deserve on himself. We are clearly told that this is what is happening here. Despite our rebellion against him, his love is such that he does what needs to be done to rectify the situation.



Jesus Christ takes our punishment on himself so that God can forgive us and accept us back into his family. He himself became the sacrifice for our sin. He dies so that we no longer have to do anything to pay for us to be acceptable to God. Jesus has done it all for us.



We here can know that this is all for real. Even though Jesus appeared to be simply just another human being, he is also God’s very own Son. He was the one that was promised throughout history, who would come to defeat the power of sin and death for us. The evidence is clear that Jesus is the one whom the Old Testament spoke about over and over again.



So many of those prophecies that were written hundreds and hundreds of years before, even though they were humanly impossible, came to fulfilment in Jesus Christ. His death on the cross and his resurrection three days late are clear proof of the fact that here God himself is at work.



So we can know for sure that here in Jesus and his death on the cross we have something that is absolutely important for us and for our lives. Here we have that which surely will ensure that he not only is, but we will seek to have him, as that which is all important for us and our lives, each and every day.



With that we will then take particular note of the message we have here in our reading today. It begins with: “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”



So as a result of Jesus’ death and resurrection we will now seek to think and do what he tells us is important for us and our lives today. His laws will be what is all important for us, rather than what the world around us says. Because of who he is and the love he has for us, we will now respond as he would have us, rather than still making me, myself and I the centre of our lives.



Also, as a result of the cross, we are now assured that: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.”  We no longer need to carry the guilt for our past misdemeanours. Christ has taken care of our sins, so we can lift our heads and get on with life without the weight of our past on our shoulders. We can constantly look to him in repentance and faith and know that he has taken care of our sins.



So: where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary. We no longer have to, either hide our past failures, or try to make up for them in some way, in order to be acceptable. We do not need to pretend today that his law is now not important for us as Christians, so as to minimise our guilt. Nor do we try balance the bad by doing good, in order to be acceptable.



We will instead set out to live and do what he wants, aiming to do the very best in response to what he has done for us. But then when we fail, as we will, we can turn again to our Lord and the forgiveness that he has extended to us. Then set about again to live as is pleasing to him and in response to his love for us.



Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.



Because of Jesus’ death on the cross we now have free access to God. As a result of the forgiveness that Jesus has made possible now we can live at peace with our Lord and in a close personal relationship with him. In fact, he tells us that he now lives with and in us so that we can know that we are loved, forgiven and assured of life and salvation.



Now then we can hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Now we can take him seriously each and every day of lives. No matter what is happening around is in our current society and our own lives, we can hold unbendingly to him who is all important and what he tells us. In connection with him we now know that nothing in all creation can separate us from his love.

So again we are reminded of how great and important Jesus Christ and his death on the cross is for us. His sacrifice turns life upside down for us. Now we can go forward boldly and confidently. We have every reason to take Jesus Christ and what he says and has done for us seriously



So let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.



Here too is another important reminder for us here today. At a time when Easter weekend and Sundays are being filled with all kinds of things to distract us and many others who used to sit in these pews, from what is important. Let us encourage one another to hold fast to that which is all important, so that we are not distracted and finally led to let go of that which is vital to us all.



As we are beginning to see more and more, Christianity in this country is coming under severe pressure from all quarters. Pressure groups and left-wing media from society are denigrating and beginning to persecute Christianity. Sunday sport and work increasingly imposing itself on people’s lives. Even within Christianity there is pressure to conform to the culture and the ‘I wants’ of individuals.



So we need to consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. We need to encourage one another to keep our focus where it needs to be; on our Lord Jesus Christ and the importance of his death on the cross for the forgiveness of sins.



Here today then as we remember and celebrate with humble awe the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, let us again be amazed at the extent of God’s love, that he should do this for us. Our lives have here been turned upside down. Instead of death, there is life. Instead of judgement, there is forgiveness. Instead of hell, there is heaven. Instead of hopelessness and despair, there is meaning and purpose. Jesus Christ makes all of this and more possible here on this special day. He alone then becomes the all-important one in our lives.



So to him again then be all glory and honour, now and always. AMEN.



Pastor Roger Atze

Glandore/Underdale Lutheran Parish

Friday, April 07, 2017


Matthew 21:1-11.            Tell the world her King has come                               09/4/17



As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”

This took place to fulfil what was spoken through the prophet:

“Say to Daughter Zion,
    ‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
    and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”

The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,

“Hosanna to the Son of David!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”

11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”



Tell the world her King has come. The King has come to save his people. And 2000 years ago the world rushes to and fro in an attempt to jump on the band wagon. Back then, they were desperately looking for a way out of the mess they were in. They knew that things were not the way that they should be – the way they were meant to be. So they were looking for a leader who would get them out of trouble – who would drive out the Romans and set up their own nation once again.



So at the first cry that a saviour has come, and many miracles are done by him, they rush out to shout their accolades to the one they think might be able to help them. Here hopefully is a glimmer of hope; thinking of course primarily in the short term of personal gain and a reduction of hardship and pain. Hoping for a better and easier future ahead. Looking for powerful leadership, without too much commitment, difficulty and service on their part.



Today are things any different? People are still looking for the easy way through life and the quick-fixes; for any sort of saviour that might get them out of the mess of life that they have made for themselves. Our saviours that are heralded in recent times are technology, environmentalists, and the economists. They are looking for politicians to give them what they want, irrespective of the cost.



Sadly, too often the same thing has happened in Christian circles. People have given up on the churches – because they have failed to deliver. But here it is not God and the Gospel who have failed. Often it is either that the truths of Scriptures have not been presented correctly. Or people have chosen not to believe that Good News. These people have or are given the wrong idea as to what the world and the church needs.



In the church today it is the liberal theologian who can twist and change scripture to enable us to do what we want, irrespective of what God says in his Word. These are the ones that are looked to as our hope for the future. Here again it is the one who can tell our itching ears what they want to hear. Again no matter what the cost. It is the one who can tell us that God loves us, and so we can do as we please, that are looked for.



Here also people are jumping on the bandwagon, shouting the importance of this new thinking; desperately hoping that this will now ensure us a long, happy and easy life, and maybe a better future ahead. If we give our young people what they want maybe our church will grow once more.



So throughout the years, mankind has constantly looked for its heralded saviours. All too often they have only been disappointed when that one they looked to fails to produce the desired hopes and results. When they don’t get what they think they need, they soon lose interest and start looking for another way out; another king.



Therefore it would seem that very little has changed over the years. In our reading here when we look to the one who was and is the true Saviour of mankind - to the one who truly had the power to bring about a new and better world – and we see people’s attitude are little different. People heard and saw how Jesus healed the sick, gave food to thousands by a miracle, and even raised Lazarus from the dead. As a result, suddenly there is rising surge of feelings.



Here we have one who would be really good to have as our king. He could take care of all our earthly problems - giving us food without us lifting a finger; taking care of all of our physical ailments; and surely he could even drive out the hated Romans. Then there would be no more hassles of having work hard for living; no more fear and worry of sickness and death; hopefully just lot of pleasure, leisure and an easy way through life.



So when they hear that this Jesus is coming to town the multitudes rush out with great expectations. There is a growing swell that start to sing their praises of this one they would like to make as their king. The chant is taken up long before they catch a glimpse of their great hope. A huge fanfare arises to greet him.



Then their king comes riding in - humble – gentle and riding on a donkey. No grand heroic figure – no mighty conqueror mounted on his fiery steed - no strong, imposing and charismatic figure. Humble and riding on a donkey.



Here was a man not full of his own self-importance, but knowing very well what he was on about. A gentle man, not wanting to hurt anyone, even when the crowds turn against him; and when he is confronted by the Roman governor, he didn’t defend himself. Instead he is single minded in his priority of make things right with God for us. He is even prepared to give his life to achieve what he knows is absolutely necessary.



So here was a man who is not interested in himself and his own welfare. You see, his kingdom is not of this world. He had far more important things on his mind than food for the stomach and a free Israel. He wanted to give life to all people beyond the three score and ten years or so, here on earth. He wanted us to be a part of God’s family once again and for all time. And he knew that the only way he could help us in this regard, was to give his life, so that we can have life.



But of course this not what the people wanted. It may have been what they needed, but it not what wanted. So the praises of Palm Sunday soon turn to, ‘crucify him, crucify him,’ when he doesn’t produce what they had in mind. So very soon they rejected him, and went looking elsewhere to find that which would make them feel good.



But even here Jesus continues on, for he knows that this not only leads to his suffering and death: But here now he comes to do what needs to be done so that forgiveness of sins, life and salvation can be extended to all people. Here now in the coming week God will be doing what needs to be done so that salvation can be extended to all. So that we all can have a sure hope for the future that will lift our ‘noses out of the gutter’.



Now everything is about to happens so that God’s plan may be brought to fruition. The King is coming to town to take up his throne as King of kings and Lord of lords; even though most might not acknowledge him as such. He is still God’s only Son, come to us to give us what we need. He is still the only real Saviour who can help us out in the important areas of life. There is now a sure way out of the mess that we have of life in this world.



All who believe in him as King, as the Son of God, and Saviour are assured that he does give them what is essential for us, both for this life and the next. He has and does make a difference to the lives of people who look to him in faith and accept his ways and Words as the truth. Now we not only have hope, but also a better way to live and act. Now we know that in connection with Jesus Christ things will work out for good.



So let us first and foremost, continue to acknowledge Jesus as the only true King and Lord. Let us not impose our desires and wants onto our Saviour and King; but humbly accept who he is and what he has to give and say to us: about himself and his kingdom. Let us also encourage others to see Jesus as the only true Saviour: the only one who can really help them in the important areas of life. Even if it may not look that way on the surface.



His death on the cross is crucial for us all. His offering of forgiveness of sins is real power for life. His Word and Sacraments, though seemingly ordinary things of life, they do offer forgiveness, reassurance, strength, life and hope. There in Jesus Christ and his death and resurrection we have real important things for our life and our future.



That being the case, let us focus on him and these wonderful gifts he has come to offers to us and make possible for us. Let us continue to proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and King. Hosanna to the Son of David. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the Highest.

To him be all glory and honour, now and always.  AMEN



Pastor Roger Atze

Glandore/Underdale Lutheran Parish

Friday, March 31, 2017


Romans 8:6-11.                 Living death or life???                                    2/4/17



The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.

You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.



All three readings this morning are dealing with the issue of death and life. All three turn our worldly view of death on its head. In connection with God there is certainty of life in the face of death. There is hope and a future where there is death, when and where God determines. At the same time if we turn our backs on God and what he has to say, then he assures us that death in all its severity will be there for us both in this life and in eternity. So here we have a message that we surely will want to hear and ponder over. Here is a message that is absolutely vital for each one of us.



Now here we need to again remind ourselves why death is here in the first place. Many today, would suggest that it is just part of life in this evolutionary world. However again God’s Word is quite clear that God created this world perfectly. It was very good. Also we were created to live in a close personal, loving and obedient relationship with the Almighty God himself.



Sadly, humanity has chosen to disobey God, and to try and be god ourselves. We want to live by and for ourselves and what we think is right and good. God told us right from the beginning that if we do that we will die. Even though God made everything good he gave us the free will to be in relationship with him. He didn’t make us robots. Unfortunately, we have disobeyed him and now suffer the consequences.



Thankfully God did not leave us in that predicament, but has provided a way out. He sent his Son, Jesus Christ, into our world to take the punishment for our sin on himself, so that forgiveness of sins, life and salvation could be extended freely to each and every one of us.

But now the question is, do we want this salvation and life, and a restored relationship with God or not? Do we want this life in the face of death, or do we want to continue to live with death, here and in eternity? This is the challenging question for us today. We would like to think that we would, and have, said yes to this; but do we really want to take seriously the implications of this? Too often we want the life, but not the relationship with God.



This is the issue that God here addresses in this reading from Romans. And as we look around us in our society and even in the church we have many who a governed by the thinking of the world around about them. So death is the basis of their lives. They are forever chasing ‘life’ but finding and ending up with death. Very sad indeed.



Now when this reading speaks of flesh it means living with a worldly view of life which is centre simply on what me, myself and I want and what our world around considers is good. This puts us right back into the Garden of Eden and the Fall. God said do not do ….. and we choose to do that very thing, because we think it is good.



We read here from God’s Word: The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Can we not see this at work around us today: There are many in this country and in the media who are ‘hell bent’ on getting rid of Christianity and the God who stands behind it. Many Christians in this country today are being hounded out of their positions because they hold to what God and his Word says.



As a result, we have it reported that many Christians are more afraid of speaking out and standing up for their Christian values than in years gone by. More and more we are seeing Christians downplaying their connection to Jesus Christ and instead focussing on ethical and moral values that are less contentious. The further we are going the worse it is getting.



We also read that those whose minds are governed by the world do not submit to God’s law, nor can they do so. So we see today this huge effort to bring into our society those things that God tells us we should not do because they are not good. Here we only need to think of homosexuality, pornography, abortion, drugs, and many other things. The results are, lives that are trapped in death.



Sadly, even in the church we are seeing more and more an acceptance of things that God has clearly prohibited. We a changing and ignoring Scripture so that we can follow the worldly view around about us. The law is considered obsolete, because we do not want to submit to it. As in the paper presented for discussion this afternoon, there is a real disregard for a right and proper approach to God’s Word, so that it can be made to seem that God is quite okay with the move toward women pastors in our church.



But let us take note of what God’s Word says here. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. So when we follow the world and its thinking we are clearly told that God is not pleased. When people disregard his Word and disregard Jesus Christ and his death on the cross. God is not pleased.



Yes, God is a loving God, but he is also a God who looks to us to seek to submit ourselves to his law. We are not free to do as we please, when God has clearly stated that we are not do these things. Clearly he is not our Lord if we are not prepared to listen to and follow him.



Even when others outside the church who are in the realm of the flesh, are doing good thing, we are told they cannot please God. Again this is God speaking, even if we might like to think that they are good people. In God’s sight if we are not doing what we are doing in response to Jesus Christ and what he has done for us, then it is not pleasing to God.



However, we are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. When God’s Spirit lives in us our focus is in a completely different direction. We belong to Christ and so we look to him and follow him. At our baptism we have been joined to him and his death and resurrection for us.



We have God’s promise that his Spirit entered our lives at our baptism and has ever since then sought to help us to live according to God and his Word. He has entered our lives and points and leads to Jesus Christ. He has been actively trying to help us to live in a close personal relationship with our Lord. So with him our lives are focussed in a completely different direction to the world around about us.



The danger of course is that we turn our backs on this Spirit and do not allow him to do all of this for us. All too easily we can listen to the lies of the evil one and so once again be governed by the flesh. We can again turn to the idol of me, myself and I and so once again be overwhelmed by death.

So here again then The Spirit again is at work in our lives turning us again to Jesus Christ. He reminds us again that we have been baptised into Jesus’ death and resurrection. He tells us that Jesus is there in us so that we can again have and live in this new life that he has won for us.



And if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. Yes, we will still have our sufferings and death in this life; but when Christ lives in us we still have life. We have been assured that we are righteous, that is right with God, because he has forgiven us and assured us of life and salvation, through his death and resurrection. We have been thereby raised to new life.



 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. So we have there the certainty that with Christ living in us we have life even though we die. We too will be raised again to share eternity with him in heaven. There to live in a perfect relationship with him forever.



So with that we can now look to Jesus Christ and the cross and get on with life with confidence and certainty. We have his Spirit with us constantly reminding of the life that Jesus has made possible for us in the midst of the sin and death that we bring on ourselves. So we no longer need to be governed by the flesh and the death that comes with it. With Christ in us we have life in all of its fullness.



We can now submit ourselves to God’s law, knowing that it is good and right. What we have in the Bible can be relied upon with confidence. We can once more fully accept that everything written in the Bible is God’s inspired, inerrant and written word to us. Christ and his Word in us can be relied on with certainty.



So we can move forward boldly, placing our lives and our death in his hands. With him as Lord in our lives we know that all will work out for good. His Spirit will raise our mortal bodies, to be like his in glory. Will be able to live in a close personal relationship with him in heaven forever.

To him then be all glory and honour, now and always. AMEN.



Pastor Roger Atze

Glandore/Underdale Lutheran Parish