Pastor Mark W. Love

A Message for You

July 26, 2012 // 0 Comments

Shouldn’t God expect our best? by PASTOR MARK W. LOVE St. Peter’s Lutheran Church Some children were playing with an old replica of Noah’s ark from VBS and all the animals in miniature. In their conversation about Noah, they remembered that Noah sacrificed some of the animals on the altar as a thank offering for God’s special love that called them, protected them, and delivered them from the great flood. So they decided that they would do same and, without mom or dad’s notice, they built a small fire and sacrificed their defective or broken toys: a camel that had no legs, a giraffe that had lost its head and neck, a boat with a broken hull. Now you may be smiling as I was when I heard this story. Smiling and thinking that it sounds just like kids. When a professor of mine finished telling this story to a church full of people, he smiled and said, “Cute kids, eh?” But then his smile faded and with a pondering face he asked, “Do you think God looks at our often defective and broken sacrifices—and smiles? Does the Lord God who says ‘Your lamb shall be without blemish [Exs 12:5],’ smile at our second rate, and often bottom-of-the-barrel offerings and says: ‘CUTE KIDS!’” Let’s look at it from a different perspective. How cute is it when a husband or a wife thinks, expects and lives for themselves in deference to and the neglect of the spouse they’re supposed to love? How cute it is when a parent spends the vast majority of their income and time on themselves to the neglect of the child they’re supposed to love and care for? How cute is it when a person will only talk with you when they need you to do something for them? So then the questions must be laid upon us: How cute is it when a believer thinks, expects and lives for themselves in deference to and the neglect of the Lord and Savior they’re suppose to love? How cute it is when a believer spends the vast majority of their income and time on themselves to the neglect of the church they’re supposed to love and care for? How cute is it when […]

A Message for You

May 10, 2012 // 0 Comments

One Truth or Many ‘Versions of Truth’ by PASTOR MARK W. LOVE St. Peter’s Lutheran Church As people who live with so much information and so much informed information provided by commentators and interpreters of anything and everything of our world, we are also a people left to decide whose version, interpretation and commentary of the facts are the truth. Our society today denies that there is one truth by which all things can be judged—there are only interpretations of it. While this can be a hassle, many people like it because it allows them to pick and choose those “versions of truth” that permit them to have what they want. In short: “Getting or keeping what I want or think is right will determine what is ‘truth’ for me.” Variations of truth and the acceptance of them are both born of selfishness. We only have to go to Adam and Eve to see this one real truth. There was God’s truth and Satan’s “version of truth”—selfishness led them to accept the “version of truth,” which is NO truth at all, that gave them what they wanted. Another important reason why we like to be able to pick and choose “versions of truth” is that the real and unyielding truth makes demands of us and it will always cost us something. Just as a person will adopt a certain “version of truth” to obtain something, this same person will also adopt the same or another “version of truth” to retain something. Consider the people who say, “It is such a big problem and I’m just one person, there is nothing I can do.” This “version of truth” allows them to obtain an excuse for their lack of participation, and it also allows them to retain their time, energy and money for their own use. The unbeliever uses the “version of truth” that says “religion is all a matter of interpretation, there is no way to know the truth.” This “version of truth” provides the individual with a reason not to listen or study the Word of God, and it has also allowed him or her to retain his or her ungodly life. In His high priestly prayer, Jesus asked God the Father to “sanctify them […]

A Message for You

October 13, 2011 // 0 Comments

Peace of Mind or Peace with God?  by PASTOR MARK W. LOVE St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, Rockford It is becoming more and more obvious that many of the ears of today are listening for the spiritual but are unable and therefore unwilling to hear the Gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ. What they would call a spiritual quest is in truth an emotional quest—cast in spiritual terms. The contours of both their spiritual struggles and the solution to them are determined purely by subjective feelings and sensations of peace and wellness. Michael Horton writes in Christless Christianity: “Once you make your peace of mind rather than peace with God the main problem to be solved in your life, the gospel becomes radically redefined,” (p. 39). Where the Gospel is redefined, so also must sin and sinfulness be redefined. What is forgotten in this quest for peace of mind or sense of wellness is the very captivity of the mind to sin, which is hostile to God (Rom. 8:7; Col. 1:21). If I as a sinner cannot make peace with God, why am I so easily deceived into believing I can make peace with myself? At this point, self has become the almighty I must answer to rather than God the Almighty. The deeper reality of this deception is that where I have made my own peace of mind or peace within the main issue and purpose of my life, there I have made my sinful self the god to whom I and all others must answer. Having made God in my own image, I must go in search of those preachers and pastors who will shepherd not me, but the things I have done, the things and people around me and what they do so that I may have peace of mind and a happy heart. Horton describes the sad consequence of this quest. “‘How can I, a sinner, be right with a holy God?’ is simply off the radar… Once the self is enthroned as the source, judge, and goal of all of life, the gospel need not be denied, because it is beside the point,” (p. 40). How gloriously merciful our Lord is in that He makes us new creations born not of […]

A Message for You

April 7, 2011 // 0 Comments

Going for the Highest Good by PASTOR MARK W. LOVE St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, Rockford “Silence is a text easy to misread.” These words taken from the “Quotable Quotes” in Reader’s Digest speak a great truth about the way people communicate with each other. The lack of communication in any relationship leaves those in the relationship to be guided by ignorance, assumptions and guesswork. The lack of honest and continuous communication is the chief cause for relationships to breakdown, whether in marriages, families, friendships or faith. Jesus Christ was born into the flesh for the purpose of accomplishing several things. One of the most important purposes was that God might speak to us in these latter days by His Son (Heb.1:2). This Jesus did and still does to make sure that there is no lack of honest and continuous communication from God to us. There is no silence on the part of God for us to misread. God offers us no reason for our relationship with Him to be guided by ignorance or guesswork and no reason for it to break down. This is not to say that God tells us all, that is, He tells us everything there is to know. God tells us all that is necessary for a vibrantly living faith life with Him. Let’s be clear, there are many areas where God would have us be ignorant, because our minds cannot grasp what He is able to do in every single thing, nor are we able to comprehend the “how” or the means through which He does things. God’s communication with us is living and fresh every day. While this seems hard to believe, we must remember, “The Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart,” Hebrews 4:12. As we approach the Holy Week it is important we do not travel with a “been there, done that” attitude. This journey is with the living and active Word of God, a Word that will speak with a freshness that is new every day. This God promises us “His mercies are new every morning,” Lamentations 3:22-23. Now if His […]

A Message for You — December 2, 2010

December 2, 2010 // 0 Comments

The Meaning of Christ’s Advent by PASTOR MARK W. LOVE St. Peter’s Lutheran Church  Henry Carter, a pastor and an administrator of a home for emotionally disturbed children, tells of an encounter he had one Christmas Eve that gave him a new insight on what Christ’s coming is all about. Henry was busy with last-minute preparations for the worship service, when one of the floor mothers came to say that Tommy had crawled under his bed and refused to come out. He arrived in the boy’s room with not a hair or a toe showing beneath it. So he talked to Tommy about the brightly lighted tree, the packages underneath it and the other good things that were waiting for Tommy out from under the bed. There was no answer. Still fretting about the time this was costing, Henry dropped to his hands and knees and lifted the spread. Two enormous blue eyes looked out at him. He could easily have pulled Tommy out, but it wasn’t pulling that Tommy needed—it was trust. So, crouched on all fours, Henry launched into the menu of the special Christmas Eve supper to be offered after the service. He told of the stocking with Tommy’s name on it, provided by the Ladies Aid. Silence. There was no indication Tommy heard or that he even cared about Christmas. At last, because he could think of no other way to make contact, Henry got down on his stomach and wriggled in beside Tommy, snagging his sport coat on the bedsprings on the way. He lay there with his cheek pressed against the floor for a long time. He talked about the big wreath above the altar and the candles in the window. He talked about the carols all the kids were going to sing. Then, finally running out of things to say, he simply waited there beside Tommy. After a bit, a small child’s chilled hand slipped into his. Henry said, “You know, Tommy, it is kind of close quarters under here. Let’s you and me go out where we can stand up.” As they slid out from under the bed, it was then, Henry said, that he had been given a glimpse of the wonder, the glory, and mystery […]

1 2