Messages from Pastor Raddatz

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Dear People of Mount Olive,

Grace, mercy and peace to you from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. These gifts from God are precious, especially during this time of battling a pandemic.

As we enter the fifth week of Lent, the message for today is titled "Worldly Eyes". We continue our focus of keeping our "EYES ON JESUS" during this season. When these titles were planned, I never thought we would not be able to meet, and we should not hug or shake hands or gather, but here we are.

God has allowed this season of "social distancing" and "self-quarantine" for some reason far above our understanding. What we can be assured of, is that nothing will separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39).

How are we to see the world during this time? The world has certainly lost its luster, hasn't it? We do not see the abundant supply that we are used to seeing on grocery store shelves. People are doing heroic work to care for others. Those who work with technology and biology are seeking solutions to assist in healing. On the negative side we are kept under strict protocols to prevent the spread of this disease. Kids are not in school but at home. No proms or sports. No plays or performances. What can we do?

During this time, we are called to be still and wait. The Psalmist proclaims, "BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD, I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth" (Psalm 46:10 NIV). Being still is not as easy as it looks. If you are inclined to be an extrovert and you get energy by being with others, the call to "be still" is a challenge. Some of you cannot be still if you wanted to be, because you are "necessary" to our society! Waiting is difficult. While we wait, we are to "know" that God is God. We are called to bow down before him. If we do not, we will be crushed. All of Psalm 46 is an intimate invitation from God that the almighty can be trusted. Not everyone responds to God with trust while being surrounded with anxiety!

Some people during Jesus' time looked at him with worldly eyes. They saw Jesus as "just" an itinerant teacher. They religious leaders saw him as a challenge to their status. When given a choice, the crowds could have asked for his release. Instead, the crowds at the trial of Jesus yelled "Crucify him, crucify him".

His heavenly Father, from his throne of judgement also yelled "crucify him". "Crucify Me", cried the obedient Son. St. John, in 1 John 2:17 said, "Whoever does the will of the God abides forever", and this first and foremost refers to Jesus himself. "...He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed" Isaiah 53:5.

It was necessary for God to send his son to die for our sins, because he wanted to save all the people in the world. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him will not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). Even though we feel like this virus is "crushing" to our daily life, God promises us this: "He saves those who are crushed in spirit" Psalm 34:18 (My summary). God also reminds us through 2 Corinthians 4:8-10, "WE ARE HARD PRESSED ON EVERY SIDE, BUT NOT CRUSHED; PERPLEXED, BUT NOT IN DESPAIR; PERSECUTED, BUT NOT ABANDONED; STRUCK DOWN, BUT NOT DESTROYED. We carry around in our body the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body (NIV)".

We continue to follow the directive of not gathering together for Sunday worship, so we hinder the spread of COVID-19. It is my hope and prayer that this message will bring you the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, keeping your (eyes and) heart in the one true faith, in Christ Jesus, to life everlasting, Amen.

Your Fellow Servant, in Christ,

John Raddatz, Vacancy Pastor

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020

Good Friday, April 10, 2020

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Sunday, March 22, 2020