In August of 1530 Christians leaders from around what is now Germany in the Holy Roman Empire gathered for the Diet of August, that is, the Meeting at Augsburg. Representatives of the Holy Roman Empire, the Roman Catholic Church and Protestants assembled with the single goal of finding common ground and maintaining the unity of the church.
They faced external pressures for unity too. The advance of militant Islam into Europe required a unified response. Unity was the objective but that unity was not achieved among any of the groups.
Conspicuous by his absence was Dr. Martin Luther, who remained under the ban. In his place was the scholar Philip Melanchthon. Melanchthon served as the primary author of a document that detailed what the Protestants claimed was true theology.
The Roman Catholic Church representatives rejected this document out of hand. The Swiss Protestants also refused to sign it signally their acceptance.
Nevertheless the document continued to gain acceptance among “Lutherans” and was known as the Augsburg Confession. It became and still is the standard for defining the essential doctrines of the Lutheran interpretation of the Christian faith. The constitution of the AALC and of Emmanuel Lutheran Church both call out the Augsburg Confession as our standard statement of doctrinal truth.
Of course the Augsburg Confession stands under the final authority of Holy Scripture, the Word of God, and the “norming norm” for all doctrine, faith and life.
A copy of the Augsburg Confession is in our Church library and in Pastor Tim’s library for your perusal.
This year marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, identified as that time when Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Church. Please take a moment to review the large display copy of the 95 Theses on the wall of the Fellowship Hall.
We send our thanks to DeWayne Kalista for donating this copy.
Pastor Tim Cartwright
The Epiphany Season Upon Us
Epiphany Season, part of the Christmas cycle of the church year, takes us through most of January and February, up to Jesus’ Transfiguration. Based on the story of the Wise Men from the East who received God’s Message of the new born King through the sign of a star, the season emphasizes God’s Good News that His love and gift of eternal life are for all people who are strangers to God.
We too can come from afar to bow down and worship the King. We, like the Wise Men, can offer our gifts and our lives to King Jesus.
Epiphany is about more than people following the star of God’s Word that leads us to Christ. Epiphany is about the God who comes to us, who reveals or makes Himself known to us. As a young person I was raised in a devout Christian home, for which I am grateful. I believed in God, but I did not yet know God personally. At the right time God revealed Himself to me in a personal way. I came to know and love God because He made the journey from heaven to earth for me.
God has made that journey for each of us. He knows you by name. He loves you and desires to have a personal relationship with you. In His Word He calls to you. In your heart He calls to you. He reveals Himself to you so you can know Him. This is the theme of Epiphany.
Pastor Tim Cartwright
The Church, like the world, has an annual calendar. It is based on the life of Christ.
It begins with the Christmas season (December 25-January 5) that celebrates the birth of Jesus. The Advent season, (late November- December 24) prepares us for the coming, or advent, of God.
The Epiphany season, (beginning January 6) highlights the story of the Wise Men who came to Christ and teaches us that Christ came for all people.
The second cycle of the church year is based on Jesus’ innocent suffering, death and His resurrection. It revolves around the Easter celebration and includes Lent and Holy Week. In the early church Lent would be a time for baptismal and confirmation candidates to prepare themselves. It is a season for repentance and reflection.
The third cycle is the Pentecost season. This is the day the Holy Spirit was poured out on the believers and God began to grow His Church.
The Liturgical calendar directs our themes for our worship services and our choices for the Scripture lessons read during worship.
We will be starting a new church year November 27, with the lighting of the Advent Wreath and the singing of a new Advent song. Come and turn your heart to Jesus in Spirit-inspired worship.
Pastor Tim Cartwright
All Saints’ Sunday will be observed on November 6 this year. It is a time to remember God’s Saints who have completed their labors and gone on before us. In our family we remember Carolyn’s parents, Roger and Nell, and my Father, Andrew. Carolyn remembers her brother, Roger Jr., and we both thank God for aunts and uncles.
In Church on November 6 we will give each person a white, cloud-shaped paper to record the names of their loved ones who have gone on before them. Hebrews 12 calls these saints a “cloud of witnesses.” We will read each name and toll the bell for them.
It is our belief that their faithful witness inspires fidelity in our hearts and lives. For two weeks I will share stories of obedient saints who by their lives modeled God’s way for us.
See you then.
Pastor Tim Cartwright
Nearly 500 years ago Martin Luther nailed 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenburg Church. They expressed 95 points Luther wanted to debate about established Roman doctrine. Luther hoped to engage the merits of his arguments with other scholars at the University. God had another plan.
Luther did not get his debate, but his message did get dispersed across the country side. A copy of the 95 Theses made its way into the hands of a printer. This was era of the beginning of the printing press, a marvel not unlike the beginning of the internet. God used the printing press to spread the ideas of Martin Luther.
Luther’s teachings were radical to that generation but they were not new, nor were they his own ideas. They came to us from God, revealed in Holy Scripture. The Bible declared the good news that God, our Creator, was personally aware of our human predicament. He knew we were broken and lost, He knew that we were doomed to eternity apart from Him.
The Bible revealed God’s love and care for us. It revealed God’s solution for our guilt. God would bear our judgment in the person of His only Son, Jesus. Through Jesus’ suffering and death God’s salvation was offered to all people as free gift (Ephesians 2:8,9). While we cannot earn or merit His salvation we can receive it when we turn from our own direction for life and trust Jesus to be our Savior.
The Roman Church at that time required penance (and perhaps payment) before dispensing God’s grace. Those who could not pay the price were (supposedly) consigned to Hades, a netherland of punishment somewhere between heaven and hell.
Luther’s Biblical assertion that heaven was a free gift contradicted the authority of popes and councils and undermined the church’s fundraising efforts. At the Diet of Worms in 1521, Luther took his unwavering stand (“Here I stand . . .”). One man stood against the Roman Church. One man stood against the Holy Roman Empire. Luther could make this courageous stand because he stood on the firm ground of the inspired, inerrant and infallible Word of God, the Bible. Through Martin Luther God brought reformation to His Church.
We boldly declare, with our fellow congregations of the AALC, that the Bible is God’s inspired, inerrant and infallible Word. In a world lost in the darkness of self-centeredness God’s revelation points us to a life that is beyond ourselves.
Happy Anniversary Emmanuel!
Stand fast on God’s Word. There is a world in need of this Word.
Tim Cartwright, Pastor
Emmanuel Lutheran Church
As I write this I am reminded that today, June 6, is the anniversary of D-Day. Operation Overlord was the largest amphibian assault in our history. That day, carried by 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft, the allies initiated an attack at the beaches of Normandy, France to liberate northwest Europe, then occupied by the invading German army. Nine thousand allied soldiers were either killed or wounded that day. We express our gratitude to the many soldiers who stormed those beaches. Their service protected our liberties.
We face a new kind of assault on our liberties. It is not a military assault, this occupying force is a shift of social conventions, those boundaries to behavior that mark proper and decent conduct in a civilized society. For centuries Biblical values informed and shaped the conventions of Western Civilization. The Church was the institution that, in combination with the parents, was the teacher of honorable values and ideals. Now the Church is viewed by much of society as the oppressor of free expression.
These new social conventions have swept through America primarily by judicial fiat and bureaucratic decree and they are redefining person hood (who has the right to life), marriage, sexual identity and the freedom to practice our faith in the pubic square. The allies of WWII responded to the occupying force with a united military assault. King Jesus, the Lord of the Kingdom of God, calls upon us to “stand” and to “withstand” and to “stand firm” (Ephesians 6).
We are not to compromise God’s values with the social conventions of this humanistic world. While we stand fast Jesus also teaches us to move forward, He says we should “love one another” (John 13). We can and shall welcome our neighbors at Emmanuel. It is our privilege to serve them and accept them and at the same time to hold onto the values and ideals of the Kingdom of God as revealed in Holy Scripture. We can invite our neighbors to turn their hearts to Jesus and trust Him to be their Savior and Lord. Jesus is the true Liberator.
Pastor Tim Cartwright
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!
I have often shared the heartfelt story told to me by a fellow pastor. It is based on a story from the life of his friend and fellow pastor who walked this journey.
It was a clear, cold Easter morning. The pastor greeted the worshipers as they entered the narthex of the church for the Easter Sunrise Service. He was keeping watch for his daughter who was beginning spring break at college and planned to drive home to meet her family for the Easter Sunrise Service. “She should be here by now,” he thought to himself. Still, no sign of her. He continued to greet the arriving worshipers. “Why does she always cut schedules so close?” he wondered. The organist began playing the prelude, service would start soon and though more cars were entering the parking lot none of them resembled her car. “Well,” he thought, “I guess she’ll be late.” He turned his gaze from the parking lot but not before he caught site of a patrol car driving up to the sanctuary. An officer in uniform exited the car. “Hmm,” he thought, “this is different, a man in uniform coming to Sunrise Service.”
But, of course, he was not coming as worshiper. He approached the pastor, who greeted and welcomed him. “Are you Rev. So and So?” asked the officer. “Yes,” replied the pastor. “I’m sorry to bring you this news, but your daughter has been a car crash. She apparently fell asleep and drove off the road. I’m sorry to tell you but she did not survive the crash.
His whole world collapsed around him. His head, his heart swirled aimlessly. Was it true? Was it possible? His beautiful daughter, his daughter who was so full of life and energy, was now gone? She had plans, hopes, a whole life of living to do! And now she gone, just like that? It was too much to imagine, yet it was true.
Suddenly he realized he was late in beginning the Sunrise Service. How could he lead a worship service in his state of mind and while bearing this unbearable news?
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!
That hope was suddenly more personal and powerful than it had ever been. He had lost his daughter for this world but not for eternity. Christ was her unshakeable hope for everlasting life, and his hope too.
Do you have the assurance of everlasting life? Jesus died and was raised that we, by faith, may be sure of our hope of eternal life. Turn to Jesus and trust Him. Christ is Risen!
Pastor Tim Cartwright
February 22 is the National Holiday, historically called President’s Day on behalf of our Founding Father and first president, President George Washington, whose birthday is in February. Of late the name has been called Presidents’ Day on behalf of President Abraham Lincoln, whose birthday is also in February, and as a way of recognizing all our presidents.
Let me reflect, for a moment on President Washington and his 1796 Farewell Address. President Washington was an overwhelmingly popular figure who had led the patriots against a “foreign” enemy. He was seen as the leader who could unify the our disjointed government and bind together the states of this new, fragile union. His election was the symbol of our united hopes for a new kind of nation later described by President Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address as, “government of the people, by the people and for the people.”
So first let us recognize that after eight years as president and now with many detractors, President Washington was still so popular many hoped he would run for a third term (the was no constitutional limit at this time). There was even unground support for making him a king or royal leader for life. Instead Washington bowed out of leadership, saying, “I should now apprise you of the resolution I have formed, to decline being considered among the number of those out of whom a choice is to be made (for president).” Remember, this was the first time that the leader of any nation had stepped down to allow for a peaceful transition of leadership. Like the man, this transition was remarkable. It served as the model for all following presidents (F.D. Roosevelt alone ran for and was elected three times, but did not serve out his third term).
Now to my main point, Washington’s description of the role of religion in our nation.
First, Washington declares that there is an important role for religion in our government and our nation, “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens.”
What is this vital role that is played by faith? First, Washington declares that there is a “volume . . . (of) connections” between religion and “public felicity.” Then he speaks of this one, “Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life” without “the sense of religious obligation.” Further, he states, “let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion.”
His point is not to imbue government or society with one Christian denomination or another, even with one religion or another. Rather, he declares that government and civil society cannot function (that is, respect private property, honor reputations, or care for life) without the direction and eternal motivation of religion. Religion plays an indispensable role in government and civil society informing it of values and supporting the observance of those values.
Today we are watching the drawn-out transition to elect a new president. Many of the candidates give religion a nod of approval, some are devoutly religious. But what is the role of religion in America? Our public education system has banned religion (and I’m speaking of more than a ban on prayer in the schools). Our courts have turned their back on the religious underpinnings of the nation’s system of laws. Our media has scoffed at religion’s role in the public square. The result of this new attitude, according to Washington, will be the demise of morality: the confiscation of private property (wealth or income), and neglect of respect for life.
On this Presidents Day, as we ponder our choices for leadership and as we live out our values in the public square, let us remember the values and ideals of our highly regarded first president, President George Washington, and allow God’s values to shape our morality.
Pastor Tim Cartwright
This 2016 season of Epiphany we say goodbye to one of our dear members and friends, the Rev. Dr. Norm Lund. Norm was gifted by God, blessing our church denomination, the AALC, as a professor in our seminary and blessing our local church, Emmanuel, by encouraging us, singing on the praise team, teaching God’s Word, and by supporting me in my role as pastor. We will miss you deeply, Norm. We’re aware of how much his lovely bride, Judy, will also miss Norm so we want to surround her with love.
In January we will begin our financial support of Bob and Cheryl Fox as Missionaries to Niger, Africa. This is a major financial responsibility and a high calling from the Lord. I am proud to be the pastor of Emmanuel, a church God will use support the extension of His Kingdom.
The season of Epiphany is part of the Christmas Cycle (Advent-Christmas-Epiphany). Epiphany is a Greek word which means, “to shine” and we use it to declare that in His Word God shines His light on the work He has done for us to reveal His love and mercy for us. You can find the space in your heart and the time in your life to daily open and read the Word of God through 2016 and discover His revelation for you.
In January we honor The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a prophet of God who was used by God to call America to treat all people with respect and high regard and without reference to the color of their skin. As with many prophets from the Biblical era, he gave his life in service to God and country. May we dedicate our lives to following the teaching of the Lord as proclaimed by Dr. King.
In February, on Valentine Sunday, we will hear the story of St. Valentine and learn how God used him to display the Love of the Lord to this broken world. After worship there will be a Valentines’ Potluck Lunch in the fellowship hall.
This month we will show God’s love for one another through a Secret Angels Program. You may sign up to support another person by praying for that person, by writing notes or cards of encouragement, and if you so desire, by making or purchasing a small gift of encouragement. This program will run for four weeks.
Standing Fast in the Joy of the Lord,
Pastor Tim Cartwright
My phone rang. How inconvenient! I was in the middle of a visit with a dear Emmanuel couple.
My rule is to not answer calls in this kind of setting, but it was a long distance call from a number I didn’t recognize.
So I excused myself, broke my rule and answered the call. It turned out to be a sales call!
In the midst of our busy days, our sometimes hectic lives, our priorities and our quiet moments, God calls. His call is long distance, from heaven above; from eternity; and from our hearts.
He calls to interrupt us, to rouse us. “There is work to be done! It is work of eternal significance. It has life and death implications.” Do you hear this call? Will you answer?
Bob and Cheryl Fox have heard the call, and they have answered by faith. God has called them to leave Emmanuel, and I for one (among many) will miss them when that day comes. They will be going to Niger, Africa.
They will be members of a team that is reaching out to Muslims with the Good News that salvation is not earned by our good works, it is a free gift from God to all who submit themselves to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
With their call God extends a Call to Emmanuel Lutheran Church. We are their Sending Church, their home church, and we are called to become one of their main sources of support. This will not be a cheap line item added to our budget. It is $6000 a year, or $500 a month worth of commitment.
This is the dollar amount God has guided us to propose to the congregation for approval. There is only one way to meet this high calling. We will need to answer the Call of God by rearranging priorities, by reordering spending habits. God’s people are called to Sacrifice. Jesus says to us, “. . . to be My disciple you must deny yourself and take up your cross . . .” (Mark 8:34).
That means that for those who hear and answer the Call there will be changes in our lifestyle, changes in our consumptive lifestyle. Part of what we are spending on ourselves for creature comforts will be re-allocated to the service of the Lord.
The happy news is that God has enough confidence in the people of Emmanuel to extend this privileged call to us. When we hear and answer God’s Call we will be investing in God’s eternal Kingdom and there will be eternal benefits.
As your Pastor, I invite you to sit before the Lord and listen to His still, small voice in your hearts. Is He calling to you make a pledge or commitment to this missionary work? The phone is ringing, you can answer it.
Pastor Tim Cartwright
Men's Fellowship BreakfastStarts: 8:00 amEnds: December 2, 2017 - 9:00 amLocation: The Bridge Deli & Coffee Co., East 11th Street, Bremerton, WA, United States
Men's Fellowship BreakfastStarts: 8:00 amEnds: January 6, 2018 - 9:00 amLocation: The Bridge Deli & Coffee Co., East 11th Street, Bremerton, WA, United States
Men's Fellowship BreakfastStarts: 8:00 amEnds: February 3, 2018 - 9:00 amLocation: The Bridge Deli & Coffee Co., East 11th Street, Bremerton, WA, United States