The Rev. Thomas Nibbe
Sunday, August 22, 2021
Welcome to Holy Cross Lutheran Church
in Pacifica on the Coast…noted…
faith is knowing there is an ocean
because you’ve seen a brook…
(William A. Ward)
During the pandemic SpiritCare Ministry
for Seniors continues significantly to reach
out to hundreds of grateful seniors in the
San Francisco Bay Area – mindfully, carefully –
with a powerful message of sharing the good
news that God is present, providing confidence
and deep inner peace to those most at risk!
Rejoice in the Lord always,
and again I say, Rejoice!!!
Faith isn’t trying to believe in something
regardless of the evidence. Faith is daring to
do something regardless of the consequences…
Congratulations Warren and Carolyn Hultberg
on occasion of the 62nd Wedding Anniversary!!!
The heart of our community—worship & fellowship—the Hultbergs
rejoice in blessing the 62 years of Holy Matrimony 08/21. Wow!
Thank you, Carolyn and Warren, for your generosity to all of us
at Holy Cross Lutheran Church, in addition, ministry with the
Gideons, and with activities in Pacifica and our SF Bay Area.
SPECIAL PRAYERS of healing this morning for Dan Cinti,
Larry Jorgensen, Anthony Unger, Diane Ruiz, Carolyn Hultberg,
Andy Zanetti, Don Karstedt, Priscilla Nibbe, Heidi de Joie,
Brandon Allgood, Anna Carias, Patrick Thompson.
Worry is an old man with bended head,
carrying a load of feathers
which he thinks are lead.
It’s the 22nd of August of 2021…
Grace and peace! As these are indeed trying times,
dangerous as uncertain, we maintain cautious demeanor…
we experience disappointment and confusion…and as we do…
we willfully place our concerns into the hands of a loving,
compassionate God, revealed in the life and humanity of the
Lord Jesus. We don’t know what the future holds, but we
do know who holds the future. Focus in upon the Lord.
We remain steadfast. We are confident in our God.
ALL-TIME LUTHERAN RECORD FOR LONGIVITY IN
CONFIRMATION INSTRUCTION (without a single doubt)
Miss. Alana Schoenbrun Update
Congratulations to the lady noted as being the youth having the longest tenure in Confirmation
Class at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Pacifica, California, and the Lutheran Church, no matter
the Synod. Alana Schoenbrun was a student with Pastor Nibbe for eight years. Confirmation
never stopped. For almost a decade Pastor remembers working with Alana — the result — Bible
insight and knowledge, theological perspective, and lots of jelly beans! Attending California State
University, Pomona, for four years, Alana has graduated with honors. We’re all proud of you!
Congratulations, Alana! You’re spiritual, intelligent and you possess a great personality.
Best wishes for the great things in the years to come for you…and your family , Alana!
Selfishness is the only real genuine atheism…
aspiration, unselfishness is the only true religion.
Those people who are not governed by God
will be governed by those people who are tyrants.
…the question of bread
is a material question…
…the question of bread
for my neighbor
is a spiritual question…
I’d never discarded beliefs deliberately.
I just left them in the drawer, and after
a while, there was nothing there at all.
(William Graham Sumner)
…faith isn’t an idea the mind possesses…
…it’s an idea that possesses the mind…
“…choose for yourselves this day whom
you will serve, whether the gods of your
forefathers served beyond the River, or
the gods of the Amorites, in whose land
you are living…but as for me and my
household, we will serve the Lord…”
“…the righteous cry out and the Lord hears
them…He delivers them from their problems…
the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and
saves those who are crushed in spirit…a
righteous person may have many problems
but Lord delivers that person from them all…”
“…for our struggle is not against flesh and blood,
but against the rulers, against the authorities,
against the powers of this dark world and against
the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms…”
“…Simon Peter answered Jesus,
‘Lord, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life…
We believe and know that
you are the Holy One of God…”
Would you pray with me?
Who was it who said…”Christianity is too much
of a burden?” We want to acknowledge your
wisdom for our lives, Lord. We want to thank
you for drawing up the tenuous strings of life and
allowing our lives to function so efficiently and
so fearlessly that we are able to abide by the
very very true realities of daily living and at the
same time live confidently with joy and deep
pervasive inner peace. Yes, Lord…Shalom!
Thank you that the Gospel is good news, and
not yet, another expose providing more advice
to us. You are worthy of our praise.
In your name.
the message for today
Two children were overheard talking about the death
of their grandmother. The 5-year old girl was asking
her 7-year old brother how…
“…Grandma went to God…”
“Well”, said the boy, “…it happened this way. First,
for a long, long time Grandma reached up, and up, and
up…as far as she could…then…at the same time, for a
long time…God reached down, and down, and down…
when their hands touched each other, He took her…”
How humbling! God reaches down to us, as we
reach up to Him. (Sometimes God reaches down
even though we don’t reach up to Him [Acts 9].)
How profound children are without trying so very
hard to be so. Children I’ve known in my life
have done a lot better job of describing what
happens in a faith-based relationship with God
than a lot of professional theologians I have
known and studied under. I’ll prefer to let the
kids speak for God’s love, and define it, every
time along the way. Sometimes the rest of us
just try too hard to explain “exactly” what fits.
This children’s sketch is a profound one covered
within the context of the simple dialogue of children.
…as we reach up…God reaches down. God stoops.
(…that time the seminary professor got it right…)
The Lord’s not trying real hard to please us, as a
result of basic instability of character…pleading to
be loved in response to His initiative of love…He
simply commits Himself in advance so we know
that that love is not conditional…because every
other thing in life is. Finally the buck stops here.
We can depend upon the thought that all else
in life can fail us. God’s love will never fail us.
I remember the Norwegian-American guy from
Wisconsin years back who had such a hard time
with his Lutheran church and pastor, because he
couldn’t earn God’s love and achieve eternal
salvation by his own personal excellence. After
all…he was intelligent, generous, handsome,
capable, and funny. He was constantly frustrated
by this notion of God’s grace…Indeed…he had to
earn everything to deserve it. After all, he was the
envy of all the Scandinavians in town…
God reaches down out of love. Unconditionally.
“…for God so loved the world that He gave His only
begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall
not perish, but have everlasting life…for God did not
send His Son into the world to condemn the world,
but to save the world through Him…”
Tina Turner sang about love being a “four-letter word”.
I suppose it is for a lot of people. Indeed, if we were
to depend upon the response in love of human beings
alone, we’re in trouble. We need to know about
God’s unfailing love to have the confidence we need
to lead a normal, as well as an extraordinary life.
Human love alone exists, but human love fails. We
need divine love. That’s why God’s love is essential
in order to have a substantial and solid existence as
human beings, based upon a fail-safe model.
The bottom-line for those of us seeking to lead a
a successful life is a dependence upon God’s unfailing
love. It just doesn’t fail us. I remember the African-
American minister at Mount Calvary Baptist Church
in Oakland, California, some years back proclaiming,
“…there is no failure in God…!!!” The notion stuck.
There are those who think that God doesn’t reach
down, because He doesn’t exist. There are those
who think that God doesn’t reach down, because
He doesn’t care anymore. Sometime back in their
view, He lost interest…or got disgusted…or “just
got plain tired” because of the disregard of the
human race for the One who created the universe
and planet earth. They call these people “Deists”.
Benjamin Franklin was one them. He believed in
God, but thought God gave up on His Creation.
That changed surprisingly when Ben demanded
that there be prayer prior to the Constitutional
Convention in Philadelphia. Something snapped
with Franklin when he wanted something so bad
he was willing to give up on a false ideology.
There are those who think that God is bored
with us and has come to seek and create new
ground elsewhere. The notion is: somewhere there
are beings who are more interesting than us.
(Now I get that, but I think not.) Finally, there are
those who think that God is out to punish them,
and most likely, because they deserve it. I’m one
of those at times, but this notion is, of course, false.
You know, we don’t always know what to think
about how a loving God could allow the things
that happen in our lives…by that I mean…we all
have experiences that cause to wonder if God is
really in charge in the world and in our lives. If
He is God, He is in charge. Is He not responsible
for the bad things that happen to us?
I’ll admit. It is a mystery, but a mystery revealed
in a sense, at least, to my way of thinking. My
frustration, confusion, and anger regarding the
issues of life in an imperfect world. We can
complain, and gripe, and stew…but it won’t get
us anywhere. You can go ahead and knock your
head up against a stone wall, but it will injure
you, and do no good. The answer lies in the
divine wisdom of the Holy Spirit in Saint Paul’s
Letter to the Romans:
“…and we know that in all things God works for
the good of those who love Him, who are called
according to His purpose…” (Romans 8:28)
We see things from our personal perspective until
we encounter “God’s methodology” in Scripture.
When we are in Christ Jesus, we don’t encounter
good days and bad days, good circumstances and
bad circumstances. We receive all things in life
trusting that God knows what He is doing in our
lives. Like the praise song, “…we bring a sacrifice
of praise into the House of the Lord…” When we
posit that God is at work in the midst of pleasant and
unpleasant experiences we also come to understand
that we can trust that He is at work, diligently, in the
darkest of moments and the most tragic of events.
To me it’s a radical spiritual notion. It works especially
when you or I have to deal with seemly impossible
and terribly overwhelming situations. Above all else
it is an unique biblical idea which overcomes the world.
So from here, what are we supposed to do?
I love it. William Holland reflects upon the answer
Dr. Martin Luther gave to this notion of God’s grace
in all circumstances…”What are we supposed to do?”
Having laid the foundation of faith, relax and enjoy life.
The Gospel is Good News. Not advice.
William Holland declares in the midst of a
seeming impossible situation that had
“…my chains fell off…my heart is free…”
Sister. Brother. Take on life. Be successful.
Know it in advance.