Pastor Bruenger's Messages
September Message from Pastor Bruenger
He Does All Things Well
Really? When we look at our broken world and remember that God is in control, how can we say, “He does all things well?” If He does all things well, it would make sense that the news would indicate improvement, less hatred, less murder, and less war. But the bad news seems to increase. We even have people fighting over masks. It seems that many are willing to trust the words of those who have no expertise over those who are well qualified. One of my professors at the seminary would often say, “Every fool has a following.” I cannot help but think of him every time I hear or read of some of the things that are portrayed as truth; but have no basis in fact. How can we say, “He does all things well?”
One of our problems is that we seem to be able to blame God for all problems. “God, why don’t you do something to straighten everything out?” In reality, it is people who are to blame. If the old nature within us is allowed to reign, what can we expect but chaos. In reality, God is doing something about it. He has been doing His good work from the beginning, including after the fall. He is working to change hearts, which is really where lasting change take place. My father used to say, “You cannot legislate morality.” His words ring true as we people attempt to force what we believe is right. In Christ, true change takes place, all by the grace of God. In Christ, God is at work in this world as those with changed hearts care and share on a daily basis.
To those that say, “Where is Christ in this fractured world?” We answer, In the hands, the feet, and the mouths of that great band of Christ’s people, motivated by the cross and resurrection, who serve every day in homes, businesses, hospitals, nursing homes, performing community service, etc. Just being what God has made them.
This world will never be a utopia. We have that to look forward to in heaven. Until then, don’t loose heart. “He does all things well.”
August Message from Pastor Bruenger
Forward in Mission
O Lord, how long must we suffer under the threats of sickness and death from this pandemic? Here we go again, another surge. This time the virus strikes the young as well as the elderly. Within this past week a Dr. being interviewed on public radio was asked how long it might be before this pandemic is under control. His answer was far from encouraging. He suggested that there likely will be seasonal surges for the next five years. The virus mutates. The challenges of getting enough vaccine in the arms of the world population is enormous. If he is correct the normal of a couple of years ago will likely not return.
The question of God’s people is, how do we react to this ever-changing world? Will we react with fear, despair, and a longing for a return to a previous time of what we thought was normal? Or will we accept the reality of what it is, as we remember our freedom in Christ calls us to continual thanksgiving, worship, and service? In all circumstances, God’s people are to proclaim the Gospel of Christ through a caring and sharing ministry. Even though the normal of this world changes, God does not. His love, power, and guidance remain constant. His mission does not change, nor does ours.
As I write this, Prince of Peace has just called Pastor Sundquist to be its pastor. It is our prayer that he does accept. If he does, his ways will not be my ways. His ways, while respecting the past could very well be quite different than the established practice at POP. Change can be frightening. It can be exciting as the prospect of renewed forward movement in mission and ministry is possible.
Among our prayers are those for Pastor Sundquist and his family, that God would guide him as he considers his calls. He does have two, one to his present congregation and one to POP. We desire that God’s will be done. We trust God’s wisdom.
July Message from Pastor Bruenger
July 1, 2021
Praise the Lord Prince of Peace
Praise the Lord Prince of Peace, words from the theme song artfully crafted by Donna for Restore His House. We do have reason to Praise the Lord:
- For freedom from slavery to sin, death, and given the promise of heaven given to us simply by the grace of God in Jesus Christ.
- For the gift of one another as we unite in worship and service, caring and sharing the love of Christ.
- For the uniqueness of each individual, joining together knowing that what is lacking in one is found in another.
- For living in the land of the Free and Home of the Brave. Free to worship openly, free to tell The Story.
- For $135,000 in pledges received thus far, given in gratitude and received in gratitude.
This list is far from complete. There is so much more. So much more as we live in this temporal kingdom as members of the Eternal Kingdom. As members of the Eternal Kingdom, we rejoice in the freedom that is not dependent upon living in a free land. As St Paul writes, “If the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.” In his day some believed that freedom in Christ gave them license to say or do whatever they pleased. But their citizenship in Christ’s Eternal Kingdom freed them to be responsible citizens of the temporal kingdom. So, it is with us. As members of both kingdoms, we express our relationship with Christ by respecting those in authority over us, obeying laws, paying taxes, upholding the rights of each individual, etc.
Temporal kingdoms are filled with division and controversy. The author of a recent article indicated that Christians have in the past been a uniting influence in a divided world. It was his observation that often in America today that is not the case, but that many had adopted the ethics of the world where power and dominance prevail. Some wonder, “Is there no hope?” Yes, there is. We are citizens of Christ’s Kingdom who do make a positive difference in this temporal kingdom as we care and share within the walls of POP and outside in the community of this world. We remember that all people are created by God and deserve our respect, honor and care. Citizens of Christ’s Kingdom do not have all the answers to the problems of this world, but we can listen and learn from one another. We can be what God has already made us.
Praise the Lord Prince of Peace
Handling Sacred Things
“The whole earth is mine, but you shall be to me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation,” Exodus 19:5, 6. Dr. Harry Wendt wrote, “In referring to them as a priestly kingdom, God did not mean that they were to do nothing but perform rituals in the Tabernacle and Temple. They were to live under God as their King and serve him as priests in all they did.” In other words, a priest is a person who handles sacred things going to God for the good of others and from God for the good of others.
What are the sacred things that God’s people handle? “The whole world is mine” says our Lord. Nothing is excluded. This really takes a shift in thinking. The natural thought is that this world is ours to handle as we see fit. Rather than takers we become managers of the whole of life and its resources, participating in his creative work.
During our worship services each week there have been “Stewardship Moments” placing an emphasis on the Biblical understanding of stewardship. When we properly understand our role as priests, our vision as stewards is expanded beyond the walls of a church building. Care for one another, spouse, children, the aged, the hurting, the list goes on and on. Add into the mix caring for the earth that it might be sustained for generations to come. The list is extensive and can easily become exhausting as we seek to faithfully handle sacred things. It is important to remember that you and I are among the sacred things that belong to God. Remembering to properly care for ourselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually is also included in stewardship.
Why mention these things when POP is beginning a capital campaign? Aren’t we going to be talking about money? Yes, and that is something we need to do, Jesus certainly did not hesitate. Contributing above and beyond regular contributions will be encouraged that together, we might further the work of caring for sacred things among us and beyond the walls of our building. After all, doesn’t money already belong to God. We just handle it for a while.
In His Service and Yours,
FREE TO DO GOD'S THING
There is a Chinese proverb that states: “When a butterfly flaps its wings in China, it affects the weather patterns around planet earth.” I am not sure that can be demonstrated scientifically. I am willing to accept that it is a possibility. I do understand that the proverb expresses the truth that what we do affects the larger community at the local, national, and international level.
At Easter, and every Sunday (a little Easter) we celebrate our freedom through Christ. One might interpret that to mean we are free to live as we want. What it does mean, is that we are free from sin, death, and the power of Satan. It also means that we are called by God to be responsible and to be willingly and deliberately serving one another. In each of the congregations, I have served, there have always been those who gave of themselves, often in simple quiet ways, so that others, might know they are loved and cared for. Prince of Peace Is no different. There is a sense of “that’s what we do here.” What we do here goes beyond our walls, beyond Topeka, beyond our nation’s borders, even stretching to the other side of the world. Visiting the sick, encouraging the discouraged, the prayers of the home bound, providing meals to brighten Easter celebrations (19 such meals were prepared and delivered by POP loving hands this Easter season) sends the message, “We care and God cares.” Providing a preschool that stresses the love of Christ has the potential of positively affecting more than the children and parents; but in this day of international travel someone on the other side of the globe.
There are exciting days ahead for Prince of Peace. What the future will bring will be revealed. We do know that what is done in service today, supports the proclamation of the living Christ far into the future.
In His service and yours,