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Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

 

Over the last several years, numerous books have been published that highlight the theme of 21st century Christians living in a post-Christian world.  Declining church attendance and influence in culture has prompted some gloomy predictions for the future.  We now openly speak of Christians as “exiles” living in a foreign culture.  For many, we long for the good old days when Christianity and culture seemed to be closely aligned.  Statistically based predictions are being offered that put genuine fear into the hearts of the faithful; noting the almost  numerically presumed end of the organized church in certain locations around the world. 

The reality is far from that!  It’s the greatest time ever to be a part of the Body of Christ!  This is our time to impact the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Yes, we are living in many places as “exiles;” however, so was the early church.  Look what happened through them. There was a passion to be salt and light in the world.  Literally, the church was transforming the culture around it!  So can we today!  Let’s be the church that Christ has given us the privilege of being in the 21st century.  Through our vocations and daily witness, let the world see the love of Christ in our thoughts, words, and deeds.  Jesus tells us in the Sermon on the Mount, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matt. 5:16)  In First Peter, we are exhorted with these words, “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which are against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.”

Former President Harry Truman once said, “A pessimist is one who makes difficulties of his opportunities and an optimist is one who makes opportunities of his difficulties.” The Christian Church has been entrusted with a life transforming message for our age.  People everywhere are hurting and in need of hope.  God has given us the ultimate message of hope for hurting souls.  Let’s joyously live as “exiles” in our culture.  Let us know full well that God is working through our gospel message to transform lives and literally reshape our culture.

We are living in the greatest of times!  Let’s be salt and light in a world that needs what we  treasure:  Jesus Christ, our Risen Savior and Lord!

Blessed Easter Season my fellow Exiles,

Pastor Michael McFarland

pastormcfarland@elcsmail.org