St. Paul's Evangelical

330 Highland Drive
Chicago Heights, Illinois 60411

Church Office: 708-754-4493

We go forward in Witness, Mercy, Life Together.

Sunday Worship Service
10:00 a.m.
 Sunday Adult Fellowship/Bible Study  
9:00 a.m.

Sunday School
 9:00 a.m.

 Christian Resources For You!


Message from the Pastor

pastor_croonSt. Paul's Ev. Lutheran Church
Pastor’s Column
August 2019

“Everyone Engaging the Entire
Community for Christ”

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Your presence, and take not Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. Psalm 51: 10 – 12

David was in anguish from his grievous sin (2 Samuel 12: 1 – 14). The words above echo David’s lament for his sin, seeking God’s restoration to be upon him, to once again revel in the joy of God’s salvation, and to lift up his spirit.

Like David, our sins from our past can gnaw away at us, they can break us down, they can paralyze us. Is there some unresolved guilt from your past that seems to haunt you, that causes you to lose sleep at night, or at times makes you feel so detached from others even when you are in a setting surrounded by loved ones? Have regrets from your past become more at the forefront of your thoughts as you grow older? My dear brothers and sisters in Christ at St. Paul’s, know that you are not alone if you are nodding your head and acknowledging, “Yes!” to any of the above questions posed to you. The person who can say, “No guilt, no shame, no regrets from days gone by,” is indeed a rare find. It’s how we handle sin and guilt from our past in moving forward that is critical in our lives as Christians, as His redeemed! We cannot avoid the responsibility of our sin, for if we do, the healing cannot begin. Rather, repentance is the only right preparation for the Gospel. In the Gospel of forgiveness, we are set free from our sins and made alive.

If we turn to God’s word, we see that Peter and Judas are two prime examples of handling their sin and guilt in two different ways. They both betrayed Jesus: Judas betraying him to the temple leaders, and Peter denying (denial is betrayal) Him three times, even after stating to Jesus that if everyone else fell away, he would never deny his Savior! Here is the key: Judas was clearly troubled that he had “messed up” rather than that he had betrayed his Savior. Judas had regret, but not   repentance: he had not humbled himself before God. Certainly, he regretted what he had done, but there is no evidence that he had repented. For Peter, he had hurt the Man he had come to know and love. It wasn’t that he had really “messed up big time,” but that he was truly, truly sorry he had hurt his Lord. Regret is self – focused, but repentance is God – focused!

May we move forward, then, in these summer weeks of August in first turning to God in true repentance (New Testament Greek, metanoia, a transformative change of heart), confessing our sins in all humbleness and humility. In doing so we present ourselves before God as we are: broken, helpless, hurting. It is then that by grace through faith imparted to us by our loving God who has called us to be His own, through the life giving blood of His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ, that our sins are truly forgiven and remembered no more. We have God’s word on that!

Yes, the consequences of our past sins often remain with us, as they did within David’s household. As difficult as those consequences may be to live with, may we know in true repentance that, “As far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12

As the barbeques continue, outdoor activities abound and the Cubs hopefully continue to move forward in this month of August, meet those past sins head on! Repent, and rejoice, your sins are forgiven! Go forth now in the peace of God, that peace that passes all understanding!

Pastor Croon