Divine Call Deliberation Announcement

Beloved in the Lord Jesus Christ,

On October 18th I received a divine call to pastoral ministry at Concordia Lutheran Church of Louisville, Kentucky. After much prayer and careful consideration, I have been led to accept the call to Concordia. There were a number of factors leading me to this decision. In short, I concluded that it is best for both churches, as well as me and my family, that I accept the call.  As I stated two weeks ago, there are no negative reasons for my departure. I am grateful and humbled to have served Redeemer for the first twelve years of my ministry. You received me and my family from the seminary with open arms and have blessed us with Christian friendship and love.  My family and I thank God always for calling me here to serve you. Your next pastor will be incredibly blessed to be a part of the Columbus community and our Redeemer family.

I plan on remaining at my charge at Redeemer through the Christmas season and will confirm a release date with our leadership soon. That date will likely be in January. I humbly request a peaceful release from my call to Redeemer on the agreed upon date so that I may be installed at Concordia. Until then, I am keeping our church in my prayers. I trust that the call process will serve as an opportunity for spiritual and missional growth and that the Lord will bless Redeemer with a faithful pastor. 

As I complete my call to Redeemer, please know that I am here to minister to you. If I can do anything for you, please do not hesitate to ask. If you have any questions regarding my deliberation of the call to Concordia, I will be happy to answer them. May the Lord continually bless and keep you.

In Christ’s service,

Pastor Estes

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Pentecost 23 Online Service

Thank you for joining us for online worship. We observe Divine Service Setting 3 from Lutheran Service Book. All the lyrics of the hymns and liturgies will appear in the service video. A bulletin is included below for those who desire one. God’s richest blessings upon your worship!

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All Saints Day Online Worship

Thank you for joining us for online worship. All lyrics of the hymns and words of liturgy will appear on your screen. We pray the Lord will bless you with His word of hope and comfort.

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Divine Call Announcement

October 24th, 2020

Reformation Sunday

Beloved in the Lord,

Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! On Sunday October 18th I received a Divine Call from Concordia Lutheran Church in Louisville, KY. What this means is that I currently have two Calls from God and His church to serve in the Pastoral Ministry, one being my current Call to Redeemer and another to Concordia. Part of the responsibility of our Synod’s pastors is to be open to God’s will and ask for the discernment of His Holy Spirit to consider the Divine Calls of our congregations. This is a normal process for our pastors and congregations, and provides us with an opportunity for reflection and prayer about the ministry of Redeemer.

            Firstly, I recognize that this can create a mixture of emotions for the members of our congregation. I know the Lord will grant us His peace during this time, but it’s natural that some of us may feel strong emotions about it. I know that in Christian love we will be patient with one another.

            Secondly, I want to reassure all of you that there were no negative reasons why I was open to discussing a possible Call to another congregation. It is part of my role and duty as a Minister of the Word to be open to considering Calls from congregations. My Pastoral responsibility toward our church body compelled me to speak with Concordia’s Call committee. I am grateful to God for every one of you and the ministry here at Redeemer. We have so much to be grateful for in you. You faithfully care for me and my family. I can’t thank God enough for the blessings of calling me to such a wonderful congregation.

            Thirdly, everything at this time is preliminary. This announcement does not mean I will accept the Call to Concordia. Rather, my purpose is to let you know about this time of consideration. Jen and I will visit Concordia to meet with the congregation and leadership. We will prayerfully seek the Lord’s will and ask for our Father in heaven for discernment and guidance from His Holy Spirit. When we return, I will continue to give prayerful consideration as I hear from you and our congregation’s leadership. A final decision will likely be reached by or before mid-November.

            Fourthly, this is an opportunity for us to reflect together about our congregation and our ministry. We have so many blessings here at Redeemer, we can thank God for them. We have opportunities to serve and love one another and our community. I desire your counsel and input. I also ask for your prayers for me and my family as we seek the Lord’s will. We can trust that the Holy Spirit will guide us to do what is best for all parties involved.

            Finally, Concordia has sent a letter to our congregation to notify us of the Call and to communicate their encouragement and prayers. Our brothers and sisters at Concordia recognize how difficult this news and the call process can be for a congregation and they are praying for us. We can also pray for them.

            If you have any questions or would like to give me your input, I will be glad to talk with you. I welcome your feedback as it will be helpful to me as I consider the Lord’s Call. Again, I thank God for every one of you and I am praying for us as we begin this process.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”  – Romans 15:13

                                                                                                In Christ’s service,

                                                                                                Pastor Estes

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Reformation Sunday Online Worship

Thank you for joining us for online worship. We observe Divine Service Setting 3 from Lutheran Service Book. All the lyrics of the hymns and liturgies will appear in the service video. A bulletin is included below for those who desire one. God’s richest blessings upon your worship!

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Pentecost 20 Online Worship

Thank you for joining us for online worship. We observe Divine Service Setting 3 from Lutheran Service Book. All the lyrics of the hymns and liturgies will appear in the service video.

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Pentecost 19 Online Worship

Thank you for joining us for online worship. We observe Divine Service Setting 3 from Lutheran Service Book. All the lyrics of the hymns and liturgies will appear in the service video. A bulletin is included below for those who desire one. God’s richest blessings upon your worship!

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Michael and All Angels Devotion

         “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.”

Matthew 18:10

[Editor’s Note: The festival of St. Michael and All Angels is observed on September 29th. The homily included in this devotion was preached by Pastor Estes on September 30th.]

INVOCATION

In the name of the Father, the + Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

COLLECT

Everlasting God, You have ordained and constituted the service of angels and men in a wonderful order. Mercifully grant that, as Your holy angels always serve and worship You in heaven, so by Your appointment they may also help and defend us here on earth; through Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

LESSON

Matthew 18:1–11 (ESV)

1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 3 and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. 7 “Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes! 8 And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. 9 And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire. 10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.

MEDITATION

            The most common topper on a Christmas tree is not a star, but an angel. They’re placed atop the tree as a homage to the angel Gabriel who visited Mary and Joseph to bring news of the child conceived by the Holy Spirit. Sitting high above us the Christmas angel also reminds us of the messenger that announced the gospel to lowly shepherds and the host of angels that sang of the peace with God and goodwill toward men the Christ brings.

            We don’t know what the various kinds of angels mentioned in the Scriptures actually look like. That makes me wonder if we’d adorn our Christmas trees with them if we really knew. The Bible says that the sight of the good angels in fact terrify us. There most common opening greeting to us is “Do not fear” for that reason. If they did not reassure us we wouldn’t understand that they’re here for our good, not our harm.

            What’s so frightening about the angels? There’s certainly something about their appearance that is different that startles us. It’s in fact the good angels that cause the most fear initially. Adam and Eve were not afraid of the evil angel Satan when they first encountered him? In fact, Paul warned that “Satan masquerades as an angel of light” in 2 Corinthians 11:14. Notice Paul does not say the evil one is an angel of light, but rather he’s a phony. He makes out like he’s one of the good angels, but he’s duplicitous. He makes the darkness look like light for those he desires to deceive. Jesus said Satan was not good at all, instead “he was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

            He’s convinced our flesh of the lies sadly. We all have a sinful nature and that is why so often we confuse darkness for light, evil for good. Satan is very good at making us think his way is best, just as he did at the beginning with Adam and Eve. Martin Luther rightly labeled him the “Prince of darkness” and had many choice insults for the evil one. Luther taught it we good to overcome that evil messenger the devil with contempt, not by presumption, but by faith in Christ who has bound the devil and assured his destruction.

            So Luther wasn’t afraid to toy with the devil. He said, “If Satan does not stop vexing me with my sins, I reply: “Dear devil, I have heard the record, but I have committed still more sins…put them down too…” If Luther still felt the weight of his sins he would go on, “With contempt I say to him, “Holy Satan, pray for me! You never have done anything evil and alone are holy. Go to God and acquire grace for yourself. If you want to make me righteous, I tell you: physician, heal yourself.”

            We saints can harangue the Devil and demons because we know the truth about them. The archangel Michael showed Satan and his minions the door in our lesson from Revelation. Michael tossed them all out upon the victorious entry of Jesus Christ. Satan does not stand in God’s court like he did in the time of Job being able to attempt his accusations at the judgment seat. Rather, the devil was cast to earth. Here he snarls and bites and tries to have his prey, but we know one little word can fell him. The word of Christ. The promise of Jesus that gives forgiveness, eternal life, and salvation.

            Having this life in Christ today we thank him for his good angels like Michael, Gabriel, and all the rest. We remember that the Bible suggests that we humans, or at least some of us at certain times, have our own guardian angels watching out for us.

            That obviously applies to children as we learn in our gospel lesson today. The word children as Christ means it includes others like the poor, the neglected, and the despised. Their angels always see God’s face, says our Lord. God watches over those who are least. The last come first. That’s how important they are to God.

            So, we can understand why Jesus has such strong warnings about seducing and enticing these others to sin. If you harm their faith the judgment for you is much harsher. It’s better that we have never lived than for this happen.

            When Jesus points to a child when he was asked who was greatest in the kingdom, it’s because a child in ancient times had no standing, no rights, no kind of leading position. That’s what we all must become to enter the kingdom of heaven. We come to him with no claim of having deserved his grace. Only those who come small, like that, come into the heavenly kingdom of God.

St. Michael and All Angels is a day to remember with joy and to pray in thanksgiving that the angels do their work well and on our behalf protecting us from countless spiritual enemies. They guard us from the Accuser and his seductions, so that you rest assured that your name is written in God’s book in heaven. They are Christ’s servants, another gift He gives to protect you from Satan and to assure you your salvation is sealed. Your life is blood bought and angel guarded. And for this may we give all glory to God in heaven.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

LORD’S PRAYER

        Our Father who art in heaven,

     hallowed be Thy name,

     Thy kingdom come,

     Thy will be done on earth

          as it is in heaven;

     give us this day our daily bread;

     and forgive us our trespasses

          as we forgive those

          who trespass against us;

     and lead us not into temptation,

     but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom

     and the power and the glory

     forever and ever. Amen.

BLESSING

The grace of our Lord Jesus + Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all. Amen.

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Pentecost 18 Online Worship

Thank you for joining us for online worship. We observe Divine Service Setting 3 from Lutheran Service Book. All the lyrics of the hymns and liturgies will appear in the service video. A bulletin is included below for those who desire one. God’s richest blessings upon your worship!

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Pentecost 17 Online Service

Thank you for joining us for online worship. Below you will find Divine Service Setting III from Lutheran Service Book. The lyrics of hymns and the liturgy will appear in the video, however if you desire a bulletin you may download it at the link below.

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