Growing Christ-centered relationships in our communities through love and service.
If you are new to the Northwest Indiana area, or if you are looking for a new place to worship, we invite you to make Griffith Lutheran Church your new church home.
Weekly worship opportunities:
Sunday Morning Worship 8:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.
Wednesday Evening Worship 7:00 p.m. (beginning November 25, 2015)
**In December: ONE weekly Sunday service at 10:00 a.m.**
Sunday School for All Ages 9:45 a.m. (Sept. through May, adults meet year-round)
All ages explore the same Scripture during the Sunday school hour in age-appropriate classes,
fostering family discussion so that they may grow stronger in their faith together.
A Few Words from Pastor Scales...
October 25th, 2015
Jeremiah 31: 31-34; Psalm 46; Romans 3:19-28; John 8: 31-26
As I said, we wear red today because it represents the power of the Holy Spirit. It was the Holy Spirit that spoke to Martin Luther. It was the Holy Spirit that moved him to reexamine his theology in light of what he was reading and studying in the scripture. Why Martin Luther and not someone else? God knew what was needed and chose Martin Luther to lead a reformation in the church.
And what is important for us to remember, a reformation continues in the church, in the way we relate to and with God. In fact cannot we even say, what we are experiencing in relation to our church today is vastly different than it was say 20 or 30 years ago? Our churches used to be packed, now not so much. Do we think this is the working of the Holy Spirit that so many of our churches are shrinking?
I just saw a Gallop poll that showed the percent of the population from each state that attended church during 2014. Not one state had 50% or more of its population attend church during 2014. All states were under 50%, mostly in the 30%-40% range. In Indiana, there was 37% of the population that attended church during 2014. Research has shown a drop of 8% of people in the United State who affiliate with Christianity. Similarly there was rise of 7% of people who are not affiliated with any faith. Yet a Gallop poll in 2011 showed that over 80% of Americans believe in God and yearn to have a relationship with God.
Now is the Holy Spirit leading us away from what we know as the church? Or is the Holy Spirit trying its best to lead us somewhere in our relationship with God, but we haven’t been moved as yet, or haven’t been sensitive to where the Spirit is trying to lead us?
The other day I was with a group of pastors and we were all talking about how Sunday school just is not attended anymore, that precious few children attend. Someone said, “The 1950’s model of Sunday School is not the model for today.” True, so what is the model, or is there one.
I learned from a Methodist pastor the other day, about Sunday school. It was primarily the Methodist church in England that began Sunday school in 1751. They began Sunday school before there were child labor laws and Sunday school was actually school, not Bible school, but school in their churches for those children that were working during the week. The churches opened their doors and offered school to those children who could not attend during the week, because they were working.
What did Jesus say in our gospel today? “If you continue in my word, you will know the truth.” Also, remember our reading today in Jeremiah, where the prophet of God says that God is writing a covenant on the hearts of the Israelites and they will know me.” Did you know that this was written after Jerusalem and the Temple had been destroyed by Babylon and the Israelites had been exiled? But God through the prophet Jeremiah wanted them to know, “I’m still with you. We will rebuild.” Now they were not just having a dip in their Sunday school and worship attendance. They were devastated, but God was telling them not to look away, but keep looking at God. Listen to the covenant of love and forgiveness that was now in their hearts.
“If you continue in my word, you will know the truth,” Jesus said. This is what God was telling the Israelites. All they had to do was follow the word in their heart and they would know the truth. And yes, eventually their Temple was rebuilt as well as the city of Jerusalem. It was 600 years before Christ that the prophet Jeremiah told the Israelites about God’s covenant now being written on their hearts. So through wars, destruction and devastation, the Israelites stayed attuned to God’s word which brought them 600 years later to Jesus. Had the disciples and others not been attuned to God’s word written on their hearts, we today would not know about Jesus, but we do because the followers of Jesus continued in God’s word and followed the lead of the Holy Spirit.
We too have God’s word and covenant written in our hearts, given to us in our baptism as we were sealed by the Holy Spirit and marked with the cross of Christ forever. We are faithful believers, not really knowing where we are being led in this day and time in relation to our churches. Something is happening and we wonder what and why. We will try this and we will try that. Through the Holy Spirit, we will stay the same or we will change, or we will be changed.
We here at Griffith Lutheran sense the dilemma facing most of our Christian brothers and sisters; activities that were once booming are now just barely a trickle, if that. Where is the Spirit and where is it leading us?
Is the Holy Spirit of the Reformation telling us and all the rest of the Christian faith community, “Hey, stay the course.” Or is the Holy Spirit of the Reformation telling us and all the rest of the faith community, “Hey, wake up. I’m here, but you’re over there!”
Where is the Holy Spirit leading Christians today in the reformation of our Sunday schools, our worship practices, and our churches in general and where are we, you and I, being led by the Holy Spirit in relation to our particular church and its vision and mission?
We are considering here at Griffith Lutheran having a 24 hour prayer vigil beginning New Year’s Eve and finishing New Year’s Day. The proposal is to have every minute for 24 hours with someone from Griffith Lutheran in prayer. We would not be here at the church praying, but in our home or wherever we chose. We would sign up for 15 minutes or ½ hour or hour lengths of time and when our time comes, we would spend that time in prayer. For a 24 hour period, someone from here will be praying specifically for our church as well as for other petitions. I cannot help but think that the power of the Holy Spirit will be felt during that time of prayer, but also, that the power of the Holy Spirit will be felt as a result of the time we took to spend in prayer specifically for our church.
Keep alert for requests to sign-up for the prayer vigil. But, in the meantime, let us be vigilant and sensitive as to where the Holy Spirit is leading us or perhaps even pushing us, you and me in relation to the mission and vision of Griffith Lutheran Church.