“Woe to you who are complacent in Zion, you who feel secure on Mount Samaria, you distinguished people of the leading nation, to whom the house of Israel comes. Those who lie on ivory beds, sprawling upon their couches, eating lambs from the flock and calves straight from the stall, improvising tunes on the lyre, composing music for themselves on musical instruments like David, drinking large bowls of wine — they slather themselves with the most expensive perfumed oils, but they do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph. That is why they will go into exile as the first of the exiles. Those who sprawl out at their feasts for the dead will depart.” (Amos 6:1,3-7)
The Gallup Poll conducted a poll recently which asked: “What do you think is the most important problem facing this country today?” The top answers to this open-ended question included: Government - 23%; Economy/Jobs - 13%; Immigration - 21%; Healthcare – 7%; Moral/Religious Decline – 3%. Are these problems that are new to our day and age? No! Amos reminds us that sin and the devil have always been interfering in the hearts and lives of God’s people with the goal of leading us to fall away from God.
If a pollster had approached the prophet Amos about 2,800 years ago with the same question, Amos’ worst problems would not have been the Government or the Economy, because God’s people were living at a time when God had blessed them earthly peace and riches. But even though they were well off we can see that their main problem was still a spiritual one. They had become complacent and had mixed up their priorities.
Not only had the people of Israel chased after foreign gods and fallen into gross sexual immorality, there were many who simply sought to live the charmed life, seeking the luxuries of life rather than God. If you read the text above what do you see? You see people who had become attached to the best things of this world. They had the finest furniture and were eating the best meals. They enjoyed the finest of music while holding lavish parties. God sent Amos to proclaim that their biggest problem was a spiritual one and they needed to repent of their sinfulness. They had abandoned the true God for the pursuit of pleasure. The god of wealth had replaced the true Triune God.
Does this sound familiar? Does our country face real threats – like the Economy or Healthcare? Absolutely. However, if we take a hard look at our country and if we are honest with ourselves, wouldn’t we say that our biggest problem is a spiritual one – just like the people of Israel at the time of Amos? Has our pursuit of material things, collectively as a nation and as individuals, been at the expense of pursuing God? We need to ask ourselves, What is Most Important To Us?
Are we happiest when we have a peace that comes from what Jesus did for us on a cross 2000 years ago or when we have bought the latest piece of new technology? Why do we many times get more worked up over earthly issues and problems than we do over our continual drifting away from God? What good does it do us to have earthly safety when far too often our hearts are still held hostage by sin? What good does it do us to have earthly riches when far too often our hearts are living in the poverty of sin? What good will earthly safety and riches do us on the day of our death? You know the answer! Absolutely Nothing!!
Amos told God’s people that the days of feasting would come to an end. That happened when God sent enemy nations to defeat and conquer Israel. What do you think is the most important problem facing this country today? Why? More importantly we need to ask ourselves, Is God our greatest treasure? Why or why not? May God also lead us to see our sins of mixed up priorities and look to Jesus in repentance so that we may see the true forgiveness and eternal riches that he won for us on the cross. Then we will see that in Jesus we have the greatest treasure that will last for an eternity.
-- Pastor Mark Gartner
Summer Worship Schedule
Please note that summer Worship services will be at 8:00 and 10:00 am. Our Monday service time will remain at 6:30 pm.
Summer Sunday Bible Study
New this Summer we will be offering a family type Bible Study on all non-Communion Sundays beginning Sunday June 9th. The study is entitled, “The ABC’s of Worship — Lutheran Customs and Practices.” It is our prayer that through this study God will lead us to grow in our appreciation of the Gospel as it is reflected in the way we worship. This class is intended for members of all ages so everyone can join us. If you ordered one of he Booklets, they will be available for pickup this coming Sunday.
Bible Information Class
Jesus says to each of us “Go and make disciples of all nations”. Here again is an opportunity to invite a friend, neighbor or co-worker or family member to hear the Good News of forgiveness and life through Jesus Christ. This class is for everyone but especially for those who are not members but would like to know what we teach. Go and invite! Come yourself!
We plan to have our next Bible Information Class (BIC—or Adult Instruction Class) begin mid-June. If you or someone you know are interested, please speak to Pastor Gartner.
The Ladies Group will be meeting on Tuesday June 11 for their monthly meeting. Please note that for this month they will be having a cookout at the home of Kathy and Gary Schabo: W3989 Wege Rd. Appleton, WI. Note also the time change: It will begin at 12:00 p.m. instead of the normal time of 1:00 p.m. There is a signup on the back counter at church to bring various food items. All the ladies of the congregation are invited to attend.