The Bible gives us a classic definition of what faith is in Hebrews 11:1. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Two things stand out in this explanation. The first is the great confidence that faith gives to us in our inner-most being. When faith takes root within us “we know that we know that we know” that God will do what He promises.
The second outstanding feature of faith is that it is not founded on prior observable date. We do not first see what we are to believe in. The very nature of faith is that we firmly trust what we cannot see.
There are two other working definitions I frequently use to round out our understanding of what faith is. The first sounds complex, but ponder it and the meaning will emerge: The issue of faith is not that we believe in God, but that we believe the God we believe in. “Believing in God” is a sentimental, popular “just in case” notion which covers the bases for many people in our country. The Bible teaches us that even demons believe in God – big deal! It’s much more significant when people believe God when He speaks, that they put their trust in His promises, that they learn how to lean on Him rather than their own natural understanding.
My second working definition is simple and straightforward: Faith is believing God so much you will actually do what He says. Talk is cheap. Action forges trust and verifies the heaven-born confidence which dwells within our spirit.
In today’s convenience-oriented society, we also need to be clear in talking about what faith is not. There is a popular misconception that faith is putting God on a trial basis to see if He will satisfy our whims and wishes. There is an attitude that it might be to our advantage to believe in God if He performs well and clears all the obstacles out of our path through life.
I honestly cannot imagine anyone actually saying that, but the thoughts must be there because the world is filled with people who have carried this notion, have put God on trial and given up on Him because He did not steer life in their chosen direction – namely away from pain, inconvenience, disappointment, and ultimately death.
How many times have you heard people ask, “If God is so good, why would He let _______ happened?” Fill in the blank with any number of situations we feel we should not have to go through.
Do you remember the advertising slogan which said, “Don’t get mad, get Glad” (storage bags). When the harsher side of circumstances bites us, don’t get mad at God because He let (or, worse yet, “made”) something bad happen to us. Instead be glad that you have the grace, the strength and the resources of heaven to support you and guide you through.
Faith is not so much for the free and easy times as it is for the not-so-great times. We do not trust because we see every step of the journey ahead or because we have been clued in to all the details. We trust because God is in control. We believe because we know that God – and only God – has the marvelous ability to work “all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
Believe the God you believe in and do what He said – that will give you the assurance and conviction of things you cannot see yet. That is what faith is all about.
CONFIRMATION INSTRUCTION: It’s not too early to be gathering information for classes which begin in September. Our classes are offered for 6th – 8th graders. We do not want to miss anyone in these age groups. If you have a prospective student, please call the church office (326-5453) and make sure we are aware of them. We need to order books and materials soon. Thank you for responding. More information will be coming as we draw closer to our starting time.
ADULT INSTRUCTION: This fall we will also be offering a class for adults who would like to learn more about the foundational teachings of the Bible. Are there any spouses who are not yet confirmed, or perhaps young adults who missed confirmation training? We would also welcome anyone who would like a refresher course on our Christian faith. Please call the church office or contact Pastor directly. Where there is a will, there is a way.
Pastor Bill Zeige has been in the ministry for 45 years since being called out of the St. Louis
Seminary to serve at Our Redeemer in Cohasset and Trinity Lutheran in Hill City in 1973. He
and his wife Sue grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where they met in college.
After moving to Grand Rapids they raised five children: Lynne, Lisa, Laurie, Sarah, and Mark
and cared for a foster daughter for several years. Sue has been involved as a director of
Independent School District 318 for several terms and is seeking re-election currently. She also
served on the Grand Rapids City Council for seven years – five of those years as mayor.
Pastor Bill served Trinity for 13 ½ years before becoming full time pastor at Redeemer where he
served for 38 years before retiring in 2011. Since retiring he has served interim ministries at
Detroit Lakes, MN., Nevis, MN., Our Redeemer in Cohasset, and at First Lutheran since
February, 2018. He also served the Minnesota North District as the Iron Range Circuit
Counselor for 16 years. He also currently serves as City Councilor for the City of Grand
Pastor Bill, although being not so successful at being retired, is grateful to be able to use the gifts
God has given him to be a spiritual leader for the members of First Lutheran congregation and
the people we can reach out to to be part of the family of God.
8/18/19 Divine Service
5:45 Scripture readings
15:00 Sermon by Pastor Wm Zeige
8/11/19 Divine Service (abridged)
4:05 Gospel reading
8:15 Sermon by Pastor Bill Zeige
8/4/19 Divine Service
06:00 Scripture readings
13:20 Apostle's Creed ...
17:10 Sermon by Pastor Wm Zeige. ...
7/7/19 abridged worship service- OT reading through sermon
0:00 Old Testament reading
12:45 Sermon by Pastor Wm Zeige
6/16/19, Introit through Apostle's Creed
4:20 Scripture Readings
11:30 Sermon by Pastor Bill Zeige
6/9/19 Divine Service
9:55 Scripture readings
19:55 Sermon by Pastor Wm Zeige
6/2/19 Divine Service
12:50 Scripture readings
24:55 Sermon by Pastor Wm Zeige
5/19/19 Divine Service, abridged, conducted by Bd. of Elders
2:00 Gospel reading
5/12/19 Abridged Worship Service
Gloria In Excelsis through Sermon
Scripture Readings: 1:15
Sermon (Pastor Bill Zeige): 12:35
5/5/19 Sermon by Pastor Bill Zeige
4/28/19 sermon by Pastor Bill Zeige
Good Friday, 4/19/19
Selected start times
2:10 Scripture readings
12:00 Sermon by Pastor Wm Zeige
4/14/19 Abridged Worship Service
Selected Start Times:
0:00 Sunday School Kids
7:45 Scripture Readings
15:20 Sermon by Pastor Wm Zeige