Dear family and friends of St. Paul
As I strive to make the newsletter deadline we are experiencing an ice storm! If you’re like me I would much rather have snow! So our winter in North Iowa grinds on. The good news is we are now in the season of Lent and moving toward Easter!
I am sure you are all holding your breath in anticipation of some more extremely profound tidbits from you fearless clergyman from St. Paul. As I write this our nation is at half mast due to the recent shooting at Parkland High School down in Florida. Our hearts go out to all those who lost loved ones and or were injured in the shooting. Once again people try to understand why this is happening as if it should be a surprise.
As I sit in the pastor’s seat here at St. Paul, it is not surprise to me. I did not come to this on my own - I simply take a look around and see that for most people and in most homes God is dead! Oh, to be sure, some still exhibit a form of godliness, but as far as acknowledging its power, not so much. I have been here at St. Paul only a little over four years, but in that short time I have seen a dramatic drop in people’s dedication to going to church and serving in their church. I am also very confident that this is not occurring only in our church but in most churches across the country. Many people have stopped looking up and are looking at themselves and the world and its treasures for their connection.
As I said, or more importantly God says in His Word, this is the future for our world. We need just look to Matthew 24:3-14 [New King James Version]:
The Signs of the Times and the End of the Age
3Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”
4 And Jesus answered and said to them:“Take heed that no one deceives you. 5For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8All these are the beginning of sorrows.
9“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
Then, of course, there is also 2 Timothy 3:1-5 [New International Version]:
3But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—5having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
These are sobering words to be sure. The Good News is there is still a God in Heaven who has shown His love to the world enough to send His Son. As far as you and I, we are simply called and empowered to be faithful unto the end. So be of good cheer and know by Grace through faith the house with many mansions and the banquet feast awaits!
As I look out the window we still have freezing rain! Maybe I can go ice skating a little later to break up the day. I hope this Epistle finds you well and hanging in there and holding on.
God Bless and Keep you and your family.
Rev. Scott A. Kozisek