Trinity Lutheran Church McAlester

October 25, 2023
by Pastor Glenn

How is the Father and the Son one God, yet Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father?

This question comes from verses like: “But from now on the Son of Man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God.”” (Luke 22:69, ESV). From numerous places we see that son of man and son of God both refer to Jesus. It helps us with “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.” (1 John 5:20, ESV) It means God [the father] is God and his son, Jesus, is God. Not two gods, but one god. This comes from one of the most revered passage of the Bible by the children of Israel was ““Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” (Deut. 6:4, ESV) Hence, a core tenet of God is his oneness. Personhood is the philosophical concept that helped us grasp the son and the father being separate, but one – separate persons, not separate Gods. Being seated on the right of the Father-God helps us visualize the importance and power, and the close relationship of God the son to God the father. This is a mystery of God that will only be revealed to us on the last day when the Son is seen descending from the clouds in all his heavenly glory. Until then, we rely on what we know and trust in the one true God, the one we describe as triune. But, for brevity, we’ll save the topic of God the Holy Spirit (the third person of God) for another blog.

October 18, 2023
by Pastor Glenn

Why does God allow evil people to lead governments?

Whether you like the person heading the government under which you live or hated them, God uses them for your benefit. We may not like it, but that’s what the Bible says in Romans 13:1–4a (ESV) 1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good.

If you watch world news and pay attention to conflicts and wars, you see places where there’s no government control. Somalia comes to mind. Today, it’s just a battleground for militia groups and pirates. The people are starving – surviving on relief organizations. Other countries are similarly dangerous for citizens, who give everything to immigrate to a safe life in the United States. Even evil governments provide a level of order to punish bad behavior and provide infrastructure that enables life.

We expect that elected governments are better than dictators and democracies than martial law ruling by force. In Jesus’ time, Romans ruled by force, yet allowed the religious rulers of Israel to serve under them, applying their laws where practical to keep order. It was highly unpopular, but God used that  governance structure to fulfill his plan for Jesus to die for the sins of all people as Savior of the world.

October 4, 2023
by Pastor Glenn

Why might a merciful, all powerful God allow bad stuff to happen?

In the beginning, God created the universe in 6 days and declared that his work was very good. It was perfect. The man and woman he put in the garden of Eden were as perfect and eternal as the world he made. He gave them but one rule – perhaps as a demonstration of their love for him to obey: “Don’t eat the forbidden fruit or you will die.” But, they made the choice to disobey that damned humanity and cursed the world to its imperfect, broken state. It’s all because of Adam and Eve’s sin (see Gen. 3.16-17). When God cursed the formerly perfect, now sinful couple, he cursed their children and the entire universe with the promised death they chose by eating the forbidden fruit. Because of the curse, suffering, deterioration and brokenness exists. That is an underlying factor in bad stuff happening.

But God doesn’t let evil and bad stuff go wild. The wonderful part of our God is his mercy to limit evil and bad stuff. He chooses to intervene at special times in miraculous ways to help suffering. It is only through his goodness and mercy that anything good happens. When it does, we thank him as we see his glory demonstrated. It’s like the case of the man born blind in the Bible. “And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” (John 9:2-3, ESV) Jesus healed the man to reveal his power to do so as the son of God.

Another example was the children of Israel living in Egyptian exile 400 years. Near the end, they grew so powerful that Egypt, out of fear, made them slaves to control them. They endured the bad stuff life of slavery for decades before God sent them a deliverer. And it got worse for a while before it ended. Why allow it? Why so long to stop it? Only God knows. We can see after the fact how God limited the evil and how he blessed them, even using the events to foreshadow the Savior that would come much later.

Summing up the points, bad stuff happens in the world because we are sinful, broken people living in a broken universe, all brought on by the failure of the perfect first couple, Adam and Eve. Bad stuff happening is the necessary consequence of sins we do and the broken universe that is unruly. Yet, God in his mercy intervenes when it suits his purposes to alleviate or mitigate certain suffering to demonstrate his power and glory. So, God doesn’t deserve our malice for allowing bad things happening that mankind deserves, but only our thanks for his mercy and goodness to care for us, answering our prayer requests with yes, no or wait for my time.

September 26, 2023
by Pastor Glenn

Do I forgive even if there is no apology?

Forgiveness is a grossly confused concept in our culture, and even in the Christian circles of churches on earth.
Matthew 18:21-22 (ESV) 21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.
Jesus makes a hard to live up to, but critical point to living in the kingdom of God. Forgive, then forgive again. And forgive some more. Never stop forgiving. He doesn’t give any preconditions, no procedures — just the advice to forgive.
On the other hand, how does the culture around us see forgiveness?
Forgive, but don’t forget. That is the popular psychological advice of the day. I mean, really? Forgive, but don’t forget. It not’s really forgiving if you remember, is it? Not in the Biblical sense. Not according to God’s word. In his word, forgiving is forgetting, period. See also Mk. 11.25; Col. 3:12-13

Pastor Glenn portrait

Pastor Glenn A. Meyer

April 1, 2014
by Trinity Web Admin

How to Read the Bible?

You are in the right place if you never read the Bible and want to start. Of course, the most profitable way is participating in an organized Bible Study group led by Pastor or experienced Bible teacher. Yet, personal reading can change your life, too!

First thing: realize the Bible is its own genre of literature. It contains history, but is not a history book. It is not mere religion, but it is a book with a goal. The very words of the triune God are its content. Communicating the love of God to promise a Savior and then send his son to become the man, Jesus who fulfilled all the promises and saved the world is its purpose.

Another important point is reading poetic sections as poetry, filled with symbols and word pictures and word play, while narrative sections may be linear or spiral in their view of events happening over time. Always read in context of what comes before and after anything. Context helps identify metaphors versus prophecy versus simple description. Daniel and Revelations are apocryphal books, written in times of duress for the people. Much symbolism and some prophecy helped disguise these books intended to bring hope to the readers in their time and ours. Some even say they are “dripping” with visions of a loving Savior and heavenly home as the future.

To see the message at the end properly, start reading from the first book, Genesis, and read through to the end, Revelation. If a person can’t believe in an almighty creator-God, then how can one believe anything that follows the spiral narrative of creation? Either there is a supreme, divine God or god is a product of one’s personal design (picking which parts to believe). One eye opener to the triune God is slowly reading Genesis chapter one and John chapter one together. Jesus is the Word. Nothing is created except through him. The Holy Spirit hovers over the waters. The Father speaks the universe into existence. (The word translated as created means created out of nothing) The Word is truth. That is a defining fact.

Questions? Just ask-post reply.

November 1, 2012
by Pastor Glenn

How do I know if I’m going to heaven?

The mere asking of the question, “Will I go to heaven?” indicates that a person believes heaven exists — a good starting point. In any religion except Christianity, the answer is always: “You can’t know for certain because you never know when you’ve done enough good to overcome the bad.”

That also carries for some Christian groups, such as many pre-Vatican II Catholics, who arrive at the same point in various ways.

For Christians of conservative Lutheran and those with Reformed origins, two responses dominate. The Reformed tend to rely on Romans 10:9 (ESV), “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Lutherans rely first on, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9, ESV).

Whether a person is “believing in one’s heart” or seeing that it is “by grace you have been saved through faith,” both point to faith as the key factor. It’s just that the first is not nearly so comforting as the second. The faith expressed in Romans 10 is entirely subjective to the person. Is there a feeling in the heart that strongly, completely believes in the risen Jesus? On most days, faithful Christians will testify to this feeling. But other times, they doubt themselves, questioning if they really believe because they lack a certain warm, fuzzy feeling that Jesus is in their heart – the subjective. Such feelings can wane much as love and affection in certain marriages.

The Lutheran foundation, on the other hand, points to God doing the saving, not the person’s determining level of faith. If God has saved the person purely by grace, then even the smallest tidbit of faith that Jesus rose from the dead is enough. Jesus once compared powerful faith to something the size of a mustard seed, which has power to move mountains. So faith is a gift of God and he promises not to take back such a gift. We say this method is objective because it depends on God’s work, not the person’s feelings.

So do you want to know if you’re going to heaven, Christian? Then read Ephesians chapter 2 and wander through Romans chapter 3. Cling to the objective truth that salvation (going to heaven) is by grace alone, faith alone, and God’s Word alone.

October 18, 2012
by Pastor Glenn

How do I turn down the volume in my marriage or committed relationship?

Don’t you just hate it when you come home and your partner starts out the conversation with a complaint instead of a kiss or hug? How often do the comments sound like a political debate where you’re the opponent catching the mud the other one is slinging?

Perhaps you’d just like to turn down the volume on that person? If any of these ring true for you, read on.

To explore partner relationships, we need to start with the way we’re made. God did it. In Mark 10:6-9, ESV, Jesus says: “But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”” So God designed humans for a committed relationship between male and female partners that would be for life – not until some person decides it should end.

What do we do with that information? We work really hard to follow the way we’re designed to be in marriage: committed for life, which every marriage vow promises. Other so called “committed relationships” without that kind of commitment fall short of the glory of God.

God says committed relationships are worth saving! But when the volume gets out of control, new tools are in order. A pastoral counselor is the first place to look, if you have access to one. Otherwise, here’s some tools.

  1. How to listen: Sit down in a calm place with your partner and take turns talking for about 3 minutes. When the first one finishes, the second reflects back, saying, “I heard you say …” Then let the first one say if the reflection is correct and if not, correct it. Then the second person gets a turn to do the talking, while the first listens and reflects back. Through this exercise, each of you may begin to find out what the other person really has on their mind. More sessions like this develop more understanding.
  2. How to love: Read the book, “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman, taking the test at the end to discover your love language. Then invite your partner to read it. Share what you both found out about your love language. Do the actions for your partner that speak to that person’s love language — often.

When your partner starts to feel loved, then they will have the capacity to love someone else. Your job is not to expect the love back, but to love the other person with all your power. Hopefully, your partner will see the change in you and realize how you would be happier if they loved you according to your love language. When people are heard and loved, they speak in loving tones. Hence, the volume is turned down in the relationship.

September 20, 2012
by Pastor Glenn

What does it mean to be good?

Trying to understand what it means to be good is harder than trying to nail down what it means to be loved. Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary lists 58 meanings and usages for the word. Talk about too much information! The first definition may be the slipperiest of the lot: “morally excellent, virtuous, righteous, pious.”

If a person’s worldview includes the Creator God, then he set the standard with his creative work, which he deemed, “good.” Unfortunately, his perfect, good creation was ruined when Adam and Eve broke the one rule God gave them. They ate the forbidden fruit – the first sin or “wrong” against God. Consequently, God cursed the snake, the woman, the man, and the universe that was no longer perfect. The good that remains in this world is a mere shadow of the Eden it once was.

But let’s consider the behavioral aspect of goodness. The economic worldview suggests something of value given by both parties. So goes the thinking that “good behavior” is the work exchanged for eternity in heaven. One weakness in that thought is disconnecting it from belief in God. How can goods works be done for someone they don’t believe exists? They would not. They would do them for themselves. Psalm 16:2, (ESV) states, “I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.”” That is, only the good done in faith toward God can be good. Jesus amplifies the point that even a believer is not “good” in the sense of the perfection required for the economic way to heaven. He says, ” And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.”” (Matthew 19:16-17, ESV). Here we see Jesus as the only one who is good – God himself.

The emerging worldview on goodness comes from the humanist philosophy, which says that persons define it for themselves. Each person decides what good means in a particular situation, realizing that other persons may see it differently. Sadly, much confusion and contention come when good and bad, right and wrong have no absolute standard or metric. Especially, truth becomes elusive when that position devolves to its final endpoint.

Thankfully, God’s Word, the Holy Bible is truth. It not only contains truth but is truth. “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17, ESV) So it seems the options for understanding good comes to two choices. First, the truth-based definition of “good” from God that only things done for him in faith are good. Furthermore, God’s word gives commands to follow God’s will so that one can objectively know what is good and what is not. The option is the fully subjective, humanist way of letting anyone define good anytime, regardless of what other people think. That kind of good is impossible to capture. It just keeps shifting according to the whims of the one in charge at the time.

It seems so much easier to just follow God’s definition of good. The economic model breaks down. Figuring out good by some big consensus consumes time and energy and leads in no single direction.  That leaves … God’s good – done in faith – leads to knowing and following the way to heaven.

September 6, 2012
by Pastor Glenn

Do I need to watch for the signs that the end of the world is near?

What sign of lunacy can we all recognize? Maybe the man wearing a sandwich sign stating: “The end is near.” Most people would look at such a behavior and think the man must be crazy. Why would anyone spend their valuable time with such a message when the world is doing just fine (though some people wonder how long it might be fine)?

Scientist Fraser Cain projects that the sun will gradually get brighter until by 3.5 billion years from now, the oceans will boil away. I’d say that would destroy the earth as we know it. Whether Mr. Cain is accurate in his life cycle of the sun or not, it seems like the end of the world from the sun’s demise is too far away to imagine in human terms. So why worry?

People worried about watching may be concerned because Jesus led people to believe he was “coming soon.” He said: “So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that thekingdomofGodis near. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” (Luke 21:31-33, ESV) This sounds like the end of the world, but it plays out much sooner. ThekingdomofGodcomes when Jesus dies and rises again after three days. That event marks the coming of thekingdomofGod– the rule and reign of Jesus after defeating the devil.

Yet “heaven and earth will pass away” when Jesus comes again in his glory. It will be soon in God’s terms, not like soon for me. For the Bible says, “with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” (2 Peter 3:8, ESV)

The watchful attitude Jesus wants for his people is to keep faithful to his wishes. People are tempted to party up to the last possible moment, much as revelers do through Fat Tuesday before Lent begins. The idea is to get things right with God later. The danger is to wait too long and miss heaven forever.

The final answer lies in what Jesus says about that glory day – Judgment Day: ” “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” (Matthew 24:36-39, ESV)

So if the Son of God doesn’t know and the scenario will play out that all people will be completely surprised, then why watch for signs? Apparently, whatever signs we think will point to the event aren’t valid. So the answer is: I don’t need to watch for signs that the world is ending soon. It is, but no one can know when except God the Father.

August 17, 2012
by Pastor Glenn

Is there a single god, many gods, or just mythical gods?

People seem to be created such that they need a god or several gods to make them feel secure. From the earliest times, people have turned to the creator God, Yahweh, or devised their own gods. The Bible is emphatic on the singularity of God, ““Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” (Deuteronomy 6:4, ESV) This verse is held dearly by the Jewish faith; they call it the Shamah. Yet, the God of the Jews is not the triune God of Christianity, composed of three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Any God other than the Triune God, Yahweh, has no power or authority in the universe. The various gods of other world religions, such as Buddha or Allah, or even those of ancient religions like the Baal, Dagon, or Chemosh cannot prove their existence.

In the book of 1 Kings 18, the prophet Elijah is pitted against 450 prophets of Baal in a contest to see which God is real. In the contest, each team builds an altar of stone, loads it with wood and then a sacrificial bull. The 450 prophet team wailed as their danced around their altar, calling on Baal to answer and burn up their offering. At noon, Elijah mocked them that their god must be on a trip or asleep, so they cut themselves and limped around until near twilight. Then Elijah called the people, dug a trench around his altar, had the people fill four jars of water and pour it over the bull, the wood and altar three times until it ran down and filled the trench. Then Elijah called on God. Immediately, fire from heaven came down, which burned up the bull, the wood, and even the stones.

I’d say that hands down, Yahweh won over a lifeless, mythical Baal. Uniquely, the Bible is filled with well-known historically verified accounts where Yahweh acted in miraculous ways to demonstrate his power and existence. Yet people wonder if he is real? All other gods must be false, but are there other gods that people choose?

Reality of human nature is that we like to make money, things, certain people, or especially ourselves gods. Anything that becomes the central, most important thing in a person’s life is their defacto “god.” In a world that is very much trending toward narcissistic behavior, the self-god is leading the pack. Still, people try to glom onto every god they can. They worship money at the top spot, but also sports heroes, movie stars, pop stars, spouses, children, cars, houses, jobs, and dabble in the gods of various religions like a smorgasbord.

So what is the answer? God says, ““No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” (Matthew 6:24, ESV) Yahweh demonstrated that he lives throughout history and continues to live today and forever. He’s proven time and again that all other gods are mythical, having no power. So there is one true God in existence, not many gods.