I am always blessed and encouraged whenever I talk on the phone with friends of Lutheran CORE. You are very interested in and supportive of our work, and you are very generous in the ways in which you express your support. A question I am often asked is, “How do you keep on doing it? What gives you the strength to keep on facing and confronting the issues?”
I always answer that I have a huge sense of the importance of what we do, I get to work with a wonderful board, I have the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people, and I am constantly encouraged by the support I receive from the friends of Lutheran CORE.
A passage of Scripture which gives me – in the words of the great Gospel hymn, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” – “strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow” is Revelation 7: 9-17. There are five elements in this image of heaven which encouraged John, as he was in exile on Patmos, and which can encourage us.
First, a gathered throng. John describes “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages” (verse 7). In the Gospel reading for a recent Sunday – in Matthew 16: 18 – Jesus said, “On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.” Here in Revelation 7 we see unmistakable evidence that Jesus built His church and the gates of Hades did not prevail. Even though many who call themselves the church pursue an agenda that does not focus on the cross and that relies upon the power of human activism rather than the power of the resurrection, still there are those who are faithful, Jesus is building His Church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail.
Second, an occupied throne. The gathered throng is “standing before the throne” (verse 7). God is not absent. God has not abandoned us, even though many have abandoned Him. He is still on the throne. He is still in control.
Third, the slain Lamb. The gathered throng cries out in a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb” (verse 10). I was deeply alarmed when I read the summary of actions from the ELCA’s Churchwide Assembly last August. It never mentions Jesus. When a group that calls itself a church meets for several days, takes many votes, but never mentions Jesus in its summary of its own actions, something is wrong. The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world is at the heart of our faith, is the core of our message, and is the one whose grace and love empowers and enables us to continue to do His work.
Fourth, worshiping angels. All the angels standing around the throne “fell on their faces and worshiped God” (verse 11). The angels have seen it all. They saw the fall. They joyously announced His birth. I love those words in 1 Peter 1: 12 – “Things into which angels long to look!” As I read that verse, they have been watching God’s plan of salvation unfold, and they are in awe. They have now seen salvation come to completion, and they are rejoicing.
Fifth, springs of living water. “The Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; He will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (verse 17). We all need to be refreshed. We all have tears that need to be wiped away.
I am reminded of a song we used to sing while I was growing up –
“It will be worth it all when we see Jesus.
Life’s trials will seem so small when we see Him.
One glimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase.
So bravely run the race ‘til we see God.”
Trusting in the promises of God, having a huge sense of the importance of what we do, being able to work with a wonderful board, having the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people, and constantly being encouraged by the support I receive from the friends of Lutheran CORE, I am able to keep on doing it. I have the strength to keep on facing and confronting the issues.
In previous communications I have shared with you about our ongoing work as well as our new areas of ministry involvement. I am amazed, but not surprised, that I have not heard from ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton in regard to my challenging the honesty and integrity of the ELCA. I have written a response which shows how much the LGBTQIA+ movement twists and misuses Scripture to support their agenda. We want to get the word out. Thank you to all who have shared our response with others. Thank you to all who have given to support our sponsoring a week of NEXUS during the summer of 2021. If you have not already done so, please read my review of NEXUS in my August letter from the director. Please pray for a new project, as we are working to gather a group of younger people to develop some sort of medium of communication geared to younger people. It is absolutely imperative that our concern for the historic, orthodox Christian faith be passed on to future generations.
Thank you again for your encouraging words and faithful prayer and financial support. Please click here for the form that you can use to let us know how we can be praying for you. Your timely gift to Lutheran CORE will help enable us to continue to be a VOICE for Biblical Truth and a NETWORK for Confessing Lutherans.
As a steward with you in the ministry of the Gospel,
Dennis D. Nelson
Executive Director of Lutheran CORE