Jesus said, “At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:10-14

As the members of First Lutheran, La Crescent meet for their annual meeting, they look back to all the blessings of the past year, 2017. A highlight of the year was celebrating 75 years as a Christian congregation. The following is from fifty years ago, written for the 25th anniversary. How true these words are today as the congregation looks now at the Gospel ministry to come and the mission to proclaim the truths of Scripture in a dying world.

How long will this world exist? No man knoweth the hour in which the Lord shall make His appearance. But His advice therefore is that you be ready for He may come when you least expect Him. We do know that He is coming and that the time is imminent. All the prophecies pertaining to His coming are literally fulfilled. No, we are not only thinking of the wickedness and the evils of the ungodly warmongers, hoodlums, gangsters and the deviltries of juvenile delinquents – but we are above all mindful of the damnable damnableness of the hypocrisies to be found in our present day Churchianity.

The Truth of the Gospel is being totally ignored by sanctimonious leaders of Religion. They glibly sneer at the Words of Christ: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no man cometh to the Father but by ME!” They babble away with the remark: “One religion is as good as the other – for they all have their goal in heaven, whether they be Catholic, Protestant or Jew – whether they be followers of Mohammed, Tao or Buddha – whether they be Communists, Atheists or Agnostics. Creeds are of little or no account. It is our deeds that matter. We will be judged by our deeds – and the good Lord will be able to find some good in all of us. We need have no fear.”

Prevailing conditions in our day are indeed far, far worse than they ever have been in the History of the world. It will fare far better for the people at the time of Noah, for Sodom and Gommorah, for Nineveh, for Babylon than for our present generation. The woes of Christ still hold good today as at His time. The people of our day certainly have more opportunity to learn to know the Truths of Life as presented in the Word of God – but never has the Bible been misinterpreted and belittled more disgracefully than NOW. And the people love it so!

May our gracious Lord continue to have His Truth preached among His people at La Crescent as a testimony of all living in this community and to the ends of the earth for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

-25th Anniversary Booklet of First Evangelical Lutheran Church, La Crescent, MN

And so before the end comes, and we do not know the day or hour, we have a job to do; to Keep Christ First in our Hearts and in our Lives. To keep the Light of Christ dwelling in our hearts through His Word and letting that light shine for all to see through our lives of faith. As Jesus said, “I am the light of the world” (John 9:5) and “let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

Keep Christ First!

Pastor Chris Christenson