August 22, 2023
Isaiah 51:1-68 Psalm 138
Romans 12:1-8Matthew 16:13-20
How does it feel to get the answers to questions wrong?
I needed to get a new driver’s license by my birthday on December 1. I decided to go in
early. Sadly, the Banning office is now closed. So, I traveled to Hemet where the first
difficulty was finding a parking space. Secondly, even though I had an appointment, I still
had to wait. Then, I needed a new picture. My previous picture was pretty good, so I had
hoped that I would not have to take another. In addition, there was just one person, who
was very capable, but who was taking pictures and issuing temporary licenses to people
who passed the written test. So, another wait.
Next to my surprise, I was told I needed to take the driver “written test”, which was offered
on a bank of computers. After waiting in line again, I took the test for the first time. I missed
a few questions but felt good about my effort, not having studied. Sadly, the screen at the
end said I had not passed. Not good enough. I needed to wait at least 10 minutes before
taking the test again. So back in line I went. Happily, they have tests examples you can take
online, which I did on my phone as I waited. The second time I still missed a few, but I
passed. I was “free at last.” I went off to play some golf to celebrate, which we should do
when we pass the test. I now have my new license in my wallet and the picture turned out
pretty good after all.
In our gospel text for Sunday, Jesus asked his disciples “Who do people say that the Son of
Man is?” 14And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others
Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
Interesting answers. Elijah and Jeremiah had been gone for centuries and John the Baptist
had recently been beheaded by Herod Antipas. The “people” were not ready, it seemed, for
something new. They opted instead to guess that Jesus was just a repeat of past prophets.
In our own country, members of both national political parties seem ready to call for a
repeat of the 2020 presidential race. It is not easy to move on to something new.
Jesus next asks the disciples: “But who do you say that I am?”
Simon Peter was willing to move on from the past and see that Jesus offered a new vision of
God. He confesses that: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Peter’s answer
was brave, forward thinking, and correct. He had passed the test.
Jesus is effusive: “Blessed are you, Simon, son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not
revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. 18And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this
rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. 19I will give you
the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in
heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Peter’s words of faith are a rock which we still confess as part of the Apostle’s Creed. He has
more than a license, he has the keys to move the faith of Abraham forward offering
forgiveness and freedom to the world.
Peter’s day in the sun does not last long. Next Sunday we will read that Jesus goes on to say
that he must go to Jerusalem and there will suffer and be killed.
Peter, likely in the glow of his “correctness”, pulls Jesus aside to suggest, “This shall never
happen to you.” Jesus is blunt. He tells Peter to “Get behind me Satan! You are a hindrance
to me.” Ouch, what a change in just a few verses. Sometimes when we get one thing right,
we think we will get all things right.
What is amazing is that Peter was willing to allow this story to be shared. After all it was his
sermon that began the church in Jerusalem, and he was the head of the church afterward.
Why share this story or the story of his denial of Jesus? Peter has high notes and failures, for
him the real key he holds is not the answer key. Life is not about correctness. It is about
faith in something beyond us. We will have high notes and failures and we will be called at
times to suffer for what is right. The key is forgiveness and faith. He will experience it. He
will share it. He will offer it.
We will pass the test at times. Rejoice and be glad. Smile for the camera. Go play golf! But
we need not pass every test. The rock on which to build a church and a life is forgiveness
and faith in the future. The gates of Hades cannot prevail against this.
On Sunday Claire Sekafetz will be with us. We share in her ministry at CCLM. As partners
with her and her staff, we offer homeless men a second chance at life. We give them a key
of forgiveness and faith on which to build a new life. May God continue to bless this effort.
PRAYER: Lord, thank you for blessing us with the correct answers at times. May we be
correct in building our church not by offering an answer key, but by offering the keys of
faith and forgiveness for ourselves and others. These Keys to the Kingdom open many
doors. May they open doors to the homeless men at CCLM as well.
Grace and Peace, Pastor John
Central City Lutheran Mission – Claire Sekafetz will be with us on Sunday to share her
ministry with the homeless. CCLM hopes to increase their outreach to offer 138 beds rather
than the current 30 or so. Thus far this summer nearly $2,500 has been given through Faith
with matching. Mark your special gift to this ministry in these final weeks. Our quilting
group will also present them with quilts for their beds.
They could also use Shaving Cream – Small size 4- or 5-ounce Deodorant – Small
Toothbrushes – Standard Size, Toothpaste – Travel Size – new disposable shavers.
Next Pantry – August 26 – 8 – 10 a. Good News – a Thrivent Action Team project has been
approved to jump start a fundraiser for a new refrigerator for the Pantry. An old power

eater freezer needs to be replaced. In its place, a new energy efficient refrigerator will be
purchased. Make any donations to this fundraiser payable to Faith Lutheran and marked
“Pantry Refrigerator”.
WELCA – The next study will be September 2.
LAUREN SCHAFER our Office Assistant’s hours this week. 12:30-3:00 M-TH.
Pastor will be in the office Monday and Tuesday August 21 and 22 and 28 and 29.
QUILTING – Tuesdays beginning at 9 am. Their ministry and our work with Central City
Lutheran Mission will be celebrated August 27. 15 quilts for the men will be ready. THANKS!
Confirmation clases begin August 27. It will be wonderful to be back together. We will skip
the next week – Labor Day. Then September 10 and 17 and skip a couple of weeks for
Pastor’s vacation then resume October 8, 15, 22 and 29. Confirmation service for Elisha and
Russell will need to be delayed if we want to have the Bishop with us. We can discuss in
• Kim’s brother Jim has had his spinal tap and is able to move forward with stem cell
treatment for his cancer once another round of treatments is over.
• Bonnie Mills was in church on Sunday much recovered.
• Heather Uribe had successful surgery to remove a cyst.
• Becky Malinowski is still going through chemo treatments but will be with us on Sunday!
• erwin has been with us in church and appreciates our continued prayer for Lynda. In
addition, flood waters pushed mud up into their driveway.
• Kyle and Dana would appreciate prayers for their son, Kevin’s, Mother-in-Law, Lisa,
suffering from cancer.
• The Koenig Family – Jeanne who is undergoing diagnosis on her eyesight, there is quite a bit
of pain with the swelling in her head. Joe is awaiting kidney surgery, which will be on
October 16. Daughter, Jessica’s leukemia is being managed, but leaves her tired. Lucas is in
special care.
• Cesar and Kim would also appreciate prayers for their sons, Tim and Kyle. Cesar’s Sister
Maria also had a lump removed from her neck and the biopsy came back non-Hodgkin’s
lymphoma. She starts radiation soon.
• Remember Ned Morgan whose son Lee passed away in an auto accident on June 19. They
have decided against having a funeral.
• The Sheas would appreciate prayers for Rebecca and Chris Herandez in need of housing for
themselves and the twins.
• The Cady’s would appreciate prayers for their daughter’s friend, Brooke, who suffered a
stroke and is still unresponsive.
• Continued Godly journey for Brendan Simms, son of Bonnie Strack.
August 27 “Presenting the Star Attraction – CCLM” Quilts & Dollars raised
Special pies will be served.
REDLANDS; 31433 Alta Vista Drive, Redlands, CA. Noon to 3 pm.
Complete with BBQ, swimming, singing, games, FUN! Please verify you can still make it
on the list in the Narthex and Fireside Room or sign up if you can make the new date.
We’d love to have you.
The dedication of the Camp Director’s Home in Oak Glen will follow at 4:30 p.m.
Thanks for participating with us and for enjoying our THEMED SUMMER FUN! Faith is a
great place! During the Fall, September-December, our theme is FALL FUN: FOCUS ON
FAITH. Here’s the schedule: More details next week.
1st Sun. – WELCA (Oct. will be 2nd Sun)
2nd Sun. – GAMES (Oct. will be 1st Sun)
September 10 will be games and fun at the Luau at Kim’s and Cesar’s home.
4th Sun. – POTLUCK