Welcome to the Minnesota North District - Brainerd / Baxter, MN

Our Mission:   The mission of the Minnesota North District of  the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod is to further the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) and to  assist congregations as Great Commission  churches.

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Matthew 22:17-22 (NIV)
Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?" 18 Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, "You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax."  They brought Him a denarius, 20 He asked them, "Whose portrait is this?  And whose inscription?" 21 "Caesar's," they replied. Then He said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's." 22 They heard this, they were amazed.  So they left Him and went away.

As our nation celebrates its independence in the shadow of a recent Supreme Court decision that redefines marriage in all 50 states to be the union of two people instead of a man and a woman, we may wonder if this really is a “Christian Nation” anymore. The Supreme Court did not change the Word of God.  We may not like how the moral fabric of America seems to be rotting in hedonism, but it has been going on long before any Supreme Court Decision.  We have been watching this waste away for decades. Look at the out of wedlock pregnancy rate.  Look at the divorce rates.  Look at the number of abortions performed every year.  Look at the number of couples who live together, not just before marriage, but instead of being married.  

When I look at Matthew 22 I find a profound truth.  The Pharisees are looking to trip up Jesus.  They ask Him the question, is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?  If Jesus says yes, then we can use that against Him.  The Romans were an occupying force and the people hated the Romans and would turn against Jesus.  If Jesus says no -- then they just have to go tell the Roman leaders that they have a man who is telling us we don’t have to pay taxes to Caesar and the Romans will do away with Him.  But Jesus never said yes or no – instead He asked for a coin and asked, whose image is this?  The coin is stamped with the image of Caesar.  Jesus said, Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.  It isn’t our money, it isn’t our currency.  

As we see the moral decay all about us we have to ask whose image is stamped on all of this corruption?  We should be engaged in governmental affairs, but we cannot allow our governmental agencies interpret Scriptures for us.   We are to render unto God that which is God’s.  Remember, we were created in His Image.  We bear His image in our obedience to His will.  We have been corrupted by sin.  We also bear the image of Satan and the world in our flesh too.  We all sin – we all fall short of the glory of God.  But we have been redeemed.  Our God sent His Son to pay the price for our sins.  He re-stamps His image on us, through His grace and mercy by the power of the Holy Spirit bringing us to faith to trust in that same mercy and grace.  We are being built up into Christ who is our head.

As we live in this world, I am leery about expending all of our energy on changing laws. This is still a nation of We the People … we have a lot of work to do to work on the individual hearts of man.  As God’s image is being re-stamped on their lives through the gospel proclamation, this will be a Christian nation – no matter if Caesar sits on the throne or some other governs.  We are a people who know that Heaven is our home. God is our Supreme Judge.  We have a leader who is the King of kings and the Lord of lords.  Like Joshua, the faithful will respond by saying, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.  No matter what the Supreme Court says, no matter how corrupt our world may become – as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.  May God use us to proclaim Christ Crucified boldly in a world that is growing more hostile to that Good News.  We pray that God will soften the hearts of people to hear the Word.  We pray that the Holy Spirit would prepare the hearts of people to hear, that they may turn to the cross to see the price that was paid to redeem them.  As John prayed in the closing chapter of Revelations, so we join him in asking; “Come Lord Jesus.”

In His Service,

Rev. Jeffrey A. Lee