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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Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

St. Paul writes, “God our Savior . . . desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator be- tween God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for

all” (1 Timothy 2:3–6).

What can we say about the issues of abortion, homosexual unions, and physi- cian-assisted suicide? We can say that these are human distortions of God's created design. That much is clear. But does our thinking and conversation stop with that diagnosis? Can we not also say that God’s created design is grounded in His deeper desire for His creation?

Marriage, for example, has a clear design. Marriage is one man and one woman for one lifetime. Distortions abound. But those distortions not only break God’s design, they cause us to miss out on God’s desire. “It is not good that the man should be alone” (Genesis 2.18). So, we can say that marriage, as God designed it, is for our good. At the very least, then, including God’s desire in the conver- sation about distortions of His design points us past what is wrong to why God wants it right.

What is more, leaving the conversation on the level of design distortions leaves the impression that we might actually be able to achieve God’s desire for us if we could just follow His design closely enough. Of course, no matter how hard we might try, we will still fail and fall short of experiencing God’s true desire. Including God’s desire in the conversation moves us to recognize our limita- tions, our sin, and our need for Jesus.

In Jesus Christ, divine desire overcomes all human distortions of His design. Christ embodies God’s created design completely, but He also makes a way through all human distortions by the forgiveness that flows from His cross so that God’s desire to be with His people as their God might be accomplished. What is more, Jesus promises restoration for all those who trust in Him. One day, all things will be as they should be. Until then, that promise of restoration sends us back to God’s created design with renewed energy and conviction. If that is where we are going, if Christ’s work is to restore creation not destroy it, then God’s design still stands and we return to it in the glad obedience of a God who does all He does “only out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me.”

Our world considers God’s design archaic, unhelpful, and even abusive. What should we say? Yes, we should diag- nose the distortions. Yes, we should be clear voices for what is right and what is wrong in our culture according to God's design. But talking about God’s deeper desire for His creation leads us to recognize the purpose in His design, our limitations and sin, the work of Jesus to win forgiveness and restoration, and our motivation in holding fast to what we have received.

I am very glad for the opportunity to write this month. I am also very glad for the opportunity to serve the district as Interim Mission and Ministry Facilitator for the PLaN Division. I pray that the work of our District Office will continue to be a blessing to the congregations and schools of Minnesota North, even as it certainly has been for me.

In Christ,

Pastor Rusnak