Messiah Lutheran Church -- Charlotte, NC
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8300 Providence Rd. just south of the Arboretum and Hwy 51 (Pineville-Matthews Rd).  Map.

Pastor's Message
Pastor's May Message PDF Print E-mail
  MINISTER TO THE MINISTERS “…some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service…” Eph. 4:11-12    This, in a nutshell, is my job description: I am here to prepare you for ‘works of service’. The Greek word for service is diakonia which is translated ‘ministry’. In fact, the King James Version of the Bible translates verse 12: “… for the work of  ministry.” I have seen that concept printed at the top of bulletins something like this, “Minister – the people of <Messiah> church; Pastor <Tim Baldinger> - Minister to the Ministers.” That says it well! I am here to help you find your ministry, and become active and successful in it. There are not supposed to be any spectators in the church. We are all players. It is true that being a spectator is safer. There are no risks, you can’t fail or be hurt, if you remain in the stands or watching from the comfort of your living room sofa. But there are no gains either, other than vicarious joy of celebrating in the victory of your team. Sometimes we can only be spectators because we do not have the skills to be a participant. But, if we are equipped and have what it takes to be a participant, then simply being a spectator is an unfulfilling second best. Our heavenly Father has equipped each of us with the Holy Spirit and the unique gifts and talents to play on His team. Like a good coach, I am here to help you find your fit on the team and help you grow into the position.   With that ministry concept as a backdrop, our Board of Nurture is working hard to focus on the critical target of assimilation. To assimilate means to bring something in from the outside in such a way that the object brought in feels a part of the original group. In other words, we want all those who become a part of Messiah to feel a part of the team. When speaking about the church, their verbiage changes from they to us.   From the onset of membership, and even before, we want to help those who visit with us find meaningful areas of service (ministries) where they can feel like they are contributing to the team as players and not simply watching on the sidelines as spectators. Our Board of Nurture works to help them find their fit in ministry and with other members so as to feel an active part of the Body of Christ at Messiah.   Beginning with Pastor’s next New Member Class, each class will incorporate a two week session to help potential new members find their fit on the team and thereby assimilate them into the family. Per Sorensen and Joanne Gibitz have volunteered to help me with this exciting ministry. I am thankful for their vision and passion. Please keep this new ministry of the Board of Nurture in your prayers.  
Pastor's April Message PDF Print E-mail


When we look through glasses, it changes the whole perspective of the world around us. Prescription glasses clarify everything and make things readily identifiable, unless the prescription is not the right one for us. In that case, it makes things fuzzy and hinders perception. Sunglasses add a tint to our vision that is beneficial when the atmosphere around us is bright but can cloud vision when it is dark. But no matter what the situation we are in or what kind of glasses we have on, they impact the way we see everything.In a parallel sense, all of us look at life through some lens or set of lenses that affect the way we perceive almost everything. At times, we may put on a different set of world view glasses, depending on the circumstance that we are in. It is most important that we are aware of the glasses that we have on and their affect on our perception, otherwise our perspective on life in general or some particular aspect of it will be like wearing the wrong prescription lenses or wearing sunglasses in a dark room.As we journey through Lent and into the Easter celebration of Christ’s resurrection, we can, with thanksgiving, reflect on the best pair of glasses that can be given – lenses through which we can view all of life, lenses that affect how we see all of life. These lenses are SONGLASSES. Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, our perspective, our view of life, is completely changed. Because Christ lives, we shall live also (paraphrase of John 14:18c, see also John 11:25-26). This means that the saying is NOT TRUE: “you only go around once in life, so go for all the gusto.” Christ’s resurrection and the promise of our resurrection in and with Him, means that we don’t have to hold on to life so desperately. We can loosen up a bit and experience it, learn from it, and share it. When we know that the “best is yet to come” it changes how we experience what is happening now. We can be patient, we can endure, we can live in hope and be sustained even in our weariness. Instead of focusing completely on ourselves (for if you don’t look after yourself, who will?), we can let go and let God while focusing on the needs of others. The more we reflect on Christ’s resurrection, the more we see that it affects EVERYTHING. Purpose, hope, goal, destiny, all the big picture issues of life are colored and clarified by this one fact. Indeed, if Christ has been raised from the dead (to which we say emphatically that He has!), then Songlasses are the only glasses to have, the only glasses to wear. As we put them on not only this Easter, but everyday of our lives, may we be impassioned to give these glasses away to others as well so that they may see life clearly and correctly. 

Pastor's March Message PDF Print E-mail

  The Cost of Discipleship      A verse of the old Christian camp song goes, “if you cannot bear the cross, you can’t wear the crown.” Is that true? In reality, it says too much. We believe that Jesus bore the cross for us so that by faith in Him and His work of atonement, we receive that crown by grace – no works of merit are necessary. But before we dismiss the verse too quickly, it does contain a message that should cause us to stop and ponder. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was right, there is a Cost to Discipleship (title of one of his books). Jesus says in Matthew, Mark and Luke that whoever would be His disciple must deny himself, take up his cross and follow him. He goes on to say that whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for Jesus’ sake will save it. If we are going to follow Jesus, we will find ourselves paying some price. In fact, it can be argued from scripture that if you are not paying some kind of price, carrying some kind of cross, maybe you are not following Jesus at all.     

So what price are you paying? Maybe we should ask another question first. What are we paying for? If Christ bore the cross for us, if He paid the price for our sin, if salvation is by grace through faith, then what does our carrying the cross, whatever that cross may be, gain? The answer maybe somewhat disconcerting – directly, we gain nothing at all! St. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:15 that Jesus died for all “that that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” The cross we bear, the price we pay is whatever it takes to live for Jesus. And what does it  mean to live for Jesus? It means to devote our lives to that for which He devoted His life: the saving of the world. Again, St. Paul says in 1 Timothy 2:3 - 4, “This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” The bottom line is this, people are living and dying without a relationship with Jesus Christ, and though He lived and  died to save them, they are not saved. There is nothing more important to Jesus than for you and I as His followers to ‘spend’ ourselves in order that another soul comes to know Him.    

So again, I ask, what price are you paying so that the lost will be found, the spiritually dead made alive, the spiritually blind can see, the sinner can be saved? What personal inconvenience will you bear even if it is just for one lost sinner? What privilege will you forgo? What tradition not mandated in scripture will you sacrifice in at least an attempt to bring someone to Christ? St. Paul said, “For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel.” (Romans 9:3)  What are we willing to sacrifice for someone else? Are we willing to take the bread out of our own mouth in order to feed another?? If you wish to follow Jesus, you may well be asked to do that and much more. It could cost you your life… in fact, it will cost you your life – a life lived for Jesus. If you cannot bear the cross, you can’t ‘share’ the crown. 

Pastor's February Message PDF Print E-mail


 With Valentine’s Day falling in the heart (pun intended) of February, Paula, our Director of Family Life/Youth, encouraged me to do a sermon series on marriage during this month.  I am excited to do so and will begin the series Feb. 1st continuing for the next three Sundays afterward.  I am excited to do so for at least two reasons.  First, I want to support Paula who has worked hard to build a solid foundation for marriage in her pre-marital and marriage classes.  Second, with almost 50% of all marriages, including marriages of Christians, ending in divorce, this subject desperately needs to be addressed.    It has been said that “a church is only as strong as the families in her.”  I believe that we can extend that to our entire society. God created us in families for a good reason: we need that security, loving acceptance and forgiveness, partnership of responsibilities and duties, and finally, teaching and modeling of responsible behavior that is experienced in a healthy family. I believe that the moral chaos that we are experiencing today, including that of our economy, can be traced to the disintegration of the family.    With that said, I believe that the strength of the family rests solidly on the strength of the marriage within the family. The disintegration of the family begins with the disintegration of marriage.  The statistics of the damage of divorce runs the gamut of physical, emotional, economical, social/societal, spiritual, and, according to an article that I recently read, even environmental.  Add to that the psychological damages to the child caught in a divorce and you have a pandemic of loss and grief. There is no doubt that there are solid single-parent families,  and healthy blended families that combine members from second or even third marriages but the challenges of making them work is daunting.    So, yes, I am excited to share a series of messages on marriage praying that God will use my words (better to say, give me His Words) to shore up marriage.  I will begin by identifying the major source of the disintegration of marriage which, I believe, is not knowing what the purpose of marriage is.  I will continue by discussing what is needed to make a marriage work and how the needs of men and women are both different and complementary.  Finally, I will discuss how we all can work together to support marriage in general and marriages in particular. Please keep these messages in your prayers.   

Pastor's January Message PDF Print E-mail

A New Resolve for an Old Resolution

     In less than a week my youngest son, Matthew, will graduate from University of North Carolina - Charlotte. Saturday's graduation celebration will set a significant milestone in an era of parenting for Sue and I as we will mark formally the transition of the last of our three children out of school and into a more independent future. We have willingly and lovingly sacrificed much to parent our children from infancy into young adulthood. The journey has been filled with wonderful memories as well as a number of sorrows.

    I share that story as a backdrop for this January newsletter article to give context to the direction that Messiah's leadership is choosing to lead as we begin a new year. In what I believe was a significant and very meaningful meeting, Dec. 15th, of the Board of Vision and Planning - a board made up of the Chairman of all seven of Messiah's Ministry Boards - it became more and more apparent during discussion that Messiah needs to get back to its vision of birthing a new church in Weddington. Or, to put it another way, we need to make a new (year's) resolution to get back to what we resolved over a year ago to do.

    Just like being a parent, birthing and nurturing a new ministry takes significant time, energy, money and commitment. Parenting is not an avocation or a hobby. It takes significant focus and conscious commitment. During those years of nurturing, parents make a number of sacrifices as they focus on what the child needs. So also, as Messiah commits to birthing a mission in Weddington, we will make sacrifices that will entail delaying major projects that we might want to do around here. The time will come, when the mission "comes of age" that we may be able to take up those projects again.  

As your Board of Vision and Planning debriefed the "Stepping Out in Faith Call to Ministry" results along with the congregational meeting December 7th, consensus of your leadership began to build around our focused support of Weddington. A letter has gone out to all those who made a SOIF (Stepping Out In Faith) commitment encouraging them to keep their commitment in spite of the need to alter the plan. The letter states that, unless otherwise designated, all monies will go toward our financial commitment of $140,000 to Weddington, after which time, all monies will go into a building fund to be used to construct needed facility expansion here at 8300 Providence road.

   Whether you have made a commitment to STOIF or not, I would like to encourage you to consider committing to the birthing and nurturing of the mission in Weddington. I would like to ask you to give of your time, talent and treasure, to give of your interest, attention and prayer. For those of you that would like to make a monetary contribution, there will be envelopes made available to you. And if you should wish to make a financial commitment, please let the office know and we will get a pledge card and offering envelopes to you as well.

   Now that our youngest child has grown into a young adult, Sue and I can begin to consider new directions for our time and energies. That holds some excitement for us but also some sadness. There is excitement in the freedom but sadness as we experience an ever decreasing interaction with our children. So also in birthing a new church, there will be times of excitement and sadness. May God gives us the heart of love and courage to see past the sadness and sacrifice to the joy of being a part of a new life.          

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Sample ImagePastor Steve was born and raised in Oregon. After graduating from Willamette University with degrees in German and International Studies, he worked in various vocations that taught him how to work in teams with diverse people.  As a project manager in the computer tech industry in the 90’s, he began to feel God’s call to become a pastor. In 2003, he took a huge leap of faith, selling his business and two homes to drive to Saint Louis for the first time and begin Seminary training.



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