Saturday, October 10, 2015

Pentecost 21 - Proper 23

Proper 23
11 October 2015
Mark 10:17-22

Enlighten our minds, we pray, O God, by the Spirit who proceeds from You that , as Your Son has promised, we may be led into all truth; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One god, now and forever.

Many people identify with this man. He could not wait. To taste real life. He ran to Jesus. Kneeling.  He begged Jesus to give him life. He wanted “eternal life”. He had life. In the sense of its existence. But he wanted something more.  He wanted a life of quality.

Today, people are more interested in life lived today. Rather than life lived in eternity. The tragedy? The man turned down the opportunity to get real life. The price was simply too high.

How do you then get real life?

By earning it? This life is not a reward. Compensation given for obeying the commands. This man sensed. That keeping the commandments wasn’t enough. For a spiritually satisfying life. Something was missing. He was right. Jesus told him. “One thing is lacking. Go. Sell everything. (Literally! Not figuratively!)  And follow Me.”

That made the man sad. He walked away sullen. Just as our losses during this recession might saddened and anger us. When we experience painful loss. We look for deliverance. For something, more than a spiritualized religious lesson plan. We need a flesh and blood deliverer. Who is the one who can satisfy? It is Christ.  

You know how the game is played. You simply follow the rules. This man was an expert at following the rules…Children were entering the kingdom. Certainly, there was something he could do to prove his worthiness. He felt justified. By his life and conduct. But he was only fooling himself. For there is only one person who has lived a perfect life. This man was speaking to that man. That man is Jesus Christ.

So, you can’t earn it. In that case, then do the next best thing. By buying it? This man had the wealth to buy it. – If it could be bought. He was rich. A man of many resources. If he had wanted it. He got it. And In this world. Those who “have it” have it good!

Or, so they think. For some. The mark of success is never having to ask how much does it cost. But that life which Jesus was speaking is beyond price. 

This man called Jesus a “good teacher.” Hoping Jesus would teach him how to obtain life. Jesus refused to be his guru. He was more than a life coach.  Why do you call me good?” “No one is good but God alone.” (v.19)  This man calls Jesus “good.” Only God is good. Do you accept the idea, the image, the impression, the intention…that Jesus is God?

Only God is good. The way to God. Is not to discover His secret for a good life, in order to earn God’s favor. Rather it is to come in faith to Christ, who alone can bestow eternal life.

Eternal life is “inherited” as a gift. From the One to whom we are fully committed. Jesus did not want anything standing in the way of Him.

Instead of following Jesus. This man chooses to stay with his money and his wealth. He walked away sad and bitter for he was a wealthy man. It was his money. Which he had given first priority in his life.

So what about you? What is your destiny? What is God’s desire of you? His desire is to give your life, liberty and peace. Freedom, security, happiness and joy. Regardless of cost or price.

He gives you all these things freely – without any cost without any price. It was all bought and paid for by His on Son’s blood.

Sadly, by the world’s standards, you are valued by the bottom line. By your salary, position, your home, your education, your status in the community, your appreciation for culture. Jesus looked at him and loved him. One thing you lack, he said. Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me. We have nothing without Jesus Christ. To know Him is to know all. To have Him is to have all.

All Jesus asks of you is your life. He asks that you simply follow Him and no one else. By following Jesus, you gain everything. It’s as simple as that.

With this one thing, a life with Christ you have everything. Having everything but that one thing, Jesus makes all the difference in the world. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world but to lose his own soul? Today trust Jesus. Follow Him! Obey Him! He is the one thing, which makes everything else secondary. 
Words –828
Passive Sentences –2%
Readability –85.8

Reading Level -3.0

Friday, October 9, 2015


Lord God. heavenly Father, Your promised Abraham that he would be the Father of many nations. You lead him to the land of Canaan, and You sealed Your covenant with him the the shedding of blood. May we see in Jesus, the Seed of Abraham, the promise of the new covenant of Your holy Church, sealed with Jesus' blood on the cross and given to us now in the cup of the new testament; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and rules with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, Pastor

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. – Hebrews 12:1

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Time in the Word Pentecost 20 - Proper 23

Time in the Word
5–10 October 2015
Preparation for next week, The 20th Sunday after Pentecost

The theme for the Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost is The Root of Evil. You will sometimes hear a person say ‘Money is the root of all evil.’ Usually it is said in a judgmental tone, used to condemn another. But such a one doesn’t quote Scripture correctly, for the Bible does not say that money is the root of all evil, but ‘the love of money is the root of all evil.’ (1 Timothy 6:10)

All of next Sunday’s readings exhort us not to depart from the Lord, but to remain faithful to Him. Oftentimes, not only the cares of this world, but the things of this world divert our attention from the Lord.

The sin of the rich young man in next Sunday’s Gospel reading was not that he had great riches, but that those riches were the most important thing to him. A Christian who is wealthy need not be ashamed of his wealth, for it is a gift from God, but he must not let his wealth rule him. He must realize that he is but a steward of the gifts God gives, and must use those gifts in a manner pleasing to God.

Collect for Pentecost 20Lord Jesus Christ, whose grace always precedes and follows us, help us to forsake all trust in earthly gain and to find in You our heavenly treasure; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Collect for Proper 23Lord Jesus Christ, whose grace always precedes and follows us, help us to forsake all trust in earthly gain and to find in Your our heavenly treasure; for You live and reigns with the Father rand the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen

Prayer to resist the love of money: Almighty God, heavenly Father, You have called us to be Your children and heirs of Your gracious promises in Christ Jesus. Grant us Your Holy Spirit that we may forsake all covetous desires and the inordinate love of riches. Deliver us from the pursuit of passing things that we may seek the kingdom of Your Son and trust in His righteousness and so find blessedness and peace; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for the proper use of wealth: Almighty God, all that we possess is from Your loving hand. Give us grace that we may honor You with all we own, always remembering the account we must one day give to Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for the unemployed: Heavenly Father, we commend to Your care those who suffer want and anxiety from lack of work. Grant that the wealth and resources of this rich land be profitably used so that all persons may find suitable and fulfilling employment and receive just payment for their labor; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayer of thanksgiving to God: Lord God, heavenly Father, from Your hand we receive all good gifts and by Your grace we are guarded from all evil. Grant us Your Holy Spirit that, acknowledging with our whole heart Your boundless goodness, we may now and evermore thank and praise You for Your loving-kindness and tender mercy; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for grace to love and serve God: O God, through the grace of Your Holy Spirit You pour the gifts of love into the hearts of Your faithful people. Grant Your servants health both of mind and body that they may love You with their whole heart and with their whole strength perform those things that are pleasing to You; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for agriculture: Almighty God, You bless the earth to make it fruitful, bringing forth in abundance whatever is needed for the support of our lives. Prosper the work of farmers and all those who labor to bring food to our table. Grant them seasonable weather that they may gather in the fruits of the earth in abundance and proclaim Your goodness with thanksgiving; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Monday, 5 October 2015Psalm 112:3–6; Antiphon, Psalm 112:1—Sunday’s Introit tells of the blessedness of the man who fears the Lord and delights in His commandments. This man delights especially in the First Commandment, You shall have no other gods. He fears, loves, and trusts in God above all things, especially earthly things. Thus, he is truly wealthy, for he possesses wealth that is far greater than material things; he has the righteousness of God that comes by faith.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015Psalm 90:12–17Psalm 90 is a psalm written by Moses, and is a great comfort in times of sadness. It starts out with a confession that the Lord abides with us always: Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Verses 12–17 are a prayer for the continuation of God’s favor, and the wish that He would carry out His work of salvation and bless His people’s undertakings to that end.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015Amos 5:6–7, 10–15—The prophet Amos lamented over the Israelites, who had turned their back on the Lord. Here the Lord exhorts the people through His prophet: Seek the Lord and live. He judges them for delighting in material things—houses of hewn stone and pleasant vineyards—but taking advantage of the poor and afflicting the righteous. Again they are exhorted, Seek good and not evil, that you may live.

Thursday, 8 October 2015Hebrews 3:12–19—This portion of our reading through the book of Hebrews also contains an exhortation, that the hearers not be like the Israelites of old, who rebelled against God. No person, on his own, can fully withstand temptation. But God has given us His Word and Sacraments to keep us strong in the faith, and He also provides what our Confessions call the mutual conversation and consolation of brethren (SA III, IV). Therefore, we Christians exhort one another, that none of us may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

Friday, 9 October 2015Mark 10:17–22—The rich young man was off in his thinking from the very start, when he asked, What must I do to inherit eternal life? Inheriting eternal life is not a matter of our doing; it is a gift of grace. Jesus tried to show the man that he could not earn his salvation, by directing him to the commandments. Yet, the young man persisted in his self-righteousness by proclaiming that he had kept them all from his youth.

Still, Jesus looked on him with love and compassion, as a wayward sheep. He directs the man to the First Commandment, by asking him to give up all he had. This young man loved the things of the world more than the things of God, and so he went away sorrowful.

How can any person enter the Kingdom of God? Not on his own merits, for with man it is impossible…but all things are possible with God.

Saturday, 10 October 2015—Sunday’s hymn of the day, Thee Will I Love, My Strength, My Tower (LSB 694) is a hymn of resolute determination to love God above all things, not of our own selves, but prayerfully asking, Permit me nevermore to stray (v. 4).

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Pentecost 20 - Proper 22

Proper 22
4 October 2015
Mark 10:2-16
The Savior’s perspective on children 

Over a million children are victimized by parents; broken bones, missing teeth, burns, bruises, etc. In contrast, Jesus urges parents to bring children to Him. That He might bless and love them. He calls parents to provide, protect, and love His children. Though parents may not physically abuse their children. They may be cruel to them by neglecting them. Good parents want only the best for their children. Jesus asks parents to permit their children to come to Him. By doing this, we are doing a very good thing. 

Bring your children to Jesus and permit them –
1.    To be blessed by Jesus – V.16
2.    To know Jesus by our instruction
3.    To come to Jesus by Baptism – V. 14

I.        Bring your children to Jesus and permit them to be blessed by Jesus. (v. 16) “And He took the children in His arms, put His hands on them and blessed them.”  Jesus took the small children in His arms and blessed them (cf. 9:36-37) - “He took a little child and had Him stand among them. Taking him in His arms, He said to them, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in My name welcomes Me; and whoever welcomes Me does not welcome Me but the one who sent Me.” 

This is a striking act taken by the Savior. He is showing His love for them. Apparently, these were small children. This was the overflowing of Jesus' divine love for children. It was this experience - that the disciples in their insensitivity - were preventing the children from having and Jesus from giving. No wonder Jesus was indignant! 

A.     One of the greatest gifts we can give is an investment to our children. What wouldn’t we do for our children? Time and circumstances may change from one generation to the other - yet one truth remains central – we want to do right by our children.  But far and above and temporal gift we can bestow on our children are the spiritual blessings we offer them. These parents begged Jesus that He would touch them. But He did more. This says something about the Savior. – He gives far and above what we could ever ask or think.

1.      He took them in His arms. Now the Scripture was fulfilled. Isaiah 40:11 reminds us, He shall gather the lambs in His arms, and carry them in His bosom. There was a time. When Christ Himself was taken up in the old man Simeon’s arms. (Luke 2:28).  Now He took up these children. Not complaining of the burden. – Not as Moses did. When he was told to carry Israel. That peevish child. In his bosom, as a nursing father bears the sucking child, (Numbers 11:12).
Jesus was pleased with it. If we in a right manner. Bring our children to Christ. He will take them up. Not only in the arms of His power and providence. But in the arms of His pity and grace. (See Ezekiel 16:8) For under them are His everlasting arms

2.      He put His hands upon them. Indicating the bestowing of His Spirit upon them (for that is the hand of the Lord). And His sets them apart for Himself. Children are an inheritance from the Lord. They are set apart to be a blessing.

3.      He blessed them. - With the spiritual blessings which only He can give. Our children are happy. If they have but the Savior’s blessing.  This is what we attempt to do. When our babes-in-arms are brought to the communion rail. 

What is the reason for bringing them? What is the reason for blessing them? Is it to make them better? Will Billy or Mary be better-behaved children if we bring them up front?  Is it magic? Something akin to a “good luck charm”?  

No! We bring them. To remind them. Of the blessings which are theirs in and through their baptism. If, our children are to be blessed. It is wise to remind our children (and ourselves) of the blessing which is theirs in the Sacrament of Holy Baptism.

This is what you do every time you make the sign of the cross. Whenever we have a baptism. The candidate receives the sign of a cross. On the forehead. And the heart. As a sign. That Christ the crucified has redeemed them. When you make the sign of the cross. You are reminded that Christ the crucified has redeemed you. You are reminding yourself. Of the blessing. Which are yours in and through your baptism.

What are these blessings? In baptism, you receive the forgiveness of sins. Life. And salvation.  That is why we use the benediction spoken over these babies at their baptism, “May the God and Father of your Lord Jesus Christ who has begotten you of the water and the Word keep you in His grace both now and forever more, peace be with you. Amen”  

B.     It is true. We do not read in our text this morning that Jesus baptized these children. Baptism had not yet been fully placed as the door of admission into the church until after Christ’s resurrection. Still. He asserted that infants are to be welcomed. He bestows His blessings upon them. Which are now appointed, conveyed and conferred in Baptism. For the seal of the promise, is to you and to your children.

II.     Bring your children to Jesus and permit them to know Jesus by our instruction.

A.     This is why we have a Sunday School. And a parochial day school at Wyneken. This is why we support our Oasis youth group. And encourage family devotions with the children. 

B.     If the church is to continue. It will be through these little ones. They are the future. Each generation enters this world apostate. It is our duty to connect them to the Savior. We do this by following the words of the Savior’s Great Commission. We make disciples. - By baptizing and by teaching.  

III.   Bring your children to Jesus. And permit them to come to Jesus by Baptism. (v.14) “When Jesus saw this, He was indignant. He said to them, Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” 

A.     Baptism is the means of bringing children into the kingdom. You can almost hear the Savior. “What do you mean? Will you hinder Me from doing good; from doing good to this rising generation, to the lambs of the flock?

1.      Christ is very angry with His own disciples. If they discourage any in coming to Him. Or in bringing their children to Him. 

2.      He ordered that they should be brought to Him. And nothing should be said or done to hinder them. Jesus says, “Suffer these little children…” As soon as they are able, to come to Me. To offer up their supplications to Me. To receive instructions from Me. Little children are always welcomed to the throne of grace with their Hosannas.

B.     Baptism is the means of keeping all in the kingdom.  Jesus was "indignant." When He realized that the disciples thought children were unimportant and bothersome.

1.      Mark not as softness these human emotions of Jesus. Jesus was indigent with His disciples.  He is quite candid about the failings of these disciples.

2.      Jesus wanted children to come to Him. They should not be hindered in their coming. After all. Children in their receptivity. And dependency. Exemplify for us the characteristics of those who possess God's kingdom.  

May the Savior’s clear instruction. Bring your children to Jesus and permit them –
1.    To be blessed by Jesus – 
2.    To know Jesus by instruction - 
3.    To come to Jesus by and through their Baptism –
Words – 1,305
Passive Sentences-8%

Reading Level -4.1
Image © Higher Things

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Jerome, translator of the Scriptures

O God of truth, Your Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. You gave Your servant Jerome delight in his study of Holy Scripture. May those who continue to read, mark, and inwardly digest Your Word find in it the good of salvation and the foundation of life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

St. Michael and All Angels

Everlasting God, You have ordered and constituted the service of angels and men in a wonderful order. Mercifully grant that, as Your holy angels always serve and worship You in heaven, so by Your appointment they may also help and defend us here on earth; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and rules with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen