Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Anselm of Canterbury, Theologian

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

Monday, April 20, 2015

Johannes Bugenhagen, 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

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Easter 3

Easter 3
19 April 2015
Luke 24:36-49
Too good to be true

O God, through the humiliation of Your Son You raised up the fallen world. Grant to Your faithful people, rescued from the perils of everlasting death, perpetual gladness and eternal joys;

The night of the first Easter. When the disciples saw Jesus. They experience – surprise and fright. Which turned into joy. It was almost too good to believe! “It seemed too good to be true!” But it was true. And He gave them this instruction – what is good and true must be told.

It seemed too good to be true. The reports were coming in. Sin and death had not conquered. “the Lord has risen indeed!” Jesus appeared to the disciples in the room. Joy and doubt clashed. Our reaction too is both awe and joy. It seems too good to be true. Despite our sin. God offers forgiveness. And life. Through His Son Jesus.

It is good. Because it is true.   It is not a human plan of salvation. Human efforts reject Christ. (Acts 4:11) Because of self-righteousness. And deceit. And they have no truth. (1 John 1:8) It has always been God’s plan. Revealed already to the Old Testament faithful. (Luke 24:44) It is fulfilled in Christ. (v.46) He is the Truth of God’s salvation. It is good. Because it calls for us to repent. And offers the truth of God’s forgiveness. (v.47) Thus, we become right before God. (1 John 1:9)

It is truth. That is good for others. God desires that His salvation be proclaimed to all nations. (Luke 24:47) Repentance and forgiveness will restore people. From the darkness of sin. To the goodness of God’s light. (1 John 1:5-7) The people of God are witnesses. To the power of Christ’s death and resurrection. (Luke 24:48) All of us can share Christ in our daily testimony to others. The Holy Spirit gives us power to tell what is true. And what is good. (vs.49)

God’s salvation is never “too good to be true.” It is utterly good. It is utterly true. You can tell the world. So that all people can experience its truth and goodness.
Words –370
Passive Sentences –8%
Readability –85%

Reading Level -2.8

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Time in the Word - Easter 3

Time in the Word
13–18 April 2015
Preparation for next week, Easter 3

Collect for Easter 3 – O almighty and eternal God, who hast bestowed on us the paschal mysteries in the token of the covenant of man’s redemption, give us the will to show forth in our lives that which we profess with our lips; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

A Morning Prayer: Faithful God, whose mercies are new to us every morning, we humbly pray that You would look upon us in mercy and renew us by Your Holy Spirit; keep safe our going out and our coming in and let Your blessing remains with us throughout this day; preserve us in You righteousness and grant us a portion in that eternal life which is in Christ Jesus; through whom b e glory and praise to You and the Holy Spirit, now and forever.

An Evening Prayer: Merciful Father, whose guiding hand has brought us to the completion of this day, we humbly pray You to stay with us and shelter us in quiet hours of the night that we who are wearied by the changes and changes of this passing world may rest in Your changeless peace.

For likeness to Christ: O God, by the patient suffering of Your only-begotten Son You have beaten down the pride of the old enemy. Now help us, we humbly pray, rightly to treasure in our hearts all that our Lord has of His goodness borne for our sake that after His example,. We may bear with patience all that is adverse to us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Monday, 13 April 2015 Psalm 30:1-5; Antiphon, Psalm 16:11b – In Psalm 30, David exuberantly worships the Lord, who lifted him out of the depths, healed him, and brought him up from the grave. He calls upon all saints – including us – to sing to the Lord and praise His holy Name, for we, too have been delivered from sin death, and the power of the devil by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015 –  Psalm 4 – antiphon v. 7, “You have filled my heart with greater joy than when the grain and new wine abound.” The hard work put into spring planning and summer growth pays off in the fall at harvest. Who isn’t overjoyed at a bumper crop? Yet the Psalmist reminds us greater joy is found is in knowing the Lord who has filled the heart. In Biblical language the heart is the center of the human spirit, from which spring emotions, thought, motivations, courage and action, -“the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)

Wednesday, 15 April 2015 – Acts 3:11-21 – Once again Peter speaks to onlookers concerning the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus. The miracle is not found in the healing of man but it the fact that the God of our fathers, has glorified His servant Jesus.

Thursday, 16 April 2015 1 John 3:1-7 – John does not speak of sinless perfection in the life of the believer but of the new perspective given to the believer. Our focus is upon Christ and His work in the redeemed child of God.

Friday, 17 April 2015 Luke 24:36-49 – The early Church Fathers had to deal with heretics called Docetists who denied the physical resurrection of Jesus, saying it was only a spiritual resurrection, and that His appearances were that of a phantasm, or else hallucinations by His followers. This heresy persists to this day: the Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the bodily resurrection of Christ. But Jesus dispels any sort of nonsensical ideas in Sunday’s Gospel. He appears in the flesh – Why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have – and eats food. This eyewitness account also gives us the assurance of the physical resurrection of Jesus, and of all believers, as we confess in the Creed.

The disciples could not believe that the risen Christ was real because of joy., They were so glad to see Him that they could not believe it was true. Usually joy follows believing, or there is the joy of believing. In this case the presence of the living crucified one was so overwhelming that they had joy even before they believed. Their joy attests to their love and appreciation for Him. Their joy is a witness to the reality of the Resurrection, for it was a response to His presence. The joy of Easter, then, is not in flowers, eggs, clothing, or candy. It is in the presence of the risen Lord.

Saturday, 18 April 2015 The Strife Is O'er, the Battle Done (LSB 464) – The battle hymn of the Reformation, A Mighty Fortress, proclaims, “One little word can fell him” (the devil). That word is tetelestai – the Greek word for “It is finished.” Jesus’ victory over sin, death, and the devil is complete. Sunday’s hymn proclaims this loud and clear: The strife is o’er, the battle done; Now is the Victor’s triumph won.” Christ has set us free from our mortal enemies, to which we respond over and over, “Alleluia” – “Praise the Lord”!

Concordia Self-Study Commentary, © 1971, 1979, Concordia Publishing House.
 Lutheran Service Book, © 2006, Concordia Publishing House, .

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Easter 2

Easter 2
12 April 2015
John 20:19-31
The Goodness of God

Almighty God, grant that we who have celebrated the Lord’s resurrection may by Your grace confess in our life and conversation that Jesus is Lord and God;

You are much value to God. He will stop at nothing. To prove His love for you. St. Paul reminds us, “In all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”

The hymn writer puts it this way:              The will of God is always best
                                                                 And shall be done forever.
                                                                 And they who trust in Him are blest.
                                                                  He will forsake them never. (LSB 758:1)

Theologians refer to this as “the benevolence of God”. An old concept. With relevant meaning for our day. Peter declares, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” -2 Peter 3:9

Today we consider the goodness of God –

1.       Christ reinforces faith. Vv.19-23 The Savior’s appearance. Only Christ Himself could satisfy the deep longing of the disciples. At such a time of confusion and sorrow. Jesus appears to His disciples to assure them that He is indeed risen from the dead.

He confers the Office of the Keys. For the ongoing forgiveness of sins.

He sends His disciples on the primary mission for which He was sent into the world. V.21

He endues His disciples with the power of the Holy Spirit. One as God gives the power of His Spirit, are we able to share the word of forgiveness.

2.       Christ rekindles faith. Vv.24-29 Thomas expresses his doubt. Vv.24-25 And why? Tomas was not with them when Jesus came. There is indeed danger involved in absence from corporate worship. The Sacrament of the Altar. With its reassurance of forgiveness. The Office of the Keys. With this declaration of God’s grace. The fellowship of believers. With its sharing of the Gospel promises.

As Jesus came to Thomas He comes to you. Revealing Himself. And He says, “Do not become faithless, but believing! Very often. The process of “becoming faithless” is virtually unnoticeable unrecognizable, almost camouflaged to the person involved. But it is just as devastating.

But upon witnessing Jesus, the doubter is convinced. Thomas makes a bold profound confession of faith – “My Lord, and my God!” Because you have made this same confession. Jesus is Lord. Jesus is God. And for you who wish that you could have lived in the times of the apostles and have seen Christ working miracles, meditate on these words - Jesus speaks to Thomas about you, “because you have seen you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and still believe.”

3.       John wises to share this faith. Vv.30-31 Many other signs could have been mentioned. But they were not. Many words of the Savior could have been recorded. But they were not. But the things Jesus said. And the things Jesus did. John places them into his record for a divine purpose. These signs are recorded so that you might believe. The Word is give so that you might be brought to faith. It is the power of the Word that creates faith in the human heart. Luther put it this way, “I believe that I cannot...”

Likewise, through the power of the Word people are able to have the assurance of eternal life through “His Name.”  Not one among many. Not any name a specific name. Jesus.  Jesus, Name among all names….

                Words –600
                Passive Sentences –8%
                Readability –76%

                Reading Level –4.7

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A call to Persevere

4.8.2015 Easter Wednesday                        Hebrews 10:19-39 A call to Persevere

The proclamation if Christ’s cleansing sacrifice relieves and strengthens our conscience to we see ourselves and the certainty of God’s mercy clearly. “Where the heart is not in a right relationship with God, or cannot take such confidence, it will not dare to pray anymore.  Such as confident and joyful heart can spring from nothing else than the certain knowledge of the forgiveness of sin.“ (Luther’s Large Catechism, III,92)

Luther comments, “This old man consists of error, concupiscence, wrath, fear, apprehension, despair, evil conscience, horror of death, etc. Those are characteristic of the old, carnal man. They diminish, however in the new man, but they are not extinguished until he himself is extinguished by death…Rather the process of removal has begun and as a person increases in spiritual health, these evils are removed. This spiritual health is nothing more than faith in or love in Christ.” (American Edition 31:124)[2]

The writer to the Hebrews writes boldly concerning the confidence we have as redeemed children of God. He reminds us, we must come to God with a true heart, and with the confidence our faith gives us. Our hearts have been sprinkled and made clean, so that we have no guilty conscience. Our bodies have been washed with pure water. We must hold on firmly to the hope we have in Christ. The one who gave us His promise can be trusted.  Thus we move forward, thinking about how we can help each other to grow in love and faith. We must keep on encouraging one another. The day of our Lord’s coming is near. Thus, we continue to encourage each other.

Almighty God, by the glorious resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ, You destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light. Grant that we who have been raised with Him may abide in His presence and rejoice in the hope of eternal glory; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen[3]

[1] Image by Ed Rioja © Higher Things
[2] Lutheran Study Bible, ©2009 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
[3] Collect for Easter Wednesday, Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Christ’s Sacrifice once for all

4.7.2015 Easter Tuesday                                Hebrews 10:1-18 Christ’s Sacrifice once for all

The one supreme sacrifice of Christ removes the necessity of repeated sacrifices of animals. These repeated sacrifices cannot remove sin. Jesus’ one sacrifice perfected the faithful. After the perfect offering , Jesus is seated now at God’s right hand waiting for all evil forces to be subject  to Him. This once-for-all-time offering initiated a new covenant which cancels all former covenants and their sacrifices. It is a new covenant of forgiveness. Since there is forgiveness in and through the new covenant, there is no need of other sacrifices for sin.[2]

After His perfect sacrifice, Jesus is seated at God’s right hand until all His enemies are defeated. We are now holy and clean because Jesus Christ did what God wanted by bringing his own body as the one Sacrifice for all sin. The sacrifices of the old system could never take away sin. Jesus brought one Sacrifice for sins that would last forever, and then, He sat down at God’s right hand. When a person’s sins have been taken away there’s no loner any need to bring an offering for sin.

Almighty God, through the resurrection of Your Son You have secured peace for our troubled consciences. Grant us this peace evermore that trusting in the merit of Your Son we may come at last to the perfect peace of heaven; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen[3]

[1] Image by Ed Rioja © Higher Things
[2] Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series B, John Brokhoff, pg.306 © CSS Publishing, Lima, OH
[3] Collect for Easter Tuesday, Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis