Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Wyneken Graduation


Wyneken Memorial Lutheran School
8th Grade Graduation
23 May, 2017
James 1:12
“Steadfast”


Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

We all knew this night would come. When you would graduate from Wyneken. And it has been a true joy to spend this past year with you. Great students! Great class! You enjoyed each other’s company. You made teaching fun! The text you have selected for your graduation are appropriate. They say to us this night, “Remain steadfast!”  

1. Blessed is the man
        A. Who remains steadfast
             1. Be steadfast. James reminds us “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial.”                         This echoes Jesus’ words, “the one who endures to the end will be saved.”
                    a.       Moving on to Bellmont, there will be many decisions you will be making very                                     soon. Friends you will make. Classes you will take. Who you will be hanging out                                 with. Career choices. The list is endless.
                     b. Yet, remaining steadfast in the faith is of the first importance.

             2. This is one of Jesus’ great promises. Not only will He will remain with you. He                                      remains steadfast. Unmovable. He will not change.  He remains faithful.
                   a.      Notice who is the One who is being steadfast – Christ.
                   b.      Count on Him to remain steadfast for you. Go where He directs you.
                        1. To His promises found in His Word
                        2. To His gifts of mercy and grace.
                                 a. To His forgiveness spoken to you in His word of absolution.
                                 b. To His life given to you in His Supper.
                                 c. To His salvation given to your baptism.


          B. Jesus remains faithful. Especially under trial.
             1. Trials will come.
                   a.  You have been confirmed. You have renounced Satan. You have pledged to remain                               faithful to Christ. So expect trials to come.
                   b. Yet these trials can only make you stronger. As you look to Christ.
            2.          This is how Satan operates.
                   a. The trials and the sufferings we endure now is the result of living in a broken world.                             Outside of Eden.
                   b. There is a purpose for such things. To stand the test. “When he has stood the trial.”                                 But not because of your might, your strength, your will. “Not by might, nor by                                     power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6)

Transition: Not only are you blessed now. You will be blessed by Christ forever!

2. He will receive the crown of life
     A. A promise which God has promised you in Christ. “Be faithful unto death, and I will give                    you the crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10)
        1. Christ cannot go back on His promises.
        2. He remains faithful. For he cannot deny himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13)
     B. He does all this because He loves you.
        1. The definition of God’s love for you, “greater love has no man than this, that He lay down                   His life for His friends. “ (John 15:13)
        2. Thus you can face the future confidently!

Remember the things taught you. Cling to that which is good. Love God. Serve your neighbor. Be a sermon in shoes! Remain steadfast in the steadfastness of Christ!

Words – 530
Passive Sentences – 4%
Readability – 88.2%
Reading Level - 2.7

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Time in the Word ~ Easter 7




Time in the Word
Christians in a non-Believing World
Easter 7
May 22-27, 2017



This coming week will be the last Sunday in Easter. Easter 7 serves as a bridge between Ascension and Pentecost. We look back to the Ascension or forward to Pentecost. Because Easter was so late this year, we will be celebrating Ascension the last week of May.  .

A Daytime Collect for Eastertide Almighty God the Father, through Your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ You have overcome death and opened the gate of everlasting life to us. Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of our Lord’s resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by Your life-giving Spirit.

For Agriculture - Almighty God, You blessed the earth to make it fruitful, bringing forth in abundance whatever is needed for the support of our lives. Prosper; we implore You, the work of farmers, especially in this planting season. Grant them seasonable weather that they may gather in the fruits of the earth and thus proclaim Your goodness. May we see by this noble vocation that by Your aid we are helping to feed the world and cause all who give thanks over their food to treat those who produce it with honor and respect.

An Evening Collect for Eastertide Abide with us, Lord, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. Abide with us and with Your whole Church. Abide with us in the end of the day, in the end of our life, in the end of the world. Abide with us with Your grace and goodness, with Your Holy Word and sacrament, with Your strength and blessing. Abide with us when the night of affliction and temptation comes upon us, the night of fear and despair when death shall come. Abide with us and with all the faithful through time and eternity.

Monday, May 22, 2017 – Psalm 68:1-10 - This is the Psalm suggested for the last Sunday in Easter. It appears to be an order of service for procession to the temple in Jerusalem. The Lord has brought salvation to Israel Vv. 1-6 in the Exodus Vv. 7-10 and the wilderness wanderings. Vv.11-14 extended verses.
Tuesday, May 23, 2017 – Acts 1:12—26 – Christians in the world pray for the Spirit.  At His ascension, Jesus promised to send the Spirit to the disciples. The risen Lord meets with His eleven disciples a short distance from Jerusalem where before ascending to His Father, He promises them the Spirit who will give them power to witness throughout the world. Then they returned to an upper room in Jerusalem to pray. With the disciples are Jesus’ brothers and mother. This is her last appearance in the New Testament — she is seen among the first Christians praying and waiting for the Spirit. This deals with both the Ascension and next Sunday’s Pentecost. The First Lesson is similar to today’s Acts 1:1-11. Otherwise, the Lesson can be used to prepare for the upcoming Pentecost celebration.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017 – 1 Peter 4:12-19; 5:6-11 – Christians in the world share Christ’s sufferings. Christians are to rejoice over the privilege of sharing Christ’s suffering, and, after suffering, God will restore and strengthen them. The exhortations to the newly baptized are continued in this passage. They are warned of impending persecution for being Christians, for at this time it was a crime to be a Christian. They are not to be surprised when suffering comes, but to rejoice that they suffer as Jesus did. When suffering comes, the new Christians are to be humble, trust in God’s care, be on guard against temptation, and to remember that suffering is over and God will strengthen them. They are to take comfort in the fact that suffering is experienced by the whole church.

Thursday, May 25, 2017 John 17:1-11 – Christians in the world are prayed for. Before His departure, Jesus prays for His disciples. This lesson is a part of Christ’s high priestly prayer, the end of His farewell discourse at the Last Supper begun in chapter 13. The hour of His departure has come. He reports to the Father that He has accomplished the work He was sent to do. 
Friday, May 26, 2017 – Psalm 47 – This Psalm is suggested for Ascension.  The Psalmist gives praise for the kingship of the Lord and the universal reign of the God of Abraham. It is seen as a prophecy of Christ who will rise up to be king of the entire earth through the preaching of the Gospel.

Saturday, May 27, 2017 – Acts 2:21 – This verse is the inspiration for the hymn, “Christ is the World’s Redeemer“{LSB 539}. The suggested hymn for this week reminds us that Jesus is the Savior of the world. Having examined the realities of Easter, we now go out into the world as witnesses of the Savior. This is what living the faith means. Expressing what those 1st Century disciples proclaimed, “We are witnesses to these things”

Sources:
THE LUTHERAN HYMNAL © 1940 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO
LUTHERAN WORSHIP © 1982 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO
LUTHERAN SEVICE BOOK LECTIONARY © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO

LECTIONARY PREACHING WORKBOOK © 1989 John Brokhoff CSS Publishing, Lima, OH

Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use.


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Time in the Word ~ Easter 6

Collect for Easter 6 - O God, the Giver of all that is good, by Your holy inspiration grant that we may think those things that are right and by Your merciful guiding accomplish them; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

A Prayer for Home & FamilyVisit, we implore You, O Lord, the homes in which Your people dwell, keep far from them all harm and danger. Grant us to dwell together in peace under the protection of Your holy angels and may Your blessing be with us forever.

For PeaceO God, from whom all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works proceed, give to Your servants that peace which the world cannot give that our hearts may be set to obey Your commandments and also that  w3e, being defended by You, may pass our time in rest and quietness.   






Time in the Word
The Spirit in the Christian’s Life
Easter 6
May 15-20, 2017

This week lead us to the Sunday before the Festival of the Ascension, which falls forty days after Easter. Since Jesus is about to leave the earth, our attention is called to the Spirit who is to come in his place. The Lessons begin to prepare us for Pentecost. In the Gospel, Jesus promises to send the Spirit as Counselor, the spirit of truth. In Lesson 1, Paul in his sermon at Athens tries to explain the nature of God who, to the Athenians, is an “unknown God.” For many today, including Christians, the Spirit is an unknown God. The Spirit is mentioned in the Epistle Lesson — Jesus was made alive in the Spirit. The Prayer refers to “the inspiration of the Spirit” to enable us to think those things that are right. Since Pentecost is a major festival of the church and hopefully a renewed outpouring of the Spirit, it is appropriate that through the lections we begin to prepare for Pentecost.

A Daytime Collect for Eastertide: Almighty God the Father, through Your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ You have overcome death and opened the gate of everlasting life to us. Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of our Lord’s resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by Your life-giving Spirit.

A Collect for Ascension: Almighty God, as Your only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, ascended into heaven, so may we also ascend in heart and mind and continually dwell there with Him, who lives and rules with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen



Monday, May 15, 2017 – Psalm 66:1-7 -The Antiphon for next Sunday’s Introit is taken from Vs.1, “I cry to God with joy.” The man who is blessed (Vv.1-4) is also humbled (Vv. 5ff) Notice the illustration in Vs. 6 and the implication found in Vs. 7.
Tuesday, May 16, 2017 – Acts 17:16-31 –The Spirit as an “unknown God” Paul preaches at Athens. Paul’s sermon at Athens was different. It was addressed not to Jews nor to Christian Gentiles, but to educated and cultured pagans, for Athens was the capitol of Greek-Roman civilization. It is interesting to see how Paul adapted to his audience to get a hearing. He begins by complementing them — “You are very religious.” He refers to a local situation — an altar erected to an unknown god. This gives him an entree into his subject. Who is this “unknown God?” To bolster his argument he does not quote scripture but Greek philosophers and poets. He brings his message to a head by calling for repentance as preparation for the judgment to be conducted by the One God raised from the dead.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 –1 Peter 3:13-22 – Christians are alive in the Spirit. The newly baptized, warned they may suffer for being Christians are reminded if the suffer for “well-doing rather than evil-doing,” they will be blessed. In a non-Christian world, Christians are to imitate Jesus who suffered, died for our sins, rose and ascended to the Father. They are to revere Christ and to be prepared to give an account of their faith. As Noah was saved through water, really from water, baptismal water saves us not by a physical, but a spiritual cleansing.

Thursday, May 18, 2017 – John 14:15-21God’s people come to God only through Jesus. This is a continuation of Jesus’ “farewell discourses”. Jesus promises not to leave the disciples desolate, for he will send the Spirit. Jesus’ final discourse continues from last Sunday. It deals with the fate of the disciples after his departure.

Jesus reminds his followers that love is obeying his commands, particularly the command to love one another. He assures them that he will not leave them desolate, for he will send the Spirit. By the Spirit he will be with them. John considers the coming of the Spirit as the end of all time.
Friday, May 19, 2017 – Psalm 66:8-20 – This Psalm is a continuation from the Psalm appointed for Monday. Now we look at the holy man who is humbled by the marvelous ways of God (Vv.8-12). The person of faith is declared holy by the trustworthiness of God (Vv. 13-15) as well as his testimony. (Vv. 16-20)

Saturday, May 20, 2017 – 2 Timothy 1:9-10 – Is the inspiration for the hymn “Dear Christians One and All rejoice“{LSB 556} As we will have examination Sunday tomorrow reviewing the chief teachings of our Christian faith this hymn is quit fitting. It explains the whole story of Savior. Luther wrote this hymn to explain to his children what Good Friday and Easter Sunday taught. It is one of Luther’s great teaching hymns and has grown to be one of the finest hymns composed.




Sources:
THE LUTHERAN HYMNAL © 1940 Concordia Publishing House, St. LouisMO
LUTHERAN WORSHIP © 1982 Concordia Publishing House, St. LouisMO
LUTHERAN SEVICE BOOK LECTIONARY © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO

LECTIONARY PREACHING WORKBOOK SERIES A John Brokhoff © 1980 CSS Publishing House, LimaOH

Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use.

The Ascension   © Google Images

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Time in the Word ~ Easter 5


Time in the Word
The People of God
Easter 5
May 8-13, 2017



Easter 5 begins to look forward to and prepare us for the ascension and Pentecost. In the Gospel, Jesus prepares the disciples for His departure. In Lesson 1 we see the ascended Jesus standing at the right hand of God. Because of the resurrection and ascension, we are God’s people offering spiritual sacrifices. The focus of the Lesson is on God’s people. Psalm 31 relates to Stephen’s martyrdom. The Prayer concerns God’s people who love God’s commands and desire God’s promises. The Hymn deals with the Gospel, Jesus as the way.

A Daytime Collect for Eastertide Almighty God the Father, through Your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ You have overcome death and opened the gate of everlasting life to us. Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of our Lord’s resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by Your life-giving Spirit.


Collect for Easter 5 - O God, You make the minds of Your faithful to be of one will. Grant that we may love what You have commanded and desire what You promise, that among the many changes of this world our hearts may be fixed where true joys are found; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

A Prayer for an Answer to PrayerAlmighty God, since You have granted us the favor to call on You with one accord and have promised that where two or three are gathered together in Your name You are in the midst of them, fulfill now the prayers of Your people granting us in this world knowledge of Your truth and in the world to come life everlasting.  

For IndustryLord Jesus Christ, as once You shared in human toil and thus hallowed the work of our hands, prosper those who maintain the industries of this land, give them a right regard for their labors, granting them a just reward for their toil and joy in serving You and supplying our needs.  

An Evening Collect for Eastertide Abide with us, Lord, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. Abide with us and with Your whole Church. Abide with us in the end of the day, in the end of our life, in the end of the world. Abide with us with Your grace and goodness, with Your Holy Word and sacrament, with Your strength and blessing. Abide with us when the night of affliction and temptation comes upon us, the night of fear and despair when death shall come. Abide with us and with all the faithful through time and eternity.

Monday, May 8, 2017 – Psalm 146 - The Antiphon for next Sunday’s Introit is taken from Vs.2, “I will praise the Lord all my life, I will sing praise to My God as long as I live.” This Psalm is an encouragement to trust in the Lord. The is the first of five Hallelujah Psalms which closes out the book of Psalms. Having walked with the Savior observing His Passion during Lent we now rejoice in the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation which is our through the cross and empty tomb.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017 – Acts 6:1-9, 7:2a, 51-60 – God’s people believe the gospel. The apostolic church has problems of growth. The ministry is too busy and the spiritual functions are being neglected. Members are complaining about their being neglected. What church would not like to have a problem like that, such as lack of parking space on a Sunday morning, insufficient seating space for Sunday morning service, or crowded Sunday school rooms? Why was this church growing? What will make any church grow? “The word of God increased and the number of disciples multiplied” (v. 7).


Wednesday, May 10, 2017 –1 Peter 2:2-10God’s people are a chosen, holy people. As living stones in a spiritual house, Christians are God’s people. Peter’s letter is considered a sermon to newly-baptized people. As newborn children, they now need spiritual milk until they grow into maturity. The new Christians are likened to living stones in a spiritual house with Jesus as the cornerstone holding them together. Again, they are likened to a spiritual priesthood (priesthood of believers) which offer spiritual sacrifices. These Christians are the new Israel; God’s chosen people, a holy nation, and a royal priesthood. Because they received God’s mercy in Christ, they have changed from a nobody to a somebody.



Thursday, May 11, 2017 – John 14:1-14God’s people come to God only through Jesus. This is the beginning of Jesus’ “farewell discourses” that continue through chapter 17. The disciples are not to be troubled because he is going to prepare a place which is large enough for all. Moreover, he is the only way to the Father. To know and see Jesus is to know and see the Father. It is essential that the disciples know and believe in him and the Father. If they do, they will do greater things than Jesus did and their prayers, offered in His name, will be answered.

Friday, May 12, 2017 – Psalm 31 – This Psalm is a prayer when confronted by a conspiracy so powerful and open that all David’s friends abandoned him. According to Luke 23:46, Jesus applied verse 5 to His own circumstance. Those who share in His sufferings at the hands of anti-Christian forces are encouraged to hear and use this psalm in light of what Jesus has endured for us. 
 
Saturday, May 13, 2017 – John 6:32-35 – is the inspiration for the hymn “At the Lambs High Feast we Sing“{LSB 633}.  The manna, which came from heaven was from God. The Father still “gives” the true bread from heaven, which is life through His Son Jesus Christ. Who is this bread of heaven? Jesus answers for us in Vs. 35 “I am” the bread of heaven. 

Sources:
THE LUTHERAN HYMNAL © 1940 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO
LUTHERAN WORSHIP © 1982 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO
LUTHERAN SEVICE BOOK © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO

Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use.

LECTIONARY PREACHING WORKBOOK A by John Brokhoff © 1980 CSS Publishing, Lima OH



Saturday, May 6, 2017

Confirmation


Confirmation
Isaiah 44:22
May 7, 2017
I have redeemed you


I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you.”

When the confirmation class says, “Pastor we’ve chosen our verse.” I always hold my breath. What verse will they give me? What does it say? And why this one?  

I hold my breath. Because, maybe I’ll have to say, “Choose another one please!” I hold my breath. Because, possibly, it might be a difficult text.  So, when I say to you, “Pick a text,” I also say, “Choose…but choose wisely!”

The verse you have chosen is most excellent! For it is the voice of Jesus. Even if it comes from the Old Testament. “I have redeemed you!” These words are Gospel. They are life. Written from the prophet’s pen. Isaiah of the Old Testament. These are words you need to hear. Every. Single. Day. Speak them often. To yourself. And to others, “I have redeemed you!”

These words are beneficial for you throughout your life. They are appropriate for you at every station of life. As a young person. As you grow into adulthood. And when you are old. 

Repeat them. When you need to be reminded of the Lord’s promises, “I have redeemed you!” 

Repeat them. When you need to share with others the hope that is yours in Christ, “I have redeemed you.” 

Repeat them. When you need to hear Christ’s word of forgiveness. “I have redeemed you.” 

Repeat them.  When you need to speak Christ’s words of pardon to another. “I have redeemed you!” 

This word will guide your – Hear the word of our Lord - 

I have blotted out (Swept away) you transgressions like a cloud.” It is simply not in God’s nature to rest. Until everything is restored back to its intended created order. Jesus makes everything right. God silences and removes any testimony of sin against His people.   

Christ has redeemed you. This means. He has ransomed you. Jesus has delivered on His promise. To buy you back. And make you His own. The Lord redeemed Israel by rescuing them from slavery. This is precisely what Jesus has done for you.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.”   In Christ, your sins have been forgiven. Where there is reconciliation. There is remission of sins. And what is this? Whether, we choose to call it – reconciliation. Or remission of sins. Or justification. Or redemption. 

Or liberation from the claims of the devil. - Whatever you want to call it. – It’s all about Jesus! - We have been justified freely by Christ’s blood. “So if the Son sets you free, you will indeed be free.”  

The Lord’s words are sure - 

I have blotted out your sins like mist.” Jesus says, “I am He who blots out your transgressions. For My own sake. I will not remember your sins.” Like a cloud. He covers your sin. 

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life you inherited from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or spot.”  -  Christ bought your freedom. From sin. From death. And the devil. The payment was His own perfect blood.  

Now you will be tempted. To find various ways of living apart from God’s will.  Tempted. Such as pursuing evil desires. Tempted. To follow other religious systems. Or simply relying on rituals or laws to save you. Yet there you will find no peace. No joy. No comfort.   There is no redemption apart from Christ’s work. Remember these words, “I have redeemed you.” 

For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.”  Those crucified with Christ in Baptism have been freed from sin’s effects. As Christ lives eternally. He is no longer subject to death. He has conquered it. And in Christ so do you!

He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message that God gave to the world!”  – The price that must be paid to free captives was given for all. Jesus willingly gave His life as the ransom for all held captive by sin and death. 

Jesus’ act of self giving testifies to the desire of the one God that He wants all people be saved. This message and testimony continues throughout time until that day when Christ returns. You know of that message. Share it. And live it. As God uses you. Shaping your talents gifts and abilities for service in this world.
_________

It is easy to get wrapped up in how holy you need to live and to use your performance as a measurement of your progress. 

It is easy to look for and think that you will find assurance in whether or not I am an elect, regenerate, Christian chosen by God courtesy of your assumed Christian obedience. The Old Adam is a zombie that feeds on the promised produce of faith for assurance of salvation and walks right past the object of faith, which, of course, is Jesus!

If you are in Christ. God considers you. Counts you. Credits you. As His good and faithful servant. If I am a resident of Heaven. It is because of Christ’s righteousness poured out all over me. If it is the life of Jesus that are your credentials to be with God in Heaven. Then it is the life of Jesus whom God will recognize as He greets you in Heaven.

Hearing the words, “Well done my good and faithful servant” has nothing to do with what you did. It has everything to do with what Jesus did. (Romans 3:21-22; Galatians 2:20-21.) 

The righteousness that will be counted as yours is the righteousness of Christ. How Jesus lived His life. Is what is being counted. In place of how you lived your life. How Jesus died. Is what is being counted as your death. How Jesus obeyed. Is what is being counted in place of how you disobeyed. Salvation is substitution.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” (Romans 6:5). You are justified before God. And the righteousness of Christ has been handed over to you. (2 Corinthians 5:21). You have been seated with God in Christ in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 2:6) 

The power of the Gospel is like a grenade going off. The shrapnel we receive from the Gospel is faith in the one who justifies the ungodly. This faith that is given by God is counted by God as righteousness. (Romans 4:5) 

Your hope is not in how holy you are becoming. But in how holy Jesus already is. To be crowned with the righteousness of Christ. Surely will be that final moment. When tears are wiped away forever. (Revelation 21:3-5) It is the tears of a sinner. Who is just crowned a saint. All because of what Jesus did. Not the delusional hope in the performance for earning an imaginary acceptable righteousness courtesy of me.

If you are in Christ you will hear the words of Jesus, “Well done.” And Why?—¬Because in Christ you are not merely given a clean slate. You are given the slate of Christ. The Gospel is better than you and I could ever think it to be. 
__________

Remember the things you were taught. Cling to that which is good. Love God. Serve your neighbor. Be a sermon in shoes!  And remember these words always, “I have redeemed you.”
___________________
Words –1,315
Passive Sentences – 9%
Readability – 83.6
Reading Level – 3.4
Luther Seal © Higher Things

References:
Ephesians 1:7
John 8:36
1 Peter 1:18-19
Romans 6:7
1 Timothy 2:6
Blog post by Zack James Cole found here: http://www.christholdfast.org/blog/well-done 

Monday, May 1, 2017

May



Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia! 


With these words we greet each other in this Easter Season!  Christ has been risen from death! Life is yours through Christ’s work. The last enemy death has been defeated. There is for you the promise of life restored. In the Gospel of John we are told, “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”   

This is the source of eternal life. The knowledge of God and of His Son Jesus Christ is itself a source of unspeakable and eternal joy. The salvation purchased by Christ on Good Friday, and given to those who believe, is called life. In this Easter season, we celebrate the gift of life. Jesus completed the work the Father sent Him to do. Our life is now expressed in learning of Jesus and sharing His life with others.   

Planting season is once again upon us. We pray for seasonable weather as area farmers enter their fields. We petition the Lord of the living harvest for an abundant harvest which will feed a hungry world. 

We pray for our service men and women overseas who stand in harm’s way. We pray for police and fire personnel who are first responders when trouble arrives. 

We pray for all who travel that they may return from their journeys safe and unharmed and that their homecomings may be joyful. 

We pray that in all things begun continued and ended our Lord would direct and sustain us. May we be a a haven of peace, a harbor of hope, a  house of prayer coming boldly to the throne room of grace with our petitions and our needs.   

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Time in the Word ~ Easter 4

Time in the Word
The People of God
Easter 4
May 1-6, 2017



What does Easter 4’s theme of sheep and shepherd have to do with the Easter season’s message of the resurrection? On the surface, there seems to be no connection. Why couldn’t this theme of Jesus as shepherd serve to assure us of the nature of the risen Lord? Though he has risen in glory and is soon to ascend to the Father, Christ continues with us as a shepherd on earth, a shepherd who knows, cares, leads, and protects his sheep. Though risen in glory and absent in the body, Jesus continues as an abiding presence to care for his people. He is the good shepherd who died for his sheep to rescue them from the wolves. His resurrection confirms his victory and he continues to live as the shepherd of our souls.


Collect for Easter 4: Almighty God, merciful Father, since You have wakened from death the Shepherd of Your sheep, grant us Your Holy Spirit that, when we hear the voice of our Shepherd, we may know Him who calls us each by name and follow where He leads; 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.

Collect for St. Philip & James (May 1): Almighty Good, Your Son revealed Himself to Philip and James and gave them knowledge of everlasting life. Grant us perfectly to know Your Son, Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth and the life, and steadfastly to walk in the way that leads to eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

A Prayer for Agriculture: Almighty God, You blessed the earth to make it fruitful, bringing forth in abundance whatever is needed for the support of our lives. Prosper; we implore You, the work of farmers, especially in this planting season. Grant them seasonable weather that they may gather in the fruits of the earth and thus proclaim Your goodness. May we see by this noble vocation that by Your aid we are helping to feed the world and cause all who give thanks over their food to treat those who produce it with honor and respect.

For the Holy of Eternal Life: Almighty and everlasting God, whose Son as assured forgiveness of sins and deliverance from eternal death, strengthen us by Your Holy Spirit that our faith in Christ increase daily as we hold fast the hope that we shall not die but fall asleep and on the last day be raised to eternal life.

An Evening Collect for Eastertide: Abide with us, Lord, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. Abide with us and with Your whole Church. Abide with us in the end of the day, in the end of our life, in the end of the world. Abide with us with Your grace and goodness, with Your Holy Word and sacrament, with Your strength and blessing. Abide with us when the night of affliction and temptation comes upon us, the night of fear and despair when death shall come. Abide with us and with all the faithful through time and eternity.

Monday, May 1, 2017 – Psalm 23:1-3 The Antiphon for next Sunday’s Introit is taken from Vs.1, “The Lord’s my shepherd I shall not want.” Shepherd is a widely used metaphor used for Kings. David as King acknowledges that the Lord is his Shepherd-King. Jesus as the shepherd of His people is expressed most plainly in our Gospel lesson for this coming week.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017 Acts 2:42-74 –The sheep witness to the Shepherd. In our first lesson, we have the issue of leadership in the 1st Century Church. What are the qualifications for church leadership? The early church faced the problem of choosing seven leaders. The apostles gave the people three criteria for their selection: good reputation, good common sense, and spirituality. Can these requirements be improved — character, judgment, and faith?

Wednesday, May 3, 2017 –1 Peter 2:19-25 – The sheep suffer like the Shepherd. In the second reading, Peter calls people straying sheep. Sheep are associated with straying and wandering off from the shepherd and the flock until they get lost and in danger of their lives. It is our nature to wander into sin, to carelessly leave the leadership of God, and to go our own way. Modern people are known for their mobility, insecurity, restlessness, a lack of roots, and loneliness.

Thursday, May 4, 2017 – John 10:1-10 –The sheep follow the Shepherd to life eternal. In next week’s Gospel lesson Verses 7 and 9 teach that Jesus is the door to life and salvation. He is not one of a series of doors to God. In today’s world, the emphasis is upon pluralism — one religion being as valid as the next one. Christianity is considered one of many ways to God. This passage contradicts pluralism. The door to life, to God, to salvation, is Jesus. Is this not the basis for evangelism and missions to non- Christian people? It is not done in the interests of building up a monolithic religious organization in the hope of getting a monopoly, but of sharing good news of salvation through Christ. Jesus says in verse 10 that he came to bring abundant life to all people. What is life? Our existence only makes sense when Jesus is at the center.

Friday, May 5, 2017 – Psalm 23:4-6 The Psalm portion for this coming week is the much-loved Shepherd Psalm. The benefits of have Jesus as our Shepherd-King is that both goodness and love will literally pursue us. We are given the hope and promise of life with God eternally. We will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Our future has been guaranteed. Because the Shepherd-King Jesus lives forever, we have the hope and guarantee of dwelling with Christ throughout the years of our life.

Saturday, May 6, 2017 – John 21:15 -This verse is the inspiration for the hymn “I am Jesus’ Little Lamb“{LSB 740} Three times Peter denied his Lord. Three times Jesus asks the question “Peter…do you love me more then these? Thus, the Savior asks us today, “Do you love Me?” “Do we love Jesus more than people, more than your occupation, more than things? (In the case of Peter, these things were the tools of his trade – fishing gear.) The Savior calls us to discipleship, to take up His cross and follow Him. In this Easter season, we are directed by the Savior to affirm the new life He gives us and to share with others the hope that we have in Him. Scripture reminds us “in a twinkling of an eye” we will all be gone – What shall be said of us then? May it be said of us that we remain a sheep of His fold, a lamb of His flock, a sinner of His own redeeming.

Sources:
THE LUTHERAN HYMNAL © 1940 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO
LUTHERAN WORSHIP © 1982 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO
LUTHERAN SEVICE BOOK © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO

Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use.


LECTIONARY PREACHING WORKBOOK A by John Brokhoff © 1980 CSS Publishing, Lima OH