Monday, May 25, 2015

Bede the Venerable, 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

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Time in the Word - Trinity Sunday

Time in the Word
25- 30 May 2015
Preparation for next week, The Feast of the Holy Trinity

On Trinity Sunday, we make special note of the work of all three persons of the Trinity who procure and assure our salvation. A good supplemental reading to the readings for the day is to be found in St. Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians, verses 3–11 of the first chapter. Paul explains how the Father chose us in eternity and predestined us for salvation. The work of redemption was accomplished through the shedding of blood—the blood of the Son of God, who assumed flesh, that He might redeem us. The Holy Spirit has brought us the Word of truth, the Gospel of our salvation, that we might trust in the merits of Christ. Blessed be the Holy Trinity and the undivided Unity. Let us give glory to Him because He has shown his mercy to us. (from Sunday’s Introit)

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20–21)

Monday, 25 May 2015Psalm 16:8–11; Antiphon, Liturgical Text—The antiphon for Sunday’s Introit is an ancient liturgical text: Blessed be the Holy Trinity and the undivided Unity. Let us give glory to him because he has shown his mercy to us. The Triune God has first shown His mercy to us in providing for our salvation, and our response is to give glory to Him.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015Psalm 29—This psalm is a hymn of praise to the Lord for all His mighty acts, but especially His mercy in blessing His people with peace. When created, man was in perfect harmony with God. But the fall made us His enemies. We cannot restore peace with God; it is the work of the Holy Trinity alone: the Father, who conceived the plan of our salvation, the Son, who came to earth and died for our transgressions, and the Holy Spirit, who brings us into a right relationship with God through the Means of Grace, Word and Sacrament.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015Isaiah 6:1–8—Isaiah received a vision of the Lord enthroned in His majesty and a call to be a prophet of God. Because he is a Son of Adam, and therefore a man of unclean lips, Isaiah is terrified to be in the Lord’s presence, for it spells doom to those under sin’s curse.

But an angel sent by God absolves Isaiah of his sin with a burning coal, and Isaiah accepts the mantle of prophecy. We, like Isaiah, must acknowledge our sin and tremble before a holy God. But we must also trust in the absolution won by the Son of God and pronounced by His called and ordained servants.

Thursday, 28 May 2015Acts 2:14a, 22–36—On the Day of Pentecost, Peter was given power by the Holy Spirit to preach the Word of God faithfully and authoritatively. He proclaims Christ crucified for the forgiveness of sins and the redemption of sinners, and tells his audience, men of Israel, how the Old Testament prophecies are fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth, the promised Messiah. Here, he quotes Psalm 16, a portion of which serves as the Introit for Sunday.

Friday, 29 May 2015John 3:1–17—Another man of Israel, Nicodemus, came to Jesus by night, probably because he feared his fellow Pharisees. He had seen the signs (miracles) that Jesus was able to do, and knew that such a one must have been sent by God. Jesus tells Nicodemus how to be born from above, in Holy Baptism, the washing of water with the Word of God. He also points to His own death, again in fulfillment of the Old Testament Scriptures. As God showed His love to a rebellious, yet repentant people in providing the bronze serpent in the wilderness (Numbers 21:4–9), so He shows His love by providing His Son, to take away a problem far worse than snake bites, which kill only the body: Jesus Christ, lifted up on the cross, takes away the sin of the world.

Saturday, 30 May 2015—Sunday’s hymn of the day, God Loved the World So That He Gave (LSB 571) is John 3:16 set to music. Herein is the sweet Gospel clearly proclaimed: Christ Jesus saves your soul from death; That is the firmest ground of faith. The final stanza rightly praises all three persons of the Trinity for their work in accomplishing our salvation.

Collect for Trinity SundayAlmighty and everlasting God, You have given us grace to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity by the confession of a true faith and to worship the Unity in the power of the Divine Majesty. Keep us steadfast in this faith and defend us from all adversities; for You, O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, live and reign, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Prayer for blessing on the Word: Lord Jesus Christ, giver and perfecter of our faith, we thank and praise You for continuing among us the preaching of Your Gospel for our instruction and edification. Send Your blessing upon the Word, which has been spoken to us, and by Your Holy Spirit increase our saving knowledge of You, that day by day we may be strengthened in the divine truth and remain steadfast in Your grace. Give us strength to fight the good fight and by faith to overcome all the temptations of Satan, the flesh, and the world so that we may finally receive the salvation of our souls; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Prayer for those outside the Church: Almighty and everlasting God, You desire not the death of a sinner but that all would repent and live. Hear our prayers for those outside the Church. Take away their iniquity, and turn them from their false gods to You, the living and true God. Gather them into Your holy Church to the glory of Your name; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for seasonable weather: Lord God, gracious and merciful Father, because You have promised that You will hear us when we bring You our cares, we implore You not to deal with us according to our sins but according to Your mercy. Send seasonable weather so that in due time the earth may yield her increase. Remind us ever to receive with thanks our daily bread, trusting You as our gracious God; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for the aged: Almighty God and gracious Father, in Your mercy look on those whose increasing years bring them weakness, anxiety, distress, or loneliness. Grant that they may always know care and respect, concern and understanding. Grant them willing hearts to accept help and, as their strength wanes, increase their faith with the constant assurance of Your love through Jesus Christ, their Savior. Amen.

Prayer for industry and commerce: Lord Jesus Christ, as once You shared in our human toil and thus hallowed the work of our hands, bless and prosper those who maintain the industries and service sectors of this land. Give them a right regard for their labors, and grant them the just reward for their work that they may find joy in serving You and in supplying our needs; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House

Image © Ed Rioja Higher Things 

Jesse Hoover


Jesse Hoover
Founding pastor of Zion Friedheim 
Transferred into glory 24 May 1838

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Pentecost


Pentecost
24 May 2015
John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15
Come Holy Spirit Come

O God, on this day You once taught the hearts of Your faithful people by sending them the light of Your Holy Spirit. Grant us in our day by the same Spirit to have a right understanding in all things and evermore to rejoice in His holy consolation.

Luke reminds us in the opening lines of his Acts of the Apostles the following event - On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. – Acts 1:4

Today is Pentecost Sunday. Jesus’ words are now complete. His prediction is now fulfilled. This is the day when we celebrate the Father’s out pouring of the Spirit and the birth of missions. We find Christ at the center of the Spirit’s work and activity. But how does the Spirit work? And where is His work centered?

The Savior came to seek and save the lost. The Spirit works to bring individuals into Christ’s kingdom. The kingdom always involves people. The kingdom grows one soul at a time. What can be said concerning the work of the Holy Spirit? Recall again verses 26: When the Counselor comes, the One I will send to you from the Father--the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father--He will testify about Me.

1.       He is the helper
2.       He is the promised one
3.       He will bear witness
He is the helper.

He was promised. In the Old Testament. Christ is the center of everything that was written in the Scriptures. Not only in the New Testament. But clearly and plainly, Christ is seen in the pages of the Old Testament.

He is the one predicted by the prophets of Old. He is the One by whom salvation would be won for the entire world. He was the One of whom the Father spoke in the garden when He said, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed. He will crust your head and you will nip at his heel.” Genesis 3:16

He is the spirit of truth. Predicted in the Old Testament through the prophet Isaiah -  The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him-- the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD—Isaiah 11:2  

Clearly, Jesus predicted that the Spirit would come. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. - John 16:13

He is the promised one.

The Spirit is sent. From the Father. The Spirit speaks not of its own authority. All is brought into a complete order. The Father sends the Holy Spirit. To testify concerning Christ and His righteousness.

Thus, the Spirit is sent to bear witness concerning Christ. All that we know about Jesus Christ we know from the Holy Spirit. The Spirit bears witness through the testimony of the Scriptures. The Holy Spirit bears a complete and total witness concerning the validity of Jesus Christ.

Jesus promises that he will send the Spirit from the Father. He proceeds from both the Father and the Son. The Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. Because the Father has given all things to the Son, including the procession of the Holy Spirit.

He will bear witness.

Concerning Jesus. For the Spirit knows nothing but Christ. He is the spirit of truth.  Therefore, His testimony will bear out the faithful witness concerning Christ. All that we know of Christ is a true and faithful witness. That witness is proven to faithful and true. For it is a trustworthy and worthy witness.

Therefore, He bears witness to the truth. “What is truth?”  Pilate asked that question. The truth, is all that is found in Jesus Christ of which the Spirit bears witness. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Me”. When we come to such knowledge of the truth, it is the Spirit, which bears witness to this faithful saying.

And through the testimony of the disciples. Who had been with Jesus from the beginning.

 As The Spirit bears and testifies of Christ so do we. As the Spirit knows nothing but Christ, so you know nothing save Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

The Christian testifies about Christ. You are sent. From the Father – Pentecost is the birthday of missions. Where the Spirit said, “Go!” And God’s people went. You are sent. To bear witness – concerning the truth of the Gospel – the truth concerning Jesus Christ. Each believer is a witness to the truth.

For we know nothing but Christ. We bear witness to the truth – Every time we share Christ, we are bearing witness to the truth. Every time we mention His most holy name, we are being a faithful witness. Every time we confess our faith in the words of the creed, in our own witness, we are bearing witness to the truth concerning Jesus Christ.

For the Spirit speaks – No one can say, “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit. When you are speaking and confessing the Lordship of Christ, you are speaking by the power of the Holy Spirit.

This is how we impact the world.  And others living around.  By living out your faith. You demonstrated your faith each day. A little at a time -You make obvious the compassion of Christ. By expressing the fruit of the Spirit in your life your neighbors are invited to behold Christ. By living out your faith, the world is won for Christ - one soul, one person at a time.
The source of the Spirit always centers on Jesus Christ. Christ who won salvation for this world is the source of all life and the center of the Spirit’s work. Yet, as He dwells in you individually, He touches one life at a time. “Out of his heart shall flow rivers of water.” From Himself - to you - to the ends of the earth - the Spirit flows.

Word-1,075
Passive Sentences – 10%
Readability-81%

Reading level –4.1

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Emperor Constantine, Christian ruler, and Helena, Mother of Constantine




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, May 17, 2015

Time in the Word - Pentecost


This coming Sunday will be the Sunday after the Ascension. Jesus has departed and the church is on its own. The disciples are left alone to confront the challenges of living in a fallen world. Before He departs, Jesus prays for His friends. The First Lesson shows the infant church with the problem of a vacancy in leadership and prays to the ascended Lord for guidance in choosing a successor to Judas. Though Jesus has ascended, Christians are not alone in the world. This thought is conveyed in the Second Lesson as well as in the Gospel. The suggested hymn deals with the church without the physical Jesus and urges the people not to fear, for God has chosen to give them the kingdom.

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, grant them seasonable weather that we may gather in the fruit of the earth and thus proclaim Your goodness with thanksgiving. May we see by this noble vocation that with Your help they feed the world. And cause all those who give thanks over their food to treat those who produce it with both honor and respect; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. 

A Prayer for Ascension: Almighty 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.

For blessing on the Word: Lord God, bless Your Word wherever it is proclaimed. Make it a word of power and peace to convert those not yet Your own and to confirm those who have come to saving faith. May Your Word pass from the ear to the heart, from the heart to the lip, and from the lip to the life that, as You have promised, Your Word may achieve the purpose for which You send it; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Collect for the Seventh Sunday in Easter O King of glory, Lord of hosts, uplifted in triumph far above all heavens, leave us not without consolation but send us the Spirit of truth whom Y9ou promised from the Father, for You live and reigns with Him and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Monday, 11 May 2015Psalm 27:1a, 4-5, 10, 14; antiphon, Psalm 27:7— The antiphon is “Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me!” The cry of the Psalmist is a prayer for deliverance from treacherous enemies. These remain unspecified, whether from inside or outside the kingdom or both. The chief weapon is a false charge intent on discrediting the king. When people say all manner of things falsely against us, we need not retaliate. Rather we are take our burdens, concerns, and sorrows to the throne room of grace and be thankful as the Savior answers each petition according to His perfect and good will.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015Psalm 1 key verse v.6 —“For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.” This psalm verse gives us both Law and Gospel. The ways of the wicked will be met with the full brunt of Law – the ultimate judgment for unbelief and sin. The righteous, on the other hand, not by any merit on their behalf but completely by grace, will be delivered on the last day. This of course is Gospel. The destinies of two lifestyles are the destinies of those who have chosen them.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015Acts 1:12-26—The Post–Ascension church prays for guidance. The church is living b3etween Jesus’ departure and the coming of the Holy Spirit. The time has come to fill the vacancy caused by Judas’ suicide. The one to be chosen as a replacement is to be one who shared the experience with Jesus from the time of His baptism to His Ascension and one who can witness to the Resurrection. Two men met the qualifications: Joseph and Matthias. God and not the church elected Matthias. The church merely asked the ascended Lord which of the two He had chosen. After prayer, Matthias was chosen to be one of the Apostles. The church’s leadership ranks were now filled and ready for the Spirit’s coming.

Thursday, 14 May 20151 John 5:9-15—Everything we do in life all boils down to faith. Faith is simply another word for “trust.” Trust simply means to take God at His Word. Note and give special attention to verse 10 which is critical. Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in his heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony god has given about His Son.  This is the same thing the Savior said to Nicodemus who came to visit the Savior at night. Read John 3:15-18. See how clearly that this universal truth is woven throughout the Scripture and that the Scriptures interpret themselves namely that each passage explains the other more clearly. Forty different men over a period of some 1,500 years wrote 66 books that in reality make up one book. These books have one doctrinal viewpoint, one moral standard, one plan of salvation, one program for the ages.

Friday, 15 May 2015John 17:11b-19—The Post-Ascension church confronts the world. In this high priestly prayer, Jesus is aware that He is going to leave the world and His disciples will be left in a fallen world. Think of what the world did to Him! Will not the disciples face the same opposition? Naturally, the disciples would be afraid. Thus, Jesus prays for His followers, not that they should be taken out of the world as He is about to do, but that they should be protected from the Devil and the world. He prays that they may be one as He and the Father are one. They are to be made holy in His Word. As He was sent into the world, He sends them into the world for the same purpose He was sent.

Saturday, 16 May 2015Luke 12:32, Matthew 25:34; Psalm 103:3-5; Matthew 28:20b – The hymn of the Day is “Have no fear, little flock”– {LSB 735} As the Easter season draws to a close, we have no fear as our  Lord and Savior lives and reigns through all eternity. He has promised to send us His Holy Spirit. Thus this new hymn reminds us that we are safe in His almighty hand. 

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House. Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series B John Brokhoff © 1981 CSS Publishing Lima, OH
Illustration from a woodcut by Baron Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, © WELS Permission to use this copyrighted item is limited to personal and congregational use. 



Time in the Word - Pentecost




Time in the Word
May 18-23, 2015
Preparation for next week, the Feast of Pentecost

This coming Sunday is the Festival of Pentecost. It is obvious that the theme is on the Spirit. In the Gospel lesson, the Spirit causes living water to flow from the heart. The dead are made alive by the Spirit in the preaching of the Word (Old Testament lesson).  The disciples are emboldened by the Spirit to speak in languages which foreigners could understand (Epistle lesson). In the Psalm there are references to the Spirit who creates and renews creation. The hymn of the Day is a prayer for the Spirit to come upon the church.

Collect for Pentecost: O God, on this day You once taught the hearts of Your faithful people by sending them the light of Your Holy Spirit. Grant us in our day by the same Spirit to have a right understanding in all things and evermore to rejoice in His holy consolation; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Monday, 18 May 2015Psalm104:24, 27-28, 30—The antiphon is a liturgical text, “Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful, and kindle in them the fire of Your love. Alleluia.” The Psalmist refers back to the week of creation. When He had finished all that He had made, not only was the Lord satisfied but it was very good indeed. All that the Lord commands, creates, and sustains is very good indeed. On the Feast Day of Pentecost we see that the Lord is serious concerning His Word going out throughout the whole creation. Persons are converted; believers are sustained and strengthened in the faith as the Lord uses His Word for these purposes.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015Psalm 139:1-16; key verse, verse 17—“How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!” This psalm verse reminds us that God’s words, thoughts, and actions are all connected and closely related. The Lord made a promise to send His Son and acted in time. He made a promise to redeem and save the world and so He did. He promises to send the Holy Spirit, the Comforter. The events of Pentecost affirm that the Lord is serious about the promises He makes and keeps. Everything concerning your salvation, witness, and walk is linked to the Lord’s promises and the fulfillment of them. The Psalmist affirms what the Lord has done. 

Wednesday, 20 May 2015Ezekiel 37:1-14—The Spirit through the preached Word raises the dead. Ezekiel preaches the Word to the dry bones of Israel and they come to life.  Ezekiel is a prophet to the exiles in Babylon. This lesson comes from the section of the book that predicts a restoration of Jerusalem and its temple. He sees the Hebrews in exile as dead in hope because they are separated from the holy city and temple. God commands Ezekiel to preach to the dead bones and the Spirit brings life to the bodies and then the Spirit to the bodies. Through the preached Word, the Spirit of God brings new life and hope to a defeated, exiled people.

Thursday, 21 May 2015Acts 2:1-21—The Spirit gives power to witness in foreign languages.  On Pentecost the disciples receive the Holy Spirit and Peter explains the happening. Luke gives an account of the Spirit’s coming upon the gathered disciples in Jerusalem on Pentecost accompanied by a mighty wind and tongues of fire. Then the reaction of the crowd is given – the disciples are accused of being drunk.  Peter responds by explaining the experience as fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy that at the end of the era the Spirit would come to all. The overall purpose of the event is salvation for all who call upon God. The Spirit gave the disciples power to speak in the languages of the people assembled in Jerusalem, that all peoples might hear the Gospel. The prophecy of Acts 1:8 is beginning to be fulfilled.

Friday, 22 May 2015John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15—The Spirit produces living water in believers in Christ.  Believers in Christ are given the Spirit.  On the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus is in Jerusalem disputing with religious leaders as He taught in the temple.  At the end of the Feast, Jesus invited the thirsty to come to Him and drink. Out of the hearts of believers in Christ will come the living water of the Spirit.

Saturday, 26- May 2012Luke 11:13; 1 Corinthians 12:13; John 16:13-14; 2 Timothy 1:14—The hymn of the Day is “Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord” {LSB 497}.  In this much loved hymn, we pray that the blessings of the Spirit would sustain the Christian in his walk and life.

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, grant them seasonable weather that we may gather in the fruit of the earth and thus proclaim Your goodness with thanksgiving. May we see by this noble vocation that with Your help they feed the world. And cause all those who give thanks over their food to treat those who produce it with both honor and respect; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. 

A Prayer for the coming of the Spirit: Almighty and ever-living God, You fulfilled Your promise by sending the gift of the Holy Spirit to unite disciples of all nations in the cross and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ. By the preaching of the Gospel spread this gift to the ends of the earth; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

For blessing on the Word: Lord God, bless Your Word wherever it is proclaimed. Make it a word of power and peace to convert those not yet Your own and to confirm those who have come to saving faith. May Your Word pass from the ear to the heart, from the heart to the lip, and from the lip to the life that, as You have promised, Your Word may achieve the purpose for which You send it; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen

Sources:
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House.
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series B John Brokhoff © 1981 CSS Publishing Lima, OH

Illustration from a woodcut by Baron Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, © WELS Permission to use this copyrighted item is limited to personal and congregational use.