Sunday, November 23, 2014

Time in the Word - Advent 1





Time in the Word
Advent 1
November 24-29, 2014


The new church year begins with the Second Coming. It is the one Sunday of the year which features the return of Christ as the main subject. In light of the interest in the Second Coming, the church would do well to consider this doctrine of the church and teaching of the New Testament. The Gospel calls upon us to be on the alert for the sudden, unannounced coming of Christ. The world’s cry for God to come to His people is heard in the Old Testament lesson. Paul refers to the Second Coming in the Epistle by assuring His people that they have every spiritual gift as they wait for Christ’s return. The Psalmist calls upon the Lord’s return to help and save His people.

Collect for Thanksgiving –Almighty God, Your mercies are new every morning and Your generously provide for all our needs of body and soul. Grant us Your Holy spirit that we may acknowledge Your goodness, give thanks for Your benefits, and serve You in willing obedience all our days.

Collect for the Harvest – Almighty God, Your crown the fields with Your blessing and permit us to gather in the fruits of the earth. As stewards of Your creation, may we receive Your gifts in humble thankfulness and share Your bounty with those in need; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Collect for Advent 1 -Stir up Your power O Lord and come, that by Your protection we may be rescued from the threatening perils of our sins and saved by Your mighty deliverance; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

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, my Lord.

A prayer before we study the WordAlmighty God, our heavenly Father, without Your help our labor is useless, and without Your light our search is in vain. Invigorate the study of Your holy Word that, by due diligence and right discernment, we may establish ourselves and others in Your holy faith.
Monday, November 24, 2014 - Psalm 25:1-3
The Antiphon for this coming Sunday is from Zechariah 9:9b, “Behold Your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation.”  This passage of Scripture will be quoted on Palm Sunday as Jesus rides triumphantly into the city of Jerusalem. Our king comes not in triumph as a military hero by rather in humility and meekness. David and his sons did not ride horses but rather mules (see 2 Samuel 18:9; 1 Kings 1:33).

Tuesday, November 25, 2014 Isaiah 64:1-9 -An appeal for the Lord to return to save His people. This lesson comes from the third section of Isaiah (chapters 56-66).  It was written in the period of 540-500 BC. The Jews returned to Jerusalem from Babylonian exile. The exiles find a pathetic situation: Jerusalem is desolate and the temple has been burned to the ground. The people are despondent and impatient for God to come and do something about their condition. They feel that God is angry and has hidden His face from them. He is accused of causing them to sin. The people confess their sins and feel confident that God will not reject them for He is the potter and they are the clay.  

Wednesday, November 26, 2014 1 Corinthians 1:3-9 -By grace Christians lack no spiritual gift as they wait for Christ’s return. This section of Scripture was chosen for this “Second Coming” Sunday because Paul refers to the return as the day of Christ. As the Christian waits for that final event, the promise is given that we are sustained by Christ’s grace and will be guiltless for Christ’s appearance. God is faithful in His gifts and promises.

Thursday, November 27, 2014 Mark 11:1-10 -Watch for Jesus’ unexpected coming. Because the time of Christ’s return is unknown, we must watch for Him. In this brief lesson the word “watch” is used four times. Twice Jesus says, “You do not know when the time will come.” This fact is the reason for being on the alert. The emphasis is laid on Jesus’ return as sudden and unexpected.

There is no place here for speculation when the time of the return will be. It is an exhortation to be ready whenever He comes. Since no one knows the time, it is necessary for the faithful to look for Him every day. The mood of Advent is not speculation but joyful anticipation of the Lord’s return.

Friday, November 28, 2014 – Psalm 80:1-7 This Psalm is the appointed psalm for this coming Sunday.  Verse 7 is the key verse, “Restore us and we shall be saved”.

Saturday, November 29, 2014 Matthew 21:1-16 Our reading is the inspiration for the hymn, “O Bride of Christ, Rejoice.”  How does the Savior choose to make Himself known? Not in pomp and circumstance, not with a grand fanfare and a floury of light and sound. Instead He chooses to be placed in a manger, the feeding trough of the animals. He is born in a stable where beasts are kept. Not the place you would go looking for the savior of the world.

But this is the amazing thing about our Savior, He chooses to be found in those places the world would least expect. He chooses to reveal Himself in those places the world considers unimportant. He chooses to exert His power in what an unbelieving world considers weak and of little consequence.

The cruel cross of Calvary looks ahead of us even in Advent. Does the death of a condemned man seem compelling enough to offer atonement? Could His life and sacrifice really save you? The surroundings and the circumstances of His birth predict His death. They are the means by which we find peace with God and absolution for our sin.

 Sources
LUTHERAN SEVICE BOOK © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO

LECTIONALRY PREACHING WORKBOOK SERIES A © 1980 John Brokhoff CSS Publishing Lima, OH


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

Clement of Rome, pastor

Almighty God, Your servant Clement of Rome called the Church in Corinth to repentance and faith to unite them in Christian love. Grant that Your Church may be anchored in Your truth by the presence of the Holy Spirit and kept blameless in Your service until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ...(Treasury, p. 944)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Christ the King



Christ the King
23 November 2014
Matthew 25:31-46
What you need to know concerning the end

Christ the King will judge the nations. At the end of time. Christ will come. As judge of the nations. As the Shepherd-King, Jesus will separate the sheep and goats. The good and the bad. The basis of the separation is the nations’ ministering or lack of ministering to the hungry, thirsty, sick, and imprisoned.

This passage is not primarily an appeal for social justice or economic aid. The main point is the coming separation of the good and the bad that are destined for either heaven or hell. It should also be noted that what was done to Christ was done not to people in general, but to “the least of these my brethren.” The brethren are Jesus’ disciples. In other words, your brothers and sisters in Christ.   We pray…

“Almighty and everlasting God whose will it is to restore all things to your beloved Son, whom you anointed priest forever and king of all creation: Grant that all people of the earth, now divided by the power of sin, may be united under the glorious and gentle rule of your Son.”

Most of us have an interest and curiosity of what will happen to us at the end of the world. Is there or is there not a judgment? Is there really a heaven and a hell?
Jesus Himself makes certain affirmations concerning the end.  People need to be assured and reminded of these facts.  They make a difference in our way of life.

Outline: What can we learn from this text about the end?

1. Jesus is the judge of all people — v. 32.  All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats

Before Him will be gathered all the nations of the earth. All must be summoned before Christ's tribunal. Every person. Of every age. Of the entire world.  From the beginning to the end of time will be placed before Him.  All the nations. Of men that have ever existed.  Every person. Who has ever walked on all the face of the earth.  All will be summoned before Jesus the Shepherd King. It will be the day of the final accounting of the entire world.

2. As there is a judgment, there will be a time of accountability — v. 33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.  Jesus did not say that He would put the rich on His right hand and the poor on His left. He did not say He will put the learned and the noble on His right hand, and unlearned and despised on His left; but the godly on His right. And the wicked on His left.

A distinction will then be made. Between the precious and the vile.  He shall separate them.  One from another.  As the tares and wheat are separated at the harvest.  As the good fish and the bad are divided at the shore.  As the corn and chaff is separated on the threshing floor.  You cannot determine a righteous man from an unrighteous person just by observation. Both the wicked and the godly dwell together.

In the same kingdom. In the same city. In the same church. In the same family.  They are not obvious by simple observation. You can’t tell one from another. But on that day. They will be separated. And parted forever.

3. There is a heaven and hell — vv. 34, 41, 46.  Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world…Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;…These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

God indeed tempts no one. Satan does the tempting. He has the purpose of leading us into misbelief, despair, and other great sham and vice. God’s purpose is to test and strengthen faith. The devil uses temptation to destroy our faith.

Neither does He send people to hell. He has prepared hell “for the devil and his angels.” People end up in hell by their own choosing. They reject grace.

Jesus tells us that the eternal hope of the righteous is found in Him. It is offered not as a reward. It is as gift.  Just as eternal punishment awaits the unrighteous. They are apart from Him because they have rejected Him. In the end, He will have to say, “Well then, have it your way.”  

We know. None is righteous. St. Paul reminds us in Romans 3:10, As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one…”Our only hope is found in Christ. Faith alone justifies. Declaring us righteous in God's sight.  Paul continues Therefore, no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. Romans 3:20-21.

If we are to be found righteous. It must come from outside of us. It is found in Christ our Savior. It comes to us as a gift. Now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. Romans 3:22.

4. Compassion is the basis for judgment — v. 40.  The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me. St. Francis of Assisi is to have said: "Preach the Gospel at all times- and when necessary - use words."  

The faith is taught and it is caught. By word and deed we are to express the compassion of Jesus Christ especially to the least of these as such, we should include them in our circle of compassion and mercy.

The key word is the word -   When (vv. 37-39). Three times, the righteous asked the King the same question. And when did we see thee...?”  They served Christ without knowing it.

It was a natural, spontaneous, automatic expression of compassion for those in need. This they did without any thought. It came naturally for them. As they did it, they did it unto Christ.
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Words – 1111
Passive Sentences –16%
Reading Ease –79.9%

Reading Level – 4.6

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Time in the Word - Christ the King - Proper 29




 Time in the Word
Christ the King
Proper 29
 November 17-22, 2014
Preparation for the Kingship of Christ


The Lessons for this coming week deal with the Last Sunday of the Church year, Christ the King Sunday. On Christ the King Sunday, it is obvious that the kingship of Christ is the theme. The church year closes with a climax in which Jesus is crowned Lord of all. His kingship is universal and eternal. The Gospel portrays Jesus as King-Judge of all nations. The Old Testament lesson is related to the Gospel by the fact that Jesus compares his sheep to himself. Paul depicts Jesus as the victor over the world with all things under Christ’s feet, including death. The Prayer of the Day refers to the Theme of the Day: “King of all Creation” and “The glorious and gentle rule of your Son.” The Psalms pick up the idea of the sheep, but there is reference to “a King above all gods.” The Hymn of the Day uses the phrase “King of kings and Lord of lords,” and refers to the coming judgment.

Collect for Christ the King Merciful and gracious Lord, You cause Your word to be proclaimed in every generation. Stir up our hearts and minds by Your Holy Spirit that we may receive this proclamation with humility and finally be exalted at the coming of Your Son Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Prayer for responsible citizenship – Lord keep this nation under Your care. Bless the leaders of our land that we may be a people at peace among ourselves and a blessing to the other nations of the earth. Help us provide trustworthy leaders, contribute to wise decisions for the general welfare, and thus serve You faithfully in our generation to the honor of Your holy name.

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, my Lord.

A prayer before we study the WordAlmighty God, our heavenly Father, without Your help our labor is useless, and without Your light our search is in vain. Invigorate the study of Your holy Word that, by due diligence and right discernment, we may establish ourselves and others in Your holy faith.

Monday, November 17, 2014 - Psalm 39:4-5, 7-8, 12a - The Antiphon for this coming Sunday is from 2 Peter 3:13, “ In keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth the home of the righteous.”
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24 - The Shepherd King will gather His people. As the shepherd for his people, Yahweh will seek the lost, gather, and feed his sheep with David as the prince among them. A popular metaphor for a religious-political leader in Judah was “shepherd.” False shepherds, says Ezekiel, led Judah to ruin and captivity. So, the Lord will be her shepherd who will bring his sheep out of captivity in Babylon, feed them with justice, and restore them to their former homeland. The nation will be restored under a new leader, a Messiah, a son of David.

The Lord says He will be the shepherd of His people. A shepherd is considered a king in Hebrew writings. He acts like a king who cares for his people. He is a good shepherd, the perfect one. He does only good for his people; seeks, gathers, and feeds them. He has compassion on the lost, the crippled and the weak. Nor does he neglect the healthy ones whom he feeds with justice. “My God, how wonderful thou art!”

Wednesday, November 19, 2014 1 Corinthians 15:20-28 - The King will conquer the world. God has put all things in subjection to Christ. On this Christ the King Sunday, we see Christ as the king over death. His resurrection was the first person to rise from death. Since He rose, the Christian dead will also rise. At the end of time, He will deliver His kingdom to God. All enemies, including death, will be defeated by King Jesus. Then the Son will subject himself to God the Father that God may be everything to everyone.

Thursday, November 20, 2014 Matthew 25:31-46 – Jesus will judge the nations. Christ the King will judge the nations. At the end of time Christ is to come as judge of the nations. As Shepherd-King, Jesus will separate the sheep and goats, the good and the bad. The basis of the separation is the nations’ ministering or lack of ministering to the hungry, thirsty, sick, and imprisoned. The passage is not primarily an appeal for social justice or economic aid.
  
The main point of the parable is the coming separation of the good and the bad who are destined either for heaven or hell. It should also be noted that what was done to Christ was done not to people in general, but to “the least of these my brethren.” The brethren are Jesus’ disciples.

The word “Me” is used fourteen times in this lesson. It refers to Christ. Is Christ the one who is hungry, naked, and in prison? The sick “brother” is not Christ himself; the hungry man is not Christ.

When we help the needy, we do it as to Christ. This is because Jesus identifies with the afflicted. When we love someone, we say to one who helps the beloved, “What you do for him, you do for me.” Anyone who befriends your child is automatically a friend of yours. Thus in everything we do we do it unto the Lord.

Friday, November 21, 2014 - Psalm 95:1-7a - This Psalm is the one appointed for this Sunday.  Verse 7a is the key verse, “We are the people of his pasture.”  Our Savior has promised to shepherd us; we are never in want. Thus we cast our worries and cares into His hands as He orders our days and directs our path. He alone is our good shepherd and king.

Saturday, November 22, 2014 - Hebrews 2:19 - Our reading is the inspiration for the hymn, “The Head that Once was Crowned with Thorns.”  As the Church year comes to a close, we recall that He who Ascended will return in glory. If we are prepared to receive Him on the last great day, we will be ready to celebrate at the time of His birth. The baby in the manger, the death of the man on the cross, and the king who comes in triumph are all one in the same – Jesus our Savior. 

 Sources
LUTHERAN SEVICE BOOK © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO

LECTIONALRY PREACHING WORKBOOK SERIES A © 1980 John Brokhoff CSS Publishing Lima, OH


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

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Proper 28



Proper 28
16 November 2014
Matthew 25:14-20
Are your talents at work?

Almighty and ever-living God, since You have given exceedingly great and precious promises to those who believe, grant us so perfectly and without all doubt to believe in Your Son Jesus Christ, that our faith in Your Son may never be reproved;
At the Cathedral in Lubeck Germany is found the following inscription:
Thus speaks Christ our Lord to us:
You call Me Master, and obey Me not;
You call Me Light, and see Me not;
You call Me Way, and walk Me not;
 You call Me Life, and desire Me not;
You call Me Wise, and follow Me not;
You call Me Fair, and love Me not;
You call Me Rich, and ask Me not;
You call Me Eternal, and seek Me not;
You call Me Gracious, and trust Me not;
You call me Noble, and serve Me not;
You call Me Mighty, and honor Me not;
You call Me Just, and fear Me not;
If I condemn you, blame Me not.[1]

The Master is taking off. Leaving three slaves in charge. He leaves them with more wealth to tend than you and I can possibly imagine. For the talents spoken of here are not aptitudes or abilities. They are, in fact, piles of gold coins. Bushel baskets full, in fact.

One talent of gold weighed between fifty and seventy-five pounds.  So even the 'least' of the slaves received enough that he may have been challenged to carry it all on his own.  These piles of gold were left with each one of them to tend, manage, and grow. And there is no growing without risk. There is simply no growing without risk.

Love and faith, like money, require the taking of risks in order to grow. Taking risks is not easy. Risks always require relationships. And relationships require opening ourselves to murky as well as mighty possibilities. 

These words of Jesus should be stinging to our ears. To those who have, more will be given, but for those who have not; even what they have will be taken away.  

Like these three slaves, God has richly blessed us in a thousand ways.  Indeed, our bushel baskets are so full we can't lift them on our own. God has given us all of it. He asks only that we use it, spend it, invest it, grow it.
 God has given it all to us. He only asks that we love and trust Him enough not to sit on it, hide it, or bury it.  So what are you afraid of? Or, for that matter, what are you waiting for?

Jesus speaks about your attitude. And the way you use what you have been given.  If it is your attitude that God, and life, are harsh and terrible masters, then like the servant, with only one talent, we turn away from risk, and hide ourselves from the promise and prospect of divine glory as if it were a delusion, or worse, as if it were only meant only for other people.

Yet Scripture is full of risks and challenges. Each time our Lord called a disciple it was in fact a challenge of faith. “Come follow me…I dare you to believe.” The crucifixion is a risk of faith. Here is your Lord, hanging on a cross…”I dare you to believe.” The empty tomb is a taunt. ”I live and so shall you…I dare you to believe.” The reason it is such a challenge is that it requires a belief in the absoluteness of the promises of our Lord.

“Keep mercy and justice and draw near to thy God always. You must therefore combine justice with mercy. Spending in mercy what you possess in justice. Because God loves mercy and justice, those who take care to do mercy and justice draw near to God. It remains, then for each to examine themselves and for the rich to take careful inventory of the private resources from which they are to offer gifts to God. To make sure that they have not oppressed poor people or used force against the weak, or cheated those dependent upon them, thus exercising license rather than justice.

Do not employ force because you are in command and do not take advantage of another because it is within your power to do so. On the contrary, show forth the deeds of justice because you are able to perform the deeds of power. Your fear of God and your obedience to Him are not exhibited in abstaining from acts beyond your ability, but in this - that being in a position to violate the law, you refuse to transgress it.

If you give alms to the poor after you have despoiled them of their goods, it were better for you neither to have taken or given.  God will have no part in avarice nor will the Lord be a comrade to thieves and robbers. He has not left us the poor to feed because He is unable to do this. But He asks from us, for our own good, the fruit of justice and mercy.[2]

God is not impressed with your awesomeness. Your works are always ambiguous but never arbitrary.  They are ambiguous as if our works make God stand up and take notice. As if they get us into heaven. Or make us look good. Or stand out. 

Neither are they arbitrary. They are always done according to faith. That’s what Christians do. They serve their neighbor. You live your life by serving your neighbor by acts of charity, mercy and sacrifice. Your works are played out according to the station of life you find yourself to be at. 

God does not need your works of mercy and acts of kindness. However, you neighbor needs you compassion desperately.  You are reconciled to God through Jesus Christ alone. By His stripes, suffered for you on the cross at Calvary - you are healed.  So be at peace with your neighbor. The day is surely drawing near. There will be a reckoning. And each shall give an account. Invest in the kingdom! But invest wisely.  

God guide me with thy wisdom,
God chastise me with thy justice,
God help me with thy mercy,
God protect me with thy strength,
God shield me with thy shade,
God fill me with thy grace
For the sake of thine anointed Son[3]
_________________
Words -1,078
Passive Sentences – 7%
Readability -82%
Reading Level -4.8






[1] For All the Saints A Prayer Book For and by the Church Volume IV pg. 1014 © 1996 The American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, Delhi, NY

[2]Basil the Great of Caesarea (329-379) On Mercy and Justice For All the Saints A Prayer Book For and by the Church Volume IV pp. 1058-1059 © 1996 The American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, Delhi, NY

[3] Scottish Celtic Prayer For All the Saints A Prayer Book For and by the Church Volume IV pg.1059 © 1996 The American Lutheran Publicity Bureau, Delhi, NY 

Friday, November 14, 2014

IN MEMORIAM


IN MEMORIAM


Eldora Fuelling

Born: August 8, 1920
Baptized into Christ: August 8, 1920
Confirmed in the Faith: March 25, 1934
With Christ in Peace: November 10, 2014

For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you and my covenant of peace shall not be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you - Isaiah 54:10

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

St. Martin of Tours, pastor


Lord of hosts, Your servant Martin the soldier embodied the spirit of sacrifice. He became a bishop in Your Church to defend the faith. Give us grace to follow in his steps so that when our Lord returns we may be clothed with the baptismal garment of righteousness and peace; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. 

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, in whose hands are the living and the dead; we give Thee thanks for all those Thy servants who have laid down their lives in the service of our country. Grant to them Thy mercy and the light of Thy presence, that the good work which Thou has begun in them may be perfected; through Jesus Christ Thy Son, our Lord.