Monday, March 31, 2008

There's always a first time

For the first time all four #1 seed teams are in the final four. May the best team win.

Time in the Word - March 31 –April 5, 2008

According to God’s Plan
Easter 3
March 31 –April 5, 2008

On the Third Sunday Of Easter, we consider the response to the resurrection. In the Gospel, the two followers of Jesus did not recognize the risen Christ until the breaking of bread. Three thousand people responded to Peter’s sermon dealing with the cross and resurrection with repentance and baptism. In the Epistle we are told that because of the resurrection, the living Word, we are born anew in love and faith. Psalm 116 harmonizes with the theme of response: “What shall I render...?” The Prayer and Hymn continue with the resurrection theme.

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.

Monday, March 31, 2008 – Psalm 133 - The Antiphon for next Sunday’s Introit is taken from Psalm 133:1, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity.” After much conflict the people of God came together. In the world today there appears to be much conflict. How do we achieve unity? Some claim that unity comes through diversity. We find unity when we are at one especially when there is agreement especially when we consider the person of Christ.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008 – Acts 2:14a, 26-41 - The apostolic church described in this Lesson serves as a model of the true church. It is a community of faith in Christ. The church is characterized by the Word (teaching) and sacraments (breaking bread and “added to their number”). Worship was a regular activity — daily attendance at temple services and “prayers.” Fellowship was a part of their church — a fellowship in Christ, a fellowship of caring.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008 – 1 Peter 1:17-25 - God has a destiny for every person, even for Jesus. God had the cross in mind even before the creation of humanity. He knew of humanity’s upcoming fall. He knew of the disobedience and rebellion before humanity’s creation. God had a plan to restore us to fellowship before the sacrifice of Christ. It was the eternal destiny of Jesus to be the Messiah, to die, and rise again (v. 20). The question arises: If God knew in advance of humanity’s sin and the horrible death necessary on the cross, why did God bother to make us? Only God can answer that.

Thursday, April 3, 2008 – Luke 24:13-35 - Jesus was driven to the cross. He asked, “Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” (v.26). If Jesus is the Messiah, a satisfaction of God’s wrath against sin, the sacrifice on the cross was necessary. This indicates that the cross was a divine project; also it means that only God could remove the offense of sin. God in Christ satisfies his own justice resulting in God’s acceptance of us as forgiven children.

Friday, April 4, 2008 – Psalm 116:1-14 - The Psalm portion for this coming week is centered on a question. “What shall I render to the Lord for all his bounty to me?” (v.12) How can we repay the Lord when we consider all of the goodness He has showered down upon us? By offering to the Lord those expressions of devotion He desires. The Hebrew word for “goodness” occurs only here in the Old Testament but represents the same basic root as “has been good” in verse 7.

Saturday, April 5, 2008 - Mark 16:15 - Is the inspiration for the hymn “With High Delight let us unite“{LSB #483} Having experienced the Lord Jesus risen from the dead we as the people of God reach out into the world proclaiming the good news. This is the response of Easter. The early Christians simply told others “we are witnesses of these things.” Likewise we share with others the good things the Savior has done for us.

Collect for Easter 3 O God, through the humiliation of Your Son You raised up the fallen world. Grant to Your faithful people, rescued from the peril of everlasting death, perpetual gladness and eternal joys; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

O Almighty and eternal God, now that You have assured us of the completion of our redemption through the resurrection of our Lord Jesus, give us the will to show forth in our lives what we profess with our lips; through Jesus Christ Your Lord our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one god, now and forever.

A Prayer for Newness of Life in Christ Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness and put upon ourselves the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which Your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility, that in the last day, when He shall come again in glory to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

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.

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

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

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Winter has met its end!

Zion Friedheim Lutheran Church 1980

Zion Friedheim

A view of the church around 1980

Easter 2

Easter 2
March 30, 2008

John 20:19-31
“I demand evidence!”

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; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Introduction: We have just celebrated the feast of the Resurrection. We rejoice with the Easter greeting, “He is risen! He is risen indeed, Hallelujah!” And yet for some, the resurrection is almost too difficult to believe. We’ve heard the critic’s charges before, “Virgins do not conceive and dead men do not rise!” How do we respond to such criticisms? To help us stand up to such criticism we have Thomas to thank. Thomas is Easter’s version of Ebenezer. “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.” Consider Thomas’ demand for evidence.

“I too must be a witness”

The claim of Jesus’ resurrection alone isn’t enough.

It defies logic. By themselves the claims are idle words. In the words of our youth, “that’s bogus!”

Without the eye-witness testimony of the appearance of Jesus visibly from the dead the resurrection remains only a myth. Talk is cheap. Only a visitation of the resurrected Lord could convince Thomas.

Without Jesus’ appearance to Thomas personally He would not be considered a legitimate apostle. “Why Thomas?” some could argue. “Why was he not granted such an audience with the risen Christ?”

Could we really believe his word? Would we trust Thomas if he were to say, “I’ve never seen Jesus alive from the dead, others have, but not me.” We can almost hear that critical, cynical, response. “Ya, Right!”

Transition: Thomas needs to be a witness. He must examine the evidence with his own eyes.

II. “I must see His marks.”

There are plenty of false Christs in our world today. Each is a creation of man’s own wild imagination and dream. These false Christs are not the Jesus of the Bible.

Upon seeing Jesus’ hands, feet, and side Thomas became convinced of the resurrection.

Illustration: Have you any scars on your body? They tell a story. A hand that went through a storm door, a shine that got scrapped reminds us of past events. Jesus’ scars tell the story of redemption.

Thomas could now know that the same Jesus who suffered and died is the same Jesus who rose from the dead. He could see the scars. The scars on Jesus’ body which Thomas saw with his own eyes are comforting for you. This guarantees complete redemption! His wounds guarantee that He suffered for you, that He took your sins to His own body. His resurrection guarantees that your sins, though they are many, are gone. The resurrection proves that forgiveness is granted. The resurrection assures us that eternal life is your destiny and reality.

Transition: Thomas needs to be a witness. He must examine the evidence with his own eyes. Hearing his testimony these words are joy and bliss for you.

III. These words are for you.

Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed;”

Seeing is believing. This was necessary for the 1st Century disciples and believers.If they saw Him dead they would have to see Him alive visibly.

So convinced where they that each disciple, that with the exception of John, each would die for only one claim; “we have seen the Christ and we are witnesses of these things!”

“…blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” We don’t have the “advantage” of being 1st Century eye-witnesses.

We therefore place our trust in the evidence provided in Sacred Scripture by those who were eye-witnesses of these events.

This is why Jesus walked the earth for 40 days after the resurrection.
40 is the number for completion –
40 days/nights it rained at the time of Noah
40 years the Israelites were in the desert
40 years David reigned as King over Israel

The appearance of Jesus alive visibly for a period of 40 days is enough for you to trust in Him.

Conclusion: John begins His Gospel with Jesus first miracle. Changing water into wine was the first of Jesus’ miraculous signs which Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee. John remarks that Jesus performed these miracles “so that His disciple put their faith in Him.” {John 2} Notice how John concludes His gospel, “Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” {John 20:30-31}

Zion Friedheim Lutheran Church

Zion Ev. Lutheran Church
10653 N - 550 W
Decatur, IN 46733