Sunday, June 29, 2008

Salem Update IV



Salem is almost back to normal. Here he is as his most usual self…sleeping on his back in the kitchen - but this time exposing his incision. Quite a freak out! Stitches come out Thursday! The cat needs a bath!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Proper 8 - June 29, 2008


Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
Align CenterFriedheim

10653 N – 550 W
Decatur, IN 46733
260-547-4248

www.zionfriedheim.org

A 21st Century Parish with a 1st Century Faith
Acts 2:42

Celebrating our 170th Year
Chartered February 25, 1838

June 29, 2008

Proper 8

The Troubler of Humankind - Matthew 10:34

Decatur Indiana is the home of the world's first monument dedicated exclusively to peace. Lady peace stands in the yard of the Adams County Courthouse. This little known fact is quite compelling in light of the Savior’s words from our Gospel lesson for today. He speaks quite plainly; I did not come to bring peace by a sword.

In our Gospel lesson for today Jesus calls upon His disciples to love Him above all others. Matthew continues from last week’s Gospel lesson with the price of discipleship. In Vv. 34-36 Jesus declares that His coming will cause dissension in families because disciples will love Him more than any member of the family. In Vv. 37-39 Jesus calls upon His disciples to take up the cross and to lose themselves in His cause. To those who do this, Jesus promises rewards, (Vv. 40-42). In this passage we have both the cost and the reward of discipleship. Let us pray to the Lord…

O God, you have prepared for those who love you joys beyond understanding. Pour into our hearts such love that, loving you above all things, we may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire.”

Introduction: King Ahab called Elijah the “troubler of Israel” because he demanded justice and obedience to God. Christ was a troubler in His day — He cleansed the temple, broke the Sabbath law by healing on it. He challenged the religious leaders for their hypocrisy and bigotry.

In our day Jesus is the troubler of our society. He is not content with a status quo based on injustice and falsehood. When conditions are evil, Jesus comes not to bring peace but a sword — conflict, fighting, dissension. Out of this conflict will come genuine peace when truth and justice triumph.

Jesus will have no part in the violence of our day because it is the product of hatred. Controversy and conflict result when truth challenges falsehood, right faces wrong, and love opposes hatred.

Though He was born the Prince of Peace, Jesus shocks us when He says He did not come to bring peace but a sword. Peace is not always possible. There are times when war is inevitable.

Christians dare not live at peace with Satan. Stand for the truth, justice, and liberty and enemies will cluster around you. Jesus was and still is a controversial figure. He makes us choose sides in the battle of good and evil.

Jesus brings a sword of conflict into our world.

1. When truth confronts error.

A. Though he was born Prince of Peace, Jesus shocks us when He says He did not come to bring peace but a sword. Peace is not always possible. There are times when war is inevitable. For us as Christians we saw this publicly last Sunday when Breanna Biggs was baptized. When she was baptized she was made a child of God and a member of Christ’s family the Church. At the same time she was made an enemy of Satan. We might have just as well placed a bull’s eye on her for this what happened to her and each of us on the day we were born again of the Water and the Word. War was declared on us by the Father of lies Satan himself.

B. Christians dare not live at peace with Satan. Take a stand for the truth, justice, and liberty and enemies will cluster around you. Jesus was and still is a controversial figure. He makes us choose sides in the battle of good and evil. So says the Joshua, If serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.... As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

Transition: Jesus brings a sword of conflict into our world when truth confronts error. The sword of conflict comes when right opposes wrong.

2. When right opposes wrong.

A. Jesus was referring to the fact that His coming forces people to choose sides: either they will choose to do what's right and follow Christ, or they will choose to avoid persecution and reject him. The result is that even families will be divided, as those who reject Christ turn on those who accept Him.

B. Jesus would rather have everyone repent and turn to Him, “This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4) He was not advocating this conflict, nor was He happy about it; rather it came about as a result of people choosing to reject Him. At the end of an extremely emotional day one filled with praise and triumph we find Jesus standing off at a distance weeping over the city of Jerusalem. He does this for He knows that ultimately the people would reject Him. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! By the end of the week Jesus would be dead.


Transition: Jesus brings a sword of conflict into our world when truth confronts error. The sword of conflict comes when right opposes wrong. It comes when love challenges hatred.

3. When love challenges hatred.

A. Just as Jesus called His disciples by name, we too as Christians are called the same. Thus says St. Paul in his letter to the Romans, Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. These words are read at almost every funeral. They announce not only who we are, they tell us whose we are. You are a Christian incorporated into Christ’s family – the Church.

B. We have been given the same mission which is to proclaim the Good News to the ends of the earth. We do this as we support foreign missionaries as we learned of this work of Pr. Groth this past week. We do that by living the faith. Some call it “gossiping the Gospel”. Will we be misunderstood? Possibly. Will we be mistreated? At times. Can we expect the same “treatment” as Jesus warned His disciples? Of course! Yet, this is not our concern. Our focus must remain on being faithful – faithful to the Savior, faithful to His Word, and to express to others the hope which we have.

C. Though it seems hard and dangerous, the Lord gave us His assurance that He is with us all the way. His last five words He spoke before He Ascended speak volumes, “I am with you always…

Conclusion: After you leave this sacred space the sermon really begins. Taking the higher road, the road that will lead us to the kingdom of God, is not without trials and difficulties. But our unfaltering faith as Christians will be rewarded in the end. To hate means to love less. Jesus here invites His children to love human relationships less as they love Him more.

All relationships and possessions pale in value when compared to Jesus Christ. Consequently, disciples are to ensure that nothing interferes with or transcends their relationship with Christ. The veracity of this notion is confirmed by the very words of the Savior Himself. Christ Himself says, those who love father or mother, son or daughter, more than Me is not worthy of Me. The point is clear - we must love these relation-ships less and Jesus more. Nothing must stand between us and the Savior.

What is your position, my friend? Can you make that kind of commitment? Is there anything in this world that is more valuable to you than the One who sacrificed Himself on a tree for your salvation and so ensure that you might have everlasting life? During this coming week may we think on these things!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Cat Pic Friday


What does Tacy dream about when she's napping?
















"My brother's an idiot!"

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Salem Update III




Salem is now resting in the mud room off of the kitchen. He has found a new place to sleep – in the newspaper box. His litter box and water are a few feet away so he has everything he needs while he recuperates.

Lydia has been taking good care of our patient feeding him his morphine at 9 am and 9 pm. Only one crisis. Apparently his sister Tacy doesn’t recognize him. She was quite leery of him when he arrived yesterday and when he attempted to eat out of the supper bowl this morning she hissed and swatted at him. Apparently she can’t comprehend that her brother has returned or she refuses to concede her rank of top cat during his hospitalization. (The fact that a cat’s brain is the size of a walnut might be a contributing factor also) Salem’s grooming habits are less then stellar so he probably has hospital small on his coat. Oh the things we do for our pets!


NB: If you look closely you will notice the fat man is sleeping on a newspaper which is published in New Haven, MO

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Salem Update II



Salem was allowed to return home this afternoon after a five day stay at the local Vet hospital.

The Veterinarian was able to extract his stones and they will be sent to a lab in Minnesota for examination and identification.

Salem has been put on a moist diet for older cats and was given a fourteen day injection antibiotic so we will not have to administer pills. He has about an eight inch incision on his abdomen stitches will be removed at his next office visit.

His doctor told us he will be running a mild temp for a few days and we are to administer “kitty morphine” in liquid form for the next few days. Syringes have been provided –no needles.

Salem is not yet out of the woods. There may be some microscopic stones left or due to inflammation he may become plugged again. We’re hoping for a full recovery.

The church ground this year is planted in soy beans however the field adjacent to it is in wheat. With wheat harvest 4th of July weekend he has about a ten day recovery period to keep the parsonage rodent free.

We have a missionary who is currently home on furlough coming to our church this evening two call committee meetings at our two vacant parishes. I have a service at Bingen Wednesday evening, an adult was confirmed yesterday and two are nearing the end of Adult confirmation Thursday. There is a wedding Saturday evening. The bride I have known since she was seven. Shut-in members need to be visited as we are in the last week of the month. Finished off the sermon this morning. Hank will be home for one of his rare weekends off. If I have time there is a farm auction Thursday. Half the neighborhood should be there. The wife is a native speaking Russian woman. Lydia's visited her once. She should be a help with Russian diction. A busy week to be sure.

Salem’s return has reduced at least a bit of stress amongst the inhabitants of our house. What was the title of that song played on the radio while growing us? Sung by the Carpenters… Bless the beasts and children. Not to be confused with Nadia's Theme - the title music for CBS' Young and the Restless.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Salem update



Salem suffers from Feline lower urinary tract disease. (FLUTD) Urethral obstruction— occurs when the cat's urethra becomes partly or totally blocked—is one of the most serious results of disease of the feline lower urinary tract.

Male and neutered male cats are at greater risk for obstruction. Complete urethral obstruction or blockage is life threatening and requires immediate veterinary attention.

If the cat is 'blocked,' he is anesthetized and a small catheter is passed first into the urethra to remove the obstruction, then into the bladder to flush it out. The cat is then hospitalized with the urinary catheter in place for at least 24 hours to make sure there is no recurrence of the obstruction. The cat is generally kept on fluids and antibiotics.

The good doctors at our local Vet hospital have been giving Salem wonderful care. We hope to have him home in a few days.


Time in the Word - Proper 8 - June 23-28, 2008



Time in the Word
The Price of Being a Christian
Proper 8
June 23-28 2008


Collect for Proper 8O Almighty God, by the working of Your Holy Spirit grant that we may gladly hear Your Word proclaimed among us and follow it’s directing; through Jesus Christ Your Son, our Lord who lives and rules with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.


Today’s lessons are uncomfortable. They give a side to the Gospel we often neglect. In the Gospel lesson Jesus says He came to bring a sword and not peace, because of a conflict naturally results when one makes Christ his first love. This produces a conflict with competing loves. The way of Christ is not easy; it is the way of the cross, a way of self sacrifice and hardship. The Old Testament points out that the truth is not always peace but war. The truth hurts because it is often negative and judgmental. Christians are called to be salt and light in this world. The role of a Christian in this world is that of a true prophet: “O thou troubler of Israel” and “Host thou fond me, O my enemy?


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, June 23, 2008Psalm 89:15-18 - This is the Psalm portion from which the Introit for next Sunday is taken. The antiphon is taken from verse 1, I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord, forever; with my mouth I will make known You faithfulness to all generations. The love and faithfulness that appear here will be repeated fourteen times throughout the course of this Psalm. We trust in the mercies of our Lord because of His love and faithfulness.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008Jeremiah 28:5-9 – A true prophet is one whose message is fulfilled. One day two preachers were speaking in the temple. They contradicted each other and yet both claimed to be prophets. Whom were the people to believe? One says God will send peace; the other promises way. Jeremiah give the acid test: the true prophet is one shoes preaching comes true. So, we have to wait and see who is right.

Here we find God’s band news. (Vv. 5-8) Most think God has only good news for us. According to this lesson, God has both good and bad news. For the rebellious and disobedient there is bad news – judgment, war, famine, and death. King Ahab referred to Elijah as “you troubler of Israel,” and “my enemy.” Micah had bad news of defeat for the kings about to go to war. To say peace because people want to hear it is to be faithless to God who brings judgment upon a sinful people.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008Romans 7:1-13 – Paul warns Christians not to back into our former way of living. As far as Christians are concerned a life “controlled by the sinful nature” belongs to our past. The law not only reveals sin, it also stimulates it. The natural tendency I man is to desire the forbidden thing – death. Physical death and beyond that, eternal death- final separation from god – are the fruit of our “union” with the law.

Thursday, June 26, 2008Matthew 10:34-42 – Jesus calls upon his disciples to love him above all others. Matthew continues in this pericope with the price of discipleship. In vv. 34-36 Jesus declares that his coming will cause dissension in families because disciples will love him more than any member of the family. In vv. 37-39 Jesus calls upon his disciples to take up the cross and to lose themselves in his cause. To those who do this, Jesus promises rewards (vv. 40-42). In this passage we have the cost and reward of discipleship.

There are many rewards — reward of a prophet, or a righteous man, of a spokesperson and ambassador of Christ. “He who receives you receives me.” To accept a follower of Christ is to accept Jesus; to help a disciple is to help Christ. To reject a disciple is to reject Christ. What a high honor to be a surrogate of Christ!

Friday, June 27, 2008Psalm 119:153-160 – This Psalm is suggested for next Sunday. It falls under the Hebrew letter “Resh” It is a psalm and prayer of deliverance “See how I love your precepts; preserve my life…”


Saturday, June 28, 2008John 11:16 – This passage is the inspiration for the hymn “Let us ever walk with Jesus.” {LSB 685} Thomas is ready to suffer all even death for the sake of Christ. Such commitment is necessary yet impossible without faith in Christ. Our prayer: Lord increase my faith!


A simple yet heart felt Prayer – “Almighty God, grant us a steadfast faith in Jesus Christ, a cheerful hope in Your mercy, and a sincere love for You and one another.”

A Prayer of thanksgivingHeavenly Father, God of all grace, govern our hearts that we may never forget Your blessings but steadfastly thank and praise You for all Your goodness in this life until, with all Your saints, we praise You eternally in Your heavenly kingdom.


A Prayer for the Proper use of leisureO God, give us times of refreshment and peace in the course of this busy life. Grant that we may so use our leisure to rebuild our bodies and renew our minds that we may be opened to the goodness of Your creation; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.


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

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

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Proper 7 June 22, 2008

Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
Friedheim

10653 N – 550 W
Decatur, IN 46733
260-547-4248

www.zionfriedheim.org

A 21st Century Parish with a 1st Century Faith
Acts 2:42

Celebrating our 170th Year
Chartered February 25, 1838
June 22, 2008
Proper 7
The Conquest of Fear
Matthew 10:26-33

Jesus’ words of our text are quite clear to us. Though the world may persecute Christ’s followers, the Father knows and cares for His people. Jesus has called His disciples and sends them out to preach and heal. As He was persecuted, His disciples could expect no less. They are not to fear those who can kill only the body. It is better to fear God who can kill body and soul.

In spite of their hardship, the heavenly Father knows them as intimately as knowing the number of hairs on their heads and cares for them as He cares for even “worthless” birds. As they are faithful in their witness to God, He will be faithful to them. Let us pray to the Lord…

O God, our defender, storms rage about us and cause us to be afraid. Rescue your people from despair, deliver your sons and daughters from fear and preserve us from unbelief.

According to Jesus, Christians are not to fear “them.” Who are “them”? In the foregoing passage Jesus defines and describes “them” as those who persecute His followers, who in your own family betray you for being Christian, who are hated because they follow Jesus, and who are persecuted as Christians.

This points to the fact that Christians live in a hostile world which does not tolerate Christian teachings and practice. The darkness hates the light. Evil is a reality and is not neutral or tolerant of an opposing force or righteousness. This raises the question; why so few, if any, Christians are persecuted in America? Is America so Christian as not to oppose Christianity, or are “Christians” not that Christian as to arouse hostility?

Introduction: Fear is not easy to overcome. One can reason it through and arrive at the conclusion that there is no good reason to fear. One can argue himself into agreeing that fear is unnecessary. All the thinking and talking about the futility of fear does not take it away. It seems to rest in one’s feelings that are deeper than any rational arguments. Thus, faith that deals with basic feelings is the cure for fear. We need to be reminded that the Gospel lesson deals with fear of our enemies who oppose our Christian faith.

Outline: Faith conquers fear because

1. Faith is certain we shall overcome — Jesus tells us; “Whatever I tell in the dark speak in the light. What you hear with your ear preach on the housetops.” (Vs. 27)

A. Faith is able to overcome fear because Christ has overcome. Says St. John: “greater is He who is in you then he who is in the world.”[1] Who is it that is in you? It is God, the Holy Spirit. He has called you by the Gospel, enlightened you with His gifts, sanctified, and keeps you in the one true faith.

B. What are you able to overcome? Faith can conquer any barrier, any obstacle, and any stumbling block which would rob us from fellowship with God’s Son Jesus Christ our Savior. What are such besetting sins? Each person has particular sins which the yare susceptible. The devil knows us better then we know ourselves. Each is at risk. Each is vulnerable. Each is disposed to certain behaviors. Satan can used this for his purposes. How can we overcome? Satan’s powers and schemes are removed as Christ gives us His Holy Spirit.

Transition: Faith is certain that we shall overcome fear. Faith places its focus in Christ rather then man.

2. Faith is in God rather than in man — v. 28. “Do not fear those who kill the body and can’t kill the soul. Rather, fear Him who is able to destroy soul and body in hell.”

A. Those who can only kill the body but who can not kill the soul are of human origin. They are not of God they are of man. They are of a human source. What is the worse someone can do to you? They could kill you – they could take your life. But they can not harm the soul. Thus we are encouraged to pray: According to Your will, grant us to trust wholly in You and not fear life’s circumstances. Grant that we may remain steadfast and faithful to You at all costs, even unto death.[2]

Every Christian on the day of their confirmation vows to remain faithful to Christ to suffer all, even death, rather then to fall away from it. What is the encouragement for us this day? “Be thou faithful until death and I will give you the crown of everlasting life.”[3]

B. The one who can destroy both body and soul in Hell is Christ – We might feel quite uncomfortable speaking about it – in fact, Bible teachers such as Martin Luther refers to this thought as Christ’s alien work – He doesn’t want to do it, He would rather do something else- yet - those who reject Jesus Christ loose their salvation.

God’s alien work is performed by His law. When God sees us as filthy sinners, He therefore gives us the law so that we see ourselves the way God sees us. The law reveals an angry and wrathful God who punishes unrepentant sinners. The Bible shows this angry God in such instances as the Flood, Israel’s forty years of desert wandering, and the rich man who walked away from Jesus because He had been revealed to be a sinner.

The culmination of God’s alien work is the sending of Jesus to suffer on the cross on our behalf (Luther 19). Thus, Paul tells the Corinthian Christians: “I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him having been crucified.”[4]

Jesus’ crucifixion happened in the past, but the event is still influencing the present. The crucifixion of Jesus happened a long time ago, but the forgiveness and redemption that Jesus purchased on the cross is still effective, still powerful, and is still influencing our lives to this very day. With the Holy Spirit directing you He keeps you faithful to the end. “Be thou faithful until death and I will give you the crown of everlasting life.”[5]

Transition: Faith conquers fear. Faith is certain we shall overcome. Faith is placed in God rather then man. Faith trusts God to care for you.

3. Faith in God’s care of us — vv. 29-31. “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny and not one falls to the ground apart from Your Father’s will. But the very hairs on you head are all numbered. So do not fear you are of more value than many birds.

A. A question could be asked. Does God really care? Does He, will He, provide? In His Word Jesus assures us of the Father’s intent (which is always for your good) and His direction for your life.

B. How does He provide for you? Consider this morning the 4th petition of the Lord’s Prayer.[6] Give us this day (give us today) our daily bread.

What does this mean? God certainly gives daily bread to everyone without our prayers, even to all evil people, but we pray in this petition that God would lead us to realize this and to receive our daily bread with thanksgiving.

What is meant by daily bread? Daily bread includes everything that has to do with the support and needs of the body, such as food, drink, clothing, shoes, house, home, land, animals, money, goods, a devout husband, a devout wife, devout children, devout workers, devout and faithful rulers, good government, good weather, peace, health, self-control, a good reputation, good friends, faithful neighbors, and the like.

Conclusion: Our salvation is always linked to Christ’s suffering on the cross. St. Paul tells us: For if we died with Christ, we will also live with Him. [7] As disciples of Jesus Christ we need not fear our enemies. Though the world may persecute Christ’s followers, the Father knows and cares for His people. These are not mere pious words – this is your reality. May those words of that much loved hymn be your certainty; “Through many dangers toils and snares I have already come. His grace has brought me safe thus far, He is grace will lead me home.”[8]
[1] 1 John 4:4
[2] Grant it O Lord 21st Century Martyrs http://oholy.wordpress.com/
[3] Revelation 2:10
[4] 1 Corinthians 2:2
[5] Revelation 2:10
[6] The 4th Petition of the Lord’s Prayer LUTHERAN SERVICE BOOK © 2006 Concordia Publishing House pg. 324
[7] 2 Timothy 2:11
[8] Amazing Grace LUTHERAN SERVICE BOOK © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, Hymn 744 stanza three

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Our mouser is sick












One of our two cats Salem came down with a kidney stone and is at the local pet hospital. He's been a part of our family for the past eleven years. He's been in hospital since Thursday. The doc should tell us what options we have come Monday.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

How it looks from here


One of the hot button topics in certain circles these days - The doctrine of Church & Ministry. All who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and are called to faith are Christians and members of the "Holy Christian Church - the Communion of Saints" This Church is invisible to our eye - for only the Lord can see faith in the heart. It is the sum total of all believers in Christ; saints in glory and those still remaining on the earth. These remaining in the world are part of the church militant as we battle against the devil, the world, and our own sinful flesh (and sadly, at times, Christians can even war against themselves – which can sometimes become ugly! This is why we must continually cry out Kyrie Eleison!)

We also have "visible" churches inasmuch as we can see and discern what particular groups believe, teach, confess, and practice. (Hence the numerous denominations in this world)

The church exists locally wherever Christ's people gather around His Word, and Sacraments. They are sacred and holy sheep listening to the voice of the Shepherd. Thus we gather to worship, to be fed, to receive holy absolution, to be strengthened, to intercede for one another, to bear each other’s burdens only to enter back into the world to be salt and light. We use the gifts, talents, and abilities the Lord has given us in our various vocations to be witnesses of the Savior. It is a serious task as the Savior speaks quite specifically about those who loose their saltiness and whose light goes out.

What we do on Sunday is very important. Yet some may ask, are we primarily the gathering of the sacred assembly or are we to be an open door to the world? Emergent churches or congregations which offer seeker services tend to argue that we need to be focused on those who are on the outside. Traditional parishes would argue that our first priority is to those inside. "Emergents" would see long-established practices as cliquey, smug, and indifferent to those beyond our walls. "Traditionals" fear a compromise of doctrine, and a corruption of all things sacred. Sadly, these two points of view often talk past each other.

The Scriptures speak of community. Zion Friedheim congregation is a parish of some 500 souls who come from different backgrounds, ages, economic advantages and disadvantages, vocations, political affiliations, allegiances, etc. We are united only in Christ. Last names cease when we enter the church door. We enter into a sacred space only to enter back into the world.

Using ACTS 2:42 we may refer to ourselves as a harbor of hope in a dark and dangerous world. We desire to be one with respect to four specific objectives of mission and ministry.

Ø “The Apostles Doctrine” Being one in unity and faith. Basing our lives on Christ’s Holy Word as He speaks clearly to us through that Word.

Ø “Fellowship” Being one in the Lord Jesus Christ. Experiencing true joy in Christ. Living at peace with each other and enjoying one another.

Ø “The Breaking of Bread” Sacramental living. Experiencing daily the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation as Christ comes to us in and through the Sacraments.

Ø “Prayer” Upholding one another. Taking our needs burdens joys and sorrows to the throne room of grace. Being thankful as the Savior answers each petition.

We come to a worship service and then in service we witness for Him. We enter back into the world to be witnesses of the Savior. Our desire is for others to embrace and cherish our Friedheim family as they become connected to Jesus Christ. Do we always get it right? Not always. Are we perfect? Hardly! Do we stumble, fumble, flop and fall? Certainly! Yet, in spite of our many flaws the Lord uses us in various ways, often to our amazement!

Some seek revival in the church today. An Amish draft horse might be a fitting analogy. We plod along through life. And yet, after a long, long, day a few acres have been planted - and by God’s grace - we shall reap a harvest of souls. That’s how it looks, at least, from here.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Time in the Word - Proper 7 - June 16-21, 2008



Time in the Word
Freedom from Fear
Proper 7

June 16-21 2008
The theme Freedom from fear is prominent in the Gospel where Jesus says three times, Fear not.” Jeremiah, in the Old Testament lesson experiences fear, though it is not specifically stated, of his enemies and is delivered from them by his trust in God. Because of sin, there is death which we instinctively fear and from which we are saved by faith in Jesus Christ. The Prayer of the Day speaks of fear which is driven away when we “live secure and content in the Father’s eternal love. The suggested hymn of the day calls for a faith that will not disappear when oppression comes. It does not fear in general but the Christian’s fear of his/her enemies.

Collect for Proper 7O God, because Your abiding presence always goes with us, keep us aware of your daily mercies that we may live secure and content in Your eternal love; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God now and forever. Amen


Monday, June 16, 2008Psalm 56:3-4; 10-11 - This is the Psalm portion from which the Introit for next Sunday is taken. The antiphon is taken from verse 13, “For You have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life.” David reminds us to make a confession of trust in the face of fear. The confession is renewed throughout the Psalm but especially in the appointed verses for next Sunday. Especially when we face great difficulty the Lord asks us to cling to His words and promises.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008Jeremiah 20:7-12 – Jeremiah trusts God to deliver him from those who oppose his preaching. Here is one who wants to quit but cannot. He decides not to preach but he finds himself driven to keep going. It is like a fire in his bones that must be expressed or explode! He is driven by an inner voice. The love of Christ, faith of God, the sense of obedience, impels, and compels one to witness regardless of popular acceptance. Faith overcomes fear. In the midst of persecution, Jeremiah puts his trust in God’s deliverance from his enemies. He was sure God would vindicate him and his oppressors would be eliminated. His trust was justified, for when he was released from the dungeon, Jeremiah exulted, “Praise the Lord!” (Vs. 13).

Wednesday, June 18, 2008Romans 6:12-23 – In these verses Paul explains what it means to be dead to sin (Vv. 5-7) and alive to God (Vv. 8-10) Our victory over sin is refusal to let sin reign in one’s life (Vs. 12) We do this as we offer ourselves to God Himself to be witnesses of His mercy and grace in this world. Hence the prayer for us to be mindful of our Christian vocation in this world.

Thursday, June 19, 2008Matthew 10:5a, 21-33 – The Disciples need not fear their enemies. Though the world may persecute Christ’s followers, the Father knows and cares for his people. Jesus has called his disciples and sends them out to preach and heal. As he was persecuted, his disciples could expect no less.

They are not to fear those who can kill only the body. It is better to fear God who can kill body and soul. In spite of their hardship, the heavenly Father knows them as intimately as knowing the number of hairs on their heads and cares for them as he cares for even “worthless” birds. As they are faithful in their witness to God, he will be faithful to them.

Friday, June 20, 2008Psalm 91:1-10– This Psalm is suggested for next Sunday. The mention of terror or “threat” is reference to an attack by one’s enemies. Thus it is paired with “arrows”. These two references to threats from war are arrayed alongside “pestilence” and “plague” (Vs. 6), two references to mortal diseases that often reached epidemic proportions. “night…day. At whatever time of day or night the treat may come, you will be kept safe. The time references are not specific to their respective phrases.


Saturday, June 21, 2008 Psalm 79:9 – This passage is the inspiration for the hymn “Lord of our life and God of our salvation.” {LSB 725} Taken from a prayer for God to heal and forgive His people and to redress the violent acts of their enemies. When we are attacked by slander, persecution, and the temptations of the devil, our world, and our own sinful self we turn to Him who is our safe refuge, the Rock of our salvation, Jesus Christ the righteousness one.
A simple yet heart felt Prayer – “O God, our defender, storms rage about us and cause us to be afraid. Rescue your people from despair, deliver your sons and daughters from fear and preserve us from unbelief.”

A Prayer for grace to use our giftsAlmighty God even as You bless Your servants with various and unique gifts of the Holy Spirit continue to grant us the grace to use them always to Your honor and glory; through Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.


For Christian vocation - Heavenly Father, grant Your mercy and grace to Your people in their many and various callings. Give them patience, and strengthen them in their Christian vocation of witness to the world and of service to their neighbor in Christ’s name; through Jesus Christ our Lord we pray, Amen.


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

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

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Bonnie Stauffer - June 26, 1927 - June 11, 2008




Most Lutheran clergy only conduct funerals for members of their congregations whom are in good standing. There are however cases in which a pastor may conduct a funeral for a person not of his parish. Most counties in the state of Indiana maintain a county home. For the past twenty-one years we have had a member or two who have taken up residence at Adams County’s Golden Meadows Home. In my regular visits I have taken up conversations with most of the residents and have come to know the administrators and staff. It’s a small staff and a handful of residents. I have done the Thanksgiving devotions there for the past twenty-one years. Held usually a Sunday or two before Thanksgiving. They are truly a blessed community. Everything [and I mean literally everything] they have has been received as a gift and they are grateful for what they have. Their greatest treasure of which they have is of course each other. So when one of them dies the entire community goes into deep mourning. Their grief is real.

Some of the residents find themselves there because there is literally no one who can care for them. In some circumstances there is no family to speak of. Most are hindered by some physical, mental, or psychological malady. Some are indigent. Some have just been forgotten. It is so easy to simply look past them.

Bonnie Stauffer has been a resident for more then twenty years at Golden Meadows. Before she took up residence here she was a school teacher in Texas. For the last twenty years I have probably been one of only a few pastors who have called on her. Tomorrow the residents and staff will gather in the basement chapel for a celebration of life service. We will remember Bonnie as a dear friend, a sincere Christian. One for whom Jesus loved and died and rose again. There will only be a few souls there – I would guess less then thirty - but in heaven the angels are rejoicing as a child of God – a sinner redeemed by grace - has returned home.

Death is so limited…
It has not crippled love,
It has not shattered hope,
It has not corroded faith,
It has not eaten away peace
Nor destroyed confidence

It has not killed friendship,
It has not shut out memories,
It has not silenced courage,
It has not invaded the soul,
Nor reduced eternal life.

It has not quenched the Spirit,
It cannot, has not,
Nor will not lesson the power of the resurrection!

Bonnie Stauffer– a child of God – she successfully celebrates the 3 great birthdays of her life

 First, there is the day of her birth – June 26, 1927 – a day for her to thank the Lord for all the talents, gifts, and abilities He had given her.

Yet, the Savior had His hand on her, she knew the Scriptural truth: “if we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. – But if we confess our sin, God who is faithful and just will forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

 Then there is the day she was baptized when she was born again, when she was born spiritually, when she was born of God.

 Finally there is the day she was born into glory – this past Wednesday – June 11, 2008 - when she took a walk - from one end of the kingdom to the other – from the kingdom of grace into the kingdom of glory.

The other day the staff wrote down some notes concerning the things they remember about Bonnie.

Bonnie was a teacher and was a life long learner. She loved to read and always had a list for the library.

She was always interested about the staff and their family especially how the children were doing in school. She was always interested in Kyle’s school progress.

Bonnie was humble.

She was a private person and would take time until you had earned her trust afterwards - she welcomed you as a friend.

She appreciated simple things (especially nature)

She enjoyed the view from her room –

She kept track of the 1st Robin of spring and kept a diary of the weather – she kept track of the 1st frost, 1st snow.

She enjoyed flowers – kept track of daffodils, crocus, lilacs

She enjoyed Gracie –Golden Meadow’s house cat. She kept an eye on her food and water – she never allowed her in her room, never petted her, until the day before she died – and allowed one of the nursing staff to hold her up to her bedside. Bonnie patted her on the head and smiled before shooing her away.

Bonnie loved Christmas trees, spring flowers, birds’ nests with chirping robins.

She loved Breyers Natural Vanilla Ice Cream and Cream Savers Candy.

Today, however, we celebrate her victory of life.

God is completely responsible for our salvation from front to back!

We don’t one day decide to follow Jesus – He plants the seed of faith in our heart. He then nourishes that faith by giving us His eternal Word which is able to make us wise unto salvation.

That seed of faith is demonstrated by how we live and treat one another. That’s what you as a family did for her – for the past 21 years this was Bonnie’s home –Golden Meadows - where you were caring for her physical needs in the last months and weeks of her life – preparing him for his entry into eternity. Reminding her of the grace of God found in Jesus Christ our Savior – He came into this world at Christmas to be our Savior from sin.

John 11:25-26 Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

This is the question we each must ponder…

(1) - Is Jesus the resurrection and the life? Testimony of Scripture is undeniable – The early disciples would simply say - “we are witnesses of these things!”

(2) - Do we believe – that whoever believes in Jesus, even though they die will live and not die?

Bonnie believed this – that she was a sinner. But also that Christ is compassionate who has promised to forgive our sins - because she did believe this she is alive, well, at peace, whole – and if we have this same faith we will see each other again – never to be separated by time, distance, space.

This service is for the living – Bonnie was given opportunity to live her life – we continue on- life will be different – there will be a new sense of “normal” - but we walk by faith – until that day comes in our life when Jesus will call us from this world to a world that has no end – from an earthly kingdom – to a heavenly kingdom – from a place which is limited to a place that is beyond time & space. May the Savior so walk with you until we are re-united with those who have gone before us.

Lord God Heavenly Father, Your days are without end and Your mercies cannot be counted. Make us aware of the shortness and the uncertainty of this human life; and let Your Holy Spirit lead us all the days of our lives so that when we shall have served You in our generation; we like our sister Bonnie may be granted the gift of eternal life and be gathered into the home which You have prepared for all who trust in You and call you Lord. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.

Proper 6 - June 15, 2008



Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
Friedheim

10653 N – 550 W
Decatur, IN 46733
260-547-4248

http://www.zionfriedheim.org/

A 21st Century Parish with a 1st Century Faith
Acts 2:42

Celebrating our 170th Year
Chartered February 25, 1838
June 15, 2008
Proper 6
Matthew 10:1-10
Come & Go

Jesus calls twelve disciples and sends them out to preach and to heal. After teaching, preaching, and healing in various villages and cities, Jesus is impressed by the condition of the people — harassed, helpless, and lost. Their condition moves Him to have compassion on them. To meet the need, He appoints the twelve and sends them only to the Jews to preach and heal. As they received the gospel free of charge, they are to give the gospel free of charge. Let us pray to the Lord…

God, our maker and redeemer, You have made us a new company of priests to bear witness to the gospel. Enable us to be faithful to our calling to make known Your promises to all the world.”

Introduction:
To be a true Christian is to come and go. Both are necessary.

If Christianity is all “come,” it becomes other worldly, irrelevant, and an end in itself. Religion then turns to religiosity and worship becomes mere ritual.

If Christianity is all “go,” it becomes “do-good- ism,” - nothing short of a social action program - that will eventually run out of steam. Christianity then can be a curse if it is all “go,” because we are urged to witness and serve without proper motivation and resources.

The “come and go” must ever be kept in proper balance. The church must go and come. The church must both gather and scatter.

Outline: A true Christian is one who —

1. Comes to Christ — vv. 1-4.

A. Called — v. 1a. “He called his twelve disciples to himself…” The Lord Himself called these twelve. He set them apart for a specific work. They were drawn to Him as He set them apart for His purposes. Likewise, the Lord has called you to Himself.

He called you in your Baptism when the Holy Spirit working in, by and through His Word called you to a faith relationship with Him. As He has called you He has endowed you with gifts and talents to be used for Him. His purpose is for you to be His ambassador in this world.

B. Authorized — v. 1b. “…and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.” The Savior authorized these twelve as well. They were authorized by the Savior to act as His representatives – to speak for Him. He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, to heal all kinds of sickness and disease. They were authorized by the Savior to prepare the people for His coming.

The Savior has authorized you – to use the talents, abilities and gifts the Savior has given to you to share with others what Christ has done for you in your life. As these twelve were authorized to prepare the people for Christ’s coming so He has authorized you to live your life for Christ. By living for Christ you are letting your light shine before men. As they see your works and actions they will give glory to your father in heaven. [1]

Transition: The disciples were called and given authority as they came to Christ. They were also commissioned to go out for Christ.

2. Goes for Christ — vv. 5-7.

A. Where to go — Vv. 5-6. These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel.” The disciples were sent to a specific group of people. They were sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Likewise, the Lord has specific people in mind for you to reach out to. These people might include family members, co-workers, neighbors, and friends. In a sense the list is endless and yet, to this point these are people in your life that in a very real sense the Lord has placed you there. These people in your life are there for you to share with them Jesus Christ and Him crucified. You have been placed into their life for you to be a witness of the Savior’s mercy and grace.

B. What to do — v. 7. “As you go, preach this message: ‘the kingdom of heaven is near.’ What they were to say was a simple and yet a direct message: “The kingdom of God is at hand.”

Likewise, for you in whatever station of life you find yourself to be – simply share Christ. How do you do this? Consider again the 2nd Article of the Apostles’ Creed. [2]

Who – I believe that Jesus Christ, true God begotten of the Father from eternity and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary is my Lord.

What - Who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil.

How - Not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death.

Why - That I may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness. Jesus as He is risen from the dead lives and reigns to all eternity.

Conclusion: To be a true Christian is to come and go. The movement of the Christian is both in and out, coming and going. As you have received the gospel free of charge, give the gospel free of charge to those the Lord has placed in your life.



+ Soli Deo Gloria +
[1] Matthew 5:16
[2] Lutheran Service Book pp. 322-323

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Build it and they will come!





Eight years ago we needed a new roof on our church (slate) and we needed to expand our parish school. So, what is a rural congregation to do in raising Big $ for a needed building projects?




The solution - build a maze - and the people will come! We planted a 5 acre field of corn and then on Memorial Day weekend with tillers and hoes in hand 50 members dug out a maze in the shape of a church. The objective, have people walk through a field of corn trying to solve a riddle. (who abducted "corn guy"?) Along the path people could read clues to help solve the riddle and become educated as to the various and sundry uses for corn. We advertised it as family fun event and as a team building exercise for organizations, youth groups etc. We charge what one would pay to see a movie (which at the time was about $5) We offered food, water, did a little bit of advertising and the people we were promises would come. The maze was open on Saturdays and Sundays and for special events. July and August had a few visitors but by September word got out that we had something going. In October we added a "haunted maze" and the people came flocking...



We ran a maze in 1999, 2000, and 2001, and had close to 30,000 visitors (from over 30 states) and raised close to $200,000 for a new church roof and an addition to our school And we also welcomed into our fellowship two families who were unchurched, who invited their families, who invited their families and before we knew it five new families were added to our church and school.





I must be honest...when two women from the parish came up with this idea my first thought was that they had lost their minds however, it brought the people together (we needed about 30 volunteers each day) and the fruit of that labor still remain.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Time in the Word - Proper 6 - June 9-14, 2008


Time in the Word
The Formation of God’s People
Proper 6

June 9-14- 2008


The theme the Formation of God’s People places an emphasis upon God making a people for Himself. In the Old Testament lesson God through Moses tells the people they will be His people as long as they keep the Law. This they (and we too) failed to do. In the Epistle Paul explains that God still takes us s His people because Christ died for the disobedient and reconciled them to the Father. This good news is given by the called disciples who are sent to preach. The prayer for the Day refers to our calling to witness to the Gospel. The Psalm affirms that we are God’s people. The suggested Hymn of the Day deals with the spreading of the comfort the Christian has in knowing Christ came to seek the lost.

Collect for Proper 6Almighty, eternal God, in the Word of Your apostles and prophets You have proclaimed to us Your saving will. Grant us faith to believe Your promises that we may receive eternal salvation; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.




Monday, June 9, 2008Psalm 67:1-7 - This is the Psalm portion from which the Introit for next Sunday is taken. The antiphon is taken from verse 3, “Let the People praise You o God, let the people praise You.”

Tuesday, June 10, 2008Exodus 19:2-8 – Through obedience to the covenant the people at Sinai are reminded by the Lord that they are His people. God tells Moses that if the people will keep the covenant, they shall be his people. We do not know who we are until we know whose we are. If we belong to God, we understand who we are — children, sons, and servants of God. How did we become God’s possession? We are his, first, by creation — “all the earth is mine,” and we are a part of the earth. Second, we are his by redemption — “You have seen what I did to the Egyptians ... and brought you to myself” (v. 4).

Wednesday, June 11, 2008Romans 5:6-15 – Through the cross of Christ God’s love is seen as Christ dies for the sinner. God’s love is seen in Christ’s dying for sinners. It is not likely that anyone would die for a good person. How much less would one die for a bad person? This is exactly what Jesus did — he died for us while we were yet sinners. He did not wait until we became good to die for us. There were no preconditions to be met. As a result of his atoning death, we are justified and in the coming judgment we will escape the wrath of God. If we are now reconciled by his death, we will move to be saved by his life. For what God has done for us in Christ, we rejoice in him. The love of God is seen in Jesus’ dying for sinners — worthless, evil, polluted people who are forever bent on doing evil. What did God see in a fallen man that he would give his Son to save a people like that? It is not human to do it; we would hardly die for a glorious man, let alone a wicked one. “While we were yet sinners” — a glorious phrase that proves God’s grace reaches out to humanity. This is grace, agape love.

Thursday, June 12, 2008Matthew 9:35-10:8 – Through the ministry of the Word Jesus calls disciples and sends them out to preach. Jesus calls twelve disciples and sends them out to preach and heal. After teaching, preaching, and healing in various villages and cities, Jesus is impressed by the condition of the people — harassed, helpless, and lost. Their condition moves him to have compassion on them. To meet the need, he appoints the twelve and sends them only to the Jews to preach and heal. As they received the gospel free of charge, they are to give the gospel free of charge. Jesus’ ministry was a total ministry to the total person. It consisted of teaching, preaching, and healing: a ministry to the mind through teaching, to the heart (soul) through preaching, and to the body through healing. Since we are an inseparable unit of body, mind, and spirit, the church’s ministry today needs to include this threefold ministry.

Friday, June 13, 2008Psalm 100– This Psalm is suggested for next Sunday. The key verses is verse 3c “We are His people, and the sheep of His pasture” In light of our lessons we rejoice that we have this new found relationship with the Savior, a relationship caused by the Savior’s amazing grace and favor.



Saturday, June 14, 2008John 3:16-18 – This passage is the inspiration for the hymn “God Loved the World so that He Gave” {LSB 830} Taken from a familiar verse of the Scriptures the Savior explains the motivation the Father had in sending His Son into the world. The purpose of His coming was to redeem and save us.




A Prayer for familiesAlmighty God behold the families of our congregation and community. We pray that You might be the ever present yet unseen guest in every home. Daily may we serve You that there might be harmony and peace. Keep us safe from the enemy and may Your blessings fall upon us like gentle rain.



A Prayer for purityAlmighty God unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, from whom no secrets are hidden, cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of Your Holy Spirit that we may perfectly love You and worthily magnify Your holy name.


For humility - Heavenly Father, You resist the proud and give grace to the humble. Grant us true humility after the likeness of Your only Son that we may never be arrogant and prideful and thus provoke Your wrath but in all lowliness be made partakers of the gifts of Your grace.



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.




Sources:

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

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

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Proper 5 - June 8, 2008

Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
Friedheim

10653 N – 550 W
Decatur, IN 46733
260-547-4248

http://www.zionfriedheim.org/

A 21st Century Parish with a 1st Century Faith
Acts 2:42

Celebrating our 170th Year
Chartered February 25, 1838
June 8, 2008
Proper 5

Matthew 9:10-13
‘Jesus- the man for sinners’


Jesus calls Matthew, a tax collector, to be a disciple and eat with “sinners.” The calling of a despised outcast, a tax collector by the name of Matthew, provides the setting for Jesus’ response to the Pharisees who criticize him for his fellowship with publicans and sinners. His answer indicates that God wants mercy to be shown rather than the keeping of ceremonial observances. As God’s Son, accordingly he felt his mission was to call sinners to repentance. Jesus did not condemn the morally sick but came to them as a physician to heal them. Let us pray to the Lord…

O God, the strength of those who hope in you: Be present and hear our prayers, and, because in the weakness of our moral nature we can do nothing good without you, give us the help of your grace, so that in keeping your commandments, we may please you in will and deed.”

Introduction: Jesus Christ is without question the man for sinners. It was upsetting to the religious leaders of Jesus’ day that Jesus would be friendly with the worst sinners of the day, publicans. He was not only friendly, but he attracted them and even shared a meal with them. He became known as a friend of publicans, prostitutes, and other notorious sinners.

What does a good man have in common with a bad man? They have different values, goals, and understandings of life. This unusual behavior of a good man says something about man and God.

Jesus’ association with sinners says something about —

1. Man the sinner — v. 12.
A. The sinner is sick and needs a divine physician to heal him. Jesus calls Matthew, a tax collector, to be a disciple and eat with “sinners.” The calling of a despised outcast, a tax collector by the name of Matthew, provides the setting for Jesus’ response to the Pharisees who criticize him for his fellowship with publicans and sinners. His answer indicates that God wants mercy to be shown rather than the keeping of ceremonial observances. As God’s Son, accordingly he felt his mission was to call sinners to repentance. Jesus did not condemn the morally sick but came to them as a physician to heal them.

B. To save is to heal, to be made whole. Jesus is doing something that “good” people would avoid doing. We teach children to avoid bad company because they could easily be influenced to engage in evil deeds. It is a reasonable question asked of the disciples by the Pharisees: “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” According to the text, the disciples had no answer. Jesus answered for them. It is a question we need to ask ourselves as Christians: Why do we (or do we?) associate with the criminal element of society? It is a fact that generally we avoid contact with lawbreakers. Maybe we as Christians should mingle with them.

2. Christ the Savior — v. 13.
A. God in Christ shows mercy to sinners. Jesus eats with sinners (v. 10). What does it say theologically that Jesus, Son of God, eats with publicans and sinners? What does it say about the nature of God? Does it not say that God is one of mercy for the disobedient and rebellious? Does it not say it is the will of God to have every person go to heaven and not to hell? That God’s mercy is extended prior to his justice? To share a meal is to accept those invited to the table. Does this mean that God accepts sinners even before they repent?

B. The self-righteous feel no need of Christ because they have no sense of sin. There is an obligation to follow suit (v. 13). If God in Christ shows mercy to sinners as demonstrated by Christ’s call to Matthew and eating with sinners, then God’s children are expected to do the same. The Pharisees were not doing this; they looked at sinners in judgment and criticized Jesus for his friendliness to sinners. The religious people were self-righteous and thus just as great sinners as the publicans. The religious Pharisees were more interested in making religious sacrifices than in loving the people who were in need of mercy.

C. The self-righteous are content with their religious observances and overlook their responsibility to be like Christ — merciful. They shall receive their reward. Inasmuch as you did not do this to the least of these, you did not do it unto Me.

Conclusion: A follower of Christ does not choose to follow, but is chosen. Christ came to Matthew where he was — at the infamous business of collecting taxes for the Roman conquerors and getting rich on the side by demanding more taxes than the law required. It is a sign of Christ’s love for the sinner and his vision of a person’s potential. Each Christian receives a call to follow Christ. Is this the case in today’s world? If so, how does the call come? The call comes wherever and whenever the gospel is proclaimed. The gospel brings the Spirit who calls, enlightens, and gathers people into the kingdom of God.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Time in the Word Proper 5 June 2-7 2008



The theme that God seeks sinners is found in each of the three lessons for this coming week. In the Gospel Jesus calls a special sinner, a publican named Matthew, and goes out to dinner with sinners and tax collectors, the scum of society in Jesus day. Hosea in the Old Testament reading calls for us to return to God who desperately seeks us to return. In both these lessons the reason for God’s search for sinners is “I desire mercy and not sacrifice.” The Epistle lesson explains how we can get right with God – through faith in Christ who made us acceptable to God. Next Sunday we deal with the truth that God longs for His people to be one with Him.

Collect for Proper 5Almighty and most merciful God, You sent Your Son, Jesus Christ, to seek and to save the lost. Graciously open our ears and our hearts to hear His call and to follow Him by faith that we may feast with Him forever in His kingdom, through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Monday, June 2, 2008Psalm 50:7-10 - This is the Psalm portion from which the Introit for next Sunday is taken. The antiphon is taken from verse 1, “The Mighty One, God the Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008Hosea 5:15-6:6 – God longs for His people to return to Him. He makes an appeal to return to and know God. Like a parent at the point of despair, twice God asks about his people, “What shall I do with you?” Here is another insight into the kind of God we have. He longs to have his people with him in covenantal love and loyalty. God has appealed to them through the prophets. He sent judgment to get them to repent. He wants from his people love and a relationship of peace, but they are content to render cheap sacrifices and burnt offerings. Here we find a wooing and pursuing God and a people whose love for God is fickle.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008Romans 4:13-25 – Humanity is restored to God by faith. The promise to Abraham came by faith and not by the Law. In chapter 3 Paul stated the cardinal doctrine of justification by grace through faith. In chapter 4 he uses Abraham as an example of one who was righteous by faith and not by the law. If we can be righteous by keeping the law, faith is unnecessary. Since it is impossible to perfectly keep the law, - our salvation rests upon grace alone. The expression of grace is God’s promise; and faith believes in, and accepts, the promise. All, Jew and Gentile, with the faith of Abraham are made righteous.

Thursday, June 5, 2008Matthew 9:9-13 – Jesus came to call sinners back to God. Jesus calls Matthew, a tax collector, to be a disciple and eat with “sinners.” The calling of a despised outcast, a tax collector by the name of Matthew, provides the setting for Jesus’ response to the Pharisees who criticize him for his fellowship with publicans and sinners. His answer indicates that God wants mercy to be shown rather than the keeping of ceremonial observances. As God’s Son, accordingly he felt his mission was to call sinners to repentance. Jesus did not condemn the morally sick but came to them as a physician to heal them.

Friday, June 6, 2008Psalm 119:65-72– This Psalm is suggested for next Sunday. This section from the longest Psalm in Psalter. Using the Hebrew alphabet this section falls under the Hebrew letter “Teth.” The Psalmist encourages the reader to do good as the Lord Himself has been good to him regardless of circumstances. Be good to me in accordance with Your goodness, even if that means affliction, because Your affliction is good for me; it teaches me knowledge and good judgment from Your law.

Saturday, June 7, 2008Psalm 119:10 – This passage is the inspiration for the hymn “Let Me be Thine Forever” {LSB 689} The Psalmist’s devotion is first of all to the God of the law and the promises. They have meaning for him only because they are God’s word of liA Prayer for spiritual renewal – Almighty God, You gave Your only begotten Son to take our nature upon Himself. Grant that we, Your adopted children by grace, may daily be renewed by Your Holy Spirit.

A Prayer for purityAlmighty God unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, from whom no secrets are hidden, cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of Your Holy Spirit that we may perfectly love You and worthily magnify Your holy name.

For humility -Heavenly Father, You resist the proud and give grace to the humble. Grant us true humility after the likeness of Your only Son that we may never be arrogant and prideful and thus provoke Your wrath but in all lowliness be made partakers of the gifts of Your grace.

A look ahead at Sunday’s sermon based on the Gospel…
Matthew 9:10-13
‘Jesus- the man for sinners’

Jesus’ association with sinners says something about —
1. Man the sinner — v. 12.
A. The sinner is sick and needs a divine physician to heal him.
B. To save is to heal, to be made whole.

2. Christ the Savior — v. 13.
A. God in Christ shows mercy to sinners.
B. The self-righteous feel no need of Christ because they have no sense of sin.
C. The self-righteous are content with their religious observances and overlook their responsibility to be like Christ — merciful.

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

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