Monday, June 29, 2009

Time in the Word Pentecost 5 - Proper 9

Time in the Word June 29 – July 3 2009
Proper 9 Preparation for next week, The Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
The theme for the Fifth Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 9) will focus upon the word of the minister (prophet) His work of proclamation is very difficult due to the unreceptive attitude of the people to whom he is sent to preach. Even Jesus in the Gospel lesson didn’t do a good work in His home town because the people do not believe in Him. Ezekiel is called (Old Testament lesson) to preach to a people whom God describes as “impudent and stubborn.” Paul, (in the Epistle lesson) prays to have a thorn removed that he might be more effective in his ministry, but the request is denied. We are blessed with pastor and people work in harmony and peace. Yet we live in a broken world. May we pray the Spirit’s help to always be open and receptive to the preaching of God’s holy Word.


Monday, 29 June 2009Psalm 132:13-16; Antiphon, Psalm 34:8— David reminds us to “taste and see that the Lord is good” The circumstances surrounding each of our lessons for next week might suggest that all is not well. Yet the Psalmist reminds us that our Lord’s care for His people goes beyond circumstance. He is our Lord in good times and in stressful times. He is with us when we are successful in life and when there are objects “in our road”. Despite obstacles to ministry the Lord’s church moves forward. As we see the Lord active in His church and in the individual lives of His people we can join with the Psalmist and say, “taste and see that the Lord is good!”

Tuesday, 30 June 2009Psalm 123—This Psalm of David is a prayer of God’s humble people for Him to show mercy and so foil the contempt of the proud. There are many obstacles to ministry in this world. This earth is fallen. Yet despite obstacles the Lord has not left His church to ruin nor has He turned His back on us. To the contrary this psalm speaks of God’s control of the universe, His church and His people. Fare thee well child of God the Lord remains constant regardless of the contempt and ridicule the world might bring upon us.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009Ezekiel 2:1-5— Obstacles to ministry may occur with the rebelliousness of God’s people. Ezekiel receives the Spirit and is sent to preach to a rebellious people. In this passage Ezekiel is commissioned to go to the exiles in Babylon to preach God’s Word. To do this he is empowered by the Spirit. The Lord warns him that the people may not listen to his preaching because they are a rebellious people. It is not important whether his preaching is accepted. At least, they will hear God’s Word and know a prophet was with them. Application to our day? How do you want people to respond to you? Would you rather be accepted or respected? What’s the difference? Which of the two is more difficult and why?

Thursday, 2 July 20092 Corinthians 12:1-10— Obstacles to ministry may occur with the handicap of the preacher. Paul is promised grace to bear his thorn in the flesh. Paul is fed up with his opponents who cast doubt on his apostleship and boast about their work and religious experiences. This lesson is a part of the “terrible letter” (chapters 10-12) in which Paul makes a heated defense of his apostleship.

If his opponents can boast of their accomplishments, he can, too. This passage is part of his boasting. Paul claims he, too, has had an abundance of revelations, but to keep him humble God gave him a thorn in the flesh. Repeatedly he prayed to have it removed, but God assured him His grace was enough to bear it. Now Paul boasts of his weaknesses, handicaps, and sufferings, for through these weaknesses the power of Christ comes upon him. Americans love winners. There is an aversion in our day to weakness, pain, and suffering. Where are you weak? When has God said “no” to your prayers only to say “My grace is sufficient”? What life lessons can we gain through suffering, setback and loss?

Friday, 3 July 2009Mark 6:1–13—The rejection by one’s own people. Obstacles to ministry may occur with rejection. Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth takes offense at Him and His work. Earlier Jesus was rejected by His family and religious leaders. Now He is rejected by the people (friends and relatives) of His home town, Nazareth. They were astonished at His teaching and mighty works. They could not explain His greatness; they referred to Him as a carpenter and as the son of Mary along with brothers and sisters. Unable to explain Him, they took offense or were scandalized by Him. Jesus reacted by saying that a prophet was without honor among His own people. He was unable to do mighty works because of the people’s unbelief. So Jesus left with His disciples to teach in other towns. Tomorrow we celebrated our country’s independence. America has been blessed by God in that given our representative form of democracy and our rights to practice our faith as outlines in the constitution the Gospel has had free reign. Not all however is will within our country. Many would want to stifle the Gospel. We have no guarantee that America will last forever. The Lord could allow the Gospel to flourish in another place. Many of our Lutheran forefathers (and others) came to America to escape religious persecution happening in Europe. If the church in America received the same reception as did the Savior in His hometown would many simply stop coming? How do some today practice their faith because it is convenient?


Saturday, 4 July 2009Luke 1:78-79 The first stanza of Sunday’s hymn of the day, O Christ, Our True and Only Light (LSB 839), asks the Savior to enlighten those who sit in night. There are many today missing from the Father’s table because they sit in ignorance. They know nothing of the saving work of Jesus Christ. While there are obstacles to ministry there are tremendous opportunities to witness in the midst of our nation’s heartland. As the Lord gives us opportunity may we “gossip the Gospel” that souls may be won and the kingdom expanded.


Collect for Pentecost 5Grant Lord, that the course of this world may be so governed by Your direction that Your Church may rejoice in serving You in godly peace and quietness; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen

Collect for Proper 9O God, Your almighty power is made known chiefly in showing mercy. Grant us the fullness of Your grace that we may be called to repentance and made partakers of Your heavenly treasures; through Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen

Prayer in time of affliction and distress: Almighty and most merciful God, in this earthly life we endure sufferings and death before we enter into eternal glory. Grant us grace at all times to subject ourselves to Your holy will and to continue steadfast in the true faith to the end of our lives that we may know the peace and joy of the blessed hope of the resurrection of the dead and of the glory of the world to come; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Prayer for our country: Almighty God, You have given us this good land as our heritage. Grant that we remember Your generosity and constantly do Your will. Bless our land with honest industry, truthful education, and an honorable way of life. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion, from pride and arrogance, and from every evil course of action. Make us who come from many nations with many different languages a untied people. Defend our liberties, and give those whom we have entrusted with the authority of government the spirit of wisdom that they may be justice and peace in our land. When times are prosperous, let our hearts be thankful. In troubled times do not let our trust in You fail; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House and from Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House.
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcut used with permission from WELS
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series B – John Brokhoff © 1981 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Pentecost 4 - Proper 8 - Mark 5:21-43


When Jesus is needed, nothing can stop Him from helping. In the Gospel lesson for today we see Jesus refusing to take NO for an answer. Jesus is determined. He can overcome any obstacle. He may be interrupted and detained, but He carries on until the need is met. This miracle is interrupted by the case of a woman with an issue of blood when she toughed Him to be healed while He was on His way to Jairus’ house, He resumed His walk to heal the girl. When we cry to Jesus for His help in a desperate situation, He comes to us without fail.



When Jesus will not take “NO” for an answer…
1. The people following after them informed Jairus saying: “Your daughter is dead!” – v.35 Then came their gentle yet firm rebukes "don't bother the Master any more!" - People’s opinions can become an obstacle and a stumbling block to faith.


There are some people who live in a black and white little world. And it is their opinion that God is only able to help in certain circumstances. The circumstance has to be this; that there can be a reasonable expectation of a certain outcome, and with that expectation there is also an easy explanation. That is apparently the way those people were thinking. Sure, Jesus might have been able to help while the girl was alive; she could have gotten better, possibly Jesus knew of a greater physician. In a black and white little world you can always hold on and hope for the best as long as there is a possibility as slim as it may be.


In the black and white little world there is the rejection of anything miraculous. Miracles simply do not happen when the world is black and white.


Things turn out for the better because there is the possibility that things will work out. But once you get to the point of no return the possibilities for restoration ceases and desist. That's how it is in the black and white little world.


After the young girls had passed there was nothing anyone else could do; not even Jesus would be able to help. When you live in a black and white little world in that world there are limits to what even Jesus is able to do.


They said to Jairus: "Don't trouble the Master any longer! He can't help you. Your daughter is dead. There isn't anything else anyone can do!"


But it's even worse than that. Jairus, the girl's father, is a synagogue official. He too lives in a world of black and white He's trained in Old Testament religion. He knows that when God takes away a child at age twelve, that is not a sign of God's good pleasure toward him. In fact, it is the opposite. He knows the words from Sinai about God's "visiting the iniquities of the fathers upon the children."


Is the girl dying because of her father's iniquities? Is something "sick" in Jairus' link with God?

In Jairus' black and white little world God is already "visiting" them; touching their lives, and the touch is deadly. Is there anything that can bring a healing touch before all is lost? Anyone? No, in a black and white little world people have their own opinions of what is right and wrong and fair and just. God really can't help anyone in a black and white little world for the die is already cast. Oh, you can call it fate or providence or opportunity, or just plain luck. But those who live in a black and white little world will tell you miracles do no happen - they really don't at all.


What is Jesus' response to this? He ignores them. For He will not take no for an answer…even from those who live in a black and white little world.


2. People's opinions can hinder faith so can sarcasm. When Jesus took No for an answer what was the response of the people? “They laughed at him” – v.40 - Ridicule is just as damaging to faith.


Ridicule suggests that there is a lack of faith. Actually ridicule is a sign of fear. It is quite a claim to say that the girl is only asleep. It is something else to be able to raise that girl to life. "Just look at you Christian! How foolish you are. Do you really believe that this Jesus is able to raise the dead?


That doesn't happen in the real world. The dead do not come back to life. How could anyone believe in a God who promises life when it is obvious that life is gone! Not only is that a blind faith it is a denial of reality. Dead people do not come back to life and a mere man pretending to be God can not and will not raise the dead! You are living in a dream world if you really think that these sorts of things really happened! Do you really think that you can go to Jesus with your problems and your fears?"


But indeed we turn to Jesus--for He is the one to whom these fearful ones go for help. What makes such healing happen? How does Jesus stop that deadly touch and replace it with a healing touch?


The full story of His doing it takes us to the end of the Gospel story where He goes to the cross. It is there, at the cross, that He switches places with us.


He receives God's deadly touch, meant for us, and in exchange He offers us His healing touch. On Easter Sunday the Father comes to the tomb and "touches" Jesus back to life. With that the Father signals His approval of Jesus as healer, and verifies that when touched by Jesus we are healed with God as well. And when we are healed with God, healing spreads through every part of us.


3. Even the stark reality of death is no match for Jesus. Jesus speaking to the girl simply says: “I say to you, arise!” - v. 41 - The stark reality of death strikes fear in each of us. For it is appointed for us to die and after that comes the judgment. What awaits us at the end of our life? Will it be peace with God or will it be judgment and torment? Each of us must answer to God one day.

The Athanasian Creed puts it this way: "…He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies and shall give an account of their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil, into everlasting fire." What will we say when we open death's door?


Faith is the word for how this healing comes to us. Faith is reaching out our own hand to receive the touch that comes from Jesus. Jesus' touch does the healing.


Faith is nothing more than trusting Jesus to do just that: to touch us and heal us. Jesus tells Jairus to switch from fear to faith. And why does faith heal? It puts us in touch with the Healer. It's like plugging an electric cord into a power point. The power is all there inside the socket. Faith is plugging into, touching, the power-line so that life flows again where once it was dark and lifeless.


Jesus' final word is: "Go in peace." That is all the good news Jairus and his daughter needs to hear. They are to go back into their daily lives as new persons.


This little girl is not just healed of the frightful affliction or healed from social discrimination, but healed in the heart. There's faith now instead of fear. Now there is confidence in Jesus with no worries about any afflictions. At the root of it all is Jesus, who heals our sickness with God. No more worries about "bad" visits from anywhere--even from God. Christ is the Father's final Visitor. In Christ God has visited his people (see 7:16b) with peace. It's God's Final Touch. "Go in peace! You are forgiven in Jesus' holy Name." Amen.
Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts copyright WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A few scenes from our parish picnic

An Amish family was invited to our parish picnic by one of our members to give rides to the children.
The main event was a team of Belgium draft horses.

A family from our parish breeds and trains Belgium draft horses. They use only mares. Here they are entertaining the troops Saturday.






Time in the Word Pentecost 4 - Proper 8

The theme for the Third Sunday after Pentecost is God Loves You. He shows us His great love in a number of ways: by keeping us safe throughout our lives, as the Introit attests; by healing us and preserving us in body and soul, as the psalm declares; by chastising us, that we might repent of our sins, and seek His mercy, as the Old Testament reading shows; by attending to our needs through the work of others, as portrayed in the Epistle reading; and by overcoming death and destroying its power, as recorded in the Gospel reading.

All the love that God shows us is due to nothing that is in us, for we daily sin much and indeed deserve nothing but punishment, to use the words of the Small Catechism. But the Lord has saved us and provides for all our needs purely out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy.

Monday, 22 June 2009Psalm 121:5–8; Antiphon, Psalm 121:1–2—Like yesterdays Psalm of the Day (Psalm 124), this is a Song of Ascents, that pilgrims sang on their way up to Jerusalem. On the journey, they had to go through mountains, or hills. To whom do they—and we—look to keep them safe, not just on the way to Jerusalem, but throughout life? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth…The Lord will keep you from all evil; He will keep your life…The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009Psalm 30—This Psalm of David praises the Lord for having preserved his life, granting him healing. When he seemed to be at the brink of death, the Lord restored him to life among those who go down into the pit. More than just physical healing, however, the Lord also granted David spiritual healing: when David, trusting in himself, said, ‘I shall never be moved,’ the adversity made him repent of his pride. As a result of physical and spiritual healing, David proclaims, ‘You have turned for me my mourning into dancing…O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever!’

Wednesday, 24 June 2009Lamentations 3:22–33—In the midst of a lament over the fall of Jerusalem, the prophet Jeremiah extols the mercy of the Lord: His steadfast love never ceases…the Lord is good to those who wait for Him. When the Lord’s chastisement has brought about its intended results, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love. This gives comfort to us, too: when we repent of our sins, the Lord is quick to bestow forgiveness upon us.

Thursday, 25 June 20092 Corinthians 8:1–9, 13–15—When the Christians in Jerusalem were in distress, the churches in Macedonia, though they were also beset by poverty and affliction, gave beyond their means to support their suffering brethren. This was not of themselves, but a display of the grace of God that allowed them to give themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. Paul then explains also the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.

Friday, 26 June 2009Mark 5:21–43—Jesus demonstrates His great love for those suffering from some of the consequences of the Fall, sickness and death. Out of compassion, he agrees to go to the home of Jairus, whose daughter is near death. On the way, he is sought out by a woman with an issue of blood. Tenderly, He tells her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well.’ At Jairus’ house, He is met with the news that the little girl is dead. Christ Jesus, who will conquer death on the cross, raises her from the dead, showing His power over death and beginning the work of the restoration of creation. This compassion and mercy flows from the great love God has for us.

Saturday, 27 June 2009—The first stanza of Sunday’s hymn of the day, In the Very Midst of Life (LSB 755), dates back to the ninth century. Luther altered it somewhat and added two stanzas. It is one of the foremost hymns we have for the dying. It strongly proclaims that by Jesus’ blood alone we have atonement for sin and, consequently, refuge from sin and peace with God.

Collect for Pentecost 4Heavenly Father, during His earthly ministry Your Son Jesus healed the sick and raised the dead. By the healing medicine of the Word and Sacraments pour into our hearts such love toward You that we may live eternally; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Prayer in time of affliction and distress: Almighty and most merciful God, in this earthly life we endure sufferings and death before we enter into eternal glory. Grant us grace at all times to subject ourselves to Your holy will and to continue steadfast in the true faith to the end of our lives that we may know the peace and joy of the blessed hope of the resurrection of the dead and of the glory of the world to come; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for a sick child: Almighty God, Father in heaven, watch over Your child now afflicted with sickness. Mercifully spare the life You have given. Relieve her pain, guard her from all danger, and restore her health according to Your gracious will, that she may be raised to a life of faithful service to You; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for one near death: Eternal Father, You alone make the decisions concerning life and death. We ask You to show mercy to Your servant, whose death seems imminent. If it be Your gracious will, restore him and lengthen his earthly life; but if not, keep him in his baptismal grace and in Your abiding care. Give him a repentant heart, firm faith, and a lively hope. Let not the fear of death cause him to waver in confidence and trust. At Your chosen time, grant him a peaceful departure and a joyous entrance into everlasting life with the glorious company of all Your saints; through Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen.

Prayer for time of bereavement: Heavenly Father, into whose keeping we entrust our loved ones, help us to look to You in our time of sorrow, remembering the cloud of faithful witnesses with which we are surrounded. Grant that we may one day share in the joys of those who now rest in Your presence; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Collect for the Feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist (24 June): Almighty God, through John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, You once proclaimed salvation. Now grant that we may know this salvation and serve You in holiness and righteousness all the days of our life; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House.
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcut used with permission from WELS
Pr. Jeffrey Keuning wrote this week's Time in the Word He serves St. John, Cacey and Zion, Dexter congregations in the Iowa District West - LCMS

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Church picnic this afternoon

Church picnic is today – a bit different this year. No rain rather this year overcast. No square dancing (band had a wedding reception to play at) instead karaoke. ( And no, if I don't chant on Sunday morning I won't be singing into the karaoke machine...leave that up to Lydia our opera chick!) No hog roast this year, instead beef. Added feature – a member family who raises Belgium draft horses will have their team arrive to entertain the kids (both young and old at heart). Many of our college kids come home for the big event! God bless our Friedheim family!

Thanks to Marvin Dreier who took pics of our parish picnic. You can see more at the church web site www.zionfriedheim.org


Pentecost 3 - Proper 7 - Mark 4:35-41


Creatures in awe of Jesus’ authority over the creation

INTRODUCTION
A. Following a day full of teaching activity...
1. Jesus and His disciples got in a boat to sail across the Sea of Galilee –
2. A windstorm arose, beating waves into the boat –
3. Jesus was sleeping, but was wakened by His disciples fearing their lives –
4. Jesus rebuked the wind and calmed the seas –
5. He then reproached His disciples for their fear and lack of faith
6. Filled with great fear, His disciples expressed their awe of Jesus to one another. –

B. The account of Jesus calming the storm is well-known...
1. Popular in many children's Bible classes
2. The setting for the song “Jesus Savior Pilot Me”

I. WE ARE NOT EXEMPT FROM STORMS
A. WE FACE STORMS BECAUSE WE ARE HUMANS...
1. Being Jesus' disciples did not protect them from storms.
2. We live in a world where there are many storms, both literal and figurative.
3. Christians experience literal tornados, hurricanes, just like everyone else.
4. Christians likewise face storms such as sickness, accidents, disappointments, death.
5. Paul certainly experience the perils of storms and shipwrecks - 2Co 11:25-26 -- Three times I was beaten with rods; jonce I was stoned; three times I kwas shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, min perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; Jesus does not promise exemption from the normal storms of life.

B. WE FACE STORMS BECAUSE WE ARE CHRISTIANS...
1. Jesus warned that we will experience tribulation as His disciples - John 16:33 - I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
2. Paul did, and warned his fellow disciples - 2Corinthians 11:24-25; Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, Acts 14:22; strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. "We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God," they said. 2Timothy 3:12 -In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
3. Peter wrote that we should not be surprised - 1Peter 4:12 - Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.-- Jesus does not promise exemption from the storms of religious persecution

Transition: So if we find ourselves in the midst of storms, whether literal or figurative, whether it’s because we are simply humans or because we are Christians, do not think it strange. Instead take heart knowing that…

II. JESUS HELPS US DEAL WITH STORMS
A. THROUGH FAITH...
1. During storms, we are often afraid ("we are perishing!") -
2. Jesus teaches that fear is indicative of a lack of faith –
3. To overcome fear in storms, we need to grow in faith!
a. Faith that God will protect us if it be His will - cf. Psalm 46:1-3 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.
b. Faith that God will deliver us to His heavenly city even if we die - Psalm 46:4-5, There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.--Jesus reveals the role of faith in the midst of storms.

B. THROUGH HIS WORD...
1. Jesus' words prepare us to withstand the storms of life - Matthew 7:24-27. Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.
2. How to pray in order to be heard by God - Matthew 6:5-8 And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
3. To lay up treasure in heaven instead of on earth - Matthew 6:19-20 Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
4. To seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness - Matthew 6:31-34 So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. -- Jesus shares the secrets to standing strong against the storms of life.

C. THROUGH PRAYER...
1. Jesus is key to receiving mercy and grace to help in time of need - Hebrews 4:14-16; Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are— yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
2. In anxious times, God offers peace to guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus through prayer. -- Jesus stands ready to calm our hearts and minds when facing storms.

D. THROUGH HIS SACRIFICE...
1. . The greatest "storm" all of us will face will be the Day of Judgment - 2Peter 3:7, By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
2. 2. A day in which we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ - 2Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due to him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
3. But Christ shed His blood to spare us on that Day - Romans 5:6-10 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
4. By obeying the gospel, we can have our names added to the Lamb's book of life and escape condemnation for our sins - cf. Mark 16:15-16; He said to them, Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. -- Jesus stands ready to save us and protect us from the "perfect storm" to come.

CONCLUSION
A. Everyone will face one or more storms in his or her life...
1. Whether literally or metaphorically
2. Whether atheist or believer
B. How shall we react when the time(s) come...
1. Shall we cry out like the disciples who were weak in faith ("we are perishing!")?
2. Or shall we weather the storms with confident faith and calm repose?
C. And how shall we stand on when the final storm comes...
1. The "perfect storm", that is, the Day of Judgment?
2. Shall we hear Jesus say, "Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world"? Matthew 25:34
3. Or will we hear Him say, "Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels"? - Matthew 25:41When Jesus rebuked the wind and spoke to the sea, "Peace, be still", the wind ceased and there was a great calm. The disciples, with fear and amazement, said: "Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?" The wind and the sea obeyed Jesus. Shall we not obey Him who now has all authority in heaven and on earth? - Matthew 28:18-20

Monday, June 15, 2009

Time in the Word - Pentecost 3 - Proper 7



The theme for the Third Sunday after Pentecost is The Creator and the Creature. The Introit sets the theme by recounting how the Lord delivered His people when they were at the mercy of the elements. They responded by thanking the Lord for His ‘steadfast love,’ that is, His mercy, His undeserved favor. When Job demanded to be able to question God and His actions, the Lord responded that He is the Creator of all things. No one was there to assist Him or tell Him how to do things. In the Gospel, Jesus, who created all things, stills a storm which terrified His disciples. Why? Because of His steadfast love, His mercy, His undeserved favor.


The Lord continues to shower His mercy upon us. The catechism’s definition of the Gospel is ‘what God has done for us in Christ and continues to do.’ Jesus died for we who were beset by sin, death, and the devil. But His steadfast love, His mercy, His undeserved favor, He continues to show to us daily.


Monday, 15 June 2009Psalm 107:29–32; Antiphon, Psalm 107:28—This psalm recounts many of the things that the Lord has done for His people, and exhorts them to praise Him for them. In the section appointed for Sunday’s Introit, the Lord is given praise for manifesting His might by delivering His people from the storms of nature. This sets the theme for the day, where all the readings point to the authority of the Creator over His creation, and His continuing governance.


Tuesday, 16 June 2009Psalm 124—This Song of Ascents, that pilgrims sang on their way up to Jerusalem, praises the Lord for His deliverance of His people from catastrophes of nature. Twice, it is sung, If the Lord had not been on our side…Those who sing the psalm recognize that their only hope of salvation is in the Lord. We echo this in the daily offices, such as Matins and Vespers, and when we confess our sins in the Divine Service, when we repeat verse eight: Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009Job 38:1–11—At the end of the book of Job, God answers Job, who has demanded the opportunity to interrogate Him for the calamities which have befallen Job. God answers with an interrogation of His own: Who is Job to question the Creator of all things? The Lord, who laid the foundation of the earth and determined its measurements, who prescribed limits for the sea, knows what He is doing. How can the creature second-guess the Creator?

Thursday, 18 June 20092 Corinthians 6:1–13—In Sunday’s epistle reading, St Paul speaks of his experiences as Christ’s Ambassador of Reconciliation (2 Cor 5:20). He tells of these things not to boast, but because what people see in the messenger affects the credibility of the message. In verse 6, he speaks of the reason he was able to withstand these hardships and still bring forth the fruits of righteousness: it is solely the work of God, especially the Holy Spirit. God, the Creator of all things, is also able to create the New Man, who lives before God in righteousness and purity,

Friday, 19 June 2009Mark 4:35–41—Terrified by a storm which came upon them quickly on the Sea of Galilee, the disciples were powerless to escape it or overcome it. Jesus, however, through whom all things were created (John 1:3), is able to calm the seas by the command of His voice. After all, He is God, who brought all things into existence by speaking, ‘Let there be…’ (Genesis 1)

Saturday, 20 June 2009—Sunday’s hymn of the day, Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me (LSB 715), uses the imagery of a stormy sea to represent the trials and tribulations which are part of our lives as long as we live in this fallen, sinful world. But Jesus is able to still those seas, as He did the Sea of Galilee, and bring comfort to us. True comfort can come only through Jesus, for He is our Salvation.


Collect for Pentecost 3Almighty God, in Your mercy guide the course of this world so that Your Church may joyfully serve You in godly peace and quietness; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen


Prayers from Lutheran Service Book copyright 2006 by Concordia Publishing House
Schnorr vin Carolsfeld woodcuts copyright by WELS The permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use.
June daily devotionals are written by Pr. Keffrey Keuning who serves the congregations of St. John Dexter and Zion in Casey, IA

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Pentecost 2 - Proper 6 - Mark 4:26-34

Blessed Lord, since You have caused all Holy Scripture to be written for our learning, grant that we may so hear them, read, mark learn and inwardly digest them that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

When there is life there is growth. Even after physical growth stops, human beings need to keep on growing intellectually and in other ways. Growth is necessary to experience life at its fullest. Growth is always a feature of God’s kingdom and specifically of the Word of the kingdom. The parables in Mark 4, beginning with the parable of the sower, focus on God’s Word. The text points out that the Word of God Grows.

I. The Word grows gradually.
A. As the seed is sown.
1. Both pastors and lay Christians sow the seed of the Word.
2. The sowing goes on wherever God’s Word is proclaimed, preached, taught and shared. Gradual sowing is necessary for gradual growth.
B. As the plant develops.
1. We can prepare the ground and nurture the plant but the seed grows of itself, mysteriously.
2. We may sometimes get discouraged because the growth is so gradual, but growth there will be present. Therefore, we can relax and let the Word work according to its own schedule.

Transition: While learning to be patient with growth that is gradual, we must also face up to the fact that.

II. The Word grows inconspicuously.
A. The Word is as inconspicuous as a mustard seed in the beginning stages of its growth.
1. The great and the powerful in Christ’s day gave little notice to the Word growing in their midst.
2. Those who wield power and influence in the world today are indifferent for the most part to the growth of the Word.
B. So inconspicuous is the Word’s growth that we are often not aware of anything taking place.
1. The sinners with whom Christ associated and the disciples whom He called often gave little evidence of spiritual growth.
2. We cannot see faith, nor do we always see the various stages of growth. Conversions are not necessarily spectacular, nor do we always perceive growth in love and patience in ourselves and in others.

Transition: At the same time, there is evidence of rather impressive growth.

III. The Word grows impressively.
A. The Word that was sown in a little corner of the world has spread to many nations.
1. The Word has produced a great bush with large branches in which all sorts of people find refuge and rest.
2. The worldwide church attest to the growth power of the Word.
B. The Word will continue to grow until it produces a harvest.
1. We shall see this harvest on the Last Great Day.
2. Then there will be a great gathering of ripened grain, of redeemed souls, for the heavenly garner.
We need never discount the power of God’s Word. The Word of God grows gradually and inconspicuously, but also impressively.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Future Perfect Storm



Jeff Abbott, Ph.D., J.D., an adjunct scholar with the Indiana Policy Review Foundation, who teaches in the education department at IPFW writes the following in the June 3, 2009 edition of the Decatur Daily Democrat.

If your family overspends its income this year by $628, and by $7,246 next year by $2,835 the third year, your family’s accumulated deficit will be $10,709 by the end of the third year. At the end of each year your family informs you that they just can’t suffer the pain of budget cuts. They ask you to borrow money to cover the deficits. Assuming you get an interest rate of seven percent, the $10,709 deficit will increase to $12,097 by the end of the third year.

If five zeroes are added to each of these samples deficits, they become $62,800,000 $724,600,000 and $283,500,000 – the amount of Indiana’s projected deficits for fiscal years 2009 through 2011 as set out in the state Web. site.

When the money needs to be repaid in 2012 where are we, the tax payers going to find the cash?

Stimulus monies can not last forever. That light we see at the end of the tunnel might be a train bearing down upon us. - Kyrie Eleison!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Trinity Sunday Sermon

Today we cap the festival half of the church year by celebrating Holy Trinity Sunday! We rejoice on this day because we are born of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In short, we are born into the Trinity’s kingdom.
What does that really mean? Well, in essence what it means are two important facts or realities.
1. We are born once – born human.
A. Nicodemus: he was a flesh-born man who could hardly believe it. Because he was born a human that was the only reality that he knew, and with that he had only a limited knowledge. He could not understand God in earthly and human terms. How could he see things from God’s perspective. In short he could not. Nor can any man for that matter understand the things of God. God is God and we are human! We can not understand the things of God because they are foolishness to us (as humans) because spiritual things are spiritually appraised!
B. Humanity’s shared birth in the flesh – yours and mine. We’re all human. That is the one thing that binds us together as people. We are human. We are mortal. We are less then God. Jesus also has shared our nature.
He too, took on flesh and dwelt among us. As a human He was less then God. But because of His divine nature He is equal to God. Thus in Jesus Christ two natures come together - the human as well as the divine nature. That’s what Christmas is all about God becoming human, being one of us, one like us in every way except without sin.
2. We are born twice – born spiritually – born again by Water and the Spirit.
A. The miracle of the Spirit’s work in you: is your Baptism and all that it offers becomes the reality of this second birth. By nature we are blind, dead, and enemies of God. But by the power of the Holy Spirit we are made new creatures. The Spirit creates in us a living and vibrant faith so that we can know God and believe in Him.
B. The ground of the Spirit’s work: is the lifting up of the eternal Son on the cross for our salvation and life. Jesus gives us an example from the Old Testament. As a bronze serpent was lifted up on a pole and all who in faith looked upon that serpent were spared and lived so likewise the Son of Man Jesus Christ was lifted up to bring us salvation and life. When we look to Him in faith we too have the promise of life.
C. The author of the Spirit’s work: is God the Father, who sent His Son for your salvation and life. God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son. The Father loved you so much that He gave you His very best. He has only the best in store for you. He will give you none other then the very best. This is His intention for you that you might have all that He has. Thus He gives to us what we so desperately need; the forgiveness of all of our sins and the promise of life in His name.
He gives to us salvation and life so that we may know Him as Father ask Him as dear children ask their dear father.
This is the reality of what the festival of the Trinity means for you and for me. Because of the Trinity’s involvement in our life we have a Father who loves us, a Son who has died for us and a Spirit who draws us to Himself. Once you were in darkness now you have come to His marvelous light.
He gives us two lives the life that we live here and now and the life that we live eternally with Him forever. This is the reality of our life. We are born human and we have been born Christian. This is your lineage. This is who you really are. In Jesus’ Holy Name. Amen

Time in the Word Pentecost 2 - Proper 6

The theme for the Second Sunday after Pentecost is Growth of God’s Kingdom. The Introit sets the theme by proclaiming that the righteous (the one, holy, Christian, and apostolic Church) flourish and grow, not because of anything in them, but because they are planted in the house of the Lord.

In the Gospel reading, Jesus compares the Kingdom of God to a seed. It grows, even if we do not understand all the things at work which cause it to grow: the time of year, the temperature of the soil, the amount of moisture, the amount of daylight, contact with the soil, and so on. It is God who causes the seed to grow. Likewise, in the Church, it is God, not we, who gives it its growth. We plant the seed by proclaiming the Word of God, but it is the task of the Holy Spirit to establish and further the growth of the Church. Our responsibility is to make certain that the Word is taught in truth and purity, and that the Sacraments are administered rightly.
Monday, 8 June 2009Psalm 92:12–15; Antiphon, Psalm 92:1—This ‘Psalm for the Sabbath’ is a hymn of praise, in which the psalmist gives thanks to the Lord for His steadfast love and faithfulness. He declares us righteous and makes us flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. From ancient times, even until to-day, Lebanon has been known for its tall strong cedars: Cedars from Lebanon were used in constructing the temple, and the cedar appears on Lebanon’s flag. We who are planted in the house of the Lord are strong in the Lord like these trees of renown.
Tuesday, 9 June 2009Psalm 1—Luther wrote that the psalter is the Bible in miniature. If so, then the opening six verses are the portal leading into a treasure-house of communion with God. Who is the one who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners…but his delight is in the law of the Lord and on His Law he meditates day in night? First, it is Christ. Secondly, it is all of us who have been incorporated into Christ—the holy Christian Church. The new man, created by Baptism, that comes forth daily and arises to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.
Wednesday, 10 June 2009Ezekiel 17:22–24—Things looked bleak when Jerusalem fell and King Zedekiah died in exile (Ezekiel 17:11-21). Through the prophet Ezekiel, the Lord proclaims that He will take a sprig from the lofty top of the cedar and…I myself will plant it on a high and lofty mountain. This tender sprig will never be uprooted, for it is the promised Messiah, Jesus, who will be given the throne of His father David, and whose Messianic kingdom will be established forever.
Thursday, 11 June 20092 Corinthians 5:1–10—In Sunday’s epistle reading, St Paul looks forward to eternal life in heaven, when we shall live forever in our glorified bodies, no longer made frail by the ravages of sin. Paul has supreme confidence in what is to come, for his confidence rests, not in the whims of man, but in the surety of God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. The Christian, who lives by faith in the promises of the Lord, rejoices at the thought of being at home with the Lord.
Friday, 12 June 2009Mark 4:26–34—These parables serve as both warning and encouragement to us. We have a rĂ´le to play in the furtherance of God’s kingdom on earth by sharing the Good News of the Gospel with those around us, but we must never think that the triumph of the Kingdom is our triumph, for it is the Lord and His Word alone which are effective. But neither should we despair if the growth of the Lord’s Kingdom seems somehow unspectacular in our eyes. He alone is the Lord of the harvest (Mark 9:38); thus, we never cease praying “Thy Kingdom come” with patience and confidence.
Saturday, 13 June 2009—Sunday’s hymn of the day, Creator Spirit, By Whose Aid (LSB 500), is an eighth-century written in praise of the Holy Spirit and the gifts He bestows on the Church.

Collect for Pentecost 2Blessed Lord, since You have caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning, grant that we may so hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

More riveting news from Decatur

More riveting news from Decatur...

300 volunteers showed up Friday morning to erect a United Pentecostal Church. A national organization "Build a Church in a Day" started construction early Friday and a 2,800-square-foot building will be ready for services Sunday morning. The 50 member parish was renting a storefront in Decatur. Now they have a place of their own.

On Sunday 2,000 bikers will descend on our little town for "the largest motorcycle rally in Decatur's history!" First congregating at Kmart on the south end of Ft. Wayne, where they will be welcomed by Ft. Wayne mayor Tom Henry and Decatur mayor John Schultz, the bikers will receive a police escort to Decatur and on to their destination: the downtown area. The procession is likely to be two to three miles long. ESPN television will be in the city to cover the stunt show and will set up operations in the city parking lot off Third Street west of the courthouse.
Police chief Ken Ketzler noted that due to the length of the procession, once an intersection is cleared of other traffic a delay will ensue until all the riders are through the intersection.
How's this for a busy day? Bellmont High School's graduation, the monthly first-Sunday-of-the-month flea market at the Riverside Center, a huge motorcycle rally, and a classic car show all going on at the same time.
The event is sponsored by ABATE an acronym for American Bikers Aiming Toward Education.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Time in the Word - Trinity Sunday

On Trinity Sunday, we make special note of the work of all three persons of the Trinity is procuring and assuring our salvation. A good supplemental reading to the readings for the day is to be found in St. Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians, verses 3–11 of the first chapter. Paul explains how the Father chose us in eternity and predestined us for salvation. The work of redemption was accomplished through the shedding of blood—the blood of the Son of God, who assumed flesh, that He might redeem us. The Holy Spirit has brought us the Word of truth, the Gospel of our salvation, that we might trust in the merits of Christ. Blessed be the Holy Trinity and the undivided Unity. Let us give glory to Him because He has shown his mercy to us. (from Sunday’s Introit)Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20–21)


Monday, 1 June 2009—Psalm 16:8–11; Antiphon, Liturgical Text—The antiphon for Sunday’s Introit is an ancient liturgical text: Blessed be the Holy Trinity and the undivided Unity. Let us give glory to him because he has shown his mercy to us. The Triune God has first shown His mercy to us in providing for our salvation, and our response is to give glory to Him.


Tuesday, 2 June 2009—Psalm 29—This psalm is a hymn of praise to the Lord for all His mighty acts, but especially His mercy in blessing His people with peace. When created, man was in perfect harmony with God. But the Fall made us His enemies. We cannot restore peace with God; it is the work of the Holy Trinity alone: the Father, who conceived the plan of our salvation, the Son, who came to earth and died for our transgressions, and the Holy Spirit, who brings us into a right relationship with God through the Means of Grace, Word and Sacrament.


Wednesday, 3 June 2009—Isaiah 6:1–8—Isaiah received a vision of the Lord enthroned in His majesty and a call to be a prophet of God. Because he is a Son of Adam, and therefore a man of unclean lips, Isaiah is terrified to be in the Lord’s presence, for it spells doom to those under sin’s curse. But an angel sent by God absolves Isaiah of his sin with a burning coal, and Isaiah accepts the mantle of prophecy. We, like Isaiah, must acknowledge our sin and tremble before a holy God. But we must also trust in the absolution won by the Son of God and pronounced by His called and ordained servants.


Thursday, 4 June 2009—Acts 2:14a, 22–36—On the Day of Pentecost, Peter was given power by the Holy Spirit to preach the Word of God faithfully and authoritatively. He proclaims Christ crucified for the forgiveness of sins and the redemption of sinners, and tells his audience, men of Israel, how the Old Testament prophecies are fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth, the promised Messiah. Here, he quotes Psalm 16, a portion of which serves as the Introit for Sunday.


Friday, 5 June 2009—John 3:1–17—Another man of Israel, Nicodemus, came to Jesus by night, probably because he feared his fellow Pharisees. He had seen the signs (miracles) that Jesus was able to do, and knew that such a one must have been sent by God. Jesus tells Nicodemus how to be born from above, in Holy Baptism, the washing of water with the Word of God. He also points to His own death, again in fulfillment of the Old Testament Scriptures. As God showed His love to a rebellious, yet repentant people in providing the bronze serpent in the wilderness (Numbers 21:4–9), so He shows His love by providing His Son, to take away a problem far worse than snake bites, which kill only the body: Jesus Christ, lifted up on the cross, takes away the sin of the world.


Saturday, 6 June 2009—Sunday’s hymn of the day, God Loved the World So That He Gave (LSB 571) is John 3:16 set to music. Herein is the sweet Gospel clearly proclaimed: Christ Jesus saves your soul from death; That is the firmest ground of faith. The final stanza rightly praises all three persons of the Trinity for their work in accomplishing our salvation.


Collect for Trinity SundayAlmighty and everlasting God, You have given us grace to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity by the confession of a true faith and to worship the Unity in the power of the Divine Majesty. Keep us steadfast in this faith and defend us from all adversities; for You, O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, live and reign, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Time in the Word for June, 2009 is written by Pr. Jeffrey Keuning serving St. John Dexter, and Zion Casey, IA