Saturday, April 30, 2011

Confirmation 2011

Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
Friedheim
10655 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 173rd Year
Chartered February 25, 1838
Easter 2 – Confirmation
May 1, 2011


The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? - Psalm 27:1

Today is the day of your confirmation. You are a significant class – my 25th class I have been privileged to confirm here at Friedheim. Together we have grown in our faith and I hope you have also grown in faith, hope and love. Today you confirm the faith into which you have been baptized. Today you affirm your faith in God alone while He pledges to you His commitment to you. We can be confident of this, “that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus”. {Philippians 1:6}

The verse you have selected for this important day is recorded in Psalm 27:1 It reads: The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear – the Lord is the stronghold of my life of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1

We need not fear –

I. Because the Lord is the light of my salvation.

Light. Throughout the Scriptures, light is often used to symbolize well-being,

contentment and peace. Proverbs 13:9 reminds us: “The light of the righteous shines brightly but the lamp of the wicked is snuffed out.” Solomon further explains in Proverbs 4:18: “The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.” Psalm 43:3 tells us –“O send out Thy light and Thy truth, let them lead me; let them bring me to Thy holy hill, and to Thy dwelling places.

There is joy and prosperity in knowing the Lord. With Him, you will have all the guidance and protection you will ever need.

When you say, “The Lord is my light” you are expressing confidence in Him as the source of your salvation.

Psalm 3:8 reminds us: -“Salvation belongs to the LORD;” From the Lord comes deliverance. You can be confident that the Lord will continue to guide and direct you. The forgiveness of sins, life and salvation has all been given to you freely as a gift. What a joy it is to know that the Lord Jesus is the very source of your salvation.

Transition: The Lord Himself is the light of your salvation. He has promised to direct your life. We need not fear for He is near. He is your strength in every circumstance. With the Lord, you can face any situation confidently. You do not need to be afraid.

II. Because the Lord is the stronghold of my life.

Psalm 9:9 tells us –“The LORD also will be a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble,” Notice how clearly we are told that it is the Lord who directs our life. He is the one who influences our life. He is the one who knows our future. In every circumstance, He will be there for you; in times of great joy and especially in times of trouble. He will be there for you - you can count on Him. Remember David’s words in Psalm 46: “God is our refuge and strength, and ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear

David reminds us in Psalm 18:2 “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” The Lord will give to you His unfailing strength, as He alone is our refuge strength. He has promised to deliver you from all harm and danger. We can be confident that we are safe and secure for He directs your life. Remember the last petition of Luther’s Morning and Evening Prayer. It sums up what David is driving at in your verse for today. “Into Thy hands I commit myself my body and soul and all things. Let Thy Holy Angel be with me, that the wicked foe may have no power over me” When you are safely in the Lord’s hands all is well.

CONCLUSION: Remember the things that we taught you cling to that which is good and remember that the Savior walks with you every day. “The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear – the Lord is the stronghold of my life of whom shall I be afraid?”

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Campus Dedication




National College Ft. Wayne Campus Dedication


29, April, 2011

Monday, April 25, 2011

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter 2 Time in the Word



Christ Jesus Breathes His Spirit and His Life into Us by the Ministry of the Gospel

The crucified and risen Lord Jesus establishes the Ministry of the Gospel, in order to bestow His life-giving Holy Spirit and His peace upon the Church. To those who are called and ordained to this Office, and to those whom they serve in His name, He grants the Holy Absolution of all sins. By the fruits of His Cross He replaces fear and doubt with peace and joy, and thus gives “repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:31). Through the preaching of His sent ones He calls us to believe that He “is the Christ, the Son of God,” so that by such faith we “may have life in His name” (John 20:31). In His resurrection we have the “living hope” to which we have been “born again” and by which we are guarded “for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Pet. 1:3, 5). Until then, “though you have not seen Him, you love Him,” and by the mercies of God “you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory” (1 Pet. 1:8).

Collects for the Feast of the Resurrection of Our Lord: Almighty God, through Your only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, You overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life. We humbly pray that we may live before You in righteousness and purity forever; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

O God, for our redemption You gave Your only-begotten Son to the death of the cross and by His glorious resurrection delivered us from the power of the enemy. Grant that all our sin may be drowned through daily repentance and that day by day we may arise to live before You in righteousness and purity forever; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives an reigns . . .

O God, in the paschal feast You restore all creation. Continue to send Your heavenly gifts upon Your people that they may walk in perfect freedom and receive eternal life; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns . . .

Almighty God, through the resurrection of Your Son You have secured peace for our troubled consciences. Grant us this peace evermore that trusting in the merit of Your Son we may come at last to the perfect peace of heaven; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns . . .

Almighty God, by the glorious resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ, You destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light. Grant that we who have been raised with Him may abide in His presence and rejoice in the hope of eternal glory; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns . . .

Collect for Easter 2Almighty God, grant that we who have celebrated the Lord’s resurrection may by Your grace confess in our life and conversation that Jesus is Lord and God; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns . . .

Monday, 25 April 2011Psalm 105:1–5, 8; Antiphon, 1 Peter 2:2–3—The second Sunday of Easter is sometimes called Quasimodogeniti, Latin for the first words of the Introit, ‘Like newborn infants.’ Just as a baby eagerly suckles at its mother’s breast, so we, who have been given new life in Christ by His death and resurrection, also do eagerly desire the pure spiritual milk provided by our Lord for our nourishment and good growth. This He gives us through the preaching of His Word and the most blessed Sacrament of the Altar.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011Psalm 148—In Sunday’s psalm, the psalmist calls upon all of creation—those on the earth, those under the sea, and those in the heavens—to join in a chorus of praise to the LORD. Animate and inanimate, all of creation proclaims the glory of the LORD!

Wednesday, 27 April 2011Acts 5:29–42—The first readings for the Sundays after Easter are all taken from the Book of the Acts of the Apostles. Written by St Luke as a continuation of his Gospel, it is an account of the early Church, a snapshot. Like the Book of Acts itself, the readings will show how the Gospel was first preached in Jerusalem, and then, in ever-widening circles, throughout the world and down through history unto our day. The reading for next week has Peter and the other apostles being brought before the Jewish high council and questioned by the high priest for proclaiming the Gospel of Christ. Though they were beaten and charged not to speak in the name of Jesus, they rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for His name, and did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.

Thursday, 28 April 20111 Peter 1:3–9—St Peter’s first epistle is a note of encouragement to Christians being persecuted for the faith. He reminds them of the inheritance they have in Christ Jesus due to His resurrection from the dead: we who are in Christ will share in His resurrection and the blessings of everlasting life with God in heaven. Having our eyes fixed on this eternal reward gives us strength to bear with the burdens of this life, even persecution.

Friday, 29 April 2011John 20:19–31—There are two appearances by the risen Christ in Sunday’s Gospel, each bringing us a great deal of comfort. In the first, Jesus establishes the Office of the Holy Ministry, and assures us that, in the words of the catechism, ‘when the called ministers of Christ deal with us by His divine command, in particular when they . . . absolve those who repent of their sins and want to do better, this is just as valid and certain, even in heaven, as if Christ, our dear Lord, dealt with us Himself.’ In the second appearance, our Lord appears to Thomas. Thomas wanted the certainty of seeing his risen Lord in the flesh, as the others had. When he beholds the wounds in the One who was crucified on our behalf, his faith is sure, and he confesses, ‘My Lord and My God!’ Thomas’s assurance is ours also. We need never doubt that our Lord is truly risen from the dead, ‘the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.’ (1 Cor 15:20)

Saturday, 30 April 2011—Sunday’s hymn of the day, O Sons and Daughters of the King (LSB #470), recounts the story of Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances and particularly His encounter with St Thomas. His words to Thomas are meant for us, also: ‘How blest are they who have not seen / And yet whose faith has constant been, / For they eternal life shall win. / Alleluia!’ Alleluia!’ Alleluia!’

This week's Time in the Word is written by Pr. Jeffrey Keuning who serves the congregations of St John Casey, IA and Zion, Dexter, IA of the Iowa West District of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod.


Lectionary summary on front page from the LCMS Commission on Worship
Woodcut by Baron Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, ©WELS
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House




Day 47: Easter – John 20:19-23



On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, "Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." And with that he breathed on them and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.

Did you know when Jesus rose from the dead? Jesus died to take away our sins and suffered the pain so we didn’t have to suffer for our sin. Jesus rose from the dead on Easter morning. When He rose on Easter morning it was the final step in the process of winning for us our salvation. This was something that Jesus could only do. With the power He has and uses He works only for our good. He has promised us that He will always forgive our sin even though we might not deserve it. When we ask He will forgive.
-Kayla Johnson

Almighty God, through Your only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, You overcame death and opened to us the grate of everlasting life. We humbly pray that we may live before You in righteousness and purity forever; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
Sources:
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved
Collect for Easter - Lutheran Service Book © 2008 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Festival

So, who are you really? With whom do you identify? What makes your present reality?

1. The resurrection is your present reality. We are EASTER people.

A. Why seek ye the living among the dead?
1. This world is fallen – See Psalm 42
2. We are fallen.
3. All systems in this world are fallen and broken.

B. He is not here.
1. You can’t find Jesus in death.
2. You can’t find Jesus in what is broken.

C. He is risen.
1. See the place
a. An empty tomb.
b. A rolled away stone.
c. A guard who had abandoned their post.(Vs.2)

Transition: We are EASTER people because of the evidence. But there is more - we have seen Him.

2. An eye-witness encounter with Jesus Christ is what has changed this world.

A. Consider Mary.
1. Distraught over the events of the past few days.
a. She was a witness of Jesus’ arrest, trial, passion, death, burial. Who could forget such events?
b. Now an empty tomb – even more drama! The grief blinded her to the present reality. She could not see Jesus stand right before her.
2. But with one word all grief and pain was gone.
a. He spoke her name.
b. He speaks your name –
1. In baptism
2. In His Word
3. In His Supper

B. He goes before you also.
1. To order your days and direct your path.
2. To prepare a place for you.
3. To give you His new life.

Christ is risen! He is risen indeed Hallelujah! Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS used by permission for personal and congregational use.

Easter Dawn

There is a night and day difference between the time the sun began to rise to the time it would set on that first Easter. As the sun began to rise, the disciples found themselves living in fear. What had just transpired the past twenty-four to thirty-six hours? Could they comprehend it all? Their friend, their hero, their Jesus had died such a tragic and senseless death. It was so pointless. Such ridiculous and absurd charges had been trumped up against Him. It was all so meaningless. He had been preaching openly day after day in the temple. The authorities had confronted Him time after time trying to silence Him. Every time they thought they had quieted Him, put Him in His place, His words; those wonderful, powerful, sweet words, those words of life and light - left them speechless. How foolish were they? Could the kingdom come in such a way as to change the world with such power? Could faith as small as mustard seed accomplish such that the mountains be tossed into the sea? How senseless had they been? The weekend had become such a blur. Now the women who had come with Him out of Galilee followed, and saw the tomb and how His body was laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and perfumes. And on the Sabbath, they rested according to the commandment.(Luke 23:54-55)

Mindless and numb to the events of the past few days all they could do was prepare a few spices, and finish the task, which they could not complete because of the holiday. That slow, lonesome trek; back to the garden, back to the tomb, back to where it had ended so badly. They were numb.

1. Approaching the tomb, while it was dark, the disciples were filled with doubt and fear. The Sabbath ended at sunset. Jesus had been dead and buried Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday morning. Beginning at the previous sunset, it had now been three days [according to Jewish reckoning.]


How early was it? John reminds us that the Mary goes to the tomb “while it was yet dark.” Had she come to finish embalming the body? She did not expect a resurrection. To her astonishment, she found the stone rolled away.

A. Fear had taken her. Not knowing what to make of it she returns to Peter and John with the alarming news, They have taken the Lord out of the tomb. Vs. 2, She assumed that someone, somehow, had stolen His body and hid it from her. First, He was disrespected in His death, and now she thought, He would be disrespected in His burial.


B. Mary did not stay at the tomb and cry. Mary did not go home and try to forget about what she had seen. She ran! She ran to Peter and John and said, We don’t know where they have laid Him. Vs. 2, Why does Mary say this, especially on that First Easter morning? Isn’t she supposed to be full of hope? She notices that the stone has been rolled away from the tomb, and yet she weeps?

Mary Magdalene was expecting Jesus’ body to be in that tomb. Mary thinks that something precious has been lost to her, namely her Lord’s life and presence. Notice, though, that she runs to the tomb before Easter Sunday actually begins. Since it was still dark when Mary rushed to the tomb, it was not yet morning, not yet Sunday, not yet the first day of the week, not yet the Day of Resurrection. Mary’s statement is for her one of horror, loss, confusion. But Count it all joy, brothers and sisters. For Mary, and for Peter and John, and for the rest of the disciples, and for later Christians including us, the Empty Tomb is the cause of our great rejoicing. Because the body of the Lord has not been stolen, (cf. Mt 27:64; 28:13-15). They have not taken away our Lord. He is present with us, Emmanuel, and behold, He is even present with us to the end of the ages. (Mt 1:23; 28:20).


C. They did not know the Scripture that He must rise from the dead. Vs. 9, It was not some particular passage of Scripture, but the writings of the Old Testament in general, and the various places, which spoke of the resurrection in particular. It was determined, it was predicted, it was promised that the Savior would rise. Jesus had to rise from the dead. Your justification and salvation elect required it.

D. Without Scripture, without the witness of the resurrection there can be no faith. The disciples didn't understand what Jesus was telling them until He opened their understanding. The disciples on the road to Emmaus, that first Easter only understood the significance of the resurrection after Jesus had opened the Scriptures to them. Only after they had recognized Him did He vanish from their sight.

Transition: As the day dawned, there was much doubt and fear. At the end of the day, it would be replaced with faith.

2. Seeing is believing
. A. John, the one who came to the tomb first went in also. He saw and believed. Vs. 8, He was the first person that the Bible says, “believed” following the resurrection of Jesus. Seeing is believing. He “believed” before the rest of the disciples. He was one of the first eyewitnesses of the empty tomb. And his testimony never wavered. “We are witnesses of these things!” was the testimony of those 1st Century believers.

B. Look deeper. The grave is not empty. He saw the linen clothes lying there. Vs. 6 The stone was removed not that Jesus could get out but that we could get in. The place where Jesus was laid gives significant proof that the body of Jesus had been there. The linen clothes are lying there. But the body of Jesus is not there. Why seek the living among the dead? He is not here He is risen indeed! So when John looked at the clothes and the Bible says he “saw and believed,” he knew that no one took the body of Jesus away. If an enemy of Jesus took His body, they wouldn’t have removed it from the clothes and then neatly arranged the clothes to make it look like He had risen. And if the friends of Jesus had taken His body, they would have kept His clothes on Him.

No one took the body of Jesus away. When John saw the arrangement of the grave clothes, he instantly believed that Jesus had risen from the dead. God had intervened! God had performed the greatest miracle of all time!

The burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head was “by itself.” It was not with the body clothes, but on the very spot where His head had rested. His head cloth was “folded up.” In other words, it had not been manually unfolded. The head cloth was not removed from the head; rather, the head had been removed from the cloth.

The linen clothes were there. The head cloth was there. Nothing had been undone. None of the folds had been disturbed. There was no change in their position. Everything was there...except the body.

C. He saw the handkerchief that had been around His head not lying with the linen clothes but folded together in a place by itself. Vs. 7 In a few moments, we will celebrate Communion. Think of these words whenever the pastor sets the table. On the credence table are the individual cups, the flagon, the wafers, and the ciborium (container). On the alter, is the challis and the paten containing consecrated wafers from the previous service. The coverings are removed and then folded. First from the table - then from the altar. When you see the coverings folded remember the liner cloths. When the smaller linen is taken from the altar remember the handkerchief that had been around His head not lying with the linen cloths but folded together in a place by itself. Every time we celebrate communion we are reminded of that first Easter. Every time we celebrate communion we are reminded that we are Easter people.

D. These disciples went away back to their own homes. Vs. 10 The disciples didn't get together until the same day in the evening. They were locked up in a room, probably afraid that the Jewish authorities would go looking for them, demanding to know what happened to Jesus' body.

They were hiding out trying to decide what to do. The disciples were hiding because they were afraid. These very same men deserted Jesus when He was arrested because they feared for their lives. They all forsook Him and fled. He had said to them, "All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: 'I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep will be scattered'" Peter denied knowing Him three times because he was afraid. What changed all that? The appearance of Jesus Christ visibly from the dead. We do not have to be afraid as we now have the eyewitness testimony of those first disciples. Instead of going back to our homes we go back to the circumstances the Lord stations us as we gossip the gospel sharing with others the hope that we have in this new life.
You have seen and you too believe. As you go, back to your homes, shops and those places where you live and work share with them these things of faith.

Day 46: Holy Saturday - 1 Peter 3: 18-22


For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits— to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.


Peter is saying in essence, Yes you are suffering but He suffered also. So don't lose hope. Let the truth that follows about the suffering of Christ serve to encourage you.

He who was perfect Righteousness willingly suffered for totally unrighteous men. Obviously, believers can never suffer the way He did (for His was redemptive suffering), but we can suffer for righteousness because He suffered and brought us into the kingdom of light which automatically puts the believer in contact with the kingdom of darkness. Remember that Peter's intent in this section is to help believers arm themselves (1Pe 4:1) with the faith to suffer for the sake of Christ and His kingdom.

Christianity in America is the exception not the rule. For example, evangelical missionaries entered Cambodia in the 1920's but were expelled in 1965 at which time there were by best estimates only about 600 believers. However from 1965-1975 civil war ravaged Cambodia and yet during that time the Christian population soared to an estimated 90,000, clearly indicative of the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to spread and convert the lost. It was an amazing work of God. But when the Khmer Rouge took control and Pol Pot unleashed his maniacal fury on the nation, most of the believers in Christ were either martyred or fled the country. Surely the truths of Peter's first epistle helped them arm themselves for suffering even as their Lord suffered.

The message of the cross and empty tomb reminds us that the powers of sin, death and the devil himself have been defeated. Nothing can separate you from the Savior’s presence and purpose in your life. We live in Him, we live for Him, we abide in Him. Even if we must suffer for Him we remain in Him for His yoke is easy and His burden is light. (Matthew 11:30)

O God, creator of heaven and earth, grant that as the crucified body of Your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on the Sabbath, so we may await with Him the coming of the third day, and rise with Him to newness of life, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

Sources:
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS used by permission for private and congregational use
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved
http://www.preceptaustin.org/1_peter_318-22.htm
Collect for Holy Saturday - Lutheran Service Book © 2008 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day



In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt."— Margaret Atwood

Day 45: Crucifixion - Luke 23:44-49


It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.

The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, “Surely this was a righteous man.” When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away. But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.


These few verses are filled with great richness. Jesus' death occurs in deep darkness; darkness has its way for a brief spell before its stranglehold on us is broken forever by Jesus' resurrection. The veil is torn in the Temple; Jesus opens up the way for us to enter the Holy of Holies with confidence and find grace at the Mercy Seat of God. In His final breath, Jesus entrusts everything to His Father in faith; in our worst of moments, we can know that no matter how forsaken we may feel, God will bring us to Himself in glory. Jesus takes His last breath and dies; each of us must one day give up our last breath, but because of Jesus' death and subsequent resurrection, we can die with confidence. Look to Jesus and trust in His grace.

Almighty God, graciously behold this Your family for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed and delivered into the hands of sinful men to suffer death upon the cross; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

Sources:
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS used by permission for private and congregational use
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved
http://www.heartlight.org/wjd/luke/1223-wjd.html
Collect for Good Friday - Lutheran Service Book © 2008 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Good Friday

Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
Friedheim
10655 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 173rd Year
Chartered February 25, 1838




Good Friday
April 22, 2011
Luke 23:34
"Father Forgive Them"

Introduction: His was now over, the procession had wandered it way to Calvary. The cross was stretched out, and the Lord laid back upon it. The nails were pounded and the cross dropped into the ground. Lifting His eyes to heaven, the Son of God prayed, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do..."

I. Why did He pray this petition?

A. It expresses His essential reason for dying.
1. He died that all might be forgiven.

2. This was the reason for His coming into our world.

B. It reveals His character.
1. He is loving and compassionate especially to those who are lost.

2. His thoughts are always of others, not fixated on Himself.

C. His prayer provides an excellent example for others.
1. Jesus taught by prospect as well as by example.

2. Thus His prayer should become the model prayer for ourselves, that we seek the Father's will of forgiveness for all for whom we might pray.

D. This prayer is also a fulfillment of prophecy.
1. Isaiah 53:12 tells us: "Therefore I will divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and was numbered with the transgressors; and he bore the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."

2. This is but one of hundreds of Old Testament prophecies and predictions, which Jesus fulfilled when He went to the cross. In short this prayer and the circumstances surrounding the petition prove again that this Jesus is the Son of God, the Savior of the world.

II. For whom is Jesus praying?

A. He prays first for those who are at the scene; the immediate subjects.
1. He prays for those who had just nailed Him to the cross - the soldiers; they were simply carrying out their orders. They were "doing their duty"

2. He prays for those who had handed Him over to be crucified - they certainly did not know that Jesus was the Son of God!

3. They did not know what they were doing!

B. He prays for His countrymen, the Jewish people.
1. His death was caused by the demand of national pride. Their leaders reasoned to themselves this way in John 11: "And one of them Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, You know nothing at all. Nor consider that it is better that one man die for the people and that the whole nation perish not And this he spoke not of himself but being high priest that yes, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation" {vv. 49-51}

2. Thus Jesus died for all of Israel, thus fulfilling the prophecy.

C. He also prayed for you and for me.
1. The real sin of unbelief is taking place here. The Son of God is being put to death.
a. Notice what Jesus says about His death by crucifixion - "they know not what they are doing!"
b. This is the ultimate sin for it is the sin of rejection of the Son of God.

2. This sin extends to every single person - to everyone.
a. Anyone who rejects Christ is guilty of the same sin Christ asks to have forgiven.
b. Had we been there, we would have done the same thing. No one at the scene realize who was being put to death.

III. Did God answer this prayer? In a word - YES!

A. Physically.
1. The Soldiers and Jews were spared on that day.

2. Jerusalem and the Jewish nation were spared.

B. Spiritually
1. While He was dying
a. All was forgiven in His glorious death on the cross.
b. This is made place that even those who were actually participating in His death were pardoned.

2. The Father has forgiven - period!
a. To all who accept by faith this wonderful work of mercy and salvation.
b. Yes, you to have been forgiven the sin of rejecting Christ. Rejoice in His mercy and dedicate yourself to His cause and work.

Conclusion: "Father, forgive them…" is an expression of Jesus' heart. Receive His pardon this night for in Jesus Christ all sin is forgiven.


Sources:
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Mandy Thursday

Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
Friedheim
10655 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 173rd Year
Chartered February 25, 1838

Maundy Thursday
April 21, 2011

Introduction: Something truly new and different is happening as Christ our Lord institutes His supper. We call it the Last Supper because it was the Last Supper, which Jesus ate before His arrest, trial, and death. It can also be referred to as the Last Supper because at last, after this supper something new is taking place. In establishing this Holy Communion Jesus is presenting to us a new covenant in His body and blood. Holy Communion certainly is a truly new covenant. What is this new thing?

I. The blood of Christ replaces the blood of animals.

A. Specific animals had to be offered for specific sacrifices.

1. The list of tasks was endless. Regulations abounded. The requirements were tremendous. The law required for a strict enforcement of all of the regulations of the ceremonies. An animal had to be killed in a certain manner; certain sacrifices required certain animals.

2. Men had to be therefore taught repeatedly concerning these sacrifices. Each generation had to pass down to the next one how the sacrifices were to be carried out. If they failed to teach their children how the sacrifice was to be performed the entire custom would be lost in one generation. The hope for forgiveness, restoration and peace would be lost forever.

B. These sacrifices had to be frequent because people repeatedly sinned.

1. As there were sacrifices named for specific sins, these sacrifices could only last but once. There was but one sacrifice for each offense. When a subsequent offense occurred, another sacrifice had to be offered if a person were to have their sin atoned and their conscience stilled.

2. This made an interesting enterprise for some. There would have to be animals on hand, available to be sacrificed. These had to be kept, housed, fed, and cared for. Often abuses were found, as just a few days before His arrest Jesus took a whip and drove out the animals, and the money launders who had turned God's house into a dean of thieves.

Transition: Such was the old system of sacrifices. It was limited, cumbersome, full of regulations, and a system that was full of abuse. That is why Christ came to give us a more acceptable way. Consider Jesus' new covenant.

II. The new covenant speaks of the work that was accomplished in Jesus Christ.

A. The Old covenant ="this do and live"

1. It was a covenant of regulations disciplines and rules. It was based on strict obedience. It was motivated by fear; fear of reprisals, fear of failure, fear of offending a just a holy God.

2. It could not stand the test of every man for no one is capable of following the decrees and dictates of a holy God. For this reason our good and gracious Father sent forth a plan that a just the right time His Son, our Savior would break into time and space to offer up Himself a good and perfect sacrifice. This was accomplished with Christ instituted His Supper "which is give and shed for you for the forgiveness of all of your sins.

B. The New covenant = "live and do this"

1. The benefits of the new covenant, celebrated by Christians in this wonderful Sacrament are the fruits of Christ's righteousness. He gives to us the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation. We are now free to live and the children of God.

2. Because of this freedom, this new life that is offered by Christ, we are also strengthen to will and to do the will of our heavenly Father. Obedience no longer becomes a burden. It becomes a blessing and an opportunity to serve God in righteousness and purity.

Conclusion: This meal is truly a celebration of the new things God is working in us. It is a new covenant, a covenant of His mercy and grace. It is a feast of victory of our God who has done all things well for His glory and our good. Come, for all things are now ready.

Day 44: Last supper - Luke 22:14-23




When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”

After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you. But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed. But woe to that man who betrays him!” They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.

The Lord’s Supper was the last meal the disciples had with Jesus before he was crucified. Jesus wanted to have this meal to inform the disciples to continue this holy sacrament after his crucifixion. Our church celebrates the Lord’s Supper by having Communion every first, third, and fifth Sunday of each month. Communion is a holy meal during which bread or wafers and wine are blessed and partaken by the congregation as we receive the body and blood shed for us by Jesus. God says taking part in Communion cleanses our bodies and takes away our sins.
-Maghan Manley

Thank you, God, for giving us this holy sacrament.
Sources:
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Day 43: Judas plots the Savior’s arrest - Matt. 26:14-16


Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.

Judas was one of the Twelve. For three years Judas lived and walked and talked with the Son of God. What a tragedy – from one of the Twelve belonging to Jesus to one of the defiant unbelievers belonging to Satan. What went wrong?

Judas let his greed for money consume his spirit. He was the treasurer for the Twelve – and a dishonest one (John 12:5, 6). Judas' greed became so obsessive that his love for Jesus was replaced by a love for money. Judas heard the preaching of Jesus, “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” (Matthew 6:19). However, Judas’ heart was taken over by an incessant greed for “treasures on earth.” His unbelieving, greedy heart became so calloused against the Lord that he was willing to betray Jesus into the murderous hands of enemies for the price of thirty pieces of silver.

In the Old Testament, when Achan defied God’s command by wrongfully taking a beautiful robe, silver and gold, he brought God's wrath down on the nation of Israel. Achan was stoned to death and the place was called "The Valley of Achor (trouble)." This happened just after the fall of Jericho as the Israelites were entering Canaan (Joshua 7:20-26). As the years went by, many of the people were lured away from God and worshipped the false gods of Canaan. But centuries later, in Hosea 2:15, God says "I will make the Valley of Achor into a door of hope." He pointed ahead to the promised Savior he was going to send. By leading us to faith in Jesus, God takes away the trouble of sin and he gives us hope of living with God forever in peace and joy.

Jesus didn't tempt Judas to sin. He didn't force Judas to sin. He didn't approve of Judas' sin. But by allowing Judas' betrayal, Jesus entered into the critical stage of his mission for coming to this world – to suffer and die for the guilt of our sins. He brought about fulfillment of God’s plan of saving us from eternal death. In Jesus we have the fantastic wealth of the forgiveness of sins and the glorious riches of eternal life. Now we are free to follow him with all our heart and live to give our Savior lavish praise.

Merciful and everlasting God, You did not spare Your only Son but delivered Him up for us all to bear our sins on the cross. Grant that our hearts may be so fixed with steadfast faith in Him that we fear not the power of sin, death, and the devil; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

Sources:
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS used by permission for private and congregational use
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved
http://www.wels.net/spiritual-help/daily-devotion/2010-04/matthew-2614-16-april-13-2010
Collect for Wednesday of Holy Week - Lutheran Service Book © 2008 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Day 42: Jesus anointed - John 12:1-8


Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.


But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you but you will not always have me.”

Spices and ointments were quite costly because they had to be imported. Frequently they were used as an investment because they occupied a small space, were portable, and were easily negotiable in the open market. Mary’s offering was valued at three hundred denarii (v. 5) approximately a year’s wages for an ordinary workingman. Perhaps it represented her life savings. […] Wiping his feet with her hair was a gesture of utmost devotion and reverence. The penetrative fragrance of the ointment that filled the house told all present of her sacrificial gift
.
With whom can you identify more?

What can you learn about the progression of sin from Judas who “helped himself” to the communal money and “was later to betray” Jesus?

What is the fundamental difference between Mary and Judas as revealed by his objection to what she did?

What is the only thing that can explain Mary’s outpouring of this expensive perfume? Why is this appropriate in light of what Jesus was about to do (Vv. 23-24)?

How might things have changed for Judas if he had been honest about what was going on in his heart at this point?

Almighty God, grant that in the midst of our failures and weakness we may be restored through the passion and intercession of Your only-begotten Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

Sources:
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS used by permission for private and congregational use
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved
Collect for Monday of Holy Week – Lutheran Service Book © 2008 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Monday, April 18, 2011

Day 41: Cleansing the Temple – Matthew 21:12-13


Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”

On His way to Jerusalem Jesus clears the temple because the people were being cheated by those who should have known better. What is the reason for having a church today? Jesus gives us the answer, “My Father’s house it to be a house of prayer, not a market!” We come to church to hear God’s Word, to pray, to learn of Jesus. Anything else is a distraction.
-Ryan Freimuth

Lord, keep me always close to You. May our place of worship always be a house of prayer.
Sources:
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Time in the Word - Holy Week


During Holy Week, as we prepare to celebrate the most high Feast of the Resurrection of our Lord, readings and prayers are given for each day.

Monday of Holy Week, 18 April 2011—Read Matthew 26:1—27:66. Collect: Almighty God, grant that in the midst of our failures and weaknesses we may be restored through the passion and intercession of Your only-begotten Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Tuesday of Holy Week, 19 April 2011—Read Mark 14:1—15:47. Collect: Almighty and everlasting God, grant us by Your grace so to pass through this holy time of our Lord’s passion that we may obtain the forgiveness of our sins; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Wednesday of Holy Week, 20 April 2011—Read Luke 22:1—23:56. Collect: Merciful and everlasting God, You did not spare Your only Son but delivered Him up for us all to bear our sins on the cross. Grant that our hearts may be so fixed with steadfast faith in Him that we fear not the power of sin, death, and the devil; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Maundy Thursday, 21 April 2011—Read John 13:1–17, 31–35. Collect: O Lord, in this wondrous Sacrament You have left us a remembrance of Your passion. Grant that we may so receive the sacred mystery of Your body and blood that the fruits of Your redemption may continually be manifest in us; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Good Friday, 22 April 2011—Read John 18:1—19:42. Collect: Almighty God, graciously behold this Your family for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed and delivered into the hands of sinful men to suffer death upon the cross; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Holy Saturday, 23 April 2011—Read Matthew 27:57–66. Collect: O God, creator of heaven and earth, grant that as the crucified body of Your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with Him the coming of the third day, and rise with Him to newness of life, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Collect for Easter Sunday, the Feast of the Resurrection of Our LordAlmighty God the Father, through Your only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, You have overcome death and opened the gate of everlasting life to us. Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of our Lord’s resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by Your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Collects from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Artwork by Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld ©WELS

Day 40: Palm Sunday - Matt. 21


As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.”
This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
“Say to Daughter Zion,
‘See, your king comes to you,
gentle and riding on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”
The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”


When I was young, the story of Palm Sunday intrigued me. How, I wondered, could all those people treat Jesus like a king one day, and in short order, turn their backs on him? How could they think he was worthy of such praise and rejoicing, and then throw him out like yesterday’s garbage?

As I matured and experienced more of life, I realized that people’s ideas and beliefs can change over time and different circumstances can alter one’s view of the world. How many of us have liked a style of clothes, a television show, or a friend for a while, and then tired of it? The Palm Sunday crowd was sincere in their praise, I believe, but showed the fickleness of human nature. What seemed like a sure thing on Sunday seemed rather futile to them only a few days later.

We can draw much comfort and strength, however, from the knowledge that God is not like the Palm Sunday crowd. He does not change. He is the same today as he always has been. His love for us will not be outgrown, outlived, or outsourced. He will never tire of us, get bored with us, or toss us aside for someone or something more interesting. He will always be there for us no matter what our circumstances or where our journey through life takes us.
-Tammy Dahling

Lord, Thank you for being the one true constant in our lives. May we strive to be as faithful to you as you are to us so that we can someday join in the song:
"Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!"


Sources:
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS used by permission for private and congregational use
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Day 39: Raising of Lazarus - John 11



Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”

Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”

When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”


Again we read about Martha and her sister Mary. However, this time is a very different situation. Their brother Lazarus is dead. The main theme God is trying to tell us is not the miracle of Him raising Lazarus. Instead the theme is about having faith. Martha tells Jesus in verse 27 that “I believe that you are the Christ, The Son of God who has come into this world.” Earlier Jesus states that “Are there not 12 hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble for he sees by this world’s light. It is when he walks by night that stumbles for he has no light.”

Now Jesus is not talking about literal light. Obviously it is hard to see where one is going when it is dark outside (especially out here in rural Indiana). However he is talking about faith. In many versus God is referred to as “the light”. Without God in our lives it would sometimes seem as if we are walking into darkness. With God we are able to see the True Light. Not the sun but Jesus Christ and Lord and Savior.
-Henry Dahling

Dear God please allow us all be able to see the light and have the faith that Martha did, even in those troubling times.
Sources:
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved

Friday, April 15, 2011

Day 38: The Pharisee and the Tax Collector – Luke 18:9-14


To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men— robbers, evildoers, adulterers— or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.-

Lost to our time and culture but painfully obvious to the hearers of Jesus’ day was the context into which Jesus places the parable, “two men went up to the temple to pray…” It was unheard of for any man to pray standing by himself. A minyan (which literally means to count number; pl. minyanim) in Judaism refers to the quorum required for certain religious obligations, which is ten men. The fact that these men were at the temple praying outside of the sacred assembly meant only one thing. There had been scandal. The fact that they could only pray individually tells us there had been humiliation, dishonor and shame. They had been placed under a ban. They had been excluded because of some public sin. The contrast between the two men and their prayer is evident. One trusted in himself and felt justified to focus on his own merits. The other, by contrast, pleads for mercy. The old song sins, “faith looks to Jesus Christ alone who did for all the world atone, He is our one redeemer.”

In this season of Lent we walk with the Savior observing His passion, suffering and death. For our offenses the Son of Man was willing to suffer in our stead. As we contemplate our need and the Savior’s sacrifice for us may we like this simple man pray the prayer of faith, “God have mercy upon me, a sinner.”

Almighty and everlasting God, You are always more ready to hear than we to pray and always ready to give more than we either desire or deserve. Pour down on us the abundance of Your mercy; forgive us those things of which our conscience is afraid; and give us those good things for which we are not worthy to ask except by the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

Sources:
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS used by permission for private and congregational use
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved
The source for the requirement of minyan is recorded in the Talmud.
Salvation unto Us Has Come - Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
Collect for Proper 25 – Series C - Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Day 37: The Transfiguration – Mark 9:2-13


After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. 3His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, "Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah." (He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.) Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: "This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!" Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus. As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. They kept the matter to themselves, discussing what "rising from the dead" meant. And they asked him, "Why do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?" Jesus replied, "To be sure, Elijah does come first, and restores all things. Why then is it written that the Son of Man must suffer much and be rejected? But I tell you, Elijah has come, and they have done to him everything they wished, just as it is written about him."-

The Transfiguration of Jesus Christ was and is an historic occasion. The challenge, is to answer the question “so what?” What does the fact the Lord Jesus was transfigured mean to your living in this 21st Century? How is it relevant to your daily life? What is the Lord saying to us in this experience?

The Lord’s glorious Transfiguration is an example to follow – go to a mountain of prayer. “Jesus went to a mountain where they were all alone.” It was Jesus’ pattern to pray. It was Jesus’ pattern to get away from the crowd, away from the hustle of life, away from His plans and priorities. We too are busy people. There are commitments and deadlines appointments and schedules that have to be kept. Yet, Jesus’ first priority was to His heavenly Father. He said to Mary and Joseph, “Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49) He said to His disciples, “But seek firs the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33) In the midst of our busy lives we need to turn off the computer, disengage the cell phone, walk away from our television series and spend both quality and quantity time with the Lord in prayer.

O God, in the glorious transfiguration of Your only-begotten Son You once confirmed the mysteries of the faith by the testimony of the ancient father, and in the voice that came from the bright cloud You wondrously foreshowed our adoption by grace. Therefore mercifully make us coheirs with our King of His glory, and bring us to the fullness of our inheritance in heaven; through Jesus Christ, our Lord who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.


Sources:
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS used by permission for private and congregational use
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved
Collect for the Transfiguration of our Lord – Lutheran Book of Worship © 1980
Concordia Publishing House. St. Louis

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Day 36: Walking on water - Matthew 14:22-36



Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Jesus walked on water to prove He was the Son of God. Many of us are like Peter, the disciple, in that we sometimes have doubts about God especially if someone we love has been told that they are dying. It doesn’t seem that our prayers are being answered. During these times, we may start to sink. Yet Jesus always reaches out to us especially when we are low. When we put our faith back in Jesus, we will be grasped by Him and put back afloat on calmer waters.
-Elliot Gehres

Dear Heavenly Father, please help us keep our faith in You. Keep our family and friends together as long as we live only to be received into heavenly peace. Amen
Sources:
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved

Don't Be Afraid...To Do Right

Mid-Week Lenten 6
April 13, 2001
1 Peter 3:10-12
"Don't Be Afraid To Do Right"

We have probably all thought at one time or another that our actions were being judged by others, observed, and evaluated, and focused in upon. We might be thinking at these times, "What will people say?" Have you ever asked that question of yourself? Have you ever been more concerned about the "proper thing to do" rather than making a decision based on Christian morals?

Has it ever come down to making a decision based on what you know is right verses doing something that you know full well is wrong?

Often times it is difficult for us to do the right thing. We may place barriers and hurdles in front of our decisions, imagined criticism may get the best of us and damage our right intentions. In the end, instead of making what we believe to be a calculated move, we end up compromising our position to avoid the inevitable glare of discontent. Certainly, we can say that not all matters are black and white, and we can convince ourselves that in time all things will work there way out. We are at a crossroads though, we know what we should do and simply don't follow through. We cut corners, and make decisions that seemingly are correct, but we know the truth. In our marriages, at school or on the job, these decisions are nothing more than our attempt at taking the more traveled road of ease than the less traveled one of commitment.

Pilate knew that road well, he was afraid to do right. Thoughts of losing his job, or having a rebellion on his hand certainly must have come to mind when deciding the fate of Jesus. He couldn't afford politically to have a riot on his hands, how would that look to his handlers back in Rome?

If word ever got back to Caesar that he couldn't maintain control and discipline within his province, then he would have certainly been removed. And so, although he knew that Jesus was innocent, he gave him over to be crucified, to hang on the cross as a bloody example of how Pilate would rule, with fear.

Whatever it is that makes us afraid to do right, our text from Peter's first epistle, where Peter quotes from Psalm 34: 12-16, speaks encouragingly to us. Peter is saying to us: Don't be afraid to do right.

Peter would not leave us wondering what it meant to do the right thing. He gave us principles to follow, guidelines that would assist us in our learning to do what is right. The first principle Peter unfolds in v. 10b, where he mentions speaking truthfully. I am sure we all know someone who we admire for their directness and honesty. However, when we've been hurt, by words that we later learned are lies or are meant to deceive, we become suspicious and wonder, What is the truth? Words should express what we really believe and feel to be found truthful. We've all heard, don't speak out of both sides of your mouth, or you're speaking with a forked tongue. No double talk for Christians should be the rule rather than the exception.

The second principle involves not words but actions. We need to put our words into deeds. If we as adults are to be role models to our children or role models to others, then we have to place our actions in front of us. Verse 11b indicates that we are expected to live in peace with not only ourselves but those around us as well. To live at peace on the job, at home, in school means that we are suppose to make correct, moral decisions. To forgive offenses, to offer up our time to assist those in need, and at all costs to constantly seek out peace within ourselves and within others.

Fear may still exist within us though. The ideas of speaking the truth and following and creating a good example are all well and good on paper. Yet, when it comes down to it, they may seem nothing more than idle words.

God has good things in store for us. From the prophet Jeremiah (29:11) to Peter, in verse 10a we read that God has nothing but good intentions for our lives. Our days can never be filled with joy when our consciences are burdened or weighed down by Satan's darts of guilt. As v. 16 tells us, we are to keep our consciences clear. There is a certain satisfaction one gets from doing what is right, in knowing that you have done the best job possible. Verse 14 suggests that even if we live in suffering or are persecuted, we can delight in the fact that we have done what is right.

Ridicule, being made fun of at school is not an easy topic to broach, I am sure as adults we have all said to our children, that's just the way some kids are, try to ignore that, or move on with your life, show them you are stronger than what they think. As much as we might try to shield the young from persecution or ridicule, these days act to develop a maturity. A mature Christian is one who recognizes and tries to live out these principles.

We may fear doing what is right, such behavior may not be the "in thing" of our day and age, yet, the advantage of growth and spiritual learning far outshines the alternatives of making the wrong decision, one that might cost us more ridicule than we ever imagined.

God supports us, he looks favorably upon His creation, verse 12a brings this idea to us. Regardless of what the world may think of us, we are righteous before God. Because of Christ's death we were made righteous, we were placed into the heavenly family when we were welcomed by the waters of Holy Baptism, washed clean of our sin, and made righteous in God's sight. For Christ's sake He sees our actions as righteous.

Our efforts to pursue what is right, might appear weak and fragile, but to God, they are fearless attempts at being of service to Him. Matthew 10: 42 speaks to this...the peace-making act that we might have thought little of is beautiful in God's eyes.

There is support out there. Yes, we may feel abandoned by our fellow man from time to time, but Christ promised never to leave us. The familiar hymn, "What A Friend We Have In Jesus," rings especially true today. He shed His blood, so that we would not have to, he gave up His life for each of us, He suffered the ridicule that we all deserved. How can we find this friend? He is here with us this evening, open your scripture, read his comforting words, partake of His sacraments, and then you will be standing with your eternal friend.

God's favor is upon us and our response to it gives us the boldness to pursue what is right. In a world where wrongdoing seems so often to be rewarded and praised, remember, do what is right! We need not fear the consequences or the ridicule, God's son laid that to rest at Calvary. The resurrection has been granted to us, due to Christ's obedience of doing what was right.

Our gracious God is here tonight, ready to support us, so that we might be moving in the right direction. As the hymn speaks to us, Onward then, ye Christian Soldiers. AMEN!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Day 35: Feeding the 5000 - Matthew 14:13-21


As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.” Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Bring them here to me,” he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.


Jesus sets the table! If you would count women and children it could have been up to 15,000. Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Indiana seats close to 17,000 people.

According to the concessions manager the following items were sold at the Indiana v Wisconsin game, on Saturday, March 12, 1994 (per my telephone conversation with him on March 15, 1994)...

• 400 1bs of hot dogs,
• 3,000 popcorn boxes,
• 8,200 cokes (about 1,000 gallons)
• 684 candy bars,
• 436 nachos,
• 284 boxes of caramel corn,
• 917 soft pretzels,
• 247 polish sausages,
• 100 sandwiches,
• 179 bags of peanuts,
• 50 muffins,
• 160 cups of coffee.

And fans had to pay for their food! Jesus feeds the crowd freely, without cost!

When we pray, "give us this day our daily bread" we can know that the Savior will supply us with all that we need to support our body and life!

Heavenly Father, though we do not deserve Your goodness, still You provide for all our needs of body and soul. Grant us Your Holy Spirit that we may acknowledge Your gifts, give thanks for all Your benefits, and serve You in willing obedience; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

Sources:
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS used by permission for private and congregational use
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved
Collect for Proper 13 – Series A - Lutheran Service Book © 2008 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Monday, April 11, 2011

Day 34: Do not worry - Matthew 6:26-34



Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 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.


Do not worry. That is a really loaded statement. Everyone at one time or another has worries. There are many different kinds of worries that people face. How will we feed our children? How are we going to pay those bills? When am I going to die? In Matthew it is a pretty clear statement it says “Seek God and seek righteousness and everything else will come.” God also tells us to have faith that he will provide us with everything we need. No, this is not an easy thing and at times we all have or will doubt his word. If everyone would take the time to share Gods word then more people may find the reasons not to worry. You never know how they may be listening or even watching you. The bible, your Pastor, a good friend, or a relative may be the one who helps you. They may even show you the way by their actions in life. So just remember on this day to have faith and believe in God and most of all “Do Not Worry” it is in God’s hands.
-Tina Geels

O God, from whom come all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works, give to us, Your servants, that peace which the world cannot give, that our hearts may be set to obey Your commandments and also that we, being defended from the fear of our enemies, may live in 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
Sources:
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved
Collect for Peace – Lutheran Service Book © 2008 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Time in the Word - Palm Sunday


Behold, your King is coming to you . . . humble and mounted on a donkey

Our Lord enters in this humble fashion because He is entering Jerusalem to humble Himself even to the point of death on a cross (Phil. 2:5–11). His kingly crown will not be made of gold but of thorns, the sign of sin’s curse. For His royal reign is displayed in bearing this curse for His people, saving us from our enemies by sacrificing His own life. The sinless One takes the place of the sinner so that the sinner can be freed from the curse. It is at the name of this exalted Savior, Jesus, that we bow in humble faith. With the centurion who declared, “Truly this was the Son of God!” (Mt. 27:54), we are also given to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:11).

Collect for Palm Sunday: Almighty and everlasting God, You sent Your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, to take upon Himself our flesh and to suffer death upon the cross. Mercifully grant that we may follow the example of His great humility and patience and be made partakers of His resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Collect for Ash Wednesday (prayed after the Collect for the Day throughout Lent): Almighty and everlasting God, You despise nothing You have made and forgive the sins of all who are penitent. Create in us new and contrite hearts that lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness we may receive from You full pardon and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns . . .

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

Prayer of praise and supplication: Lord God, creator of heaven and earth, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we praise You for the abundant mercy that You this day so richly have provided for us, blessing us not only with daily bread for our bodies but also with heavenly food for our souls. Grant that Your living and powerful Word may abide in our hearts, working mightily in us to Your glory and for our salvation. We commit ourselves to Your divine protection and fatherly care. Let Your holy angels be with us that the evil foe may have no power over us. Look in mercy on Your Church and deliver it from all danger and adversities. By Your Holy Spirit comfort and strengthen all who are in affliction or distress, and grant Your abiding peace to us all; through Jesus Christ, our Savior, who lives and reigns . . .

Monday, 11 April 2011Psalm 24:7–10; Antiphon, Psalm 118:26—It is possible that this psalm of David was written for the occasion of the return of the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6). It instructs the children of Israel in the right worship of God. The portion used for Sunday’s Introit was sung by the worshippers as they approached the holy city and waited for the gates to be opened. It is sung by us as we commemorate the entrance of our Lord into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and look forward to His salvific work on Good Friday.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011Psalm 118:19–29Psalm 118 is the last of the six ‘Hallel’ psalms, sung by the faithful on the occasions of the great festivals of Israel, such as Passover. This one was sung after the Passover meal, and was probably the hymn mentioned that Jesus and His disciples sang before He went out to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane and to meet His betrayer (Matthew 26:30). The song that was sung on the occasion of Jesus’ entrance on Palm Sunday was based on verses 25–26 (‘Hosanna’ means ‘Save us, we pray.’) We sing it in the Sanctus just before the Lord comes to us in the holy Supper, bringing the forgiveness of sins.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011Zechariah 9:9–10—Writing approximately 500 years before the birth of our Savior, Zechariah proclaims that the kingdom of God will come to us as the King assumes flesh and enters human history. He will do away with all instruments of war (chariots, war horses, and battle bows) and will speak peace to the nations. This prophecy is fulfilled in Jesus Christ, the King of Peace, who entered into Jerusalem amid shouts of acclaim in order to die amid shouts of ‘Crucify Him’ and then to rise again, the angels proclaiming, ‘He is not here. He is risen!’

Thursday, 14 April 2011Philippians 2:5–11St Paul here eloquently speaks of both the humiliation and the exaltation of Christ. The eternal Son of God, the Second Person of the Trinity, humbled Himself and assumed human flesh. This is the reason we bow at the words and became man in the Nicene Creed. But He was glorified by His Father when He died for our sins upon the cross, bearing the sins of mankind in His flesh. Having accomplished our salvation, He resumes His place at the right hand of His Father, being worthy of adoration by all creation.

Friday, 15 April 2011Matthew 21:1–9—Jesus came to Jerusalem for two reasons: to celebrate the Passover, in fulfillment of the Law; and then to die a criminal’s death as an atonement for the sins of the world. Those who greeted Him with shouts of ‘Hosanna’ were looking forward to a Messiah who would save them from the hand of their earthly enemies. But Jesus came to save all people from more fearsome spiritual enemies: sin, death, and everlasting condemnation. He is called the Son of David, a messianic title, and acclaimed as coming in the name of the Lord. He is the Lord Himself, the Word of God incarnate, the only one who could rescue us from spiritual darkness and death.

Saturday, 16 April 2011—Sunday’s hymn of the day, No Tramp of Soldiers’ Marching Feet (LSB #444), is a newer hymn, married to a traditional English tune. It tells of Jesus coming in humility, not with great military or political fanfare, coming for the sake of us mortals, to bear the cross and all its pains. In response, we, the ransomed host, proclaim, Behold, your King!”


Artwork by Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, © WELS.

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House.

This week's Time in the Word is written by Pr. Jeffrey Keuning who serves St. John, and Zion congregations in Dexter and Casey, IA