Sunday, July 31, 2011

Pentecost 8 - Proper 14 Time in the Word




Christ the Crucified Comes to Save Us by the Word of Faith

The Lord who “laid the foundation of the earth” (Job 38:4) is the Author and Giver of life who governs all things by His Word. His wisdom and power are beyond our understanding, except as He reveals Himself in the incarnate Word, Christ Jesus. He has “entered into the springs of the sea” and “walked in the recesses of the deep” (Job 38:16), and He draws near to us in mercy. We have been “a long way from the land, beaten by the waves,” and tossed about by hostile winds (Matt. 14:24). In our mortality and sinful unbelief, we do not always recognize the Lord Jesus. But as we cry out in fear, He speaks tenderly to us: “Do not be afraid,” and He reaches out His hand to save us (Matt. 14:27, 31). “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rom. 10:13), and now we call upon Him in faith, because we have heard “through the Word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17). “The Word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (Rom. 10:8).

Collect for the Eighth Sunday after Pentecost: Almighty and most merciful God, preserve us from all harm and danger that we, being ready in both body and soul, may cheerfully accomplish what You want done; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Prayer for steadfast faith: Almighty God, our heavenly Father, because of Your tender love toward us sinners You have given us Your Son that, believing in Him, we might have everlasting life. Continue to grant us Your Holy Spirit that we may remain steadfast in this faith to the end and finally come to life everlasting; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns...

Prayer in time of spiritual doubt and affliction: Almighty God, our heavenly Father, You have given to all who believe exceedingly great and precious promises. Grant us Your Holy Spirit that we may without all doubt trust in Your Son, Jesus Christ, so that our faith in Your sight may never be found wanting; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns...

Prayer in time of unseasonable weather: Lord God, gracious and merciful Father, because You have promised that You will hear us when we bring You our cares, we implore You not to deal with us according to our sins but according to Your mercy. Send seasonable weather so that in due time the earth may yield her increase. Remind us ever to receive with thanks our daily bread, trusting You as our gracious God; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns...

Prayer for agriculture: Almighty God, You bless the earth to make it fruitful, bringing forth in abundance whatever is needed for the support of our lives. Prosper the work of farmers and all those who labor to bring food to our table. Grant them seasonable weather that they may gather in the fruits of the earth in abundance and proclaim Your goodness with thanksgiving; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns...

Monday, 1 August 2011—Psalm 34:4–8; Antiphon, Psalm 34:1—1 Samuel 21:10–15 provides the background story to this psalm. David, the one chosen by God to be king, lost his faith in a moment of weakness when pursued by King Saul and his armies, and sought refuge with the Philistines, the enemy of Israel. David realized his mistake and the truth of what he declares in verse 8: Blessed is the man who takes refuge in the LORD! When we are tempted to look elsewhere than to the LORD for rescue, let us also remember this psalm of David, and then bless the LORD at all times.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011—Psalm 18:1–6—It is likely that King David wrote this psalm near the end of his life, as it is very similar to the psalm recorded in 2 Samuel 22, just before his last words. Here he recounts many of the terrible situation in which he found himself over the course of his life, and tells how the LORD delivered him. He says, In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears. When we find ourselves in bad situations, we ought to remember that the LORD has already delivered us from sin, death, and everlasting condemnation, and that He stands ready to defend us throughout our lives.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011—Job 38:4–18—Job had questioned God, as to why He would let such great calamities befall him. In response, the Lord answers Job by recounting His creation of all things, His ongoing involvement and dominion over that creation. God is not subject to nature; nature is subject to God. We weak humans, created beings that we are, have no right to question our benevolent Creator, but simply to trust that what He does, he does for our benefit.

Thursday, 4 August 2011—Romans 10:5–17—How are we saved? By grace alone (sola gratia) by faith alone (sola fide).in the merits of Christ alone (solus Christus). This salvation extends to Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews) alike. But how are we to receive such saving faith? By Scripture alone (sola scriptura). Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. That is why Paul quotes Isaiah: How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news! For the preaching of the Good News of the Gospel engenders saving faith.

Friday, 5 August 2011—Matthew 14:22–33—We can see ourselves in Peter. Jesus asks him to do the impossible, and Peter, full of bravado, believes he can. However, when he takes his eyes off of Jesus, he falters, and is at risk of perishing. Likewise, when we avert our eyes from Jesus, we lose faith and confidence, and put ourselves in spiritual jeopardy. When we cry out, Lord, save me, Jesus rescues us, lest we drown in our sin and unbelief and are lost forever.

Saturday, 6 August 2011—Sunday’s hymn of the day is Eternal Father, Strong to Save (LSB #717). The first stanza, from the original Navy Hymn, proclaims the supremacy of our heavenly Father over the sea. The next two stanzas declare the authority of the Son and the Holy Spirit over the land and the air, respectively. Finally, the fourth stanza affirms the sovereignty of the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, over all our foes. Let us put our trust in God alone for protection from all our enemies, whether physical or spiritual.

This week's Time in the Word is written by Pr.Jeffrey M. Keuning pastor of St John Casey and Zion, Dexter IA of the Iowa West District LCMS


Lectionary summary on front page from LCMS Commission on Worship
Artwork by Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, © WELS
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House and Luther’s Small Catechism

Friday, July 29, 2011

Church Expansion -week 7



Framing of gathering area





South Door





North Door





Window in the gathering area





Framing of gathering area





Basement

Pentecost 7 - Proper 13





Proper 13 (31 July—6 Aug)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.

The Lord’s Gracious Invitation to the hungry - Matthew 14:13-21

Jesus feeds 5,000 with five loaves and two fish. More than any other episode, the feeding of 5,000 is related six times. Apparently, this fact points to the importance with which the apostolic church held it. The account shows us Jesus’ power over nature, and his use of the disciples in feeding the multitude. Several items are noteworthy: Jesus’ compassion for the needy, his power to make so much of so little, the partnership of the disciples, and the oversupply of food.

The miracle of feeding 5,000 with five loaves is a vehicle that carries several important truths. If we see only a miracle, we miss the point. Apparently this episode was very important to the apostolic church because all four Gospels give an account of this miracle. People need to learn the lessons of this lesson. Permanent values in this miracle —

1. Christ is able to feed us — Vv. 19-20.
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 power of the miracle is Christ. The 5,000 are fed with five loaves. He asks that the loaves and fish be brought to him. He takes the food, gives thanks and breaks the bread until all are fed. The tremendous truth in this act is that man is little and Christ can do great things. This reminds us also that a common meal in the home or out in a field can be a sacramental act of love when the bread is blessed and shared.

2. Christ is willing to feed us (compassion) — v. 14.
When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick

Here is the heartbeat of the miracle. It is a greater factor than the power to bring food for 5,000 out of five loaves of bread. Because of his love for the hurting and the hungry, Jesus is moved to help and heal. The people are not in a position to help themselves; it is at the end of the day; they are far from civilization; they are out of supplies. To get food at that time and in that place demanded a miracle. This account teaches that Jesus is not only able but willing to help. Contrast this with many contemporary instances when people in trouble are ignored when they cry for help.

3. Christ uses human instruments — Vv. 16-19.
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.

The people needed physical food. They were plain hungry. Jesus tells the disciples to give the people something to eat. In a world where one-third of the people suffer malnutrition, Jesus has a message to those able to share their food. Jesus is concerned about the physical welfare of people as well as with their souls. There is no dodging this issue by spiritualizing this account to say it refers to the Lord’s Supper, or to Jesus as the second Moses, or to an eschatological banquet. It is to be taken as a concrete, factual situation of real physical hunger which Christians have a responsibility to alleviate.

4. Christ provides abundantly — v. 20.
They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.

The people were satisfied with the quality and the quantity of food. They were filled with food. In fact, they could not eat it all — twelve baskets were filled with leftovers. Here we see the generosity and abundance of God’s provision of our needs. God gives us more than we ask for, more than we need. God does exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think.



Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use.
Artwork by Ed Rojas © Higher Things© Higher Things

Monday, July 25, 2011

Feeding 5,000 Souls


Sunday's Gospel is the feeding of the 5,000





Some believe that the crowd could have been over 5,000 as only "men" were counted. 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 Vs 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.

This game was played on an afternoon with tipoff scheduled for 2:00 pm Most fans had eaten their breakfast and had probably had their lunch also! 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!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Pentecost 7 - Proper 13 - Time in the Word




The day emphasizes God’s love in providing for all our needs. Our physical needs are met by Christ in the feeding of five thousand. In the Old Testament lesson we are invited to come to God for spiritual food. God also provides us with love form which we cannot be separated by the world. (Epistle lesson) Compassion motivates Jesus to feed the five thousand. Love causes God to invite us to come and enter into a covenant with Him. God, moreover, will not allow the world to separate us from His love. In the Collect for the day we acknowledge that God has given us all we have and we ask that our material wealth might be a blessing rather then a curse.

Collect for Proper 13Heavenly 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.

For blessing on the WordLord God, bless Your Word wherever it is proclaimed. Make it a word of power and peace to convert those not yet Your own and to confirm those who have come to saving faith. May Your Word pass from the ear to the heart, from the heart to the lip, and from the lip to the life that, as You have promised, Your Word may achieve the purpose for which You send it; through Jesus Christ, my Lord.

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

Monday, July 25, 2011Psalm 105:39-43 - This is the Psalm portion from which the Introit for next Sunday is taken. The antiphon is taken from verse 1, “Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon His name; make known His deeds among the peoples!” The psalmist encourages us to give thanks. We give thanks to God through our praises. We call upon Him in prayer. These two commands – to call upon the name of the Lord and to praise Him – highlight the rest of the psalm in which the author give ten imperatives or exhortations. Praise and prayer are expressions of devotion to the Lord. The Psalmist throughout the Psalm will encourage the reader to celebrate the Lord’s past saving acts and to trust Him for future deliverance and blessing.
Notice at the end of verse 1 we are to tell of the Lord’s mighty deeds among the peoples among the nations). Missions cannot be separated from the work we do. We reach out to others as we praise the name of our Lord.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011Isaiah 55:1-5 – God offers food for our souls (spiritual needs) God calls thee hungry and thirsty to come to Him for spiritual food and drink. Can we buy without money or credit cards? There are some things that cannot be bought at any price. Can we buy love, friendship, happiness, or peace? Can we buy friendship with God? The best things in life are not for sale. They come as gifts from God.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011Romans 9:1-5 – God blesses us with inseparable love (emotional needs). Paul is desperately concerned for non-Christian Jews. Christ deals with the anxiety for non-Christians especially Jews who had accepted the Gospel. He is so concerned that he would be willing to be excluded from the Kingdom if it were the price of getting the Jews into the Kingdom.

Thursday, July 28, 2011Matthew 14:13-21 – God through Christ provides food for our bodies (physical needs). Jesus feeds five thousand people with five loaves and two fish. Here is the heartbeat of the miracle. It is a greater factor than the power to bring food for 5,000 out of five loaves of bread. Because of his love for the hurting and the hungry, Jesus is moved to help and heal.

The people are not in a position to help themselves; it is at the end of the day; they are far from civilization; they are out of supplies.

To get food at that time and in that place demanded a miracle. This account teaches that Jesus is not only able but willing to help. Contrast this with many contemporary instances when people in trouble are ignored when they cry for help.

The power of the miracle is Christ. The 5,000 are fed with five loaves. He asks that the loaves and fish be brought to him. He takes the food, gives thanks and breaks the bread until all are fed. The tremendous truth in this act is that man is little and Christ can do great things. This reminds us also that a common meal in the home or out in a field can be a sacramental act of love when the bread is blessed and shared.

Friday, July 29, 2011Psalm 136:1-9 – This Psalm is suggested for next Sunday. The theme of thanksgiving continues in the suggested Psalm for this coming week. It is a liturgy of praise to the Lord as Creator and as Israel’s redeemer. Vv. 7-9 echoes Genesis 1:16.

Saturday, July 30, 2011Luke 1:68-79 – This passage is the inspiration for the hymn “Jesus Has Come and Brings Pleasure.” {LSB 53} They are the words of Zachariah as he prophesied concerning Christ at the circumcision of his son John. The words of the prophet are clear. Jesus, the Messiah from the house of David has the power to save and heal.

Sources:
LUTHERAN SEVICE BOOK © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO
LECTIONALRY PREACHING WORKBOOK SERIES A © 1980 John Brokhoff CSS Publishing Lima, OH
Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts Zachariah names John, Jesus feeds the 5,000 © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Pentecost 6 - Proper 12





Proper 12 (24–30 July)
Almighty and everlasting God, give us an increase of faith, hope, and love that, receiving what You have promised, we may love what You have commanded; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

What God will do to prove Himself to you - He spared not His own Son but gave Him up for us all -Romans 8:28-39

In our prayers, the Spirit intercedes for us and God works for our good in everything. As the whole creation groans in travail awaiting redemption, the individual Christian also groans inwardly in prayer. Since we do not know how to pray, the Spirit intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words. In spite of this travail, God works for our good in everything because He predestined, called, justified, and glorified His own. This is for your good.

This verse is one of the most meaningful in the Bible. It tells us about the nature of God and about our situation in life in relation to God. An oft-quoted verse gives people hope in times of trouble. Since all of us have our “downs,” the sermon can be of assurance and hope for the comfort of the troubled. In all things the Father is working for my good because —

1.God works for good” — A good God works for our good. God desires our welfare at all times. He is a God who knows our condition and cares what happens to us. God is working for my good always. Only a good God works for my good. The Lord desires your welfare at all times. He is a God who knows your needs, fears, trials and desires. He bids you to “take it to the Lord in prayer.” Continue to call upon Him daily. He knows your condition and cares for what is happening to you.

Transition: In all things, the Father is working for your good in every situation in every condition.

2.In everything.” There is an overruling providence that turns our failures, sorrows, and disappointments into our good. Notice St. Paul’s words. “In everything.” In every circumstance, no matter what it may be we look to Him who has promised to watch over us. There is an overruling providence in the hand of God in your life. He turns your failures, sorrows, disappointments and fears into your good. And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies 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. Matthew 6:28-29

The Lord directs all things in His care. He will direct your circumstances. Your situation does not go unnoticed by Your heavenly Father. What does it mean that He provides for you? Recall these comforting words.

I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my limbs, my reason, and all my senses, and still preserves them; in addition thereto, clothing and shoes, meat and drink, house and homestead, wife and children, fields, cattle, and all my goods; that He provides me richly and daily with all that I need to support this body and life, protects me from all danger, and guards me and preserves me from all evil; and all this out of pure, fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me; for all which I owe it to Him to thank, praise, serve, and obey Him. This is most certainly true.

Transition: In all things the Father is working for Your good. In every condition in every circumstance He remains with you. he does this because He loves you.

3.With those who love Him.” This is not the experience of all people, only those who love God. Those who do not love God, resist His love and go their own way. They go their own way because they have become misdirected. They are missing. They need to be brought back into the fold. In other cases, these are those who have yet to be invited. And so we invite them and encourage them to come, see, and experience our life in Christ.

Almighty God, You are the Protector of all who trust in You. Without whom nothing is strong and nothing is holy. Increase and multiply Your mercy on us that with You as our Ruler and guide we may so pass through things temporal that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.








Friday, July 22, 2011

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

They're off!



Left D-twon @ 6:15 am

Flagstaff or Bust!




Henry has accepted a position with Child protective services in Flagstaff, AZ





Hank & Andrew Werling will be driving out starting today.




The view will be a lot different than corn and beans!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Pentecost 6 - Proper 12 - Time in the Word





Three parables of the nature of the kingdom of God are told by the Savior in the Gospel for this coming week. Three parables are directed to the disciples concerning the kingdom. The first two deal with the kingdom as being of top value worthy of any sacrifice to gain it. The third parable concerns are similar to wheat and the weeds parable, the separation of the good and the wicked on judgment day. Jesus asks the disciples if they understand these parables. They claimed that they understood. Consequently, they were to be scribes trained for the kingdom who bring out of the treasure the old and the new. The old truths are to be applied to the new conditions in the world. These are addressed in our Epistle and Old Testament lessons for the coming week.

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

Pour out upon us, O Lord, the spirit to think and do what is right, that we, who cannot even exist without you, may have the strength to live according to your will.”

For blessing on the WordLord God, bless Your Word wherever it is proclaimed. Make it a word of power and peace to convert those not yet Your own and to confirm those who have come to saving faith. May Your Word pass from the ear to the heart, from the heart to the lip, and from the lip to the life that, as You have promised, Your Word may achieve the purpose for which You send it; through Jesus Christ, my Lord.

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

A prayer for Pentecost 6: O God, the Protector of all who trust in You, without whom nothing is strong and nothing is holy, increase and multiply Your mercy on us that with You as our Ruler and Guide we may so pass through things temporal that we lose not the things eternal; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Collect for Proper 12 Almighty and everlasting God, give us an increase of faith, hope, and love that, receiving what You have promised, we may love what You have commanded; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Monday, July 18, 2011 Psalm 105:2-6 – This is the Psalm portion from which the Introit for next Sunday is taken. The antiphon is taken from verse 1, “Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name; make known His deeds among the peoples!” The psalmist exhorts us to worship the Lord. Thus, we are called upon to give thanks to God through our worship and praise. When we call upon God and as we give thanks, our worship shall be blessed. Praise and prayer are the two expressions of our worship. As we recall the many acts of kindness the Lord has given to us, we will trust in Him and share with others what He has done. We will make known among the people His many deeds.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011 Deuteronomy 7:6-9- The Lord is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love. We are loved and blessed because the Lord first loved us. Yet this love must be reciprocated by His people to others. Thus in the New Testament we are reminded, “We love because He first loved us” {1 John 4:19}

Wednesday, July 20, 2011Romans 8: 28-39 - The Father spared not His own Son but gave Him up for us all. These words are read at many Christian funerals. They have comforted many troubled hearts. They have soothed and given encouragement to many who are troubled. St. Paul’s words are sure. No charge can be brought against the Christian because the Father has already pronounced a verdict! Not guilty! How so? No one can condemn God’s elect. Christ has died for you. He is alive at the right hand of God. He is interceding for you.

Thursday, July 21, 2011Matthew 13:44-52 – Christ treasures the world, and so He redeems it. Jesus likens the kingdom of God to a treasure, something of supreme worth. It is a treasure of infinite worth because it is the kingdom of God. This includes Jesus, the priceless treasure, the riches of grace, and the wealth of God’s love. This treasure is discovered by accident. It is always found where no one expected it.

The kingdom of God can be a surprise. It may come in unexpected ways and places. Must we ask whether the average Christian considers Christianity the top treasure?
Both the farmer and the merchant sold all their goods to get the treasure.
This implies that the two men considered all their possessions to be inferior to the treasure or the pearl. It was a matter of establishing priorities. Because the treasure and pearl were evaluated as the best, the price of total sell-out, or exchanging all other possessions, was considered worth the price.

When a person finds a treasure, how can he help but be overjoyed? If a merchant has been looking for the perfect pearl for years and then finds it, is there any wonder that he would be as happy as can be? Many church members lack the joy of being Christians. They are not happy about their religion. Could this be the reason? They have not found the treasure or the pearl of Christ?

Friday, July 22, 2011Psalm 125 - This Psalm is suggested for next Sunday. This psalm speaks of Israel’s peace in testimony, prayer, and benediction. Bible scholars believe it was written after the exile when those held in Babylonian captivity were allowed to return to the Jewish homeland. This psalm was most likely prayed as part of the liturgy in the Jewish worship service. Thus, the Psalms we pray in worship reach back into the Old Testament. Through the centuries, our prayers have remained constant.

Saturday, July 23, 2011 – Joshua 24:16 –This passage is the inspiration for the hymn, “From God can nothing move me” {LSB 524}. The people react to Joshua’s commitment to serve the Lord. The people respond, “We will not serve other gods.” If we say of the Lord, “He is our God,” we cannot serve any other.




Sources:
LUTHERAN SEVICE BOOK © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO
LUTHERAN WORSHIP © 1980 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO
LECTIONALRY PREACHING WORKBOOK SERIES A © 1980 John Brokhoff CSS Publishing Lima, OH
Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use.
Artwork by Ed Riojas, © Higher Things

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011

Pentecost 5 - Proper 11






Proper 11 (17–23 July)
O God, so rule and govern our hearts and minds by Your Holy Spirit that, ever mindful of Your final judgment, we may be stirred up to holiness of living here and dwell with You in perfect joy hereafter; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Matthew 13:24-30; 36-43
A harvest of souls awaits us

This parable teaches that we are not to judge who is a true or false Christian. We are not to weed out the weeds because in doing so, we would destroy the wheat. On the Day of Judgment God only will judge and separate the weeds and the wheat. Until that time comes the church needs to have patience and forbearance of the weeds among the wheat.

The wheat (good) and the weeds (bad) are in the kingdom, not in the world. We could understand it if the parable applied to the world where there are all kinds of people. The kingdom of heaven is the kingdom of God, and the kingdom of God is God’s realm, God’s people, the church. The church of God consists of good and evil, wheat and weeds.

According to this parable, every church consists of wheat and weeds. Who is to determine who the weeds are? Who are we to judge? Since Jesus teaches that we should allow the weeds to remain, why try to decide who weeds are? Only God knows who are genuine believers, and members of the invisible church. But, should not a weed be converted into wheat? Only the individual can conclude that he is a weed and thus needs to repent. This sermon is to help the worshiper to examine himself in order to learn if he is a weed in need of repentance. Consider the weeds!

1. Weeds look like wheat — hypocrites. You cannot tell the difference between believers and make believers. Both live together in the Kingdom. Their behavior is similar. The only difference – one has faith the other not.

A. The weeds are so much like the wheat that only God can tell the difference. The Church is invisible to us. We can’t tell who has faith and who does not have faith. Only the Father Himself knows the heart of men. Only He knows the difference.

B. Who is to consider who is and who is not a believer? You can’t see faith so you cannot determine who has it and who doesn’t. We can evaluate behavior but even that doesn’t always determine who is living by faith and who is living unto themselves. We are responsible and accountable unto each other. We are part of this Friedheim family. We are brothers and sisters in Christ. We need and ought to be concerned for one another. But even in our zeal and concern, we cannot tell who is a part of the family of faith and who is not.

Transition: Weeds look like Wheat. There is however a significant difference. Weeds can’t produce.

2. Weeds produce no fruit or flowers — unproductive.

A. Hypocrites can do nothing for the kingdom for they have no faith. Faith is necessary for good works to be active and working. Without faith, works are nonexistent. If faith is not active, there can be no good work active and vibrant.

B. We leave them alone - expulsion does more harm than good. We do need to keep ourselves open however to the challenges that we have in the kingdom even as we live outside of Eden. This leads to any number of challenges.

1. Can we live with false Christians in the church? Can we tolerate false teachers operating within the church?

2. How long can we tolerate their opposition to the progress of the church? We need the church, the body of Christ to grow and each member sees the need and has the desire for the church to grow. However, we need to understand that since we are living in a broken world and are serving in the church militant we will have our share of challenges.

Transition: Weeds look like wheat yet they produce nothing. Weeds are selfish – they choke out the good seed.

3. Weeds are selfish — they choke the good seed.

A. On judgment day, God will destroy false Christians, the weeds. There will be a great reckoning. The Lord will separate the weeds from the wheat. Those who are faithful will go into eternal life and those who are outside will be separated eternally.

B. Consider your station in life. Simply ask, “Who are you?” By your fruit, they shall be known.

Conclusion: Continue to grow in faith, in hope, in love. Communicate Christ’s love as He leads you in your journey and walk of faith.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Pentecost 5 - Proper 11 Time in the Word



There is a tension between the faithful and the unfaithful. The unfaithful are the weeds of the parable in the Gospel while the wheat is God’s faithful people. In the final judgment the unfaithful are excluded while the faithful are accepted by God. In the Old Testament lesson the faithful acknowledge God to be the one and only God. For the faithful who are weak, the Spirit intercedes for them. The prayers of the faithful are echoed in the great hymn of the church, “Lord keep us steadfast in Thy Word.”

Collect for Proper 11 O God, so rule and govern our hearts and minds by Your Holy Spirit that, ever mindful of Your final judgment, we may be stirred up to holiness of living here and dwell with You in perfect joy hereafter; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Monday, July 11, 2011Psalm 86:1-15 This is the Psalm portion from which the Introit for next Sunday is taken. The antiphon is taken from verse 6, “Give ear, O lord, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace.” In our need we pray to the Lord because out of His kindness and love our Lord answers each prayer.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011Isaiah 44:6-8 The faithful believe in the one true God. There is no god but God. It could be that Isaiah in these words is recalling a song of Moses, which describes God as “the Rock” (see Deuteronomy 32:4, 15, 30-31). This metaphor of the Lord is also common in the book of Psalms (see Psalm 18:2).

Wednesday, July 13, 2011Romans 8:18-27 The faithful have the Spirit intercede for them. The Spirit intercedes for those who do not know how to pray. Both creation and creatures groan for redemption. Paul sees redemption in its cosmic perspective. With Adam the whole creation fell and the ground was cursed. It is in a state of decay and the whole creation groans for redemption from its bondage of decay and death. Nature is tooth and fang and it exists on the principle of “dog eat dog.” Paul sees the release of nature’s bondage when there will be a new heaven and a new earth at the time of the Savior’s return. Humanity’s sin pollutes nature, ravishes the good earth, and threatens creatures with extinction. Human beings share in this longing for redemption which by faith in Christ we now experience in part. With creation we long for the full redemption of our bodies when Christ returns.

Thursday, July 14, 2011Matthew 13:24-30; 36-43 The faithful enter heaven in the parable of the wheat and the weeds. The parable of the wheat and weeds and Jesus’ explanation of its meaning is given here. Jesus gives this parable because he is criticized for associating with sinners and outcasts (verses 24-30). The allegorical explanation of the parable is the product of the early church as the parable applied to it in its day (verses 36-40).

The parable teaches that we are not to judge who is a true or false Christian. We are not to weed out the weeds because in doing so, we would destroy the wheat. On the day of judgment, God will judge and separate the weeds and the wheat. Until that time comes the church needs to have patience and forbearance of the weeds among the wheat.

The wheat (good) and the weeds (bad) are in the kingdom, not in the world. We could understand it if the parable applied to the world where there are all kinds of people. The kingdom of heaven is the kingdom of God, and the kingdom of God is God’s realm, God’s people, the church. The church of God consists of good and evil, wheat and weeds.

Friday, July 15, 2011Psalm 119:57-64 This Psalm is suggested for next Sunday. This section falls under the Hebrew letter “Heth.” The Lord is the psalmist’s true homestead because it is God’s law that fills the earth with all that makes life secure and joyous.

Saturday, July 16, 2011 – Review the hymn “In holy conversation” {LSB 772}. The eternal consequences of sin are more serious than any physical ailment. Thus we look to Christ who has borne our diseases and carried our sorrows. So God’s promises are his hope and God’s righteous laws his delight.

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

THELUTHERAN HYMNAL © 1942 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO

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

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Church Expansion -week 4



The Walls are up!


Pentecost 4 - Proper 10





Proper 10 (10–16 July)
Blessed 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.

The Word works as it produces a crop many times what was sown. Crowds but not necessarily Christians. Matthew 13:1-8

Crowds came to hear Jesus. But not all became believers. They may have enjoyed His message. They probably went away impressed with His wisdom and authority, but they did not follow Him. To deal with this problem, Jesus tells the parable of the sower. Only one-fourth of the people produced results.

The parables of Jesus are directed at the heart. The question cannot be avoided. What kind of hearer are you? The parable is an answer to the question why there are different responses to the preaching of the Word. The emphasis is not on the threefold response by the good soil. The problem is with neither the seed nor the sower. It is a problem of the soils and their response to the seed. It concerns the people’s part in preaching and the art of listening.

Jesus tells us that one of four things can happen to the seed that is sown. The devil will steal it, (2) some will fall into places where it cannot take root, (3) some will become fodder for weeds, and (4) some will take root and produce an abundant harvest.

1. Fly-by-night hearer — v. 4. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 19

The birds that came and picked up the seed by the wayside represent the fly-by night hearer. The gospel is preached to people hardened in sin. It makes no impression. It lies like seed on the "hard path." It is easily taken away. It never takes root. The fly-by night hearer is the wayside hearer; the light, flippant, indifferent hearer upon whom no impression is made.

2. Fair weather hearer — Vv. 5-6. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. VV.20-2

The stony hearer; the heart that exhibits a momentary feeling at the appeal of the gospel; but no permanent impression is made. He is offended at the cross. He shrinks back from it. He does not care to take up his cross, and follow Christ. He drops his religion, and the profession of it. He becomes apostate, falls away, and comes to nothing. His endurance is temporary. He is a creature of circumstances, changing as they change. His focus is on things temporal. With this explanation, the Savior reminds us that his faith last but a little time.

3. Too busy hearer — v. 7. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. V.22 The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.

The thorny soil is the heart that takes in the Word, but is so full of worldly cares that these presently gain the upper hand. This describes the world-serving hearer. “He also that received seed among the thorns” - These represent the cares, the anxieties, and the deceitful lure of riches, or the way in which a desire to be rich deceives people. How many more might reach heaven, if it were not for this deep-seated love of that which fills the mind with care, deceives the soul, and finally leaves it naked, and guilty, and lost! Beware of the deceitfulness of riches - which promise peace and pleasure, but can never give them. The deceitfulness of riches does the mischief. Riches cannot deceive us unless we put our trust in them, then they choke the good seed.

4. Productive hearer — v. 8. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. V.23 But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown."

What distinguished the good ground was fruitfulness. The good soil is the good and honest heart; the heart that receives and retains the truth. In such a heart, the seed will grow and the new life will be abundant. Those whose hearts are prepared by grace receive it honestly, and are given full opportunity to grow.

“In a rich and mellow soil - in a heart that submits itself to the full influence of truth, unchecked by cares and anxieties; under the showers and summer suns of divine grace; with the heart spread open, like a broad, lush field, to the rays of the morning and to evening dews, the gospel takes deep root and grows.” [1] Matthew Henry’s Commentary Matthew 13:22


The sense of hearing cannot be better employed than in hearing God's sacred word. Let us look to ourselves that we may know what sort of hearers we are. What distinguished the good ground is fruitfulness. By this mark of fruitfulness, Christians are distinguished from hypocrites. Christ does not say that this good ground has no stones in it, or no thorns grow in it. Yet nothing hinders fruitfulness. Not all are alike. We should all aim to bring forth most fruit.


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Pentecost 4 - Proper 10 Time in the Word

The Proclaimed Word of God - Pentecost 4 - Proper 10 - July 4-9 2011



The main theme of our readings for the coming week is the Word of God and nature is used to explain the Word. Like seed, the Word is scattered and is received by various kinds of hearers. As the rain and snow cause nature to produce, God’s Word also is certain to accomplish God’s purpose. The Epistle lesson gives us that purpose: the redemption of the whole creation. The suggested hymn of the day “Almighty God Your Word is Cast” harmonizes with the theme of the Word.

Collect for Proper 10Blessed 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 everlasting life; through Jesus Christ Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit. One God, now and forever.

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

For the work of the congregationAlmighty God and Lord, as You have called us to labor in Your vineyard, so grant us now Your presence. Enlighten and guide us by Your Word that in all matters of deliberation we may always consider the best interests of Your church and this congregation. Let Your Holy Spirit rule and direct our hearts that, in the spirit of Christian love, we may present and discuss matters and be kindly disposed toward one another, to the end that all we say and do may please You; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

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

Monday, July 4, 2011Psalm 103:15-19 - This is the Psalm portion from which the Introit for next Sunday is taken. The antiphon is taken from verse 8, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” This verse is a summation of the Father’s love and compassion for this fallen world. He desires not the death of the sinner but that all would come in repentance. He desires the redemption of all. Thus He plants the seeds of faith into our hearts that by His grace a harvest may come.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011Isaiah 55:10-13 – God’s Word accomplishes His purpose. The Word of God has within it an inherent, latent power. Jesus compared the Word to seed. A seed has within it the power of life, to break out of its shell and to grow into a plant. The Word, like a seed, has power to accomplish the purpose for which it was created and sent. It is a lively Word, a living Word. Herein is the secret of powerful preaching. Whenever the Word is proclaimed, the Word, finding fertile soil, will produce remarkable results by transforming lives and creating faith. The secret of great preaching is not in the preacher, not in his personality, wisdom, or techniques. For this reason, biblical preaching is the most effective kind of preaching.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011Romans 8:12-17 –The purpose of God’s Word is redemption. Both creation and creatures groan for redemption. We can have both death and life in us. Though dead, we can live and though living we can be dead. There is one type of life — existence, the physical, natural, earthly life. It is the life of the flesh which results in sin and death. There is possibly another life. It is the one with God lived in faith. This life is the product of the Spirit received at baptism. Through baptism a person is born again in the Spirit, adopted as a child of God and now lives in the Spirit of righteousness. The new person knows he is related to God, because the Spirit witnesses to our spirits that we are God’s offspring.

Thursday, July 7, 2011Matthew 13:1-9 (18-23) –Various kinds of hearers of God’s Word – the parable of the seed and sower. For an effective sermon it takes sower, seed, and soil. Apparently no fault can be found with the sower (Jesus), or with the seed (Word). The problem is with the soil, the hearer. Only the good soil brings a harvest. That may be the situation, but what can be done about the three kinds of soil that do not produce? The parable has nothing to say about this problem. It is simply stating a fact of reality. The preacher needs to be concerned about making good listeners out of his congregation.

Jesus said, “He who has ears....” Who does not have ears? The truth is proclaimed to all people regardless of condition of life. It reminds us that God desires all to be saved, all to have the good things of God’s grace. Christianity is a universal religion, a faith for every person. The responsibility to accept the Word is the hearer’s. If one rejects it, it is his own fault. It is not God’s will for any person to be ignorant of the truth or to be lost in his relationship with God.

Friday, July 8, 2008Psalm 65:1-13 – This Psalm is suggested for next Sunday. The key verse “By awesome deed Thou dost answer us in righteousness, O God our salvation. Thou who are the trust of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest sea.” (v.5).

Saturday, July 9, 2008Mark 4:3-9 – This passage is the inspiration for the hymn “Almighty God, Your Word is Cast.” {LSB 577} The sower goes out to sow his grain. God’s Word will work where it is planted. We trust Him to do His work. All He asks of us is to faithful in the sharing of Christ’s living Word



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

THELUTHERAN HYMNAL © 1942 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO

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

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

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Church Expansion -week 3



Footers


Pentecost 3 - Proper 9


Proper 9 (3–9 July)
Gracious God, our heavenly Father, Your mercy attends us all our days. Be our strength and support amid the wearisome changes of this world, and at life’s end grant us Your promised rest and the full joys of Your salvation; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Matthew 11:25-30 - His yoke is easy His burden light.

Most people do not enjoy their religion, for many religions deal with solemnity and seriousness, duty and denial, rules, and responsibility. None of these is all that joyous. They need to see that Christianity is a happy faith. Christians should be ever rejoicing. The Christian faith should involve pleasure and fun. The Jews of Jesus’ day had a burdensome religion — “All who labor and are heavy laden.” Christ offers a religion of joy and freedom. You can enjoy your Christian faith because —

1. It is voluntary — “Come” — v. 28. Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease, relieve, and refresh your souls.]

A. You are not forced to come to Christ.

1. You couldn’t even if you wanted to. Your sin condemns you.

2. That’s why we all need to repent.

a. That what happened on the first Pentecost. Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off--for all whom the Lord our God will call." With many other words, he warned them; and he pleaded with them, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation." Acts 2:38-40

b. That’s what happens every time you remember your baptism. Baptism now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 1 Peter 3:21

B. You come as the Holy Spirit draws you.

1. He works through His means of grace; through His word and Sacraments to draw you to Himself.

2. Because the Holy Spirit is drawing you to Himself it’s all His working. He does it all for you. He does the work and we receive His benefits.

Transition: You can enjoy your faith because it is voluntary. You can enjoy your faith because it is restful.

2. It is restful — “Rest” — vv. 28, 29. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. [See Jeremiah. 6:16]

A. The world, the powers of sin and the Devil can and will wear us down. We can become worn down by fear and guilt. We can feel physically, emotionally and spiritually spent.

B. We find our rest in Christ. Isaiah the prophet foretold it a thousand years before Christ was born. Looking into the future, he saw the coming Chosen One and predicted Jesus suffering. Surely, he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:4-5

C. We find our rest in Christ who has promised rest for His people.

Transition: You can enjoy your faith because it is voluntary. You can enjoy your faith because it is restful. But most of all it’s easy.

3. It is easy — “Yoke is easy” — v. 30. For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good—not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.

A. His burden is easy because it is easy for Him to bear. Don’t worry about carrying the weight and burden of your sin. You can’t! He has carried it all for you. What you could not do for yourself He has done for you completely and totally. So stop pretending and repent! You can fall flat on your face or into the safe and sure hands of Jesus your Savior. Which will it be? Choose, but choose wisely.

B. As Christ bore all of the weight and the entire burden of your sin, you are free to serve Him. It is all about Jesus! Luther explains it this way:

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

2. WHAT Who has redeemed me a lost and condemned creature purchased and won me from all sin, from death and from the power of the devil

3. HOW Not with gold or silver but with His holy precious blood and His innocent suffering and death.

4. WHY That I might be His own and serve Him in everlasting righteousness innocence and blessedness. Even as He is risen from the dead lives and reigns throughout all eternity.

This is most certainly true! How can you really enjoy your faith? It’s voluntary, it’s restful, and it’s easy! In Christ Jesus our Savior.