Wednesday, February 29, 2012

THEY'RE BACK!


Spotted in the woods at the intersection of Comer and Winchester Roads! Spring has arrived!

Wednesday of Lent 1




The Eighth Commandment.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

What does this mean?

Answer - We should fear and love God that we may not deceitfully belie, betray, slander, or defame our neighbor, but defend him, [think and] speak well of him, and put the best construction on everything.


You should never tell lies about your neighbor. You should not lie because we do not want lies told about yourself. How would you feel if your neighbor told lies about you.  Spreading lies and gossip can destroy your neighbor’s reputation which in a second can be destroyed with one false word. Our Lord Jesus Christ always spoke the truth in love. We should live our lives like Him, truthfully and honestly.

Dear heavenly Father, forgive us our sin. Help us not to bear a false witness but to speak the truth in love. Thank You for sending Your son Jesus Christ our Lord to die for our sins, even for those who bear a false witness.


Aaron Bergman

 Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld ©WELS

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tuesday of Lent 1




The Seventh Commandment.

You shall not steal.

What does this mean?

Answer - We should fear and love God that we may not take our neighbor's money or property, nor get them by false ware or dealing, but help him to improve and protect his property and business [that his means are preserved and his condition is improved].


God does not want us to do wrong to others by taking things that don’t belong to us. Instead He wants us to improve and protect our neighbor’s livelihood, and business. We are to protect others just as He protects us in our life.

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; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
-Madilyn Baumann

Collect for faith, hope and love, Lutheran Service Book © 2008 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld ©WELS

Jesus I will Ponder Now



Yet, O Lord, not thus alone
Make me see Thy Passion
But its cause to me make known
And its termination
Ah! I also and my sin
Wrought Thy deep affliction
This indeed the cause hath been
Of Thy crucifixion.

“Simon Peter also followed in Jesus’ path and another disciple” - John 18:15


Introduction: Following Jesus’ arrest in the garden Peter and John follow behind the soldiers as Jesus is lead to Annas. Annas just so happened to be the father-in-law of Caiaphas – who had been appointed to serve as high priest.

It wasn’t left to chance that Jesus was sent to have an audience with Annas. Annas was the principle player within the Jewish Council. He made sure to keep a power hold within the court, keeping tight control within his family power base.

History tells us that four of Annas's sons were among those who succeeded him. His son-in-law, Caiaphas, held office from A.D. 18 until 36, during the time of Jesus' active ministry.

Although others held the priestly office, Annas seems to have been the elder statesman and the power behind the throne.

Together these two men; Annas and Caiaphas, brokered much influence within the temple and the court - It was Caiaphas who had given counsel and warning to the Sanhedrin that it was expedient that one man should die for the sake of the people. -John 18:14

Peter and John follow behind – they desire to see what will occur next.

I. With Peter and John we view Christ’s Passion.

A. “Yet, O Lord, not thus alone make me see Thy Passion.”

1. During this holy season we meditate on what Christ did and endured to earn our salvation.

2. We mark His arrest, trial, suffering and crucifixion.

B. “But its cause to me make known and its termination.”

1. The cause for which Christ was arrested, tried, scourged and crucified was to win for me salvation.

2. When Christ died – all of our sin died. Our sins, with all evil lusts were all drowned and killed.

Transition: But we do more than merely observe Christ’s action. We recall, affirm and believe what Christ has done. He suffered and died that I may receive salvation and life.

II. We also recall the impact of Christ’s suffering.

A. “Ah! I also and my sin wrought Thy deep affliction.”

1. It was my sin and mine alone which caused Jesus to suffer and die.

2. It is my sin, which caused me to be separated from the Father, from Christ, and my neighbor.

B. “This indeed the cause has been of Thy crucifixion.”


1. Christ suffered for me because I can do nothing to earn my salvation. My sin robs me of fellowship with God or with my neighbor. “Lord if You should mark iniquity who shall stand…” -Psalm 130:3

2. Because Christ has suffered for me and on my behalf I now enjoy the blessings that come from Christ’s bloody cross; salvation, forgiveness, life eternal.

Conclusion: Peter and John remain in the wings to see what will transpire next. What happens is that Jesus is abandoned by God and by men to take on our sin to Himself and thus win for us salvation. “Lord, may Thy body and Thy blood be for my soul the highest good.”*




Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS used by permission for personal and congregational use.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Time in the Word - Lent 2



By the Cross of Our Lord Jesus, We Inherit Life Everlasting with God

In His covenant with Abraham, the Lord promised to be with him, to bless him, and to make him “the father of a multitude of nations.” It is “an everlasting covenant” in Christ Jesus, the seed of Abraham who is blameless before God Almighty. All who believe in this Lord Jesus are the offspring of Abraham and are blessed “throughout their generations” (Gen. 17:1–7), because the Christ has suffered many things, He was rejected and killed, and after three days He rose again (Mark 8:31). To comprehend this theology of the cross, we must set our mind “on the things of God,” and not “on the things of man” (Mark 8:33). “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). Therefore, having been “reconciled to God by the death of His Son,” much more “shall we be saved by His life” (Rom. 5:10). Baptized into His cross and resurrection, “we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” and by faith we rejoice in the hope of His glory (Rom. 5:1–2).

Collect for the Second Sunday in Lent: O God, You see that of ourselves we have no strength. By Your mighty power defend us from all adversities that may happen to the body and from all evil thoughts that may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Prayer for life as a baptized child of God: Merciful Father, through Holy Baptism You called us to be Your own possession. Grant that our lives may evidence the working of Your Holy Spirit in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, according to the image of Your only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior,

Prayer for deliverance from sin: We implore You, O Lord, in Your kindness to show us Your great mercy that we may be set free from our sins and rescued from the punishments that we rightfully deserve; through Jesus Christ, our Lord,

Prayer for grace to love and serve God: O God, through the grace of Your Holy Spirit You pour the gifts of love into the hearts of Your faithful people. Grant Your servants health both of mind and body that they may love You with their whole heart and with their whole strength perform those things that are pleasing to You; thr through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord,

Monday, 27 February 2012Psalm 115:11-13, 18; antiphon, Psalm 25:6—The Introit sets the theme for the day: Lent is a time of suffering, as the way of the cross often involves suffering for the Christian. In the midst of our suffering we cry out with the Psalmist “Remember Your mercy O LORD, and Your steadfast love. We ask the Father to look at us through His eye of mercy as He remembers the work of Christ our Savior.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012Psalm 22:23-31—In this psalm, David vows to praise the Lord when the Lord’s sure deliverance comes. The vows proper appear in verses 22 and 25. Verses 23-24 anticipate the calls to praise that will accompany the psalmist’s praise. Verses 26-31 describe the expanding company of those who will take up the praise—a worldwide company of persons form every station in life and continuing through the generations. No psalm or prophecy contains a grander vision of this scope of the throng of worshipers who will join in the praise of God’s saving acts.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012Genesis 17:1-7, 15-16—In our Old Testament reading, Abram’s name is changed to Abraham as the Lord gives him the covenant of circumcision. The covenant is God’s. God calls it “my covenant” as He initiates and established it. God has covenanted to keep His promises. The Lord gives us His pledge to be the protector of His people and the One who provides for their well-being and guarantees their future blessings.

Thursday, 1 March 2012Romans 5:1-11—Paul teaches that Christians have peace with God through the reconciliation made possible by the cross. This lesson is a transition from justification by faith to a life of faith beginning with chapter 6. Hence we have Paul’s “therefore” (v.1) By grace through faith, we are one with God in peace and harmony. Out of this relationship come reasons to rejoice: that we share in the glory of God (v.2) that we experience suffering that eventuates in hope (vv.3, 4); and that we are reconciled to God through Christ (v.11). In our suffering, sin and weakness, God comes to us in love expressed in the death of our Savior Jesus Christ.

Friday, 2 March 2012Mark 8:27-38—Jesus teaches that He must suffer and die and calls 
upon His disciples to follow Him in the same. Jesus and the Disciples are at Caesarea Philippi. Peter had confessed Jesus as the Christ. Thereupon Jesus explains to His disciples that as the Messiah He must go to Jerusalem to suffer and die. This did not fit into Peter’s conception of the Messiah and therefore he rebukes Jesus. Jesus sees this as a temptation not to go to the cross. He turns down the temptation by seeing Satan in Peter. Then, in the second part of the lesson (vv. 34-38), Jesus explains to both disciples and people that they, too, are to take the way of the cross that involves denial, suffering, and sacrifice.

The rugged cross means a rugged way of life for a follower of Christ. The Christian style of life is a hard life. Jesus’ life consisted of sorrow, rejection, suffering, and death. His followers can expect no less. The Christian life has a cross at its center. John Donne said, “No cross is so extreme, as to have none. There is no gain without pain.” President Truman had a sign on his desk: “Bring me only bad news. Good news weakens me.” In Tom Sawyer, Mark Twain wrote, “He had discovered a great law of human action, without knowing it—namely, that in order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to obtain.”

Saturday, 3 March 2012—The hymn of the day is Lord, Thee I Love with All My Heart (LSB #708). This can serve also as a beautiful prayer that we may never forsake our Lord Jesus, but that He would be with us all our days and keep us strong in faith until He takes us from this vale of tears to Himself in heaven.

Lectionary summary on the front page from the LCMS Commission on Worship
Artwork by Ed Riojas, © Higher Things
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House

Monday of Lent 1



The Sixth Commandment.

You shall not commit adultery.

What does this mean?

Answer - We should fear and love God that we may lead a chaste and decent life in words and deeds, and each love and honor his spouse.


Notice how Luther speaks positively when he explains this commandment. God desires from us to live chase and decent lives in our actions as well as our words. Specifically, we honor God when we each love and honor our spouse. Adam, when he first met his wife Eve in the garden said literally, “she completes me!” “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” (Genesis 2:23)  Every time you attend a wedding you witness a new creation, a new family is being created. “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24)

From our LSB hymnal we hear these encouraging words from the order of service for Holy Matrimony, “In marriage we see a picture of the communion between Christ and his bride, the Church. Our Lord blessed and honored marriage with His presence and first miracle at Cana in Galilee. This estate is also commanded to us by the apostle Paul as good and honorable. Therefore, marriage is not to be entered into inadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, deliberately, and in accordance with the purposes for which it was instituted by God.” 

May the Lord continue to strengthen our marriages and families as we look to Christ to be the center of our lives.

Most gracious God, we give thanks for the joy and blessings that You grant to husbands and wives. Assist them always by Your grace that with true fidelity and steadfast love they may honor and keep their marriage vows, grow in love toward You and for each other, and come at last to the eternal joys that You have promised, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.


Holy Matrimony, Lutheran Service Book © 2008 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
Collect for those who are married, Lutheran Service Book © 2008 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld ©WELS

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Lent 1



The Fifth Commandment.

You shall not kill.

What does this mean?

Answer - We should fear and love God that we may not hurt nor harm our neighbor in his body, but help and befriend him in every bodily need [in every need and danger of life and body].



As Charlie walked down his usual path from school to his home he felt like someone was following. He looked over his shoulder and no one was there. He started on his way and looked forward again and there saw two large kids, Francis and Maurice, the two biggest bullies in the neighborhood. Charlie ran as fast as he could and made it back to school. These two bullies tripped and fell. Charlie looked back and ran back towards them and kicked them. But when this happened Mrs. Lewis, the principal saw this and told Charlie to come with her. They sat down and she asked him why he kicked them. Charlie never said a word. Mrs. Lewis said, “You know the fifth commandment. ‘You shall not murder’, right?” Charlie said, “But I didn’t kill anyone!” “But you physically harmed them. I know they bother you but they are your neighbor and you are supposed to defend them in every way possible, even if they are your enemy.” Charlie smiled at Mrs. Lewis, and walked out to help Francis and Maurice. 

Dear Lord, help us in every way possible to help and protect our neighbor even if they are our enemy. Help us not to have revenge on one another but help make the situation better. In Your name we pray.  

-Ryan Freimuth









Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld ©WELS

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Lent 1



Mark 1:9-15
The Attitude of Testing

In the battle between Christ and Satan who won? Mark tells us that Jesus had a desert showdown with the enemy but gives no details and does not say who won! Of course, the outcome is implicit throughout Mark’s gospel, especially in Mark 3:27, where Jesus utters a phrase that sums up the theme of this day that Lent is an attitude of testing in which by God’s grace working in our lives we enter victorious. Jesus says, “In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can rob his house”. When He was confronted by temptation, Jesus emerged victorious.

I. Jesus is the Victor over temptation Mark 1:12-13 tells us “And immediately the Spirit impelled Him {to go} out into the wilderness. And He was in the wilderness forty days being tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts, and the angels were ministering to Him.“

A. We sinners are not and never will be victorious without Him.

1. In our own experience.
a. When we are tempted, we play around with sin for a while instead of offering immediate resistance.
b. Soon we find ourselves taking short cuts around God’s will. We do not do what we want (Romans 7:15-20)

2. In the struggle between Satan and God.
a. The stakes are much higher than a few moral or immoral acts. Satan wants us. He is the enemy.
b. Lurking behind every temptation is the temptation of unbelief. When we do not believe, Satan has us.

B. Jesus was the Victor from the very beginning of His ministry.

1. In Him, God took the initiative to confront Satan (vv.11-12)

2. He withstood being tempted (v.13)
a. To disobey the will of God (Mark 8:11; 10:2; 12:15)
b. To take a less costly way (see Mark 8:32-33; 14:32-42) The way He took led to the cross (Mark 10:45)

3. He put Satan in his place. From 1:13 on, Jesus was clearly in charge of every encounter He had with the demonic, just as He had the last word over His own death (Mark 16:6-7).

Transition: Like the new supervisor who seizes attention by firing two workers in his first month, Jesus let Satan know right away that He was in charge! But He exercises His subsequent rule not by mere force but by His work of grace.

II. Jesus claims His spoils (vv.14-15)

A. He preaches the Gospel (v.14): “And after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God,”

1. The Gospel is synonymous with Christ Himself. (Mark 8:35; 10:29; 14:9) just as Christ was the focus of John’s preaching (Mark 1:7)

2. In the Gospel, Christ brings His Satan-defeating power to people. It is the “one little word” that can fell and destroy the Devil.

B His message (v.15): “and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."

1. The kairos is fulfilled. After the era of Messianic expectation, He is finally on the scene to bind Satan.

2. The kingdom of God is near-because Jesus and the Gospel are near. He snatches us away from Satan’s rule (see Large Catechism III 51-56; also LC II 27, 31)

3. Repent and believe the Gospel – {durative}, for turning from sin to forgiveness is the heartbeat of an ongoing relationship with Jesus Christ (see Romans 8:31-39)

People are easily led. Walk into a room full of strangers and announce that you are in charge – it’s amazing how far you can get. But Jesus, the Victor over temptation is truly in charge, as opposed to Satan and all human thought. His gospel is not an empty claim. It extends His work to us and makes us His. To the Victor belongs the spoils! Over sin, over Satan, over temptation.

Image : Temptation of Christ by Ary Scheffer 1854


Artwork - Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld ©WELS;

Anniversary Sunday - Dedication of Gathering Space Homily


Almighty God, You have promised to be with Your Church forever. We praise You for Your presence in this place of worship. Yet we built this sacred space to have a place to gather in Your name. We ask Your ongoing blessing upon those who gather here. Dwell continually among us with Your Holy Word and  Sacraments, strengthen our fellowship in the bonds of love and peace, increase our faithful witness to Your Salvation, through Jesus Christ our Lord, we pray.


The birthday of Missions occurred on the day of Pentecost circa AD 30 in the city of Jerusalem. On February 25, 1838, Zion-Friedheim Lutheran Church was chartered to be a House of Peace, a Haven of Hope - and a Harbor of Light in this sin-darkened world. As followers of Jesus, we are Christ’s ambassadors – commissioned by Him who has reconciled the world to Himself to be salt and light.

The Mission of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church - Friedheim is to be “A 21st Century Parish with a 1st Century Faith”  Today we gather to remember the blessings the Lord has showered down upon us for the past 174 years and to dedicate a gathering space which has been constructed to the glory of God. The text I have chosen to concentrate our thoughts is the collect for the occasion of an anniversary of a congregation. Thus, we pray:

1.            Almighty God, You have promised to be with Your Church forever. This is a promise the Lord has made to His people throughout the scriptures.

A.            The Last words the Savior spoken on the day of His Ascension is your reality. “I am with you always.” (Matthew 28:20) This sentence - are the last five words the Savior spoke on this earth. They are His yes and Amen. You are never alone.  These may be His last words, but He continues to speak to you through His inspired and inerrant Word.

B.            The writer to the Hebrews reminds us, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5) 

C.            This is the same point David makes in Psalm 139. “Lord You have searched me, and You know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.” (Psalm 139:1-4) Your Saviors knows everything about you. Yet He remains with you to direct your life as He orders your days. We do not live to ourselves. We live to the Lord.

Our prayer continues

2.            We praise You for Your presence in this place of worship.

A.            Our Lord is not confined to a building. There is nothing, which can contain Him. Yet, we build a sacred space and set it apart for us to gather around His Word and Sacraments.  Constructing a temple had been David’s heartfelt dream. But it was his son, Solomon who would build it.  Solomon after seven years of hard work, international cooperation and a massive expenditure of resources, the temple was finished. On the day of dedication, the Ark of the Covenant was carried into the Holy of Holies, the innermost chamber of the temple, and the glory of God entered with it in the form of fog, so thick, the priests could not perform their sacrifices.  “But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built”.  (1 Kings 8:27)

B.            Yet we built this sacred space to have a place to gather in the Lord’s name. We gather in His Name for worship, edification, fellowship and instruction.

It is for these spiritual blessings that we pray

3.            We ask Your ongoing blessing upon those who gather here. We need the continued blessing of our Lord. It is fitting we should hold this dedication service as we begin the solemn season of Lent. Lent reminds us of our need for a Savior. Lent reminds us of our mortality, our sin, our guilt. As we gather in this space, Sunday after Sunday, season after season, may we recall the words of St. Paul when he said,  “I Determined to Know Nothing except Jesus Christ, and Him Crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:1)  Pizzazz does not equal power, tinsel is not transformation, and  bigness does not equal blessed. We can look good, but be nothing but white sepulchers.   True ministry results from an overflow of knowing nothing except Christ crucified. May nothing replace the simplicity and centrality of Christ and Him crucified. To keep Christ  and message of the cross at the core all we do we pray three specific petitions.

A.            Dwell continually among us with Your Holy Word and Sacraments. Christ has promised to be with us in and through His Word. The Lord has given us His word to make us “wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” Being one in unity and faith we will base our lives on God’s Holy Word as He speaks clearly to us through that Word.  And what does that Word say to us? It says, “You are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” – Galatians 3:26, 27. And by the clear voice of your Good Shepherd, He says, to you, “This is My body, which is given for you”; “This is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for you, for the remission of all of your sins.” Sacramental living happens when experience daily the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation as Christ comes to us in and through these Sacraments.

B.            Strengthen our fellowship in the bonds of love and peace. Our vision is to be one in the Lord Jesus Christ. Experiencing true joy in Christ. Living at peace with each other and enjoying one another. How does that happen? It happens when Christ is at the center. It happens when we work as one unit, with one vision, with one purpose, with one clear goal, which, of course, is Christ.

C.            Increase our faithful witness to Your Salvation. Christ is not calling us to be successful. He has not called to be popular.  He is not calling us to be well-off or wealthy. He has not calling us to be triumphant. We are not a purpose driven church, nor should we. Rather, we must be Spirit lead. He calls us to be faithful; faithful to His Word, faithful to our calling, faithful to our work, faithful to each other. We do this through service. We come to a worship service and then, in service, we worship our God. Martin Luther King Jr. summed it up so well - “Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.

On my heart, imprint Your image,
Blessed Jesus, King of grace,
That life’s riches, cares, and pleasures
Never may Your work erase;
Let the clear inscription be:
Jesus, crucified for me,
Is my life, my hope’s foundation,
And my glory and salvation!

Saturday after Ash Wednesday


February 25, 2012            
Saturday after Ash Wednesday
The Fourth Commandment.

You shall honor your father and your mother [that it may be well with you and you may live long upon the earth].

What does this mean?

Answer -We should fear and love God that we may not despise nor anger our parents and masters, but give them honor, serve, obey, and hold them in love and esteem.

Honor your father and your mother. This, in my opinion, is one of the hardest of all the commandments to keep. As a kid you just want to have fun. You don’t want to do chores or responsibilities. On the other hand, though, responsibility is what makes us who we are later in life. We children don’t realize it at the time when we’re addressed by our parents, and perhaps, we might not learn the lessons our parents are trying to teach us until we’re grown up.

When we are told when to get something done and how to do it, and when parents tell us what we are to do, even if we don’t want to at the time, we have to do it. It’s sometimes hard, but it’s what God wants us to do and we should always do what God wants us to do, even if its not what we want to do at the time. I know it’ll pay off in the end.

Almighty God, heavenly Father, You have blessed us with the joy and care of children. Give us calm strength and patient wisdom that, as they grow in years, we may teach them to love whatever is just and true and good, following the example of our Savior, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Almighty God, You have promised to be with Your Church forever. We praise You for Your presence in this place of worship and ask Your ongoing blessing upon those who gather here. Dwell continually among us with Your holy Word and Sacraments, strengthen our fellowship in the bonds of love and peace, and increase our faithful witness to Your Salvation; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one god, now and forever. 

-Timberlee Weiland

Collect for the Care of children, Lutheran Service Book © 2008 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
Collect for a Anniversary of a Congregation, Lutheran Service Book © Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis  
-   Our Friedheim congregation was chartered on February 25, 1838 with a membership of 56 souls and 26  communicant members. By God’s grace we have grown to 631 souls and 490 communicants as of 1 January 2012

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday after Ash Wednesday




The Third Commandment.

You shall sanctify the holy-day.

What does this mean?-

Answer - We should fear and love God that we may not despise preaching and His Word, but hold it sacred, and gladly hear and learn it.



Whirrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr,  Whirrrrrrrrrrr, Whirrrr, Whirrrr, Whirrr, Whir,        Whir,               Whir.
   -This darn drill! Just when I need it most it quits on me!
     -Well, did you charge the batteries?
   -Nobody told me that I had to.
     - Did you read the instruction book?
   -No.
     -I’m sure that it doesn’t tell you the batteries stay charged indefinitely.
       And haven’t you been drilling holes and driving screws with it all day?
   -Well, yes I have been using it pretty hard today.
     -Then why are you surprised that it needs to be recharged? Your drill isn’t bad, and your charger isn’t bad, you just didn’t make the connection.
   -All right, back in the charger.
Just like batteries that need to be recharged our lives need to be connected to God for spiritual charging.

Have you made the connection? Have you read the instruction book?

God tells us to remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy. I believe He does this for many reasons.

One is that God wants us to set aside a special time to honor and respect Him. He wants and deserves our time so that we can have a relationship with Him. In this relationship we submit to Him and humble ourselves because we have sinned and fallen short. And with our true humility and repentance comes His blessed forgiveness! Time to celebrate! Do we celebrate when the Colts score? (yes, but not as often as we used to).

Do we celebrate when our Wyneken teams score? Yes, with fervor and excitement. Then we should celebrate when God forgives our ugly sins and brings us back into a holy relationship with Him.  As pastor says when we leave the communion table forgiven and renewed – GO WITH MUCH JOY! Our batteries are charged!

 The command to remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy doesn’t mean that we can’t work on Sunday  ( if your cow falls into a pit on the Sabbath wouldn’t you get it out?) And our relationship with God is not limited to Sunday or to being in a church building, God wants us to be out there every day wherever we are,  drilling holes and driving screws for Him, building His Kingdom and bringing others to a relationship with God. There are a lot of people out there who have not read the instruction book and maybe don’t have a place to charge their batteries. We can not only tell them about Christ and the peace that we find in our relationship with Him, but maybe God can even give them a little charge through our fellowship and witness.

There are other times and places that God provides for us to get “charged up”  such as personal devotions, Bible study groups, or listening to Christian music and witness, but Sunday is a special day and worshiping together  with other believers is a VERY special time. We can pray by ourselves anytime and any place that we want to. As a matter of fact God wants everything that we do and say to be a prayer to Him (pray without ceasing).But the opportunity for corporate worship – worshiping together with other believers – is a very special time.  God tells us - Where two or more of you are gathered together, there am I in the midst of you.

Can you tell me anything more special than having God right in the midst of us? I don’t know about you, but it sends shivers of excitement down my spine just thinking about it! It doesn’t get any better than this till we reach our eternal home and can spend every day with Him in glory!
It is so easy for us to take this day, this time, and this place for granted , or to look at it as just another “social event” or a chance to talk with someone that you don’t see through the week. Fellowship is a wonderful blessing among Christians and a true way to build our faith and “charge our batteries”.  But true worship is a relationship with God that is a unique and special way to humble ourselves before Him, receive His forgiveness, and Praise him for the Love that He shows us!

How can we take that for granted? I always feel that if I am not in church on Sunday I miss out on a lot of good things.
     
To remember the Sabbath brings with it a whole host of blessings for us and more importantly, it brings honor to God.

 Once again, we pray;
Create in me a clean heart, oh God, and a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from Thy presence, and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.
Restore unto me, the joy of Thy salvation, and uphold me with Thy Free Spirit. Amen 

Stan Stoppenhagen

Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld ©WELS

The Offertory The Lutheran Hymnal © 1940 Concordia Publishing House,  St. Louis

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thursday after Ash Wednesday



The Second Commandment.

You shall not take the name of the Lord, your God, in vain.

What does this mean?--
Answer. We should fear and love God that we may not curse, swear, use witchcraft, lie, or deceive by His name, but call upon it in every trouble, pray, praise, and give thanks 

"Keep my commands and follow them.  I am the Lord.  Do not profane my holy name.  I must be acknowledged as holy by the Israelites.  I am the Lord, who makes you holy."  -- Leviticus 22:31-32


We show our love to God by honoring and obeying Him in all that we do and say. We should respect and worship Him to the greatest of our abilities. One of the most important ways to respect God is found in the Second Commandment. The Second Commandment concerns the holiness of God's name. We are asked by God to honor and respect His name: "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord, thy God, in vain." The word "vain" means false, useless, and worthless. In other words, taking God's name in vain refers to abusing, misusing, or cursing of God's name. When using God's name in vain, we are not honoring or obeying God. According to the New Webster's Dictionary, the term "to honor" means to treat with significance. How can we use God's name on a daily basis in a positive way to show our love and respect of Him? We do this in daily prayer, praise, and thanksgiving to Him.

We pray You, O Lord, to keep our tongues from evil and our lips from speaking deceit, that as Your holy angels continuously sing praises to You in heaven, so ma8y we at all times glorify You on earth; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Emily Miller



Art Work: Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld ©WELS

Collect For control of the tongue, Lutheran Service Book © 2008 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday



The First Commandment.

You shall have no other gods.

What does this mean?--Answer.


We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things.

As a little girl, we were taught this commandment through Bible stories. We used it as a memory verse. Simple enough. Short memory verse, and how easy, ”No other Gods.” I wasn’t going to build a golden calf to worship, how silly!

As I’ve grown, so has my understanding of this commandment.

God gave us land, sea, air and sun to sustain us, not for us to worship. (Genesis 1:1-19) God gave us gold and silver and other precious medals for practical use, not to worship. (Proverbs 8:10, Psalm 115)  God gave us the gift of animals for us to care for and for food, clothing, and companionship. Not for worship. (Genesis 1:20-25) God gave Adam his wife Eve, just as He gave me my spouse, to love, honor and cherish. Not to worship. (Genesis 2:15-24, 1 Corinthians 13:13)  God gave us our bodies not to worship, but to take care of and serve Him while here on earth. (Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 8:1-12) The list goes on and on. You can add whatever, but the bottom line is, to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit give ALL the glory, honor and praise.
-Betty Sielschott 

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 with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  



O Lord, who art our God, and who hast commanded us to have on other Gods before Thee; grant us to fear, love and trust in Thee above all else; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord.






Image Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld © WELS
Collect for Ash Wednesday Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing St. Louis

A Lutheran Prayer Book by John Doberstein © 1960 Mulenberg Press, Philadelphia

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

An Introduction



Today we begin our journey through season of Lent. We will walk with the Savior reviewing His passion, suffering and death. Then, on Easter Sunday we shall hear those glorious words, “Christ is risen, He is risen indeed. Alleluia!” As we begin our Lenten pilgrimage we start with the first commandment. You shall have no other gods, period. Because we cannot keep this commandment we have trouble with the others. Because of our fallen nature we find ourselves to be separated from God, broken, beaten.
 
On Ash Wednesday, we come face to face with our own mortality.  Dust. Ashes. If we are honest with ourselves, we know that we are forever running after other gods – sex, power, money, our own agendas and plans. So on this day we begin the process of turning back, or rather we are turned back by God, that we might learn again to fear, love, and trust in Him. St. Paul reminds us, For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” Romans 5:19

Lord, the Lenten season will be upon us once again. As we begin this journey may we look to You and learn to trust Your word and place our confidence in Christ’s work.

Artwork by Ed Rojas, © Higher Things

Jesus I will Ponder Now



If my sins give me alarm
And my conscience grieve me
Let Thy cross my fear disarm
Peace of conscience give me
Grant that I may trust in Thee
And Thy holy Passion
If His Son so loveth me
God must have compassion

Introduction: Today we begin a six week process of observing our Savior’s Passion, suffering and death during the discipline of Lent. Under the theme: “Jesus I will Ponder Now” we will focus on six aspects of the Savior’s Passion as rendered and presented in six beautiful Chorales – four of which were penned by Johan Sebastian Bach. It is my prayer that as we focus on Jesus’ suffering through Scripture and song we will grow in a deeper appreciation of what Jesus has won for us on the bloody and cruel cross of Calvary.

In the Gospel of Luke, chapter 18, Jesus explains to His disciples, “Then He took unto Him the twelve, and said unto them, ‘Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man shall be accomplished.” {V.31} As we consider Jesus’ Passion we observe His work in terms of sin and grace.

I. If my sins give me alarm and My conscience grieve me.

A. It is sin which causes us to be alarmed
1. Sin of commission –committed and done by
a. Thoughts
b. Words
c. Actions
2. Sins of omission
a. When we had opportunity to do good but failed.
b. When we could have prevented sin but failed to act or didn’t want to get involved, or the time was not convenient.
B. Our conscience is troubled when we consider past wrongs, failures, and the nagging question, “What will God do to me at the end of my days?”

Transition: How do we receive a clean conscience and peace of mind? Our hymn verse gives us a clear answer.

II. Let Thy cross, my fear disarm peace of conscience give me.

A. The cross of Christ disarms our fears.
1. At The cross the wrath of an offended God was poured out on Jesus Christ God’s own Son.
2. Paul puts it this way; “God was in Christ reconciling us to the Father not counting our sins against us…” 2 Corinthians 5:19
3. As Christ has taken our sin there is nothing for us to fear.
B. Peace of conscience is what Christ alone can give.
1. He gives us His peace – “Peace I leave thee, My peace I give thee…” -John 14:27
2. This is the only peace, which will sustain us – all other forms or attempts at peace - pale in comparison.

Transition: Christ suffered for us once for all. Yet the Devil will attempt to trip us up reminding us again and again of past failings. He will quote for us chapter and verse where we have sinned. That’s why we need a continued reminder of Christ’s work.

III. Grant that I may trust in Thee and Thy holy Passion.
A. All Jesus asks of us is to trust Him.
1. Trust is nothing more than another word for faith.
2. Faith is nothing more than taking God at His word.
B. We trust that what Christ accomplished at the cross is all that is needed to win for us salvation.
1. Jesus’ words: “It is finished!” says it all!
a. There is nothing left to be done. Jesus did it all at the cross.
b. Trusting in Jesus’ work and merit is what our faith must focus.

Transition: As we focus on what Jesus has done we learn an eternal truth – the love and compassion of Christ.

IV. If His Son so loveth me God must have compassion.
A. Smile - God loves you! Best summed up by Christ Himself in John 3:16-18
B. He has had compassion. The Passion of the Christ is motivated by the Father’s compassion for a fallen world. When He gave up His own Son He did the very best. The Father shows that;
1. He cares for us
2. He loves us
3. He sent us His own Son who redeemed this world to save us.

Conclusion: As we begin the discipline of Lent we focus on Jesus’ Passion. He has redeemed us lost and condemned creatures and has purchased and won us from sin, from death and from the power of the devil. A great and mighty wonder is to unfold during this Lenten season we watch in awe and wonderment.

Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS used by permission for personal and congregational use.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Time in the Word - Lent 1


Christ Jesus Defeats Our Temptation and Saves Us by His Faithfulness

In faith and the fear of God Abraham prepared to sacrifice his beloved son, Isaac. At the Word of the Lord, he “took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son” and “when they came to the place of which God had told him,” Abraham bound Isaac “and laid him on the altar” (Gen. 22:6, 9). Then God stayed Abraham’s hand and provided “for Himself the Lamb for a burnt offering” (Gen. 22:8). That Lamb is God’s own beloved Son, Jesus, in whom “all the nations of the earth” are blessed (Gen. 22:18). As the Substitute for all the sons of men, Jesus is driven by the Spirit “into the wilderness” to be “tempted by Satan” (Mark 1:12–13), in order to endure and defeat all temptation. We are tempted by our own desire, which conceives and “gives birth to sin” (James 1:14–15). But this blessed Man, Christ Jesus, remained “steadfast under trial” and He has received “the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12). His faithfulness, His victory, and His life are now given to us by His grace in the Gospel.

Collect for the First Sunday in Lent: O Lord God, You led Your ancient people through the wilderness and brought them to the promised land. Guide the people of Your Church that following our Savior we may walk through the wilderness of this world toward the glory of the world to come; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Collect for Ash Wednesday: 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;

Collect for the Commemoration of St Matthias (Friday, 24 February): Almighty God, You chose Your servant Matthias to be numbered among the Twelve. Grant that Your Church, ever preserved from false teachers, may be taught and guided by faithful and true pastors; through Jesus Christ, our Lord,

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;

Prayer for aid against temptation: O God, You justify the ungodly and desire not the death of the sinner. Graciously assist us by Your heavenly aid and evermore shield us with Your protection, that no temptation may separate us from Your love in Christ Jesus, Your Son, our Lord,

Prayer in times of temptation: Almighty and everlasting God, through Your Son You have promised us forgiveness of sins and everlasting life. Govern our hearts by Your Holy Spirit that in our daily need, and especially in all time of temptation, we may seek Your help and, by a true and lively faith in Your Word, obtain all that You have promised; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord,

Monday, 20 February 2012Psalm 91:9–13; antiphon, Psalm 91:15–16—The Introit sets the theme for the day: that, in times of trouble, the Lord is our only sure dwelling place and refuge. The Lord loves everyone who puts his trust in Him, and so He promises, ‘When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.’

Tuesday, 21 February 2012Psalm 25:1–10—In this psalm, David prays for God’s mercy when he is under attack by his enemies. He asks the Lord to remember His mercy and steadfast love, and not to look upon David’s sins. We do the same when we pray the Lord’s prayer. We ask God to deliver us from evil, and, in praying ‘Forgive us our trespasses,’ we pray that ‘our Father in heaven would not look upon our sins, nor on their account deny our prayer.’ (Small Catechism)

Wednesday, 22 February 2012Genesis 22:1–18—Our Old Testament reading is a familiar one: the testing of Abraham. When we New Testament believers hear this account, it reminds us of our Savior Jesus. Jehovahjireh—The LORD Will Provide—supplies a substitute for Isaac. The ram is caught by its horns, and thus remains unblemished, the perfect sacrifice. Likewise, the LORD offered up His Son Jesus on the cross to be our substitute. He was the perfect sacrifice, unblemished by the taint of sin.


Thursday, 23 February 2012James 1:12–18—When we are baptized, it is as if a bull’s-eye is painted on us. The devil will attack us, for he knows that, in Baptism, we are washed clean of our sins, and are made the children of God. When temptation comes, therefore, as it surely will, we must remain steadfast in the faith we received at Baptism. We do this by reading and hearing God’s Word, by daily remembering our Baptism, and by being regular in our church attendance, where we confess our sins and receive absolution and where we receive the Lord’s Supper for the forgiveness of sins and the strengthening and nurturing of our faith.

Friday, 24 February 2012Mark 1:9–15—After our Lord’s Baptism, the Spirit led Him into the desert to suffer temptation at the hands of the devil. He endured the same temptations as were presented to Adam and Eve in the Garden—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, as the holy Evangelist John names them (1 John 2:16). Unlike our first parents (and us), however, He does not give into temptation, but resists the devil with the words of Holy Scripture.


Saturday, 25 February 2012—The great hymn of the Reformation, A Mighty Fortress Is Our God (LSB #656), is our hymn of the day. It reminds us that, though the devil is a formidable foe, one whom we are unable to overcome on our own, he has been defeated by the Word made flesh, our Savior Jesus. ‘Our victory has been won; The Kingdom ours remaineth.’



Pr. Jeffrey M. Keuning, Pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church, Casey, IA and Zion Lutheran, Church Dexter, IA has written this week’s Time in the Word
Sources:
Ary Scheffer Temptation of Christ 1854
Lectionary summary on the front page from the LCMS Commission on Worship
Artwork by Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, © WELS
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Transfiguration



The Transfiguration was a worship experience. Jesus took His inner circle with Him to a mountain to get away from the busyness and the concerns of the world to be with the Father. Jesus’ three disciples witnessed the very glory of God found in Jesus’ Transfigured body in a worship experience.

Each Sunday therefore, needs to be a Transfiguration Sunday, for worship at its best is an experience with God. It is obvious that many in our churches are not having a religious experience. How do we witness Jesus first hand? This morning, let us consider the essentials of a worship experience, which should bring a divine brilliance to our lives.

With the Transfiguration as a backdrop for us this morning, let’s consider what worship can truly mean. Let’s consider worship at its best.

1 Fellowship with the saints – “Moses and Elijah.” (vs.4) As Peter, James and John were on the mountain with Jesus suddenly there appeared to them the two great prophets of the past; Moses and Elijah. Of all the great men of old, it was Moses and Elijah who is remembered as God’s chosen prophets. As two great men, to whom the prophecies were announced, Jesus would simply tell us clearly “Moses and the prophets they testify to Me” (Luke 24:44)

Beginning with the Law and Moses and the Psalms Jesus opened His disciples eyes to see that all of the prophecies of old were fulfilled in Him. When we worship Jesus, we worship Him who has fulfilled all things. In Him all of God’s promises are “Yes” and “Amen” Worship at its best is realized when we find fellowship with those who have gone before us in the prophecies fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

2 Real worship happens when we give praise and adoration to Jesus Christ – Upon seeing these three figures, Christ, Moses, and Elijah, our text tells us that the disciples were “exceedingly afraid” (vv. 2, 6) They were filled with awe and wonder. Is there a sense of awe and wonder in our worship experience? Do we have a sense of entering into the presence of the divine?

This is what we are to experience when we encounter the divine. Is our worship experience filled with a sense of the divine with a sense of awe, or is it merely an experience that we have grown accustomed to, or, even worse, something that leaves us ambivalent? Worship at its best calls for a sense of awe as we approach the divine.

3 Hear the Word of God – The Father speaking from the cloud that encircled them said, “This is My beloved Son.” (vs.7) We come to worship to hear the very word of God. As we hear the Words of Scripture, especially the Gospel we hear the very Words of Jesus. We come to encounter Christ. We come to hear Jesus’ Words. Jesus tells us “My sheep hear My voice and I know them and they follow Me and I give them eternal life and no one shall snatch me out of My hand” (John 10:27) Whose words do we come to hear? We come to hear and to follow Jesus. Worship at its best calls for us to come and to listen to Jesus and His Word.

4 Challenge to obey – We come not just to a worship service but in service, we worship Him. Worship, at its best calls for us to follow and obey the Savior. The Father, speaking to the disciples and to you and me this day says this; “Listen to Him” (vs.7) We listen and we obey. Christ calls us to discipleship. He calls us to obedience. Worship at its very best calls us to be new people, new people in Jesus Christ. He calls us to follow Him as He guides and as He leads.

We began this season of Epiphany this year with John reminding us “He must increase, I must decrease”, We conclude this season with the same thought. We follow Him as He guides and directs us. Worship at its best is a challenge for each of us.

When we return to this holy house in three days, we will begin a pilgrimage of following Jesus to the cross and open tomb. This will be worship at its very best. As we follow Him down from the mountain of Transfiguration to the Mount of Olives, to a hill called Golgotha, to the open tomb may we experience Jesus in His glory hidden at that time but now fully revealed to us. As we do this, not only will we find worship at its best we will truly worship Him in spirit and in truth.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Time in the Word - Transfiguration


The Face of Jesus Christ Manifests the Light of the Knowledge of the Glory of God

It was “a hard thing” that Elisha asked, but by his persistence he was able to see the Prophet Elijah being taken “by a whirlwind into heaven.” Although “chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them,” Elisha received Elijah’s cloak and a “double portion” of his spirit for preaching the Lord’s Word (2 Kings 2:9–11). It was a hard thing, too, for Israel to see Moses and come near to him, when “the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God” (Ex. 34:29–30). Therefore, after “he commanded them all that the Lord had spoken with him in Mount Sinai,” Moses “put a veil over his face” (Ex. 34:32–33). Only the Word of the Gospel lifts the veil, and “only through Christ is it taken away” (2 Cor. 3:14). Thus are we able to behold “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ,” who is “the image of God” (2 Cor. 4:4–6). For the Law and the Prophets are all fulfilled in Him. Therefore, “listen to Him,” and fix your sights on “Jesus only” (Mark 9:7–8).

Collect for the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our LordO God, in the glorious transfiguration of Your beloved Son You confirmed the mysteries of the faith by the testimony of Moses and Elijah. In the voice that came from the bright cloud You wonderfully foreshowed our adoption by grace. Mercifully make us co-heirs with the King in His glory and bring us to the fullness of our inheritance in heaven; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Prayer before worship: O Lord, our creator, redeemer, and comforter, as we come together to worship You in spirit and in truth, we humbly pray that You would open our hearts to the preaching of Your Word so that we may repent of our sins, believe in Jesus Christ as our only Savior, and grow in grace and holiness. Hear us for His sake.

Prayer after worship: Almighty and merciful God, we have again worshiped in Your presence and received both forgiveness for our many sins and the assurance of Your love in Jesus Christ. We thank You for this undeserved grace and ask You to keep us in faith until we inherit eternal salvation; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord,

Prayers for those who are married: O Lord God, at the creation of Adam and Eve You instituted and blessed marriage as the union of a man and woman and commanded that it be held in honor by all. Grant Your blessings to all married couples (especially [names]) that their life together may be blessed with wisdom, purity, self-sacrifice, and love; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord,

Most gracious God, we give thanks for the joy and blessings that You grant to husbands and wives. Assist them always by Your grace that with true fidelity and steadfast love they may honor and keep their marriage vows, grow in love toward You and for each other, and come at last to the eternal joys that You have promised; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord,

Prayer for home and family: Visit, O Lord, the homes in which Your people dwell, and keep all harm and danger far from them. Grant that we may dwell together in peace under the protection of Your holy angels, sharing eternally in Your blessings; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord,

Monday, 13 February 2012Psalm 112:1, 3, 7–9; antiphon, Psalm 112:4—Psalm 112 speaks of the blessedness of the man who fears the LORD. This psalm is a complement to the preceding psalm, which tells of the blessings, physical and spiritual, which God bestows upon us. Those who trust in Him—who fear the LORD—show their gratefulness to Him by their lives, which are conformed to His will. The one who trust in the Lord greatly delights in His commandments.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012Psalm 50:1–6—The opening line of Sunday’s psalm heaps up divine titles: Mighty One, God, the LORD. This psalm was used in the temple liturgy, where the singers of it acknowledge that they will worship only the one, true God. Even the earth and the heavens declare His righteousness.

Wednesday, 15 February 20122 Kings 2:1–12—Elijah was one of the greatest of the prophets of God, remaining faithful and proclaiming God’s Word even when nearly all of Israel had apostatized. He is one of only two people in Scripture who didn’t die; rather, God took him—in a fiery chariot. The last verses of the Old Testament, Malachi 4:5-6, prophesy that Elijah would appear before the coming of the Messiah. Jesus said that John the Baptist fulfilled this prophecy (Matt. 11:14); later, Elijah appeared with Jesus at His transfiguration.

Thursday, 16 February 20122 Corinthians 3:12–13; 4:1–6—When Moses came down from Mt. Sinai, from speaking with the Lord, the children of Israel were afraid to look upon him, because his face shone from being in the presence of God. They made Moses wear a veil over his face. (Exodus 34:29-35) As this veil concealed from the Israelites the transient character of the old covenant and its orders, so now when the Law (Moses) is read they cannot see the real significance of the Law as witness, together with the prophets, to the newly revealed righteousness of God in the Gospel. But, when we are brought to faith in Christ, the veil is removed, and we recognize that Christ is the fulfillment of the Law.

Friday, 17 February 2012Mark 9:2–9—Three of the disciples—Peter, James, and John—were privileged to go up on a mountain with Christ, as He was transfigured before them. That is, His glory as the Son of God, normally masked by His humanity, was clearly shown. Elijah and Moses appear with Him, and they discuss His impending death (Luke 9:31). Peter, James, and John are witnesses of the glory which awaits Christ beyond the cross.

Saturday, 18 February 2012—The Hymn of the Day, O Wondrous Type! O Vision Fair (LSB 413), recounts the story of the Transfiguration, and reminds us that Christ continues to manifest His glory to-day through the ministrations of the Church.

This week’s Time in the Word is written by The Revd Jeffrey M. Keuning, Pastor
Lectionary summary on the front page from the LCMS Commission on Worship
Artwork by Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, © WELS
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Epiphany 6


Mark 1:40-45
Come clean

Most people want to be clean, at least physically. Consider the amount of soap and detergents sold annually. Eighty-five percent of the American people have bathtubs. We want clean bodies and hair, clean clothes, and we want to live in clean houses. Are we as interested in soul cleanliness? Sin is associated with dirt: dirty jokes, filthy minds, polluted values, cesspools of iniquity. Isaiah described himself as a sinner “A man of unclean lips” In contrast, God is perfectly pure. Christ is spotless of sin. God demands clean hands and a pure heart in those who come into His presence, leprosy is a sign of sin. Healing is cleansing. The leper called himself “unclean”. Today we deal with the cleansing of sin, the cure for spiritual leprosy.

How to come clean to God –

1. Realize the need for cleansing – listen to verse 40 of our text. “ And a leper came to Him, beseeching Him and falling on his knees before Him, and saying to Him, "If You are willing, you can make me clean." This miracle teaches us, how to apply ourselves to Christ. We are to simply come as this leper did. In His great need, he sought out Christ.

With great humility, this leper came beseeching him, and kneeling down to him (v. 40). This man, as sick and as dirty as he was realized that he had come into the presence of the Savior Himself.

This man’s action teaches us that those who would receive grace and mercy from Christ, must ascribe honor and glory to Christ, and approach Him with humility and reverence. What is your attitude toward Christ? Is it one of humility? With humbleness of heart, this man approached the Savior in his time of need.

2. Desire to be clean - “beseeching…kneeling” He bowed before Him. v. 40 Notice what is happening here. What we believe of the power of Christ we must bring home to our particular case. This leper’s particular case was he needed to be cleansed. That need spurred him into action. He went to the only one who could help. He went to Jesus and in faith; he said to the Savior “You can do this for me!”

Is Jesus just one among many that we might try to consult or is He the only person to whom we turn in every need? Jesus says so plainly "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My load is light." (Matthew 11:28-30) Find you rest in Jesus today for His yoke is easy and His burden is light. In your need come to Jesus He will sustain you He will uphold you.

3. Accept the cleansing – listen to verse 41 of our text.”… moved with compassion, He stretched out His hand, and touched him, and said to him, "I am willing; be cleansed." Jesus’ willingness to cleanse is based on pity – . Christ's power was put forth by a word, to signify the way He would ordinarily work spiritual cures; He sends His word and He heals. Psalm 107:20 tells us this very thing! “He sent forth His Word, and healed them…” This is what we should expect of Jesus. He can do no other. No one can work like Him!

Jesus has the ability to cleanse – Listen to what Mark says in verse 42 of our text. “And immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.” Miracle after miracle we see the same thing happening repeatedly. Someone’s in trouble, Jesus helps, and the people are blessed! Jesus performed these miracles for a reason and a purpose…that the people would believe and put their trust in Him.

Today the Savior calls us to place our faith in His words and His works. Trust Him. Hold Him to His Word. He is able to save you. He is able to perform a miracle in your life. "Call upon Him in every trouble. HE will deliver you and you will honor Him". (Psalm 50:15)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Mission-Philosophy-Vision Statement


Mission-Philosophy-Vision Statement For our Friedheim Family

Preamble: The birthday of Missions occurred on the day of Pentecost circa AD 30 in the city of Jerusalem. On February 25, 1838 Zion-Friedheim Lutheran Church was chartered to be a House of Peace, a Haven of Hope for those who suffer and a Harbor of Light in this sin-darkened world. As followers of Jesus we are Christ’s ambassadors – commissioned by Him who has reconciled the world to Himself to be salt and light.

The Mission of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church - Friedheim is to be “A 21st Century Parish with a 1st Century Faith

The Philosophy of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church - Friedheim is recorded in Acts 2:42 “And they continued steadfast in the Apostles’ doctrine, and in fellowship, and in the breaking of bread, and in prayer

The Vision of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church - Friedheim is to be one with respect to four specific objectives of mission and ministry.

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

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

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

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

Adopted: February 6, 2003