Friday, November 30, 2012

St. Andrew

Collect for St. Andrew’s Day (November 30)  AALMIGHTY God, who didst give such grace unto thy holy Apostle Saint Andrew, that he readily obeyed the calling of thy Son Jesus Christ, and followed him without delay; Grant unto us all, that we, being called by thy holy Word, may forthwith give up ourselves obediently to fulfill thy holy commandments; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Time in the Word - Advent 1



Time in the Word
 November 26- December 1, 2012
Preparation for Advent 1

While many may seem rushed during this particular time of the year spend some time with your Lord in devotion and prayer. Consider the many blessings He has given you as we begin to prepare for His coming as the promised Savior and redeemer of the world.

The theme for the first Sunday of the Church year Advent 1 falls under the theme “The return of Christ”  In the Old Testament lesson we learn that God will send a Messiah to execute justice and righteousness on the earth. In the Epistle St. Paul reminds us to prepare for Christ’s return by being blameless in holiness. In the Gospel lesson we are told to watch and pray as preparation for the sudden return of Christ.

Collect for Advent 1 – Stir up Your power, O Lord and come, that by Your protection we may be rescued  from the threatening perils of our sins and saved by Your mighty deliverance; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Collect for St. Andrew’s Day (November 30)  ALMIGHTY God, who didst give such grace unto thy holy Apostle Saint Andrew, that he readily obeyed the calling of thy Son Jesus Christ, and followed him without delay; Grant unto us all, that we, being called by thy holy Word, may forthwith give up ourselves obediently to fulfill thy holy commandments; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Collect for the Glorious Reign of Christ —Lord God, heavenly Father, send forth Your Son, we pray, that he may lead home His bride, the Church, that we will all the redeemed may enter into Your eternal kingdom; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

A prayer for Christ’s return – O Lord, absolve Your people from their offenses that from the bonds of our sins, which by reason of our weakness we have brought upon us, we may be delivered by Your bountiful goodness; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

A prayer of supplication – Almighty God, our heavenly Father, because You desire not the death of a sinner but rather that he should turn from his evil way and live, graciously turn away from us the punishments which we by our sins have deserved and which have been borne for us by our Lord Jesu Christ, and grant us ever to serve You in holiness and pureness of living; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.  

Monday, 26 November 2012—Psalm 89:6, 14-16, 18, Antiphon, Zechariah 9:9b – Behold your King is coming to you; righteous and having salvation.  These words were fulfilled by Jesus when He entered Jerusalem on that first Palm Sunday. They hailed Him then but later rejected Him. How would Jesus fare if He were to enter our city today?  Christ is always coming to us whether we recognize Him or not. In which ways does He come to us? Hint: it all starts with the word “W” Word, Wafer, Wine, and Water. Prepare for Him now while there is still time. There will come a time when time shall be no more.  

Tuesday, 27 November 20012—Psalm25:1-10; key verse v6 Remember, O Lord, Your great mercy and love, for they are from of old.- The Advent season is a time spent in reflection. We remember the Savior’s prophecies and we see how He fulfilled them. We remember His promises to restore and forgive us and we see how He worked everything out according to the Father’s plan. As we prepare for Thanksgiving and the beginning of the Advent season spend some time thinking of the many gifts and blessings the Savior has given you. How ought we respond with thankful and grateful hearts? How can thanksgiving be translated into thanks living?

Wednesday, 28 November 2012— Jeremiah 33:14-16–God’s promise to send a Branch from David will be fulfilled. In verse 14 God promises to fulfill a promise. Was not the promise fulfilled in Christ? Is there still a promise to be fulfilled? Has the promise been fulfilled in you. Let’s look at the one who is coming. Who is He? He is the Son of David- royalty. (v.15)  He is work is justice and righteousness. (v.15b) The results of His coming is salvation. (v.16)

Thursday, 29 November 2012—1 Thessalonians 3:9-13– Be blameless in holiness at the return of Jesus Christ. When Christ comes, we are to be pleasing to Christ. Paul explains what these requirements are. Who can meet them? Is it possible to meet these demands? Love – not only Christians but all people. (v.12) Be blameless in holiness – not only before men but before God. (v.13) How is such perfection obtained? It is found in the holy one of God. 

Friday, 30 November 2012 – Luke 21:25-36– Conditions of the world prior to Jesus’ return. Of this we can be certain the end will come. Will it be this generation? Consider verse 36. The signs of the end are clearly given in verses 25-26. Know the signs!  Thus in this Advent season we prepare for the end and for the celebration of Christ’s return. How might we do this? Consider verses 34-36.

Saturday, 1 December 2012—-Luke 19:28-40 - This verses inspired the hymn The Advent of Our King. (LSB 331)  We come to the beginning of a new church year. The harvest is complete. Thanksgiving festivities have come to a close. We now prepare for the celebration of Christ’s birth. We anticipate Christ’s sure and certain return in glory. This year will it be a miserable or a merry Christmas? If you are prepared to meet Christ when He comes in the clouds of heaven you will be in the right frame of mind to celebration His first Advent. Circumstances may change. Our perception to them is what is important.

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 and Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House
Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series C – John Brokhoff © 1979 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Proper 29


Mark 13:24-31 - Anticipation concerning Jesus’ 2nd Advent

Almighty and ever-living God, since You have given exceedingly great and precious promises to those who believe, grant us so perfectly and without all doubt to believe in Your Son Jesus Christ, that our faith in Your sight may never be reproved.

Jesus prophesied that the end of all things would come. He also revealed to the inner circle of His disciples that He would come again in triumph and glory to gather His followers. He promised that He would come to claim His church. Jesus invites us, His disciples today, to an awareness and sense of anticipation of His second advent. He reminds us that though heaven and earth will pass away His words will not pass away.

  1. The Old Testament prophets already predicted the last days, of which Jesus speaks. Prophets such as Joel (3:14-21), Amos, (5:18-20) and Obadiah (15) pointed to “the day of the Lord” as a day of judgment. Prophets such as Jeremiah (9:25) and Amos (4:2; 8:11) used the expression, “behold, the days are coming” to forecast a time when God’s wrath and anger would be poured out on sinful humankind. The prophets of old predicted the end of days. Jesus has promised He will fulfill it. At the right time, when the last person has been converted, when sum total of all believers has come, then the end will come.
  1. Jesus taught His inner circle of disciples about the last days. There will be sings in the sun, moon, and stars. Heaven and earth will pass away. The process of the original creation will be reversed. The days are getting shorter. Soon, the shortest day of the year will be upon us, then the days will become longer until, finally it is at last summer. As we can mark times, and seasons so we too heed the words of Jesus has He has given us His clear word concerning the end. You need not fear the last day because Jesus has ordered it. And if He has ordered it, and controls it, He will order and control all of your days.  
  1. Christ’s second coming will be the occasion of final deliverance and salvation for Christ’s people. Jesus Christ identifies Himself as, ”one like a son of man” in Daniel 7. In the original context, He pointed forward beyond His crucifixion, resurrection and ascension to His second coming in triumph, majesty, and glory, the time when He will gather His saints to share with Him the glories of His church triumphant. When that day comes, all sickness, sorrow, hurt and pain will be a thing of the past. He will wipe every ear from your eye and the former things will be a thing of the past.
  1. As we believers anticipate Christ’s second coming, Jesus reminds us that His word are forever; they will not pass away (Mark 13:31). The last great has not yet come.  As a result,  believers also need to hear the proclamation of both the Law as well as the Gospel (Matthew 28:20; 1 Thessalonians 2:13) We daily need to hear that we are fallen sinners. We also need to be reminded that we have been saved by God’s grace through faith for Christ’s sake.  

The earth of which we live is not eternal. Heaven and earth will pass away. Jesus has predicted all these events. The Lord Jesus has promised that His words will last forever. He invites us to trust and to treasure particularly the assurance of forgiveness that comes from His death and resurrection. Rejoice in the three great realities; forgiveness, life, salvation. Live as it this might be the last day, for you know, it very well just might be! 

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Thanksgiving Day Psalm 37:25


Heavenly Father, God of all grace, waken our hearts that we may never forget your blessings but steadfastly thank and praise you for all your goodness that we may live in your fear until with all your saints we praise you eternally in your heavenly kingdom.

 The story is told that upon his death Luther’s family was going through his personal effects. In Luther’s coat pocket, his family found two small coins and a piece of paper. Written on this crumpled page were the words “We are beggars!”  This cryptic message of his is supposedly Luther’s final words. Appropriate? Most assuredly so! As we observe yet another national Thanksgiving, enacted by President Lincoln 149 years ago, let us consider the words of David as they are recorded in sacred Scripture in Psalm 37:25:  “I have been young and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging bread”

I.        David [and for that matter Luther] had the perspective of seeing life from its complete perspective.

A.     David writes from the perspective of seeing all of life unfold before him. “I have been young and now I am old...” David reminds us.

1.      He had the experience of a lifetime to draw from. David was able to see life as a youth as well as an old man. He gained a wealth of knowledge that came with age and experience.  He has “been there” and “done that”?

2.      What have you learned? Life experience is such a great teacher.  A part of thanksgiving is to give back to the younger generation; teaching them that we are thankful in spite of what circumstances might dictate. 

B.      Perspective is an asset that was granted these two giants of faith. What did they learn?

1.                  David learned the hard way. He had everything and proceeded to throw it all away because of greed.  Through a series of calculated acts, he proceeded to destroy two families; the family of Uriah and his own as we are reminded that a sword would not leave his family.

2.         Luther learned that we truly are beggars. We are sinners saved by grace – for by nature we are blind, dead, and enemies of God. Yet by God’s free grace and favor, we are restored, redeemed and forgiven.

Transition:  Not only is there the perspective of a long life lived - there is also the perspective of a life lived in faith.

II.     David lived life from the perspective of seeing life lived out in its totality witnessing the hand of God in his life. He states in our text; “Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken.”

A.     Our sins cry out for us to be condemned.

1.      Our sin calls us Guilty! Because of sin, we all face the prospect of facing the reality of grim death. By nature, I am blind, dead and an enemy of God. I cannot do those things, which are pleasing in His sight. By definition, I do those things, which I should not do and fail to live, as I ought. The Savior reminds us in John, chapter 3: “that which is born of flesh is flesh...” The sin of Adam, which led to a fallen nature, was passed on to his son Seth and to his sons all the way to this present generation. Thus, David will remind us later in the Psalms “In sin my mother conceived me...” From the moment of conception, we are found to be with a corrupt nature.

2.      Our guilt leads to punishment and embarrassment to feelings of hopelessness and abandonment. Confession some may say is good for the soul but absolution is necessary for that soul’s survival!

B.      Yet God will not abandon us past the point of no help!

1.      He did this in time when He sent Christ into the world to the bloody cross. Christ was abandoned and forsaken by God and by men as He took our sins to Himself. The Father forsook the Son on Good Friday so He would never have to forsake you who are His children!

2.      Think back to this past year. Are we only thankful when things have gone “our way”? Yet what has Scripture and experience taught us? He cannot abandon us pas the point of no hope/help. When things appear to be going against us, when all seems lost and so far beyond our grasp.
 He will never leave or forsake us. Thus, we can say with the hymn writer; “Abide with me! Fast falls the eventide; the darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide. When other helpers fail and comforts flee. Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me!”

Transition: With David, we are called to see life from the perspective of a long life and a life lived by faith. These perspectives can only drive us to one conclusion that God will provide for His own!

III.   We may be beggars yet God provides for us despite our condition of sin.

A.     God will provide our spiritual needs. David is quite clear; “I have not seen the righteous forsaken!”

1.      He will never turn His back on us.

2.      With St. Paul we can say, “I am convinced that neither life nor death nor angels or principalities height, depth or anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is found in Christ Jesus our Savior.” [Romans 8]

B.     God most surely will provide for our physical needs also. “Nor will his children beg for bread

1.      This has certainly been a challenging year. When we recall the year of our Lord 2012 – a year in which crops were seriously affected. And even those not affected by farming know the effects of rising prices, falling interest rates, and a flat economy. Circumstances may cause some to say our situation is bleak yet David gives us a different picture – God’s children won’t beg for bread.

2.      Jesus puts it more succinctly; “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow, reap, or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable then they?” [Mathew 6:25-27]

In just three little words Luther summed up our entire life – we are beggars – yet God has not given up on us nor will He ever – He has promised to provide for us. Lord in Your mercy – hear our prayer: Heavenly Father, God of all grace, govern our hearts that we may never forget Your blessings but steadfastly thank and praise You for all Your goodness in this life until, with all Your saints, we praise You eternally in Your heavenly kingdom; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.     

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Thanksgiving Eve – Ps.100:5


 In our Psalm for this evening, David calls for us to praise the Lord. Yet David does not simply compel us to praise the Lord. He gives us significant reasons why the Lord is deserving of our praise. 

1.    The Lord is good – This is His essence. He is our good and gracious God and Father. In Psalm 36:5 David exclaims, “Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, Your faithfulness to the skies.” In His goodness, the Lord’s benevolence reaches to the skies. He delights in doing good to us.

2.    His love endures forever – David will say elsewhere “The earth is full of His unfailing love” (Psalm 33:5) He befriends us – as He is our closest and dearest friend.  His love endures forever. It will never cease. It will not run out. It will never run cold.

The Lord’s unfailing love, kindness, and mercy is demonstrated and well documented throughout the pages of the Old Testament. In the book of Deuteronomy we are told “ Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; for He is the faithful God, keep His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep His commandments.” (VS.9)

Later on in the same chapter, He reminds us “If you pay attention to these laws and are careful to follow them, then the Lord your God will keep His covenant of live with you as He swore to your forefathers” (vs.12)

Concerning David the Lord reminds us In 2 Samuel 5:15: “But my love will never be taken away from him…” A question… Was David somehow different then others?

Was he somehow superior? Was he smarter, stronger, better? Hardly! The sins of David are notorious and legendary. David was guilty of murder and adultery. His was the head of a dysfunctional family of which the Lord had predicted that a sword would never leave it.

No, the promise that the Lord’s love would not be taken away from David does not rest on David. Not in the slightest! Rather, it rests squarely on the love and mercy of God.

God loves us with an everlasting love despite our sin, despite our pettiness, despite our imperfection and guilt. We give thanks to God this night because His love endures forever. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent His Son into the world not to condemn the world but that the world might be saved through Him…” (John 4:16-17)

3.    His faithfulness continues through all generations – Each generation will witness the faithfulness of God for themselves. In the Old Testament, we see the faithfulness of God in the giving of the Law, in the deliverance of the children of Israel from the land bondage and slavery. He sustained them through the wandering and pilgrimage years.

Despite their unfaithfulness, He remained faithful – faithful to His word and promise in sending us His Son to bear our burdens and our cares to the cross.

To this present hour, our Lord has proven to be faithful. This night in thankfulness, we offer Him our worship and praise. It is fitting that we should do so for we are only beggars – all that we receive comes from the gracious hand of our Savior.

We say with the Psalmist, the Lord is good, His love endures forever, His faithfulness continues throughout all generations. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gifts. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Time in the Word - Christ the King


 The theme for the last Sunday of the church year is the King and His Kingdom.  Without any difficulty, the theme of kingship can be seen in the lessons. We now come to the end of the church year. Throughout the year, we have covered the life, work and teachings of Jesus, and it comes to a glorious climax today with a “Hallelujah Chorus.” The Gospel reminds us that Jesus’ kingdom is not a worldly kingdom. The Old Testament lesson pictures the Son of Man upon His ascension receiving an eternal and universal kingdom. The King of kings will return to earth, according to the Epistle lesson. The refrain of the Psalm for the day could not be plainer: “The Lord is King.”

Collect for Christ the King –Lord Jesus Christ, so govern our hearts and minds by Your Holy Spirit that, ever mindful of Your glorious return, we may persevere in both faith and holiness of living; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Collect for the Glorious Reign of Christ Lord God, heavenly Father, send forth Your Son, we pray, that he may lead home His bride, the Church, that we will all the redeemed may enter into Your eternal kingdom; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

A prayer for home and family: Visit, we implore You, O Lord, the homes in which Your people dwell, and keep far from them all harm and danger. Grant us to dwell together in peace under the protection of Your holy angels and may Your blessing be with us forever.

A prayer for Christ’s return – O Lord, absolve Your people from their offenses that from the bonds of our sins, which by reason of our weakness we have brought upon us, we may be delivered by Your bountiful goodness; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

For strong faith in Christ – Almighty and ever-living God, since You have given exceedingly great and precious promises to those who believe, grant us so perfectly and without all doubt to believe in Your Son Jesus Christ, that our faith in Your sight may never be reproved; through our Savior, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

A prayer of supplication – Almighty God, our heavenly Father, because You desire not the death of a sinner but rather that he should turn from his evil way and live, graciously turn away from us the punishments which we by our sins have deserved and which have been borne for us by our Lord Jesu Christ, and grant us ever to serve You in holiness and pureness of living; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.   

Monday, 19 November 2012Psalm 39:4-5, 7-8, 12a, Antiphon, 2 Peter 3:13b–We are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.  The Antiphon expresses the desire of every believing child of God – to be home with the Lord. This is our destiny. We are not earthbound. We are only strangers here – heaven is our home.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012Psalm 93; key verse v1- “The Lord is King” This refrain is the theme of the entire day –The Lord is King. He is the king above all other kings, the one and true God. We offer Him our worship and praise for He is worthy of our worship, praise, glory and honor. He is truly the Christ, our King.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012 Daniel 7:13-14– God gives the son of man an eternal kingdom.  A vision of the son of man’s presentation to the Lord who gave Him an indestructible kingdom.  Here we get the picture of one like a son of man appearing before the Lord, not coming to earth as in Mark 13. By the time of the New Testament, the Son of Man was conceived as an individual, a heavenly figure. Jesus used the term to signify His Messiahship. This is the proclamation of the final establishment of Christ’s kingly rule. It says that at the end all things in the world will be subject to Christ and that all nations will serve Him. This is the basis for Christian hope. 

Thursday, 22 November 2012Revelation 1:4b-8 – The King of kings return will be seen by all. Christ the king of kings will return to the earth. This passage contains a greeting similar to Paul’s, a doxology, an announcement of Jesus’ return, and God’s declaration of His being alpha and omega. Grace and peace come from the Trinity: (God-father; Christ-son; Holy Spirit – “seven spirits”, the seven-fold gifts of the Spirit.)  The beginning and the end of the passage deal with God, but Christ is the subject of the central section. Jesus is a witness, the firstborn of the dead, the king of kings (death, resurrection and ascension.) Because of His love, Jesus redeemed us, made us a kingdom, and will come to judge the earth. 

Friday, 23 November 2012John 18:33-37– Christ’s kingship is totally other than this world. Jesus explains to Pilate that, though He is a king, His kingship is not of this world.  Pilate has Jesus inside his court and the Jews are outside. Pilate is torn between the two. He is trying to make up his mind by asking Jesus questions. His first question is whether Jesus is a king. This is a political term and thus it is very dangerous. Jesus dodges the question by asking Pilate if this was his or others’ opinion. The other question concerns what Jesus has done. Jesus explains that His kingship is not of this world. This is proved by the fact that Jesus is not using force to defend Himself. Jesus explains that His mission in the world was to bear witness to the truth. But, only those of the truth and of God will accept His words as truth.

Why was Jesus born? Here we have the answer in Jesus’ own words He was born to bear witness of the truth. He was sent by God. He was given a message. He had a destiny. Because of this, He had a reason to live and knew the meaning of life. In a world where many drift and are confused as to the way and wherefore of life, Christ has a message: Discover your divine destiny. As a follower of Christ, one’s mission is to bear witness to the truth – the truth of God’s love for a fallen humanity. 

Saturday, 24 November 2012Col. 1:5, 20, 23, 27 Hebrews 1:2, 1 Peter 2:24- The hymn - O Jesus King Most Wonderful. (LSB 554)  As you come to worship tomorrow come expecting to offer your Savior the worship with which He is worthy. Come to offer Him your gift of adoration and praise. But do more than simply come to a worship service – in service worship Him.

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 and Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House
Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series B – John Brokhoff © 1981 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Pentecost 25 - Proper 28


Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church
Friedheim
10653 N – 550 W
Decatur, IN 46733
260.547.4248

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

Chartered February 25, 1838
Celebrating our 174th Year

Pentecost 25 - Proper 28
18 November 2012
Mark 13:1-13
O Lord, absolve Your people from their offenses that from the bonds of our sins, which by reason of our weakness we have brought upon us, we may be delivered by Your bountiful goodness;

Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” (v.1)  Do we today admire our handiwork and invite the Lord to join us in our praise of our institutions? Do we say boastfully with Nebuchadnezzar, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power?” (Daniel 4:30) Our personal Babylon may be our career, our business, or the institution that we serve – they are all under the judgment of God’s purposes. If our accomplishments, no matter how splendid, do not conform to His purposes, we shall also hear the verdict; “There will not be left one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” (v.2)  How shall we interpret Jesus’ reply to Peter, James, John, and Andrew?

  1. We like to admire human achievement. This is a good thing. It’s important for us to remember the great things God had done in our midst. Next year we will celebrate our congregation’s 175th anniversary. This is a wonderful thing. The Lord has helped us. The Lord has blessed us. The story of our success shows that the Lord has given many gifts to His people. Without Him, we can do nothing. However, there is also a word of caution for us to heed.
 A.      The disciples of our Lord were clearly shocked by Jesus’ reply that the magnificent temple would be destroyed. Their questions – and we continue to ask similar questions – concerning their possible involvement in the predicted calamity.

When will it happen? By what sign can we know this? Obviously, there was more than mere curiosity. They were hoping for good times to come. They were looking for restoration and glory. They were looking forward to the day when it would be their time to lead. They would be in charge. They would be in control. They would call the shots.

Their questions contained the implied knowledge that our Lord’s prediction also entailed a massive future shift in the lives the people of God. They would reap the benefits.  However, Jesus announced the beginning of judgment. 

B.      Our questions today also seek to know the mystery of the future. When will this happen? How will it come about? What are the signs of Christ’s coming?  However, if that were possible, we would become distant, detached observers of events not directly associated with our lives – as though we were asking for information regarding a scheduled game or a TV spectacle.  However, when God deals with His creation, no one may assume the role of a securely uninvolved spectator. The predicted event will involve us all.

  1. His answers
A.     This Gospel must first be preached to all the nations before the end of the age.
It will be proclaimed as a testimony to the nations.  A testimony that Jesus Christ alone is Lord. Of all the religious figures to ever walk this earth many claimed to have a new directive. Many claimed to have been given a different insight. What makes Jesus Christ different is He alone claimed to be God. He says, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

A testimony that He has won for us salvation and life.  Jesus Christ won for you and me salvation and life by going to the cross to suffer and die there. Then He victoriously rose from the dead. This, again, is what gives Jesus distinction. Even if there were one who claimed to be God, Jesus proves to be God alone by rising from the dead. If you want to destroy Christianity, you will have to explain away both the resurrection of Jesus Christ bodily from the tomb and the changed lives of those who witnessed His resurrection. The early followers of Jesus Christ after the resurrection even simply stated, “We are witnesses of these things.” 2

Only after this message has been proclaimed will the end come. When the gospel message has been proclaimed in all the earth, the end will come. Already the Gospel has proclaimed on every continent. What then will be the signal that the end will come? When the last person is converted, the end will come. The probability of Christ returning in your lifetime is higher now than ever before. This could very well be the Last Generation!

B.      If we want to hasten the time of Christ’s return we will want to be mission minded. So even more may hear this most precious message.

So even more can be led by the Holy Spirit to be converted and to believe. St. Paul reminds us in his letter to the Romans, How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?

C.  This Gospel will be preached – it is a specific message – it is the message of the cross – St. Paul reminds us, “I desire to know nothing among you save Jesus and Him crucified.”

The message we proclaim is a message of the cross. For it was on the bloody cruel cross of Calvary where Jesus bore the sins of all.  It was at the cross where Jesus was winning for the world salvation, life, an eternal victory. This is what must give us a clear distinction.

Where Christ and Him crucified permeates all we do.  Where Christ is the center of our entire work in the parish, in our school, in our homes, in our lives. So we live forgiven lives- in sacramental living.

D.   To all the nations – Every tribe, clan, nation – In the book of Revelation John gives us a picture of what heaven will look like. “After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying:  “Amen!  Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God forever and ever. Amen!”

America continues to be the melting pot. 174 years ago, immigrants looked a lot like us. Not so today – consider immigration trends in America today.

®             When a White person dies in America today only one will take his place due to birth or immigration. 1/1 There is no growth amongst Caucasians in America today;

®              When a Black person dies in America today 3 will take his place due to birth or immigration. 3/1;
     
®             When a Hispanic dies in America today 8 will take his place due to birth or immigration.  8/1 As of the 2000 census (twelve years ago) there were more Hispanics in the US then African-Americans and that number continues to increase.

®             When an Asian dies in America today 15 will take his place due to birth or immigration.  15/1

We no longer have to go to foreign lands to be engaged in mission work. There are people living within the shadows of this church who have yet to hear of the message of Jesus Christ and Him crucified.  There are people living in this community “without a prayer.”  They didn’t wake up this morning thinking of the destiny of their immortal soul. They have no concept of God except for what is played out in the imagination of their own heart. They are living their lives “without a prayer” of “being number with the saints in glory everlasting.”

Consider Lutheran Hour Ministry’s theme, “Bringing Christ to the Nations and the nations to the church.” There are our marching orders. Reaching out into the world with the saving message of Jesus Christ. Where is your mission field? It’s where you live and flourish.

Conclusion: This text is for each of us – to share Christ with whomever we meet. May God use you to be His feet and hands. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Time in the Word - Pentecost 25 - Proper 28


Sunday’s Theme is simply “The Coming End of the World” Mark’s “Little Apocalypse,” chapter 13 is being used to introduce the theme of the end times. Sunday’s Gospel deals with the events of disaster and persecution which mark the birth-pangs of the final end of the world. The Old Testament lesson was chosen to harmonize with the Gospel for it, too, speaks of the end of time and God’s deliverance of His people. The Epistle lesson continues the discussion of Christ as high priest, but indicates that after His once-for-all sacrifice, He is waiting in His exalted state for the defeat of His enemies. As the church year comes to a close, it is fitting to dwell on the end of the world and the return of Christ.

Collect for Proper 28 –O Lord, by Your bountiful goodness release us from the bonds of our sins, which by reason of our weakness we have brought upon ourselves, that we may stand firm until the day of our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Monday, 12 November 2012—Psalm 48:11-14, Antiphon, Mark 13:13b– The one who endures to the end will be saved.   The words of the Antiphon are simple, direct, and profound. If you endure to the end you will be saved. Lord grant while worlds endure we keep God’s teachings pure throughout all generations!  

Tuesday, 13 November 2012—Psalm 16; key verse v.11You will show me the path of life. The Psalm for this week reminds us that God is our refuge in trying times and assures us that God will not abandon us in our trials.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012— Daniel 12:1-3At a time of great trouble, both the living and the dead will be delivered and the wicked condemned. This week’s Old Testament lesson comes from the prophet Daniel. It deals with the Persian period of history and predicts the end of history. At the end there will be great trouble in the world, but God’s people will be delivered because Michael, Israel’s angelic guardian will come to their rescue. The saved will be those living and dead who have their names in the book of life, a list of God’s faithful people. Here is a statement of the resurrection from the Old Testament. The dead will be raised for eternal life or for eternal death (“contempt”).  This life is not the end, but the final verdict comes at the resurrection.

Thursday, 15 November 2012—Hebrews 10:11-18After his perfect sacrifice, Jesus is seated at God’s right hand until all of His enemies are defeated.  The one supreme sacrifice of Christ removes the necessity of repeated sacrifices of animals. These repeated sacrifices cannot remove sin. Jesus’ one sacrifice perfected the faithful. After the perfect offering, Jesus is seated now at God’s right hand waiting for all evil forces to be subjected to Him. This once-for-all-time offering initiated a new covenant which cancels all former covenants and their sacrifices. It is a new covenant of forgiveness. Since there is forgiveness in and through the new covenant, there is no need of other sacrifices for sin.

Friday, 16 November 2012 – Mark 13:1-13Before the end of the world comes, there will be natural disasters and Christ’s followers will be persecuted.  This chapter from Mark’s Gospel, is known as the “Little Apocalypse.” It is the last long teaching of Jesus in Mark, as though it were a farewell speech. The destruction of the temple is predicted and the disciples privately asked Jesus when this would occur and what would be the signs of the end. But these signs mark only the beginning of the end: earthquakes, wars, and persecution. The end will not come until the Gospel is preached to all nations. When will the end come? When the last pagan is converted.

Saturday, 17 November 2012—Hebrews 12:1-3; Revelation 2:10; 14:13; 17:14- is the inspiration for the hymn, For All the Saints. (LSB 677) Soon we will close out the church year. As citizens of the United States we are also citizens of another country – the Kingdom of Christ in glory. This week we have celebrated Veteran’s day honoring those who have served in the armed forces of our nation. At the same time we honor Christ who has served us defeating our last great enemy death and opened for us the gate which leads to eternal life.


 Collect for Pentecost 24O Lord, we pray that the visitation of Your grace may so cleans our thoughts and minds that Your Son Jesus Christ, when He shall come, may find in us a fit dwelling place; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

For those in distressed - Almighty and everlasting God, the consolation of the sorrowful and the strength of the weak, may the prayers of those who in any tribulation or distress cry to You graciously come before You, so that in all their necessities they may mark and receive Your manifold help and comfort; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

A Prayer for Peace: O God, from whom all holy desires, all good counsels, and all just works proceed, give to Your servants that peace which the world simply cannot give that our hearts may be set to obey Your commandments and also that we, being defended by You, may pass our time in rest and quietness; through the merits of Jesus Christ our Lord.

A prayer for home and family: Visit, we implore You, O Lord, the homes in which Your people dwell, and keep far from them all harm and danger. Grant us to dwell together in peace under the protection of Your holy angels and may Your blessing be with us forever.

A prayer for Christ’s return – O Lord, absolve Your people from their offenses that from the bonds of our sins, which by reason of our weakness we have brought upon us, we may be delivered by Your bountiful goodness; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

For strong faith in Christ – Almighty and ever-living God, since You have given exceedingly great and precious promises to those who believe, grant us so perfectly and without all doubt to believe in Your Son Jesus Christ, that our faith in Your sight may never be reproved; through our Savior, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 and Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House
Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series B – John Brokhoff © 1981 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Pentecost 24 - Proper 27


11 November 2012
Mark 12:38-44
Jesus is present – even in our giving

O God, so rule and govern our hearts and minds by Your Holy Spirit that, being ever mindful of the end of all things and your just judgment, we may be stirred up to holiness of living here and dwell with You forever hereafter;

This sermon is a hard one to write, difficult to deliver and will be a challenge for you to listen.  Jesus will pull at your hearts, and cut to the chase concerning your attitude toward money. You can’t out give God and you will never, ever, no, not ever- give more than this woman - because she spent everything!

Jesus is sitting across from the offering boxes and observes the gifts being given. He calls attention to the widow’s penny in contrast to the million-dollar gifts of the rich. She gave more than any other because she gave out of her poverty while others, gave out of their abundance.

Jesus is present where His Word is proclaimed, shared, read. He is present when and where the Sacraments are administered, hymns sung, and prayers said. But He is also present where money is given for His kingdom work. Such giving is a holy activity, which Jesus willingly observes. He observed two things on that day in the temple - that many gave much, and yet, this poor widow gave the most.

  1. He sees that must is not always the most.

A.      We may be among those who give much money to the church. (v.41) Large sums make possible the expansion of the church’s work. Large sums may well be given from a cheerful heart and for the right reasons.

B.      Yet, we are not the most generous givers if we have merely contributed out of our abundance. (v.44)  It won’t do to say that we lack an abundance of money and things. We still are rich if we have more than we need to support our body and life. Even large amounts are given merely out of abundance if they in no way force us to cut back on a life-style consisting of gourmet food and drink, expensive trips, and costly but unnecessary possession.

Giving out of our abundance requires no sacrifice on our part. Jesus sees how much we give, and that much is not always the most. Large contributions do not in themselves make us the most generous givers.

  1. He sees that the most involves sacrifice.

A.      The widow gave voluntarily all that she had. She had very little – “two mites” (KJV), “two very small copper coins, worth on a fraction of a penny” (NIV) – which she needed desperately. A widow was almost always poor because she had no husband to support her. There was no insurance policies, no death benefits plan, no Social Security. Because she was extremely poor, she could have been excused from giving to the Lord’s treasury. She should have been given something from the treasury.  Now she had nothing left with which to buy even a piece of bread. Yet Jesus knew she would be taken care of by God, in whom she trusted. She had given more than all the rich people put together because she had given her whole living (vv.43-44). Her gift proved that she was not poor spiritually. She had the riches of faith in God to motivate her. We have no right to call our grudging little contributions “widow’s mites.” Do such contributions represent all that we have?

B.      Jesus moves us to give voluntarily and sacrificially.  By reminding us that He willingly gave His all, His very life for us. He left heaven’s glory and became poor for us. He freely bestowed on us forgiveness and clothed us in His own righteousness. By renewing our minds through Word and Spirit so that we give first ourselves and then our money as thank offerings to Him (2 Corinthians 8:2-5; 8:2-5; 9:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2)  By pointing us to His ample provision of all our needs (Mal.3:10; 2 Cor. 9:8; Phil.4:19)

Jesus sees how much we give and that the most involves sacrifice.  We are among the most generous givers when, regardless of the size of our gifts, we contribute sacrificially for the work of Christ’s church.

Jesus is not dependent on your gifts. Yet He has arranged to carry out His church’s work through people like you! That’s why He is interested in how much you and give and encourages you to give sacrificially.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day Collects



For Good Government Eternal Lord, Ruler of all, graciously regard those who have been set in positions of authority among us that they may be guided by Your Spirit, be high in purpose, wise in counsel, firm in good resolution, and unwavering in duty, that under them we may be governed quietly and peaceably;

For our Country Almighty God, You have given us this good land as our heritage. Grant that we remember Your generosity and constantly do Your will. Bless our land with honest industry, truthful education, and an honorable way of life. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion, from pride and arrogance, and from every evil course of action. Make us who came from many nations with many different languages a united people. Defend our liberties, and give those whom we have entrusted with the authority of government the spirit of wisdom that there may be justice and peace in our land. When times are prosperous, let our hearts be thankful; and in troubled times do not let our trust in You fail; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

For Responsible Citizenship Lord keep this nation under Your care. Bless the leaders of our land that we may be a people at peace among ourselves and a blessing to the other nations of the earth. Help us provide trustworthy leaders, contribute to wise decisions for the general welfare, and thus serve You faithfully in our generation to the honor of Your holy name. 


Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis