Saturday, November 30, 2013

Advent 1

Advent 1
1 December 2013
Matthew 24:37:44
Jesus, the one who is coming – will He surprise you?

INTRODUCTION: Remember the children’s game hide & seek?  Upon counting to the pre-determined number, and upon its completion, the child would call out, “ready or not here I come!” Today is the first Sunday of a new church year and a new season, the season of Advent. A countdown has begun – Christmas is in four weeks.

Yet, another countdown has begun – a countdown toward the end of the world – a countdown, which no one knows. “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Matthew 24:36)  Advent reminds us that Jesus will return at the proper time and woe to him who is not ready. Today’s Gospel lessons asks us to recognize Jesus as the one who is coming, which begs a question, will He surprise you?

1.  There is the certainty of His coming

A.    For the coming of the Son of man will be just like the days of the Son of Man. “ …and the knew nothing about what would happen until the fold came and took them all away. This is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.” (Matthew 24:39)

                1.  They lived each day as the one before; “eating, drinking, marrying and giving into marriage.”

                2.  Life seemed as if it would never change and never end.

B.            They did not understand until –

                1. The floodwaters came.

                2. And took them all away.

                3. So shall the coming of the Son of man be.

Transition: Jesus, whose birth we will soon celebrate, has promised a 2nd Advent. Will Christmas catch you off guard? Will Christ’s 2nd return catch people unaware?

2. He will come whether we are ready or not.

     A.       For these reasons you need to be ready too. “So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.” (Vs. 44)

                1. Read the sings of the times – earthquakes, famines, troubles, wars, rumors of war, the love of others running cold, etc.

                2. The only prediction as to the timing, “And this Gospel of the kingdom will be preached as a testimony to the nations and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14)

  B.          For the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.

                1. He is coming.

                2. But not according to man’s agenda or the conventional thinking of this age.

CONCLUSION:  From Thanksgiving through Christmas Day radio stations have Christmas carols playing 24/7. Mall Santa’s are putting in double shifts – displays are up inviting us to get ready for Christmas [yes, some have been up prior to Halloween!] I applaud them – for it is our duty to prepared not only for Christmas but ultimately for Christ’s final return – ready or not He will come – so once again the question – will His coming surprise you?

St Andrew

Almighty God, by Your grace the apostle Andrew obeyed the call of Your Son to be a disciple. Grant us also to follow the same Lord Jesus Christ in heart and life, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Friday, November 29, 2013


Almighty and eternal God, according to Your strict judgment You condemned the unbelieving world through the flood, yet according to Your great mercy You preserved believing Noah and his family, eight souls in all.  You drowned heart-hearted Pharaoh and all his host in the Red Sea, yet led Your people Israel through the water on dry ground, prefiguring this washing of Your Holy Baptism. Through the Baptism in the Jordan of Your beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, You sanctified and instituted all waters to be a blessed flood, and a lavish washing away of sin. We pray that You would behold us according to Your boundless mercy and bless us with truth faith by the Holy Spirit that through the saving flood all sin in him which has been inherited from Adam and which he himself has committed since would be drowned and die. Grant that we be kept safe and secure int he holy ark of the Christian Church, being separated from the multitude of unbelievers and serving Your name at all times with a fervent spirit and a joyful hope, so that, with all believers in Your promise, he would be declared worthy of eternal life, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Woodcut by Baron Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld © WELS
 Flood Prayer Lutheran Service Book © 2008 Concordia Publishing House

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving Day
28 November 2013
Luke 17:11-17

Only one returns to give thanks.  Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Where there none found  that returned to give glory to God except this stranger? Jesus concludes by speaking to this foreigner, "Go your way, your faith has made you whole".

 They were all from the same village. Thus, they knew each other. They had a collective sense of community among themselves. Not based on faith. Nine were Jewish, one a Samaritan. The Samaritans, they believed in the Bible, at least some of it. They believed that Moses wrote the first five books of the Old Testament. They observed and followed the Law. Specifically they were strict adherents to the 10 commandments. They believed that Messiah would come. They were more "practical" when it came to living out the faith.

They stood at a distance. This terminal disease, leprosy, had not only brought them together. From it they had formed a common bond. They each knew the outcome. Theirs was a terminal disease. And without divine intervention, their common bond would be their common end. They didn't have Facebook back then. There weren't any inspirational posts for them to share as in, "I might have cancer but cancers doesn't have me!" At least, they had each other.

To be diagnosed with leprosy was more of a social pronouncement rather then medical. Folks with Leprosy were suspect. Almost like AIDS victims a quarter-century ago. Folks kept their distance, on a number of levels. A reason wasn't necessary. everyone knew...they were dirty!

 They pleaded for help. "Jesus, Master, Have mercy on me!" That prayer Has been prayed across the centuries. "Lord, I believe,help Thou my unbelief!" "lord, I am not worthy for You to enter my house, yet say the word, and my servant shall be healed..." "Yes, Lord, it is not right to take the children's food and toss it to the dogs, yet even the dogs, eat the crumbs which fall from the Master's table." "Lord, help me!" "Lord, remember me when You enter Your kingdom." " O Christ, Thou Lamb of God, You take away the sin of the world, have mercy upon me, and grant me Your peace."   Kyrie Elision...Lord have mercy!

They each  went to the priest. They did this at Jesus' command. Which must have sounded quite strange. You only went to the priest as an affirmation that you were in remission. Only the priest could verify that a cure had come. Only the priest could pronounce you "good to go" Jesus commanded they go to the priest for He knew, in advance of the miracle what would happen next.

Jesus, the author of life planned out every circumstance for these men. Likewise, He orders your day, He directs your path - regardless. Regardless of outward circumstances, regardless of obstacles 'in your road', regardless of past experiences and present details The Lord remains faithful.  Each was cleansed along the way. No sooner had they arrived at the Tempe they receive a clean bill of health. Restored, redeemed, forgiven. And forever free.

Ten were cleansed.  Only  one returns. All ten were cleansed. Jesus treated them all the same. He healed every single one of them . There were no exceptions. The Hebrew son and the Samaritan rebel were treated all the same. God is no respecter of persons. There is no preferential treatment in God's economy. How so? We are all equal. What  joins us together as one is our sin. "All have sinned", the Bible teaches us. We're under the same condemnation and the same curse.

Yet one did return to give thanks. Someone you might not expect. Yes, the Samaritan.  Jesus reminds us of his status, one again, "and he was a foreigner!" A man,  deeply hated by God's own people, is commended. He is welcomed into God's family. He shares the same status as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; sons of God, heirs to eternal life.

Finally, the savior says two things that are  rather remarkable. First, He says,"Rise and  go your way." That man hadn't done that in years. Go where he wants to, do what he wants to, interact with those he wants to.  That's the definition of freedom! this man is free as he can move without restriction.

Jesus also says, "Your faith has made you clean/whole!"  Even one such as this foreigner can possess saving faith. Such a one as this is included at the Father's table. Who is the Samaritan among you this thanksgiving?  How you answer this last question  says a lot of your perception of God and those who are in the kingdom. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving Eve

Thanksgiving Eve
27 November 2013
Psalm 100

Thanksgiving Eve
"A Hymn of Praise"
Psalm 100

Introduction:  Yet another year has come and gone for us to remember the blessings which come to us from the hand of our gracious God. Thanksgiving is a special time of the year for us as we recall the blessings, which the Savior has graciously showered down upon us and then in worship and praise we render to God what He is due.

Yet, how do we do it? David in Psalm 100 gives us a method for us to return our thanks back to God. In your hymnal you will find Psalm 100. Let's consider David's hymn of praise in which he thanks God for the blessings, which God has given.

I.   Approaching God (Psalm 100:1-2)

A.      Universal Harmony "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands " (v.1) In tonight's Gospel lesson, the story of the ten lepers which were cleansed, we are reminded that only one returned to offer thanks. David urges all to render thanks to God; from the greatest to the least. All are to make a joyful noise unto the Lord; all are to unite in harmony together.

B.      Unrestrained Happiness "Serve the Lord with gladness, come before His presence with singing" (v.2) St. Paul reminds us that we are to worship God with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. When we are blessed we are a happy and a joyful people. Consider the blessings that you have received. They are too numerous to count. How do you respond with cold or a grateful heart? The sound of music, and singing suggests that we respond to God with a heart overflowing with joy and gratitude.

Transition: As we approach God in worship and praise we discover that it is the very nature of God to bless us. This is His nature.

II. Apprehending God  "Know ye that the Lord he is God it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves: we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture" (Psalm 100:3)

A.      Consider His Person -"Know ye that the Lord he is God…" Thanksgiving causes us to acknowledge God. He blesses us because He is God. He can do none other then to bless us. When we return thanks we return thanks to our Creator.

B.      Consider His Power – “it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves:" As thinking persons, we can invent numerous things. God does us one better as He creates. He creates life, He creates eternal life. He is the one who has knit us together. We are fearfully and wondrously made.

C.      Consider His Purpose - "we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture " We have been created for a purpose. Christ Jesus has said "I have come that you might have life and have it abundantly" (John) Jesus has come that we might be given His life; that we might have fellowship with Him; that we might dwell with Him.

Transition: Once we come to know and understand God we can truly appreciate what He has done for us and what He has promised that He will continue to do for us in the future. This is thanksgiving that comes to appreciate God.

  III.  Appreciating God (Psalm 100:4-5)  We do this in two ways:

A.      First, by Coming to Him - Thankfully - "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise; be thankful unto him, and bless his name" (v.4)

1.             Arriving at the Temple - "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving and into his courts with praise;" This is why you have come tonight. You have come; you have arrived at His temple to worship God and to thank Him.  But what's more; once you have arrived at His dwelling; His temple you will also be…

2.            Arriving at the Truth -" be thankful unto him, and bless his name" Pilate asked the question "what is truth?" Jesus answers than question with the words "I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father except through Me" That is the ultimate truth to understand God and to know Him in a real and significant way.  We now know God as He comes to us through His Word and Sacrament to give us His life, His redemption, His freedom, His forgiveness.

B.       We also come to appreciate God by Communing with Him - Thoughtfully  "For the Lord is good, his mercy is everlasting, and his truth endureth to all generations." (v.5) David gives us three facts, which cannot be disputed.

1.       An Essential Fact (God's Goodness) - "For the Lord is good," This is God's essence. He is Good. He wants nothing but the best for us. Nothing but good can come from Him.

2.       An Eternal Fact (God's Mercy) -"and his truth endureth."  God's mercy will never die, it can never run out. While we might grow tired of certain things God's mercy will always satisfy for it is new to us each day and it will endure forever. It will never run out, it will never need to be replaced. It will always satisfy. God's mercy will endure forever.

3.       An Enduring Fact (God's Truth) -"to all generations" God's mercy and grace will withstand the test of time. It will last forever. This is God's promise to us. Great is His faithfulness!

Conclusion:  Great is Thy faithfulness. What a wonder to behold. All we have is but a gift. His story must be told.  A blessed Thanksgiving to you and yours. Amen.

+ Soli Deo Gloria+

Grandparents Special persons day

Grandparents/Special Person’s Day
27 November 2013

Trust in the Lord with all you heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all you ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. - Proverbs 3:5-6

Blessed Jesus, at Thy word We are gathered all to hear Thee; Let our hearts and souls be stirred Now to seek and love and fear Thee, By Thy teachings, sweet and holy, Drawn from earth to love Thee solely.[1]

Trying to understand God’s will in your life is not always easy. He doesn’t send you an e-Mail or a tweet. Or, send you a text. Or, write on your wall on facebook to say, “I want you to be a preacher or a missionary, or a mechanic or a nurse or a housewife.”

God doesn’t name the person you are to marry. He doesn't tell you which career track you should follow. He doesn’t tell you whether you should go to college or not. Or, which school you should attend. Sometimes life is complex with all these decisions. But in psalm 32:8. God does promise, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you shall go. I will guide you with mine eye.” As always, God instructs and teaches us His will through His Word.

Solomon gives us three conditions by which we can know God’s perfect will for our lives.

The First Condition, you must “Trust in the Lord.” This is absolutely the first step. It you want to know God’s will learn to trust Him. You must first trust Christ as your Savior. You cannot attempt to know God’s will in other areas until this issue is settled.

Trusting God is key in every matter of our relationship with God. We are saved not because of our own work. We are saved by Jesus’ work on the cross. You cannot save yourself. You cannot be good enough in order to be made right with God. Salvation is the Savior’s good gift to you.

When you understand that the most basic need in life – to be redeemed and rescued from sin – is a matter of trust, we need to then know and understand that every other issue of our relationship with our heavenly Father is also a matter of trust. Whatever your list of worries looks life, all these things-are all a matter of trust. Trusting God is the key in every matter of our relationship with Him.

In whom do you trust? You trust in the Lord! This is important! Your trust is not in someone strange to you.

How do you describe God? This is not an easy question. But I like the help the Psalmist David gives us in Psalm 139.

He knows all things. You have searched me Lord, 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. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. (Psalm 139:1-6)

He can do anything. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me, ever the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. (Psalm 139:11-12)

He personally knows me. For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (Psalm 139:13-16)

Trusting seems like a difficult thing to do because our human nature is so self-reliant. We want to have things our way. And if not my way…then it’s the highway. Trusting God is such a comforting idea. Having a relationship is actually central to trust. The more we walk with the LORD, the more the relationship is developed, the easier trust becomes.

The Second Condition, you must “Trust in the Lord, with all your heart.” How much are we to trust in the Lord? With all your heart! Completely! Your trust cannot be a partial trust. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” This is where it all begins. The word “trust” means to be with a care. This is an indicator of how much we are actually trusting in the Lord. The less car, worry, anxiety, etc. that one has, the more they are trusting God will all their heart.

The Third Condition, you must “Trust in the Lord, with all your heart, and lean not unto you own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and He will make your paths straight.”

What does trusting God mean? A close look at these words helps us define trust. We see trust from a negative statement. We see trust from a positive statement.

The negative Answer: Do not lean on your own understanding. We are not to learn on our intellect, our own abilities, or even our own moral standards. In all things, we must refuse to lean on our own understanding.

The positive Answer: Acknowledge Him in everything. We must acknowledge the Lord Jesus in everything. Recognize God’s presence in everything... There is nothing in your life that should be outside the reach of God’s perspective.

When are we to trust God? Always. There is never a time to not trust God. Whenever we face a crisis, we have two choices. Either we trust God or we trust ourselves. There really are no other options. When we trust ourselves, we are saying that the crisis is bigger than God.

Why should we trust God? Because He give us a promise. He will make your paths straight. Your Savior has a plan for you. He has a future and He has promised to give direction in your life.

In Math you have learned – the quickest path between two points is a straight line. God wants us to get where we need to go in life. What God has for us, the Lord wants to get us there. Just life any trip you take, the quickest way to get to your destination is to find the most direct path…from point A to point B. So it is with your life as well. A crooked path is one filled with twists and turns that if we are not careful can cause us to end up in a ditch. If that should happen, God is there to help pull us out. But the best route is to stand in the middle of the road and on course with God.

God has a great vantage point over your life. He is the one that is all knowing. And if we will get God involved in straightening out our path, we are going to reach our destination in the things of God much quicker. Realize as He straightens out your path that does not mean it will always go the way you thought it would. In fact, God usually takes you through life in a rout you have never been before. That is what walking by faith is all about.

To have God make straight paths for your feet in whatever you do take time to learn who you are and whose you are in Christ. Get completely focused on Him and who he has made you to be. Continue to develop an intimate relationship with Christ. Look to His Word to walk in His ways in all you do. Then you will be on the right path. The straight path. That God has for you.

[1] Blessed Jesus at Thy Word stanza 1 The Lutheran Hymnal © 1940 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Christ the King

Luke 23: 35-43
The Crucified King
I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”  Luke 23:43

Three realities are presented in our text for this morning as the Son of God - Christ the King - hung suspended between earth and heaven. He speaks to a common thief. We observe and recall three eternal truths.

I.        I tell you the truth – Our transfer into glory is based on the reality of Christ’s resurrection.

A.     It was started in our Baptism.
1.             When we were baptized into Christ’s death we were buried with Him in His death so that your sin with all their powers and evil lusts were drowned, killed and died.

2.             Yet, Christ was risen from the dead. Death could not hold Him. Thus we’ve been given new life. As Christ was risen from the dead by the glory of the Father therefore we live a new life.

B.     Now we are Resurrection and Easter people.

1.            The life we now live we live to Jesus Christ. We live and serve Him in His kingdom which He has established as He is KING above all kings and LORD above all lords.

2.            You are no longer your own. We give glory to God with our life as Christ is your leader – your guide and stay in life.  So says the hymn writer:

Christ be my leader by night as by day;
Safe through the darkness, for He is the way.
Gladly I follow, my future His care,
Darkness is daylight when Jesus is there.[1]

Transition: Christ tells us the truth this day, this hour –

II.            Today – At the moment of death we take a walk - from one end of the kingdom to the other - from the kingdom of grace into the kingdom of glory. We close our eyes to this world only to behold the face of Jesus.

A.             We find ourselves these days with many items on our “to do” list. As we return to our jobs after the Thanksgiving holiday we might find any number of tasks the boss has for us to do. College students who return to campus this week after a much anticipated break will come to the realization that there are only three weeks left in the semester. And for the rest of our students - there are only four weeks left before the winter term comes to a close.

B.            That assignment you were given just a few weeks ago now has a due and completion date fixed to it. In addition, there are Christmas letters and cards for us to write, address and send. There’s shopping, wrapping and baking to be done. Our calendars are full – the anxiety level can become high. Some might become stressed and overwhelmed, ready for a freak-out or a meltdown to occur at any moment.

C.             Yet, each day is a new day, filled with challenges, and opportunities. The promise of today reminds us that despite our hurried and busy lives there is eternity waiting for us.  We are an active people with much to do – our plate is full – yet Jesus who is even more active in our life than we sometimes fail to realize reminds us that each day despite our circumstances He is ordering our days preparing us for eternity. His message comes to us today.

Transition: His message comes to us in truth today – it is a message which eternity in mind. 

III.           You will be with Me in paradise – There we will live and reign with the Savior throughout all eternity.

A.            As Resurrection and Easter people we have a future. True, we can sometimes become overwhelmed by our present circumstances. We can sometimes become lost in the forest because of the trees. There are certainly distractions and disruptions which can happen these days. Yet, despite the diversions in our life - this promise spoken by Christ our glorious KING keep us focused and grounded. The promise for this common thief is for you and me this day – “today you will be with Me in paradise.”

B.             We will live with Christ throughout time. We who are at present mortal - consisting of flesh which is made of earth and dust are destined for eternity. This wonderful promise is given to us by Christ our KING who has created us to have fellowship with Him.    

Conclusion: What they said at death’s door.

Ø  Thomas Paine, An American author and unbeliever: "I would give worlds, if I had them, that [my book] 'The Age Of Reason' had never been published. O God, what have I done to suffer so much? But there is no God! But if there should be, what will become of me hereafter? Stay with me, for God's sake! Send even a child to stay with me, for it is Hell to be alone. If ever the Devil had an agent, I have been that one."
Ø  Francis Voltaire, A French unbeliever said to his doctor: "I am abandoned by God and men! I will give you half of what I am worth if you will give me six months' life. Then I will go to Hell; and you will go with me. O Christ! O Jesus Christ!"

Ø  Dwight L. Moody, An American preacher and believer: " I see earth receding, Heaven is opening, God is calling!"[2]

On this Christ the King Sunday recall the Savior’s wonderful promise, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with Me in paradise.”  Soon and very soon we shall see the King!

+Soli Deo Gloria+

[1] Christ Be My Leader from Lutheran Service Book © 2007 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO
[2] I’ve Got Good News For You – a work used for adult instruction written I believe some time during the late 1970’s early 1980’s Was the major source @ Immanuel Lutheran Church, Rock Island, IL

Clement of Rome, pastor

Almighty God, Your servant Clement of Rome called the Church in Corinth to repentance and faith to unite them in Christian love. Grant that Your Church may be anchored in Your truth by the presence of the Holy Spirit and kept blameless in Your service until the coming our our Lord Jesus Christ (Treasury of Prayer pg. 944)

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Proper 28

Proper 28
17 November 2013
Luke 21:5-28

The Church year is ending. Next week we proclaim, “Christ is King” The rule and reign of Christ is the objective of the entire Christian story. Yet today, the Second-to-Last Sunday of the Church year, Jesus predicts that the end of days will come. We are reminded that this reign will come with sure, clear signs.

When will these stones fall? That’s what the apostles wanted to know. The destruction of the Temple. Will that be the end of the world? Jesus wants to make one thing perfectly clear. When these things happen, it is not the end of the world.

Stones have been tumbling for centuries. In recent years, stones have been dropping in the streets of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria. It happens also in the private lives of people who lose jobs, get divorced, and face medical issues.

When these things happen, be not deceived. The end is not yet. These are only birth pangs. Labor pains. When there are labor pains, we know that new life is near. Rather than looking for escape into the afterlife, Jesus calls for us to give birth. In the midst of a world filled with stones falling, war and earthquakes (Vv.9-11) Jesus points you to cling to Him for life.

Today you have been put on notice. Turmoil in nature and amongst people will plague the earth. As a follower of Jesus, you will be singled out for persecution, betrayal and hatred. All because of His name. Yet, not a hair on your head will perish.

How can this be? How can you escape? How do you dodge the bullet aimed at every Christian? Over thousands of years and countless generations, Jesus speaks directly to us with the freshness of this morning. By your endurance, you will gain your soul.

You can’t help but feel that following Jesus isn’t unlike being a turtle without a shell. There is no call to arms. There’s no warning to stockpile goods. Or food. Or weapons. In preparation for what’s to come. There’s no command to build a bomb shelter. Or an ark. There are only three brief commands. Don’t be terrified…Don’t be led astray…Don’t prepare a defense.

Don’t be terrified. “Fear not! I am with you, O be not dismayed. For I am your God and will still give you aid; I’ll strengthen you, help you, and cause you to stand. Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.”[1]

Don’t be led astray. False Christ’s and counterfeit Messiahs are always about. They exist to seduce and mislead. Don’t follow them. Listen still to the voice of your shepherd Jesus.

When the world around you descends into darkness, you can still shine with light. Don’t expect society to go your way. Bear witness to another Way.

Don’t prepare a defense. The reason you were born, the purpose for which God brought you into this world, is to bear Christ’s forgiving presence into a world that is desperate for it.

Because Jesus loves you, He always tells you the truth. Even when it is hard to find the good news behind the dire predictions. These words of the Savior were spoken just before His Passion. Jesus clearly sees what He must endure for your sake. He looks beyond His looming agony and foretells what we must endure for His sake.

To carry you home, Jesus will soon carry His cross. To follow Him home, you must carry your cross, too. For some, the cross is relatively light; minor inconveniences, petty prejudices, snide remarks, negative peer pressure, constantly navigating a world of vanishing values.

For others, the cross means martyrdom, either by the sword or by prejudice. Many face sanctions - ranging from death to imprisonment, harassment to expulsion.  

This Christian life is more than a marathon. It can also be a dangerous obstacle course. Expect to be tripped. Expect to fall. Endurance means more than just chugging alone. We must often pick ourselves up and get back into the race.  We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.  We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.  For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.  So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.[2]

For endurance look not only to the cross, we look to the Resurrection. That’s because you know how this story ends…not in tragedy, but in triumph. That is the source of your strength, your hope, your joy. Let us run with perseverance…looking to Jesus…who endured the cross…so that you may not grow weary or lose heart.[3] 

Thank you, Jesus. In Your love, we rejoice and endure.

[1] How Firm a Foundation stanza 2 Lutheran Service Book  © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
[2]  2 Corinthians 4:8-12
[3] Hebrews 12

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Time in the Word - Proper 27

Time in the Word:

Preparation for next week, Pentecost 25 Proper 27

The End of the World

The theme for this coming week’s theme deals with the theme of the end of the world. In the Gospel (Luke 21:5-9) Jesus tells us what will happen as He gives us signs of the end. Judgment is pronounced in the Old Testament lesson (Malachi 4:1-2a) as the wicked will be burned up but the righteous will be saved. In the Epistle lesson (2 Thessalonians 3:6-13) Paul teaches that we are not to be idle but to work and provide for our needs. We work until the end comes. Today’s world is in a terrible mess. Each generation seems to think that conditions are so bad that the Day of the Lord is nigh. What is the answer? Can the world be saved from destruction? Is the answer in an international army, or in strengthening the dollar abroad, or in raising the economic level of the Third World, or in the conquest of illiteracy? The lessons have other options to propose. What can be done about the world? Burn – God’s fire both destroys and restores – Malachi 4:1-6 Earn – Work while waiting for the end – 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13 – Warn – An opportunity to witness to the world – Luke 21:5-19

Time in the Word

11-16 November 2013
Preparation for next week, Pentecost 26 Proper 28

Monday, 11 November 2013 Psalm121:1-2, 5,7-8 antiphon, Luke 21:33—In the Introit for Sunday, we pray the words promised by the Savior, Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. The world is surely coming to an end. This is more noticeable as the days become shorter and as the church year is drawing to a close. Yet we need not fear. Our Savior has given us a wonderful promise. Every word He has given us will be fulfilled. Although the world passes away He word will never pass away.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013 Psalm 98 — This week’s psalm is a song to God the Victor. He comes to rule His kingdom. Let the whole world go wild with joy. Three stanzas progressively extend the call to ever wider circles – the worshiping congregation at the temple, all the people of the earth and the whole creation. The first stanza recalls God’s revelation of His righteousness (vs. 2) in the past; the last stanza speaks confidently of His coming rule “in righteousness.” (vs.9) The middle stanza is enclosed by the jubilant cry, “shout for joy” (Vv. 4, 6)

Wednesday, 13 November 2013 Malachi 4:1-6— Think of the end of he4 world in terms of the rising sun. It means a new day and a new era. Theun of God brings light and healing. When you are not feeling well, doesn’t lying in the warm sun make you feel better? The sun for us in the Son of God. When He rises in our lives, we can shine with gladness and hope. When He comes at the end of time, it is the beginning of an eternity of life and love. The end of the world is not to be feared nor dreaded but to be greed with the phrase, “Come Lord Jesus!”
Thursday, 14 November 20132 Thessalonians3:6-13— Jesus may return within a year. That means one year to love on earth! Or, put it this way: you have a terminal disease which will kill you within one year. What would you do with the time until the end? In Paul’s day, the Christians were convinced that Jesus would return shortly.
They gave up their jobs and were idly standing by as they waited for his coming day after day. Throughout history there have been groups of people convinced of Jesus’ immediate return – they quit their jobs, sold their property, took their children out of school and lived in a commune. What would you do? Paul encourages us to keep busy and to work until the end comes. See especially verses 10-13.

Friday, 15 November 2013- Luke 21:5-28 — Many believe we are living in the worst of times. Perhaps every generation says this. But has there been a generation with so much destructive power; nuclear weapons, germ warfare, guided missiles, instant communication, supersonic travel? Are we not on the edge of a worldwide nuclear holocaust with the power to over-ill many times over? What can a Christian do about it? We could hide or flee but where? In the passage Jesus calls upon us to do our best under the worst circumstances. The worst calls for us to be at our best – to feel secure in God’s protection and to endure until the end. See especially verses 18-19.

Saturday, 16 November 2013 Isaiah 28:16, 41:10; 43:1-7- Sunday’s Hymn of the Day is How Firm a Foundation(LSB #728). We need not fear the end of time for our faith has its foundation in the words and work of our Savior Jesus. As we sing this magnificent hymn tomorrow we can be confident that our Lord will sustain and guide us to the end.