Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Jerome, translator of the Scriptures

O God of truth, Your Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. You gave Your servant Jerome delight in his study of Holy Scripture. May those who continue to read, mark, and inwardly digest Your Word find in it the good of salvation and the foundation of life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

St. Michael and All Angels

Everlasting God, You have ordered and constituted the service of angels and men in a wonderful order. Mercifully grant that, as Your holy angels always serve and worship You in heaven, so by Your appointment they may also help and defend us here on earth; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and rules with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Time in the Word - Pentecost 19 - Proper 22



Time in the Word
 September 28 – October 3, 2015
Proper 22
Preparation for next week, Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost




Sunday’s theme is God’s Intentions for the Family. The lessons deal with home, marriage, divorce, and children. The Gospel considers Jesus’ position on divorce and His attitude toward children. The Old Testament lesson fits into the Gospel with its account of Eve’s creation and the relationship between husband and wife. The Psalm for the week concerns a God-fearing person’s blessing of a fruitful wife, children, and grandchildren. The “Hymn of the Day” is a prayer to the Lord to bless the home and family.

Collect for Proper 22 – Merciful Father, Your patience and loving-kindness toward us have no end. Grant that by Your Holy Spirit we may always think and do those things that are pleasing in Your sight; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Collect for Pentecost 18Keep, we pray You, O Lord, Your Church with Your perpetual mercy; and because without You we cannot but fall, keep us ever by Your help from all things hurtful, and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation.

A prayer for steadfast faith Almighty God, our heavenly Father, of Your tender love towards 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 come to life everlasting; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

For the Hope of Eternal life in Christ – Almighty, everlasting God, whose Son has assured forgiveness of sins and deliverance from eternal death, strengthen us by Your Holy Spirit that our faith in Christ increases daily and we hold fast to the hope that we shall not die but fall asleep and on the last day be raised to eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

For those in distress - 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.

Merciful Father, Your patience and loving-kindness toward us have no end. Grant that by Your Holy Spirit we may always think and do those things that are pleasing in Your sight.

O Spirit of the Father, Breath on them from above, So searching in Your pureness, So tender in Your love That, guarded by Your presence And kept from strife and sin, Their hearts may heed Your guidance And know You dwell within (LSB 858;3)

Monday, 28 September 2015Psalm 127:3-5, Antiphon, Psalm 127:1a – Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. In keeping with the theme of the week, God’s Intention for the Family, the psalmist gives us a timeless truth. Unless the Lord is the center of all that we do, unless the Lord builds the house, all of our efforts are in vain. The house in essence becomes a house of cards. May Jesus Christ be the ever present yet unseen guest in each of our homes. 

Tuesday, 29 September 2015Psalm 128; key verse, verse 1 - Blessed are all who fear the Lord. Psalm 128 speaks of the blessedness of the godly man, another word for wisdom concerning health and home. The concluding benediction suggests that the psalm originally served as a priestly word of instruction to those assembled from their homes to worship in Jerusalem. The main body of the psalm is found in verses 1-4.  

Wednesday, 30 September 2015Genesis 2:18-25 – God intends husbands and wives to be one. God creates woman as man’s helper and companion. This lesson is part of the Lord’s account of creation, beginning with Chapter 2, verse 4. It is the earlier of the two accounts. According to this account, man is created first, then the animals, etc., and finally woman. The animals were not a suitable helper for Adam, and, consequently, Eve was created. Why the rib?  It’s closest to the man’s heart. After her creation from his rib, Adam recognizes her as an equal part of him (verse 23).  She is recognized as a fellow human with equal dignity and worth. Because of the creation of man and woman, marriage is one of the orders of creation in which the two become an entity of one flesh. Flesh here is more than physical; it refers to the whole person. 

Thursday, 01 October 2015Hebrew 2:1-13, (14-18) – God intends the family of humankind to be a family in Christ. By the grace of God, Jesus became a man who suffered and died for all. Today’s Epistle reading is the first in a series of passages from Hebrews. The author in Hebrews is facing the situation of the church’s waning faith, probably because of the delay of Christ’s return. To stimulate their faith, he writes the epistle of Hebrews.

Today’s reading deals with the event of Christ’s incarnation leading to His suffering and death for the salvation of humanity. Jesus’ incarnation gave Him solidarity with humankind in order to save it.  At present, we do not see Christ’s lordship over everything, but we do see Him (verse 9).  His atoning death created a oneness of Christ and His followers whom He calls “brethren” (verse 11).  In comparison with the Old Testament lesson, humans are created and re-created by redemption. 

Friday, 02 October 2015Mark 10:2-16 – God intends marriage to be lifelong. Sunday’s Gospel deals with two accounts: marriage/divorce and Jesus’ love of children. In regard to marriage and divorce, Mark has Jesus take the position that neither husband nor wife should get a divorce. For the Pharisees, divorce is a legal matter: for Jesus it is a divine matter – not what is legal, but what is right. Jesus pointed out to the Pharisees that the legal right to get a divorce was due to a human’s sinfulness, but this was contrary to God’s intention that marriage is permanent. To substantiate this, Jesus refers twice to the creation account. The Gospel continues with an account of Jesus receiving little children, for marriage and children go together. Jesus urges that children should be brought to Him and teaches that one should receive the kingdom of God as a child in terms of openness and receptivity. 

The key to Mark 10 is  that God accepts us by grace through faith in Jesus not through obedience or status. Just as children receive love they do not earn.

Jesus teaches that God wants men and women in marriage to be exclusively committed to each other for life. Attempts to alter or get around God's good intentions bring condemnation, not greater liberty. Thoughtfully and prayerfully embrace God's ways. What He establishes is for our good and stems from His love and grace.

Saturday, 03 October 2015Joshua 24:15b; Ephesians 6:4; Luke 2:41-52; 10:38-42 - Sunday’s hymn of the day is Oh, Blest the House (LSB 862).  This is an appropriate hymn as it deals with the Christian home. May the Lord bless not only our Friedheim, St. John, and Zion families, but each and every individual family of our congregations. Taking the lead from Joshua, “as for me and my house we shall serve the Lord!” May the Lord bless each of us as Christ remains at the center of our homes. 

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 and Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House and from Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House.
Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Pentecost 18 - Proper 21



Proper 21
Mark 9:50
27 September 2015 
Mark 9:50


Salt is good; but if the salt becomes unsalted, with what will you make it salty {again} Have salt in yourselves and be at peace with one another.”

Lord, thank You for Your work through the lives of others. Lead me to welcome those miracles and mercies that You show through every one of Your people. Give us the lasting faith that can persevere through every trial. Empty our heads of anything that competes with You, and let us hold firmly to You eternally.

 When a person is hospitalized. Often the patient will receive notice that they have been placed on a bland diet. Flat, tasteless food. Chow, which is dull, dull, and dull.  Where would a pizza be without Oregano? Any master chef knows that the right amount of herbs and spices makes a dish come alive and flourish.  Jesus tells us that the Christian, living his/her life for Christ becomes the salt of this earth.

The Savior concludes His instruction to His disciples. Comparing them to salt.  He issues a call to radical obedience. Rather than to make accommodation to the world. So, how is the Christian to rise above the trappings of this world? How does the follower of Christ impact, affect, and influence his community? His workplace? The world? Where do we find Christ? And where is His influence to be found?

We find the story of Jesus in particular in the sacred words of Scripture. This tells us specifically of His person and work. Christ transforms and changes the lives of people. This is what influences our culture. And the world in which we live.  

What the Church professes is different then what the world holds as truth. We have a distinct value system. – Something different from the world.  Christians are to be as salty saints because like salt.

They purify society. They preserve society. They season society.

They purify society.

Think where the world would be without Christ’s light?  Jesus cautioned His audience, however, against losing that which they had received from Him, which was what had brought on them their goodness. Without the Gospel, without the message of the cross, the church becomes just another human organization.

The Gospel, however, shining in the world brings good and makes this world better. Jesus said that the disciples were like salt, for they exercised the valuable functions of seasoning and purifying the world, and this is good.

Salt is good. The influence of Christ changes the world. His influence still affects the world.

Therefore, have salt in yourselves. Make the impact that only you can make. There are folk that only you can reach.  Only you can touch. This is your personal mission field.  Look around you! The harvest is ready it is “white unto harvest.” The time of salvation is now!

Let the Light of Christ impact, affect, and influence those around you. Jesus said: “so let your light so shine among men that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven” {Matthew 5:16} When that light shines. The darkness of sin and error is dispelled.  And the truth of the God shines forth in purity getting brighter day-by-day

As Salty Saints Christians - they preserve society.

The Word will keep the world safe. The news reports, “There’s been another shooting! Another random act of violence.  And people ask,”What is this world coming to?” Some respond, “It’s the Devil. He’s alive and well.  And there’s no getting out it this mess!”  But the Scriptures remind us, “Greater is He that is in you then he who is in this world.”  Christ has conquered. The gospel wins the day. We are more than conquerors through Christ who loves us.   

The Word will keep the world saved.  The Lord has promise to preserve you. You are salt. Salt preserves. His purpose is to guard and keep you. He will never let you go. His desire is to keep you in this one, true faith. As He ransomed and redeemed the world. He will keep those who are His safe. Never easy. But always  preserved. Because you are in Him. 

Jesus instructs us. ”Be at peace with each other.” Be at peace! Because God is at peace. He is at peace. Because Jesus Christ, the Prince of peace, has become your peace.  He comes into this world. To give us the Father’s peace.

Jesus Christ, through His innocent suffering and death has become your peace. He took your misery and sin. By His chastisement, you are made whole. This is the gospel story. In Jesus Christ, all sin is forgiven – period!

They season society.

There are talents, gifts, blessings that God our heavenly Father has given to His Church to make a difference. Jesus said, “Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” Will you use your gift for the Savior?  Recall the cleaning service, “Service Master”. Their mission is simple yet profound –in their work; they give service to the Master.  

Where you live and serve is your opportunity to be a blessing and to make the world better. The big difference – the last phrase – and live at peace with one another. Jesus told His hearers were to be at peace with each other. What they would need for this purpose is to have in themselves -‘salt’; that is to say, they needed love for their neighbors, and a readiness to serve them, and to be ready to make sacrifices for their sake.

As a Christian, you are salt and light in this world. Through the power of the gospel the message of Jesus Christ and Him crucified you are purifying, preserving and giving season and spice to life in this world.

His peace will guide you. Jesus simply said, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”  {John 14:27}

Knowing of His peace, we receive from Him what this world simply cannot give. We rest in His peace. We live according to His amazing mercy and grace.

The Christian’s diet is far from bland.  What is given to you is to be that salt which gives us a zest for life.  It is found in knowing Jesus.  Bloom where you are planted.  Make each day count for Jesus. For you have been called by Jesus - to be salt and light for Christ.
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Words – 1,111
Passive Sentences -8%
Readability –85.1%

Reading Level -3.6

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Jonah

Lord God, heavenly Father, through the prophet Jonah, You continued to prophetic pattern of teaching Your people the true faith and demonstrating through miracles, your presence in creation to heal it of its brokenness. Grant that Your Church may see in Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the final end-times prophet whose teaching and miracles continue in Your Church through the healing medicine of the Gospel and the Sacraments; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Time in the Word - Pentecost 18 - Proper 21


Time in the Word
 September 21-26, 2015
Proper 21
Preparation for next week, Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Sunday’s Theme is Tolerance. In the Old Testament lesson, Moses tolerates the giving of the Spirit. In the Epistle, James calls for intolerance of wickedness. In the Gospel, Jesus approves a non-follower’s use of His name. Coupled with tolerance is an underlying theme of resistance. Jesus urges to get rid of anything that causes us to sin while in the Old Testament lesson the Israelites complain about the monotony of daily manna. James condemns the sin of arrogance and persecution of the poor.



Collect for Proper 21 – Everlasting Father, source of every blessing, mercifully direct and govern us by Your Holy Spirit that we may complete the works You have prepared for us to do; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Collect for Pentecost 17O God, without whose blessing we are not able to please You, mercifully grant that Your Holy Spirit may in all things direct and govern our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

A prayer for God to guide us—Direct us, O Lord, in all our doings with Your most gracious favor, and further us with Your continual help, that in all our works begun, continued, and ended in You we may glorify Your holy name and finally, by Your mercy, obtain eternal salvation; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

A prayer for steadfast faith—Almighty God, our heavenly Father, of Your tender love towards 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 come to life everlasting; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

For the Hope of Eternal life in Christ—Almighty, everlasting God, whose Son has assured forgiveness of sins and deliverance from eternal death, strengthen us by Your Holy Spirit that our faith in Christ increase daily and we hold fast to the hope that we shall not die but fall asleep and on the last day be raised to eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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.
  
Monday, 21 September 2015Psalm 135:1-3, 13-14, Antiphon, Psalm 135:13—Your Name, O Lord, endures forever, Your renown, O Lord, throughout all ages. Psalm 135 is a call to praise the Lord – the one and only true God, the Lord of all creation, the Lord over all the nations, Israel’s redeemer. The Psalmist reminds us that the Lord and His redeeming work will be remembered throughout time. Thus we praise Him for His marvelous deeds.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015Psalm 104:27-35; key verse, verse 24How many are Your works, O Lord! In wisdom You made them all; the earth is full of Your creatures. The psalmist recalls the fifth day of creation. (Genesis 1:20-23).  The realm of the sea is structurally balanced with the celestial realm, (see verses 2-4) as the other boundary to the realm of earth. And the Lord orders each day of your life as He has promised to guide and sustain you. 

Wednesday, 23 September 2015Numbers 11:4-6; 10-16, 24-29—Moses tolerates the giving of the Spirit. The Lord provides seventy elders to assist Moses in meeting the needs of the people and gives his spirit to others than the seventy. The Israelites are in the wilderness and complain to Moses that they have only manna and no meat. Moses takes the complaint to God who orders Moses to bring seventy elders to the meeting place outside the camp. Some of Moses’ spirit was given to the elders and they began to prophesy. Two men, Eldad and Medad, were not invited to the meeting of the seventy. While in the camp, they received the Spirit and prophesied. Joshua was jealous for Moses and asked him to stop the two. Moses refused and wished that all of the people had the spirit and were prophets.

Thursday, 24 September 2015James 5: (1-12) 13-20—James calls for intolerance of wickedness and a return to God for the avoidance of evil. This lesson continues where last Sunday’s Epistle has stopped. James urges his readers to turn to God and away from wickedness. Among the evils we are to avoid are judging others, boasting, and injustice to the poor.

Friday, 25 September 2015Mark 9:38-50—Jesus approves a non-follower’s use of His name to cast our demons. He urges the extermination of those sins that result in hell. The first part of the Gospel (verses 38-41) obviously parallels the Old Testament lesson. It deals with Jesus’ approval of a non-disciple casting out demons in Jesus’ name. The next section (verses 42-48) deals with Jesus’ “little ones” – not children but his disciples or new converts. The point is that any sacrifice is worth eternal life rather than going to hell forever which is described as eternal torment. A third section of the reading deals with salt.  It is a call to radical obedience rather than to accommodation to the world.

In Christ you are free. There is much Christian liberty and freedom the child of God can experience in this life. The Lord wants His followers to enjoy the fullness of life. All that God created is good. However, if any part of us or any habit causes us to sin, we are to get rid of it. It would be better to abstain and deny ourselves certain pleasures and privileges than to allow one pleasure to ruin the whole. When should we allow our Christian liberty to be exercised? When might you deny yourself certain “freedoms” for the sake of someone else? How might we better live balanced lives?

Vv. 38-41  Jesus opens the disciples' eyes to see those who do God's work in a simple way. The work of God goes far beyond us. He show His power and kindness through great life changing miracles and simple cups of water.

Vv. 42-50  Nothing is more important than retaining the faith unto eternal life. Let nothing come between you and the Savior, Though He tests us with fire, He does not consume His own people. Rejoice, for God graciously gives us the faith in which He preserves us to eternity.

:42  "little ones" Gk. "micros, "smallest child"

:43 "hell: Gk. "geenna" from Hebrew name for the Hinnom Valley southwest of Jerusalem, where humans were sacrificed (2 Ch.28:3; 33:6) and garbage was dumped (2 Kings 23:10)  Fire was constantly present in the Hinnom Valley due to sacrifices and burning trash. This became a figure for the everlasting fire of hell. Used in Mark Vv. 43, 45, 47.

Saturday, 26 September 2015John 14:2; 1 John 4:19; John 8:12 - The hymn, Thee Will I Love, My Strength, My Tower (LSB 694), is the Hymn of the Day. Having seen what the Lord has done, having experienced His goodness and mercy, having entered into His presence, we are now called to praise the Name of the Lord which is expressed in this wonderful hymn. 

Sources:

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 and Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House and from 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

Today in history

Today in history FCD Wyneken arrived at Zion Friedheim


Friday, September 18, 2015

Creation Part 1



Favorite Bible Stories – Creation Genesis 1:1-19

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

And God said, “Let there be an expanse[a] in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” And God made[b] the expanse and separated the waters that were under the expanse from the waters that wereabove the expanse. And it was so. And God called the expanse Heaven.[c] And there was evening and there was morning, the second day.
And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth,[d] and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.
11 And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants[e] yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.

14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons,[f] and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. 16 And God made the two great lights—the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night—and the stars.
 17 And God set them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, the fourth day.[1]

1.   Having read the first  four days of creation what are you initial reactions? What strikes you as odd, unique, or anything you had never considered before?

2.   How did Creation happen?

3.   Does evolution play any part in our understanding of the origins of the universe? How? Why? How and Why not?

4.   God’s creation of the world is presented in three stages. First is the decloration of the creation of the matter out of nothingness 1:1-2. Next comes the ordering of creation (Days 2 and 3 1:3-8) finaly, the filling of creation (Days 4-6 1:9-31)

5.   God’s first act, the creation, is an act of grace. God acts freely to reflect His character, making the world, “very good (1:31) Even after the fall and the coming of sin, much of the goodness that God built into creation remains, Philosophers debate why evil exists, and people ask how a good God could allow bad things to happen. But it is not the existence of evil and suffering that requires an explanation; it is the existence of goodness and beauty and love that is more remarkable. A world without God, cannot explain such things. The persistence of goodness reminds us of what we have lost, but it also offers us a glimpse of God’s grace and the everlasting glory to which God has called us through Christ.

Respond to the following statement, “On the first day He created the earth in order that on the third day He might mould and prepare it for the use of man.




[1] The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Woodcuts by Schnoor von Carolsfeld, © WELS permission granted for the personal and congregational use

Pentecost 17 - Proper 20


Proper 20
Mark 9:30-37
20 September 2015


Collect for Proper 20O God, whose strength is made perfect in weakness, grant us humility and childlike faith that we may please You in both will and deed; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen.

Lord, break our fear of death by reminding us that You have died, never to die again. Today, open our frightened hearts with the resurrection's promise; one day, open our closed eyes with the resurrection's power.  Forgive us for our battles over greatness. Remind us that You alone are great, for You have served the least among us.

Lord, Thank you for Your work through the lives of others. Lead me to welcome those miracles and mercies that You show through every one of Your people.

Jesus shatters our hopes and dreams...

Jesus goes to Jerusalem. To face His oppressors. Jesus again announces His approaching passion. And teaches the disciples the meaning of greatness. 

Jesus announces a second time. That He is going there. To suffer. Die. And rise on the third day. Jesus repeats the prophecy of His passion and resurrection while the disciples listen in frightened silence. Death is frightening and confusing. When we cannot see the promised resurrection. Yet, Jesus bears our fears.  And carries our sins to the cross.  In order to deliver us. To avoid being detained.  He travels incognito. He did not want, will, wish, or desire for any to know where they were - because He was teaching them... He was continually teaching His disciples, the whole Gospel/salvation story. He will be betrayed into the hands of men.  And after three days, He shall rise.

The disciples were ignorant of what Jesus meant. And afraid of the subject matter...Afraid even to engage Jesus in the discussion. They shut up about it. They do not understand it. And they are afraid to ask Him the meaning of it.

Confused by Jesus' prediction of His death.  The disciples return to a subject they know well. Their own greatness. Jesus shows them that true importance is found in serving those whom God values.

When the group reaches Capernaum. Jesus asked them. What they were discussing.  During their walk.

They were too embarrassed to answer. For they had discussed who would be first in the coming Kingdom. He asked them, "what were you talking about on the road?” He brings up the subject. They were silent...they shut up...as they were debating, "who’s the greatest?"  Literally, they were asking, "who is greater?”

When you are tempted.  To debate who is the greatest. Look to where the Master hangs. There, on the cross. He represents you before the Father.  In order to redeem you.  And He leads you by the cross.  Into a new life.

Sitting down. He called the twelve...sitting is the prophetic posture for teaching. He's not here to teach them how to be great. His words go deeper.  If any would be first.  He must be deacon.  He becomes first by serving...taking a "little one" He embraced him and said, “whoever receives one of these little children in My name and receives them receives Me and whoever welcomes Me does not welcome Me but the one who sent Me.  

Jesus taught that the one to be first must be last.  A servant. To illustrate. He takes a child in His arms.  For in that day.  Women and children were considered second-class citizens. Jesus makes the point. The greatest will minister to one like a child in His name.  And when He does. He serves both Christ and God.

Consider Jesus’ clear and definitive response.

To be great.  According to Jesus. You first must be least. You must become the servant of all. Jesus said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the last, and the servant of all.” {v. 35}

Jesus’ definition of greatness differs from the ways of this world.  The world defines greatness in a number of smart yet catchy phrases. “The one with the most toys wins!”  “I’ll meet you at the top!” “Luck is when preparation and opportunity collide.” Power. Control.  And a stockpile of cash.  Are just some of the parts that make up the whole that determine the world’s definition of greatness.  

Jesus’ understanding of greatness is summed up in one small yet powerful word -to be a servant. Jesus said, “For the Son of man came not to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.” {Matthew 20:28}

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.” - Martin Luther King Jr.

Jesus became the servant of all. In His cross and suffering. There. At the cross. He took the sins of the entire world.  And carried them. “A lamb goes uncomplaining forth the guilt of all men bearing. And laden with the sins of earth, none else the burden sharing…” 

Stricken, smitten and afflicted, see Him dying on the tree”  He hangs there. For you and for me.
Taking the sins of the entire world unto Himself. He suffered. That you might receive the forgiveness. Life. And salvation.  Because He suffered. There is now, “peace on earth, good will toward men.” “ Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled”  - In Jesus Christ all sin is forgiven – period!

So says the apostle Paul, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a -servant, {and} being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” {Philippians 2: 5-8}

Jesus was rich toward God.  In every respect. He was the perfect. Holy. Son of God.  But in that great exchange. He took your sin to Himself.

He became poor for you. That you might be rich toward God. He became a slave. That you might be called an heir. No one can be too low for Jesus.  Because He sank to the lowest, point possible.  That you might be lifted up. He was the “true light.” Yet, He allowed Himself to experience “outer darkness.” He was forsaken by God and by men. That you might never have to sink that low.

Jesus became a servant. In His humiliation.  Suffering.  Passion. And death. He calls you to recognize Him. And acknowledge those who He determines to be great among us.

To be great in the Savior’s eyes. Means you acknowledge Him. By recognizing those who He places before you as great in His kingdom.  Listen to the Savior’s words, “Whoever welcomes one of these little ones in My name welcomes Me; and whoever welcomes Me, does not welcome Me, but the One who sent Me.” (v. 37)

Jesus’ words are simple. “Whoever welcomes one of these babies in My name welcomes Me.”

The true mark of faith.  Is to acknowledge Christ. As both God and Lord. As the Father draws you. You acknowledge Jesus as your true and one Redeemer.

Baptism is your entry point. This is your new birth. Your second birth.  And you’re welcome into the family of Christ. Should we deny a child entry into the kingdom? Certainly not! They are to be welcomed. They are to be recognized.  As great in the kingdom. Whenever you witness a baptism. 

Whenever you remember your own baptism. You are not only acknowledging God’s wonderful goodness.  You are witnessing those that He considers great in the kingdom.

In Baptism. You witness a great and mighty wonder. A mystery. A miracle. All who are baptized.  Are ushered into the kingdom. Placed front and center. Acknowledged as great in the Father’s kingdom. This is Grace.

When Princes Diana gave birth to her first son William. The world took notice. The heir to the British throne had been born.  When you witness a baptism, an heir to an eternal kingdom is born. And placed before us!  No wonder Jesus says they are the greatest in the kingdom! Remember your baptism! Remember you are a child of the King. An heir to His eternal kingdom! 

Jesus is explicit.  When we welcome a child in baptism. We welcome Him. When we welcome Him. We welcome the Father.

We welcome the Father. When Jesus and His activity are placed first in our lives.  When we witness a baptism. And you remember your own baptism. A crown of everlasting life is given. Which will not tarnish. This cannot be snatched away by the enemy!

The old song sings, “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.  Red and Yellow, Black and White, they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.”  That’s not child’s play. That’s your reality.  That’s what it means to be great in the Kingdom. In baptism, you are declared a child of the King. You are an heir. You and the entire baptized are great in the Kingdom!

Father welcomes all His children
To His family through His Son.
Father giving His salvation,
Life forever has been won. 




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Words – 1,650
Passive Sentences –3%
Readability –83.4%

Reading Level –4.3

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Cyprian of Carthage

Almighty God, You gave Your servant Cyprian boldness to confess the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, before the rulers of this world and courage to die for the faith he proclaimed. Give us strength always to be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Holy Cross

Merciful God, Your Son Jesus Christ was lifted upon a cross that He might bear the sin of the world and draw all people to Himself. Grant that we who glory in His death for our redemption may faithfully heed His call to bear the cross and follow Him, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Time in the Word - Pentecost 17 - Proper 20

Time in the Word September 14-19, 2015 Proper 20 
Preparation for next week Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost 

Sunday’s Theme: The Christian and his opposition can be clearly seen in the three main readings for this coming week. In the Old Testament lesson [Jeremiah 11:18—20], Jeremiah asks vengeance upon his enemies. In the Epistle [James 3:13-4:10], opposition has its source in worldly wisdom. In the Gospel, [Mark 9:30-37], Jesus goes to Jerusalem to face his oppressors. Christians live in a hostile world, for friendship with the world is enmity to God. 

Collect for Proper 20O God, whose strength is made perfect in weakness, grant us humility and childlike faith that we may please You in both will and deed; 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 Pentecost 17O God, without whose blessing we are not able to please You, mercifully grant that Your Holy Spirit may in all things direct and govern our hearts; through Jesus Christ, Your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen 

Monday, 14 September 2015Psalm 37:5-7, Antiphon, Psalm 37:4 – Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. No matter what you are up against, trust in the Lord and He will sustain you. He will prove Himself worthy as you read the rest of the appointed readings for the coming week. 

Tuesday, 15 September 2015Psalm 54; key verse, verse 4— It is the Lord who sustains my life. The Psalmist finds his life is threatened, as were Jesus’ and Jeremiah’s, and he finds God as his helper who rescues him from death. In our opposition God does not forsake those who trust in Him. 

Wednesday, 16 September 2015Jeremiah 11:18-20—Jeremiah asks vengeance upon his enemies. Jeremiah feels like a lamb led to the slaughter by his enemies and he asks to see God’s vengeance upon them. Jeremiah cries out for vengeance upon those seeking his life. God informs Jeremiah that his enemies were out to destroy him. Jeremiah felt like a “lamb led to the slaughter.” His enemies were offended by his preaching of judgment, doom, and the captivity of the nation. Like other prophets (Elijah and Amos), Jeremiah experienced persecution: beaten, threatened with lynching, imprisoned, and thrown into a pit to die. Even his family was a part of a plot to kill him. Jeremiah calls upon God not only for protection but for vengeance upon his enemies. 

Thursday, 17 September 2015James 3:13-4:10—Opposition has its source in worldly wisdom. James says the wars, quarrels, dissension, and strife have their source in earthly wisdom. It is a bad spirit that causes opposition. James will contrast earthly and heavenly wisdom. In this lesson James distinguishes between the types of wisdom. Earthly wisdom is characterized by ambition, rivalry, and selfishness. This kind of wisdom provides disorder and confusion. Heavenly wisdom comes from God. This wisdom is “pure, peaceable, gentle,” etc. The heavenly side; do not boast of themselves, but promote peace and reap a harvest of righteousness. The source of fighting and killing each other is the heart which is full of selfish desire. 

Friday, 18 September 2015Mark 9:30-37— Jesus goes to Jerusalem to face his oppressors. Jesus again announces His approaching passion and teaches the disciples the meaning of greatness. On His way to Jerusalem, Jesus announces a second time that He is going there to suffer, die, and rise on the third day. To avoid being detained, he travels incognito. 

Unlike the first announcement, the disciples do not understand it and are afraid to ask Him the meaning of it. When the group reaches Capernaum, Jesus asked them what they were discussing during the walk. They were too embarrassed to answer, for they had discussed who would be Number One in the coming Kingdom. Jesus taught that the one to be first must be last as a servant. 

To illustrate He takes a child in His arms, for in that day women and children were considered second-class citizens. Jesus makes the point that the greatest will minister to one like a child in His name, and when He does, He serves both Christ and God. 

Saturday, 19 September 2015Exodus 20:1-17 - The hymn, These Are the Holy Ten Commandments (LSB 581) Recall the Lord’s requirement of faithfulness to His Law. A good review of the Ten Commandments. 

A Prayer for grace to use our giftsO Lord God Almighty, since You bless Your servants with various and unusual gifts of the Holy Spirit, grant us grace to use them always to Your honor and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord

A prayer for God to guide usDirect us, O Lord, in all our doings with Your most gracious favor, and further us with Your continual help, that in all our works begun, continued, and ended in You we may glorify Your holy name and finally, by Your mercy, obtain eternal salvation; through Jesus Christ, our Lord

A prayer for steadfast faithAlmighty God, our heavenly Father, of Your tender love towards 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 come to life everlasting; through Jesus Christ our Lord

For the Hope of Eternal life in ChristAlmighty, everlasting God, whose Son has assured forgiveness of sins and deliverance from eternal death, strengthen us by Your Holy Spirit that our faith in Christ increase daily and we hold fast to the hope that we shall not die but fall asleep and on the last day be raised to eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord

For those in distress - 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. 

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 and Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House and from 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