Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Visitation of our Lord


Almighty God, You chose the Virgin Mary to be the mother of Your Son and made known through her Your gracious regard for the poor and lowly and despised. Grant that we may receive Your Word in humility and faith, and so be made one with Jesus Christ Your Son, our Lord, who lives and rules with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. 

Woodcuts by Baron Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld © WELS

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Time in the Word - Proper 5



God’s Power Of Life Over Death” is the theme for this coming week. In the Old Testament lesson, [1 Kings 17:17-24] the power of life over death is seen in Elijah raising the widow’s son. In the Epistle, [Galatians 1:11-24] the power of life is in Paul’s conversion. In the Gospel [Luke 7:11-17] The power of life is seen in Jesus who raises a widow’s son.

How do some deal with miracles today? Some deny the reality of the miracle as a story or myth of the ancient past. Some allegories and spiritualize the account in an attempt to bring out a helpful message for our day. Some rationalize the miracle to explain away any details that might be inoffensive to scientific minds. We simply allow the miracles to stand as they happen. They are sings for us – signs of the nature of God, of Jesus as the Son of God, of the power of God. Approaching the miracles from this stance, we do not raise a question about the validity of the miracle; we take it for granted. We find the permanent values in the miracle for life today


Monday, 30 May 2016Psalm 138:3, 7-8- Antiphon Psalm 86:16 -In these words of the psalmist he gives testimony to God’s condescending and faithful love for His own. You are loved by God. You are precious in His sight.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016Psalm 30— It is suggested that the psalm was written for the dedication of David’s palace. After he had conquered Jerusalem, and made it his capital. (2 Samuel 5:11; 7:2) David apparently had often been near death, but God brought him through. He would sin praise to God forever. The events in 1 Chronicles 21 may possibly provide the background to this psalm. The dark days when life was in danger are now past (Vv. 2-3; 6-10)

Easy times breed self-reliance (Vs.6) But this experience had put life into perspective for David. (Vs.5) this experience showed the psalmist his own helplessness (Vv. 7-10) Now that the danger is behind him, he gladly and openly acknowledges his debt of gratitude to God. (Vv.11-12)


Wednesday, 01 June 20161 Kings 17:17-24 – In the Old Testament lesson Elijah restores a child to life. The youth was brought back to life by God through Elijah. He stretched himself on the child three times so that his life force might effect the child. In contrast, Jesus simply touched the casket. There was no great effort, no force but simply a touch for the power to flow. Elijah prayed to God with great intensity for the child’s life to return. Jesus does not pray. As the Son of God, He simply said, “Young man, I say to you, arise!”



Thursday, 02 June 2016Galatians 1:11-24— In the Epistle lesson Paul’s gospel did not come from man but from revelation. It’s obvious that many lives are in confusion because they sense no purpose or plan for their lives. The claim that God has a separate plan for each life has largely been dropped by many these days. The result is that lives are purposeless and distracted. 
Paul expresses a conviction that God has a plan for him even before he was born – destined to be a preacher! Can you also say, “This is what God wants me to do with my life?”

Friday, 03 June 2016Luke 7:11-17— In the Gospel lesson Jesus raises a widow’s son in Nain. We feel out weakness. It is as though the world is often too much. Death is the final declaration of defeat. We need to hear the story of Jesus’ raising the widow’s son at Nain to be reminded that life is stronger than death and that this life comes from Christ. In verse 13 Jesus is called “Lord” – He is the Lord of life.

Saturday, 04 June 2016Psalm 102:1-2 The Hymn of the Day is “When in the Hour of Deepest Need” (LSB #615). It is a cold hard world. The endlessly reported refrain coming from people is “Nobody cares about me.” Commercial ventures seeking new business capitalize on this fact and advertise, “We care.” Many ask, “Does anybody really care whether I live or die, succeed or fail?” Does Jesus care? He did when He was in Palestine, but does He care about me today? The answer is in the miracle at Nain. The answer is in the raising of the widow’s son. The answer is found in calling Paul to proclaim the gospel Jesus has not changed. He still has compassion for all who are having a bad time. It is important to observe that Jesus did not raise the youth from death to deliver him from his plight. He was raised to comfort his mother.. The answer is expressed in the words of this powerful hymn. Meditate on it and then come to service singing and proclaiming these powerful truths. This is your reality.


Prayers for Proper 5 from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Prayer for the Armed Forces and Pentecost 2 from Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series C by John Brokhoff © 1979 CSS Publishing Lima OH
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS for personal and congregational use

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Proper 4


Proper 4
Luke 7:1-10
May 29, 2016
“Four statements concerning a great faith”


What does it take to have a great faith? Jesus, upon encountering a Roman Centurion remarks “I have not found such great faith even in Israel” (V. 9) How can this be? Let’s consider four statements pertaining to a great faith.

I. A statement or word of merit. The Centurion remarks, “I don’t deserve to have you come under my roof...

A.     This man had a great faith for he had a realistic view of Himself. He knew that he was a sinner and that he deserved nothing from Jesus. Luther put it this way in his explanation of the 5th Petition of the Lord’s Prayer: “We pray in this petition that our Father in heaven would not look upon our sins, nor on their account deny our prayer; for we are worthy of none of the things for which we pray, neither have we deserved them”.[1]  But then he concludes: “but that He would grant them all to us by grace; for we daily sin much and indeed deserve nothing but punishment. So will we also heartily forgive, and readily do good to, those who sin against us”.[2]

B.     A great faith requires all to acknowledge our own unworthiness before God. “...for we daily sin much and indeed deserve nothing but punishment” No one can make excuses for their sin. We can’t blame it on our environment. We can’t claim duress, or temporary insanity. Of all the things that we own it is our sin, which is our own personal possession. A great faith acknowledges sin and confesses it before God. Denial is not an option. Confession is mandatory.

Transition: A great faith requires a statement of merit. Confession is an obligation. We also need a statement of worth.

II. A statement or word of worth. The Centurion continues “I do not consider myself worthy

A.     The prodigal son prayed, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in thy sight and am no more worthy to be called thy son. (Luke 15:21)  Jacob, as he prepared himself to meet Esau after a long separation filled with years of hostility and separation prayed to the Lord: “I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness You have shown Your servant...” (Genesis 32:10a)

B.     How should you and I pray? We pray: “Almighty God, our Maker and Redeemer, we poor sinners confess unto Thee that we are by nature sinful and unclean and that we have sinned against Thee by thought, word and deed. Wherefore we flee for refuge to Thine infinite mercy, seeking and imploring Thy grace for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ” 2

Transition:  A great faith requires a statement of merit, it requires a statement of worth, it requires a statement and a word of convenience.

III.  A statement or word of convenience. “Don’t trouble yourself

A.     Acknowledging and confessing his own sin and unworthiness this Roman Centurion teaches us an important lesson. When we approach God we must pray “Thy will be done Lord, Thy will be done.”

B.     Prayer cannot be used to manipulate God or to force our will upon Him. We are but mere beggars before God. The man knew that he stood guilt before the Lord of life. There was no merit within him. A great faith realizes that we are obligated to God – that He is not to be used merely to satisfy our latest whim or fancy.

C.     The amazing thing about the grace of God found in Jesus Christ is that he grants us His perfect will in spit of our sin. Jesus reminds us: “Which of you father, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Sprit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:11-13)

Transition: A great faith requires a word or statement of merit, of worth, of convenience and also a word of trust.

IV. A statement or word of trust. “But just say the word and my servant will be healed

A.     Faith is trusting. Luther commenting on the power of baptism in our lives remarks “it’s not the water indeed that does this, but the word of God, which is in and with the water and faith, which trusts such word of God in the water. For without the word of God the water is simply water and there is no baptism. But with the word of God, it is a Baptism, that is, a gracious water of life and a washing of regeneration in the Holy Ghost as St. Paul says, Titus, chapter third: [According to His mercy He saved us] By the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy ghost, which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying! [3]
It is the word of God which places these great blessings into Baptism; and through faith, which trusts this word of promise, we accept the forgiveness, life and salvation offered in Baptism and make theses blessings our very own.

B.     Faith is believing. Faith is taking Jesus at His Word. Faith is the assurance that the Holy Ghost is working faith in us and thus creating in us new spiritual life.

Precious Jesus, I beseech Thee, May thy words take root in me; May this gift from heaven enrich me. So that I bear fruit for Thee! Take them never from my heart. Till I see Thee as Thou art, When in heavenly bliss and glory I shall greet Thee and adore Thee.”[4]






[1]  The 5th Petition Luther’s Small Catechism © 1943 Concordia Publishing House St. Louis, MO
[2]  The Confession of Sins from The Lutheran Hymnal © 1940 Concordia Publishing House St. Louis, MO
[3] The Power of Baptism Luther’s Small Catechism © 1943 Concordia Publishing House St. Louis, MO
[4] Speak, O Lord, Thy Servant Hears, from The Lutheran Hymnal © 1940 Concordia Publishing House St. Louis, MO

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Bede the Venerable, Theologian


Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. – Hebrews 12:1

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Jesse Hoover


Jesse Hoover
Founding pastor of Zion Friedheim 
Transferred into glory 24 May 1838

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Time in the Word
God has no Boundaries 
A Study for Proper 4
The 2nd Sunday in Pentecost
23-28 May 2016

We now enter into the non-festival portion of the church year. As corn that has been planted begins to emerge, sprout and grow. So the seed of faith, planted in baptism grows and matures throughout the life of the Christian. As we have examined the entire life and ministry of Jesus, we now get into the application of God’s word in the life of the Christian. During this season, the Old Testament lessons are taken from fifteen different Old Testament books. Ten different New Testament books will be used for the Epistle lesson. Except for the Festivals [Pentecost, Trinity, Reformation, All Saints) all gospel lessons are from the Gospel of Luke. We will witness three miracles, six parables and hear fifteen discourses from the Savior.


As to the theme for the coming Sunday we will examine the faith of foreigners. In the Old Testament lesson, Solomon prays that God would hear foreigners praying in the temple. In our day, we pray that people of all nations would come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. In the Epistle lesson, Paul is shocked that the Galatians have turned to another gospel and must be convinced of the truth, which is found in Christ. In the Gospel, Jesus heals the slave of a Roman centurion.

Prayer for Proper 4 (May 29 – June4 ) – O God by Your almighty Word You set in order all things in heaven and on earth. Put away from us all things hurtful, and give us those things that are beneficial for us; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Prayer for Pentecost 2 – O God, whose never-failing providence sets in order all things both in heaven and earth, put away from us, we entreat You, all hurtful things, and give us those things that are profitable for us; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

A prayer for victims of storms- Almighty God, our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble, look in mercy upon all who have been ravaged by tornadoes and storms. By these present outbreaks You call us to repentance. As the news breaks of the injuries, loss of life and destruction of homes and property, sustain our faith and defend those affected from every danger to body and soul. Lift up Your face and be gracious to them in this time of danger. Protect them, especially those who are weak and helpless. Be with the emergency service workers, police, fire, EMS and medical teams whose vocation is to respond in the minutes, hours and days following the storms. When they are weak, give them strength; when afraid, courage. Turn the hearts and minds of all to You, that they might find peace through the cleansing of Jesus' blood. Amid the tumult of disaster, build Your kingdom and turn these suffering souls to Yourself. For Jesus' sake, Amen

Monday, 23 May 2016 – Psalm 31:19, 23-24 - The Antiphon for this coming week’s Introit is from psalm 31:2b, “Be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me.”   The term rock is a poetic figure for God symbolizing his unfailing strength as a fortress and refuge. Where do we go in times of great trial? We turn to the Lord our refuge, fortress, and strength.  

Tuesday, 24 May 2016 – Psalm 117 – In the Psalm appointed for this coming Sunday, the Psalmist gives us the shortest Psalm in the entire book of Psalms. It is also the shortest chapter in the Bible. In fitting with our theme for this week, we are reminded that all nations and peoples are called on to praise the Lord for his great love and enduring faithfulness toward Israel.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016 – 1 Kings 8:41-43 - The Old Testament lesson includes Solomon’s prayer that God will hear foreigners praying in the temple. All three lessons point to the fact that there is no partiality with and in God. Our lesson indicates that all people will come to God’s house and will be heard by God. Does this teach universalism? No, for man to come he must come through the narrow door. He must come through Jesus and through faith.

 Thursday, 26 May 2016 – Galatians 1:1-10 – Paul is shocked that the Galatians have turned to another gospel. The Gospel is not confined to a race or sect but is available for all.
God would have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. But they must come only through faith in Christ.

Friday, 27 May 2016 – Luke 7:1-10 – Jesus has mercy and heals a centurion’s slave. In the Gospel lesson, Jesus helps a pagan slave and credits his Roman master with the greatest faith in Israel. The point is not that this man is a “foreigner” rather he is a “foreigner” who has a stronger faith than any in Israel. What makes this incident in the life of the Savior so outstanding is that the believer is not a Jew but a Roman professional military pagan! 

Saturday, 28 2016 – 1 Samuel 20:3 – This verse is the inspiration for the great hymn, “In the Very Midst of Life.” {LSB 755}  The context of this verse is an oath David took with respect to his friend Jonathan. As the Lord lives, David knows the Lord will keep His word. In the midst of our earthly existence, the Lord has promised to sustain, guide, and lead His people. We place our lives into His hands knowing that He will surely order our days. Vicious and violent storms leave some questioning. Do we trust only when things go our way? Do we have confidence in God only when life is good? In the very midst of life, in every circumstance, we trust Christ completely.        
  

LUTHERAN SEVICE BOOK LECTIONARY © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO
Prayer for tornado victims offered by LCMS World Relief and Human Care
LECTIONARY PREACHING WORKBOOK SERIES C by John Brokhoff © 1979 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH

Time in the Word - Proper 4



Time in the Word
God has no Boundaries 
A Study for Proper 4
The 2nd Sunday in Pentecost
23-28 May 2016

We now enter into the non-festival portion of the church year. As corn that has been planted begins to emerge, sprout and grow. So the seed of faith, planted in baptism grows and matures throughout the life of the Christian. As we have examined the entire life and ministry of Jesus, we now get into the application of God’s word in the life of the Christian. During this season, the Old Testament lessons are taken from fifteen different Old Testament books. Ten different New Testament books will be used for the Epistle lesson. Except for the Festivals [Pentecost, Trinity, Reformation, All Saints) all gospel lessons are from the Gospel of Luke. We will witness three miracles, six parables and hear fifteen discourses from the Savior.

As to the theme for the coming Sunday we will examine the faith of foreigners. In the Old Testament lesson, Solomon prays that God would hear foreigners praying in the temple. In our day, we pray that people of all nations would come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. In the Epistle lesson, Paul is shocked that the Galatians have turned to another gospel and must be convinced of the truth, which is found in Christ. In the Gospel, Jesus heals the slave of a Roman centurion.

Prayer for Proper 4 (May 29 – June4 ) – O God by Your almighty Word You set in order all things in heaven and on earth. Put away from us all things hurtful, and give us those things that are beneficial for us; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Prayer for Pentecost 2 – O God, whose never-failing providence sets in order all things both in heaven and earth, put away from us, we entreat You, all hurtful things, and give us those things that are profitable for us; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Monday, 23 May 2016 – Psalm 31:19, 23-24 - The Antiphon for this coming week’s Introit is from psalm 31:2b, “Be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me.”   The term rock is a poetic figure for God symbolizing his unfailing strength as a fortress and refuge. Where do we go in times of great trial? We turn to the Lord our refuge, fortress, and strength.  

Tuesday, 24 May 2016 – Psalm 117 – In the Psalm appointed for this coming Sunday, the Psalmist gives us the shortest Psalm in the entire book of Psalms. It is also the shortest chapter in the Bible. In fitting with our theme for this week, we are reminded that all nations and peoples are called on to praise the Lord for his great love and enduring faithfulness toward Israel.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016 – 1 Kings 8:41-43 - The Old Testament lesson includes Solomon’s prayer that God will hear foreigners praying in the temple. All three lessons point to the fact that there is no partiality with and in God. Our lesson indicates that all people will come to God’s house and will be heard by God. Does this teach universalism? No, for man to come he must come through the narrow door. He must come through Jesus and through faith.

Thursday, 26 May 2016 – Galatians 1:1-10 – Paul is shocked that the Galatians have turned to another gospel. The Gospel is not confined to a race or sect but is available for all.
God would have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. But they must come only through faith in Christ.

Friday, 27 May 2016 – Luke 7:1-10 – Jesus has mercy and heals a centurion’s slave. In the Gospel lesson, Jesus helps a pagan slave and credits his Roman master with the greatest faith in Israel. The point is not that this man is a “foreigner” rather he is a “foreigner” who has a stronger faith than any in Israel. What makes this incident in the life of the Savior so outstanding is that the believer is not a Jew but a Roman professional military pagan! 

Saturday, 28 2016 – 1 Samuel 20:3 – This verse is the inspiration for the great hymn, “In the Very Midst of Life.” {LSB 755}  The context of this verse is an oath David took with respect to his friend Jonathan. As the Lord lives, David knows the Lord will keep His word. In the midst of our earthly existence, the Lord has promised to sustain, guide, and lead His people. We place our lives into His hands knowing that He will surely order our days. Vicious and violent storms leave some questioning. Do we trust only when things go our way? Do we have confidence in God only when life is good? In the very midst of life, in every circumstance, we trust Christ completely.        

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Trinity


Trinity
May 22, 2016


The problem of preaching on the Trinity is that most people think that it is boring. Imagine, preaching on a doctrine rather than on an event of salvation. The word or the expression “Trinity” is not found in Bible, which has led some groups to say that the Trinity is not a doctrine found in the Bible. True, you might not find the term “Trinity” in the Scriptures but its teaching can be found on almost every page. And yet, it is the doctrine and the teaching of the Trinity which defines us. Those who do not believe in the Trinity are not Christian. Those who believe in the Trinity are called Christian. Notice, again, what was confessed in the words of the Athanasian Creed, “Whoever desires to be saved must, above all, hold the catholic faith. Whoever does not keep it whole and undefiled will without doubt perish eternally. And the catholic faith is this, that we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity, neither confusing the persons nor dividing the substance…This is the catholic faith; whoever does not believe it faithfully and firmly cannot be saved.” The doctrine of the Trinity explains the Lord’s relationship with you. It embraces the full nature and work of God as well as His relationship to you. Together let’s consider…
1.       God’s relationship with Man.

A. Father – God above us.

1. This runs contrary to the ways and thinking of man who maintains control of his own destiny. But man left to his own devises plans would leave him to ruin.

2. We serve an omniscient and all – knowing God “O Lord, Thou hast searched me and known me. Thou does know when I sit down and when I rise up. Thou doest understand my thoughts from afar. Thou doest scrutinize my path and my lying down and art intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O Lord, Thou does know it all. – Psalm 139:1-4

B. Son – God with us.

1. The last five words He spoke to humans on the day of His Ascension still ring in our ears, “I am with you always.” –Matthew 28:20

2. Speaking through the prophet Jeremiah in the Old Testament we hear the same message, “Can a man hide himself in hiding places so I do not see him” declares the Lord. Do I not fill the heaven and the earth? Declares the Lord “– Jeremiah 23:24
C. Spirit – God in us.

1. “God is a Spirit and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and in truth.” – John 4:24

2. “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God”. Revelation 21:3

Transition: We see God’s relationship with man to abide with him. But consider His work in life.

2. God’s work.
A. Father – Creation. Then God said, Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness and let them rule over he fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” – Genesis 1:26

1. This is the first instance of the Trinity mentioned in Scripture.

2. God in the singular speaks in the plural.

3. Although all three persons of the godhead are present and participate in the creation it is the Father who is responsible for creating and sustaining the earth.

a. God always works through means.

b. He uses farmers to preserve and sustain the world.

B. Son – Redemption. Jesus came to deliver the people of this world form sin. Peter explains it this way – Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers but with precious blood, as of a lamb, unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. 1 Peter 1:18-19

C. Spirit – Sanctification. The work of the Holy Spirit is necessary because man cannot by his own reason, strength or will believe in Jesus Christ or come to Him.

1. He can’t come by his own reason – “But a natural man can not accept the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness to hi, and he can not understand them because they are spiritually appraised.” – 1 Corinthians 2:14


2. He can’t come by his own strength – “You are dead in your trespasses and sins.” Ephesians 2:1

3. He can’t come by his own will – The mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the Law of God, for it is not able to do so. – Romans 8:7

Transition: We see God’s relationship with man to abide with him. We know of his life and work. But where is God to be found?

3. God’s location.

A. Father – God in the universe. “’Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?’ declares the LORD. ‘Do not I fill heaven and earth?" declares the LORD’.” – Jeremiah 23:24

B. Son – God in Jesus of Nazareth. “And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding, in order that we might know Him who is true and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.” – 1 John 5:20
C. Spirit – God in the believer. Every person is born an unbeliever. He remains in that state until he is “born again” of the Holy Spirit. To be born again is to be born from above, to be born spiritually, to be born of God. “That which is born of flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again’.” – John 3:5-7
The entire Godhead is working on your behalf to have a relationship with you. All praise to the blessed Trinity and the undivided Unity.

Emperor Constantine, Christian ruler, and Helena, Mother of Constantine




Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. – Hebrews 12:1

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Time in the Word - Trinity



The Blessed Trinity Blesses” is the theme for this coming week. In the Old Testament lesson, [Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31] God the Father creates the universe. The Epistle, [Acts 2:22-36] is a continuation with Peter’s Pentecost sermon. The object is on God the Son who alone justifies and saves us. In the Gospel [John 8:48-59] Jesus identifies His true identity. God the Spirit reveals this truth to us in the clear words of the Gospel.

Trinity Sunday calls for us to consider the doctrine that sets us apart from all other pagan religions. As the Athanasian Creed reminds us, “Whoever desires to be saved must, above all, hold the catholic [i.e. Christian] faith. Whoever does not keep it whole and undefiled will without doubt perish eternally…whoever does not believe it faithfully and firmly cannot be saved.” The Bible does not specifically mention the term “Trinity” yet, its teaching can be found on literally every page.

Collect for Pentecost – O God, on this day You once taught the hearts of Your faithful people by sending them the light of Your Holy Spirit. Grant us in our day by the same Spirit to have a right understanding in all things and evermore to rejoice in His holy consolation; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Collects for the week of Pentecost - O God, who gave Your Holy Spirit to the apostles, grant us that same Spirit that we may live in faith and abide in peace; through Jesus Christ Your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Almighty and ever-living God, You fulfilled Your promise by sending the gift of the Holy Spirit to unite disciples of all nations in the cross and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ. By the preaching of the Gospel spread this gift to the ends of the earth; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Collect for Trinity – Almighty and everlasting God, You have give us grace to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity by the confession of a true fait hand to worship the unity in the power of the Divine Majesty. Keep us steadfast in this faith and defend us from all adversities; for you, O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, live and reign one God, now and forever.

For the Armed Forces of our Nation - O Lord God of hosts, stretch forth Your almighty arm to strengthen and protect those who serve in the armed forces of our country. Support them in this time of war, and in times of peace keep them from all evil, giving them courage and loyalty and granting that in all things they may serve honestly and without reproach, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Prayers for Pentecost and Trinity from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House

Monday, 16 May 2016Psalm 16:8-11 - The antiphon is an ancient Liturgical Text — The Psalmist describes the joy of total security. David speaks here, as in the rest of the psalm, for of all of himself and of the life he now enjoys by the gracious provision and care of God. The Lord, in whom the psalmist takes refuge, wills life for him and will not abandon him to the grave, even though flesh and heart may fail. (See Psalm 73:26) When David mentions “your Holy One” in verse 10 he is speaking of himself but ultimately of Christ. Jesus did not suffer decay once He died. Once He died on Calvary’s cross death itself began working backward. The words of this verse have been majestically sung in Handle’s Messiah. It is a critical verse when discussing the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin. Did the body wrapped in the shroud experience decomposition? If so, it can not be the burial cloth of Christ. If not, it might very well be Christ’s shroud.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016Psalm 8— Man the Crown of Creation. This is to be brought to pass under the Messiah, in the day of His Triumphant Reign. (See Hebrews 2:6-9) Jesus quoted verse 2 as referring to an incident in His own life. (See Matthew 21:16) (Vv.1-2) As he contemplates the great expanse of the universe the psalmist is overwhelmed by a sense of man’s littleness. He marvels that God not only bothers about man, but has set him over all other creatures (Vv. 5-8) The psalm ends, as it began, with a refrain of praise to God (Vv. 1, 9)
(Vv. 4-6) see Hebrews 2:6-9 and Genesis 1:28

Wednesday, 17 May 2016Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31 – The Old Testament lesson reveals that it is God the Father who is the creator of the universe. True, all three persons of the Trinity were present at the creation. Yet it is the Father who is confessed as the creator of us all. Wisdom was with God at the creation. Paul refers to Christ as the wisdom of God [see 1 Corinthians 1:24]. Wisdom is also identified with the Spirit who guides us into all truth. [See John 3:16]




Thursday, 18 May 2016Acts 2:14a, 22-36— The epistle lesson is a continuation from the Pentecost experience. The apostles had been baptized with the Holy Spirit and had spoken in other languages to various groups. Now they stand with Peter, who serves as their spokesman. Peter, the man who once denied his Savior now boldly confesses Him as God and Lord.

Friday, 19 May 2016John 8:48-59— In the Gospel lesson Jesus gives claims concerning Himself. The religious leaders lay a charge at Jesus –“You are worse then a Samaritan! You are possessed by a demon!” To this charge Jesus claims that He is the only one sent by the Father. He does not claim to know God. He claims to be God.

Saturday, 20 May 2016Luke 2:14; John 1:29, Revelation 5:9-14; Ephesians 1:20-21 The Hymn of the Day is “All Glory Be to God on High” (LSB #947). The original Gloria in Excelsis Deo was sung by a choir of angels at the announcement of the birth of Christ. Christmas won’t come for another eight months but every time we as Christians gather we are given opportunity to sing the praises of our God. Together we will gather to praise the name of our God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. May our God remain at the center of our life and worship.


The Trinity is central in the life of our Christian worship. References to the Trinity are encountered frequently in worship. The worship service opens with the Invocation – “In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” The service may close with the threefold Aaronic benediction. The Christian life begins with baptism “In the Name of the Father…” At Confirmation the Trinity is used for the blessing, “The Father in heaven for Jesus’ sake renew and increase in you the gift of the Holy Spirit.” After a Psalm is prayed in the Introit the congregation says or sings the Gloria Patri: “Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost.” The Doxology is used at the dedication of the offering: “Praise God from whom all blessings flow…Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.” The New Testament benediction involves the Trinity: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Corinthians 13:14)

Monday, May 9, 2016

Job


Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. – Hebrews 12:1

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Time in the Word - Pentecost



God’s Use of Language” is the theme for this coming week. In the Old Testament lesson, [Genesis 11:1-9] God uses language to confuse the world. In the Epistle, [Acts 2:1-21] Language us used to understand the Gospel. In the Gospel [John 14:23-31] Language is used too witness to Christ with the help of the Comforter.

“Pentecost” is a Greek word, meaning fifty. The Jews celebrated Pentecost as a harvest festival. Later, it was used to celebrate the giving of the Law on Sinai and the birthday of Israel. Christians celebrate Pentecost as the birthday of Missions and global evangelism.

Collect for the Seventh Sunday of EasterO King of glory, Lord of hosts, uplifted in triumph far above all heavens, leave us not without consolation but send us the Spirit of truth whom You promised from the Father; for You live and reign with Him and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Collect for Pentecost Eve – Almighty and ever-living God, You fulfilled Your promise by sending the gift of the Holy Spirit to unite disciples of all nations in the cross and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ. By the preaching of the Gospel spread this gift to the ends of the earth; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Collect for Pentecost – O God, on this day You once taught the hearts of Your faithful people by sending them the light of Your Holy Spirit. Grant us in our day by the same Spirit to have a right understanding in all things and evermore to rejoice in His holy consolation; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

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

Monday, 09 May 2016Psalm 104:24, 27-30 The antiphon is an ancient Liturgical Text — The Psalmist marvels at the grandeur and the detail, the perfection and completeness of God’s work in creation - verse 24 sums it all up.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016Psalm 143— David had reached the end of the line; no more reserve or resources (vv.3-4). But in a desperate situation one refuge remains: God Himself (vv.5-12). “O Lord…teach me…deliver me…lead me…bring me out of trouble”

Wednesday, 11 May 2016Genesis 11:1-9 – The Old Testament lesson is the story of the tower of Babel and the confusion of language. Too many languages was confusing and construction of the great tower was stopped. There was a loss of unity from a lack of the Holy Spirit. The people desired to build for themselves a tower, and altar unto themselves. There was a centrifugal power of an evil spirit at Babel – it scatters.

Thursday, 12 May 2016Acts 2:1-21— The Epistle lesson is the entire story of the events of Pentecost. Pilgrims from every corner of the globe had descended upon the city of Jerusalem to celebrate. On that day Christ was preached to the nations and the nations were brought to the church. Pentecost is not the birthday of the church – it existed well before the feast of Pentecost. Pentecost is the birthday of missions when the church is reminded that we are to go out into the world with the message of the Gospel. The Savior Himself predicted the events of Pentecost. Look up Matthew 24:14. The gospel was preached to the nations on the first Pentecost. For centuries the gospel message has encircled the globe. It has been preached on every continent. But specifically on September 15, 2001 from the National Cathedral in Washington DC the message of Christ and Him crucified was beamed literally around this planet through radio and television as the world watched and listened. Some may ask, “When will the end come?” Pentecost gives us the answer. The end will come - when the last pagan is converted.

Friday, 13 May 2016John 14:23-31— In the gospel lesson Jesus reminds us that love and obedience are linked. How can we trust, love and obey? By ourselves we can not do it. Thus the Counselor is sent from the Father. Both the Father and the Son are involved in the sending of the Spirit. The Spirit reminded these early disciples of everything Jesus had said and done. Thus when their message went out, as they recorded the words and actions of Jesus in written form they became literally God breathed and inspired. They became the Sacred Scriptures because the Spirit directed these men over a period of some twenty years to write 27 books that in reality make up one book – the New Testament. These books, together with the Old Testament, have one doctrinal viewpoint, one moral standard, one plan of salvation, one program for the ages.

Saturday, 14 April 2016Luke 11:13; 1 Corinthians 12:13 The Hymn of the Day is “Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord”(LSB #497). This majestic hymn was written by Martin Luther, 1483-1546 and was no doubt written as a children’s hymn so that his students could memorize and understand the 3rd Article of the Apostles’ Creed. The chief teaching of the Christian faith - the doctrine of salvation by faith rather than works is clearly delineated throughout the course of this great hymn. Sing it confidently and boldly. The Holy Spirit has brought you to faith He will continue to keep you in the one true faith.

Sources:
LUTHERAN WORSHIP © 1982 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO pg. 62
LUTHERAN SEVICE BOOK LECTIONARY © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO
LECTIONARY PREACHING WORKBOOK SERIES C by John Brokhoff © 1979 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH pp. 144

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Easter 7


Christians these days seem to be divided more than ever. The ecumenical movement with the desire to unite all believers in Christ into one church seems to have lost its forward thrust. Instead of uniting it appears that churches are actually separating, forming new denominations over such issues as the interpretation of Scripture, the ordination of women, and revisions of worship. There is an urgent need as always for the church to be one. The question, of course, is how is this done?

As we examine the words of Jesus today we find a model for unity.

1. A unity of relationship – love. Vv.21, 23 I am praying… that they will all be one, just as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. I pray that they will be in us, so that the world will believe that you sent me…I in them and you in me – that they may be completely one, so that the world will know that you sent me, and you have loved them just as you have loved me.

A. As Christ is one in God, and a Christian is one in Christ, so Christians are to be one with each other. This is the unity for which Jesus was praying. A unity not made by man but a unity which comes from Christ. This unity is how Luke describes the 1st Century Christians in the book of Acts. It is the verse which describes the Mission, Vision and Philosophy of our Friedheim family. “And they were one in the Apostles doctrine, and in Fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in prayer.” [Acts 2:42]

B. It is love, which draws, cements and unites us. Not our love but the love of Christ. It is love expressed in a cross. “Lift high the cross, the cross of Christ proclaim” so the church sings. The Father’s’ love is not an emotion nor is it a felling. It is expressed in tangible things at the cross and empty tomb, in holy waters of baptism and in the bread and wine of His meal.

Transition: There is a unity of relationship of love there is also a close fellowship between the members of Christ’s family the Church.


2. A unity of togetherness – Vs. 24 Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, so that they can see my glory that you gave me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

A. Unity is expressed in being together. How are we united?

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

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

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

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

B. By His Ascension Jesus is now with the Father.

1. He ascended into heaven to prepare a place for you and me.

2. In glory He lives and rules throughout all eternity.

C. Jesus has prayed that His people also may be with Him in heaven.

1. There you and I will live with Him.

2. We will dwell with Him throughout all eternity.

Transition: There is a unity of relationship of love there is also a close fellowship between the members of Christ’s family the Church. Together we gossip the gospel in the world.

3. A unity of common cause – Vv.21, 23 I am praying… that they will all be one, just as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. I pray that they will be in us, so that the world will believe that you sent me…I in them and you in me – that they may be completely one, so that the world will know that you sent me, and you have loved them just as you have loved me.

A. When people have a common cause, they unite and work together to achieve the goal. What is it that the Lord would have us do? What is it that the Lord is calling this congregation to do as a witness for Christ? What is it that the Lord Jesus is calling you as a family, as an individual Christian to be His witness in this generation? How is He calling you to be salt and light in this world?

B. The goal of the church is to be a witness to the world which is to come to know and believe in Jesus Christ. Jesus prays for this unity so that the world will know that you sent me.
This is the message the world needs to hear. They need to hear for what purpose the Savior came. He came to give life to the world. He came to unite us to Him.

Christ has claimed you to be His own. He protects you and has given you a unity and fellowship that this world can never know. It is a unity not created or sustained by man but comes to us in know Christ and in being incorporated into His family the church.


Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS for personal and congregational use

Easter 7


Easter 7



Christians these days seem to be divided more than ever. The ecumenical movement with the desire to unite all believers in Christ into one church seems to have lost its forward thrust. Instead of uniting it appears that churches are actually separating, forming new denominations over such issues as the interpretation of Scripture, the ordination of women, and revisions of worship. There is an urgent need as always for the church to be one. The question, of course, is how is this done?

As we examine the words of Jesus today we find a model for unity.

1. A unity of relationship – love. Vv.21, 23 I am praying… that they will all be one, just as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. I pray that they will be in us, so that the world will believe that you sent me…I in them and you in me – that they may be completely one, so that the world will know that you sent me, and you have loved them just as you have loved me.

A. As Christ is one in God, and a Christian is one in Christ, so Christians are to be one with each other. This is the unity for which Jesus was praying. A unity not made by man but a unity which comes from Christ. This unity is how Luke describes the 1st Century Christians in the book of Acts. It is the verse which describes the Mission, Vision and Philosophy of our Friedheim family. “And they were one in the Apostles doctrine, and in Fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in prayer.” [Acts 2:42]

B. It is love, which draws, cements and unites us. Not our love but the love of Christ. It is love expressed in a cross. “Lift high the cross, the cross of Christ proclaim” so the church sings. The Father’s’ love is not an emption nor is it a felling. It is expressed in tangible things at the cross and empty tomb, in holy waters of baptism and in the bread and wine of His meal.

Transition: There is a unity of relationship of love there is also a close fellowship between the members of Christ’s family the Church.

2. A unity of togetherness – Vs. 24 Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, so that they can see my glory that you gave me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

A. Unity is expressed in being together. How are we united?

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

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

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

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

B. By His Ascension Jesus is now with the Father.

1. He ascended into heaven to prepare a place for you and me.

2. In glory He lives and rules throughout all eternity.

C. Jesus has prayed that His people also may be with Him in heaven.

1. There you and I will live with Him.

2. We will dwell with Him throughout all eternity.

Transition: There is a unity of relationship of love there is also a close fellowship between the members of Christ’s family the Church. Together we gossip the gospel in the world.

3. A unity of common cause – Vv.21, 23 I am praying… that they will all be one, just as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. I pray that they will be in us, so that the world will believe that you sent me…I in them and you in me – that they may be completely one, so that the world will know that you sent me, and you have loved them just as you have loved me.

A. When people have a common cause, they unite and work together to achieve the goal. What is it that the Lord would have us do? What is it that the Lord is calling this congregation to do as a witness for Christ? What is it that the Lord Jesus is calling you as a family, as an individual Christian to be His witness in this generation? How is He calling you to be salt and light in this world?

B. The goal of the church is to be a witness to the world which is to come to know and believe in Jesus Christ. Jesus prays for this unity so that the world will know that you sent me.
This is the message the world needs to hear. They need to hear for what purpose the Savior came. He came to give life to the world. He came to unite us to Him.

Christ has claimed you to be His own. He protects you and has given you a unity and fellowship that this world can never know. It is a unity not created or sustained by man but comes to us in know Christ and in being incorporated into His family the church.


Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS for personal and congregational use

C. F. W. Walther, Theologian



Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us. – Hebrews 12:1

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Ascension

Ascension
Luke 24:44-53
An Ascension Message of Joy
May 5, 2016


Almighty God, as Your only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, ascended into the heavens, so may we also ascend in heart and mind and continually dwell there with him, who lives, and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

1.       There is joy in the fulfillment of God’s prophesies in the Old Testament.
A.      The Messianic prophesies of the Old Testament are fulfilled.
B.      “It was necessary.”
C.      Jesus opens the minds of the disciples to understand – here merely an intellectual comprehension.
2.       There is joy in the call to purpose and significant service.
A.      “You will be witnesses of these things.”
1.       They witnessed the “what” and “why” of the suffering, dying, and rising again of Christ.
2.       They were to carry on the work of Christ. This command is in the constant present. Until Christ’s coming again.
3.       They were to begin in Jerusalem and go out into the entire world.
B.      They proclaimed repentance and forgiveness in His name.
1.       True repentance involves two things.
a.       First, come sorrow and contrition.
b.      Then follows faith, which trusts the promise of God’s forgiveness.
2.       It is proclaimed “in His name.”
C.      The Holy Spirit would empower them.
3.       There is joy in the blessing that found response in joyful worship.
A.      They receive the blessing of Christ, not the least of which was the promise of His abiding presence. (see Matthew 28:20)
B.      Their worship in the temple anticipates their joy of worship in heaven. (see John  14:1-6)
The Ascension joy is also available to us in the same was and on the same terms. God has promised, called, and blessed us. We in that blessing respond in joyful service and worship, until in Christ’s coming gain we are taken “so that where He is we may be also” – in heaven, where we shall serve and worship our God in the fullness of joy that knows no end!
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Words- 325
Passive Sentences –
Readability –75%

Reading Level -6.2