Monday, August 29, 2016

The Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist



Almighty God, You gave Your servant John the Baptist to be the forerunner of Your Son Jesus Christ, in both his preaching of repentance and his innocent death. Grant that we, who have died to sin and risen with Christ in Holy Baptism, may daily repent of our sins, patiently suffer for the sake of truth and fearlessly bear witness of His victory over death; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Time in the Word - Pentecost 16 - Proper 18



Christ Jesus Has Paid the Cost of Discipleship for You
A disciple of Jesus Christ will “carry his own cross” (Luke 14:27) and follow the Lord through death into life. Discipleship is costly because it crucifies the old man with “all his own possessions” (Luke 14:33), in order to raise up the new man in Christ. The disciple disavows “his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life” (Luke 14:26), in deference to Christ. That way of the cross is impossible, except that Christ Jesus has already paid the cost. His cross is set before you as “life and prosperity, and death and adversity” (Deut. 30:15). Taking up His cross is to “choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him” (Deut. 30:19–20). To live that life in Christ is also to bear His cross in love, “that your goodness should not be as it were by compulsion, but of your own free will” (Philemon 14).

Prayer for Christian vocationHeavenly Father, grant Your mercy and grace to Your people in their many and various callings. Give them patience, and strengthen them in their Christian vocation of witness to the world and of service to their neighbor in Christ's name; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for likeness to ChristO God, by the patient suffering of Your only-begotten Son You have beaten down the pride of the old enemy. Now help us, we humbly pray, rightly to treasure in our hearts all that our Lord has of His goodness borne for our sake that following His blessed example we may bear with all patience all that is adverse to us; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for agricultureAlmighty 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. Amen.

Prayer for industry and commerceLord Jesus Christ, as once You shared in our human toil and thus hallowed the work of our hands, bless and prosper those who maintain the industries and service sectors of this land. Give them a right regard for their labors, and grant them the just reward for their work that they may find joy in serving You and in supplying our needs; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Collect for the Martyrdom of St John the Baptist (29 August): Almighty God, You gave Your servant John the Baptist to be the forerunner of Your Son, Jesus Christ, in both his preaching of repentance and his innocent death. Grant that we, who have died and risen with Christ in Holy Baptism, may daily repent of our sins, patiently suffer for the sake of the truth, and fearlessly bear witness to His victory over death; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.



Monday, 29 August 2016Psalm 119:28–32; antiphon, Psalm 119:27—The readings for Sunday reflect the theme of discipleship. Whose disciples shall we be? That is, in whom shall we place our trust? Let us be like the psalmist, who boldly pronounces, I have chosen the way of faithfulness . . . I cling to your testimonies, O Lord. This he can say with confidence, not because of anything in him, but because he prays, Make me understand the way of your precepts, and the LORD answers.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016Psalm 1—The contrast between the righteous and the wicked is brought into sharp contrast in this, the first of the psalms. We know that we are not righteous in ourselves, but, since we are in Christ, His righteousness is our righteousness. Those who are in Christ are fit the description of the description of the blessed man, the righteous man, in the psalm.

Wednesday, 31  August 2016Deuteronomy 30:15–20—In Moab (Deut 29:1), before they entered the Promised Land, Moses re-iterated the covenant between the LORD and His people, the Children of Israel. He reminded them of how the LORD led them out of bondage in Egypt and cared for them throughout their sojourn in the wilderness. Then, Moses tells the Israelites that they must follow one of two paths: to continue as God’s Chosen People or to turn their backs on the One who chose them, made them His own, preserved them, and promised to take them into a land where He would continue to shower blessings upon them. It seems that the decision would be easy to make: Choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, yet we know that most people, including most of the Jews, the descendants of the Children of Israel, have chosen instead the way that leads away from God, and into death, eternal death. Let us ever remain faithful to the One who provides life through His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.


Thursday, 1 September 2016Philemon 1–21—During the summer months, our epistle readings make their way through some of the letters (epistles) in the New Testament. This summer, we read through Galatians, the first half of Colossians, and, last Sunday, we finished the latter portion of Hebrews.
Sunday’s reading is from Philemon, but it is the only reading we shall have from that book, as it is only 25 verses long.

Philemon is a personal letter from St Paul to a man named Philemon. Paul intercedes for Philemon’s runaway slave, Onesimus, who had stolen from his master, but subsequently became a Christian. In what is a model of Christian reconciliation, Paul pleads on behalf of Onesimus, just as Christ pleads to His father on our behalf. “We are Christ’s Onesimi,” wrote Luther, “restored by Christ, who, by giving up his rights, compelled the Father to lay aside his wrath.”

Friday, 2 September 2016Luke 14:25–35—We are told that great crowds accompanied Jesus, but accompanying Him is not enough. A person must be ready and willing to turn his back on the things of this world: his family, his life, indeed, all he has. The things of this life must never stand in the way of our discipleship with Christ, that is, our faith in Him as the sole procurer of our salvation, and the only thing that matters.

Saturday, 3 September 2016—Sunday’s Hymn of the Day is Oh, That the Lord Would Guide My Ways(LSB #707). Our readings speak of the necessity of being Christ’s faithful disciples, shunning the things and ways of this world. This, we can only do when the Lord guides our ways: He grants us grace to know and do His will.


Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Woodcut by Baron Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, 1794-1872, a distinguished German artist known especially for his book, Das Buch der B├╝cher in Bilden [The Book of Books in Pictures]) ©WELS

Augustine

A prayer adapted from a benediction by which Augustine ended at least two of his sermons...


We turn to You, the Lord our God and as best as we can give we give You thanks. We beseech You that in Your goodness You will hear our prayers and by Your power drive evil from our thoughts and actions, increase our faith, guide our minds, grant us Your holy inspiration and bring us to joy without end through Your Son our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Pentecost 15 - Proper 17

Proper 17
28 August 2016
Luke 14:1–14
We Are Humbled and Exalted by the Cross of Christ



Most people invite friends and associates to dinner. They are people we enjoy. Or, people with whom we want to develop closer relations. Often we invite people because they first invited us, and we return the courtesy. The more prominent and more important the guests are ~ the more honor they bring to us. According to Jesus, a humble person takes the lowest place and invites the needy. In this parable, Jesus teaches we should do the opposite – invite the humble, the unimportant, and the poor who cannot return the favor. This calls for a reversal of the usual attitude that most people have. What does it take to invite the lowly? It takes both humility and grace.

1. Humility – To invite those who can bring us no advantage. Romans 12:16 - Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

A. Humility is one of the great laws of the kingdom. It shows us what we are we are only by the grace of God.

B. Do not be proud / puffed up if you achieve some success. When you do. You will surely be humbled and made aware of your insignificance.

C. One commentator (Farmer) but it this way, “humble we must be as to heaven we go…high is the roof there. But the gate is low.”

D. Deeds of charity we do should not be done merely because we expect to be rewarded in heaven. True, love is unselfish; it shows kindness not to be rewarded, but because of a desire to do good to the one who loved. “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love you enemies, do good, and lend, hope for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.” – Luke 6:32-35

Transition: What does it take to invite the lowly? It takes both humility and grace.

2. Grace – To invite people because they are unworthy and cannot help us. We get nothing out of it. It is pure grace – love to the undeserving. Compare this with our situation and the heavenly dinner.
Christ invites us – poor, dirty, naked – without any merit or worthiness to be in His presence at His table in the Kingdom.

A. To experience the grace of God means we are blessed. Blessed is a powerful word. In the New Testament, when used of persons, it always refers to the condition of the repentant; a fruitful believer in Jesus. Jesus says in His Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be glad. For indeed your reward is great in heaven. For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets.”

B. The Lord in Revelation 14:13 defines the blessed as He reminds us “their deeds will follow them.” “Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ “Yes.” Says the Spirit, “that they may rest form their labors, and their works follow them.” True. Good works cannot save. But these works will be rewarded “at the resurrection of the just”, those justified by faith. The love and good works, which Jesus here asks, are the fruits of faith produced by the righteous alone.

Jesus condemns self-righteousness and selfishness. Both are works of the flesh. With these two illustrations, Jesus skillfully preached what we call the second use of the law. He shines the mirror of God’s truth. He lays the sin of His hearers. He speaks for all to see. This is not always pleasant. It exposes our true nature. Yet He does this because He loves us. As we respond to others, we have no other way to respond other then with mercy and grace.

A genuine humble person will take the lowest place at a dinner and invite the needy to fellowship. Pride wants only the prominent and the important as guests. Genuine humility is expressed by the way we reach out to others. Make no mistake; this is more than mere manners. Christ is the one who humbled Himself. Even to the point of death. He bore your sins and took your misery to Himself that in exchange for your sin you might receive the righteousness of God your Father. If this is how the Savior has treated you. How much more should you demonstrate the same hospitality to others?

Words-970
Passive Sentences –6%
Reading Ease –81.3
Reading Level -4.6

Face of Christ - http://spiritlessons.com/Documnets/Jesus_Pictures/Jesus_Christ_Pictures.htm

Monica, Mother of Augustine


O Lord, You strengthened Your patient servant Monica through spiritual discipline to persevere in offering her love, her prayers, and her tears for the conversion of her husband and of Augustine, their son. Deepen our devotion to bring others, even our own family, to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, who with You and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and forever.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Bartholomew

Almighty God, Your Son Jesus Christ chose Bartholomew to be an apostle and to proclaim the blessed Gospel. Grant that Your Church may love what he believed and preach what he taught; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Time in the Word - Pentecost 15 - Proper 17




We Are Humbled and Exalted by the Cross of Christ

Everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled,” Jesus proclaims, but “he who humbles himself shall be exalted” (Luke 14:11). Your hope is in the name of the Lord, who humbled Himself unto death on the cross and was exalted in His resurrection. So are you humbled by His cross, and “at the resurrection of the righteous,” He will say to you, “Friend, move up higher” (Luke 14:10; 13–14). By His grace, the King will honor you “in the place of great men,” where your eyes will gaze upon the Prince, His dearly-beloved Son (Prov. 25:7). As He has dealt so graciously with you, “Do not neglect doing good and sharing” (Heb. 13:16), and “do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers” (Heb. 13:2). Humble yourself and exalt your neighbor.

Collect for Proper 17: O Lord of grace and mercy, teach us by Your holy Spirit to follow the example of Your Son in true humility, that we may withstand the temptations of the devil and with pure hearts and minds avoid ungodly pride; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Collect for the Feast of St Bartholomew (24 August): Almighty God, Your Son, Jesus Christ, chose Bartholomew to be an apostle to preach the blessed Gospel. Grant that Your Church may love what he believed and preach what he taught; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

For the mission of the Church: Almighty God, You have called Your Church to witness that in Christ You have reconciled us to Yourself. Grant that by Your Holy Spirit we may proclaim the good news of Your salvation so that all who hear it may receive the gift of salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Prayer for humilityO God, You resist the proud and give grace to the humble. Grant us true humility after the likeness of Your only Son that we may never be arrogant and prideful and thus provoke Your wrath but in all lowliness be made partakers of the gifts of Your grace; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

For those outside the Church: Almighty and everlasting God, You desire not the death of a sinner but that all would repent and live. Hear our prayers for those outside the Church. Take away their iniquity, and turn them from their false gods to You, the living and true God. Gather them into Your holy Church to the glory of Your name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Monday, 22 August 2016—Psalm 75:1–2, 6, 9; antiphon, Psalm 75:7—The readings for Sunday speak of being humble, and the Introit sets the tone by reminding us that we are not to judge people according to worldly standards; rather, It is God who executes judgement, putting down one and lifting up another.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016—Psalm 131—This psalm of David is the psalm of a humble man, one whose heart is not lifted up by himself and one whose eyes are not raised too high. Instead of relying on himself, David has calmed and quieted his soul with the knowledge of the LORD and that all our hope is in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016—Proverbs 25:2–10—About 250 years after the death of Solomon, blessed by God as the wisest man ever to have lived, King Hezekiah’s men collected some of Solomon’s wise sayings from a larger collection. The first section used for Sunday’s Old Testament reading (vv. 2–7) relate to earthly kings. Whereas part of God’s glory is due to the fact that He is beyond our understanding, it is the glory of earthly kings to search out and discover. When he became king, Solomon humbly asked God for “an understanding mind to govern Your people, that I may discern between good and evil” (1 Kings 3:9). To search out justice and enlightenment is to a ruler’s glory.

The second portion of the reading (vv. 8–10) teaches us humility in relations with our neighbor. We are not to be hasty in pursuing litigation to elevate ourselves over our neighbor; he may thereby put us to shame. Neither should we engage in gossip, warns v. 9. Similar warnings are also given in Proverbs 11:13, 20:19, and, of course, the Eighth Commandment.

Thursday, 25 August 2016—Hebrews 13:1–17—How does a person’s humility manifest itself with regard to those around us? The writer to the Hebrews exhorts us to care for the needy: Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers . . . remember those who are in prison . . . and those who are mistreated.

We ought always to bring to mind Christ’s example, who suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Furthermore, we ought to recall those heroes of the faith whom we heard about in the epistle readings a few weeks ago and imitate their faith. In the Church, we are to humble ourselves and obey our leaders and submit to them, for God has appointed them to keep watch over your souls.

Friday, 26 August 2016—Luke 14:1–14—Sunday’s Gospel speaks of Jesus healing a man on the Sabbath, but first challenging the puffed-up Pharisees to show Him why this would be wrong. They could give no answer. Jesus then tells a parable which exhorts those puffed-up Pharisees—and us!-–to humble ourselves. One who has the mind of Christ will not seek to exalt himself over others, but will put himself in their service, as Christ did for us when he bore our sins to Calvary. When we bow in humble submission to the Lord, He shall exalt us. Indeed, He has already, by making us His children through the washing of Holy Baptism and giving us a seat at His heavenly banquet.

Saturday, 27 August 2016The first stanza of the Sunday’s Hymn of the Day, Son of God, Eternal Savior (LSB #842), proclaims the salvation that Christ has won for us. It then beseeches the Lord to reign among us that here on earth, His will be done. Our example is Christ, who lived for others, our plea, then, is So may we for others live. The hymn beautifully proclaims in song the theme for the day: that we are humbled and exalted by the cross of Christ, and our lives reflect His humility.

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Face of Christ:

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Pentecost 14 - Proper 16



Proper 16
21 August 2016
Luke 13:22–30


The Cross of Christ Is the Way into the Kingdom of God

Almighty God, You gave Your only-begotten Son to take our nature upon Himself. Grant that we, Your adopted children by grace, may be renewed by Your Holy Spirit; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

The words of Jesus. Are not always puppy dogs and rainbows. The words of Jesus are often serious, severe, dangerous, and life threatening. Mark them well.  “Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ “But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know you…I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’ Vv.26-27

The devil knows your name. But calls you by your sin. Christ knows your sin. But calls you by your name.[1] In baptism, you were buried with Christ into His death. He raises you up. By His glorious resurrection. To live a new life. It’s not all about you. Christ proves this point by His words this day.

The faith is more than a simple expression of approval of Jesus. The articulation of a true faith is more than saying, “Jesus, he's my friend.” The confession of a true faith is more than, “Jesus is just alright with me.”[2] Today we need to consider the words of Jesus carefully.   

People from every nation enter through the narrow door of righteousness. Every person would like to know if he is going to make it to heaven. “Heaven” is the same as being “saved,” as being “right with God.” Jesus makes it clear that not all who think they are going will get there. We need to know where we stand and know of the necessity of being in a right standing with Jesus Christ. On this subject, we must be clear.

Who then shall be saved?

1. Not necessarily one nation or race – v. 29 “People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God.”

A. The Father is no respecter of persons. Scripture is so clear on this matter. “Whoever calls on the Name of the Lord shall be saved”. {Acts 2:21} “For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” {Romans 10:13}

B. It’s a matter of faith.  “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved.” {Mark 16: 16} “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” {John 3:18} “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." {John 3:36} “They said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” {Acts 16:31}
Transition: Who then shall be saved? Not necessarily one particular nation or race. Nor those who claim church membership.

2. Not necessarily church people – Vv.26-27 ‘Then you will say, 'We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.' "But he will reply, 'I don't know you or where you come from. Away from me, all you evildoers!'

A. Your pious deeds. As good as they appear before your neighbor. Can’t cut it. The Lord is seeking a people with contrite hearts living in repentance. "Therefore bear fruits in keeping with repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham for our father,' for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham.” {Luke 3:8} Then the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, "Who is this man who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?" {Luke 5:21}

B. But to those who seek Him. He is more then able to absolve and heal. The prayer of confession needs to be ours prayer daily. Almighty God, our maker and redeemer, we poor sinners confess unto You that we are by nature sinful and unclean and that we have sinned against You by thought, word and deed. We flee for refuge to Your infinite mercy, seeking and imploring Your grace for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ.[3]

Transition: Who then shall be saved? Not necessarily one particular nation or race. Nor those who claim church membership. It belongs to those who walk by faith.

3. But they who walk through the narrow door of obedience – Vv. 24-25 Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to. Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, 'Sir, open the door for us.' "But he will answer, 'I don't know you or where you come from.'

A. The word “strive” in the Greek (“agonizomai,”) is from whence our word “agonize” comes. Think how many who were very confident that they should be saved because they placed their confidence in themselves. They had faith in their faith!  Can they stand in the day of trial? Their confidences will deceive them. Do you agonize over your salvation or your neighbor’s? Do you agonize over the prevailing attitude of this world; which responds, with a shrug, and says, “Whatever!”?

B. Our Savior came to guide men's consciences. Not to gratify their curiosity. Ask not, how many shall be saved? But, Shall I be one of them? Ask not, what shall become of such and such person? Rather, what shall I do? And what will become of you? Strive to enter in at the strait gate. These words are directed to each of us. All that will be saved, must enter in at the strait gate. That gate, that narrow door, that entrance, is none other than the person and work of Jesus Christ.  

You are redeemed, rescued and delivered from sin, death, and Satan’s power by grace through faith - not by good deeds, healthy habits, and life-style choices. The test of true faith is centered in Jesus Christ.

Words-1,115
Passive Sentences -11%
Reading Ease –83.6%
Reading Level – 4.4




[1] Quote attributed to Ricardo Sanchez
[2] “Jesus is just alright with me.” The Art Reynolds Singers, from their 1966 album, "Tellin' It Like It Is."
[3] Words of Confession Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Samuel

Almighty God, in Your mercy You gave Samuel courage to call Israel to repentance and to renew their dedication to the Lord. Call us to repentance as Nathan called David to repentance, so by the blood of Jesus, the Son of David, we may receive the forgiveness of all our sins; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

John Gerhard






Almighty God, Your Holy Spirit gives to one the word of wisdom, and to another the word of knowledge, and to another the word of faith. We praise You for the gifts of grace imparted to Your servant Johann, and we pray that by his teaching we maybe led to a fuller knowledge of the truth which we have seen in your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Isaac


Isaac, the long promised and awaited son of Abraham and Sarah, was born when his father was 100 and his mother 91. The announcement of his birth brought both joy and laughter to his aged parents (so the name “Isaac,” which means “laughter”). As a young man, Isaac accompanied his father to Mount Moriah, where Abraham, in obedience to God’s command, prepared to sacrifice him as a burnt offering. But God intervened, sparing Isaac’s life and providing a ram as a substitute offering (Gen. 22:1–14), and thus pointing to the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ for the sins of the world. Isaac was given in marriage to Rebekah (24:15), and they had twin sons, Esau and Jacob (25:19–26). In his old age Isaac, blind and feeble, wanted to give his blessing and chief inheritance to his favorite—and eldest—son, Esau. But through deception Rebekah had Jacob receive them instead, resulting in years of family enmity. Isaac died at the age of 180 and was buried by his sons, who by then had become reconciled.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Time in the Word - Pentecost 14 - Proper 16




The Cross of Christ is the Way into the Kingdom of God

With the cross of Christ, the time has come “to gather all nations and tongues” (Is. 66:18). The sign of the cross is set forth in the preaching of the Gospel, the declaration of the Lord’s glory “among the nations” (Is. 66:19). Many “will come from east and west, and from north and south, and will recline at the table in the kingdom of God” (Luke 13:29), but only by the narrow way of the cross. Those who refuse to follow Christ crucified will ultimately find only “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Luke 13:28), whereas Christ’s disciples, called from all the nations, will eat and drink with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of God. They will come into “the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem” (Heb. 12:22).

Collect for the Thirteenth Sunday after PentecostO Lord, You have called us to enter Your kingdom through the narrow door. Guide us by Your Word and Spirit, and lead us now and always into the feast of Your Son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Collect for Proper 16 O Lord, You have called us to enter Your kingdom through the narrow door. Guide us by Your Word and Spirit, and lead us now and always into the feast of Your Son, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Prayer for pardon, growth in grace, and divine protectionO Lord, our God, we acknowledge Your great goodness toward us and praise You for the mercy and grace that our eyes have seen, our ears have heard, and our hearts have known. We sincerely repent of the sins of this day and those in the past. Pardon our offenses, correct and reform what is lacking in us, and help us to grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Inscribe Your law upon our hearts, and equip us to serve You with holy and blameless lives. May each day remind us of the coming of the night when no one can work. In the emptiness of this present age keep us united by a living faith through the power of Your Holy Spirit with Him who is the resurrection and the life, that we may escape the eternal bitter pains of condemnation.

By Your Holy Spirit bless the preaching of Your Word and the administration of Your Sacraments. Preserve these gifts to us and to all Christians. Guard and protect us from all dangers to body and soul. Grant that we may with faithful perseverance receive from You our sorrows as well as our joys, knowing that health and sickness, riches and poverty, and all things come by permission of Your fatherly hand. Keep us this day under Your protective care and preserve us, securely trusting in Your everlasting goodness and love, for the sake of Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Monday, 15 August 2016Psalm 117; antiphon, Psalm 96:6a; 115:18—Psalm 117, the shortest of the psalms, comprising only two verses, is paired with an antiphon that announces, Splendor and majesty are before him; we will bless the Lord from this time forth and forevermore. Praise the Lord. The splendor and majesty of the Lord are shown chiefly in His steadfast love toward us and in His faithfulness, which endures forever.

Tuesday, 16 August 2016Psalm 50:1–15—This psalm of Asaph speaks of the Lord as a mighty Judge. The Lord will judge all men based on their faithfulness and trust in Him, not on the outward show of ritual and religion. We must ever be on our guard, that we do not just ‘go through the motions,’ but that our hearts are right: that is, that we trust not in ourselves, nor in any earthly rulers or things, but solely in God the Lord for our salvation. He alone can accomplish it, and He delights in our trust in Him. Call upon me in the day of trouble, He exhorts us, and promises, I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.

Wednesday, 17 August 2016Isaiah 66:18–23—In this, the last chapter of the great Gospel-drenched Book of Isaiah, the Lord speaks to His faithful. They will rejoice at the revelation of His glory, especially at the Last Day, when this present age shall pass away and God will bring forth new heavens and a new earth. The adoration of the Lord by the faithful shall never cease. Tragically, however, the torment of those who have rebelled against the Lord shall also not cease. Let us, then, ever remain faithful to the Lord and to His Word, that we may be counted among those whom the Lord, through the Holy Spirit, brings in from all the nations.

Thursday, 18 August 2016Hebrews 12:4–24—We continue our reading through the latter chapters of Hebrews with an exhortation to remain faithful, even when suffering or persecution befalls us. We are not to regard such as punishment, but as discipline, as from a loving Father. the goal of such discipline is not the suffering, but the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Friday, 19 August 2016Luke 13:22–30—Christ Jesus was born for one purpose: to suffer and die for the sins of the world. In the Gospel reading for Sunday, we see Him journeying toward Jerusalem, where His mission will be accomplished. Along the way, He performed many miracles and also taught the people, as He does here. A common question, then as now, is, ‘Who will be saved?’ Instead, Jesus answers the question, ‘How will they be saved?’ The answer is, only through Christ. He is the narrow door through which the heavenly banquet is entered. He counsels us to strive and to struggle to enter. Our struggle is against our own flesh and blood, which wants eternal life on its own terms, and against the demonic forces of the devil, who wants all men to be damned. We are not to delay in entering the door, that is, trusting in Christ alone for our salvation, and turning our backs on the devil, the world, and our sinful desires. For those who reject Christ, there is only weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Saturday, 20 August 2016—Sunday’s Hymn of the Day, A Multitude Comes from the East and the West(LSB #510), uses the imagery of the feast from the Gospel reading. Partaking of the unending feast in the kingdom of heaven will be the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, along with all the faithful from the East and the West, people from every nation under heaven. What they have in common is their trust in the goodness of the Lord.

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House

Face of Christ: http://spiritlessons.com/Documnets/Jesus_Pictures/Jesus_Christ_Pictures.htm


Friday, August 12, 2016

Pentecost 13 - Proper 15

Proper 15
14 August 2016
Luke 12:49–53
Luke 12:51
The fire of God’s Word divides
Go in Peace or to Pieces

The Lord Jesus causes fear and trembling and division because His Word is “like fire … and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces” (Jer. 23:29). His Law puts us all to death, whereas only His Gospel can bring us to life. He has fulfilled that Word for us by His cross and in His resurrection from the dead.

He undergoes such a distressing Baptism, accomplished by His death, in order to open the way for us through our Holy Baptism into His cross and resurrection. So, then, if we are able “to interpret the appearance of earth and sky” (Luke 12:56), let us mark this sign of His cross — recognizing that this world is subject to death, but knowing that Christ Jesus also has conquered death and obtained life everlasting for us.
Let us fix our eyes on “Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith” and “run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Heb. 12:1–2).

Blessed Lord, You have caused all Holy Scriptures to be written for our learning. Grant that we may so hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them that, by patience and comfort of Your holy Word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life;

Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. - Luke 12:51

These are difficult words to be sure. We usually think of Jesus in terms of the Prince of Peace. Our Gospel lesson reminds us there is another side of Jesus and His effect. He can also cause trouble, controversy, disharmony, and division.

Jesus will have no cheap peace. Sometimes He says, “Go in peace,” but other times people go to pieces in terms of disagreement and division. Jesus is telling us that it is not His way to have peace at any price; agreement with falsehood, compromise with evil. When Jesus enters as truth, love, and goodness people divide themselves pro and con.

It is said that wherever St. Paul preached there was either a revival or a riot.
With Jesus, there is no neutral ground: you are either for or against Him. The division occurs even in the close-knit family: some for, some against – Jesus.

How Jesus causes division.
1. He speaks the Truth.

A. If the Word had not been preached the world would have gone on undisturbed. But the preaching of the Word causes divisions, not because of God or because of the Word, but because of the utter sinfulness of man.

B. This is why Jesus came preaching both Law as well as Gospel. In the Gospel of John, the Savior reminds us, “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates me hates my Father as well.

If I had not done among them what no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. Now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both my Father and me. But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.” - John 15:22-25

The sin of Jesus' enemies are both deliberate and inexcusable. The miracles Jesus performed and the words He had spoken were clear. They were light and life. But they would have noting of it. They could not take Jesus’ clear word. Human nature has not changed. People will embrace Him and champion His cause or they will reject, refuse and revolt.

Transition: Jesus causes division when He speaks the truth. He causes division when He refuses to compromise.

2. He refuses to compromise principles.

A. The sinless Christ suffered at the hands of His own people. They finally brought Him to death. The fire of God is not necessarily an eternal flame. Luther “The Gospel is sometimes like a refreshing summer shower. It can go from one place to the other.” Where is the center or world Christianity today? It resides in the continent of Africa.

B. The fire of God can and sadly sometimes goes out.
1. By the water of worldliness.
2. By smothering the fire by the cares of this life.
3. By letting it burn out for lack of fuel. Sometimes it’s rust out instead of burn out.

Transition: Jesus causes division when He speaks the truth. He causes division when He refuses to compromise, and when He lives by love.




3. He lives by love.

A. The fire of God’s love can and must be used for good.
1. The fire is contagious.
2. If a Christian is on fire for God, those who come in contact are set on fire too.

B. Christians, followers of Jesus are to be spiritual arsonists. As we gossip the Gospel, we want to deliberately set others on fire with the Gospel of Christ.

1. Jesus tells us “I have come to set fire to this earth”

2. Where will the next fire be set? Who will set it? What will be the result riot or revival?

Christ’s suffering in the fire for us enables us to endure the heat. The writer to the Hebrews reminds us that Jesus, “endured the cross despising the shame” {Hebrews 12:2}

He did all this for you. In the midst of our struggles we “consider Him who endured from sinners such hostility against Himself” so that we do not grow weary or fainthearted.” He suffered itself in your place when His Father forsook him so that you will not be rejected.



Your baptism into His baptism of death is the pledge that you will be with Him in Paradise. He uses the fiery trials you experience as a Christian to refine, purify and disciple you. True. The cost of discipleship is great, but He paid the ultimate price in your place and now uses even trials for your benefit.

Words –1,035
Passive Sentences –8%
Readability –78%
Reading level – 5.8

Face of Christ - http://spiritlessons.com/Documnets/Jesus_Pictures/Jesus_Christ_Pictures.htm


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Lawrance




“Early in the third century AD, Lawrence, most likely from Spain, made his way to Rome. There he was appointed chief of the seven deacons and was given the responsibility to manage Church property and finances. The emperor at the time, who thought that the Church had valuable things worth confiscating, ordered Lawrence to produce the ‘treasures of the Church.’ Lawrence brought before the emperor the poor whose lives had been touched by Christian charity. He was then jailed and eventually executed in the year AD 258 by being roasted on a gridiron. His martyrdom left a deep impression on the young Church. Almost immediately, the date of this death, August 10, became a permanent fixture on the early commemorative calendar of the Church.” Source: Treasury of Daily Prayer

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Pentecost 12 - Proper 14



Proper 14
7 August 2016
Luke 12:22–34
Luke 12:32-40
"Your Faith is Showing!"



In this sinful, troubled world. It is altogether too easy to succumb to the cares of the world and become anxious. But your heavenly Father, who desires only what is best for you, provides not only for your earthly needs, but also, more importantly, has provided for you eternally. You can rest secure in the fact that you have a loving and gracious Father who knows your needs and provides for them.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, because of Your tender love toward us sinners You have given us Your Son that, believing in Him, we might have everlasting life. Continue to grant us Your Holy Spirit that we may remain steadfast in this faith to the end and finally come to life everlasting; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen

If it is true faith. It will show!  No one can hide it. If one has it, one would not want to hide it. As the old g song sings, "hide it under a bushel NO! I'm gonna let it shine…"  Some are not sure that they have faith. They know they should have it. Would like to be sure they have it. They feel the need for even more faith. As for you. It is self- evident. Your faith is showing.

1. Your faith is showing when you receive the kingdom v. 32 -… Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

The Kingdom of God is not earned. As if, it was the result of some reward. It is not payment for services rendered. It is certainly not a commodity or a service. Which can be bought or purchased at a store or business? It is received as a gift. Jesus said, "It is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom!"   

The Kingdom of God comes indeed without our prayer. It comes in the form of a gift. It comes when our heavenly Father gives us His Holy Spirit, so that by His grace we believe His holy Word and lead godly lives here in time and there in eternity. This gift is received by faith. It is the Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. This is a true sign that your faith is showing when you know that all that you have comes from the Father’s hand. As Christians, we believe and confess that Christ’s present yet hidden reign as king is being extended by the Spirit through the Gospel. It will be fully revealed when Christ returns in glory.

2.  Your faith is showing when you seek spiritual values - vv. 33-34 – “Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. ” 

Last Sunday's lesson focused on the values, which we hold that make up the ingredients of our life. Jesus continues on this theme. He reminds us. Your chief focus must be on spiritual values as your chief priority.

It takes faith to be less concerned about accumulating earthly goods then spiritual treasures.  Jesus reminds us; your heart will always be where your riches are. What if you lost everything - what if it was all stolen or taken away? - Would your life be over?

Lay-up treasure - spiritual treasure - treasures in heaven. Where they will never decrease; because no thief can get to them and no moth can destroy them. When you seek spiritual values as your first priority, your faith will certainly be showing         

3.  Your faith is showing as you watch and wait for Christ's return - vv.35-40 – “ Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning,  and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks.  Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them.  If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants! But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into.  You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. “  

Christ is coming soon. Are you ready to leave this world to meet the Savior in glory? Are you ready for a Son rise? Are you ready to meet the Savior face to face? Before you can be prepared, according to Jesus' own words, you must first believe Christ is returning and coming soon.  Could Christ return tonight? Do you really believe this? If so, your faith is showing!

Your faith is showing! It is showing as you've been received into the kingdom as you continue to seek spiritual values; as you patiently watch and wait for Christ's return. Come Lord Jesus - come even today! Amen!

Words – 896
Passive sentences – 11%
Readability –83.4%
Reading level –4.5

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Joanna, Mary, Salome Myrrh bearers


Almighty God, Your crucified and buried Son did not remain in the tomb for long., Give us joy in the tasks set before us, that we might carry out faithful acts of service as did Joanna, Mary and Salome, offering to You the sweet perfume of our grateful hearts, so that we, too, may see the glory of your resurrection and proclaim the Good News with unrestrained eagerness and fervor worked in us through Lord Jesus Christ who rose and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

Monday, August 1, 2016

August



Aug 7     Proper 14 ~ Divine Service Setting #3 ~   Luke 12:32-40 "Your Faith is Showing!"
Almighty and merciful God, it is by Your grace that we live as Your people who offer acceptable service. Grant that we may walk by faith, and not by sight, in the way that leads to eternal life;

Aug 14  Proper 15 ~ Prayer and Preaching ~ Luke 12:51 “The fire of God’s Word divides”
Merciful Lord, cleanse and defend Your Church by the sacrifice of Christ. United with Him in Holy Baptism, give us grace to receive with thanksgiving the fruits of His redeeming work and daily follow in His way;

Aug 21 Proper 16 ~ Divine Service Setting #3 ~ Luke 13:22–30 “The Cross Is the Way into the Kingdom”
O Lord, You have called us to enter Your kingdom through the narrow door. Guide us by Your Word and Spirit, and lead us now and always into the feast of Your Son, Jesus Christ,

Aug 28 Proper 17 ~ Divine Service Setting #3 without Communion ~ Luke 7:12-14
“Look who’s coming to dinner.” 
O Lord of grace and mercy, teach us by Your Holy Spirit to follow the example of Your son in true humility, that we may withstand the temptations of the devil and with pure hearts and minds avoid ungodly pride.

With the coming of the month of August, another school year will begin. Our annual meeting of our Wyneken Association will be held at St. John Parish Hall on August 1, 2016 Not only will the budget for the 2016-2017 school year be set but we will also have an accounting of the functioning of our school along with various reports and updates concerning our school’s ministry.

Under the theme “Do everything in Love” ~ 1 Corinthians 16:14 we will begin our forty-eighth year by the grace of God. Because of your sacrificial, first-fruits giving we have been able to make our contributions to our school and fulfill our obligations. The Thrivent Choice and SGO funding sources have helped our congregation reach our goals in a timely manner. Your continued support of our church’s school is deeply appreciated.  As we continue to support our school, we pray the Lord’s blessings on all our endeavors.