Sunday, July 16, 2017

Time in the Word - Pentecost 7 - Proper 11


Time in the Word
Proclaimed Word of God
Proper 11
July 17-22 2017


There is a tension between the faithful and the unfaithful. The unfaithful are the weeds of the parable in the Gospel, while the wheat is God’s faithful people. In the final judgment, the unfaithful are excluded while the faithful are accepted by God. In the Old Testament lesson the faithful acknowledge God to be the one and only God. For the faithful who are weak, the Spirit intercedes for them. The prayers of the faithful are echoed in the great hymn of the church, “Lord keep us steadfast in Thy Word.” 

Monday, July 17, 2017Psalm 86:1-15 – This is the Psalm portion from which the Introit for next Sunday is taken. The antiphon is taken from verse 6, “Give ear, O lord, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace.” In our need we pray to the Lord because out of His kindness and love our Lord answers each prayer.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017Isaiah 44:6-8 – The faithful believe in the one true God. There is no god but God. It could be that Isaiah in these words is recalling a song of Moses, which describes God as “the Rock” (see Deuteronomy 32:4, 15, 30-31). This metaphor of the Lord is also common in the book of Psalms (see Psalm 18:2).

Wednesday, July 19, 2017Romans 8:18-27 – The faithful have the Spirit intercede for them. The Spirit intercedes for those who do not know how to pray. Both creation and creatures groan for redemption. Paul sees redemption in its cosmic perspective. With Adam the whole creation fell and the ground was cursed. It is in a state of decay and the whole creation groans for redemption from its bondage of decay and death. Nature is tooth and fang and it exists on the principle of “dog eat dog.” Paul sees the release of nature’s bondage when there will be a new heaven and a new earth at the time of the Savior’s return. Humanity’s sin pollutes nature, ravishes the good earth, and threatens creatures with extinction. Human beings share in this longing for redemption which by faith in Christ we now experience in part. With creation we long for the full redemption of our bodies when Christ returns.

Thursday, July 20, 2017Matthew 13:24-30; 36-43 – The faithful enter heaven in the parable of the wheat and the weeds. The parable of the wheat and weeds and Jesus’ explanation of its meaning is given here. Jesus gives this parable because he is criticized for associating with sinners and outcasts (verses 24-30). The allegorical explanation of the parable is the product of the early church as the parable applied to it in its day (verses 36-40).

The parable teaches that we are not to judge who is a true or false Christian. We are not to weed out the weeds because in doing so, we would destroy the wheat. On the Day of Judgment, God will judge and separate the weeds and the wheat. Until that time comes the church needs to have patience and forbearance of the weeds among the wheat.

The wheat (good) and the weeds (bad) are in the kingdom, not in the world. We could understand it if the parable applied to the world where there are all kinds of people. The kingdom of heaven is the kingdom of God, and the kingdom of God is God’s realm, God’s people, the church. The church of God consists of good and evil, wheat and weeds.

Friday, July 21, 2017Psalm 119:57-64 – This Psalm is suggested for next Sunday. This section falls under the Hebrew letter “Heth.” The Lord is the psalmist’s true homestead because it is God’s law that fills the earth with all that makes life secure and joyous. So God’s promises are his hope and God’s righteous laws his delight.

Saturday, July 22, 2017 – This passage is the inspiration for the hymn “In holy conversation” {LSB 772}. The eternal consequences of sin are more serious than any physical ailment. Thus we look to Christ who has borne our diseases and carried our sorrows.

Collect for Proper 11O God, so rule and govern our hearts and minds by Your Holy Spirit that, ever mindful of Your final judgment, we may be stirred up to holiness of living here and dwell with You in perfect joy hereafter; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Sources: 
LUTHERAN SEVICE BOOK © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO
THE LUTHERAN HYMNAL © 1942 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO
LECTIONALRY PREACHING WORKBOOK SERIES A © 1980 John Brokhoff CSS Publishing Lima, OH
Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use.


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Pentecost 6 - Proper 10



Romans and the Reformation
A Series of Sermons Commemorating the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation
16 July – Proper 10 – Romans 8:12-17



Heirs with Christ

As “the rain and the snow come down from heaven.” And “waters the earth…making it bring forth and sprout.” (Isaiah 55:10) So the Word of God accomplishes the purpose for which the Father speaks it. Granting joy and peace through the forgiveness of sins. Producing the fruit of faith. Demonstrating acts of charity. Kindness. And love. In the lives of those who are called by His name. 

Christ Jesus. The Incarnate Word.  Opens our ears to hear.  Opens our minds to understand. And penetrates our cold broken hearts. To believe His Word.  Lest the evil one come. And snatch it away. He thus transforms our rocky hearts into good soil. Which, clings to the Gospel. And, “indeed bears fruit.” (Matthew 13:23). 

The Preaching of the Word of Christ Bears the Good Fruits of Faith and Love making us Heirs with Christ.

1. Well, of course, it's all about Jesus.

A. He is Himself the first-fruits of all who “have received the Spirit of adoption as sons.” (Romans 8:15).

B. Believers have received the Holy Spirit. For Paul, whoever confesses Jesus as Lord does so by the power of the Spirit. Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3). That is evidence enough for being a person in Christ. They have thus already been adopted as God’s children. By faith and baptism and through the power of the Spirit they have a new relationship with God. 

C. There is evidence of this whenever they cry out “Abba, Father.” The word “Abba” is an Aramaic term for “father.” Abba was usually the word used in the home, as children addressed their fathers. 

It is easier for a child to use a two-syllable word ending in a vowel than to use a single syllable word ending with a consonant. Every parent knows this! At ten months, Daniel can now say, "Momma" "Dadda" and "Egg!" “Daddy” is easier to say than “Dad,” “Mommy” is easier than “Mom.” 

But “Abba” is the word used by Jesus in the crucifixion scene in the Gospel of Mark. Jesus prayed, “Abba, Father, for you all things are possible… ” The use of “Abba” must also have been characteristic of Jesus’ prayers, as in the use of “Father” in the Lord’s Prayer.1  God would by these words tenderly invite us to believe that He is our true Father, and that we are His true children, so that with all boldness and confidence we may ask Him as dear children ask their dear father. 2  This term was familiar to the Christians at Rome. The audience to whom Paul is writing.  

D. Being a son makes you an heir. And a member of the family. Being a citizen gives you rights, privileged, responsibilities. The Inheritance is yours. Because you belong to Christ. 

2. Thus being “led by the Spirit of God,” we are not afraid, but we cry out in faith to our Father in heaven. (Romans 8:14–15) 

A. Fear leads to isolation. This leads to withdrawal. Which leads to depression. Which leads to alienation. Which leads to death. Notice the downward spiral.
  
B. Which was Luther's journey. How can I find a loving God? One who is not angry? Luther finally understood what Paul wanted: to preach a righteousness that was a gift—a gift by which God mercifully justifies us through faith in His Son. Paul was not describing a cold-hearted standard that could only lead to our condemnation. That would hardly be Gospel, “good news!” Paul was speaking of the righteousness of God that was revealed at the cross—God’s great love for us. When Luther realized this, his whole world turned upside down, the bitter became sweet, and the locked door sprang open: 

I extolled my sweetest word with a love as great as the hatred with which I had before hated the word ‘righteousness of God.’ Thus that place in Paul was for me truly the gate to paradise.”  While wrestling with Paul, Luther found himself also wrestling with God, and like Jacob of old, Luther would never be the same. 3

3. For as we suffer with Christ, the beloved Son we look for a glorious future.

A. So shall we “also be glorified with Him.” (Romans 8:17). One characteristic of the son is that he is his father’s heir. So it is with the Christian. He, too, has an inheritance—an inheritance of glory which he will share with Christ. But he must not be surprised if, before sharing the glory, he also shares the sufferings. All who suffer for the sake of the gospel are regarded as suffering with Christ. They “drink of the cup” that He drank.

B. Yet, any suffering we endure will only last for a season. We have this promise. You shall live and reign with Christ throughout all eternity.
1. Then in glory. A place chosen especially for you! You shall reign with Him.
2. Yet even now. As we serve our neighbor. Says St. Paul “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”   (Galatians 5:14)
a. So tomorrow. When you wake in the morning. And your feet hit the floor…Thank God. As the devil says to himself, “oh, know…she’s up!  Its and opportunity to praise God as you serve your neighbor.  S0, stop your griping. It won’t help anybody. 
b. Instead…Pick up a shovel.
c. And go merrily about your business. With a grateful heart. 

Words –995
Passive Sentences –5%
Readability –79%
Reading Level -4.6
Luther’s Seal © Ed Riojas, Higher Things

 1.     In Matthew 6:9; the Greek “pater” of the prayer is probably a translation of the Aramaic Abba).
 2.    Explanation to the Introduction to the Lord’s Prayer Luther’s Small Catechism.
  3.  LW 34:337

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Time in the Word - Pentecost 6 - Proper 10


Time in the Word
Proclaimed Word of God
Proper 10
 July 10-15, 2017




The main theme of our readings for the coming week is the Word of God; nature is used to explain the Word. Like seed, the Word is scattered and is received by various kinds of hearers. As the rain and snow cause nature to produce, God’s Word also is certain to accomplish God’s purpose. The Epistle lesson gives us that purpose: the redemption of the whole creation. The suggested hymn of the day “Almighty God Your Word is Cast” (LSB #577) harmonizes with the theme of the Word. 

Collect for Proper 10Blessed Lord, since You have caused all Holy Scripture to be written for our learning, grant that we may so hear them, read, mark, learn and inwardly digest them that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit. One God, now and forever.

For the work of the congregationAlmighty God and Lord, as You have called us to labor in Your vineyard, so grant us now Your presence. Enlighten and guide us by Your Word that in all matters of deliberation we may always consider the best interests of Your church and this congregation. Let Your Holy Spirit rule and direct our hearts that, in the spirit of Christian love, we may present and discuss matters and be kindly disposed toward one another, to the end that all we say and do may please You; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. 

A prayer before we study the WordAlmighty God, our heavenly Father, without Your help our labor is useless, and without Your light our search is in vain. Invigorate the study of Your holy Word that, by due diligence and right discernment, we may establish ourselves and others in Your holy faith.

Monday, July 10, 2017Psalm 103:15-19 - This is the Psalm portion from which the Introit for next Sunday is taken. The antiphon is taken from verse 8, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” This verse is a summation of the Father’s love and compassion for this fallen world. He desires not the death of the sinner but that all would come in repentance. He desires the redemption of all. Thus He plants the seeds of faith into our hearts that by His grace a harvest may come.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017Isaiah 55:10-13 – God’s Word accomplishes His purpose.  The Word of God has within it an inherent, latent power. Jesus compared the Word to seed. A seed has within it the power of life, to break out of its shell and to grow into a plant. The Word, like a seed, has power to accomplish the purpose for which it was created and sent. It is a lively Word, a living Word. Herein is the secret of powerful preaching. Whenever the Word is proclaimed, the Word, finding fertile soil, will produce remarkable results by transforming lives and creating faith. The secret of great preaching is not in the preacher, not in his personality, wisdom, or techniques. For this reason, biblical preaching is the most effective kind of preaching.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017Romans 8:12-17 –The purpose of God’s Word is redemption. Both creation and creatures groan for redemption. We can have both death and life in us. Though dead, we can live and though living we can be dead. There is one type of life — existence, the physical, natural, earthly life. It is the life of the flesh which results in sin and death. There is possibly another life. It is the one with God lived in faith. This life is the product of the Spirit received at baptism. Through baptism a person is born again in the Spirit, adopted as a child of God and now lives in the Spirit of righteousness. The new person knows he is related to God, because the Spirit witnesses to our spirits that we are God’s offspring.

Thursday, July 13, 2017Matthew 13:1-9 (18-23) –Various kinds of hearers of God’s Word are examined – the parable of the seed and sower. For an effective sermon it takes sower, seed, and soil. Apparently no fault can be found with the sower (Jesus), or with the seed (Word). The problem is with the soil (the hearer). Only the good soil brings a harvest. That may be the situation, but what can be done about the three kinds of soil that do not produce? The parable has nothing to say about this problem. It is simply stating a fact of reality. The preacher needs to be concerned about making good listeners out of his congregation.

Jesus said, “He who has ears....” Who does not have ears? The truth is proclaimed to all people regardless of condition of life. It reminds us that God desires all to be saved, all to have the good things of God’s grace. Christianity is a universal religion, a faith for every person. The responsibility to accept the Word is the hearer’s. If one rejects it, it is his own fault. It is not God’s will for any person to be ignorant of the truth or to be lost in his relationship with God.

Friday, July 14, 2017 Psalm 65:1-13 – This Psalm is suggested for next Sunday. The key verse is verse 5, “By awesome deed Thou dost answer us in righteousness, O God our salvation. Thou who are the trust of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest sea.”

Saturday, July 15, 2017Mark 4:3-9 – This passage is the inspiration for the hymn, “Almighty God, Your Word is Cast” {LSB 577}.  The sower goes out to sow his grain. God’s Word will work where it is planted. We trust Him to do His work. All He asks of us is to faithful in the sharing of Christ’s living Word. 

Sources
LUTHERAN SEVICE BOOK © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, LECTIONALRY PREACHING WORKBOOK SERIES A © 1980 John Brokhoff CSS Publishing Lima, OH
Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use. 


Saturday, July 8, 2017

Pentecost 5 - Proper 9


Romans and the Reformation
A Series of Sermons Commemorating the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation 
9 July – Proper 9 – Romans 7:14-25a
Paul finds peace of mind through Christ’s deliverance



What the Hell’s Wrong with Me?”

Wretched man that I am!” This is how Paul put it. Today the expression is found in the title of this morning’s homily.1  Each person experiences this despair within himself. What.Is. Wrong. With me? 

Each of us has a civil war within. We have a duel nature. We are torn. Between our higher and lower selves. Like St. Paul, we often do not understand why we do certain things. And when we vow. To ourselves. To our spouse. To our children. To our teachers. Not to practice certain things. That is precisely and exactly what we do.  

Paul explains this conflict with these words, “I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” v. 25 

How do you make sense of this conflict? How do you understand yourself?

How do you understand yourself? – It is good and comforting to know Paul was human as we are. He confessed he did not understand why he did certain things the very thing he did not want to do. 

We can say, ‘Paul, join the crowd!’ This reminds us of the doctrine that as Christians we are both saints and sinners alike. At the very same time.  And the two are ever in conflict until death. 

The Christian life is one of inner conflict. It is a struggle between the lower and the higher selves. It is a battle between the old and the new Adam. It is a clash between the law of the body and the law of the mind. 

What is so wrong?

1. We do what we don’t want to do – “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want.”  V. 15

The reason for such behavior is simple: It is the power of sin. “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh.”  v. 18 It is sin what makes us do the wrong thing. Especially when all we want to do is the right thing. “For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.” It is the law of sin. It is the power of evil that possesses the flesh. It is the unregenerate part of us that desires evil. 

Paul continues, “But I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members…it is sin that dwells within me.” V. 20

While the Law in itself is good. The Law shows us the wrong we do. This calls for a continual battle against temptation and the evil force that still lives in a Christian.

The Solution: Deny the lower self. Repent. Realize there is nothing good in you. Try as you might you cannot overcome the power of sin. Will power does not work. Paul will admit, “I have the desire to do what is right.” But he has to admit, “I don’t have the ability to carry it out!”   

2. We don’t do what we want to dobut I do the very thing I hate. V.15

The reason for all this: Our better self wants to do right – “I have this desire to do what is right.” Each of us wants to do the right thing.  Not only do we know what is right. We know we should fulfill it.  The victim of this civil war cries out in despair, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” v. 24 This conflict that persists, can only lead to despair of self. 

Is there no end? No way out? Paul found the solution in Christ for whom he gives thanks for this deliverance. Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! V. 25

The Solution:  Affirm the higher self? Better yet, rejoice in Christ’s deliverance. St. Paul says, “For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being.” v. 22 

Christ is your peace. Who brings together the two warring selves into one integrated, harmonious person. He has redeemed you. And when we come to Him daily in contrition and faith He forgives our sins. 

But He does us even better. He gives you His Holy Spirit. So that you can be the hands, the feet, the fingers, and the toes of Jesus in your world.    

This year we commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. The Reformers taught that a farmer may worship God by being a good farmer. The Reformation proclaimed that a parent, changing diapers, could be as near to Jesus as the Pope. This was scandal. But it was also revolutionary. 

"We can't be holy in the abstract. Instead we become a holy blacksmith. Or a holy mother. Or a holy physician. Or a holy systems analyst. We seek God in and through our particular vocation and place in life…Our task is not to somehow inject God into our work. But to join God in the work He is already doing in and through our vocational lives."2  In short, you become a sermon in shoes.

"In the daily rhythms for everyone everywhere, we live our lives in the marketplaces of this world. In homes and neighborhoods. In schools and on farms. In hospitals and businesses. And our vocations are bound up with the ordinary work that ordinary people do. We are not great shots across the bow of history. Rather, by simple grace. We are hints of hope."3  
________
Words –1,000
Passive Sentences –2%
Readability –86.5
Reading Level – 3.4
Luther’s Seal © Ed Riojas, Higher Things

1. Offence was not intended in the title of this homily although it is a common idiom
2.Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life.- Tish Harrison Warren  © 2016 Intervarsity Press   pg. 94
3.  Ibid pg. 189


Thursday, July 6, 2017

Donald Eugene Gehres

Donald Eugene Gehres
Born: February 19, 1944
Baptized in Christ: May 5, 1944
Confirmed in Christ: June 30, 1965
With Christ in Peace: June 28, 2017
Committal: July 6, 2017

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. –John 3:16

Blessed are they that die in the Lord

Be still my soul; the Lord is on your side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to your God to order and provide;
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still my soul; your best, your heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still my soul; the hour is hastening on
Where we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still my soul; when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last. 1

Death is so limited…
It has not crippled love,
It has not shattered hope,
It has not corroded faith,
It has not eaten away peace
   Nor destroyed confidence.

It has not killed friendship,
It has not shut out memories,
It has not silenced courage,
It has not invaded the soul,
   Nor reduced eternal life.

It has not quenched the Spirit,
It cannot, has not,
  Nor will not lessen the power of the resurrection! 2

We knew this day would come. Don knew it too. There would be a time. When his end would come. We knew it too. When Don’s presence would be absent from us. And now we are here. With this reality. Don Gehres has been received into the hands of Jesus.  

He has been parted from us for a season. But soon will come that glorious day. When that call will come in our own lives. When we shall see Jesus - face to face. And then, we shall be together again. Never to be parted by time, distance, or space.    

I remember that afternoon. When he gave me the news. An aggressive tumor…inoperable… terminal. It was not a subject of “if.” It was matter of “when.” And so, he applied the words of the Psalm to his life. “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” 

And that wisdom is simply this, Christ is always for you. Even in your darkest hours. Even when you feel like there is no help left. Yet we have this hope. Put your trust in Jesus. And He will lift you in His arms.  Christ remains present.  You can even glory in your weakness. For when you are weak. You are made strong by the power of Christ.  

I remember that afternoon Shirley. When you were given the news. All attempts of slowing the mass have failed. There were no other medical options available. So he moved home. To a safe environment. Where he could be surrounded by family, neighbors, and friends. 

Don had a sign posted on his refrigerator which read, ‘I want to grow old enough to be a burden to my children.” And while we might snicker at such a post - once again you have given our community an excellent example of what it means to be family. 

Shirley, you and Don took seriously your wedding vows. And in these past few years you have given us an example of what those vows mean, “to have and to hold… for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.”

Jody, Todd, Scott.  By word and deed you have given us an excellent example of what it means to live the 4th commandment. You have shown us what it means to love - as you have given your Dad dignity, served and honored his wishes, holding him in love and esteem. True, these are easy words to say. It takes principle, love and care to carry them through.

Don was confirmed as an adult. On June 30, 1965 these words were given him, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” –John 3:16 

Yes, these are simple words. Words so familiar to us. Yet they are profound and so true. 

The Scriptures remind us, "The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Corinthians 15:16-17) 

Yes, there is something more lasting, more powerful and greater than your sin. It is the love and compassion Jesus has for us sinners. While each of us were lost and steeped in sin, God our Father had a plan. A plan, which was in place, way before the dawn of time.

What God did not become. He could not save. And so, He comes into the world as one of us. To save us. Jesus came into the world. To be counted with sinners. To save sinners. 

At the right time, God our heavenly Father would send His only Son. Jesus would enter into our world. Breaking into time and space. He came to be your substitute. He would live the perfect life for you. He would die the death that you deserve. And there, at a cross, He would trade your sin, your misery and your guilt for His perfection and work out what you and I could never, ever do! 

Yes, Jesus has done for you better than what you could ever do for yourself. When settling the issue with sin, Jesus acts alone. He dealt with the issues of your brokenness Himself. Period. With no help from anyone. The Father sends His own Son to the cross. Jesus bore your sin. He carried it alone. – To the cross of Calvary. There He died for you. 

There He wins salvation for the entire world. And on the third day. He rose from the dead to prove to you that this freedom. This forgiveness. This new life. Has been credited to you.

God is completely responsible for your salvation. From front to back! You don’t one-day wake up and decide to follow Jesus – Rather, He plants the seed of faith in your heart by the power of His Holy Spirit. 

He then nourishes that faith by giving you His eternal Word, which is able to make you wise unto salvation. This is what St. Paul reminds us when he tells us in Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.”

I have had the privilege of knowing Don as his pastor the past thirty years. In a time in which our Friedheim family has enjoyed a period of tranquility and peace. That’s not to say that we’ve faced personal setbacks and occasional challenges. But for the most part, we’ve enjoy a time of serenity. 

However there have been periods of divergence and difference in our history. When such times of dispute happened. Don could be counted to take up a cause - especially for those who did not necessarily have a voice. Or, at least felt timid to speak. 

It did not matter to Don. Whether he agreed with them or not. That was not the point. What mattered to him was the people’s opinions were heard. Because, in his mind, people mattered. He took seriously the words of Solomon, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the afflicted and the needy.”– Proverbs 31:8-9

Don understood a great truth. Through our work. We are a part of a greater kingdom. We live simply by grace. We are here to offer hints of hope.

We seek God in and through our particular vocations and our place in life. Our task is not to somehow inject God into our work. But to join God. In the work He is already doing. In and through our lives.   In short, Don becomes a sermon in shoes.3

Don understood grace. He attempted to live gracefully among us. He had a big heart. An infectious laugh. He loved life. As Don would always say, ‘Today’s a great day...to be a great day!’ Summed up for us by St. Paul in his letter to the Galatians. “I have been crucified with Christ. That is, in Him I have shared His crucifixion. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body I live by faith. By adhering to.  Relying upon.  And completely trusting in the Son of God. Who loved me. And gave Himself up for me.” 

Don knew the Savior’s voice. Now he sees His face.

Because Jesus lives. Don lives in Him. Because Jesus reigns. Don reigns with Him. Because Jesus holds all things. He will hallow you. In the palm of His hands.   
______________
Words –1,575
Passive Sentences –4%
Readability – 86.6
Reading Level -3.4

1. Be Still my Soul Lutheran Service Book © 2008 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO
2.  Unknown source, © Common Domain
3. Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Everyday Life.- Tish Harrison Warren  © 2016 Intervarsity Press   pg. 94

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Time in the Word Pentecost 5 - Proper 9

Time in the Word
"Peace for the world"
Proper 9
July  3 – July 8, 2017


Peace (rest) is the obvious theme for the coming week. Zechariah tells of the king of peace coming to Israel; the passage is often used on Palm Sunday.  This promise is fulfilled by the Messiah – Jesus – who invites the burdened to Himself where they will find rest for their souls. In the Epistle lesson Paul dramatically describes his inner conflict and its resolution in Christ the Deliverer. This theme of peace is carried forward in the Prayers of the Day with references to God as the source of peace and to us as being peacemakers. The Psalm mentions the King and thus refers to the Old Testament lesson. The Hymn of the week is related to the Gospel lesson

Collect for Proper 9Gracious God, our heavenly Father, Your mercy attends us all our days. Be our strength and support amid the wearisome changes of this world, and at life’s end grant us Your promised rest and the full joys of Your salvation; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.


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


A prayer before we study the WordAlmighty God, our heavenly Father, without Your help our labor is useless, and without Your light our search is in vain. Invigorate the study of Your holy Word that, by due diligence and right discernment, we may establish ourselves and others in Your holy faith.

Monday, July 3, 2017Psalm 91:1-10 - This is the Psalm portion from which the Introit for next Sunday is taken. The antiphon is taken from verse 1, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

Tuesday, July 4, 2017Zechariah 9:9-12 – Peace for the nations.  Jerusalem has promised that her king is coming to bring peace to the nations. Rejoice (v. 9). What is there to rejoice about? Can we rejoice over the shortage of energy, the arms race, the pollution of the earth, the racial unrest, and political corruption? God gives Israel reason to rejoice — a world ruler is coming in peace for the peace of the world. If we could have world peace, a world government of justice, a ruler of compassion, we would have reason to shout with joy. Has this King not come in Jesus? Christians should be a celebrating people.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017Romans 7:14-25a – Peace for the individual.  Christ delivers Paul from the raging war between the carnal and spiritual selves. A Christian has a dual nature: a carnal and spiritual nature that are in conflict with each other. It results in one’s doing what one does not want to do and vice versa. This struggle between good and evil continues to the point where one exclaims, “Wretched man that I am.” It is not a matter of a good higher nature and a lower evil nature. The whole person is in need of redemption, not only the lower self. The only solution is the redemption of the whole body of Christ from the body of death. For this Paul gives thanks.

"Deliverance" (v. 24).If a Christian has not only a dual but a duel nature, the conflict that persists leads to despair of self. The victim of this civil war cries out in despair, “Wretched man that I am!” Is there no end, no way out? Paul found the solution in Christ for whom he gives thanks for the deliverance. Christ is our peace who brings together the two warring selves into one integrated, harmonious person.

Thursday, July 6, 2017Matthew 11:25-30 – Peace for the followers of Christ. They who put on the yoke of Christ will receive rest for their souls. This pericope is in sharp contrast to Jesus’ earlier teachings about the price of discipleship and to his harsh warnings to cities that rejected him. The passage is warm, intimate, and consoling. He thanks the Father for revealing the truth to his “babes,” his simple unlearned disciples. His reference to God as Father indicates his unity with his Father whom alone knows him and whom he knows alone. Though tough demands are made on the disciples, Jesus promises rest to those heavily burdened if they will take his yoke upon them, for his yoke is easy and his burden is light.

A new religion (vv. 28-30).Jesus invites us to leave an old religion for a new one, His religion. It is not a religion of Jesus but about Jesus. His religion gives rest from a religion of law, duty, and obligation — a religion of works to be saved. As the object of our worship, He is gentle and humble. Our commitment to him is easy and light because our service to Him is voluntary (“Come”). His yoke is “easy,” because it fits us perfectly. This should save our religion from being a bore or a burden. Instead, the Christian religion is one of joy.

Friday, July 7, 2017Psalm 145:1-5 – This Psalm is suggested for next Sunday. The key verse “I will extol thee, my God and my King” (v. 1a).

Saturday, July 8, 2017John 6:35 – This passage is the inspiration for the hymn “I heard the Voice of Jesus say.” {LSB 752}.

Sources
LUTHERAN SEVICE BOOK © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO

LUTHERAN WORSHIP © 1989 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO

LECTIONALRY PREACHING WORKBOOK SERIES A © 1980 John Brokhoff CSS Publishing Lima, OH

Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use. 

Saturday, July 1, 2017

July

Romans and the Reformation
A Series of Sermons Commemorating the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation 



July 2 Pentecost 4 - Proper 8 - Divine Service Setting 1
Romans 7:1-13 “Released from the law and sin

July 9 Pentecost 5 - Proper 9 - Prayer & Preaching
Romans 7:14-25a - “Paul finds peace of mind through Christ’s deliverance

July 16 Pentecost 6 - Proper 10 - Divine Service Setting 2
Romans 8:12-17 -"Heirs with Christ"

July 23 Pentecost 7 – Proper 11 - Divine Service Setting 3 without Communion
Romans 8:18-27 - “The Purpose of God’s Word is Redemption

July 30 Pentecost 8 – Proper 12 - Divine Service Setting 3
Romans 8:28-39 - “God’s continual goodness

We continue to review the book of Romans in our Sunday morning worship gatherings in anticipation for the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. 

This month Paul begins a discussion of the nature of the power of the Gospel and its righteousness which leads to assertions of the reality of the reconciliation (and its peace) even in the midst of affliction. These assertions are made under the recognition that the daily experience of the Christian is a daily struggle against indwelling sin. This struggle is carried out in repentant reliance on God’s grace and in hope we live each day confidently. 

Christ is always there for you. Even in your darkest hours. Even when you feel like there is no help left. Put your trust in Him. And he will lift you in His arms.  As the hymn reminds us, “In God my faithful God, I trust when dark my road.” (LSB #745) Christ remains present.  You can even glory in your weakness. For when you are weak you are made strong by the power of Christ.  This change happens. Because of the sacramental effected change of lordship, this has taken place in your baptism. You are not your own. You now belong to Christ.  

Delivered from sin and death, you now live before God in the righteousness of Christ. And where does this freedom come from? It comes in your baptism. The place where the Father names you as His own dear child.  Not because of what you have attained, accomplished, or achieved. This freedom comes to you simply because Christ has chosen to love you and adopt you as His own. 

You abide in the care of Christ.  Fear not. Your Father will not let anything happen to you apart from His gracious will. You are of more value than many sparrows. Not one of them will fall without your Father's will. No harm will befall you but what your Father Wills. If God has work for you to do you cannot die until it is accomplished. Enter summer in the strength and the hope of Christ.