Monday, August 31, 2009

Time in the Word - Pentecost 14 - Proper 18

God’s standard of excellence is the theme for this coming Sunday. In the Old Testament lesson God’s people are call to be strong and not to fear as God promises to come to His people. The language which is used is similar to that used of the coming Messiah. In the Epistle lesson excellence is seen in how the believer behaves. Favoritism is forbidden rather keeping the law is what is expected. The Christian faith is not merely a philosophical exercise of the mind. Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action is dead. In the Gospel lesson a standard of excellence has been stamped on everything Jesus has done. He fulfills the prediction given in the Old Testament lesson. This causes the believer to express praise and adoration to the Lord who has done all things well as expressed in the hymn of the day which is based on this week’s appointed psalm.

Collect for Proper 18O God, from whom all good proceeds, grant to us Your humble servants, Your hold inspiration, that we may set our minds on the things that are right and, by Your merciful guiding, accomplish them; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Monday, 31 August 2009Psalm 28:1-2, 6-7, Antiphon, Psalm 28:8The Lord is the strength of His people, He is the saving refuge of His anointed. The entire psalm is a prayer for deliverance from deadly peril at the hands of malicious and God-defying enemies. To rebel against the Lord’s Anointed is also to revel against the One who anointed him. The Lord’s anointed is ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ. The English word “Messiah” comes from the Hebrew word for “anointed one” and the English word “Christ” comes from the Greek word for “anointed one”. (See also Matthew 1:17)

Tuesday, 01 September 2009Psalm 146; key verse v2— I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live. The psalmist makes a vow to praise the Lord as long as he lives. This is similar to the vow we make on the day of our confirmation. Question: Do you intend to continue steadfast in this confession and church and to suffer all, even death, rather than fall away from it? Answer: I do, by the grace of God.

Wednesday, 02 September 2009Isaiah 35:4-7a— Be strong and do not fear God will come. The coming Messiah will bring a standard of excellence. When God comes to redeem His people health and healing will be evident. The eyes of the blind will be opened, the ears of the deaf unstopped, the lame with leap and the mute will speak. Jesus will quote this passage in Matthew 11:5 to prove that He is the Lord’s chosen and anointed one, the Messiah.

Thursday, 03 September 2009James 2:1-10 14-18 — Favoritism is forbidden – faith and deeds are explained. It’s quite easy to say “I believe”, “I have faith,” “I trust” etc. Too often these are empty words and phrases. James explains that the sign of a genuine faith is shown in deeds. The key verse is v.17 “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”

James has no argument with the notion that we are saved by grace through faith. (See Ephesians 2:8-9) What he does say is that genuine faith will be demonstrated by certain actions and behaviors. (See Ephesians 2:10) This is the sign of excellence, faith that is active and engaging.

Friday, 04 September 2009Mark 7:31-37 —The original translation of verse 37 literally reads “Well! All things He has done!” A standard of excellence has been stamped on everything Jesus has done. He is able to make the deaf hear. This should not surprise us. Everything Jesus is doing is what God had promised to do when He came to redeem His people see Isaiah 35:5-6.

Saturday, 05 September 2009Psalm 146 - Sunday’s hymn of the day, Praise the Almighty (LSB 797) is based on the appointed psalm for this week. Having seen everything that Christ has done our only response is to return to Him our worship and praise. The psalm is an exhortation to trust in the Lord, Zion’s King. Psalm 146 is the first of five Hallelujah psalms with which the Psalter closes (Psalms 146-150).

Collect for Pentecost 15O Almighty God, whom to know is everlasting life, grant us without all doubt to know Your Son Jesus Christ to be the Way, the Truth, and the Life that, following His steps, we may steadfastly walk in the way that leads to eternal life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

A Prayer for obedience to God’s WordO holy and most merciful God, You have taught us the way of Your commandments. We implore You to pour out Your grace into our hearts. Cause it to bear fruit in us that being ever mindful of Your mercies and Your laws, we may always be directed to Your will and daily increase in love toward You and one another. Enable us to resist all evil and to live a godly life. Help us to follow the example of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and to walk in His steps until we shall possess the kingdom that has been prepared for us in heaven; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

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

A prayer for guidance in our callingLord God, You have called Your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go but only that Your hand is leading us and Your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 and Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House and from Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House.
Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcut used with permission from WELS
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series B – John Brokhoff © 1981 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Pentecost 13 - Proper 17

As Christians we are soldiers, drafted at our baptism to fight in God’s army against a formidable foe. Jesus said, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (v.12)

We must never underestimate the strength and tactics of our adversary, the devil. As the father of lies, he leads “spiritual forces of evil,” who are intent on destroying our souls. The devil has a ready ally in our sinful nature with its reliance on the self. But reliance on ourselves, on our strength and resources, will only result in capitulation and eternal defeat. The only way to stand firm in this battle is to “be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.” (v.10). God Himself provides us with the equipment we need to be strong in Him. God has equipped you for battle.

1. With the belt of truth.
A. The belt was an essential part of the Roman soldier’s equipment, for it kept the other parts in place and allowed for more freedom of movement. All seven weapons enumerated for defense and offense are supplied by God Himself. Thus the truth of God’s truth in Christ, not our own truthfulness, which may sometimes be mere rationalization, that he devil, the father of lies, can subvert to his own purposes.

B. This is the truth God has made known to us about ourselves and about Christ.

C. The truth about our sin and our Savior helps us “get it all together” against Satan, the father of lies.

D. When Satan accuses us with the truth that we are sinners, we can stand firm with another truth of God – that Christ has saved us from our sins.

2. With the breastplate of righteousness.
A. This is the righteousness of Jesus, which is imputed and attributed to us. This is to be used for defense. Not even the righteous conduct that flows from faith, but rather the righteousness of Christ.

B. Our works of righteousness are like flimsy rags.

C. When Satan reminds us of our unrighteousness, Christ’s righteousness is the breastplate that protects us from despair.

3. With the shoes of peace.
A. A soldier with bare, sore feet is almost immobilized. In our battle against evil we can be immobilized by fear and doubt.

B. The good news of the Gospel’s assurance of peace with God gives us courage to tread on the scorpions of evil because we know God is with us.

4. With the shield of faith.
A. Besides the small circular shield for defense in close combat, there is a large oblong shield that protects the entire person. Faith that clings to Christ makes us partakers of His invulnerability.

B. We have an impenetrable defense against the flaming darts of Satan when he uses sickness, discouragement, and loss to disturb of faith.

5. With the helmet of salvation.
A. Christ has already saved us through His suffering, death and resurrection. In his Salvation we are safe. For our head, the most vulnerable part of our body, the helmet of salvation is our defense. The salvation we have in Christ assures our deliverance from sin and death.

B. As possessors of salvation we are safe; Satan’s blows cannot cause us permanent injury.

6. With the sword of God’s Word.
A. Our offensive weapon is “the sword of the Spirit”. It is the Word of the Lord which is powerful to defeat the forces of evil in this world. Because the Holy Spirit works in the Scriptural Word, that Word is a source of power by which we can drive away Satan-induced bitterness and resentment, anger and despair.

B. When we immerse ourselves in the Word and use it against Satan, Christ Himself is fighting for us.

7. With prayer.
A. The seventh weapon is both offensive and defensive. Prayer in the Spirit, that is, in faith worked by the Spirit is necessary at all times because Christians are engaged in a life-long battle requiring watchfulness and perseverance. Fellow Christians need our prayers, even seemingly strong Christians like the Apostle Paul, so that despite the severity of circumstances, they can stand firm and be good witnesses for the Gospel. Prayer is god’s all encompassing piece of equipment because prayer alerts us to the need for perseverance in the battle and opens the door of the arsenal of all of God’s resources.

B. We pray not only for ourselves but for our fellow Christians that God may equip them to fight the battle well.

If we will use the equipment God Himself supplies, we will be able to stand our ground against the devil’s schemes in very evil day.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Time in the Word Pentecost 13 - Proper 17

The theme for the Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost is Faith in Action. The Pharisees of Christ’s day adhered strictly to the dietary restrictions laid down by God in His Law. They even extended them. However, they believed that this strict outward fulfillment would save them. They gave little thought to the condition of their hearts, for even as they were outwardly pious in following the letter of the Law, inwardly, they were filthy with sin, hating Christ and His disciples and even hatching a plan to murder Him.

Jesus tells us that what matters is not the outward act, but the condition of one’s heart. Now this does not mean that we are free to act however we will. True faith will always manifest itself in doing good works, and a desire to adhere to the Word of God. People will be able to see that we have put our faith in action by our love for others.

As for the dietary laws of the Jews, we can be thankful that Christ has fulfilled the Law and has declared all foods clean. We are free to enjoy bacon cheeseburgers, pork chops, shrimp, and much more without guilty consciences.

Monday, 17 August 2009—Psalm 51:7, 10–12; Antiphon, Psalm 51:2—Sunday’s Introit is a portion of David’s pÅ“nitential psalm, the one he wrote after being confronted with his sin with Bathsheba (2 Sam 11:1—12:14). David evinces true repentance: grief, shame, and contrition over his sin, but also faith and trust in God that he would be redeemed of all his iniquity. When we sing this as the Offertory, we make David’s plea our own: we ask for—and receive—a clean heart, a right spirit. We have been washed thoroughly from iniquity and cleansed from all sin by the atoning sacrifice of Christ.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009—Psalm 119:129–136—Psalm 119 is the longest psalm, and it extols the virtues of delighting in the Word of God. One who is righteous by faith has a great desire to live according to the precepts of God’s holy Word. The Word of God gives light and understanding; it keeps us from having our iniquity getting dominion over us. We the redeemed long to live by faith according to the Word; we shed tears because people do not keep God’s Law.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009—Deuteronomy 4:1–2, 6–9—As the Children of Israel were about to take possession of the land that the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving them, Moses reminds them of all that the LORD had taught and commanded them. His advice is to them and to us, heirs through Christ of the spiritual Promised Land, the Kingdom of Heaven. We must be diligent to hear the Word of God and preserve it, making it known, not only among ourselves, but to our children and our children’s children.

Thursday, 20 August 2009—Ephesians 6:10–20—This last reading from St Paul’s letter to the Ephesians fit exceptionally well with Sunday’s other readings. Moses had given his instruction to the Israelites because he knew how easy it is for people to fall away from God. In times of both adversity and prosperity, people may be tempted to forsake the Lord. Attacks will come, for the devil hates God and all whom He loves. The Christian must gird himself for spiritual warfare with the weapons which God has provided: truth, righteousness, the Gospel, faith, salvation—with these, we are equipped for the assaults of the Evil One.

Friday, 21 August 2009—Mark 7:14–23—What defiles a person? Is it what goes into him? No. We are all defiled by sin. We have inherited our sinful nature from our first parents, and are inclined toward evil. Jesus gives a whole laundry list of wicked thoughts and actions which proceed out of our sinful hearts. We must ever be on guard, not only against the attacks of Satan, as in the epistle lesson, but even on the treachery of our own hearts. We must not depart from the Word of God, but read, hear, and learn it daily to know of both our salvation and of the will of God.

Saturday, 22 August 2009—Sunday’s hymn of the day, Be Strong in the Lord (LSB 665) exhorts us to make full use of the armor of God, that we may withstand the wiles of the devil and our sinful nature. Having been equipped by our Lord, we can be certain of the victory.

Collect for Pentecost 13O God, the source of all that is just and good, nourish in us every virtue and bring to completion every good intent that we may grow in grace and bring forth the fruit of good works; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

This week's Time in the Word was written by Pr. Jeff Jeuning who serves Zion Casey and St John Dexter, IA

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Pentecost 12, Proper 16

Godly living comes from a believing heart. Some folks are obsessed with dirt. They are super – clean. We might call the “neat freaks”. They are ever dusting, cleaning, scrubbing, vacuuming. At the same time they can be dirty on the inside as their hearts are filled with dirty thoughts, motives, interests. This is the issue from this morning’s Gospel. The religious leaders of the day were might concerned with washing hands, pots and pans but neglected to wash their hearts. Jesus points out that dirtiness is not from without but from within the heart. A dirty heart causes a person to perform dirty acts which are listed in vv. 21-22.

Our text begs the question – which is worse dirty hands or dirty hearts?

Dirty hands – Vv. 1-8
A religion of man’s traditions – 8b

Traditions can change with time
They mask the real issues. Here religion was used to avoid the demands of religion. Building a religion of traditions and the use of traditions for traditions sake helps one escape the demands of a true religion. Jesus called this hypocrisy (vs.6) Tradition can become a substitute for real religion. Customs and ceremonies lose their significance and meaning. We do things without knowing why we do them. Traditions can become like barnacles that gradually grow on a ship and impede the progress of the boat. One issue of the Reformation of the 16th Century was the Bible vs. Tradition, the voice of God vs. the voice of the church. The Reformers repudiated those traditions that were contrary to the Word.

Dirty hearts – Vv. 14-15, 21-23
The heart is the source of behavior – vs. 21

Realize that Christ alone can make a good heart

Monday, August 17, 2009

Time in the Word - Pentecost 12 - Proper 16

The theme for the Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost is True Worship. The Pharisees of Christ’s day gave lip-service to the Word of God. They were outwardly pious, and even devised new rules to follow, in order to promote their self-righteousness, but in reality, their hearts were not right. They were not really interested in the fulfillment of God’s promises of a Savior in Christ Jesus; they were sure that they could earn favor with God on their own terms.

No one can do this. We have, for the last several weeks, been reading through Paul’s letter to the Ephesians for our epistle lessons. Paul leaves no room for doubt when he tells us ( and all people), ‘You were dead in your trespasses and sins.’ Dead men do not make decisions for Christ; dead men do not co-operate with God in their own salvation, nor contribute to it in any way. Dead people need to be resurrected. This is accomplished by the Holy Spirit working through Word and Sacrament, and not through any of our own efforts.

Monday, 17 August 2009Psalm 26:1–2, 6–7; Antiphon, Psalm 26:8—The one who places his trust in the Lord, who loves the habitation of His house, and the place where His glory dwells, is righteous in the eyes of the Lord. He is vindicated and innocent. Having been freed from the punishment for sin, he proclaims thanksgiving aloud, telling all the wondrous deeds of the Lord.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009Psalm 14—Like last week’s Introit, this psalm shows the folly of disbelieving in God: The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ The entire psalm, then, is a study in the futility of those who have no fear of God. Ultimately, they will experience great terror, whilst for the one who is righteous by faith, the Lord is his refuge.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009Isaiah 29:11–19—On the Day of the Lord, the folly of wicked men shall be revealed, and shown for what it is. Those hypocrites who draw near to the Lord with their mouths, while their hearts are far from Him will be exposed. But for those who humbly trust in the Lord, knowing that they can never rely on themselves for their own salvation, they shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord, they shall exult in the Holy One of Israel.

Thursday, 20 August 2009Ephesians 5:22–33—The marriage bond between husband and wife is not just some sort of social contract for good order. It is ordained by God, and is a representation of the relationship between Christ and His Church. The world will hear the submission of wives to their husbands as servile subjection, but this is incorrect. As Christ gave Himself up for the Church, so husbands are to sacrifice themselves for their wives. How much easier, then, is the task of a wife to live in submission to such a husband! It is no task at all, but a position of joy, as it is for the Church to submit to Christ.

Friday, 21 August 2009Mark 7:1–13—The Pharisees took God’s Law seriously. However, they thought that they could justify themselves by following its dictates. In fact, they added to the Law of God both to assist themselves in keeping it, and in order to measure their own righteousness, especially in comparison to others. Here, they chastise the disciples of the Lord Jesus for not following their traditions of washings and ablutions before eating. But Jesus, knowing the condition of their hearts, knowing that they grumbled against and rejected Him, the promised Messiah, uses the words of the prophet Isaiah against them. These hypocrites sought to follow their own way, not God’s way.

Saturday, 22 August 2009—Sunday’s hymn of the day, Lord, Help Us Ever to Retain (LSB 865), is a prayer that we may remain faithful to Scripture, especially the chief parts of Christian doctrine, as taught in the Catechism. This is not some man-made tradition like the traditions of the Pharisees. We hold to the teachings of the catechism because they are a clear and simple exposition of the Scriptures themselves.

Collect for Pentecost 12Almighty and merciful God, defend Your Church from all false teaching and error that Your faithful people may confess You to be the only true God and rejoice in Your good gifts of life and salvation; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
Written by Pr. Jeffrey Keuning pastor of St. John, Dexter Iowa and Zion, Casey, Iowa

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Pentecost 11, Proper 15

In the eight verses of this morning’s gospel Jesus mentions the word “eat” eight times. Unless you eat the flesh of the son of man you can not have eternal life. What does Jesus mean by these words? Is Christ to be literally eaten? Jesus says, “believe in Me,” “come to Me.” Christ is to be taken into one’s life, digested so that Christ permeates the whole of life. As food is taken into the body is lost in the body, and brings strength to the body, so Christ is to become a part of us. It is a way of becoming one with Christ. Many today are searching for a personal experience with Christ. It is expressed in the phrase, “born again.” Christ desires

1. To be personalized – He desires a personal experience.

2. To be individualized – a one to one experience.

3. To be internalized – Christ comes into a person’s life.

4. To be homogenized – Christ and the believer are fused into one.

In these words Jesus will also use the word life six times. The believer eats Christ to live spiritually just as one must eat physical food to life. Either that or starve to death. Christ is our spiritual food which is necessary to life. Isn’t it interesting that we can have spiritual hunger pains and can die spiritually from lack of food? It is eternal because it is the life of Christ who is eternal.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Now it's official

It's official. Henry graduated today from Indiana State University with a double major in Psychology and Chriminology. He did an internship in Bloomington this summer which was the last step in his college process. Today his deploma from ISU will be signed, sealed and delivered to our house. He will enroll at ISU to get his Masters in Chriminology which should take a year to complete. Way to go Hank! Double major, in four years, debt free! Wow! Mom and Dad are proud.
For any of you who are thinking of a mid-major school, close to home, smaller then most in-state universities, offering a challenging curriculum at a reasonable price - for us Indiana State has been More. From day one.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Time in the Word - Proper 15 - Pentecost 11

The theme for the Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost is Incarnating the Christ. Christ is the Living Bread who came down from Heaven, the Word made flesh (John 1:14), who gives His flesh for the life of the world.

We can find this Living Bread nowhere else but in Christ. As Peter answered, when asked by Jesus if he wanted to leave, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” After Jesus ascended into heaven, when called before the Jewish council, Peter would proclaim again, “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) Come, feast on the Living Bread. Gladly hear His Word, and eat His Body and Blood, given for you for the remission of all your sins.

Monday, 10 August 2009Psalm 111:1–5, 9; Antiphon, Psalm 111:10—Athiest groups are taking out ads on city buses in cities across the U.S., even in Indiana (South Bend and Bloomington, so far), that proclaim that there is no God (‘You Can Be Good Without God’; ‘In the Beginning, Man Created God’). What utter nonsense! What through-and through foolishness! The psalmist tells us what it truly means to be wise: to fear the Lord, to recognize all that He has done for us. Those so-called ‘atheists,’ far from disbelieving in a god, have made themselves their own god, and a very poor one at that.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009Psalm 34:12–22—This is a continuation of the psalm for last Sunday. In the antiphon for to-day (v. 11), David calls us to listen to him, that he may teach us the fear of the Lord: one who is not foolish, and acknowledges the Lord, will turn away from evil and do good; he will seek peace and pursue it. These righteous ones will the Lord deliver out of all their troubles.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009Proverbs 9:1–10—In the Old Testament reading, we continue our education in the way of wisdom from the wisest man who has ever lived, Solomon. Here, he gives wisdom a personality, and we start to understand that the personification of wisdom is Christ our Lord, for it is Christ who invites us to eat of His bread and drink of His wine. These are His body and blood, which He gives for the life of the world.

Thursday, 13 August 2009Ephesians 5:6–21—In this section of our reading from the book of Ephesians, St Paul continues his instruction of how we ought to live. Since Christ has made us His own, and, since, by Word and Sacrament, we have eaten the living Bread that comes down from heaven, we ought to walk, not as unwise, but as wise. We ought not allow ourselves to be deceived by charlatans masquerading as men of God; we ought not take part in the sins that the world takes pleasure in; we ought, rather, make the best use of time, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Friday, 14 August 2009John 6:51–69—Jesus declares that He is the Living Bread that came down from heaven. It is through Him alone that we can be forgiven, that our sins can be removed, that we can partake of eternal life. Through Word and sacrament, Christ feeds us, bestowing faith and nourishing it. The bread that He gives does not just satisfy for a short time, like earthly food; whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.

Saturday, 15 August 2009—This week, the final two stanzas of O Living Bread from Heaven (LSB 642) serve as the hymn of the day. Having received from the Lord Jesus Christ living bread, we seek to serve Him with holy fear, living as wise, not foolish ones, during our days on earth, and looking forward to the day when we leave this world below, and enter Heaven, where joys unmingled flow.

Collect for Pentecost 11Almighty God, whom to know is everlasting life, grant us to know Your Son, Jesus, to be the way, the truth, and the life, that we may steadfastly follow His steps in the way that leads to life eternal; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
This week's Time in the Word was written by Pr. Jeffrey Keuning who serves St. John Dexter and Zion Casey, IA

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Pentecost 10 - Proper 14

People of Jesus’ day created a situation in which Jesus had an opportunity to explain for Himself who He was. Many ideas, opinions, and reports about Him circulated around the land. Today is no different. All kinds of things are said about Jesus – in books, lectures, sermons, and conversations. So what do you think about Jesus? Why not go directly to Jesus and let Him tell us who he is? Today we see what Jesus says concerning Himself. What does Jesus tell us about Himself?

1. I am from heaven – v.41 "Then the Jews began grumbling about him because he said, "I am the bread that came down from heaven."

2. I alone see God – v.46 I'm saying that no one has seen the Father. Only the one who is from God has seen the Father. No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him (John 1:18)

3. I am the bread of life –v.48 I am the bread of life

4. I give eternal life – v.50 "This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that a person may eat it and not die. 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 6:36) "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” (John 5:24)

In the Gospel of John Jesus comes to visit a grieving family. He speaks to Mary and Martha who were mourning the loss of their brother. Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the live he who believe in me even though they die will live forever. And everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:26)

Friday, August 7, 2009

Abby Road

Heard on the BBC this morning that the picture on the album cover of the Beatles "Abby Road" was shot 40 years ago today! Now their music is played at the nursing home in Monroeville.

Abbey Road is the eleventh official U.K. album and seventeenth U.S. album released by The Beatles. Though work on Abbey Road began in April 1969, making it the final album recorded by the band, Let It Be was the last album released before the Beatles' dissolution in 1970. Abbey Road was released on 26 September 1969 in the United Kingdom, and 1 October 1969 in the United States. It was produced and orchestrated by George Martin for Apple Records. Geoff Emerick was engineer, Alan Parsons was assistant engineer, and Tony Banks was tape operator.[1] It is regarded as one of The Beatles' most tightly constructed albums, although the band was barely operating as a functioning unit at the time.[2][3] Rolling Stone magazine named it the 14th greatest album of all time,[4] even though the magazine initially gave the album a mixed reception: Their November 15, 1969 issue features two very different reviews - a strongly negative one from Ed Ward, who particularly criticizes its overproduction, and a rave review from John Mendelsohn.


Monday, August 3, 2009

Time in the Word - Pentecost 10 - Proper 14

The theme for the Tenth Sunday after Pentecost is Eat and Live. His own people, the Jews, grumbled when Jesus told them that He is the Bread of Life that came down from heaven. They saw Him only as a man, not the Savior who had been promised from the very beginning in the Garden of Eden after the Fall (Genesis 3:15). Their own expectations of God’s promised Deliverer blinded them to the fact that He was standing before them.

Christ Jesus offers His gift of eternal salvation to all who will receive it. He calls them, and the Father draws them to Him. But some, because of the hardness of their hearts and the blindness of their sin, reject the good gift that God has for them. May we ever nourish our faith through our regular church attendance, hearing the word of God preached and proclaimed, and receiving the body and blood of Christ.

Monday, 3 August 2009Psalm 34:8–10; Antiphon, Psalm 145:16—The antiphon should be familiar to us, as it is part of the prayer before a meal which Luther included in the Catechism. The psalmist David then says to taste and see that the Lord is good. How are we to do this? St Peter tell us that we should be like newborn infants, longing for the pure spiritual milk. We have tasted that the Lord is good, for we have heard His Word of forgiveness and salvation, we have eaten of His Holy Supper, and we long for more.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009Psalm 34:1–8—The psalm appointed for next week is one taken from a bizarre incident in the life of David, when he pretended to be insane before Achish, a Palestinian king in the line of Abimelech. The entire story is recorded in 1 Samuel 21:10-15. David exhorts us to extol the Lord at all times, for as the Lord delivered David in answer to his prayer, so He also has delivered us from sin, death, and the devil.

Wednesday, 5 August 20091 Kings 19:1–8—Despite the fact that the Lord had shown that He alone is the true God in Elijah’s showdown with the prophets of Baal, wicked Queen Jezebel clung to her false gods and sought to kill Elijah. To escape, Elijah fled to the wilderness near Beersheba. There, the Lord fed him with bread. The Lord feeds us also; not through the ministrations of an angel, but by farmers, truckers, stock-boys, and grocery-store clerks. “God gives daily bread to everyone…we pray that He would lead us to realize this and to receive our daily bread with thanksgiving.”

Thursday, 6 August 2009Ephesians 4:17—5:2—In this section of our reading from the book of Ephesians, St Paul tells us that, since we have been set free from bondage to sin and death, we should live outwardly in way that reflects our new life in Christ. We are to live as children of light, no longer living in the darkness of sin. Those in the world ought to see a difference in how Christians live versus how the rest of the world lives. As children of God, we imitate God, not the ways of the world.

Friday, 7 August 2009John 6:35–51—“I am the Bread of Life,” declares Jesus. The bread that He gives is better than earthly bread, for that can only sustain the body while we sojourn in this earthly vale of tears. The bread that Jesus gives—the bread that Jesus is—sustains our souls for all eternity. Jesus gives Himself for the life of the world.

Saturday, 8 August 2009—Again this week, the hymn of the day is O Living Bread from Heaven (LSB 642). This second stanza proclaims that we have been led by the Lord to His house to receive His good gifts of forgiveness. We could not, and do not, do this on our own, but He leads us, and then feeds us with Word and Sacrament. The ‘food’ we receive in the Divine Service is better than the food we eat daily at our meals, for it is food that gives eternal life.

Collect for Pentecost 10Gracious Father, Your blessed Son came down from heaven to be the true bread that gives life to the world. Grant that Christ, the bread of life, may live in us and we in Him, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
This week's Time in the Word is written by Pr. Jeffrey Keuning who is the pastor of St. John's Casey and Zion, Dexter, IA

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Pentecost 9 - Proper 13

It’s a Lutheran thing. We love to dive home that central message that we are not saved by our good works. And yet, did you hear what Jesus said? He said there is a work that saves…it is to believe in Him. This might be a new thought – Faith is a work. It is like love in marriage. To be successful you must work at it.

To be saved means must work at our faith so that it continues to exist and grow. The spiritual bread comes as a gift, but faith is needed to receive it. In this sense, faith is all important for without the Bread of Life – without Jesus Christ we cannot be saved. Let’s consider this morning the work which saves.

1. Salvation is a gift of the Bread of life – Vs. 27 Do not work for food that perishes but for food that lasts for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set his seal on Him.
A. There are many things of which we must work for – a new car, a college education, items we need to maintain our standard of living. Items need to be budgeted, and it takes time and effort to work for these things.

B. Yet, “that one thing needful,” what we really need, life with God, a relationship with Jesus Christ all comes to us as a gift. It is by grace that you have been saved through faith says St. Paul. It is all the wonderful workings of the Holy Spirit. Luther explains it this way, “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord or come to Him. But the Holy Ghost has called me by the gospel; enlightened me with His gifts, sanctifies and keeps me in the one true faith.

2. Faith is the receptive agent – Vs. 29 Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God: to believe in the one whom he has sent."
A. This is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. 1 John 3:23

B. Constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father. 1Thessalonians 1:3

3. Faith needs working – Vs. 29

A. You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; James 2:22

B. By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son. Hebrews 11:17

We are saved not by works but by a work - the work of Christ. That work is active in your life. It’s the gospel light, the light of Christ. Therefore let your light so shine before men that they may see your good work and give glory to your Father in heaven.