Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary to FCD Wyneken & his bride Sophia (Buuck) who were married at Zion, Friedheim Lutheran Church on August 31, 1841 Happy #169 Fritz & Sophy!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Time in the Word Pentecost 15 - 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).

Collect for the Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost: O merciful Lord, You did not spare Your only Son but delivered Him up for us all. Grant us courage and strength to take up the cross and follow Him, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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

Prayer for industry and commerce: Lord 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.

Monday, 30 August 2010Psalm 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, 31 August 2010Psalm 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, 1 September 2010Deuteronomy 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, 2 September 2010Philemon 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, 3 September 2010Luke 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, 4 September 2010—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

This week's Time in the Word was written by Pr. Jeffry Keuning serving St. John, Dexter and Zion Casey IA of the Iowa West Disitrict of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Pentecost 14 - Proper 17

Pentecost 14 – Proper 17
Luke 14:1, 1-14
Luke 7:12-14

Look who’s coming to dinner?

According to our Gospel lesson a humble person takes the lowest place and invites the needy. 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. In this parable Jesus teaches we should do the opposite – invite the humble, the unimportant, and the poor who can not 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, 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 who the blessed are as He reminds us that 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 be rewarded by men after one dies. 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 deftly 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 bare for all to see. This is not always pleasant for it exposes our true nature. Yet He did it 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 eminent of guests. Genuine humility is expressed by the way we reach out to others. Make no mistake; this is more then mere manners. Christ is the one who humbled Himself even to the point of death. He bore our sins and took our misery to Himself that in exchange for our sin we might receive the righteousness of God. If this is how the Savior has treated us, how much more should we demonstrate the same hospitality to others.

Face of Christ

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pentecost 13 - mid-week

Romans 3:21-25a, 27-28
It is natural for us to justify ourselves. When someone questions our behavior we declare it acceptable by pointing to its rightness and propriety. We are quick to defend our actions. That is not what St. Paul means by the term "justify" in our text. He is talking about God's act of justifying, not ours. In other words, Paul by these words is describing how we stand before God based on what He has done for us. To say that God justifies means that God declares human beings acceptable to Him. If that is so, we have no need to justify ourselves before God or anyone else. We don't have to explain ourselves to God, He has made up His mind and He accepts us for Jesus' sake. Therefore, the most freeing thing that could happen is for God to justify us, to declare us as being forgiven before Him. This is precisely what God in Christ has done for us. This morning, let's consider the fact that our justification by God frees us.
[1] Our justification before God frees us from making the Law our justifier.
A. Our natural tendency is to use the Law to justify ourselves before God.
1. We do so when we try to keep God's commandments to win God's approval. The man who thought that he could be acceptable to God on the basis of what he had done asked Jesus the question "but what else must I do?"
2. We do so when we refuse to let the Law reveal our failure in keeping it. When we look at the law as a mirror what does it show us? It shows us our sin.
3. We do so when we do not see ourselves as sinners who fall short of the holiness God requires. (vs. 23) simply reminds us that 'all have sinned" We can't gain access to God because all have sinned.
B. What God did through Jesus makes using the Law as our justifier totally unnecessary.
1. God sent Jesus to atone for our sins. (v.25a) Again, Paul reminds us that Jesus was sent into this world to be the atoning sacrifice for our sin. He is the one time sacrifice for our sins. He no longer has to die because He has paid for all sins once and for all at the cross.
2. God has declared us forgiven, freely, despite our sinand without preliminary improvement of our behavior. And it's all based on the redemption secured for us by Christ.
C. It is good that the Law is NOT our justifier.
1. We have no need to worry about whether we have done enough to please God. Because Jesus has done it all.
2. We have no need to justify ourselves before God or before people by comparing our keeping of God's law to other's keeping of it. None of us could keep the Law perfectly so Christ has fulfilled the law perfectly for us.
3. Of course, we try to keep God's Law, but not for our justification; God is the one who redeeds! He justifies. "apart from works of the Law" (v.28)
Transition: Paul says in our text "we are "justified by faith" Some have interpreted "by faith" to mean faith in our justifier. But our justification by God also frees us...
[2] Our justification by God frees us from making faith our justifier.
A. If faith is our justifier, faith becomes a work of the Law.
1. Faith would then becomes something we contribute to our justification and faith would cease to be a gift.
2. We could never be sure whether we had enough faith.
B. Faith is God's gift, not our achievement that caused us to be justified.
1. We can not boast even of our faith (v.27) We boast rather in Christ who has given us this faith.
2. Faith is the very opposite of works (v.28) "We are justified by faith apart from works of the Law" Paul reminds us. Faith is instrumental it is the hand by which we receive God's forgiveness.
C. It is good that faith is not our justifier.
1. The strength or weakness of our faith need not determine our justification. Our faith is never as strong as it should be. That's why we lean on Christ.
2. We need not have faith in our faith but only in the Lord Jesus Christ. What matters is this: I believe God when He says that He has freely, for Christ's sake, forgiven me of all of my sins.
What a freeing thing it is to be justified by God in the Lord Jesus Christ! By faith, through faith and only by faith do we stand justified before God. Thank Him for this gift which He has worked in us.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Time in the Word - Pentecost 14 - 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 the Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost: 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 the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

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.

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.

Prayer for humilty: O 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.

Prayer in times of unemployment: O God, You have always been the help and comfort of Your people. Support the unemployed in the day of their trouble and need. Give them faith to cast their cares on You, and preserve them from all bitterness and resentment. According to Your goodness increase the opportunity for their employment that with thankful hearts they may earn a just wage. Give to Your people everywhere a ready willingness to share their blessings with those in need. Make us merciful, even as You are merciful, O Father, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Monday, 23 August 2010—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, 24 August 2010—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, 25 August 2010—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, 26 August 2010—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, 27 August 2010—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, 28 August 2010The 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 http://spiritlessons.com/Documents/Jesus_Pictures/Jesus_Christ_Pictures.htm

This week's Time in the Word was written by Pr. Jeffrey Keuning who serves Zion, Dexter and St. John, Casey, IA of the Iowa West District, LCMS

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Rozelyn Sue Schamerloh
Born: October 23, 1956
Baptized into Christ: December 2, 1956
Confirmed in the Faith: May 15, 1977
With Christ in Peace: August 22, 2010
The Lord is my shephered I shall not want - Psalm 23:1

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Pentecost 13 - Proper 16

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.

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”, being in a right relationship 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 relationship 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. God 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} 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.
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 is “agonizomai”, from whence our word agonize comes. Think how many who were very confident that they should be saved will be rejected in the day of trial, and their confidences will deceive them, and you will say that there are few that shall be saved and that we are all concerned to strive. 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? But rather, what shall I do, and what will become of me? Strive to enter in at the strait gate. This is directed to each of us; it is, Strive ye. All that will be saved, must enter in at the strait gate, must undergo a change of the whole man. Those that would enter in must strive to enter. Here are awakening considerations, to enforce this exhortation. Oh that we may be all awakened by them! They answer the question, Are there only a few that shall be saved? But let none respond either as to themselves or others, for there are the last who shall be first, and the first who shall be last. If we reach heaven, we shall meet many there whom we little thought to meet, and miss many whom we expected to find.

We are saved by grace through faith and not by good deeds. The test of true faith is obedience to God’s will. First we are saved by faith in Christ’s atoning work on the cross and the confirmation of that condition is manifested in our obedience.

Face of Christ

Friday, August 20, 2010

Children's talk - Jesus is both God and Man

There were things Jesus did that showed He was a man to be our Savior.
1. He went to sleep.
2. He read from the Bible.
3. He was tempted by the devil.
4. He obeyed his parents.
5. He told John to baptize him.
6. He rode on a young colt.
7. He took our place and obeyed all the 10 Commandments.
8. He suffered and died in our place to pay for all our sin.

There were things Jesus did that showed He was God to be our Savior.
1. He turned water into wine.
2. He made a girl alive again.
3. He healed a man who could not walk.
4. He healed a man who could not talk or hear.
5. He told the devil to get lost.
6. He fed 5,000 people at once.
7. He forgave the sins of a bad woman.
8. He calmed the seas.
9. He accepted praise and worship from the people.
10. He knew Peter would deny Him three times before it happened.
11. He had the power to be greater than the devil and destroy him.
12. He overcame death and became alive again.

Jesus had to be a man to be our Savior
1. Jesus had to be a man so He could take our place and obey all of God’s Laws, the Ten Commandments.

2. Jesus had to be a man so He could suffer and die in our place to pay for all our sin. He became our substitute.

Jesus had to be God to be our Savior

1. Jesus had to be God so He had the power to be greater than the devil.

2. Jesus had to be God so He could overcome death and became alive again.

Dear Jesus,
We know You are indeed our mighty God. Thank You for loving us and becoming one of us so that You could take our sins upon Yourself. Now we know we will always belong to You because You are our Savior. Amen

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

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Pentecost 12 - mid-week

Matthew 15:21-28
"Universalism" is a heresy that claims that God will not allow anyone ultimately to go to hell. According to this view, it does not matter if a person is a Christian who looks to Christ for salvation. The Lessons appointed to be read in churches this past Sunday stress the universality of God but NOT Universalism!
What these lessons do teach is the universal gift of God's Amazing grace which must be received as a gift. What that simply means to you and to me is that it comes to us by grace through faith. By looking at all three of our lessons for this morning, we can see that grace is not cheap but it is given by a gracious heavenly Father. This morning let us consider "the universal concern that God has for the entire world"
[1] God has a universal concern for fallen man but it is Faith which is necessary to receive God's help. That is the whole point of our Gospel lesson for this morning (Matthew 15:21-28)
No one is excluded from God's favor and help. This is illustrated in Jesus' healing of a Canaanite woman's daughter, who at that time had absolutely no claim for help from a Jew.
This pagan woman asked Jesus to have mercy on her. It is significant that she identified with her daughter to the degree that the help given to the child would be given to her. Here we see the depth of love that is possible between a parent and a child. A true parent wishes that he or she could take the pain and trouble of the child to themselves. She would have done anything to have her daughter cured!
Until Jesus said "O woman, great is your faith" no mention is made of faith. Jesus does not ask if she believe in Him or if she believed He was able to help her. In this struggle to overcome Jesus' reluctance to help, He saw her faith. It was a faith that He could heal her daughter because she addressed Him as the Messiah. She called out "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" Jesus saw faith in her feeling that He would help her. This was demonstrated by her persistence. Faith is the key to getting a hearing and a blessing from Christ. It is not a matter of race, of nation, or of religion; the determining factor is simply faith in Christ!
[2] God has a universal concern but Faithfulness to God's Law opens the door to God's house. Consider our Old Testament lesson. Isaiah the prophet gives us the picture of foreigners from all over the world gathering in God's house as a house of prayer for all peoples. Again, this does not mean that all will enter.
Though God desires everyone to enter the Kingdom, not all will enter. God makes a universal appeal. His will is for all people to be saved. This is not "universalism" that teaching that in the end all will be saved and none shall suffer in hell. For the Jews of Isaiah's time this was a revolutionary thought: that Gentiles and foreigners would be brought to God and would share in the worship of God. How is this accomplished? It happens when there is faithfulness to God.
What does this say to you and me today? The church as God's house must be open to all who seek after God regardless of race, nationality, gender or culture.
This implies that all peoples are God's creation and have a right to worship in God's house. God will not approve of any sectarianism, prejudice, or particularism in His house of prayer.
[3] God has a universal concern but acceptance of the Gospel is what brings reconciliation with God. Consider our Epistle lesson. In this lesson (Romans 11:13-15, 29-32) Paul says that the disobedience of the Jews resulted in the Gospel going to the Gentiles.
Paul writes that God considers all people as disobedient so that He might have mercy on all. This is an unusual way of saying that all people are sinners and in need of God's mercy. If people have no sin, they need no Savior! If they are not in trouble, they need no help. If they are not separated from God, they need no reconciliation. It is a universal fact that since Adam, all are disobedient. As a result, all have need of mercy which is received in Jesus Christ.
All three lessons drive home the point that God's acceptance is based on those who repent and believe in Christ regardless of national and social identification. God is not for Jews only as was once considered in the time of Jonah and Ruth. It is for those who come in repentance and faith. May the Savior so lead us to remember that there is a universal concern that God has for the entire world as we share His story with those that we meet. In Jesus' Holy Name. Amen.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Time in the Word Pentecost 13 - 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 Pentecost: 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. Amen.

Prayer for pardon, growth in grace, and divine protection: O 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, 16 August 2010Psalm 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, 17 August 2010Psalm 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, 18 August 2010Isaiah 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, 19 August 2010Hebrews 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, 20 August 2010Luke 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, 7 August 2010—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.

This week's Time in the Word is written by Pr. Jeff Keuning service Zion, Dexter and St. John, Casey, IA of the Iowa West District of the LCMS
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House

Face of Christ


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Pentecost 12 - Proper 15

August 15, 2010
Pentecost 12 – Proper 15
Luke 12:51
The fire of God’s Word divides
Go in Peace or to Pieces

Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. - Luke 12:51
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 preacher 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. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. 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 He was forsaken by His Father 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.

Face of Christ


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Pentecost 11 - mid-week

1 Kings 19:9-19
"What are you doing here?" is the question that God asks the prophet Elijah. It is a question that God asks of us today. "What are you doing here?" Twice God asked Elijah what he was doing here in a cave away from his work.
The story is an interesting one. Elijah was just upon the top of Mt. Carmel, on the mountain of success, he was God's spokesman, His champion. But now he is in the valley of despair. What is a prophet doing away from the job and hiding in a cave? He fled there because he was afraid of wicked Queen Jezebel's revenge. She was out to kill him. Now, we might not have had our lives threatened but the feelings which Elijah experienced are universal. We each have our highs and lows. In this situation Elijah is feeling discouragement, despair, and failure. When we get down where do we turn? We turn to the Lord, who helps and supports us.
As God finds Elijah in his condition and restores him to positive action likewise God is able to sustain each of us. In our lesson for this morning we see how God can lift us out of our despair. When we feel like giving up because of discouragement God asks us three basic questions.
[1] Question number one. Are you jealous for God?
Twice God asks Elijah the basic question "What are you doing here?" Elijah explains to the Lord that he is jealous fro God. Enemies have destroyed God's altars and killed His prophets. The people have forsaken God. Elijah is jealous for God. He wants God to be adored, obeyed and followed. Apparently Elijah felt as it he had failed to bring his nation to that point. He feels as if he had failed God. Consequently Elijah runs away as a defeated warrior.
These feelings can be ours when we feel as if we have let God down. We try to live moral and upright lives. We want out light to shine before men. But what do we do when we get the feeling that we have not done enough, or that our stand for God and His Word has been waning?
God did not condemn Elijah for being jealous, but instead He brought Elijah out of his discouragement resulting from his zeal for God. God knows you are faithful. God knows your heart. God knows your faithfulness. Do not give us! Rather remain faithful to Him as He remains faithful to you.
[2] Question number two. "Are you afraid?"
Elijah had fled to a cave in a wilderness, because he was afraid. Wicked Queen Jezebel had pledged her revenge against Elijah and had threatened to kill him. Yet, there is no hiding place from God.
No one but God knew where Elijah was. Likewise, for you and for me God knows where we are. Wherever we go God is there. David asks "Where can I go from Your presence?" In Psalm 139 he writes: "O Lord, thou hast searched me and known me! Thou knowest when I sit down and when I rise up; thou discernest my thoughts from afar. Thou searchest out my path and my lying down and art acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether...where can I go from thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend to heaven, thou are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, thou are there!
If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there thy hand shall lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, "Let only darkness cover me, and the light about me be night", even the darkness is not dark to thee, the night is bright as the day; for darkness is as light with thee." (Psalm 139:1-4; 7-12)
Elijah learned of the grace of God. God came to Elijah who was frightened. He was in need of encouragement and assurance. Elijah needed to be sent back into the fray. Such is the grace of God. The Savior takes the initiative and comes to us who are in trouble and sets us free. He did that when He sent His Son Jesus to the cross and He continues to come to you and to me through Word and Sacrament to comfort us in every time of need.
[3] Question number three. Are you the only true follower of God?
Elijah felt as it God had left him. The cure for such despondence is to know God and to realize that He is constantly with us. How can we know God? He is not known in the spectacular, majestic feats of nature; of wind, earthquake, and fire. God reveals Himself in the quiet, intimate "small voice". God's Word, the Bible is God's primary way of revealing Himself; of making Himself known to us. If we are to hear God's still small voice, we must get quiet and listen. And in that stillness He simply says "I am with you always, even unto the end of the age" (Matthew 28:20)
After coming to Elijah and assuring him the Lord sent him back to the place where he belonged. So often, the cure for despondency is action - the Lord simply says to His prophet "Go!"
God tells Elijah to return to society and to resume his service to God by anointing both political and religious leadership. When we find ourselves in despair, the cure is often found by getting out and doing something for God and for people. As you leave this house of prayer this morning out into the world which is often cruel and hostile know that you do not walk alone. The Savior will attend to your every need. He will uplift, support and direct you. Yes, friend, the Savior will accompany you. Walk with Jesus, He walks with you. Amen.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Time in the Word Pentecost 12 - Proper 15

Christ’s Suffering and Death Bring Division
The Lord Jesus causes fear and trembling and division because His Word is “like fire . . . and like a hammer which shatters a rock” (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 analyze the appearance of the earth and the 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 has also conquered death and obtained life everlasting for us. Let us fix our eyes “on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith” and “run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Heb. 12:1–2).

Collect for the Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost: 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; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Prayer for grace to receive the Word: 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; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for blessing on the Word: Lord Jesus Christ, giver and perfecter of our faith, we thank and praise You for continuing among us the preaching of Your Gospel for our instruction and edification. Send Your blessing upon the Word, which has been spoken to us, and by Your Holy Spirit increase our saving knowledge of You, that day by day we may be strengthened in the divine truth and remain steadfast in Your grace. Give us strength to fight the good fight and by faith to overcome all the temptations of Satan, the flesh, and the world so that we may finally receive the salvation of our souls; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Prayer for the feast of St Mary, the Mother of Our Lord (15 August): Almighty God, You chose the virgin Mary to be the mother of Your only Son. Grant that we, who are redeemed by His blood, may share with her in the glory of Your eternal kingdom; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Monday, 8 August 2010Psalm 55:1, 12–14, 16; antiphon, Psalm 55:22—When we are burdened, either by the troubles of this world or by the guilt and consequence of sin, we are exhorted to cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never permit the righteous to be moved. Who are they who are righteous? Those who are righteous by faith in the atoning sacrifice of our Lord Jesus, as we learned in the readings for yesterday (Sunday). Whenever we call on God, the LORD saves us (v. 16).

Tuesday, 9 August 2010Psalm 119:81–88—The psalm appointed for next Sunday is very similar to the Introit, as it is written by one who is burdened—in this case, by his persecutors. Whence can he—and we—find salvation? The psalmist is confident as he prays, I hope in your word; My eyes long for your promise. The promise of salvation from the persecution of sin and death has been fulfilled in the death and resurrection of the Son of God, our Savior Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, 10 August 2010Jeremiah 23:16–29—In the time when Jeremiah prophesied (late 7th and early 6th century B.C.), there was no shortage of false prophets, purporting to speak for the LORD, but really speaking only their own words and what the people wanted to hear. Not much has changed in the intervening 2,700 years. Many people are still drawn to false prophets who prophesy lies and speak that which people want to hear, in order to grow wealthy from the donations of those whom they dupe. Even though it may not lead to churches which are bursting at the seams, orthodox Lutheran pastors must speak [the LORD’s] word faithfully (v. 28).

Thursday, 11 August 2010Hebrews 11:17–31; 12:1–3—The epistle for Sunday continues in the great chapter of faith, recounting Abraham’s testing, Moses, and also the Children of Israel. Therefore, says the writer—that is, since we since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses—we ought to follow their example, and also cling in faith to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, the One through whom we have salvation by His death, and the One through whom we have salvation by His gift to us of faith in that salvific death.

Friday, 12 August 2010Luke 12:49–53—In this world, we will always have trouble, for we are not of the world (John 15:19). We can expect that those of the world will persecute us, as it did the psalmist in the Psalm for the Day; the devil will try to burden us with guilt, like the psalmist in the Introit; the world will demand that the truth of God is suppressed, and that preachers preach what they want to hear, as in the Old Testament reading, and that, even in our families, there will be division because of the Gospel of Christ. This is because the world is in bondage to sin and the devil, and these things are opposed to God and His lovingkindness, grace, and mercy. But, if we continue in faith, we shall endure to the end, and shall receive the crown of everlasting righteousness and eternal life with God in heaven.

Saturday, 13 August 2010—How do we overcome the sin, the devil, the world and its hatred of us. Sunday’s Hymn of the Day has the answer: Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Thy Word (LSB #655). This great hymn by Martin Luther is a prayer that God would guard and keep us from all those who wish to do us spiritual or physical harm. The Lord does this through the proclamation and preaching of His Word, and by the Sacraments—the Word of God combined with earthly elements, which preserve us in the one true faith until He takes us from this vale of tears to Himself in heaven.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Pentecost 11 - Proper 14

August 8, 2010
Pentecost 11 – Proper 14
Hebrews 12:1-3
What Faith Can Do For You

We talk about the wonderful things it is to have faith. This indeed is true. For the average church member faith is something you should have but you do not always know why. What difference would faith make in your life? Does faith have any practical help for your life? The writer to the Hebrews tells us what faith can do for you -

1. Faith is the assurance of spiritual realities. Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. v.1
A. We can persevere when we remember the witnesses.
1. There are witnesses in both the Old and New Testaments for us to remember.
2. You are not alone in this race. It’s not a sprint it’s a marathon all 26 miles! The number of Christian runners is large also today.
B. Their witness is encouraging.
1. There’s nothing new under the sun. Those who have gone before us experienced some of the same burdens and sins as we do. We’re not alone.
2. By faith we are able to lay ever hindrance aside.
3. The burdens cares and troubles of this life soon will be no more. Paul would write to the saints in Rome theses encouraging words - I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. –Romans 8:18 And to the Philippian congregation he would say, What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ. Philippians 3:8

Transition: Faith assures us of certain spiritual realities. It helps us discover that God is present in our lives.

2. Faith gains God’s approval. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. v. 2
A. We will make it when we fix our eyes on Jesus.
1. Christ endures much worse suffering that we will ever be required to endure.
2. Yet, He persevered for us by keeping the final joy in view. The cross, and empty tomb are now the marks of your salvation.
B. He is faith’s enabler.
1. He authored your faith when in Baptism He started us in the race.
2. He will perfect and finish what He has begun in you.

Transition: Throughout this entire ordeal God is teaching you.

3. Faith enables you to understand God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. v. 3
A. There will come a time when you are tempted to think that you can’t go on any more. This happens to even seasoned runners. What happens when you hit that brick wall?
1. When sickness and troubles come, we may begin to think that God has become the enemy.
2. When such challenges come we commit ourselves to God.
B. Your Savior uses every circumstance to draw you closer to Himself.
1. He has a deep love for you.
2. He has both your temporal and eternal good for you.

We can persevere in our Christian walk when we remember the witnesses, submit to the Father’s discipline, and most important, we fix our eyes on Jesus.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Children's talk - Confession

There was once a man who had two sons, said Jesus The younger son was not happy at home. He dreamed of an exciting life far away. One day, he decided to leave his home. So he went to his dad, I know that part of your land is mind, he said. I want you to pay me for what is mine!
The father gave the son what he wanted. The son took it all and went far away.
At first he was happy.
He did whatever he wanted to do.
He went wherever he wanted to go.
He bought whatever he wanted to buy.
Before long he spent all his money.

He did not even have the money to buy food. So he got a job feeding pigs. He was sad. He wanted to go home. He was also afraid. Maybe his father would not like him anymore. But he began the long trip home. At least he could be a servant instead of a son.

His father saw him coming. He ran to met him. He hugged and kissed him. Let’s have a party, he said. My son was lost, but now he is found!

God is like this father. He is full of joy when someone decided to obey him. When we sin The Father forgives.


God wants us to confess our sins to Him

This Means
1. God wants me to tell my sins to Him.
2. I believe God will forgive all my sins.
3. I can talk about sins that bother or trouble me to my pastor.

If I have been bad or mean to another person, say to that person.

1. I was bad to you.
2. I was mean to you.
3. It was wrong.
4. I sinned against God.
5. I am sorry.
6. Please forgive me.

God wants me not to sin anymore.

From God’s Word

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just and will forgive us our sin.

James 5:16Confess your sins to each other.

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

Read With Me Bible – An NIV Story Bible for Children © 1993 by The Zondervan Corporation Grand Rapids, MI

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Pentecost 10 - mid-week

1 Kings 3:5-12
Just suppose you had an experience similar to Solomon’s and God said to you "Ask what I shall give you?" God did not limit the number of things to be requested, but it is assumed that one would ask for only one thing if God were to pose such an offer. After all, who would be so bold as to ask for more then one thing? To make the request, one would first have to consider the value of things and one’s greatest need. Your request in a sense would reveal the kind of person you are. Your scale of values, your goals in life, your purpose in living would all be revealed in your request of God. Let’s consider this important question: If you have only one request of God what would it be?
What should you ask of God?
That question can be answered by asking three sub questions. How we answer this triad will give us the answer to our central question for today.
What should you ask of God?
What is most precious to you?
What is your greatest need?
What good can you do for others with the thing requested?
{1} What should you ask of God? That all depends on what is most precious to you. Consider Solomon’s situation. He was the wealthiest of the wealthy. He was the wisest of the wise. Whatever he needed, whatever he wanted, it was his for the asking. He had all the good things that this life had to offer. Yet, his life was limited to only a few years as each of our lives are limited. The psalmist reminds us "the span of man’s life is 70 years and if by reason of strength, 80 years". Each of us is living on borrowed time. So again, the question needs to be asked, "what is most precious to you?"
Is it making money? There are many driven to accumulating wealth. Yet, as Jesus reminds us (in the parable of the rich man who tore down his barns to build bigger barns) that man’s soul was required of his that very night. He never enjoyed the things he had worked for.
Some seem to be driven by pleasure, and good times. And who among us does not want to have a good time in life? Yet the Scriptures again remind us that if we place pleasure and leisure as our top priority we again will be disappointed.
Through the prophet Jeremiah we are reminded "Thus says the Lord, ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the Lord’" (Jeremiah 17:5)
In answering the question what is most precious to you Solomon gives us the answer in his book of Proverbs when he tells us "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding." (Proverbs 3:5) What should you ask of God? Finding out what is most precious to you will help answer that question.
{2} To help answer the question of what we should ask of God we need to answer a second question, which is "What is your greatest need?"
We each have plenty of needs. I once had the question of need answered this way. Imagine that you were to spend a year on a deserted island. What would you take with you to meet your basic needs? What you would place on that pacing list answers the question as to what is man’s basic need.
Yet, there are also spiritual needs which each of us possess. Each of us have been conceived and born in sin. Because of this condition of sin, we each fall short of the glory of God. There are things that we do which are displeasing in the sight of God. If our sins were not dealt with we would spend eternity separated from God. Our greatest need is to have peace with God.
There are many people who are looking for peace in their lives. How well do people far in finding this peace. There is only one way to find peace with God and that is through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Jesus has dealt with our greatest need, which is the removal of God’s wrath and our sin. He, who knew no sin, became sin for us, so that we might receive the righteousness of God, which is found in Him. Jesus bore our sins in His own body on the tree that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. He took all sin away. He suffered and died on the cross of Calvary for you and for me. In the suffering of Jesus Christ, there is truly peace on earth and good will toward men.
In Jesus Christ, all sin has been forgiven period! When you find forgiveness of your sins then you will also receive peace with God and a purpose in living. As we are so clearly reminded in our Catechism where there is the forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation. These three, forgiveness, life and salvation all go hand in hand. Receive these gifts, and you are will on your way of knowing what you should ask of God.
{3} What should you ask of God? Consider the third sub question. What good can you do for others with the thing requested? In making your request, who benefits from that request? Is it only yourself, your family your friends? Is there anyone else who benefits and is rewarded from your request? A man all wrapped up in himself become a very small package. Is there any value in your request? Will it last? Will it benefit anyone else? Will your request impact others, or will it last only for a season?
As the old adage reminds us "be careful for what you ask for…you just might get it!" We have a gracious heavenly Father who grants our every request according to His perfect will. Our requests of God are not limited to one or two petitions. He answers every request, which is placed, into His care according to faith.
We can come to the Father at any moment and know that He will hear our prayers. What should you ask of God? Whatever it is may it be asked according to faith, and may you come to Him often for He desires of us to come to Him and to come often, often. Never grow weary of prayer. Daily make your requests made known to God. May the Lord so direct us to consider what we truly need and then in faith approach Him in faith and confidence. "Ask and it shall be given to you, seek, and you will find, knock and the door will be open to you" In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Time in the Word Pentecost 11 - Proper 14

The Lord Is Surely Coming to Give You His Kingdom
The Lord Himself was Abraham’s shield and great reward. For “the word of the Lord came to him” and sustained the patriarch’s faith in the face of death (Gen. 15:4). By divine grace, Abraham “believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness” (Gen. 15:6), on account of the holy Seed, Christ Jesus. To that one old man, the Lord granted “as many descendants as the stars of heaven in number, and innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore” (Heb. 11:12). The Lord is likewise faithful to you. It is His glad desire “to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). Therefore, “consider the ravens” and “do not be anxious for your life,” but instead “seek for His kingdom” (Luke 12:22, 31).

Collect for the Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost: 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; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Prayer for steadfast faith: 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.

Prayers in times of affliction and distress: Almighty and most merciful God, in this earthly life we endure sufferings and death before we enter into eternal glory. Grant us grace at all times to subject ourselves to Your holy will and to continue steadfast in the true faith to the end of our lives that we may know the peace and joy of the blessed hope of the resurrection of the dead and of the glory of the world to come; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Almighty and everlasting God, the consolation of the sorrowful and the strength of the weak, may the prayers of those who in any tribulation or distress cry to You graciously come before You, so that in every situation they may recognize and receive Your gracious help, comfort, and peace; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayer for hope of eternal life in Christ: Almighty, everlasting God, Your Son has assured forgiveness of sins and deliverance from eternal death. Strengthen us by Your Holy Spirit that our faith in Christ may increase daily and that we may hold fast to the hope that on the Last Day we shall be raised in glory to eternal life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Monday, 2 August 2010Psalm 147:8–11; antiphon, Psalm 147:7—Psalm 147 is a great hymn of praise to God for His abundant power and His understanding beyond measure (v. 5), and, especially for His steadfast love (v. 11). It is well for us who fear the Lord to sing to the Lord with thanksgiving, because He has saved us from the futility of trying to earn our way into His good graces. He gives us the good things we need for this life, and has done everything necessary for our salvation.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010Psalm 33:12–22—What is it that gives the Lord pleasure, as He looks down from heaven upon His creation, and upon the children of men? It is not the might of man, his great armies, his war horses, or the strength of warriors. No, what pleases the Lord is those who fear him…those who hope in His steadfast love. He desires and takes delight in delivering their souls from death, of providing for the salvation of His people, and sparing them from famine and the wants of the body.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010Genesis 15:1–6—Abraham was an old man, and his wife both barren and well beyond child-bearing years. Yet the Lord promised to Abraham that he would be father to many descendants, too numerous to count. If this promise had been made by a mere man, it would be utter nonsense, foolish and unthinkable. But the promise of a great nation coming from Abraham was not made by any man, but by the Creator of the earth, the universe, and all things, the Almighty God. Abraham’s response was one of faith: he trusted the Word of the Lord, and the Lord counted him righteous because of it. Likewise, when we trust in the Word of the Lord—specifically, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, slain and risen again for our salvation—then we, too are counted righteous by the Lord. Trusting in His promises to bring us the forgiveness of sins and the salvation of our souls delivers that very salvation to us. We are saved by faith—faith which God Himself delivers to us by Word and Sacrament.

Thursday, 5 August 2010Hebrews 11:1–16—We are saved by faith, and the eleventh chapter of Hebrews is the great chapter of faith in the Bible. First, the author gives us a good succinct definition of faith: it is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Then, he proceeds to recount some of the great heroes of faith in the Bible: Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham (who believed the Lord, and He counted it to him as righteousness, as we read in the Old Testament reading), and also Sarah, the wife of Abraham. Let us also add our own names to this list, for God has, by His Word and Sacrament given us saving faith and preserved us in it. We, too, who trust in God alone for our salvation, will spend eternity with those listed here and all who die in the faith, rejoicing in our Lord forevermore.

Friday, 6 August 2010Luke 12:22–34—In this sinful, troubled world in which we live, it is altogether too easy to succumb to the cares of the world and become anxious. But our heavenly Father, who desires only what is best for us, provides not only for our earthly needs, but, more importantly, has provided for our eternal salvation. We can rest secure in the fact that we have a loving and gracious God who knows our needs and provides for them.

Saturday, 7 August 2010—Sunday’s Hymn of the Day is O Little Flock, Fear Not the Foe (LSB #666). In the face of anxiety and especially, spiritual warfare, we can be confident and unfearing, not because we are strong in ourselves, but because the Lord is for us and fights for us; therefore, we can rest in the certainty that not earth nor hell’s satanic crew against us shall prevail.

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
This week's Time in the word is written by Pr. Jeffrey Keuning who serves St. John Dexter and Zion Casey IA