Monday, August 29, 2011

Pentecost 12 - Proper 18 Time in the Word

Christian Obligation to Sinners
In the Lessons for this week we encounter sinners. What shall we do with our fellow sinners and how shall we deal with them? In the Gospel lesson Jesus teaches what we should do to be reconciled to those who sin against us. Ezekiel in the Old Testament lesson reports that God expects us to warn the sinner, who, if he repents, will live. Paul in the Epistle lesson urges obedience to the officials and law of government and teaches that love is the way to obey the law. The Hymn of the Day speaks of the power we as Christians posses to carry out this task. It is found in the mercy and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ who has called and saved us according to His grace and favor.

Collect for Pentecost 12Grant, merciful Lord, to Your people pardon and peace that they may be cleansed from all their sins and serve You with a quiet mind; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, Our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

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

For Schools Almighty God, our heavenly Father, since You have committed the care and nurture of children to Your people, graciously enlighten those who teach and those who are committed to their instruction that they may know the truth and trust in You all the days of their lives; through Jesus 
Christ, our Lord.

For Home and Family Visit, we implore You, O Lord, the homes in which Your people dwell, and keep far from them all harm and danger. Grant us to dwell together in peace under the protection of Your holy angels, and may Your blessing be with us forever, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Monday, August 29, 2011Psalm 37:3-5,39; Antiphon, Psalm 92:1 -The theme of next week’s propers is the description and obligation of the Christian living in the world. The Introit tells us that trusting in the Lord enables us to serve Him, and to have courage in the face of a world that is hostile to the Lord and His people. We place our confidence in God and enjoy His blessings, even in times of trouble.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011Psalm 119:113-120 - The first letter in each verse of this portion of Psalm 119 is the Hebrew letter samekh (2). As in the other sections, the psalmist her extols the goodness of God in giving us His holy Word. His devotion to the Word of God moves him to reject the counsel of evildoers. Take note that when the psalmist write, “I love Your law,” this is not the opposite of the Gospel, but a term which encompasses the whole of God’s communication to man.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011Ezekiel 33:7-9 - The Lord told Ezekiel that He would restore Jerusalem, yet this did not remove Ezekiel’s obligation to warn sinners to turn from their wicked ways and repent. Likewise, we who live in the post-resurrection time, when Christ has restored mankind by His death and resurrection, have an obligation to warn sinners to turn from their wicked ways and repent, that they may partake of fellowship with God.

Thursday, September 1, 2011Romans 13:1-10 - Civil governments have been given their authority by God. Thus, the Christian submits himself to that rule which God has established, and exhorts others to do the same. St. Paul also tells us how we are to live with our fellow man: letting love for the neighbor guide all our actions and dealings. This love is not of ourselves, but flows from Christ, who first loved us.

Friday, September 2, 2011Matthew 18:15-20 - Since we have been reconciled to God through Christ Jesus, the Christian life is one that strives for reconciliation with our fellow man. If our brother sins against us, we will try to restore him privately.
Only if that fails will we bring it before others, and before the Church as a last result. Throughout, the goal is the restoration of the erring brother, and his reconciliation with us.

Saturday, September 3, 2011Hymn 373, By Grace I’m Saved, Grace Free and Boundless - How is it that we have been set free from the bondage of sin, to live a life pleasing to God, with love toward our neighbor? Only by the grace of God. Our salvation is a free gift; our works could never begin to secure our salvation. But, through the love of God poured out upon us in the person of His Son, Jesus, He has made us His own. Tomorrow’s chief hymn is a jubilant recounting of the goodness of God in graciously providing for our salvation.
Artwork © by Ed Rojas © Higher Things© Higher Things  
Lutheran Worship, © 1982, Concordia Publishing House

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pentecost 11 - Proper 17

Proper 17 (28 Aug—3 Sept)
Almighty God, Your Son willingly endured the agony and shame of the cross for our redemption. Grant us courage to take up our cross daily and follow Him wherever He leads; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Love covers a multitude of sins - In love Jesus predicts His death - Matthew 16:21-28

Peter tries to dissuade Jesus from going to Jerusalem, but Jesus calls his disciples to take up their crosses and follow Him to death. We are still at Caesarea Philippi. Peter had just made his famous confession that Jesus is the Messiah. Thereupon Jesus announces that He must go to Jerusalem to suffer, die, and rise again. For Peter this was a denial of Jesus’ being the Christ, Lord, and King. It did not fit at all into the concept of the Messiah who as God’s Son would be victor over any and all enemies, even death. But, Jesus saw in Peter’s rebuke a temptation of Satan not to fulfill His mission. He called upon His disciples to similarly deny themselves, take up their crosses, and follow Him to death and resurrection. For the principle of life is to lose it in order to find it. When Christ returns, every disciple will be rewarded for what he has done with his life.

We have no difficulty accepting the fact that each life is a creation of God. But, we have trouble understanding the fact that God made each for a purpose. He sent us into the world, as Jesus was sent, for a purpose, to accomplish some work for God. Jesus knew why God sent him. At Caesarea Philippi the disciples through Peter confessed that he was the Messiah who was sent to redeem the world. Today’s Gospel tells us of the temptation not to fulfill the destiny and of the Christian’s similar destiny. The need for this sermon is rooted in the fact that many Christians have no idea why God placed them on earth; they are goal-less, without purpose in life.

God has a destiny -

1. For Jesus — the cross
— vv. 21-23. From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.

Jesus felt His going to the cross was a divine necessity. God had a destiny for His life. He came to the world to save it. Since he was the Christ, as Peter had just confessed it, the world would be saved only by his sacrifice on the cross. This reminds us that the cross was not the work of man, a stroke of bad luck, or an accident. Since it was God’s intention for him to suffer and die, then we can understand why Jesus considered Peter’s protest as a temptation of the devil not to fulfill his mission. The cross was rooted in eternity, planned by God from the foundation of the world to redeem humanity.

Jesus know that His going to the cross was a divine necessity. The Father had a destiny for His life. He came to the world to save it. Since He is the Christ, as Peter has confessed it, the world would be save only by His sacrifice on the cross. The cross was not the work of man, a stoke of bad luck, an accident. The cross was rooted in eternity, planned by the Father from the foundation of the world – to redeem humanity.

Peter is both the mouthpiece of both God and Satan. After his confession Jesus called him “blessed.” Not Peter is Satan incarnate. Peter, leader of the Apostles, could be Satan’s agent. Satan can possess church members and even in the church Satan can be active. It is important to ascewrtain whether God or Satan is speaking when Christians speak.

2. For the Christian — cross-bearing
— vv. 24-26. Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?

As Jesus loses his life on the cross for the world to be saved, Jesus expects his followers to do the same. Life is meant to be given, expended, sacrificed for Jesus’ sake. Life cannot be “saved” or it will be lost. When we try to save our lives, we waste it on gaining the world. Here is a sound, universal principle of life: life is at its best, is most meaningful when it is invested in a cause greater than self, the cause of Christ. Giving one’s self to Christ’s cause takes us out of ourselves and we lose ourselves in the attainment of the cause. This results in happiness and purpose in life.

The path and journey of faith is to walk where Jesu has called us to be His disciples to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him to death of self and resurrection and new life in Him.

Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use

Friday, August 26, 2011

Church Expansion -week 11


Gathering space

North door steps

South door steps

Geo wells – 1 per day – 10 will go in the new construction, 5 in the main body of the church

Drop off and landing

Front first row of bricks set

Cat inspectors

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Pentecost 11 - Proper 17 Time in the Word

The Glory of God is the Passion and Cross of Christ Jesus

After St. Peter confessed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, our Lord “began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised” (Matt 16:21). Upon hearing this “theology of the Cross,” Simon Peter stumbled into a satanic “theology of glory.” But the glory of God is revealed in the Passion and Cross of His incarnate Son. The faithful prophets, such as Jeremiah, suffered persecution and rejection in anticipation of Jesus’ Cross. Yet the Lord did not abandon them; He remembered them, and He was with them to deliver them (Jer. 15:15–20). By His Cross Jesus has redeemed the world, and in His Resurrection He has vindicated all who trust in Him. Thus the Christian life is a discipleship of self-sacrificing love. Since Christ Jesus has reconciled us to God, we “live peaceably with all” (Rom. 12:18). By the certainty of His Cross and Resurrection, we “rejoice in hope,” and we are “patient in tribulation” and “constant in prayer” (Rom. 12:12).

Collect for the Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost: Almighty God, Your Son willingly endured the agony and shame of the cross for our redemption. Grant us courage to take up our cross daily and follow Him wherever He leads; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Collect for the Feast of St Bartholomew (24 August): Almighty God, Your Son, Jesus Christ, chose Bartholomew to be an apostle to preach the blessed Gospel. Grant that Your Church may love what he believed and preach what he taught; through Jesus Christ, our Lord,

Prayer for patience: O God, by the patient endurance of Your only-begotten Son You beat down the pride of the old enemy. Help us to treasure rightly in our hearts what our Lord has borne for our sakes that, after His example, we may bear with patience those things that are adverse to us; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord,

Prayer 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, Your Son, our Lord,

Prayer for humility: 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, Your Son, our Lord,

Monday, 22 August 2011Psalm 37:5–7; Antiphon, Psalm 37:4—Those who trust in the Lord and in His promises may sometimes be frustrated and tempted to question the goodness and righteousness of God when they suffer trials, tribulations, and afflictions in this life. David exhorts us here to ‘trust in the LORD . . . delight in the LORD . . . commit your way to the LORD . . . be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him.’ We Christians should remind ourselves that the Lord has demonstrated His goodness and righteousness in many ways, but especially by sending His only-begotten Son to be our Savior. Through Christ, He has already ‘brought forth our righteousness and . . . justice.’ He has given us ‘the desires of our heart’ in the person of our Savior, Jesus, and will, at the Last Day, deliver us out of this vale of tears and take us to himself in heaven.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011Psalm 26—The psalmist, David, asks the LORD to vindicate him—clear his name—of false accusations. For what reason? Because David has ‘trusted in the LORD without wavering’—he belongs to the LORD by faith. Though Christ has died to forgive every one of our sins, the devil will try to throw our transgressions in our face, and make us despair of salvation. In such situations, we must call upon the LORD to vindicate us—not because we are without sin, but because Christ has redeemed us from sin and its eternal consequence and, by faith, we belong to Him. ‘There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.’ (Rom 8:1)

Wednesday, 24 August 2011Jeremiah 15:15–21—Jeremiah calls upon the LORD to deliver him from the assaults and slander of his enemies. On what basis—his own righteousness? No; like David in the psalm for Sunday (above), Jeremiah pleads on the basis of his trust in the Lord: ‘I am called by your name, O LORD, God of hosts.’ We can call upon the LORD in our times of trouble for the same reason: we belong to Him. Though the proclamation and preaching of His Word, and through the holy Sacraments, God makes us His own and delivers us from the tyranny of sin.

Thursday, 25 August 2011Romans 12:9–21—St Paul has spent much of his letter to the Romans showing how we are saved by grace alone through faith alone. But faith always manifests itself in love, especially toward our neighbor. Here, Paul illustrates what Christian love, borne of faith, looks like. This is a description of the Christian—not in order to earn our salvation, but because our salvation has been earned for us by Christ.

Friday, 26 August 2011Matthew 16:21–28—In Sunday’s Gospel account, Jesus tells the disciples very clearly what must become of Him: ‘suffer many things . . . be killed, and on the third day be raised.’ This is the plan of God for our salvation, which is why Jesus speaks so harshly to Peter when he contradicts Him. The theology of the cross—that salvation entails suffering—is difficult for the natural man to accept. This is why so many Christians in our world are theologians of glory—looking away from the cross and focusing on temporal blessings, rather than seeing the blessings we have by the cross and by suffering.

Saturday, 27 August 2011—The hymn of the day, Hail, Thou Once Desipsed Jesus (LSB #531), connects the suffering of Jesus with our salvation and shows that the glory of God is revealed in the suffering and death of His Son. ‘Worship, honor, power, and blessing / Thou art worthy to receive’ because ‘Thou didst suffer to release us . . . Thou universal Savior, Bearer of our sin and shame.’

This week’s Time in the Word written by Pr, Jeffrey Keuning
Lectionary summary on front page from LCMS Commission on Worship
Woodcut by Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, © WELS
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House

Friday, August 19, 2011

Church Expansion - week 10

How it will look when it’s all done

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Moving to NCY

Lydia will be attending Mannes School for Music in New York.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Pentecost 10 - Proper 16 Time in the Word

There Is No Other God than Jesus Christ

In Jesus’ day, people had many ideas about who this Jesus was. Simon Peter made the bold and true confession, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” (Matt 16:17) Likewise, in our day, people wonder about Jesus. Was He merely a rabble-rousing Jew. A revolutionary? A great teacher? Did He exist at all? With Peter, we must be bold and proclaim the truth: “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” The eternal second Person of the Trinity came down from heaven, assumed flesh and was born of a virgin, lived, died, and rose again for the remission of the sins of all people. He is the One of whom the psalmist tells us in the Introit God declared, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you.” (Psalm 2:6) No one could have imagined that this would be the way which the Lord would send One to deliver the world. This is why St Paul writes in the epistle reading, "Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! (Romans 11:33) The illustration above carries the title of our Lord: the Anointed One, or, in Greek, ὁ Χριστός, the Christ.

Collect for the Tenth Sunday after Pentecost: Almighty 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 boldly confess Him to be the Christ and steadfastly walk in the way that leads to life eternal; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Prayer for the Church: Almighty God, grant to Your Church Your Holy Spirit and the wisdom that comes down from above, that Your Word may not be bound but have free course and be preached to the joy and edifying of Christ’s holy people, that in steadfast faith we may serve You and, in the confession of Your name, abide unto the end;

Prayer for the Holy Ministry: O almighty God, Your Son, Jesus Christ, gave to His holy apostles many excellent gifts and commanded them earnestly to feed His flock. Make all pastors diligent to preach Your holy Work and the people obedient to follow it that together they may receive the crown of everlasting glory;

Prayer for Church musicians and artists: God of majesty, whom saints and angels delight to worship in heaven, be with Your servants who make art and music for Your people that with joy we on earth may glimpse Your beauty. Bring us to the fulfillment of that hope of perfection that will be ours as we stand before Your unveiled glory;

Prayer for those who hold special offices in the Church: Lord of the Church, in whose name all who oversee and serve Your flock have been called, grant Your servants all the gifts necessary for the godly administration of their duties for the building of Your Church that they may bring glory to Your name;

Prayer for defending the Church from error: Almighty and everlasting God, You would have all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. By Your almighty power and unsearchable wisdom break and hinder all the counsels of those who hate Your Word and who, by corrupt teaching, would destroy it. Enlighten them with the knowledge of Your glory that they may know the riches of Your heavenly grace and, in peace and righteousness, serve You, the only true God;

Monday, 15 August 2011Psalm 2:6–7; Psalm 117; Antiphon, Psalm 115:18—Next Sunday’s Introit comes is take from three psalms. Psalm 2 is one of the most important messianic psalms, pointing directly to Christ. Psalm 117, the shortest psalm, is Hallelujah song that calls upon all nations to praise the LORD for His steadfast love and faithfulness in keeping His promise to send a Savior to redeem us from sin. The antiphon expands the call to praise the LORD to all time. Thus, all people everywhere and of all times, Praise the LORD!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011Psalm 138—The beginning three verses and ending two verses of this psalm of David are David’s vow to praise the Lord for His deliverance and protection. The middle three verses, like the Introit call upon all the kings of the earth to give thanks and sing of the ways and the glory of the LORD. His love and mercy extend to all peoples of all time. Christ is the Redeemer of the entire world.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011Isaiah 51:1–6—In chapter 40, the LORD said, “Comfort, comfort My people.” The comfort would be provided by a Savior, one who would deliver His people out of exile in Babylon, out of exile in a land of idolaters. Chapter 42 begins telling us of this great Savior, who is portrayed as a Suffering Servant. The portion of Isaiah 51 used for next Sunday’s Old Testament reading once again assures God’s people of the comfort which He will provide them: joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song. From where would such comfort be provided? He would be a Descendant of Abraham and Sarah (v. 2), but would bring His light to the peoples, that is, all peoples, not just other descendants of Abraham and Sarah, but for us Gentiles, as well.

Thursday, 18 August 2011Romans 11:33—12:8—St Paul’s splendid hymn of praise at the end of chapter 11 follows several chapters of his teaching about the salvation of all people—Jews and Gentiles alike—and extols the wisdom and knowledge of the one true God who conceived of, and brought about His plan of Salvation. He then gives practical advice as to what shape our response to God’s love and mercy in Christ ought to take: in leading lives that are acceptable to God, who, by His Word, transforms our minds, that we may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Friday, 19 August 2011Matthew 16:13–20—The Holy Christian Church is founded upon the confession of Peter—that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. This Church, the Body of Christ, is not distinguished by race or origin, but by those who despair of their own works and trust solely in the merits of Christ, the promised Redeemer, for their salvation.

Saturday, 20 August 2011—Sunday’s hymn of the day is Built on the Rock (LSB #645). It is based on the Gospel reading, the confession of St Peter which is the Rock on which Christ’s Church is founded. The last stanza confesses the same truth which is confessed in the Augsburg Confession: The Church is the congregation of saints in which the Gospel is purely taught and the Sacraments are correctly administered.

Pr. Jeffrey M. Keuning has written this week’s Time in the Word.

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House and Luther’s Small Catechism. Artwork by Ed Riojas, © Higher Things

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Pentecost 9 - Proper 15

Proper 15 (14–20 Aug)
Almighty and everlasting Father, You give Your children many blessings even though we are undeserving. In every trial and temptation, grant us steadfast confidence in Your loving kindness and mercy; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives, and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

The Lord accepts Gentiles into His Kingdom “All Nations” - The faith of the Canaanite Woman -Matthew 15:21-28 – The Commissioning of Alicia Drier -

The story and legacy of Zion Friedheim congregation is familiar to us all. We don’t always talk about it, that’s fine with us. Let history speak for itself. We are a charter member of the Lutheran Church –Missouri Synod. From this parish FCD Wyneken served as president of the Synod at the height of the Civil War. From this congregation numerous sons and daughters have heard the Lord’s call to be servants and have entered into full time kingdom work.

But it’s been a while. In fact, it’s been about thirty years since one of our own has entered into public ministry. But the times, they are changing. This past year, Candice Sielschott –McMullan completed her Colloquy training. She is now eligible to be on the Roster as a called teacher in our Synod. And today, after successfully fulfilling all of the requirements of our Concordia University System, and having received and accepted a call to be a teacher at Concordia Lutheran High School, you will be commissioned as a called Lutheran teacher.

Today is a day for great rejoicing. We thank God that He continues to send workers into His harvest field. Just as He sent the needed rain, in a timely fashion, the Lord provides. Today is a day of possibility. Soon school will start. One of the reasons we have schools is to find out what you students do best. In this room are people filled with talents, abilities and gifts. The Lord simply asks us to put those talents to use for His purposes.

The possibilities are endless. If its farming – then go out and farm. If its service – then serve. If it’s laying bricks – then build a wall. The Lord needs all of us together, servicing Him. That’s the pattern of our life. We go to a worship service and then, in service, we worship Him. You become, a sermon in shoes. There might be someone in this room who might be thinking, “Could God use me as a pastor, a teacher, a Kingdom worker?” The opportunity for service is always there.

St. Paul reminds us, “We preach Christ crucified”. I understand, that’s an imperfect participle! Yet, that is what each of us as Christians have been called to do, to share Christ with others in our speaking, in our doing, in our living.

In planning a service there are any number of texts the pastor could use, that speak about ministry, service, and the like. But I always go back to the appointed text for the day, to see if it might be appropriate. Now at first glance, the Gospel lesson for today, which involves a pagan woman, seeking relief for her daughter, who is demon possessed, might not be the appropriate text for a Commissioning service. However, there may be some corollaries.

At your baptism, you managed to scream throughout the service. It was an exorcism, as the old Adam in you was drowned and died and a new person in you was born, the new Adam. And there will be times, throughout the school year, when you will wonder if some of your students are controlled by some sort of “spirit” and I suppose they – you.

But look at the text deeper, especially the exchange between this woman and the Savior. This is the kind of faith that is needed as you enter into full time kingdom work. This is the kind of prayer and kind of faith each of us needs as we face the challenges of living.

Jesus yields to the persistent pleas of a Canaanite mother. Jesus retired to a territory outside Israel and consequently a pagan, Gentile mother, a Canaanite, who begged Jesus to heal her daughter, approaches him. She persisted in her appeals until He was impressed with her faith. As a result, she was complimented and her daughter was instantly healed. In this story, we learn of the universality of Christ’s ministry and we see that faith has no racial boundaries.

The key to our Gospel lesson is the woman’s faith. It is not in Jesus’ power to heal even in absentia, nor in Jesus’ reluctance at first to help her. The faith of this woman impressed Jesus and won His favor — “O woman, great is your faith!” Faith, and no other possession, is the only necessity for God’s help. It was a faith that would not take “no” for an answer. It was a faith that would not let go.

1. A faith of confession — “O Lord, Son of David.” Until Jesus said, “O woman, great is your faith,” no mention is made of her faith. Jesus did not ask 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 Messiah, “Son of David.”

He saw faith in her knowing 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, religion; the determining factor is faith in Christ. As you begin in full time Kingdom service be a witness. May people always see your faith in Christ.

2. A faith of dependence — “Lord, help me.” The pagan woman asked Jesus to have mercy on her. It is significant that she identified her daughter to the degree that the help given to the child would be given to her. Here is a depth of love that is only possible between parent and child. A true parent wishes she could take the pain and trouble of the child.

As you start your ministry, continue to show passion, empathy, and a genuine care for the students and families in your charge. It’s not about you! – It’s about the people that you serve. And who are they? They are ones redeemed by Christ the crucified.

3. A faith of persistence — “She is crying after us.” When the woman begged for mercy, Jesus was perfectly silent. He ignored her! As though she said nothing. As though she did not exist! There are times when God is silent when we cry to Him for help or for answers. In this silence, God is saying something to us. It is a testing of faith. The test is whether we have patience and persistence in our prayers.

We have no right to expect “instant answers to our prayers.” Prayer is not like Google where we say a petition, ask a prayer, and expect to have an instant answer in less than a second. Prayer often is a wrestling, a waiting upon God.

Alicia, today you begin the life as a Lutheran teacher. There will be days – There will be days when you will question, when you will struggle, when you will freak out, when you will feel like giving up. But don’t! When those days come, remember the faith of this woman who so many wrote off. When Jesus belittled her, to something less than the family pet – she was content, to feast on crumbs. She was persistent. With tenacity, her faith carried her. And it is that sort of faith that will allow you to experience great and wonderful blessings – too many to count. Fare thee well child of God. Godspeed and God bless!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Church Expansion -week 9

Wall in gathering space

Plumbing in restroom


Air ducts in gathering space

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Pentecost 9 - Proper 15 Time in the Word

The Church Lives Under the Cross of Christ and Prays in the Hope of His Mercy

By her persistent prayer that Jesus would have mercy and help her (Matthew 15:22, 24), and even in the face of His initial silence and apparent rejection (Matthew 15:23–26), the Canaanite woman boldly confessed her faith in Him (Matthew 15:28). Her beautiful example encourages us to cling to the words and promises of the Gospel, even in the face of the Law that accuses and condemns us. “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (Romans 10:29), and His Law “has consigned all to disobedience” for the very purpose “that He may have mercy on all” (Romans 10:32). Hence, the woman’s faith and hope were not disappointed, but her prayers were answered in the mercy of Christ. Not only does He grant us the crumbs from His Table, but He also feeds us with “the children’s bread” in the house of His Father (Matthew 15:26–27). He has brought us to His “holy mountain,” and He makes us joyful in His house, where He hears our prayers and accepts our sacrifice of praise upon the altar of His cross (Isaiah 56:7).

Collect for the Ninth Sunday after Pentecost: Almighty and everlasting Father, You give Your children many blessings even though we are undeserving. In every trial and temptation grant us steadfast confidence in Your loving-kindness and mercy; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

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

Prayer for the mission of the Church and her missionaries: Almighty and gracious God, You want all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. Magnify the power of the Gospel in the hearts of Your faithful people that Your Church may spread the good news of salvation. Protect, encourage, and bless all missionaries who proclaim the saving cross that Christ, being lifted up, may draw all people to Himself.

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

Prayer for unity of faith: O God, Your infinite love restores to the right way those who err, seeks the scattered, and preserves those whom You have gathered. Of Your tender mercy pour out on Your faithful people the grace of unity that, all schisms being ended, Your flock may be gathered to the true Shepherd of Your Church and may serve You in all faithfulness; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord.

Monday, 8 August 2011Psalm 28:1–2, 6–7; Antiphon, Psalm 28:8—This psalm of David was probably written during the rebellion of his son, Absalom. Recognizing that he is unable to protect and redeem himself, David cries to the Lord, his Rock, to hear the voice of his pleas for mercy, and then gives thanks to the Lord for having heard and delivered him. Verse 8, used as the antiphon, shows that God’s blessings extend to all His people.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011Psalm 67—All of the Propers of the day express the fact that God’s salvation is for all people. The psalmist begins with the familiar Aaronic blessing (Numbers 6:24–26), a blessing originally applied to the children of Israel, but then extends it to all people: that Your way may be known on earth, Your saving power among all nations.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011Isaiah 56:1, 6–8—Writing about 700 years before Christ, Isaiah prophesies of the LORD: Soon my salvation will come, and my deliverance will be revealed. The LORD’s salvation and righteousness have been revealed in the person of Jesus Christ. Because of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus for all, regardless of race, the LORD is pleased to gather to Himself people of all nations and races, and accepts their offerings and sacrifices: My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.

Thursday, 11 August 2011Romans 11:1–2a, 13–15, 28–32—St Paul recounts how salvation is from the Jews (for Jesus was a Jew), but that it extends to all peoples, even to the Gentiles. Indeed, he laments over the fact that his people have now been disobedient by rejecting the Savior, but hopes that they may yet be saved.

Friday, 12 August 2011Matthew 15:21–28—In Sunday’s Gospel account, Jesus heals the daughter of one who was despised by the Jews of His day—a Cannanite woman. Jesus shows that His ministry is not limited to the Jews; it extends to all people. Like the woman, we are all poor beggars before the Lord, and are privileged to receive His crumbs of mercy, for even His crumbs are more than sufficient for us.

Saturday, 13 August 2011—The hymn of the day, In Christ There Is No East or West (LSB #653), reflects the theme of the readings: that, according to the order of salvation in Christ, there is no difference between any of the people of His Church. All man-made distinctions are gone as regards His forgiveness: Jew/Gentile, black/white, male/female, Anglo/Hispanic, etc. The Body of Christ, the Church, comes from all nations. Indeed, even our liturgy reflects this, as it is drawn from Jewish, African, and European sources. Likewise, our hymns come from many cultures across many ages.

Artwork by Ed Riojas, © Higher Things
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
This week's Time in the Word is written by Pr. Jeffrey Keuning serving St. John Casey and Zion, Dexter, IA

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Pentecost 8 - Proper 14

Proper 14 (7–13 Aug)
Almighty and most merciful God, preserve us from all harm and danger that we, being ready in both body and soul, may cheerfully accomplish what You want done; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

The Lord questions "Why did you doubt?" Matthew 14:22-33

Jesus’ walking on the sea frightens the disciples. Jesus sends the disciples by boat to the other side of the lake while he went up a mountain to pray. When the boat was far from shore, a terrible storm developed, and the disciples were frightened. Three hours before dawn they had a greater reason to be scared. They saw a figure walking on the water. When Jesus assured them that it was he and not a ghost, Peter asked Jesus to let him come to him by walking on the water. When Peter saw the waves, he lost faith and began to sink. In desperation he cries to Jesus for help. Jesus took him to the boat, the wind stopped, and the disciples in awe confessed that Jesus was the Son of God.

It is easy to have faith when all goes well. It is not much of a test of faith when we sit in comfort and prosperity during church services. Faith is seen like a lamp when night comes. The disciples had a night experience on the sea when their faith was challenged. The sermon is needed to encourage people to develop their faith in good times that their faith fail not in times of crises. A faith needed for troubled times.

1. Faith of obedience — v. 22.
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd.

The disciples were “made” to go to sea. Jesus wanted and needed to be alone to pray about John’s recent murder by Herod. In their obedience they ran into trouble, a storm at sea. There is a fundamental truth here. As Christians we will get trouble, hardship, and crisis as we obey God’s commands. Jesus never promised all sunshine for his followers.

2. Faith for a crisis — v. 24.
But the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

The fourth watch came between three and six in the morning, the darkest time of the night. Jesus came to the storm-tossed disciples after they futilely struggle against the storm throughout the night. A person’s extremity is God’s opportunity to rescue.

3. Faith to conquer fear — Vv. 26, 27, 31.
When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” In our day we ask, “Who am I?” Jesus knows who he is and told the disciples who he is. Why didn’t they know who he was? It was pitch dark. His figure appeared as a ghost. And who would expect a man to walk on water, especially in a storm at sea in the middle of the night? Since Jesus came to them, they had no reason to fear. No need to fear, for he comes not to harm but to help. No need to fear Jesus because he has power to save from destruction.

4. Faith to confess — v. 33. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Peter expressed the ultimate need of every human — “Save me.” Each person has many needs, but basic to all is the need for deliverance from the threatening forces that are our undoing. On the sea of life, every person faces drowning. He needs to be rescued. At Peter’s cry, Jesus “reached out his hand and caught him.” Jesus said his followers were to catch men before they perish in the perils of the world.

Think of the last time you were in trouble. Did you get yourself out of that situation all by yourself? We might think that we were able to “dodge the bullet” but in reality it was Jesus who reached out to help you. We might think that we have done it “out way” but ultimately it was Jesus who has helped us and His is the one who continues to help us in troubled and difficult times. David reminds us in Psalm 46, “God is our refuge and strength a very present help in all kinds of trouble.”

“Lord save me!” That was the cry of Peter. It is the cry of the voice of faith May this be our cry. Whatever the situation Jesus is able to help. Fear came knowing at the door, Jesus answered, and fear went away! May that be your experience throughout your journey of faith and your walk with Jesus as He orders your days and directs your path.

Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use
Artwork by Ed Rojas © Higher Things© Higher Things

Friday, August 5, 2011


"If the US Government was a family, they would be making $58,000 a year, they spend $75,000 a year, & are $327,000 in credit card debt. They are currently proposing BIG spending cuts to reduce their spending to $72,000 a year. These are the actual proportions of the federal budget & debt, reduced to a level that we can understand." - Dave Ramsey

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Church Expansion -week 8

Framing is complete

North Door

gathering area

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