Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day

Originally referred to as "Decoration Day" as the day in which the graves of veteran's were decorated our nation today celebrates Memorial Day. Those who hate war the most are those who are called upon to go into battle knowing they might have to give the ultimate sacrifice of their life for the freedoms we cherish.

Today we pause to remember all those who sacrificed their lives so that we may enjoy the freedoms of life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Today is a day of remembrance. We recall all who have died that we might be free. We remember their courage. We thank the members of their families who mourn their loss.

Today we remember our military families, those who serve and protect, and our nation.

Lord  God of hosts, stretch forth Your almighty are to strengthen and protect those who serve in the armed forces of our country. Support them in times of war, and in times of peace keep them from all evil Give them courage and loyalty and  grant that in all things they may serve honestly and without reproach; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Prayer for the armed forces of our nation Lutheran Worship (c) 1980 Concordia Publishing House, St, Louis

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Time in the Word - Proper 4

Time in the Word
God has no Boundaries  
A Study for Proper 4
The 2nd Sunday in Pentecost
27 May - 1 June 2013

We now enter into the non-festival portion of the church year. As corn that has been planted begins to emerge, sprout and grow. So the seed of faith, planted in baptism grows and matures throughout the life of the Christian. As we have examined the entire life and ministry of Jesus, we now get into the application of God’s word in the life of the Christian. During this season, the Old Testament lessons are taken from fifteen different Old Testament books. Ten different New Testament books will be used for the Epistle lesson. Except for the Festivals [Pentecost, Trinity, Reformation, All Saints) all gospel lessons are from the Gospel of Luke. We will witness three miracles, six parables and hear fifteen discourses from the Savior. 

As to the theme for the coming Sunday we will examine the faith of foreigners. In the Old Testament lesson, Solomon prays that God would hear foreigners praying in the temple. In our day, we pray that people of all nations would come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. In the Epistle lesson, Paul is shocked that the Galatians have turned to another gospel and must be convinced of the truth, which is found in Christ. In the Gospel, Jesus heals the slave of a Roman centurion.


Prayer for Proper 4 (May 29 – June 4 ) – O God by Your almighty Word You set in order all things in heaven and on earth. Put away from us all things hurtful, and give us those things that are beneficial for us; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Prayer for Pentecost 2 – O God, whose never-failing providence sets in order all things both in heaven and earth, put away from us, we entreat You, all hurtful things, and give us those things that are profitable for us; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

A prayers for the residents of Moore, OK - Almighty God, our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble, look in mercy upon the residents of Oklahoma and elsewhere who have been ravaged by tornadoes. By these present storms, You call us to repentance. As the news breaks of the injuries, loss of life and destruction of homes and property, sustain our faith and defend those affected from every danger to body and soul. Lift up Your face and be gracious to them in this time of danger. Protect them, especially those who are weak and helpless. Be with the emergency service workers, police, fire, EMS and medical teams whose vocation is to respond in the minutes, hours and days following the storms. When they are weak, give them strength; when afraid, courage. Turn the hearts and minds of all to You, that they might find peace through the cleansing of Jesus' blood. Amid the tumult of disaster, build Your kingdom and turn these suffering souls to Yourself. For Jesus' sake, Amen

Monday, 27 May 2013 – Psalm 31:19, 23-24 - The Antiphon for this coming week’s Introit is from psalm 31:2b, “Be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me.”   The term rock is a poetic figure for God symbolizing his unfailing strength as a fortress and refuge. Where do we go in times of great trial? We turn to the Lord our refuge, fortress, and strength.  

Tuesday, 28 May 2013 – Psalm 117 – In the Psalm appointed for this coming Sunday, the Psalmist gives us the shortest Psalm in the entire book of Psalms. It is also the shortest chapter in the Bible. In fitting with our theme for this week, we are reminded that all nations and peoples are called on to praise the Lord for his great love and enduring faithfulness toward Israel.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013 – 1 Kings 8:41-43 - The Old Testament lesson includes Solomon’s prayer that God will hear foreigners praying in the temple. All three lessons point to the fact that there is no partiality with and in God. Our lesson indicates that all people will come to God’s house and will be heard by God. Does this teach universalism? No, for man to come he must come through the narrow door. He must come through Jesus and through faith.

Thursday, 30 May 2013 – Galatians 1:1-10 – Paul is shocked that the Galatians have turned to another gospel. The Gospel is not confined to a race or sect but is available for all.
God would have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. But they must come only through faith in Christ.

Friday, 31 May 2013 – Luke 7:1-10 – Jesus has mercy and heals a centurion’s slave. In the Gospel lesson, Jesus helps a pagan slave and credits his Roman master with the greatest faith in Israel. The point is not that this man is a “foreigner” rather he is a “foreigner” who has a stronger faith than any in Israel. What makes this incident in the life of the Savior so outstanding is that the believer is not a Jew but a Roman professional military pagan! 

Saturday, 1 June 2013 – 1 Samuel 20:3 – This verse is the inspiration for the great hymn, “In the Very Midst of Life.” {LSB 755}  The context of this verse is an oath David took with respect to his friend Jonathan. As the Lord lives, David knows the Lord will keep His word. In the midst of our earthly existence, the Lord has promised to sustain, guide, and lead His people. We place our lives into His hands knowing that He will surely order our days. Vicious and violent storms leave some questioning. Do we trust only when things go our way? Do we have confidence in God only when life is good? In the very midst of life, in every circumstance, we trust Christ completely.        

LUTHERAN SEVICE BOOK LECTIONARY © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO
Prayer for tornado victims offered by LCMS World Relief and Human Care
LECTIONARY PREACHING WORKBOOK SERIES C by John Brokhoff © 1979 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH

Saturday, May 25, 2013


Trinity Sunday
26 May 2013
John 16:12-15
Our All-Sufficient God

Is there anything too hard for God? Any problem too complex? Any tragedy too deep? Anything? Can your Lord handle your issues? Can He direct the affairs of men? What we need to consider is the simple fact that God is able to manage just fine.  What we need is to see and respond to is the Triune God; the all-sufficient God who has all grace and power to handle any problem, which might come your way. He makes Himself available to His children.

Consider your all-sufficient God – the Trinity

  1. We have an all-sufficient God - God the Father – the God who has all. “All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said, that He takes of Mine, and I will disclose it to you.” verse 15 How can we know that our God can handle and manage any problem, which might come your way? We know He is able to provide for us because He is the God who has everything.  Jesus said that the Father has “all things.” There is not one thing on this earth, which does not belong to the Father. That is what you confess every time we say the creed. We confess together, “I believe in God the Father, Almighty, the maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible…”  There is not one thing, which exists that has not come into its own existence without the help of God the Father. The world and everything in it belongs to God. That is why God the Father can take care of you because the world belongs to Him.

Martin Luther has this closing pray at the end of each day. He would pray, “father, this is Your world not mine. This problem is too big for me to handle. I’m going to bed tonight. I expect You to manage it!” That is not blind faith.  It’s a perfect explanation to how you live your lives as children of the heavenly Father.

God is able to handle your problems because He is God. Maybe the difficulty we have with our problems is that we do not give them to God. We have an all-sufficient God. Trust Him. Cast all your care upon Him.  He is the Father – the God who has all.

  1. We also have an all-sufficient God who is known as God the Son – the God who shares all. In the same verse, Jesus reminds us that just as the Father has all, He as the Son shares all that the Father has with you and me.

Jesus said, “I no longer treat you as slaves, but as heirs.” John 15; 15 He tells us “everything I have heard from the Father I have made known to you.”

The same man who would not let an employee drive a company vehicle turns around and gives his own so the keys to his car. Why does he do this? Because there is a relationship with that child. His only obligation to the employee is an honest wage. But with the son, he shares everything.

So it is with our all-sufficient God. He give you everything that He has; forgiveness, life, salvation.  He gives you these things freely for He is an all-sufficient God.  He shares everything that He has with His children. God will give you everything that you need whenever you are in need for He freely shares with His children everything that He has.

  1. We have an all-sufficient God known to us as God the Spirit – the God who shows all. “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak of His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak and He will disclose to you what is to come.” Vs. 13 
How do you know that these things, these gifts of the Father are yours? You know that they belong to you because the Holy Spirit gives and shares them with you.  When EF Hutton speaks… People listen. So also with the Holy Spirit. When He speaks to you through His Word He speaks directly to you. He tells you what you are to believe. He gives the answers to the questions you ask. He gives you a way to live and a future, which guarantees that He will be with you always.

There is no problem too difficult for your all-sufficient God. He has provided a way for you. He owns everything, and all that He has He shares with you, and He shows you His will for your life through His words and promises. All is well for you, not because of what you do but because what Go does for you. Trust His this day. Walk in His ways. Listen to His Word. For there is nothing impossible for the all-sufficient God.  
 image (c) Higher Things

Bede the Venerable

Born: 672/3, Northumbria, England
Died: May 25, 735, near Newcastle, England 
Feast day: May 25

The Venerable Bede was the first English church historian. He was a monk at the Northumbrian monastery of Saint Peter at Wearmouth (today part of Sunderland), and of its daughter monastery, Saint Paul's, in modern Jarrow.

Bede is well known as an author and scholar. His most famous work is Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History of the English People), which gained him the title "The father of English History." Bede also wrote on many other topics, from music and metrics to scripture commentaries.


Friday, May 24, 2013

Jesse Hoover

In June of 1837, Pr. Jesse Hoover found a small settlement of German Lutherans in Adams County. Making the trip either on foot or on horseback, Pr. Hoover began paying regular visits to conduct services in the homes of settlers. 

On February 25, 1838, this small group met to organize a congregation, the first rural congregation in Adams county. The charter members of the congregation, 26 adults and 30 children formed the Friedheim parish. The congregation has grown to 616 souls and 472 communicant members. 

Pr. Hoover served both the congregation in Adams county and St. Paul's, Ft. Wayne maintaining his residence in Ft. Wayne. It was Pr. Hoover, who had given the new location the name "Friedheim" which translates, "House of Peace" or "Peaceful Home" 

Pr. Hoover served only until May 24, 1838 when he died at the age of 28 years, a victim of a heart ailment.. 175 years ago today he was transferred from the kingdom of grace into the kingdom of glory.

Pr. Hoover is buried in the Old Concordia Cemetery in downtown Ft. Wayne, IN adjacent to the Old Concordia College which is now Indiana Institute of Technology. 


Today the church remembers a woman of faith by the name of Esther.

Esther is the heroine of the  book that bears her name in the Bible. Her Jewish name was Hadassah, which means “myrtle” and or “star.” Her beauty, charm, and courage served her well as queen to King Ahasuerus. In that role she was able to save her people from the mass extermination that Haman, the king’s chief adviser, had planned (2:19-4:17). 

Esther’s efforts to uncover the plot resulted in the hanging of Haman on the very same gallows that he had built for Mordecai, her uncle and guardian. Then the king named Mordecai minister of state in Haman’s place. This story is an example of how God intervenes on behalf of his people to deliver them from evil, as here through Esther he preserved the Old Testament people through whom the Messiah would come.

The celebration of the Jewish holiday of Purim includes the reading of the the book of Esther.

The names "God" and "Lord" are not found in the book of Esther, yet, His presence and footprint are found on every page.  If you're not familiar with her story read the book of Esther some time today. It won't take long, it a quick read. Her story is so intriguing you won't want to put the book down! And yes, there's a Vegitales episode which commemorates Esther as well! 

Appropriate prayers for this day:

  • For the safety of all believers, especially those in lands where Christianity is persecuted
  • For those who rule, that they may allow the Gospel to be freely preached
  • For the willingness to sacrifice all for the sake of Chris

Schnorr von Carlsfeld woodcuts (c) WLS for private and congregational use

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Congratulations Lydia as you graduate from Mannes today with a Masters in Vocal Performance!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Pentecost Tuesdeay

Almighty and ever-living God, You fulfilled Your promise by sending the gift of the Holy Spirit to unite disciples of all nations in the cross and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ. By the preaching of the Gospel spread this gift to the ends of the earth; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Collect for Pentecost Tuesday, Lutheran Service Book (c) 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, 

Constantine, Christian Ruler, and Helena, Mother of Constantine

Today the church remembers Constantine who made Christianity a recognized religion of the state. Today is a day for us to remember all who serve us on a local, state and national level. We pray that they may govern wisely so that the church can be about what we've been commissioned to do, which is, of course, to gossip the Gospel and let our light shine before others. 

Church and State, God and Country each have their own function. The State's main goal is justice. The Church's main goal is salvation through Christ. The State functions to punish evil doers. The Church functions to absolve penitent sinners and release them from their bondage to sin. 

For more reading on this timely subject go to Romans 13 and in your Catechism consider the table of duties which explains what we are expected according to our station in life be it a parent, child, citizen, preacher, teacher, one who governs, etc. 

So now let us pray...

A pray for Good Government - Eternal Lord, Ruler of all, graciously regard those who have been set in positions of authority among us that they may be guided by Your Spirit, to be high in purpose, wise in counsel, firm in good resolution, and unwavering in duty, that under them we may be governed quietly and peaceably, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

A Prayer for Responsible Citizenship - Lord, keep this nation under Your care. Bless the leaders of  our land that we may be a people at peace among ourselves and a blessing to the other nations of the earth. Help us provide trustworthy leaders, contribute to wise decisions for the general welfare, and thus serve You faithfully in our generation to the honor of Your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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

Prayers from Lutheran Worship (c) 1980 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis 

Monday, May 20, 2013

A sermon on the Athanasian Creed

Feast of the Holy Trinity  _ Athanasian Creed (LSB, p. 319)

Zion Lutheran Church, Dexter, Iowa & St. John’s Evangelical-Lutheran Church U.A.C., Casey, Iowa

The Revd Jeffrey M. Keuning

Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. [Amen.]

To-day is Trinity Sunday, and every Lutheran knows what that means: it’s the day we recite that long creed with the funny name. Please turn in your hymnals to the Athanasian Creed on page 319.

It’s not uncommon for people to groan or roll their eyes when they think of this creed—maybe you’re one of them, groaning inwardly even now. Why do people have this attitude? Well, people think:
• it’s long
• it’s got a strange name that’s hard to remember how to pronounce
• it’s repetitive
• it’s confusing

Let’s dispel those ideas this morning, and talk about why the Athanasian Creed was written, why we confess it, what it confesses, and why we ought to know it better than we do. Martin Luther thought highly of the Athanasian Creed. He said of it: I doubt whether, since the time of the Apostles in the New Testament Church, a more important and glorious creed has been written. (W 6:2315) High praise, indeed. So, let’s take a more careful look.

First, it’s length. To be sure, it is longer than either of the other two creeds we use—the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds. However, you’ll spend more time watching commercials during a half-hour television program than you will confessing the Athanasian Creed. And, by the way, Hey Jude by the Beatles lasts a full three minutes longer than the time it takes to confess the Athanasian Creed.

The Athanasian Creed. What is a creed, anyhow? And why confess a creed? Some churches say they have no creed. Why do we?

Every church has a creed. Every person has a creed. A creed is simply a statement of what one believes. It comes, as many things in the Church do, from the Latin. The Latin word credo means “I believe.” In their Latin forms, the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds start out with the word credo: Credo in Deum Patrem omnipotentum. I believe in God the Father Almighty. So a creed is simply a statement of what we believe. It points out the distinction between those who hold the true faith and unbelievers.

There are creeds in the Bible—a number of them. Deuteronomy 6 records the creed of the Israelites: Hear, O Israel, the LORD, our God, is one Lord. In his first letter to the church at Corinth, St Paul writes: I brought to you what I received—something very important: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, he was buried, he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures (1 Cor15:3–4). It sounds an awful lot like a portion of the creeds we’re familiar with, doesn’t it?

Even churches that say they have no creeds really do. They might not subscribe to any formal creed, like we do. They say, We believe the Bible. And if you press them: What do you believe about the Bible?, you’ll often find out that they have a list of the Ten Most Important Teachings of the Bible, or something like that. Well, that’s nothing more than a creed. But it’s a creed that only their congregation or maybe their denomination confesses.

We subscribe to what are called the three Ecumenical Creeds. That is, creeds that were at one time confessed by the whole Christian Church and still are confessed by the majority of the Christian Church.

Next, we see that it’s called the Athanasian Creed. What’s with the weird name? It’s named after a man named Athanasius, who was one of the key figures at the Council of Nicaea in 325. This council was convened by the emperor Constantine, where all the leaders in the Church, all the bishops, came together to answer a question that was plaguing the Church and causing unrest in his empire: who is Jesus?

A man named Arius had been teaching that the Son of God was a god, but not the God. He was not eternal, Arius said; He was created. He was not fully equal with the Father, according to Arius; but subordinate to Him. Athanasius, not even yet a bishop, but only the assistant to the bishop of Alexandria, became one of the great defenders of the faith. He was a small, dark-skinned man whom his opponents called the Black Dwarf, but he was a giant of a theologian, and contended for the biblical doctrine against the Arian majority.

Athanasius prevailed, and the Christian Church confesses the biblical teaching to this day in a creed formulated at Nicaea in 325: the Nicene Creed. Athanasius and his contention for the truth are the reasons you confess that Jesus is ‘God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made’ and, most importantly, for this was the very area of contention, ‘being of one substance with the Father.’

By the way, the Arian heresy didn’t go away. Jehovah’s Witnesses are probably the most prominent Arian heretics in our day. So, this creed we confess to-day is named for Athanasius, though it was not written by him. It dates to the fifth century, in the Roman province of Gaul, what is to-day France. The barbarian invaders—the Goths—held to the Arian heresy, and this creed was written to combat their false theology.

By the eighth century, the emperor Charlemagne decreed that all churchmen had to learn it. At a synod in Rheims in 852, an ordinance was passed requiring the clergy to memorize it, grasp its meaning, and be able to expound it in popular language.

Having a better understanding of the name of the creed, let’s look at its content. We’ll use the numbers the hymnal has helpfully provided.

Let’s read together paragraph 1:
1 Whoever desires to be saved must, above all, hold the catholic faith.

The first thing that leaps out at us is that word catholic.
(Explain meaning of catholic. Maybe translation sequence? Viz.: καθολικος –> catholicam –> kristliche –> christian [Ap, Nic]) καθολικος –> catholicam –> catholic [Ath])

Let’s read again, 1 and 2:
1 Whoever desires to be saved must, above all, hold the catholic faith.
2 Whoever does not keep it whole and undefiled will without doubt perish eternally.

Why? Why is this so important? Because it’s necessary to believe in the true God. There is only one God and He does not tolerate false gods. He says in Isaiah: I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols (Isa 42:8).

Well, what is the substance of this saving faith in the true God? It’s summarized in 3–4:
3 And the catholic faith is this,
4 that we worship one God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity, neither confusing the persons nor dividing the substance.

Heresy in the Church generally comes in two forms: attacks on the Trinity or attacks on the person of Jesus Christ. The first part of the Athanasian Creed is going to deal with the Trinity. Notice that this summary negotiates a path between two ditches of heresy on either side:
• confusing the persons; that is, failing to distinguish between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and
• splitting up the Godhead, so that there are three Gods (this is, by the way, what the Muslims accuse Christians of)

Notice how 5 & 6 develop this central path of truth further:
5 For the Father is one person, the Son is another, and the Holy Spirit is another.
6 But the Godhead of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit is one: the glory equal, the majesty coeternal.

The next portion of the creed is going to explain in detail, that God is one, and that each of the persons of the Trinity is fully God. Let us read 7–18.
7 Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit:
8 the Father uncreated, the Son uncreated, the Holy Spirit uncreated;
9 the Father infinite, the Son infinite, the Holy Spirit infinite;
10 the Father eternal, the Son eternal, the Holy Spirit eternal.
11 And yet there are not three Eternals, but one Eternal,
12 just as there are not three Uncreated or three Infinites, but one Uncreated and one Infinite.
13 In the same way, the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, the Holy Spirit almighty;
14 and yet there are not three Almighties, but one Almighty.
15 So the Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God;
16 and yet there are not three Gods, but one God.
17 So the Father is Lord, the Son is Lord, the Holy Spirit is Lord;
18 and yet there are not three Lords, but one Lord.

Why the repetitiousness? It seems tedious. It’s written this way to smoke out heretics. It’s designed so that heretics cannot weasel their way around the true biblical doctrine.

The section we just read confessed the unity of the Godhead, and the fact that all three persons of the Godhead are truly God. You might guess that the following section would show how the three Persons are distinguished. And you would be right.

19 Just as we are compelled by the Christian truth to acknowledge each distinct person as God and Lord, so also are we prohibited by the catholic religion to say that there are three Gods or Lords.
20 The Father is not made nor created nor begotten by anyone.
21 The Son is neither made nor created, but begotten of the Father alone.
22 The Holy Spirit is of the Father and of the Son, neither made nor created nor begotten, but proceeding.
23 Thus, there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Spirit, not three Holy Spirits.
24 And in this Trinity none is before or after another; none is greater or less than another;
25 but the whole three persons are coeternal with each other and coequal, so that in all things, as has been stated above, the Trinity in Unity and Unity in Trinity is to be worshiped.

Note that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are distinguished from one another, but not separated.

Finally, this section of the creed is once again summarized:
26 Therefore, whoever desires to be saved must think thus about the Trinity.

But, it’s not enough just to believe the Trinity. You are saved by the atoning death and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus Himself says in John 14: I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. I said earlier, that heresy comes in two basic forms: attacks on the Trinity or attacks on the person of Jesus Christ. And so, the next portion of the Athanasian Creed deals with Jesus. Remember, this section was written against heretics, false teachers, who taught either:

• that Jesus was not truly God, or
• that He was not really a man.

This section of the creed sounds more familiar, more like what we know from the other creeds, with a bit more explanation of the incarnation:

27 But it is also necessary for everlasting salvation that one faithfully believe the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.
28 Therefore, it is the right faith that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is at the same time both God and man.
29 He is God, begotten from the substance of the Father before all ages; and He is man, born from the substance of His mother in this age:
30 perfect God and perfect man, composed of a rational soul and human flesh;
31 equal to the Father with respect to His divinity, less than the Father with respect to His humanity.
32 Although He is God and man, He is not two, but one Christ:
33 one, however, not by the conversion of the divinity into flesh, but by the assumption of the humanity into God;
34 one altogether, not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person.
35 For as the rational soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ,
36 who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead,
37 ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father, God Almighty, from whence He will come to judge the living and the dead.
38 At His coming all people will rise again with their bodies and give an account concerning their own deeds.
39 And those who have done good will enter into eternal life, and those who have done evil into eternal fire.

Ooh, that part rankles a bit, doesn’t it? After all, we are Lutherans, we don’t believe in salvation by works. What is meant here?

John 6 records that, when the crowds came to Jesus, they asked Him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” Faith in Christ is counted for a good work in the eyes of God.

Lastly, another section that may raise some eyebrows:
40 This is the catholic faith; whoever does not believe it faithfully and firmly cannot be saved.

The negative statements are called ‘Damnatory Clauses,’ and are similar to those of St Paul in Galatians 1:8-9—But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

Why have creeds?

They confess the true God, the One who made us and redeemed us. More here: redemption by the cross, etc.

Proper confession is necessary, so that we can be certain that all our sins are forgiven, in the Name of the Father, and of the T Son, and ofthe Holy Ghost. [Amen.]

The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. [Amen.]

Pentecost Monday

O God, who gave Your Holy Spirit to the apostles, grant us that same Spirit that we may live in faith and abide in peace; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Collect for Pentecost Monday, Lutheran Service Book (c) 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St, Louis 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Time in the Word - Trinity

Time in the Word
Trinity Sunday
20-25 May 2013

The Blessed Trinity Blesses” is the theme for this coming week. In the Old Testament lesson, [Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31] God the Father creates the universe. The Epistle, [Acts 2:22-36] is a continuation with Peter’s Pentecost sermon. The object is on God the Son who alone justifies and saves us. In the Gospel [John 8:48-59] Jesus identifies His identity. God the Spirit reveals this truth to us in the clear words of the Gospel.

Trinity Sunday calls for us to consider the doctrine that sets us apart from all other pagan religions. As the Athanasian Creed reminds us, “Whoever desires to be saved must, above all, hold the catholic [i.e. Christian] faith.  Whoever does not keep it whole and undefiled will without doubt perish eternally…whoever does not believe it faithfully and firmly cannot be saved.”

Collect for Trinity – Almighty and everlasting God, You have given us grace to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity by the confession of a true fait hand to worship the unity in the power of the Divine Majesty. Keep us steadfast in this faith and defend us from all adversities; for you, O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, live and reign one God, now and forever.

The Trinity is central in the life of our Christian worship. References to the Trinity are encountered frequently in worship. The worship service opens with the Invocation – “In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” The service may close with the threefold Aaronic benediction. The Christian life begins with baptism “In the Name of the Father…” At Confirmation the Trinity is used for the blessing, “The Father in heaven for Jesus’ sake renew and increase in you the gift of the Holy Spirit.” After a Psalm is prayed in the Introit, the congregation says or sings the Gloria Patri: “Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost.” The Doxology is used at the dedication of the offering: “Praise God from whom all blessings flow…Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.” The New Testament benediction involves the Trinity: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Love of God and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” (2 Corinthians 13:14)

The Bible does not specifically mention the term “Trinity” yet, its teaching can be found on literally every page.

Monday, 20 May 2013Psalm 16:8-11 - The antiphon is an ancient Liturgical Text — The Psalmist describes the joy of total security. David speaks here, as in the rest of the psalm, for of all of himself and of the life, he now enjoys by the gracious provision and care of God. The Lord, in whom the psalmist takes refuge, wills life for him and will not abandon him to the grave, even though flesh and heart may fail. (See Psalm 73:26) When David mentions, “your Holy One” in verse 10 he is speaking of himself but ultimately of Christ. Jesus did not suffer decay once He died. Once He died on Calvary’s cross death itself began working backward. The words of this verse have been majestically sung in Handle’s Messiah. It is a critical verse when discussing the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin. Did the body wrapped in the shroud experience decomposition? If so, it cannot be the burial cloth of Christ. If not, it might very well be Christ’s shroud.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013Psalm 8— Man the Crown of Creation. This is to be brought to pass under the Messiah, in the day of His Triumphant Reign. (See Hebrews 2:6-9) Jesus quoted verse 2 as referring to an incident in His own life. (See Matthew 21:16) (Vv.1-2) As he contemplates the great expanse of the universe the psalmist is overwhelmed by a sense of man’s littleness. He marvels that God not only bothers about man, but has set him over all other creatures (Vv. 5-8) The psalm ends, as it began, with a refrain of praise to God (Vv. 1, 9) (Vv. 4-6) see Hebrews 2:6-9 and Genesis 1:28

Wednesday, 22 May 2013Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31 – The Old Testament lesson reveals that it is God the Father who is the creator of the universe. True, all three persons of the Trinity were present at the creation. Yet it is the Father who is confessed as the creator of us all. Wisdom was with God at the creation. Paul refers to Christ as the wisdom of God [see 1 Corinthians 1:24]. Wisdom is also identified with the Spirit who guides us into all truth. [See John 3:16]

Thursday, 23 May 2013Acts 2:14a, 22-36— The epistle lesson is a continuation from the Pentecost experience. The apostles had been baptized with the Holy Spirit and had spoken in other languages to various groups. Now they stand with Peter, who serves as their spokesman. Peter, the man who once denied his Savior now boldly confesses Him as God and Lord.

Friday, 24 May 2013John 8:48-59— In the Gospel lesson Jesus gives claims concerning Himself. The religious leaders lay a charge at Jesus –“You are worse than a Samaritan! You are possessed by a demon!” To this charge, Jesus claims that He is the only one sent by the Father. He does not claim to know God. He claims to be God.

Saturday, 25 May 2013Luke 2:14; John 1:29, Revelation 5:9-14; Ephesians 1:20-21 The Hymn of the Day is “All Glory Be to God on High” (LSB #947). The original Gloria in Excelsis Deo was sung by a choir of angels at the announcement of the birth of Christ. Christmas won’t come for another eight months but every time we as Christians gather we are given opportunity to sing the praises of our God. Together we will gather to praise the name of our God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. May our God remain at the center of our life and worship.

Prayers for Pentecost and Trinity from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Time in the Word - Pentecost

God’s Use of Language” is the theme for this coming week. In the Old Testament lesson, [Genesis 11:1-9] God uses language to confuse the world. In the Epistle, [Acts 2:1-21] Language us used to understand the Gospel. In the Gospel [John 14:23-31] Language is used too witness to Christ with the help of the Comforter.

“Pentecost” is a Greek word, meaning fifty. The Jews celebrated Pentecost as a harvest festival. Later, it was used to celebrate the giving of the Law on Sinai and the birthday of Israel. Christians celebrate Pentecost as the birthday of Missions and global evangelism.

Collect for the Seventh Sunday of EasterO King of glory, Lord of hosts, uplifted in triumph far above all heavens, leave us not without consolation but send us the Spirit of truth whom You promised from the Father; for You live and reign with Him and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Collect for Pentecost Eve – Almighty and ever-living God, You fulfilled Your promise by sending the gift of the Holy Spirit to unite disciples of all nations in the cross and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ. By the preaching of the Gospel spread this gift to the ends of the earth; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Collect for Pentecost – O God, on this day You once taught the hearts of Your faithful people by sending them the light of Your Holy Spirit. Grant us in our day by the same Spirit to have a right understanding in all things and evermore to rejoice in His holy consolation; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

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, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Monday, 13 May 2013Psalm 104:24, 27-30 The antiphon is an ancient Liturgical Text — The Psalmist marvels at the grandeur and the detail, the perfection and completeness of God’s work in creation - verse 24 sums it all up.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013Psalm 143David had reached the end of the line; no more reserve or resources (vv.3-4). But in a desperate situation one refuge remains: God Himself (vv.5-12). “O Lord…teach me…deliver me…lead me…bring me out of trouble”

Wednesday, 15 May 2013Genesis 11:1-9 – The Old Testament lesson is the story of the tower of Babel and the confusion of language. Too many languages was confusing and construction of the great tower was stopped. There was a loss of unity from a lack of the Holy Spirit. The people desired to build for themselves a tower, and altar unto themselves. There was a centrifugal power of an evil spirit at Babel – it scatters.

Thursday, 16 May 2013Acts 2:1-21The Epistle lesson is the entire story of the events of Pentecost. Pilgrims from every corner of the globe had descended upon the city of Jerusalem to celebrate. On that day Christ was preached to the nations and the nations were brought to the church. Pentecost is not the birthday of the church – it existed well before the feast of Pentecost. Pentecost is the birthday of missions when the church is reminded that we are to go out into the world with the message of the Gospel. The Savior Himself predicted the events of Pentecost. Look up Matthew 24:14. The gospel was preached to the nations on the first Pentecost. For centuries the gospel message has encircled the globe. It has been preached on every continent. But specifically on September 15, 2001 from the National Cathedral in Washington DC the message of Christ and Him crucified was beamed literally around this planet through radio and television as the world watched and listened. Some may ask, “When will the end come?” Pentecost gives us the answer. The end will come - when the last pagan is converted.

Friday, 17 May 2013John 14:23-31In the gospel lesson Jesus reminds us that love and obedience are linked. How can we trust, love and obey? By ourselves we can not do it. Thus the Counselor is sent from the Father. Both the Father and the Son are involved in the sending of the Spirit. The Spirit reminded these early disciples of everything Jesus had said and done. Thus when their message went out, as they recorded the words and actions of Jesus in written form they became literally God breathed and inspired. They became the Sacred Scriptures because the Spirit directed these men over a period of some twenty years to write 27 books that in reality make up one book – the New Testament. These books, together with the Old Testament, have one doctrinal viewpoint, one moral standard, one plan of salvation, one program for the ages.

Saturday, 18 April 2013Luke 11:13; 1 Corinthians 12:13 The Hymn of the Day is “Come, Holy Ghost, God and Lord”(LSB #497). This majestic hymn was written by Martin Luther, 1483-1546 and was no doubt written as a children’s hymn so that his students could memorize and understand the 3rd Article of the Apostles’ Creed. The chief teaching of the Christian faith - the doctrine of salvation by faith rather than works is clearly delineated throughout the course of this great hymn. Sing it confidently and boldly. The Holy Spirit has brought you to faith He will continue to keep you in the one true faith.

LUTHERAN WORSHIP © 1982 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO pg. 62
LUTHERAN SEVICE BOOK LECTIONARY © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO
LECTIONARY PREACHING WORKBOOK SERIES C by John Brokhoff © 1979 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH pp. 144
Baron Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WLS for personal and congregational use

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Easter 7

Thank you Pr. Ken Kelly and Michelle Van Loon for the introductory thoughts on Mother’s Day!

John 17:20-26
"Jesus' prayer for you"

Today is Mother’s Day.

I believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of the loving God, who was born of the promise to a virgin named Mary.

I believe in the love Mary gave her son. A love that caused her to follow Him in His ministry and stand by His cross as He died.

I believe in the love of all mothers, and its importance in the lives of the children, they bear. It is stronger than steel, softer than down, and more resilient than a green sapling on the hillside. It closes wounds, melts disappointments, and enables the weakest child to stand tall and straight in the fields of adversity.

I believe that this love, even at its best, is only a shadow of the love of God, a dark reflection of all that we can expect of Him, both in this life and the next.

And I believe that one of the most beautiful sights in the world is a mother who lets this greater love flow through her to her child, blessing the world with the tenderness of her touch and the tears of her joy.
And yet, for some, this day is a mixture grief and sadness. They are lonely. There are those who've suffered the loss of parent, or a child.  There are those who have had to deal with infertility. So this day is especially difficult.  

Mother’s day is hard, awkward and cruel. They yearn for a brighter tomorrow. But this day is not one of them.  That’s why we a duty bound to pray for them and for others. Especially today. According to their needs. Zion Friedheim - be a house of prayer!

Become a place where we don’t simply talk to God. But a place where take our burdens, our joys, our worries and our cares to the throne room of grace. And be thankful as the Savior answers each petition.[1]

So then, how should we pray?  Especially, when we come to our Lord in the midst of our sorrow and our weaknesses?     

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. Romans 8:26

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet was without sin.  Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:25-16

Today is Easter 7.

The last Sunday in the season of Easter. The Savior goes to the Father to pray - for you! Jesus prays: "My prayer is not for the disciples alone…I pray for those who will believe through their message…"

So what is Jesus' request for you? Consider His prayer on your behalf. Yes, Jesus. Your Jesus, has said a prayer for you…

I. Is a request for unity and faith. Jesus prays to the Father: "may they be brought to complete unity to let the world know You sent me and have loved them"

A.     He prays: "May they be brought to complete unity…"
1.      Unity comes with a common faith. There is in Christ "one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all"
2.      Because there are differences of doctrine in our world today the question must be raised: "can there be true unity?"  As long as there are differences, there will be matters of doctrine. May we pray for a perfect unity, which comes in a complete unity of faith.

B.     The Savior continues to pray: "To let the world know You sent Me and have loved them"
1.     The true united doctrine is the doctrine of Christ. When we are one in Christ, we have a complete understanding of not only who Jesus is but what He has done for us.
a. And what has he done? He offers Himself. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 2 Corinthians 5:15
b.            That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10
2.      By this we know of the Father's love. When we know Jesus, we know of the Father's great love for us. When we know of Jesus, we have a complete and perfect unity of faith.

II. Jesus’ prayer for you is a request for us to be with Jesus in glory. Jesus prays to the Father: "I want those you've given to me to be with me where I am and see my glory"

A.     His desire is for us to be where He is.
1.      Our goal is to be with Christ in glory. To leave this veil of tears to our home with Christ in glory.
2.      Remember the hymn verse "I'm but a stranger here, heaven is my home" A question; "how strange is the world to us?" Are we familiar with this world, or do we look for another home? A more perfect and complete home? Where we will be with Christ in glory?

B.     Jesus has a desire to receive believers in glory.
1.      This was Jesus' ultimate mission to come to draw sinners to Himself. He drew you in your baptism and continues through Word and Sacrament to draw you to Himself, so that where He is you shall be also.
2.      Just over a month after he took over as Prime Minister of England Winston Churchill delivered a speech to the House of Commons after the French had sought an armistice. This was, he said, our finest hour. What will be your finest hour?  Your "finest hour" is the hour of our death. When we close our eyes in death, we leave this world only to enter into that world which has no end. When our eyes close in death we take a walk - from one end of the kingdom to the other…we cross over from the kingdom of grace into the kingdom of glory.

III. Jesus' prayer for you is a request to know God's love. Jesus prays to the Father: "I will make You known to them and continue to make you known in order that the love You have for Me may be in them and that I Myself may be in them"

A.     Jesus will continue to make the Father known to us.
1.      Through the message of the Gospel - that we may grow in Christ. That's why we are always connected to His Word and Sacraments; that we may grow in grace.
2.      As we grow in Christ we know more and more about Jesus. Remember the salute of faith; … ascent, confession, trust… the mind, the lips, the heart.

B.     So that the love the Father has may be in us.
1.      God the Father loves you. That's why He sent Christ in the first place! To know and understand God and His great love for you.
2.      Having experienced this love it is now a part of us. It is now ours not only to experience but also to live each day in a daring and confident manner and to express it with those with whom we meet.

In the midst of His busy ministry; His healing, preaching, teaching and serving Jesu took the time to pray - for you!  His prayer is answered in your hearing of His Word this day!  May you continue to draw close to Christ as you grow in unity of faith, in knowing God, in being received into His glory!

[1] These thoughts and sentiments came from Pr. Ken Kelly and Michelle Van Loon. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Grant, we pray, that even as we believe Your only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, to have ascended into heaven, so we may also in heart and mind ascend and continually dwell there with Him; who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

Monday, May 6, 2013


Alvin Witte
Born into this world: March 2, 1932
Baptized into Christ: March 13, 1932
Confirmed in the faith: April 14, 1946
With Christ in Peace: May 3, 2013
Committal: May 9, 2013