Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Mid-week Wyneken Chapel

28 February 2018
Wyneken Lenten Chapel

What Sins Should We Confess?
Office Hymn 612 –“As Rebels, Lord, Who Foolishly Have Wandered
Closing Hymn 607 –“From Depths of Woe I Cry to Thee”

Psalm 130:3-4 –“If You O Lord should mark iniquity who could stand. But with you there is forgiveness that you should be feared.”

1 John 1:5-10 –“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Luke 15:11-32 - The Parable of the Prodigal Son –

A Grand Reunion
Have you ever asked, “Is God aware of and concerned about my fears, my worries, my temptations? Does he care about my life, my family, my home?” If so, read again the Gospel of Luke. The stories of common ordinary individuals – the widow of Nain, Zacchaeus, the woman who washed Jesus’ feet are all common ordinary folk that had a life’s story all their own.

It is the personal and human touch in the story of the prodigal son that has led many to call it “the pear of the parables”.

1. A wayward son (Vv.11-20)
     A.      He leaves.
          1.       “He squandered his property in loose living” (V.13)
          2.       This is our story. How easy to apply it to others. But this is you and me.
     B.      His sin has tragic results.
          1.       “He began to be in want” (v.14) in the fields feeding swine; his friends were gone.
          2.       We see what sin does. Disobedience to the Father leads ultimately to despair and                                   damnation.
     C.      “He came to Himself” (v.17)
          1         He can no longer blame others; there are no more excuses. “Father I have sinned” (v.18)
               a.       He’s still trying to make it his way, “I will be as one of your slaves”
               b.      All scheming must cease.
          2         How do you plan to come before the Father? Join the publican and the prodigal. Any                           other approach means you are still in “a far country.”

2. A merciful father (Vv.20-24)
     A.      He forgives.
          1.       Waiting for his son, “he had compassion” (v.20) ran to him, and ordered the fatted calf                         to  be killed.
          2.       Does our Father forgive you? Think of your worst sin. The father waits!
     B.      Look at “the robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10) It was purchased for you with the blood                   of the Savior.

3. A cold brother (Vv.25-32)
     A.      He reacts poorly.
     B.       Whom does he remind us? Jonah at the repentance of Nineveh? The Scribes and Pharisees?                  What about us with our suspicions about the converted?

The more we realize that is salvation is by pure grace, the less we shall be prone to play the cold brother.  We will rejoice at the goodness of God in Christ. He has not deal with us according to our sins. Rather, He restores, redeems, and reconciles.
words - 475
passive sentences - 3%
readability - 80%
reading level - 4

mid-week Lenten homily

Psalm 23:3

The Good Shepherd who puts His life in us

"He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake." (KJV)

28 February 2018

St. Paul writes in Romans 6:3-5 “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with {Him} in a death like His we shall certainly be reunited in a resurrection like His” This passage speaks of baptismal regeneration. In baptism we died to sin and were made alive in Christ. That happened to me personally as I was baptized at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, New Haven, IN. - March 10, 1957 - sixty-one years ago...

Baptismal regeneration calls for us each day to recall what happened to us in and through our baptism and then to daily live in our baptism as redeemed children of God.  – That’s what we call sacramental living – Experiencing daily the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation as Christ comes to us in and through the sacraments. As we continue looking at the Shepherd Psalm tonight we focus on verse 3. 

Tonight we hear of the Good Shepherd who puts His life in us

1. The Savior makes this personal - He restoreth my soul

Jesus our Good Shepherd restores me when I wander. No creature will lose itself sooner than a sheep. We often refer to them as “stupid sheep”!  Sheep are so apt to go astray, and then so incompetent to find their way back.

The best saints are sensible of their predisposition to go astray like lost sheep. It’s more than an inclination. It’s what we call our sinful nature. David writes in Psalm 119:176:  “I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Thy servant, for I do not forget Thy commandments.” (NASV)

Isaiah writes: “All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; but the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.” (Isa.53: 6 - NASV)  That’s the story of Lent. We are all like wandering sheep. We have gone astray; each of us has turned to his own way. What shall be done? The Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him. We miss our way, and turn aside to a different road. But God shows people their error, gives them repentance, and brings them back to their duty again, He restores the soul; and, if He did not do so, they would wander endlessly and be eternally lost and undone.

When, after one sin, David's heart smote him, and, soon after another, Nathan was sent to tell him, “Thou art the man!” (2 Samuel 12:7) God restored his soul. Though God may endure when His people fall into sin, He will not tolerate them to lie still in it.  Through contrition repentance and faith we are restored back to the Father.

Our Good Shepherd recovers me when I am sick, and revives me when I am faint, and so He restores the soul, which was ready to depart. He is the Lord our God that heals us.

In Exodus 15 we are reminded: “So the people grumbled at Moses, saying, "What shall we drink?" Then he cried out to the LORD, and the LORD showed him a tree; and he threw {it} into the waters, and the waters became sweet. There He made for them a statute and regulation, and there He tested them. And He said, "If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the LORD your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you whom I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the LORD, am your healer."  (Exodus 15:24-26 -NASV) Many a time we should have fainted unless we had believed; and it was the Good Shepherd that kept us from fainting.

2. The Savior places real and abundant life in us - He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

God’s honor is at stake. It’s His reputation, which is in jeopardy. Thus He must act and act judiciously and appropriately. He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. See here the courage of a faithful saint. Having had such experience of God's goodness to me all my days, “in six troubles even in seven.” The Christian will say: “I will never distrust him.”

We learn to say by faith: “Because all He has done for me, even though it was not for any worth or merit of mine, but purely for His name's sake. In the pursuance of His word, in the performance of His promises, and for the glory of His own name and for the good of His people. That name therefore shall still be my strong tower, and shall assure me that He who has led me, and fed me, all my life, will never, ever, leave me.” This is how the Good Shepherd has placed His life in us.

Words – 810
Passive Sentences-12%
Readability – 78.3%
Reading Level – 6.0
Image © Google Images

Wednesday of Lent 2

Wednesday of Lent 2, February 28, 2108              Jeremiah 18:1-11

Jeremiah is sent to a potter to receive an object lesson in the principles of divine government, according to which God makes and keeps both his promises and threats.

 Committed to their idolatry and self centered lifestyle Judah refuses to respond to the Lord’s gracious invitation to repent of their sin. This rejection of God’s is plainly seen in their mistreatment of the prophet Jeremiah. Those who proclaim God’s Word faithfully will likely face persecution. Yet believers stand in grace, confident of God’s love and care. He makes us to new creation just as a potter reworks a lump of clay.  1

Circumstances do not dictate who you are or whose you are. What you do need not determine who you are.  You belong to Christ. Nothing will befall you without Jesus’ knowledge, consent or will. You are protected by the mighty hands of Jesus. 

Hymn: Upon the Cross Extended (Lutheran Service Book 453:6)

     Your cords of love, my Savior
Bind me to You forever,
I am no longer mind
To You I gladly tender
All that my life can render
And all I have to You resign.

Anchor us in Christ crucified, O Lord, and keep us faithful to You. Shape our lives through Jesus Christ our Savior. 

O God, You so loved the world that you gave Your only begotten Son to reconcile earth with heaven; Grant that we, loving You above all things, may love our friends in You, and our enemies for Your sake; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen. 2

1. Lutheran Study Bible © 2009 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
2. Collect for Wednesday of Lent 2,

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Tuesday of Lent 2

Tuesday of Lent 2, February 27 2018                  Isaiah 1:2-4, 16-20

Israel is summoned to stand trial. God calls heaven and earth a witnesses. He commands creation to testify. It witnesses the critical events. They were children not just because of creation but because Go redeemed them from Egypt. By rejecting God’s ways despite His blessing these disobedient children must face the consequences of their actions.

In this account the animals are intelligent enough to recognize that their owner provides for them, but God’s people lacked this basic wisdom. Says Luther, “They think they know everything and the prophet calls their wisdom and knowledge sheer stupidity and ignorance.” (AE:16:9) 1

Sinful parents bear sinful children. The children repeat the same sinful corruption that plagued their parents. This is the sin we have inherited from our parents all the way back to our first father and mother Adam and Eve. But for us comes a second Adam, Jesus Christ who will bear our sin and pronounce to us His absolution as He bears our guilt and shame. 

Hymn: Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed (Lutheran Service Book 437:1)

Alas! And did my Savior bleed,
And did my sov-reign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I?

O God, You willed to redeem us from all iniquity by Your Son: Deliver us when we are tempted to regard sin without abhorrence, and let the virtue of his passion come between us and our mortal enemy; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives, and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen  2

1.  Lutheran Study Bible © 2009 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
2.  Collect for Thursday of Lent 2,

Monday, February 26, 2018

Monday of Lent 2

Monday of Lent 2, 26 February 2018                            Daniel 9:3-10

Luther writes, “The ninth chapter opens with a splendid prayer in which Daniel prays for his people who are held captive in Babylon and for the city of Jerusalem and the temple. He prays that the Jews might return to Jerusalem, and there resume their worship of God. The prayer is answered, and to Daniel is revealed the number of years until Christ should come and begin his eternal kingdom. Now this is remarkable and great revelation of Christ which sets the time so surely and accurately.1

The psalmist writes,”My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!” – Psalm 3:15 At just the right time the Lord created this world. As just the right time He redeemed it by sending His Son. At the right time He will bring us home. The Lord orders all of your days. Daniel was given a vision to know the future. We are not so fortunate. But this we know – each day the Lord will order according to His perfect plan. He will shape and use the circumstances of your life to bring you closer to Him. We might not know the future but we know the One who orders each new day. Trust in Him. By His protection He will provide.  Cast all your cares upon Him for He cares for you. True, when the Lord closes a door He opens a window. But sometimes it’s a mess in the hallway! So, how’s your mess today? Commit each day to Him. This need not be another manic Monday! He can even bless your mess. Your times are in His hands!  

Hymn: O Perfect Life of Love (Lutheran Service Book  452:2)

No work is left undone
Of all the Father willed;
His toil, His sorrows, one by one,
The Scriptures have fulfilled.

Let your Spirit, O Lord, come into the midst of us to wash us with the pure water of repentance, and prepare us to be always a living sacrifice to You; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen. 2

1. Luther’s Works American Edition 35; 303 © Concordia Publishing House, St, Louis

2. Collect for Monday of Lent 2,

Sunday, February 25, 2018

180 Anniversary Service

A 21st Century Parish with a 1st Century Faith
Acts 2:42

Celebrating the signing of our Parish Charter
February 25, 1838 – February 25, 2018

Greetings in Christ! On this day, 180 years ago, February 25, 1838 fifty-six persons under the pastoral guidance of Pr. Jesse Hoover gathered to sign our congregation’s charter becoming the first Christian congregation in Adams County and only the second church in northeast Indiana. Through the years the Lord had directed us to remain a house of peace, a safe haven and a harbor of hope in this world. May the Lord continue to bless our Friedheim family to remain a House of Peace.   

The Opening Hymn:
Years of Joy and Preservation

Thanks, dear Lord, and adoration
For Thy blessings we received,
Years of joy and preservation
For our church, Lord, You did give;
Words of love and free salvation,
Sacraments for all in need,
On this day of Jubilation
Honor, praise, and thanks we give.

To this day, Lord You have given
Thy true Word to guide our lives,
Helped us through great trials and hardships
Gave us comfort, strength in strife
Schools to teach the Word to children
Guidance for our youth this day
Love and care for family living,
Praise, Oh Lord, to Thee we say.

Zion, lift your hearts and voices
On this celebration day.
Thanks and praise to our dear Savior,
Guide our footsteps on our way
May we all be true and faithful
To Your Word and Sacrament
Spread the news of our Salvation
Love and mercy without end.
 – Words and music © 1988 by Jo Buuck and Lydia Kalthoff

The Invocation
P: Recalling our baptism, we make our beginning in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

P Beloved in the Lord! Let us draw near with a true heart and confess our sins unto God our Father, beseeching Him in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to grant us forgiveness.

P Our help is in the name of the Lord,
C who made heaven and earth.

P I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord,
C and You forgave the iniquity of my sin.

Silence for reflection on God's Word and for self-examination.

P O almighty God, merciful Father,
C I, a poor, miserable sinner, confess unto You all my sins and iniquities with which I have ever offended You and justly deserved Your temporal and eternal punishment. But I am heartily sorry for them and sincerely repent of them, and I pray You of Your boundless mercy and for the sake of the holy, innocent, bitter sufferings and death of Your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to be gracious and merciful to me, a poor, sinful being.

P Upon this your confession, I, by virtue of my office, as a called and ordained servant of the Word, announce the grace of God unto all of you, and in the stead and by the command of my Lord Jesus Christ I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father and of the T Son and of the Holy Spirit.
C Amen.

The Introit                    1 Chron. 29:10b, 11, 13; antiphon: Ps. 26:8

O LORD, I love the habitation | of your house*
and the place where your | glory dwells.
Blessèd are you, O LORD, the God of | Israel*
our father, forever and | ever.
Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the | majesty,*
for all that is in the heavens and in the | earth is yours.
Yours is the kingdom, | O LORD,*
and you are exalted as head a- | bove all.
And now we thank you, | our God,*
and praise your | glorious name.
Glory be to the Father and | to the Son*
and to the Holy | Spirit;
as it was in the be- | ginning,*
is now, and will be forever. | Amen.
O LORD, I love the habitation | of your house*
and the place where your | glory dwells.

The Prayer of the Day: O God, You see that of ourselves we have no strength. By Your mighty power defend us from all adversities that may happen to the body and from all evil thoughts that may assault and hurt the soul through Jesus Christ, Your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
The Choir
The Service of the Word

The Way of the cross Involves Suffering for Christians
Theme: Lent is a Time of Suffering

Genesis 28:10-17God confronts Jacob while fleeing from Esau
Romans 5:1-11Christians rejoice in their sufferings for Christ
Mark 8:31-38 Jesus announces His suffering in Jerusalem

Hymn of the Day: “Great is Thy FaithfulnessLSB #809

The HomilyThe Way of the cross involves suffering” –Mark 8:27-38
1.       Deny self v.34
2.       Lose self v. 35
3.       Crucify self v. 34

The Announcements

The Gathering of the Morning Offering

Litany for our 180th Anniversary Celebration

For the Church universal, of which these buildings are a visible symbol,
We thank you, Lord.

For your presence whenever two or three have gathered in Your name,
We thank you, Lord.

For this place where we may be still and know that you are God,
We thank you, Lord.

For the fulfilling of our desires and petitions as You see best for us,
We thank you, Lord.

For our past and a vision of the future that lies ahead,
We thank you, Lord.

For the gift of the Holy Spirit and new life in baptism,
We thank you, Lord.

For the pardon of our sins when we have fallen short of Your glory,
We thank you, Lord.

For the Sacraments in which we have a foretaste of Your eternal kingdom,
We thank you, Lord.

For the blessing of our vows and the crowning of our years with your goodness,
We thank you, Lord.

For the faith of those who have gone before us and for our encouragement by their perseverance,
We thank you, Lord.

For all the benefactors of this place who have died in the peace of Christ and are at rest
We thank you, Lord.

For the fellowship of all your saints,
We thank you, Lord.

O God, from living and chosen stones you prepare an everlasting dwelling place for Your majesty. Grant that in the power of the Holy Spirit those who serve You here may always be kept within Your presence. This we pray through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever.

The Prayers of the People of God at Friedheim

We praise You heavenly Father for the great privilege which is ours this day to humbly come before You, and lovingly praise and thank You as we reflect on the history of our parish which was established 180 years ago.

We thank You for every memory that our celebrations revives, and for the great number of witnesses who have made the 180th  anniversary of our church an occasion for celebration.

We pray that You will deepen within each of us a sense of gratitude for the many sacrifices made for us by those who have gone before us, and thereby find this parish a house of peace, a safe haven and a harbor of hope. May we continue to see, by faith, the needs of those around us and the needs of those who shall come after us, and do all that is possible to show to them our witness in word and deed of the riches of life with Christ. In Jesus name we pray.

The Benediction

Day of Jubilation

This day of Jubilation, We raise our thanks to Thee
For many blessings given, Faithful we’ll strive to be
For many blessings given, Faithful we’ll strive to be.

As members then of Zion, United here we stand
And bow our heads in worship, Lord bless our church and land
And bow our heads in worship, Lord bless our church and land.

The little ones do feed them, With food Lord from above
That tells of their dear Savior, And His undying Love
That tells of their dear Savior, And His undying Love.

Be with our precious youth, Lord.  For them we truly pray
Keep them forever faithful, And pure in heart each day
Keep them forever faithful, And pure in heart each day.

The lonely, sick, and shut-ins, Oh, grant them Lord to be
Faithful and true ‘til You come, To take them home to Thee
Faithful and true ‘til You come, To take them home to Thee.

Let’s now unite our efforts, To spread the news abroad
Our Savior has redeemed us, He is our King and Lord
Our Savior has redeemed us, He is our King and Lord.
 – Words and music © 1998 by Jo Buuck and Lydia Kalthoff

"Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest" - John 3:35

Time in the Word - Lent 3

Prayer for the Lent 2: O God, You see that of ourselves we have no strength. By Your mighty power defend us from all adversities that may happen to the body and from all evil thoughts that may assault and hurt the soul through Jesus Christ, Your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

A Prayer for aid against temptation: O God, You justify the ungodly and desire not the death of the sinner. Graciously assist us by Your heavenly aid and evermore shield us with Your protection, that no temptation may separate us from Your love in Christ Jesus, our Lord.

A Prayer in times of temptation: Almighty and everlasting God, through Your Son You have promised us forgiveness of sins and everlasting life. Govern our hearts by Your Holy Spirit that in our daily needs, and especially in all time of temptation we may seek Your help and, by a true and lively faith in Your Word, obtain all that You have promised; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord.

A 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, our Lord.

For blessing on the Word: Lord God, bless Your Word wherever it is proclaimed. Make it a word of power and peace to convert those not yet Your own and to confirm those who have come to saving faith. May Your Word pass from the ear to the heart, from the heart to the lip, and from the lip to the life that, as You have promised, Your Word may achieve the purpose for which You send it; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Time in the Word
February 26 - March 3, 2018
Preparation for next week, The Third Sunday in Lent

The theme for the Third Sunday in Lent is Meeting the demands of the Law. Lent points to the cross as the only means of fulfilling God’s demands. These demands are spelled out in the Old Testament lesson with the giving of the Ten Commandments and in the Gospel lesson which shows us that these demands are not being met so that Jesus, in righteous indignation, cleanses the temple of the commercial traffic conducted in the name of religion. The solution to the problem is in the cross where the price of disobedience was paid and where perfect obedience to God was demonstrated. Since Christ has fulfilled the demands of the Law, believers in Christ are free from the curse of the Law as a means of finding favor with God. The suggested Psalm emphasizes the excellence of God’s law the Lord requires.

Monday, 26 February 2018Psalm 69:14-16; antiphon, Psalm 69:9—The Introit sets the theme for the day: meeting the demands of the law.  Without the Lord by our side, there is nothing we can do but fall. Yet, with the Lord, we are sustained and rescued, and we rise to new life rather than sink.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018Psalm19 key verse v.8 and John 6:68 —Here you have the words of eternal life. In this psalm, David reminds us once again and emphasizes the excellence of God’s Law. The Theme of the Day reminds us that eternal life is in the words of Christ and not in the words of the Law.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018Exodus 20:1-17—The demands of God’s Law.  God gives the Ten Commandments to Moses and his people. The Ten Commandments are the unconditional demands of God. They are absolute laws that express the will of God for His people. Israel is His people for a covenant was established at Mt.Sinai. The Commandments follow the covenant relationship as the people’s response to God’s grace in making the covenant. They are not conditions to be met before God is their God but rather because He is their God. They will live as His children according to these absolute laws. The laws were written on two tablets of stone by the finger of God indicating that the laws come from God and not from social development. The two tablets refer to the division of the laws as they relate to God and to people. 

Thursday, 01 March 20181 Corinthians 1:22-25—The fulfillment of God’s law in the cross. The crucified Christ is preached as the power and wisdom of God. The message of Christ crucified has difficulty in gaining a sympathetic hearing in the world. Both Jews and Greeks were opposed to it. The Jews demanded a sign and found the cross to be a stumbling block. The Jews asked how God’s Son, the Messiah, could die on a cross, reserved for the worst criminals. Moreover, the Jews looked for signs in terms of their being spectacular and startling. How could Jesus be the Messiah when He came as one meek and lowly and refusing to use violence?  The Greeks, too, were hostile to the cross, for they wanted wisdom. But to them the message of the cross was foolishness. In spite of this hostile environment, Paul is determined to preach Christ crucified, the power and wisdom of God. 

Friday, 02 March 2018John 2:13-22—Man’s failure to keep God’s law. Jesus cleanses the temple of those who traded in it. In the first three Gospels, Jesus begins His ministry in Galilee, but in John’s Gospel the focus is on Jerusalem. In the first three Gospels, the cleansing of the temple comes at the end of Jesus’ ministry, but John’s Gospel puts it at the beginning. In the first three Gospels, the cleansing of the temple becomes the immediate cause of Jesus’ arrest.  In John, the cleansing is related to the Jew’s demand for a sign authorizing Him to take such dramatic action. Jesus’ sign was the destruction of the temple and rebuilding it in three days – a forecast of His death and resurrection.

“Who are you to say or do what you said or did?”  This question is the same as the Jews’ asking Jesus for a sign. The temple with its activities, services, and programs is in the charge of the priests who were authorized to take care of the temple. Who is this itinerant peasant preacher to say what is right to do in the temple?  This question is certainly in order. Jesus gives them the sign of the cross. He is the one whose temple will be destroyed and rebuilt on the third day. This proves who He is – the Messiah – and He has the right and the authority to cleanse the temple. 

Saturday, 03 March 2018Psalm 67:1-2— The hymn of the Day is May God Bestow on Us His Grace {LSB 823}.   These verses introduce a prayer. The heart of the prayer is found in verse one, echoing the priestly benediction that God’s people have received for thousands of years. The Lord blesses us as He comes to us in the person of Jesus Christ our Savior.  

Collect for the Third Sunday in LentO God, whose glory it is always to have mercy, be gracious to all who have gone astray from Your ways and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of Your Word; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, on Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

 Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House.

Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series B John Brokhoff © 1981 CSS Publishing Lima, OH

Illustration from a woodcut by Baron Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, 1794-1872, a distinguished German artist known especially for his book, Das Buch der Bücher in Bilden (The Book of Books in Pictures).

Second Sunday in Lent

Second Sunday in Lent, 25 February 2018           Genesis 16:1-12

Sari sought alternative means for fulfilling God’s promises. When God provides a son to Hagar, discord and strife arise because of jealousy and pride. How often our own households and marriages are torn asunder when we devise ways and means that God had not commanded. Consider how willing our Lord was to submit Himself to everything the Father willed, even when that meant suffering at the hands of evil men and dying in their place. 

He has seen your suffering and has taken it upon Himself. By His dying and rising He makes sure that the God who sees all is now graciously disposed toward you.

Today marks the 180th anniversary of the signing of our congregation’s charter. Thank about that ~ 180 years! We have experienced everything conceivable in these many years. Yet, Christ remains faithful. As He has directed us in the past He will continue to shepherd us into the future. We do not walk alone. Christ goes with us. Christ goes before us with His guidance, mercy and care.   

Dear Lord, though You see all, Your promise now to see us only in Jesus. Tenderly work among us by Your means of grace, exercising Your fatherly care . 1

Hymn: Our Father, Who from Heaven Above (Lutheran Service Book 766:4)

Your gracious will on earth be done
As it is done before Your throne,
That patiently we may obey
Throughout our lives all that You say.
Curb flesh and blood and ev’ry will
That sets itself against Your will.

O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy: Be gracious to all who have gone astray from Your ways, and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of Your Word, Jesus Christ Your Son; who with You and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, forever and ever. Amen. 2
1  Lutheran Study Bible © 2009 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
2 Collect for Sunday of Lent 2,

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Lent 2

Lent 2
February 25, 2018
#180 Anniversary
Mark 8:27-38

Lord, You truly are the Father of mercies and God of all comfort. As You have used many of Your children to draw alongside others and accompany them through troubled times; take our lives and use us as a vessel of comfort and solace to others. As You use us to comfort others who are suffering affliction, together, may we each find solace in Your tender mercies. In the name of Jesus. Amen

Jesus begins to explain to the disciples that He must be arrested, suffer, and die a miserable death to save the world of sin. Peter doesn’t buy it. This does not fit into his plan or agenda. For Peter, that was not the kind of Messiah he was looking for. As Peter begins to rebuke Jesus, the Savior puts Peter in his place. There is the type of suffering Jesus must endure if He were to find any satisfaction from the Father.

Jesus will speak in terms of wasting one’s life and investing one’s life. What is the difference? Between wasting and investing?  How are we to act accordingly? This morning, we will see that the way of the cross involves suffering. How? 

The way of the cross involves suffering.

Beware of what you pray for. When the mother of James and John volunteered to play the role of Bathsheba; to guarantee her sons a seat at the big boys table - the table of power, Jesus invited them. He promises instead, that they could share in His suffering. - Mark 10:37

How would Jesus define suffering?

I.        Deny self – V.34 “Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself.” Mark 8:34

A.     How can people in this affluent and comfortable age be convinced of this reality? We are constantly told by the wisdom of this world to do our own thing, to do what makes us feel good – regardless of the consequences. This has not played well in our American culture. 

The sins of the fathers are trickling down to the children to the third and fourth generation. Our parents spoiled us. Of course, all with good intentions. We've done the same with our own.  We have now created a generation who has learned the meaning of "entitlement." We've shielded our children from the consequences of their actions, and now, they believe that actions have no consequences.

The perception of this world is that suffering is only for the weak. By this world’s standard the strong may do what they will. While the weak suffer what they must.  Suffering is therefore to be avoided at all costs. We’ve been advised to steer clear of anything painful or uncomfortable. Yet there is no such thing as pointless pain in the life of the child of God. Your Savior remains present to encourage and strengthen you - even in the valleys of suffering!

Life is not filled with butterflies, rainbows, and unicorns. Says St. Paul, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.”-2 Corinthians 4:8-11

Remember! Satan only hunts among the hurting. He says, "God doesn’t care about the pain you’re going through. God isn’t able to do anything about it, anyway. This distress. This misery. This adversity. Will never end."

But Peter reminds us, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you.” (1 Peter 5:6). Your present suffering will only be for a little while (1 Peter 1:6), even if it’s for the rest of your earthly life…God will lift (“exalt”) you out of these difficult circumstances and into His safe and satisfying presence forever, away from everything you feared and suffered in this age. (See also Romans 8:16–18 and James 4:10). He will heal every wound. Make up for every loss. And wipe away every tear. (Revelation 21:4).

B.     The way to a crown is through a cross. Jesus endured the cross with a sense of joy for He knew of its victorious end. Joy is not merely frivolity and amusement. There is a deeper meaning to your joy which comes through the cross. That is why we have a liturgy. Every Sunday. There is a time in our service for lament. Every Sunday. There is a time. For us to cry out to the Lord. Kyrie Eleison! "Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy!"

As you endure the crosses placed in your life you share in the hope of God’s glory. Christian suffering – your suffering - is prescribed by the Great Physician. You suffer now with the expectation that you will reign with Christ in glory. 

Transition: The way of the cross involves suffering. It is done when we deny ourselves. It is done when we lose ourselves.

II.     Lose self – V.35 “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.” - Mark 8:35

A.     In an attempt to save your life you could very well lose it! Life can add up to zero! For years, the United Negro College Fund Appeal - had, as its slogan, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” Jesus called Judas Iscariot a “son of perdition.” Perdition simply means “a waste.” 

Judas Iscariot was one who wasted his life when he sold out Jesus for thirty silver coins. Jesus said it would have been better if he had not been born! Jesus recognized that it was a temptation not to go to the cross. Yet Jesus would hear nothing of the sort. To save your life He sacrificed His own – He calls you to do nothing but the same.

B.     Our life is salvaged when we lose our life for Christ and for the Gospel. We follow the way of the cross through denial, suffering and sacrifice. It is in losing one’s life in service to Christ that one reaps life that is abundant and free. A tragedy of life is to waste this precious, once-in-a-lifetime life.

Transition: The way of the cross involves suffering. We deny ourselves, we lose ourselves. We crucify ourselves.

III.   Crucify self – V.34 “take up his cross and follow Me.” Mark 8:34

A.     Take up your cross. The rugged cross means a rugged way of life for a follower of Christ. The Christian style of life is a hard life. An author once wrote, “No cross is so extreme, as to have none. There is no gain without pain!” It was said that President Truman had a sign on his desk which read: “Bring me only bad news. Good news weakens me!”  

B.     You follow after Christ. This is what you have been doing for the past 180 years! Continue in Jesus’ wake.  Jesus. His yoke is easy. His burden- light. Without Him we will  stumble, fumble, flop and fall. Followings Him He leads us throughout this human pilgrimage until we reach the goal and our work is done. As we follow along this path there will be dark days and lonely valleys yet our Captain knows the way. So also with you. Read His book. Follow His signs. He’s walked the path of suffering only to come out victorious. As He leads your sufferings and crosses are made palatable. Lent is a time of suffering – yet it is suffering which endures. 

Today, February 25th - we celebrate the signing of our congregation’s charter. Before that. There was no Christian presence in Adams County.  Today is a time for us to claim our heritage. Not in a boorish way.  But in a gentle and respectful way. We can authentically be who we are. Histories ground us. Denominational names; they’re like last names.  They remind us that we came from somewhere. We’re part of a family. We belong to a story – that’s bigger than ourselves.

The church is not a museum of the saints but a hospice for sinners – ruined and bankrupt by the world. For 180 years you have lived out your name – Friedheim – a house of peace – a safe haven - and a harbor of hope in this world. Continue in the calling the Father has given you. Gossip the Gospel – and live in this peace of Christ with yourselves and with each other.

The cross Jesus bore is the cross the church will bear. Giving oneself on behalf of sinners is just as integral to the gospel today as it always has been. Ministry is not a matter of power and privilege, but of humility and service.

It means coming along someone, and listening to them, giving them the freedom to speak and to tell their story. It’s an opportunity for us to listen – and, when, and only when we have listened – we share with them - Jesus.

The Scriptures remind us, “Through many tribulations (θλῖψιςwe must enter the kingdom of God.” - Acts 14:22 - The way of the cross will involve suffering.  Yet you are not alone in your suffering. Your Savior walks with you. The love and compassion of Christ always restores, repairs and reconciles.

Jesus will raise you up. From sickness to health. From despair to hope. From sin to holiness. From death to life.
Let us suffer here with Jesus,
To His image e’er conform;
Heaven’s glory soon will please us.
Sunshine follows on the storm.
Tho’ we sow in tears of sorrow,
We shall reap in heav’nly joy;    
And the fears that now annoy,
Shall be laughter on the morrow,
Christ I suffer here with Thee;
There, oh, share Thy joy with me!

Words- 1,685
Passive Sentences –7%
Readability – 78%
Reading Level –4.8
Image © 2016 Greg Gallmeyer