Sunday, April 29, 2018

Time in the Word - Easter 6

Prayer for the 5th Sunday of Easter:  O God, You make the minds of Your faithful to be of one will. Grant that we may love what You have commanded and desire what You promise, that among the many changes of this world our hearts may be fixed where true joys are found; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

A Prayer for Agriculture: Almighty God, You blessed the earth to make it fruitful, bringing forth in abundance whatever is needed for the support of our lives. Prosper, we implore You, the work of farmers, grant them seasonable weather that we may gather in the fruit of the earth and thus proclaim Your goodness with thanksgiving. May we see by this noble vocation that with Your help they feed the world. And cause all those who give thanks over their food to treat those who produce it with both honor and respect; through 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.

Time in the Word
April 30 –May 5, 2018
Preparation for next week, 6th Sunday of Easter

The theme for the Sixth Sunday of Easter is found in the Gospel. Jesus commands us to love one another. As usual the Gospel lesson gives the key to the theme of the week. Jesus commands us to love each other. Peter in the first lesson thanks God for His love for all men, both Jews and Gentiles. John in the Epistle reminds us that everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God. The Psalm of the Day calls for a new song to the Lord because of His steadfast love to His people. The Hymn of the Day asks that we might be filled with Jesus’ love and pity.

Collect for the Sixth Sunday in Easter – O God, the giver of all that is good, by Your holy inspiration grant that we may think those things that are right and by Your merciful guiding accomplish them; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Monday, 30 April 2018Psalm 66:1-,8-9, 20; antiphon, Psalm 66:16—The antiphon calls for us to listen to the voice of Him who has saved us,  “Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what He has done for my soul.”  Worship here defined is the proclamation of what God has done in praise of God within the context of the worshiping congregation. As we prepare for next Sunday, this is our central purpose in gathering together.

Tuesday, 1May 2018Psalm 98 key verse, verse 1—“Sing to the Lord a new song.” This psalm is a call to celebrate with joy the righteous reign of the Lord.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018Acts 10:34-48—Peter’s Vision in which all kinds of food which would include both clean and unclean animals (according to Leviticus 11) is depicted in the woodcut on this week’s cover.
The Word of the Lord has now come to both Jewish and Gentile believers. Gentiles had received the same gift as the Jewish believers. This was unavoidable evidence that the invitation to the kingdom was open to Gentiles as well as to Jews.  The early Jewish Christians failed to understand that the Gospel was for Gentiles as well as for the Jews, and that they would share alike in the benefits of redemption.

The mention of Gentiles “speaking in tongues” is a fulfillment of Acts 1:8. The prophecy was given that the Holy Spirit would come and the disciples would be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and into the Gentile world. When the Holy Spirit was poured out on Pentecost, the disciples spoke in other languages (Acts 2:5-12). Acts 8:14-18 reports of an incident occurring in Samaria. The Holy Spirit had come upon people in some noticeable way.  There is no mention of tongues but Peter and John are summoned. What had happened in Samaria was to be verified by those who had given testimony in Jerusalem. Christianity continued to expand to new geographic regions and include more people.

The third and final time tongues is mentioned in the book of Acts occurred in the city of Ephesus. Paul found some disciples who followed the teachings of John the Baptist. They didn't know about the Holy Spirit, so Paul informed them more fully, and taught them that John told people to believe in Jesus (Acts 19:1-4). "On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied" (verses 5-6). Now that the Spirit was poured out in a remote place like Ephesus there is no further mention of believers who would speak in tongues in the book of Acts. The prophecy of Acts 1 has been fulfilled.

Thursday, 3 May 20181 John 5:1-8—John begins by telling us, “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.” Faith in Jesus as the Christ is a sign of being born again just as love is. John wrote at a time when members of a family were closely associated as a unit under the headship of the father. He could, therefore, use the family as an illustration to show that anyone who loves God the Father will naturally love God’s children.

May 4, is the day the church remembers one of our pastors. Friedrich Wyneken is one of the founding fathers of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod, along with C.F.W. Walther and Wilhelm Sihler. Born in 1810 in Germany, Wyneken came to Baltimore in 1838 and shortly thereafter accepted a call to be the pastor of congregations in Friedheim and Fort Wayne, Indiana. Supported by Wilhelm Loehe's mission society, Wyneken served as an itinerant missionary in Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan, particularly among Native Americans. Together with Loehe and Sihler, he founded Concordia Theological Seminary in 1846 in Fort Wayne, IN. He later served as the second president of the LCMS during a period of significant growth (1850-64). His leadership strongly influenced the confessional character of the LCMS and its commitment to an authentic Lutheran witness in the United States.

Friday, 4 May 2018John 15:9-17—This is a continuation of Jesus’ last discourse with His disciples. It is appropriate that one of His last messages was one of love. His disciples are to love as the Father loved Jesus and as He loved His disciples. This love is expressed in keeping the commandments and in the sacrifice of self for a friend. Because we are His friends, Jesus shares all. By His choice, we are His friends. One privilege of this friendship is having prayers answered. If we are disciples and true friends of Jesus, we will love as He loved us.

Saturday, 5 May 2018Psalm 145:15-16; Revelation 19:1; Titus 3:4-7—The hymn of the Day is “Alleluia! Let Praises Ring”{LSB 822}.The kindness of God, His undeserved mercy, and His grace is the reason why God did not simply banish fallen man but acted to save Him. When using the word love, Titus will use the Greek word philanthrapia, the love for mankind. God so loved the world that He sent His Son Jesus. Thus this hymn will fit in nicely with the theme for the Day.  

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House and Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series B John Brokhoff © 1981
CSS Publishing Lima, OH
Illustration from a woodcut by Baron Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld, © WELS  

Friday, April 27, 2018

Easter 5

Easter 5
John 15:1-8
29 April 2018
Abide in Me

Seven times (in the original Greek), Jesus uses a form of the word to “remain” or “abide.” μείνατεἐν You remain in Christ. And He remains in you. 

It’s not like we were loose branches out searching for a vine to connect to. No, Christ did that for you. He did that. You abide. We were dead branches destined for fire, but in loved He saved you. He grafted you into Himself when He brought you to faith. He tells us, “You are already clean through the Word I have spoken to you.” Through the Word that brought you to faith, He has already cleansed you. He has washed you clean of all sin. He has won for you a place in His family. A place at His wedding feast in heaven.  You are already clean. Because you are cleansed through pruning. 

Branches don’t really have any choice. Of either remaining or departing from the vine. If a branch departs, it would be because of its own decay, a pest, or because the gardener has pruned it off.

Jesus reminds us. “I am the true vine, and my father is the gardener.” Your heavenly Father - the Master Gardner - grafted You into the Vine. And gives You all the blessings that come with it. Even though it hurts.

Your Father - the Master-gardener - Tends the vine. Directs the vine. Prunes the vine. So that it may grow in ways which produce fruit. It should be no surprise that God’s way is the way of His creation. It is a way that sees through death and decay to new life. It should also be no surprise, that we who are connected to Christ, the true Vine, through the method of pruning to promote growth. 

What actually happens when you are not connected to the source of life? You end up cut off, withered, useless, like the branches and scraps we clean up from our yard and haul away and burn. 

If you've ever seen pruned bushes, you know it's not a pretty picture. Sometimes, in fact, a pruned bush looks so ravaged that it's hard to believe it will ever bear fruit or flower again. But cutting away the dead growth - is the only way for new life to take place.  

Being a branch doesn't spare you that. The question isn't whether you'll experience some difficulty, some cutting, the question is whether that will be toward new growth or will be just the beginning of more withering.

Martin Luther tells a delightful dialogue about what a vine might say to the gardener if it could speak:
The vine sees the vinedresser, or gardener, coming with his pruning shears and other tools to work around it and says: "What are you doing? That hurts, don't you know that? Now I must wither and decay, for you are removing the soil from around my roots and are tearing away at my branches with those iron teeth. You are tearing and pinching me everywhere, and I will have to stand in the ground bare and seared. You are treating me worse than any tree or plant."

And the gardener would then reply: "You are a fool and do not understand. For even if I do cut a branch from you, it is a totally useless branch; it takes away your strength and your sap. Then the other branches, which should bear fruit, must suffer. Away with it! This is for your own good." 

Then the vine would say: "But you do not understand! I have a different feeling about it!"

The gardener declares: "But I understand it well. I am doing this for your welfare, to keep the foreign and wild branches from sucking out the strength and the sap of the others. Now you will be able to yield more and better fruit and produce good wine." 

The same thing is true when the gardener applies the cow manure to the root of the vine; this, too he does for the benefit of the vine even though the vine might complain and say: "What in the world are you doing? Isn't it bad enough for you to hack and cut at me all day long, trimming this and cutting off that branch? Why, now are you putting that foul smelling stuff at my roots?! I am a vine, to yield delicious grapes to make wonderful wine, and you are putting that terrible smelling stuff near me, it will destroy me!

Of course, we know well that the badly smelling manure does well to put fertilizer and nutrients into the soil so that the vine might grow and prosper and produce an even better crop.1

What Luther is saying here, indeed, what Christ is saying, is that sometimes life hurts. Sometimes life stinks. But God the gardener knows better than we the branches. And He has our best interests in mind, though it may not always seem so to us.

Apart from Jesus, we die. That’s the reality. Sin is a withering disease that would destroy us. But with Jesus. And in Jesus. There is life. His death on the cross. And His rising from the dead. Bring new and true and eternal life to all His people. In this Easter season we are continually reminded that Christ is the source for our life – life with God, and life even from the dead.

 Faith prays for God’s will to be done. Not our will. And with such a prayer you can never go wrong. Sometimes behind God’s apparent, “no”, there is an even bigger yes. As Paul says,   “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ.” -2 Corinthians 1:20

Faith prays that we will remain in Christ. That our sins are forgiven. That our eternity with God is secure. And faith is never disappointed.

Faith prays that we stay connected to the True Vine. That we receive our sustenance from Him. That we bear much fruit, in him. Faith prays that we find our life, always, only, in Him. And faith is never disappointed.

I am the Vine,” Jesus says, “You are the branches.” “Remain in me, and I will remain in you.”
Passive Sentences-5%
Reading Level- 4.0

1 Luther, Martin: Pelikan, Jaroslav Jan (Hrsg.); Oswald, Hilton C. (Hrsg.); Lehmann, Helmut T.
(Hrsg.): Luther's Works, Vol. 22: Sermons on the Gospel of St. John: Chapters 1-4. Saint Louis:
Concordia Publishing House, 1999, c1957 (Luther's Works 22), S. 22

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Time in the Word - Easter 5

Prayer for the 4th Sunday of Easter – Almighty God, merciful Father, since You have wakened from death the Shepherd of Your sheep, grant us Your Holy Spirit that when we hear the voice of our Shepherd we may know Him who calls us each by name and follow where He leads; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who loves and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

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
23-28 April, 2018
Preparation for next week, 5th Sunday of Easter

The theme for the Fifth Sunday of Easter is Life in Christ.  In the Gospel, Jesus described Himself as the Vine and the believers as the branches which bring forth fruit. How one becomes a person in Christ is demonstrated by the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch in the first lesson. To be in Christ means to obey the commandments of God, to love not only in word butin deed.

Collect for the Fifth Sunday in Easter – O God, You make the minds of Your faithful to be of one will. Grant that we may love what You have commanded and desire what You promise, that among the many changes of this world our hearts may be fixed with what true joys are found through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

Monday, 23 April2018Psalm 145:1-2, 8, 10, 21; antiphon, John 16:16—The antiphon is taken from the Lord’s promise to His followers,  “A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me.” Few doubt that the first phrase refers to the interval before the crucifixion. But interpretations differ as to whether the second refers to the interval preceding the resurrection or the coming of the Spirit, or the return of Christ on the Last Great Day. It seems that the language here best fits the resurrection.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018Psalm 150 key verse v.6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Who should praise the Lord? All who come to Him in faith. We celebrate the Savior’s great and mighty acts. 

Wednesday, 25 April 2018Acts 8:26-40—Philip is sent to bring an Ethiopian eunuch to faith in Christ.  The treasures of an Ethiopian queen were on their way home after worshiping in Jerusalem. His chariot was on a main road from Jerusalem to Egypt. The Spirit directed Philip, one of the seven deacons (See Acts 6:1-5), to meet the chariot at Gaza. The eunuch was probably a proselyte or God-fearer of Judaism. Philip found him reading Isaiah 53 but not understanding it. After Philip’s explanation, the Ethiopian asked to be baptized. He accepted Christ and according to tradition he introduced Christianity into Ethiopia. It should be noted that verse 37 (“If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he replied, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”)is omitted in the older manuscripts and some modern versions will place the verse only in the margin.

Thursday, 26 April 20181 John 4:1-11—The word “Love” in its various forms is used 43 times in John’s letter. The word is used 32 times from 4:7-5:3 In His essential nature and in all His actions, God is loving. John similarly affirms that God is spirit (John 4:24) and light (John 1:5), as well as holy, powerful, faithful, true, and just. If we love in deed, we know we have the truth.

Friday, 27 April2018John 15:1-8—Jesus is the vine and we are the branches who are expected to bear fruit.  Sunday’s Gospel lesson is a part of Jesus’ final discourse (chapters 13-17) with His disciples in the Upper Room on Maundy Thursday.

Jesus uses allegory: He is the vine; God is the vinedresser; the branches are the believers; the fruit constitutes good works. The vine is the source of life. To be connected with the Source is to have life and produce fruit. To be separated from the Vine is to die and be destroyed. People in the Vine have their prayers answered. Bearing fruit glorifies God and proves discipleship.

John referred to adult Christians as “little children.” Is this talking down to adults? Is it an insult to even add “little” to children?  Jesus referred to His disciples as “these little ones.”  It is no insult because if God is our Father, we are His true children. Since when? We were adopted as His children at Baptism, and we live in Christ as branches in the vine. And we are “little” too. We are often little in faith, in love and in our words. How little we are when compared with the fullness of the stature of Jesus Christ. 

In these lessons we hear repeatedly the word “abide.” A fruitful Christian is one who produces good works because that person abides in Christ. How do we know we abide in Christ? One answer may be that our fruits prove it. This verse gives another answer. We are in Christ when we have the Spirit. If we have the Holy Spirit, it is the same as being in Christ. The Holy Spirit is at the same time the spirit of Christ.

Saturday, 28 April 2018Psalm 98:1-3; 2 Timothy 1:9-10; Romans 3:28 -The hymn of the Day, Dear Christians One and All, Rejoice – {LSB 556}   When Luther translated the phrase “by faith” in Romans 3:28 he added the word “alone” which though not in the Greek, accurately reflect the meaning of the passage. The Hymn is one of Luther’s classic hymns which explain to us the heart of the gospel found in Jesus Christ.
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 Schnorr von Carolsfeld, © WELS

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Richard Scheumann

Richard Scheumann

Born into this world –April 4, 1920
Baptized into Christ April 18, 1920
Confirmed in the faith -March 25, 1934
With Christ in Peace -April 11, 2018
Committal - April 21, 2018

The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.  He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.  –Psalm 145:18-19

Jesus, lead Thou on
Till our rest is won
And although the way be cheerless
We will follow calm an fearless,
Guide us by Thy hand
To our fatherland

If the way be drear,
If the foe be near,
Let not faithless fears o’er-take us,
Let not faith and hope forsake us;
For through many a woe
To our home we go.

Jesus, lead thou on
Till our rest is won.
Heavenly Leader still direct us,
Still support, control, protect us,
Till we safely stand
In our fatherland. [1]

Death is so limited…
It has not crippled love,
It has not shattered hope,
It has not corroded faith,
It has not eaten away peace
   Nor destroyed confidence.

It has not killed friendship,
It has not shut out memories,
It has not silenced courage,
It has not invaded the soul,
   Nor reduced eternal life.

It has not quenched the Spirit,
It cannot, has not,
  Nor will not lessen the power of the resurrection![2]

When you remember Richard Scheumann.  Certain thoughts enter your mind. He was your Dad. And your grandpa. He was your bus driver. – He drove you to school. And safely back home. He had no formal education. Yet he remained a life learner. He was a farmer. And with the Lord’s help – he fed the world.

Wise King Solomon would remind us, “I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one's lifetime; moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor-- it is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has so worked that men should fear Him.” - Ecclesiastes 3:12-14

Richard Scheumann was a good and faithful neighbor. He was loyal. And humble. He faithfully; and I mean, faithfully, wore his Purdue 2001 Rose Bowl sweatshirt with pride.

He was faithful in worship. He attended services every Sunday. And when he could no longer make it to church he would tune in on the radio and listen to the live broadcast. Finally, when he transitioned to the Village of Heritage – Thursday became His second Sunday. “I go to church twice now.” He would say. And when the trustees had to file our corporation papers with the State every other year – Richard’s name was listed as the contact person. For close to sixty years.

We gather here today not merely to honor his memory – but to praise our God for the life he lived and the life He has in Christ. He knew the Savior’s voice. Now, he sees His face.  Rich’s life was rooted in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ –

On the day of his confirmation these words were spoken over your dad, “The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.  He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.  –Psalm 145:18-19

Psalm 145 is a psalm of David in celebration of all that Christ has done for those who have gone through trials and testing. In this Psalm, David commends and commits himself to the Lord’s goodness, His greatness, and His grace.

When the world seems out of control and times get rough, where can we find shelter, peace and refuge? “Times of Refreshing” are found in the presence of the Lord.

The Lord is near to them that call upon Him and to all who call upon Him in truth.”

 The Lord has promised, He will hear your cry.

Christ hears your prayers. He knows your circumstances. He knows your situation. He has a solution for whatever is going on in our lives. The Lord is near those who “call upon Him.” How often are we guilty of living our lives our way and according to our own timetables and we taking no time to call upon the Lord? It is one thing to call on the name of the Lord when we are in trouble, but it is entirely another thing to call upon Him with each and every decision that we make so that He can keep us out of trouble!

 Look closely, “The Lord is near them that call on Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.” We call upon Him according to His truth; which, of course, is found in His Word. His presence is with us. And where His presence is, there His power and His provisions will be found.

The Savior is never too busy for you. That’s how close He is. That’s the kind of love He has. “The Lord is near to all who call on him.” Every time you call. Christ is near. He thinks about you a lot more than you think about Him. He thought about you before you were born. He thinks about you every moment of every day.  In spite of the busyness of our lives - He never gets too busy.

  He will fulfill your desires.

Christ is sympathetic to your hurts. “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18). Christ is close to you. He understands. “Near” is a very relative term. His nearness to us is always close enough from His perspective. He will never leave you nor forsake you.

 He saves them.

Christ's love knows no boundaries. He loves you constantly and completely. It is a love that can never be broken. His love is boundless and eternal. Never forget - Jesus loves you! When others turn their backs on you.  When their love grows cold. And empty.  Jesus will still be there. To love you. He will never stop or change in His love for you!

As sons of Adam, and daughters of Eve, we know of sin’s sting and power. The sting and power of sin is what has caused us to gather here today. For the wages of sin is death. Romans 6:23

Sin is the cause of man in his struggle to survive. Cursed is the ground because of you. In toil, you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you. And you shall eat of the plants of the field. By the sweat of your face, you shall eat bread, until you return to the ground. Because from it you were taken. For you are dust and to dust you shall return. - Geneses 3:17-19

Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it. – Ecclesiastes 12:7

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. -1 Corinthians 15:16-17

Yet, there is something more lasting, more powerful and greater than your sin. It is the love and compassion Jesus has for us sinners. While each of us were lost and steeped in sin, God our Father had a plan. A plan; which was in place, way before the dawn of time.

At the right time, God our heavenly Father would send His only Son. He would enter into our world. Breaking into time and space. He came to be your substitute. He would live the perfect life for you. He would die the death that you deserve. And there, at a cross, He would trade your sin, your misery and your guilt for His perfection and work out what you and I could never, ever do!

Yes, Jesus has done for you better than what you could ever do for yourself. When settling the issue with sin, Jesus acts alone. He dealt with the issue of your brokenness Himself. Period. With no help from anyone. The Father sends His own Son to the cross. Jesus bore your sin. He carried it alone – to the cross of Calvary. There He died for you.

There He wins salvation for the entire world. And on the third day, He rose from the dead to prove to you that this freedom, this forgiveness, this new life, has been credited to you.

God is completely responsible for your salvation. From front to back! You don’t one-day wake up and decide to follow Jesus – He plants the seed of faith in your heart.

He then nourishes that faith by giving you His eternal Word, which is able to make you wise unto salvation. This is what St. Paul reminds us when he tells us in Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Jesus did what you could never do. He lived a perfect life. And this perfection is handed over to you. It is now your own. The Father looks at you- as-if-you-had-never sinned. You are flawless. Because, and only because, you are in Christ. Cling to Jesus and His promises. He makes you a new person. You are His. He will not leave you. He loves you more than you will ever know. And in Him, your sin is no more. There is not more guilt. All that is left is His redeeming love.

This is your story! This is Richard Scheumann’s legacy.  Experiencing that great exchange – God‘s mercy and forgiveness purchased at the cost of His own Son. “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16

The Scriptures remind us, Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. –Revelation 2:10 Being faithful doesn’t mean living a perfect life. Being faithful does not mean always doing your best. We can’t. We’re fallen creatures. Poor, miserable sinners. We find ourselves living outside of Eden.

Being faithful is simply trusting, believing, and clinging to all of the Father’s promises. This Richard did. He placed his confidence in the very promises that pointed to his Savior. For this reason, and only this reason, we can say that Richard Scheumann is alive. He is well. He is at peace. He is whole. He is in the very presence of Jesus. And in the words of the spiritual, “Soon and very soon we shall see the King.” Yes, we shall see him again. Never to be separated by time, distance or space.

Comfort yourselves in the reality. We are Easter people. Jesus lives. Because He lives, we shall live also!

Rich knew of this reality - that when God pardons. He does not say He understands your weakness. Or, make allowances for your errors. Rather, He disposes of. Finishes with. The whole of your dead life. And raises you up with a new one. He does not so much deal with your failures as does He drop them down the black hole of Jesus' death. He forgets your sins in the darkness of the tomb.

He remembers your iniquities, no more, in the forgetfulness of Jesus' death. He finds you in the desert of death, not in the garden of improvement. And in the power of Jesus' resurrection, He puts you on His shoulders, rejoicing, and brings you home![3] 

In the gospel of John, Jesus came to visit a grieving family. He came to greet two sisters, Mary and Martha who were grieving the loss of their brother Lazarus.

We could change the names easily to say, He came to visit a family; three daughters, and a son, who were grieving over the loss of their father and grandpa.

In His conversation with them Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” Then He asks, “Do you believe this?John 11:25-26

We each must ponder this question…

Ø   Is Jesus the resurrection and the life? The testimony of Scripture is undeniable! – The early disciples would simply say, “We are witnesses of these things!”(- Acts 5:32; 10:39)

Ø   Do you believe – that whoever believes in Jesus, even though they die will live and not die?

Rich believed this! – He knew that he was a sinner. But he also knew that Christ is compassionate who has promised to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness –

This service is for the living.  Richard Scheumann was given the opportunity to live his life -98 years.  We continue on. Life will be different. There shall be a different sense of “normal” in your routines.

But we are and always will be Easter people!  We walk by faith.  Until that day comes in your own life. When Jesus will call you. - From this world. To a world that has no end.  From an earthly kingdom. To a heavenly kingdom.  From a place which is limited. To a place that is beyond time and space. May the Savior so walk with you until we are re-united with those who have gone before us.
Words –2,305
Passive Sentences –3%
Readability –86.6%
Reading Level- 3.4

[1] Jesus Lead Thou On, The Lutheran Hymnal © 1943 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
[2] Unknown source, © Common Domain
[3]Robert Farrar Capon, Parables of Grace, pg. 39

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Time in the Word - Easter 4

Collect for Easter 4 Almighty God, merciful Father, since You have wakened from death the Shepherd of Your sheep, grant us Your Holy Spirit, that we may know the voice of our Shepherd and follow Him, that sin and death may never pluck us out of Your hand; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

Lord God, our shepherd, You gather the lambs of Your flock into the arms of Your mercy and bring them home. Comfort us with the certain hope of the resurrection to everlasting life and a joyful reunion with those we love who have died in the faith; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Anoon time prayer; Gracious Jesus, our Lord and our God, at this hour You born our sins in Your own body on the tree so that we, being dead to sin, might live unto righteousness. Have mercy upon us now and at the hour of our death, and grant to us, Your servants, with all others who devoutly remember Your blessed passion, a holy and peaceful life in this world and through Your grace eternal glory in the life to come, where, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, You live and reign, one God, now and forever.

An afternoon prayer: Heavenly Father, in whom we live and move and have our being, we humbly pray You so to guide and govern us by Your Word and Spirit, that in all the cares and occupations of our life we may not forget You but remember that we are ever walking in Your sight.

Time in the Word
16-21 April 2018
Preparation for next week, Easter 4

This is Good Shepherd Sunday.  The theme of the Good Shepherd is evident in the Gospel and the Hymn of the Day. An emphasis is made on the power of the Good Shepherd. In the Gospel, Jesus says he has power to lay down his life and to raise it again. How does this fit into the Easter season, a celebration of the Resurrection? Jesu has power to rise from the dead.

Jesus explains the parable of the good shepherd. An explanation is made of what constitutes a good shepherd in contrast to a hireling. Emphasis is laid upon the fact that Jesus’ deasth was voluntary. The shepherd has an intimate knowledge of his sheep. There is one flock with one shepherd. The basic point is that the Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 

Monday, 16 April 2018 Psalm 23; Antiphon, John 10:14, 15b – The Fourth Sunday of Easter is also known as “Good Shepherd Sunday.” The Introit combines the twenty-third psalm with a portion of Jesus’ words from John 10. One of the key verses of Psalm 23 is verse 3: He restoreth my soul; He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who restores our soul by laying down His life for His sheep. By this sacrificial act, He redeemed us, that we may be righteous in God’s eyes.

Tuesday, 17 April, 2018 Psalm 23 – Sunday’s psalm is the very familiar twenty-third psalm. Children of God have turned to this psalm for comfort for thousands of years, not just because it uses pretty words and phrases in depicting a tranquil scene, but also because it faces the grim realities of life (Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death; the presence of mine enemies) and gives sure, certain hope to all who are members of the Lord’s flock.

Wednesday, 18 April, 2018 Acts 4:1-12 – After their release by the Sanhedrin, before whom they were taken because of their preaching of Jesus and His resurrection, Peter and John return to the band of believers. As they had before the Jewish leaders, Peter and John show how the Old Testament must be interpreted with Jesus in mind. They quote Psalm 2, a coronation psalm, in their prayer, and show how King Jesus fulfilled it.

Thursday, 19 April, 2018 1 John 3:16-24 – The readings from St John’s first epistle continue with this short passage. In it, John contrasts those in the world, who do not know the Father because they have rejected the Son, with believers, who put their trust in Christ, and, thus, have been made the children of God.

Friday, 20 April, 2018 John 10:11-18 – Sunday’s Gospel is the “Good Shepherd” passage from St John’s Gospel. Jesus calls Himself the “good,” or “noble,” Shepherd. He has made us the sheep of His flock by giving His life for us, and He continues to protect us from all who would do us evil or harm. So long as we remain in His fold, nothing, not even the devil, can harm us.

Recall the words of A Mighty Fortress: “And take they our life / Goods, fame, child, and wife / Let these all be gone / They yet have nothing won / The Kingdom ours remaineth.”
Jesus will refer to himself as the good shepherd. Who then are we who believe in him? Are we sheep or shepherds? If we are shepherds, where arte the sheep to be led, fed, and protected? Some congregations indicate on their Sunday bulletins that all members of the church are “ministers”. Who then are the clergy? It seems we may have too many chiefs and not enough braves in the church. A shepherd is one who leads; the sheep follow. Jesus is the chief shepherd (pastor) and his leaders are ordained to be under-shepherds. The rest of us are sheep.

Jesus death and resurrection are not the work of humans. He is no victim of injustice. He is not a martyr to a good cause. He is in control of his destiny. In this passage of Scripture we are reminded that he has the power to die and to return to life. This is God’s work. A work of salvation. The cross is a victory over sin and the resurrection confirms the victory.

Jesus has other sheep. There is nothing sectarian about Jesus. He does not intend to be limited to Israel. He is for the whole world. He died for all humankind. He commissions His disciples to preach the gospel to all nations. He is a universal Savior. He envisions the whole world to be one flock under one shepherd. Because Jesus has “other sheep” the church needs its program of evangelism and missions to gather the other sheep into His fold, the church.

Saturday, 21 April, 2018 The Lord’s My Shepherd, I’ll Not Want (LSB710 436) – Sunday’s hymn is simply – and appropriately – the twenty-third psalm in metrical form, set to a pretty tune. Note thatThe Lutheran Hymnal also has the same psalm used as a canticle, set to a beautiful chant tone (probably Anglican), Hymn 662.

Concordia Self-Study Commentary, © 1971, 1979, Concordia Publishing House. St. Louis
Lutheran Worship, © 1982, Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis,
Lutheran Service Book, © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series B John Brokhoff © 1981 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH
Image by Ed Rioja © Higher Things
© Google Images: "The Good Shepherd"

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Easter 3

Easter 3
April 15, 2018
John 10:11-18

O God, through the humiliation of Your Son You raised up the fallen world. Grant to Your faithful people, rescued from the perils of everlasting death, perpetual gladness and eternal joys;

The night of the first Easter. When the disciples saw Jesus. They experience – surprise and fright. Which turned into joy. “It seemed too good to be true!” But it was true. And He gave them this instruction – what is good and true must be told.

It seemed too good to be true. The reports were coming in. Sin and death had not conquered. “The Lord has risen indeed!” Jesus appeared to the disciples in the room. Joy and doubt clashed. Our reaction too is both awe and joy. It seems too good to be true. Despite our sin. God offers forgiveness. And life. Through His Son Jesus.

It is good. Because it is true.   It is not a human plan of salvation. Human efforts reject Christ. “This Jesus is the stone that was rejected.” (Acts 4:11)

Because of self-righteousness. And deceit. The truth of Christ is rejected.  And there is no truth outside of Christ. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:8)

It has always been God’s plan. To restore us back to Himself.  Revealed already to the Old Testament faithful. Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” (Luke 24:44)

It is fulfilled in Christ. “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, (v.46)

He is the Truth of God’s salvation. It is good. Because it calls for us to repent. And offers the truth of God’s forgiveness. “…and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” (v.47) Thus, we become right before God. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

It is truth. That is good for others. God desires that His salvation be proclaimed to all nations. “And that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:47)

Repentance and forgiveness will restore people. From the darkness of sin. To the goodness of God’s light. God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:5-9)

The people of God are witnesses. To the power of Christ’s death and resurrection. “You are witnesses of these things.” (Luke 24:48) All of us can share Christ in our daily conversations with others. The Holy Spirit gives us power to tell what is true. And what is good.  And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high. (vs.49)

God’s salvation is never “too good to be true.” It is utterly good. It is utterly true. You can tell the world. So that all people can experience its truth and goodness.
Words –660
Passive Sentences –6%
Readability –87.1%
Reading Level -2.9 -3.2