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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Always Pray; Don’t Give Up

October 17, 2010

Always Pray; Don’t give up

Luke  18:1-8

Grace, Mercy and Peace are yours from God our Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ.

Luke 18

Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.

Some of us have a keen sense of direction.  We usually have a general idea about where it is we are headed.  We can take off in that direction and get to where we need to be with few if any wrong turns.  Others of us, on the other hand, would be hard pressed to say which way is due North, and so have to get some help from a compass and a map or a GPS before taking the first step of any trip from home.  But then there is that good many of us who try to give the impression that we know exactly where we are going, while inwardly we are just guessing that it must be down this road somewhere.  And our hope is that we will stumble onto what we are looking for before it becomes so obvious that we are lost, that we have to ask some stranger for directions.

There are probably a number of reasons why it is difficult for some of us – many of us – to ask for directions or, for that matter, to ask for help of any kind at all.  But I wonder if all the reasons, stem from a misguided sense of shame.  We often feel ashamed to ask for help.  It seems like a sign of weakness to ask for help.  Or it’s a sign of ignorance to ask for directions or explanations.

You know what it’s like when you’re in a big group and everybody is talking about something that you don’t understand.  Everyone else is taking their turn adding to the conversation.  It’s obvious they all know what they are talking about.  But you don’t have a clue.  Sometimes it’s easier to just smile and nod your head then to interrupt the conversation and ask, wait, what?  I have to do that with football a lot.  I would rather just pretend I know what’s going on rather than to ask, who’s that guy.  Why did he do that?  And who is holding whom?

But we do need to recognize when it is important enough for us to ask for help or for directions or for an explanation.  It is a tragedy when a person puts up with a pain or a problem or tries to ignore a difficulty in their life that could be easily and quickly solved if they just asked for help.  Sometimes in life you have to suffer. You simply must endure those times, patiently.  But it is wrong to suffer when you don’t have to.  It’s wrong to suffer just because you are ashamed to ask for help.

What you must do, is believe that God has called you to be His servant in this present life and to serve your neighbor in love, to help them out when you can.  Then you must also believe that God has also put your neighbors in the positions that they are in, to serve you.  Whether they realize it or not, your neighbor is there to serve you.  Remembering that God works this way, you won’t feel like you are interrupting the clerk at a store to ask for help.  It’s his job to help you.  You won’t need to feel ashamed or weak to admit to the plumber that you have a problem you can’t fix on your own.  It’s his or her place to listen to you and you are their opportunity to do what God has them do.

It is God’s will that you love your neighbor and serve them, help them out.  It is also His will that your neighbor serve you and help you out. Hold them to that, expect that from them.  The persistent widow in this parable today, Jesus holds her up as an example for doing just that.

At first you might think that the widow woman comes off as an annoyance and a bother.  Who would want to be that?  But she was right to be persistent.  In order to protect herself and her interests she had to go to the judge and because the judge was slow to help her, she had to be persistent.

Jesus calls the judge, the “unjust judge”.  He was unjust because he wasn’t carrying out justice for the widow.  The problem is, he wasn’t doing his job, his calling from God.  He didn’t care about God or about people.  So He was an anti-judge, the opposite of what he was supposed to be.  An unjust judge.

The point of Jesus’ parable is this:  You who are reluctant to ask a stranger for directions, you who might get uncomfortable going to a doctor with your problems, you who are too ashamed to ask your neighbor for help or for advice, You must never hesitate to call upon the Lord in times of trouble.

In the book of James, that apostle says to us You do not have, because you do not ask God.  (James 4:2)

Know that God is there to help you.  That is his job, hold him to it.

Always pray; never give up.

It’s a pity that Jesus has to tell us that.  It’s too bad that he has to have this parable for those of us who are slow to pray, hesitant to pray, negligent in our prayers.  He never told a prayer for those who pray toomuch.  He knew that would not be our problem.  But he needed to teach us and rebuke us when we pray too little.

Always pray; never give up.

And really, why would you give up?

Do you think that you and your problems aren’t significant enough to bother the Lord with?  Learn what your baptism has done for you.  To you who believe and are baptized He has given the Holy Spirit and enabled you to be called the Sons of God.

Learn well how much He loves you.  He wants you to be with Him forever.  He is waiting for you in heaven, waiting to greet you like a groom greets his bride at the altar.

You are more significant than you realize.  Cast all your cares on Him for He cares for you.

Always pray, never give up.  And as you pray you will learn what are your most significant needs and you will learn what to pray for most persistently.  Consider the petitions of the Lord’s Prayer as you pray and have Jesus teach you how to pray from there.

Learn to pray by doing it.  Like riding a bike, you didn’t learn by reading a book about it or just by listening to someone talk about it, you learned by doing it.  As with so many things, so with prayer, you learn by doing it.  And then as you are doing it you grow in your understanding of it, deepen and improve your prayers by learning from the Lord and His word and by learning from the church in the corporate prayers we have here.

Always pray; never give up.

Even if it seems as though the Lord is putting off help for you.   Hear how Jesus wraps up His parable:  "Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly.

Pray with patience.  And trust.

            Like Jacob in the Old Testament reading today, wrestle with God.  He has promised to help you out in times of need.  His job is to keep His promises.  Hold Him to that.  When there seems to be a delay,  keep at it.  Be persistent in your petitions and requests to God.

            Yes, we know that God is doing His job.  Since the start of creation He has been at work for you, his beloved.  He will see that you get justice.  That’s the beauty of His love there.  That’s not the justice that you’ve got coming, because you don’t deserve any love or help from God.  You shouldn’t expect or demand that He gives you any aid.   But his is the justice that Jesus gives you when He wins His case against the devil and against all sin and against death.  God says, it is not good for my children to suffer, even when it is their own fault.  So I will give them justice for my Son’s sake.  I will bless them with Him

            And because of my Son, I will hear their prayers and I will answer them quickly.

Therefore you, my beloved ones, “always pray, never give up.”

Saturday, April 17, 2010

…that you may believe…

April 11, 2010

Opening Divine Service for

Westgate Circuit Pastors’ Conference

. . that you may believe. . .

John 20:21-23

Grace, Mercy and Peace are yours from God our Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ.

John 20:21-23

Jesus said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you." [22] And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. [23] If you forgive the sins of anyone, they are forgiven; if you withhold forgiveness from anyone, it is withheld."

The resurrection of Jesus was surprising to those disciples.  Expecting only death, there before their eyes is Life, Himself.

Is it possible for us to recapture some of that surprise?  So much of what we see goes the other way.  We get used to seeing things and people pass away.  We so rarely see things come to life.  Every daffodil and crocus that blooms anew ought to give us a little happy surprise.

I have noticed an occupational hazard in that after a few years of doing what I do, death is no longer surprising.  I get to expect it.  It is no longer as shocking as it once was, to get that phone call, “Dear pastor, our sister has died”, or “Dear pastor, our brother has died.”

Once when we were young, death seemed so far away didn’t it? It was so rare for anyone to die.  Our mothers and fathers, for instance, didn’t they seem immortal?  Now time has taken its toll, sin seeks its wages from our very mortal parents and from us.

Jesus, all throughout His teaching to His disciples, had been defining  for them what life really means.  He had said, 8 or 9 chapters earlier, I am the Resurrection and the Life.  That’s what life really is.  Life, as Jesus taught them, meant being with the Lord of Life.   Death is separation from the Lord.  Hell is not only the suffering caused by fire, it is the anguish of being forever separated from God.

On the evening of the first Easter the disciples were behind locked doors for fear of the Jews.  They were afraid all hell was gonna break lose.  Until He who is the resurrection and the life stood among them.  “Peace”, he said.  And all fear and all hell passed away.

Jesus says, I’ve got the keys to death and Hades.  I’ll make sure you my loved ones, won’t have to worry about such things. You won’t have to hide from death and hell.  Peace be with you.

And then see how Jesus ties forgiveness to all this.  Our forgiveness and Our forgiving.

He tells his Apostles:  “If you forgive the sins of anyone, they are forgiven; if you withhold forgiveness from anyone, it is withheld."  And the Gospel of forgiveness and life is let loose on the whole world.

Because sin separates us from God, Jesus wants His church to preach repentance and forgiveness to stamp out sin and thereby bring God back to people and bring people back to God.

            Because sin separates us from God, the Lord of life, Jesus wants His church to preach repentance and forgiveness to stamp out death, that horribly shocking result of sin, and bring life back to people and bring His people back to life.

Because sin separates us from God, it makes people feel guilty, awkward, uncomfortable around Him, Jesus wants His church to preach repentance and forgiveness to bring peace back to people and to bring His people back to peace.

And what about Thomas?  Shall we ridicule him or admire him?  Shall we point out his error or follow his pattern?

Thomas believed.  Thank God.  Echo what Thomas said when He thanked His God, Jesus, He said, “My Lord and my God!”

Some have believed all this about life and forgiveness and peace because it was told to them by angels.

Some have believed all this about life and forgiveness and peace because they simply remembered what Jesus said.

Some have believed all this about life and forgiveness and peace because they have seen Jesus with their eyes and touched Him with their hands.

Some have believed all this about life and forgiveness and peace because the evidence is so strong:

n No enemy of Jesus could produce the dead body

n The friends of Jesus, thousands of them, all gave their testimony to this miracle of resurrection and life

n No one can reasonably doubt their testimony, because why would so many lie about a thing like that?  Why would so many of those first Christians even gladly face persecution and death for Jesus, if it was all a lie?

No matter how it was that they came to believe, by seeing, by touching, by hearing the testimony of men or angels – all who believe must reckon that they are blessed by God, called by the Holy Spirit and enlightened with His gifts.

We who are many and varied have one Spirit who gives rich and varied gifts to teach us God’s love, God’s forgiveness and God’s life.

            Martin Luther said it this way, in what I think is a familiar paragraph of the Smalcald Articles:

“The Gospel does not give us counsel and aid against sin in only one way.  God is superabundantly generous in His grace:  First, through the spoken Word, by which the forgiveness of sins is preached in the whole world.  Second, through Baptism.  Third through the holy Sacament of the Altar.  Fourth, through the Power of the Keys.  Also through the mutual conversation and consolation of brethren, [As Jesus said,] “where two or three are gathered [in my name, there I am in the midst of them.]”

            Now this is so much more than a trivial, memorable paragraph of a theological treatise.  It is more than ammunition in our debates with those who have warped ideas about the office of the ministry or the way to worship, or whatever other pet peeve we are on at the moment.

            This is the very lifeblood of the church.

            This is what sustains us sinners, us guilty, dying sinners.

All this that Luther lists is for you, so that you may believe, and my believing you may have life in his name.

First the Word: Jesus had His Apostles write down what they had seen and heard, in a book so that their testimony would be preserved and published throughout the world and throughout the generations. Jesus told John, and the others in that apostolic band to write this stuff down, because e wanted you to read it, as though He Himself was preaching it.

Second, Baptism.  Sins are washed away in forgiveness.  Death is turned to life.  Separation from God is no more, Life and peace remain.

Third the Holy Sacrament of the Altar.  Our participation in the body of Christ, dead and risen and alive and giving life. Our participation in the blood of Christ. Shed for forgiveness of sins served now as our celebratory drink of eternal life.

Fourth through the power of the keys, those powerful keys that Jesus gave to His disciples "Receive the Holy Spirit. [23] If you forgive the sins of anyone, they are forgiven; if you withhold forgiveness from anyone, it is withheld."  Let’s never take those powerful words lightly.  That absolution and forgiveness proclaimed and dispersed is the very key that locks up Death and Hades and opens up Life and Heaven.

And Also through the mutual conversation and consolation of brethren, [As Jesus said,] “where two or three are gathered [in my name, there I am in the midst of them.]”  Like the disciples on that first Easter, we still gather with each other, around our risen Lord.

Like the disciples on that first Easter, we still gather with each other and Hear what He has to say to us “Peace be with you.”

Conversation and Consolation of the brethren.  Let the Alleluias of Easter fill our conversation.  Let the Good news of resurrection, life, forgiveness and peace be our consolation to each other.


Monday, April 12, 2010

Preparing to Worship 4/18

Liturgy—page 151

Scripture Readings


  • 469  “Christ the Lord Is Risen Today”
  • 475  “Good Christian Friends, Rejoice and Sing”
  • 625 “Lord Jesus Christ, Life-Giving Bread”
  • 537 “Beautiful Savior”
  • 556 “Dear Christians, One and All, Rejoice”
  • 525 “Crown Him With Many Crowns”

New Orleans Bound

One more step has been completed in the plans for our youth trip to New Orleans in July.  The hotel assignment has been made and we like the looks of our hotel!  We will be staying at the Chateau Bourbon.

we believe (1)

Happy Baptism Birthday this week

  • 4/12—Matt S.,
  • 4/13—Becca F.,
  • 4/16—Alice W.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Preparing to Worship March 21

Liturgy page 184

Scripture Readings


  • 392    “God Loves Me Dearly”           Tune        Lyrics
  • 430    “My Song Is Love Unknown”       Tune       Lyrics
  • 451    “Stricken, Smitten, And Afflicted”    Tune      Lyrics
  • 627    “Jesus Christ, Our Blessed Savior”    Tune      Lyrics
  • 637    “Draw Near and Take the Body of the Lord” Tune  Lyrics
  • 811    “”Oh, That I Had A Thousand Voices”     Tune     Lyrics


Sunday School Offering

The Sunday School offering for this quarter will be sent to our missionary in Vietnam, Sarah Schaff.  Sarah is a member of St. Peter, Westgate and was here in Fredericksburg this past summer helping with Vacation Bible School.  Keep her in your prayers and support her with your offerings in children’s Sunday School.

Happy Baptism Birthday

this week to

  • Liz T. and Sheryl H. 3/18


Please Pray for

the family of Wes G.  He passed away on Friday night.  Visitation will be on Tuesday from 4-7 at Kearns Funeral Home in Waterloo.  Funeral will be on Wednesday morning at 10:30 at the funeral home.  Keep Lorraine and the rest of the family in your prayers.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

3rd Wednesday in Lent Message

Jesus, our Redemption

1 Peter 1:18-19

Grace, Mercy and Peace are yours from God our Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 18 & 19:  For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.

Jesus is our Redemption.

This passage from 1 Peter provides a definition of redemption.  Jesus delivered you or saved you from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, by paying the price of His own holy precious blood and his innocent suffering and death.

This Bible word Redemption adds to our understanding of what Jesus did for us.  It is good for us as we meditate on the passion and death of our Lord Jesus to think of it in terms of our redemption   Ephesians chapter one says, “In Jesus the Son of God, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.”

We have this redemption through the blood of Jesus.  Our salvation didn’t come cheap or easy.  It came at a price -- The blood of Jesus and His innocent suffering and death.  So we sing our praises to the Lord of Glory who has bought us with His life-blood as the price.

In tonight’s reading of the passion history, we can hear how the expense of our redemption was weighing heavily on the Savior.  In anguish He prayed, “Father, if you are willing remove this cup from me.  Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”  [Luke 22:42].   The spiritual and emotional stress was taxing Jesus’ physical body.  In anticipation of the bloodshed that was about to come to Him, “his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

I teach the Apostles’ Creed to the children of our Fun in the Son Preschool.  Last week’s lesson was “suffered under Pontius Pilate.”  And today’s lesson was “was crucified.”  And the children today were just appalled by this idea that Jesus, who had never done anything wrong, should suffer, and be crucified.  One child said, “I don’t like Pontius Pilate.”  Another said, “Pontius Pilate should have been on the cross.”  It was good for me to see the cross through their new and fresh perspective.  We, who have grown up a little bit more than they, ought not to lose that full sense of anguish and horror as we see that our salvation came at the price of Jesus holy precious blood and his innocent suffering and death.

Jesus said, “Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”  He put aside His will, His self-preservation, His own life, to do His Father’s will and His Father’s will is to love you.

Try to imagine what it might have been like to live back in the early years of the United States of America, back in those days, when slavery was legal.  At first it seems inconceivable to us that the good Christian people who lived back then didn’t do something to stop slavery sooner.

What would you have done?  Suppose you knew someone who lived nearby, with whom you were on friendly terms.  You thought a lot of this person.  But you were saddened that this man or woman was not free.  They were not free to find another job or start a new career.  They weren’t free to move to another area or community.  Quite likely they weren’t even free to see their family members or have a say in whether or when their children were taken away and sold off.

You’d feel sorry for them, wouldn’t you?  You’d want to do something, wouldn’t you?

You would want to find a way to redeem this friend.

But could you?

A slave in the early 1800s in the Southern United States, was worth a lot of money -- about $1000 for a woman, $1,500 for a man.  That was not just pocket money in 1850.

It would be very frustrating to have friend who was a slave but not have the means to redeem him or her.

How much would you give up so that your friend would go free?  Would you be willing to sell all your possessions?  Would you give away your children’s inheritance?  Would you give up your freedom so your friend could go free?

Fortunately for you, you probably will never be asked such a question.  You won’t have to bear such a burdensome decision.

In agony our Lord Jesus prayed as He counted the price He was going to have to pray for our redemption.

Not silver and gold,  not thousands of dollars nor millions of dollars.  The price was His blood.  The cost was His life.

You were the slave.  You were born into slavery into that empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers. By nature a slave to sin, you kept going deeper into sin by rebelling against your Lord and Master, and by failing to do all He commanded you to do. You were stuck in that slavery and by all rights, expected to die in that slavery.

But now you and Job can sing together, “I know that my Redeemer lives.”

Ultimately for the problems and frustrations that our forefathers had with the Southern states, the answer was force.  By threat, and by warfare, and at gunpoint the slaves were set free.

The almighty God in heaven chose a different way of doing things.  Not by power.  Not by might.  Not by coercion and force.  But by love, He gave His Son into suffering and death.  And you were redeemed.

Let us pray,

Then, for all that wrought my pardon,

For Thy sorrows deep and sore,

For Thine anguish in the Garden,

I will thank Thee evermore,

Thank Thee for Thy groaning, sighing,

For Thy bleeding and Thy dying,

For that last triumphant cry,

And shall praise Thee, Lord, on high.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Preparing for Worship Sunday, March 7, 2010

3rd Sunday of Lent

Liturgy—page 184

Scripture Readings

  • Ezekiel 33:7-20
  • 1 Corinthians 10:1-13
  • Luke 13:1-9


  • 423  “Jesus, Refuge of the Weary”     Lyrics    Tune
  • 685 “Let Us Ever Walk with Jesus”     Lyrics    Tune
  • 436 “Go to Dark Gethsemane”           Lyrics    Tune
  • 425 “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”   Lyrics   Tune
  • 632 “O Jesus, Blessed Lord, to Thee”      Lyrics    Tune
  • 643 “Sent Forth by God’s Blessing”   Lyrics unavailable    Tune

Happy Baptism Birthday this week

  • Michele A.,Tyler S.—3/1
  • Cassie E.—3/3
  • Bernice D.—3/5
  • Paige S.—3/6

Memory Work for Wednesday, March 3


Where is this Written?  The holy Evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke, and St. Paul write:

Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night when He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to the disciples and said : “Take, eat; this is My body, which is given for you.  This do in remembrance of Me.”

In the same way also He took the cup after supper, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying , “Drink of it, all of you; this cup is the new testament, in My blood, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.  This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Jesus Our Atonement

February 24, 2010

Lent Midweek Service

Leviticus 1:1-4

Grace, Mercy and Peace are yours from God our Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ.

Listen to how the Book of Leviticus in the Old Testament begins:

    The Lord called Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting, saying, [2] "Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, When any one of you brings an offering to the Lord, you shall bring your offering of livestock from the herd or from the flock.

    [3] "If his offering is a burnt offering from the herd, he shall offer a male without blemish. He shall bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting, that he may be accepted before the Lord. [4] He shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him. (Leviticus 1:1-4)

This is our text.

Now jump ahead 1600 years later, to the night when our Lord Jesus Christ was betrayed.

  It was the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. [8] So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat it." (Luke 22:7-8).

Holy Communion is necessary to Christianity.  It is not an optional thing like, say, making the sign of the cross, lighting candles a certain way.  It is not just a custom or a tradition like having coffee and cookies after the service.

Holy Communion is necessary.

Without Holy Communion, we wouldn’t fully understand what Jesus did for us when he died on the cross and rose again.

Without that meal that the disciples had with Jesus the night before He was executed on the cross., people would not have understood the significance of his death.

People could see that His death on the cross was a noble death.  Many realized it was the death of an innocent man.  Many would be impressed to see someone remain faithful to what He believed in right to the point of death.  But they would not see that this death was for them.

Jesus said, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.”  In the meal Jesus explained what His death would mean.  “This is my body, which is given for you. . . this cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”

Holy Communion shows that Jesus death was an atonement.  Just as the Passover Lambs were being sacrificed, so the Jesus the Son of God was sacrificed.  He offered up His own body and blood to make atonement for the sins of the world.

Atonement is an important word from the Bible that helps us to understand what Jesus has done for us.

When I define big words, I like to find smaller words, one syllable words if possible, that can be used to explain the big words.  So the word I’d like you to keep in mind as a synonym and definition of atonement is fix.

In Leviticus the Lord told Moses how people could bring livestock as offerings to be sacrificed for atonement for a fix.

Jesus gave up Himself to death, for our fix.

The word fix is a good word here because it implies that there is a problem.  Fix,  you hear that short word and you  know that something was broken, and now it’s no longer broken.  You had a problem, and now the problem has gone away.

You know the old saying,”if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Well something was broken with the world.  There was a big problem.  Jesus fixed it.

In Leviticus the word atonement is used for three different ways in which the Lord fixes things for His people.

1. Acceptance -- For the person who is or who feels at a distance from God or at odds with God, the Lord provides atonement and acceptance.

2. Forgiveness – When someone sins, the Lord provides the means to make atonement, to fix the problem, to forgive the sins.

3. Purification – When someone is unclean, the Lord provides atonement, and cleans them.

First, Acceptance.  We Christians, get used to the fact that we are on God’s good side. We sometimes take it for granted.  We shouldn’t.   Remember that God is holy.  He remains completely separate from sin and sinners.  He created human beings to be holy like him.  When you sin, you make yourself unacceptable before God.  Don’t be so bold as to think you can just march right up to the throne of God just by being who you are.

In the opening lines of Leviticus, God describes how a person should bring an offering of a lamb or a bull, a male without blemish, to the front of the tent of meeting, the tabernacle.  The priest would meet him and his animal there and then they would sacrifice his animal, “that  he may be accepted before the Lord.”

Jesus did that.  He was the one without blemish or stain, offered to God, so you would be acceptable.  Do you ever feel out of touch with God?  Does your shame make you wish God wouldn’t get too close to you and see all your flaws, see what really goes on in your imagination and in your heart.  Does your guilt make you think that if God had to choose, there would be others he’d accept first?

Jesus is your Atonement.  Jesus is your fix.  Because of Jesus and only because of your savior Jesus, God accepts you.

Second, forgiveness.  In Leviticus chapter 4, you can read how the Lord gave specific instructions on what to do if somebody sins, or if the whole community sinned, or if the elders or the priests brought shame on the whole community by sinning.

I have heard people say that Leviticus is difficult or a boring book to read.  But if you read to find the definition of atonement, you’ll find in the bloody sacrifices of Leviticus, the story of Jesus your atonement who fixes your problem of sin.

If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us, but if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to fix our sins, to make atonement, to forgive.

            Third, purification.  In Leviticus 14 there is some discussion of leprosy.  It was a big deal back then.  The Children of Israel are wandering through the wilderness living in tents.  Infectious diseases needed to be controlled in the camp.  There were strict rules for a person who came down with a skin disease.  They would have to stay outside the camp, out of the community and outside of the means of grace.

            But when the leper was healed, the Lord provided instructions of what to do, what animal to sacrifice and how in order to make atonement and purification.

            We too live in an impure world, with impure bodies.  We drag the sinful nature along with us until we die.  We suffer from that impurity.  We have sick thoughts.  We have sick and frail and diseased bodies.

            Jesus fixes that.  He atones for you.  He heals you.

Let us pray:

Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness

My beauty are, my glorious dress;

Midst flaming world, in these arrayed,

With joy shall I lift up my head.

Lord, I believe, were sinners more

Than sands upon the ocean shore,

Thou hast for all a ransom paid,

For all a full atonement made.


Monday, February 22, 2010

2nd Sunday in Lent Devotional

Jesus Rescues Us from Death and Brings Us into Heaven

The prophet Jeremiah faithfully preached “all that the Lord had commanded him to speak to all the people” (Jer. 26:8). He called the people to repentance, lest the Lord's judgment come upon them. The violence that Jeremiah suffered for this preaching foreshadowed the cross and Passion of Christ Jesus, who suffered the judgment of God for the redemption of all people. For Jesus “comes in the name of the Lord” (Luke 13:35) in order to lay down His life for the sins of the world. Earthly Jerusalem was blind to His gracious visitation, and so put Him to death like the prophets before Him. Yet, His sacrifice upon the cross was the cornerstone of the new Jerusalem, His Church. He visits us today in mercy with His preaching of forgiveness, to gather us to Himself within that holy city, “as a hen gathers her brood under her wings” (Luke 13:34). For “our citizenship is in heaven” (Phil. 3:20).

(From the LCMS website)

Preparing to Worship—Sunday Feb. 28, 2010


Divine Service—Page 184



  • 419—Savior When in Dust to Thee              Tune    Lyrics
  • 708—Lord, Thee I Love With All My Heart     Tune    Lyrics
  • 420—Christ, the Life of All the Living           Tune    Lyrics

Memory Work for Wednesday, Feb. 24


What is the Sacrament of the Altar? It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ under the bread and wine, instituted by Christ Himself for us Christians to eat and to drink.

Bible Passage:   We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life (Romans 6:4)

Fun in the Son News

Scrip orders are due by 4 pm on Monday, March 1.  Your cards will be here in about a week.

Pick up your Casey’s Pizza card ASAP…we will be returning unsold cards on March 1.

The annual benefit dinner will be held THIS Sunday, Feb. 28 from 11-1.  Come for a ham and scalloped potato dinner and silent auction and bake sale. Come out and socialize and support Fun in the Son.

Happy Baptism Birthday this week to

  • Mark K. Spencer J (2/21)
  • Brenda G. 2/22
  • Adam K. 2/23
  • Braylen B, Tori G. 2/26
  • Brandin H. 2/27

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Devotional for First Sunday in Lent


  • Deuteronomy 26:1–11
  • Romans 10:8b–13
  • Luke 4:1–13

Jesus Christ Is Our Champion against the Devil

Jesus Christ, our Champion against the devil, endures and overcomes “every temptation” (Luke 4:13) on our behalf. He worships the Lord His God, and serves Him only by trusting the Word of His Father: “You are My beloved Son; with You I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22). Jesus' victory is now ours through His gracious Word, which is not far away but near us—in our mouth and in our heart, in the proclamation of repentance and faith. For “with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved” (Rom. 10:10). Our confession of Christ includes the prayer of faith, which is not disappointed; “for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Rom. 10:13). The Lord is not oblivious to “our affliction, our toil, and our oppression” (Deut. 26:7), but has mercy upon us. He has brought us out of bondage through the “signs and wonders” of Holy Baptism, “with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm” (Deut. 26:8), and now He leads us by His Spirit even in the wilderness.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

MEMORY WORK for Wednesday, Feb. 17

The Sacrament of Holy Baptism

What benefits does Baptism give?  It works forgiveness of sins, rescues from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare.

Which are these words and promises of God?  Christ our Lord says in the last chapter of Mark: “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned”.  Mark 16:16

Preparing to Worship—ASH WEDNESDAY

Liturgy will be page 203

Scripture Readings (coming soon)


  • 610 Lord Jesus, Think on Me                   Tune    Lyrics
  • 563 Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness   Tune    Lyrics
  • 421 Jesus, Grant That Balm and Healing    Tune    Lyrics
  • 606 I Lay My Sins on Jesus                     Tune   
  • 877 God, Who Made the Earth and Heaven   Tune    Lyrics

Preparing to Worship: Sunday, Feb 21

First Sunday in Lent

Scripture readings

  • Deuteronomy 26:1-11
  • Romans 10:8-13
  • Luke 4:1-12

Hymns (check back later :)

Fun In The Son Sponsors needed

Due to a reduction in scholarships, 2 sponsors are needed for preschoolers for February through May.  $30 is needed for each student each month.  If you are interested in helping educate the youngest members of our community, see Janiece!

Hosts and Hostesses Needed

for refreshments following Lenten services beginning this week.  Sign up on the bulletin board if you are able to take a night!

Happy Baptism Birthday this week

  • Betty V. – 2/15
  • Ashley D., and Elfrieda N. 2/17
  • Florence R. 2/18

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Preparing to Worship Sunday, Feb. 14-UPDATED with Hymns

The 6th Sunday after the Epiphany


  • 849 "Praise the One Who Breaks the Darkness" Tune Lyrics unavailable
  • 414 ""'Tis Good, Lord, to Be Here" Tune Lyrics
  • 417 "Alleluia, Song of Gladness" Tune Lyrics

Memory Work for Wednesday, Feb. 10

The Sacrament of Holy Baptism

What is Baptism?  Baptism is not just plain water, but it is the water included in God’s command and combined with God’s Word.

Which is that word of God? Christ our Lord says in the last chapter of Matthew: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”  [Matt. 28:19]


Plan to support our youth and attend the Spaghetti Dinner at the City Hall on Sunday, Feb. 14 from 11-1.  See you there!

Happy Baptism Birthday this week to

Lisa S.—Feb. 12

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Church Officers for 2010

THANK YOU for giving your time to serve!  Your work is appreciated!

Church Councilmen:

  • President: Steve Neuendorf
  • Vice-President: Steve Pfaffle
  • Secretary: Rick Haugen
  • Treasurer: Mark Ackley
  • Councilman at Large: Tom Lienau and Harold Ross


  • Brian Gibson
  • Lonnie Schult
  • Dave Jacobson
  • Mark Wendland

Please keep these men in your prayers as they see to the business of our church!

Preparing to Worship-Sunday, February 7

Liturgy—Page 203

Scripture Readings


  • 507 “Holy, Holy, Holy” Tune Lyrics
  • 412 “The People That In Darkness Sat” Tune Lyrics
  • 827 “Hark The Voice of Jesus Calling” Tune Lyrics
  • 849 “Praise the One Who Breaks The Darkness” Tune
  • 621 “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence” Tune Lyrics
  • 856 “O Christ, Who Called the Twelve” Tune/Lyrics not available

Happy Baptism Birthday this week

Amanda G.—Feb. 3

Valentine’s Day Spaghetti Dinner

Treat your sweetheart to lunch on Valentine’s Day at the City Hall, where the youth will be providing a Spaghetti Dinner from 11-1.  Free will donation.


Monday night, February 1st at 7 pm at Whispering Willow Assisted Living.  Hope to see you there!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

YOUTH: Work times for Soup Dinner

Boys: Work at the church on Saturday afternoon around 4

Girls: Work during the dinner on Sunday morning!  Check in with Tom and Karen!

Thanks for your help!

Happy Baptism Birthday this week to

  • David T., Doug S. Trey H., Wesley and Lorraine G., 1/24
  • Tori S. 1/29

Memory Work for Wednesday, February 3

The third article of the Apostles Creed and it’s meaning.

The Third Article: Sanctification

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

What does this mean?

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Spirit has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith. In the same way He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. In this Christian church He daily and richly forgives all my sins and the sins of all believers. On the Last Day He will raise me and all the dead, and give eternal life to me and all believers in Christ.
This is most certainly true.

From Pastor’s Annual Report to the Voters’ Assembly

“I believe in . . . the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints. . .”

The Apostles’ Creed has us confessing that we believe in the Church.   It is not by our knowledge, observation and reason that we come to understand and appreciate what Church is.  It is by faith.

The Church is among a number of subjects that we must appreciate by faith, not by sight.  We don’t see God, we believe in God.  We don’t see heaven (yet), we believe that there’s a heaven.  By means of our sight and touch and taste, there is only a morsel of bread and a sip of wine in communion; without faith, we have no understanding of the presence of Christ’s body and blood and our forgiveness thereby.

We and all humanity have had our eyes darkened by sin so we cannot see what is really real.  “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light” (Isaiah 9:2).  When the Holy Spirit calls us by the Gospel, He also enlightens us with His gifts.  With His help we begin to see as God sees.  We believe what God says.

God says the Church is holy, a communion of saints.  God sees His people washed in the blood of Jesus (Revelation 7:14), now clean, innocent and ready for Him. (Ephesians 5:25-27).

Don’t be discouraged by what you see with your eyes and experience in this sin darkened world.  Be encouraged by what the Lord tells you He sees.

What we often see is a church that is:

· Filled with sinners – arguing, gossiping, doubting, disappointing. . . in short, sinning.

· Fractured into denominations,  parties and cliques.

· becoming less and less effective, more and more outdated, unpopular, disrespected and unwanted.

By faith, believe what God sees:

· He says to you and your fellow believers, “I have called you by name, you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1).

· He says to you and to your fellow believers, “Forgive as you have been forgiven.” (Ephesians 4:32).

· He says to you, “Where I am, there I want you to be”  (John 14:3).

Dear good and gracious heavenly Father, You have called us out of darkness into your marvelous light.  Enlighten our eyes that we may see and believe what you have taught us is real and true.  Bless the ongoing work of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Fredericksburg that in spite of our sins, others may see you through us, for Jesus’ sake.  Amen.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


There will be NO midweek on Wednesday, January 20!  Enjoy the break from class, BUT…that means you have 2 weeks to learn your memory work!

MEMORY WORK DUE Wednesday, January 27:  The second article of the Apostles Creed and it’s meaning.

The Second Article: Redemption
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty. From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.
What does this mean?
I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord. Who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and
with His innocent suffering and death, that I may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity. This is most certainly true.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Preparing to Worship on Sunday, Jan. 17

Liturgy: page 203

Scripture Readings


  • 791 “All People That on Earth Do Dwell”  Lyrics  Tune
  • 526 “You Are the Way; through You Alone”  Lyrics Tune
  • 537 “Beautiful Savior” Lyrics  Tune
  • 849 “Praise the One Who Breaks the Darkness”   Tune
  • 632 “O Jesus, Blessed Lord, to Thee”  Lyrics  Tune
  • 842 “Son of God, Eternal Savior”  Tune 

Midweek Memory work for Wed. Jan. 13

The First Article of the Apostle’s Creed and its meaning.

(This is a longer one…but it is all set to music on your CD!)

The First Article: Creation
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.
What does this mean?
I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses, and still takes care of them. He also gives me clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, wife and children, land, animals, and all I have. He richly and daily
provides me with all that I need to support this body and life. He defends me against all danger and guards and protects me from all evil. All this He does only out of fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me. For all this it is my duty to thank and praise, serve and obey Him. This is most
certainly true.

Happy Baptism Birthday this week

to Katie R. (1/11)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Please remember our shut-ins in your prayers!

And they enjoy your occasional visits, too!

Luella G, Harvey H., Erma J., Glen K., Alma L., Lester M., Mabel S., Alice W., and Bob W.,

Happy Baptism Birthday this week

to Harold R and Kandi A on 1/3!  May God bless you richly as you serve Him in your life!


Worship starts at 9 am every Sunday.  Sunday school follows until 11:00 am. 

Midweek classes meet on Wednesday nights from 6:00 – 7:30

Midweek Classes resume

next Wednesday, January 13 at 6 pm.  All children in grades 1-8 are encouraged to attend!

MEMORY WORK:  The second article of the Apostles Creed and it’s meaning.

The Second Article: Redemption
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty. From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.
What does this mean?
I believe that Jesus Christ, true God, begotten of the Father from eternity, and also true man, born of the Virgin Mary, is my Lord. Who has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and
with His innocent suffering and death, that I may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness, just as He is risen from the dead, lives and reigns to all eternity. This is most certainly true.


coming soon!  Sunday, January 31 at 10 am in the church.  Please plan to attend!  There will be a soup dinner hosted by the youth following the meeting!  Plenty of yummy soup for all!