Nearing death, Jesus looked at His mother and gave her care to the man that stood at her side. Who would you give the responsibility of caring for your mother when you faced death? That person would be someone you loved and someone who loved you. Jesus told Mary, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to John, “Behold, your mother!” John 19:26-27
John, who felt the warmth of the love of Jesus, brings us the beautiful message of God’s love. The Holy Spirit moved John to tell us the love story of all love stories. It goes this way. “ In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.” 1 John 4:9 John’s truth of the love of God is given to us and we revel in its truth that exclaims we matter to God.
Question: The Greek language has four words for love with distinct meanings. The Greek words used for love are agape, eros, phila and storge. Which of these words is best used for the unconditional love of God?
Answer: The Greek word for the unconditional love of God is agape. It is used to refer to a general affection and a sense of “true love.” Eros is passionate love, philia is friendship as in “brotherly love,” and storge which means natural or family love.
Where Were You When I Laid the Foundations of the Earth? Job 38:4-7
Does the Alpha and Omega, the I Am Creator of this world exist? Has science proven that god is just a conjured bit of imagination that comforts those who cannot accept the inevitable conclusion that the world and us just happened. The Christian philosopher, Ravi Zacharias writes the opposite. “To sustain the belief that there is no God, atheism has to demonstrate infinite knowledge, which is tantamount to saying, “I have infinite knowledge that there is no being in existence with infinite knowledge.” Talk about being trapped in your own logic. Even though it is so illogical to think that our universe and life itself was just a fortunate accident, why is there so much hatred against those who believe in God? In our message we explore the meaning of life and the existence of God through the life and story of Job, a follower of God.
Question: What does it mean that Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega?”
Answer:Jesus proclaimed Himself to be the “Alpha and Omega” in Revelation 1:8, 11;21:6; and 22:13. Alpha and omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. Among the Jewish rabbis, it was common to use the first and the last letters of the Hebrew alphabet to denote the whole of anything, from beginning to end. Christ, as the Alpha and Omega, is the first and last as the “author and finisher” of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), signifying that He begins it and carries it through to completion. He is the fulfilling end of the Law (Matthew 5:17), and He is the beginning subject matter of the gospel of grace through faith, not of works (Ephesians 2:8-9). He is found in the first verse of Genesis and in the last verse of Revelation. He is the first and last, the all in all of salvation, from the justification before God to the final sanctification of His people.
I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near: a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel;” Numbers 24:17. A star, a special star announcing Jesus, described by Moses over 1400 years before the birth of Christ, drew scholars, wise men, from the east to Israel. This is how Matthew wrote about it: “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.'” Matt. 2:1-2. Our question today, that we ask along with the sojourners from the east, “Where is this Christ?”
Theme Text: Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men[a] from the east came to Jerusalem,2saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose[b] and have come to worship him.”3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him;
Question: The words that Moses recorded in Numbers 24:17, “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near: a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel;” were spoken by Balaam. Who was this man called Balaam?
Answer: Balaam was not an Israelite. He was a false prophet, a diviner. God used him to prophecy and speak about the blessings that would come to Israel.
There is no Sunday School or LifeGroups held on Dec. 30 and no New Year Services. On Jan. 6 we resume our Sunday School and LifeGroups at 9:15.
Matthew includes the names of four women in the genealogy of Jesus. The names of the women are Tamar, Rahab and Ruth, and a certain “wife of Uriah”. Why did Matthew go against the conventional wisdom of the day by letting women into his list! Why these four instead of those with a better reputation such as Sarah, Rebekah, and Rachel?” “Doesn’t Matthew remember that lineage is traced through men, not women? And that the function of a genealogy is to give solemn honor to the final descendant, Jesus? Matthew breaks both of these time-honored rules
At the heart of Matthew’s genealogy is this grand gospel. Jesus loves people who are victims as well as perpetrators of family dysfunction and deceit (Tamar); who feel used and worthless (Rahab); who bury loved ones and endure the pain of leaving their homeland (Ruth); and who are used by others for pleasure only to witness the death of so many dreams (Bathsheba). In the end, these four women’s lives are amazing testimonies to God’s love and Immanuel, God is with us.
Question: Who is Rahab, an ancestor of Christ?
Answer: Rahab was, according to the Book of Joshua, a woman, a prostitute, who lived in Jericho in the Promised Land and assisted the Israelites in capturing the city by betraying her people. In the New Testament, she is lauded both as an example of a saint who lived by faith, and as someone “considered righteous” for her works. Matthew’s genealogy records her as one of the ancestors of Jesus.
Today the children of Word of Life bring us, the timeless message of the birth of “Jesus Christ (who) is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Heb. 13:8. When did the message, the signs of Christmas begin? Promises, signs and sites were given of a Messiah to come throughout the history of God’s people. The Scripture writers Mathew and Luke give us the lineage of the Messiah, the promise descendant of Abraham and David. People knew and believed that He would come. The Old Testament prophet Isaiah wrote, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14.” That time came with the angel proclaiming to the shepherds and us, “And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:12 Go with the shepherds to the babe wrapped tightly in swaddling clothes. Let the children lead us. Follow the signs, the signs of Christmas.
Question: When was Christmas first celebrated on Dec. 25?
Answer:The first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th was in 336 AD, during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine (he was the first Christian Roman Emperor). A few years later, Pope Julius I officially declared that the birth of Jesus would be celebrated on the 25th December.
Abraham was told by God that he was going to have a son at age 90. When Abraham was 100 years, his son, Isaac, was born. Abraham’s wife Sarah was 90 years when he was born. When Isaac was around 20 years old, Abraham was told by God to sacrifice his son. As Abraham was getting ready to kill Isaac, an Angel of the Lord told Abraham not to sacrifice his son, but to sacrifice the ram that was caught in the bushes. This ram was the substitute sacrifice that took Isaac’s place on the altar, just like Jesus who sacrificed Himself for us.
Life Received, Life Together, Life Giving- John 10:10
Question:Was Isaac Abraham’s only child?
Answer: Isaac was Abraham and Sarah’s only son. However, Abraham’s first child was Ishmael who was born when Abraham was 86 years old (Gen 16:16) and after Sarah died Abraham remarried and had many sons and we assume daughters. Genesis 25
Sunday we begin the Advent season with a series called, who is Jesus? What is your first thought, the first image that comes to mind, when you hear the name Jesus Christ? What if you only knew of Him as the one to come, the Savior promised in the ancient texts of the Old Testament? The inspired disciple Matthew makes that connection identifying that Jesus is the promised King. In Matthew 1:1 he writes, “A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ”. “Christ” is not Jesus’s last name. “Christ,” is a title. It’s the Greek translation of the Hebrew word “Messiah,” which means “anointed one.” The Old Testament foretells of a coming Messiah—a King who would be anointed with the Holy Spirit to accomplish God’s mission. The Messiah would come from the line of David. He’d be born in David’s city and sit on David’s throne.
When Matthew writes his gospel, Israel had been without a legitimate king for hundreds of years. Now, Matthew declares, “a king has finally come to sit on David’s throne. It’s Jesus!” Matthew then hammers this truth home by citing ten specific Old Testament promises. The promised King, the Son
Of David, has come.
Question: Why is the genealogy of Jesus given by Matthew differ from the list given by Luke?
Answer: It has long been suggested that Luke gives the biological ancestry of Mary and Matthew gives the biological ancestry of Joseph. Many scholars believe a more accurate explanation is that both genealogies are Joseph’s with the difference being that Matthew’s list is the biological ancestors and Luke’s list gives the legal genealogy. (Where the brother dies before having a child and his brother marries the widow but the child is legally known as the child of the deceased brother.)
O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever is how Psalm 136:1 reads in the King James Version. As we say that prayer we acknowledge, proclaim our source of what we are thankful for. God is our source. He is good.
On Thanksgiving later this week we have a special day to share, enjoy, give thanks, reflect on His mercy and relish His goodness. What will Thanksgiving mean and bring to you? For some it will be especially challenging. A quick answer for many is family, food and festivities! For all it depends on what we bring to the table. As children of God, recipients of His love, we bring a legacy along with the food, family and friends. It is the legacy of life that each have received. It is a part of us and we will pass it on. By God’s grace, by His faithfulness, our legacy has led, is leading and will continue to lead.
Question: When did Thanksgiving become a national holiday?
Answer: Thanksgiving, a national holiday in the United States, is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. President Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens,” and set the day to be celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. Thanksgiving has been celebrated nationally on and off since 1789, with a proclamation byGeorge Washington after a request by Congress.
The event that Americans commonly call the “First Thanksgiving” was celebrated by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in the New World in October 1621. This feast lasted three days, and—as accounted by attendee Edward Winslow—it was attended by 90 Native Americans and 53 Pilgrims. Thanksgiving services were routine in what became the Commonwealth of Virginia as early as 1607, with the first permanent settlement of Jamestown, Virginia holding a thanksgiving in 1610.
Hebrews can be a challenging book to understand. It was written by an unknown, but clearly a gifted, led by the Spirit, individual who thoroughly knew the Old Testament. Throughout Hebrews the author shows us how Jesus is the One who fulfills the entire Old Testament.
Dr. Kari Vo writes, “In the verses we’re looking at today, the writer is referring back to a special custom that started in Moses’ day. There was a single man in Israel who was the high priest. Once a year it was his job to ask God to forgive the sins of the Israelite people. He did this by washing and dressing up in special clothes. Then he would take a bowlful of blood from a sacrificed bull and carry it into the Holy Place, where the Ark of the Covenant was. With his finger he would sprinkle the blood in front of the Ark, and God would forgive the sins of the people.”
This Day of Atonement, the sacrifice of the High Priest in the Most Holy Place, was repeated year after year. The blood of an animal could only be offered by the High Priest and as such it followed God’s command and pointed to the Messiah that they eagerly awaited. Our Hebrew text for today make it clear that Jesus came as the Highest High Priest and concurrently as the offering for our sin. Jesus’ blood was shed and then He appeared as the High Priest not in the earthly Holy of Holies of the Temple but rather in the Heavenly Temple before God the Father. The sacrifice of this High Priest took away our sins totally, completely and He will come for us who are eagerly awaiting Him.
Question: What was the Tabernacle?
Answer: The Tabernacle was a tent, a traveling sanctuary of Yahweh among the children of Israel from the time of the Exodus from Egypt to the building of the Temple by Solomon 440 years later. The outer court was enclosed by curtains supported on pillars. The altar of sacrifice (bronze altar) was within the court, facing the entrance located on the east side. The Tabernacle itself which was divided by a veil into two chambers, the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. The Holy Place contained the Table, Lampstand, and Altar of Incense. Only priests were allowed into this section. The Holy of Holies contained the Ark of the Covenant. Only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies once a year on the Day of Atonement.
Peace, unity and love are compelling truths and desired by all. So why is our world so malicious with hatred towards others? Does Jesus have a message for us that can lead us out of this murky quagmire that we live in? Is there a way in which we can live together with love towards each other?
The difficulty in attaining this unity within a family much less a church is obvious. Yet the Scriptures promise us a reward if we do, guidance in reaching this goal and in fact instructs us to do so. It is not a question whether we are part of a community, we are as we have faith in Christ. Do we want to increase the depth, the actual components that brings fellowship, life together? Of course, but how is this done?
Attitude, goals, discipline, new routines bring changes in areas of physical, financial, and intellectual growth. Is the answer to growth in these areas also how we learn to increase our ability live together? Is it just a matter of setting new resolutions? Remember, Jesus said, “I came that you might have life abundantly.” How does Jesus do that in this area of living life together? How is Christ the force that moves and guides us before any of our self- proclaimed aspirations can be realized?
Life Received, Life Together, Life Giving- John 10:10
Question: Dietrich Bonhoeffer (February 4, 1906 – April 9, 1945) was a German pastor, theologian, anti-Nazi dissident. His writings on Christianity’s role in the secular world have become widely influential. What did he write about Christian community?
Answer: From 1935 to 1937 Dietrich Bonhoeffer served as pastor, administrator, and teacher at an underground seminary at Finkenwalde, Germany (now Poland). Bonhoeffer insisted that if seminarians were to learn about and lead within the Christian community – the church – they must also enter into and learn the practical disciplines of the Christian faith in community. This led to the formation of a community house where those involved in seminary education would share life together. The book, Life Together, record’s Bonhoeffer’s reflections on that experience.
How do you receive life? Nicodemus came to Jesus during the night and simply stated, “Rabbi, we know you are from God…” and Christ gave the answer to life. Walter A. Maier, the first Speaker of The Lutheran Hour wrote, “To start your life again with blessing you must follow the clear-cut direction Jesus gives in John 3:6-7. “He tells Nicodemus, and us, ‘Ye must be born again. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, You must be born again.’”
Maier continues, “In this moment, the Savior is appealing to you personally and directly, as He once spoke to Nicodemus; and when He promises, “Behold, I make all things new” (see Revelation 21:5), offering you the beginning of a new life, don’t reject the mightiest blessing God can ever give you, but clasp your Savior tightly, lay your sins at the foot of His cross, pray the ancient plea for merciful renewal, and the holy angels in heaven will rejoice as you are reborn, Spirit-born, into everlasting blessedness. God grant you this radiant rebirth through Jesus, “the Way, the Truth, and the Life”! Amen.”
Question: Who was Nicodemus?
Answer: We know of Nicodemus in the Bible from the Gospel of John. In John 3:1, he is described as a Pharisee. The Phariseeswere a group of Jews who were fastidious in keeping the letter of the Law and often opposed Jesus throughout His ministry. Jesus often strongly denounced them for their legalism (see Matthew 23). John 3:1 also describes Nicodemus as a leader of the Jews. According to John 7:50–51, Nicodemus was a member of the Sanhedrin, which was the ruling body of the Jews. Each city could have a Sanhedrin, which functioned as the “lower courts.” Under Roman authority in the time of Christ, the Jewish nation was allowed a measure of self-rule, and the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem was the final court of appeals for matters regarding Jewish law and religion.
Philip the Deacon, not to be confused with Philip the disciple, was one of the original seven deacons selected to serve in the Jerusalem church (Acts 6:5). When the “great persecution” arose in Acts 8:1, Philip left Jerusalem and went to Samaria and proclaimed Christ (Acts 8:5–12). Many were baptized and Peter and John joined them and prayed for them. Philip was then told by an angel to go south to a road leading to Gaza where he met the treasurer of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under Candace, the queen of Ethiopia. Philip found the Ethiopian official sitting in his chariot, reading Isaiah and trying to understand the prophet’s words. Philip offered to explain, and was invited by the Ethiopian to come up and sit with him. As Philip explained the prophecy of Isaiah, the Ethiopian believed in Christ and asked to be baptized (Acts 8:26–39). Immediately following the baptism, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away to Azotus, where he continued to preach the gospel in the towns from there to Caesarea (Acts 8:40). Twenty years later, Philip is mentioned again, still in Caesarea (Acts 21:8–9). Paul and Luke and others were traveling to Jerusalem, and they stopped at Philip’s home in Caesarea. They stayed with Philip for several days. Philip had four unmarried daughters at that time, all of whom had the gift of prophecy.
Question: Why was the role of deacons in the Jerusalem church needed?
Answer: The church was, as a regular practice, providing “daily ministration” for all the needy widows. But a cultural division in the church created a problem. Some of the early Christians in Jerusalem were Grecians (that is, Hellenistic Jews) and some were Hebrews (that is, Jews fully Semitic in their cultural background). Although intensely loyal to their Hebrew traditions, these Grecians were distinct in many ways from Jews whose forbears in recent centuries had stayed within the Holy Land. One key difference was language.6 The Grecians spoke Greek as their language of choice. If the Hebrews knew Greek, they preferred not to use it. Their language of choice was Hebrew if they belonged to the class of trained rabbis. Otherwise, it was Aramaic. Soon the Greeks started to complain that the daily handout to the poor was neglecting their widows.
To solve the problem, the apostles decided to appoint seven men as deacons whose duty was to serve tables, overseeing the program assuring that widows had enough to eat and enough of other necessities.Perhaps they would manage other practical affairs of the church as well. The new office freed the apostles to devote themselves wholly to spiritual ministries, especially prayer and ministry of the Word.
Joseph of Arimathea was a man who became noteworthy in the Bible for the role that he took in the burial of the body of the Lord Jesus, so much so that he is mentioned in the four Gospels. Joseph, we are informed in these passages, was a rich man, a good and just man that also awaited the kingdom of God. He was a member of the Sanhedrin and had become a disciple of Jesus, but not openly for fear of the Jews. We are informed that he had not consented in the counsel and in the actions of the Sanhedrin regarding Jesus but, if he ever did express his opposition, it had no effect.
Jesus having been crucified, after His death His body (as that of all who were crucified) was destined to be buried in a common grave. The Messiah’s crucifixion had taken place on “Preparation Day”, preceding the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, in which all work was prohibited. The Jews would not admit anyone to remain on the cross on that Sabbath of the Feast (John 19:31).
Twilight was approaching, and it was then that Joseph of Arimathea, taking courage, went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus, showing openly his love for that Man. We can imagine the surprise of Pilate, and the insult to the Sanhedrin when this illustrious member of their brotherhood openly took the side of Christ who they had despised, insulted and crucified.
Joseph bought a cloth of fine linen, and went over to the cross, accompanied by Nicodemus. With Nicodemus, they removed the body from the cross and, wrapped it in linen cloths with the spices and placed the body in the tomb. Only Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph and James, called “the other Mary” by Matthew, is recorded as witnessing the burial. After depositing the body of Jesus in the tomb, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus rolled a great stone against the door of the tomb and left. (David Jones)
Question:What prophecy was fulfilled when Joseph of Arimathea took the body of Jesus and laid the body in his own tomb?
Answer: In Isaiah 53:9, the prophet Isaiah wrote about a sinless servant (the Messiah) being put to death with the wicked and buried with the rich. This was among the many details that Isaiah prophesied about in regards to the Messiah. About 700 years after Isaiah recorded this prophecy, Jesus was put to death along with two criminals and was buried in a tomb owned by a wealthy man, Joseph of Arimathea, as explained in Matthew 27:57-61, Mark 15:42-47, Luke 23:50:56 and John 19:38-42. Jesus was resurrected three days later.
What does Paul mean, “You were called to freedom?” Where were we to begin with? Who held us captive? Freedom has a price doesn’t it? Who is paying for that freedom? As we have freedom, do we have to defend it, fight for it?
Where were we if we were not free? We were trapped by the just law of God. Yes, we are now free from the law and the curse of not being able to keep the law. How did that happen? The one who calls us to freedom paid the price. Christ calls us to live free in the Spirit, living not under the law but released from the law to fulfill the law. Yes, we do fight for the one who gives us the freedom. “The Bible says,” as Billy Graham so often said, use your freedom to love, not to stray away from what is Godly. How does this happen? Guided by the Spirit we live each day free loving as Christ loves us.
Question: What ii the Christian understanding of virtue?
Answer: A Christian understanding of virtue is that true virtue comes from the power of Christ working through us. Virtue is a trait or disposition of character that leads to good behavior. One example is that someone with virtue displays wisdom, courage, kindness, good manners, courtesy, modesty, generosity, and self-control in their life. They treat others fairly and esteem others highly and value the sanctity of life. They treat others better than they are treated. Someone who has virtue has good, moral ethics and makes Biblical choices in life.
Spit and blood. Sounds like a battle and terms not used in polite company and certainly not in a church. But here we are, polite company in a church ready to learn from Isaiah about a faithful servant who gets ridiculed, sworn at, bullied, spit upon and flesh ripped apart.
We question who is this servant and why the cruel treatment? In the ancient Near East, a servant was a “trusted envoy,” a “confidential representative,” or “one who is chosen.” So who sent this servant to be treated so badly? Who was he sent for? Why so much anger and hatred toward him? The servant does not back down. The servant choses to serve, to suffer and be faithful to his calling. Our text reads, “He sets his face like flint,” ready for the battle. Can’t he see that he cannot win?
Question: What are the Servant Songs in Isaiah?
Answer: There are four “Servant Songs” of Isaiah that describe the service, suffering, and exaltation of the Servant of the Lord, the Messiah. All four songs show the Messiah to be God’s meek and gentle Servant. He is a royal figure, representing Israel in its ideal form; He is the high priest, atoning for the sins of the world. Isaiah predicts that this Servant of the Lord would deliver the world from the prison of sin. In the royal terminology of the ancient Near East, a servant was a “trusted envoy,” a “confidential representative,” or “one who is chosen.” The Servant Songs are found in Isaiah 42:1–9; Isaiah 49:1–13; Isaiah 50:4–11; and Isaiah 52:13—53:12.
Rev. Dr. Dale A. Meyer, The President of Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, recently was a guest speaker on the Lutheran Hour. He stated, “Some years ago I came across two sentences that have had a profound impact upon my spiritual life. I was reading a book called Devotions for the Chronologically Gifted. You’ve got to love that title: Devotions for the Chronologically Gifted! I was reading a devotion by Rev. Arnold Kuntz. He wrote this, ‘Life narrows down, and crisis comes. And suddenly only one thing matters, and there, in the narrow place, stands Jesus.’”
Life narrows down and reality becomes clear. Maybe, you say. What are the conditions that make it true? For those who are blessed to know our Savior, who have been called by Him to serve, yes for us it is true. But what does it mean, what does it feel like to experience life narrowing down?
Two men were walking home to a village called Emmaus. It had been a long weekend filled with grief and sorrow because their friend, their Rabbi had been crucified. And now there were confusing reports of this Rabbi being alive. It just didn’t make sense. What did it mean? And then as their life narrowed down came their answer, our answer. The true credible answer of life.
Question: Where had the two disciples walking to Emmaus been?
Answer: The two disciples (Cleopas and one unnamed) of Jesus were walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus on the day that Jesus rose from the dead. As they traveled, a man joined them—the resurrected Jesus, although they did not recognize Him. The man asked, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” (Luke 24:17).
“Remember: you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Those are the words that are said as the ashes of the palm branches are placed on our forehead at the Ash Wednesday service. But there is more. Dust is not our destiny. Our destiny is to be with God forever. Paul quotes the Old Testament prophet Hosea, “Death is swallowed up in victory,” and then adds, “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:54 & 57 Jesus, the descendant of David, fulfilled the promise of a king, a Messiah to come. Jesus was the Word but before the Word came the Voice. Listen to the voice tonight and remember we are dust but buried with Christ we are raised with Him and live in His Kingdom now and forever.
Question: When was the practice of Lent started?
Answer: Lent is one of the oldest observations on the Christian calendar. Like all Christian holy days and holidays, it has changed over the years, but its purpose has always been the same: self-examination and penitence, demonstrated by self-denial, in preparation for Easter. Early church father Irenaus of Lyons (c.130-c.200) wrote of such a season in the earliest days of the church, but back then it lasted only two or three days, not the 40
What attributes does a leader need? Why is someone chosen to lead a project, a team, a company, a nation? Terms such as dynamic, wise, dedicated, and charismatic come to mind. Considerate, tough, kind, knowledgeable, thorough and organized also are terms used to describe leaders. Today, we will look at how God chose a leader that led a nation with his voice. As the Spirit led Isaiah he spoke to God’s people and told them of God’s demands, justice and unending love.
What assets did Isaiah have that made him the right one to be selected by God for this task about telling people about the Messiah to come? Certainly Isaiah had been prepared. Yes, he was in the Royal Court with the advantage of being in contact and knowing powerful people. He was educated. But the first and foremost asset that he and we also have, is he was selected, chosen. Concerned that he was not worthy to be in God’s presence he was forgiven. Then he heard the words, “Who Shall I Send? There could only be one answer for Isaiah and only one answer for us, “Send me!”
Life Received, Life Together, Life Giving- John 10:10
Question: Why did the nation of Israel split into the northern and southern kingdom?
Answer: When Solomon’s died, his son Rehoboam wanted to raise taxes and the northern 10 tribes rebelled. The northern kingdom is called “Israel” (or sometimes “Ephraim”) in Scripture, and the southern kingdom is called “Judah.”
The word Almighty is used 56 times in scripture and it always refers to God; never to anyone else. God is all powerful, or omnipotent. There is nothing He can’t do. What a staggering thought. In today’s text God, through the prophet Elijah, demonstrates His superiority over the power of darkness – false gods and their prophets. This is the all-powerful God that we gather to worship. So how to you envision God? As timeless, in?nite, all-powerful, unchanging, glorious? Or do you see Him as one who can be fooled or manipulated by human hypocrisy? If one sees and believes Him to be one who has unlimited power and strength we can’t help but ?nd security in him to face any and all challenges and temptations in life. Today we are called to re?ect. How big is our God? If the Lord is God, then it’s time to follow Him.
Question: What is Baal worship?
Answer: Baal was the name of the supreme god worshiped in ancient Canaan and Phoenicia. The practice of Baal worship infiltrated Jewish religious life during the time of the Judges (Judges 3:7), became widespread in Israel during the reign of Ahab (1 Kings 16:31-33) and also affected Judah (2 Chronicles 28:1-2). The wordbaal means “lord”; the plural is baalim. In general, Baal was a fertility god who was believed to enable the earth to produce crops and people to produce children. Baal worship was rooted in sensuality and involved ritualistic prostitution in the temples. At times, appeasing Baal required human sacrifice, usually the firstborn of the one making the sacrifice (Jeremiah 19:5). The priests of Baal appealed to their god in rites of wild abandon which included loud, ecstatic cries and self-inflicted injury (1 Kings 18:28).
We can all agree that human life is fragile. After all, we know by experience that life can end suddenly, tragically. Can we agree that human life is precious and should be protected? That brings questions doesn’t it? What is life and where does it come from?
Blessed by God, through His grace, we know the answer. Our Creator God brought life into existence. As God brought time, light, water, dry land, plants, animals and man and women into existence God declared. “It was good.” Then He commanded to us to take care of it. Take care of what? Take care of life!
Question: When does the unborn baby’s heart begin to beat?
Answer: The heartbeat begins as early as the 21st day after conception.
We hope you can worship with us this evening for our 6:00 pm Christmas Eve Candlelight Service called, “For Unto You!” Luke 2:10-11” What happen that star lit night, the birth of the Babe proclaimed in the field, brought “life abundant” to each shepherd and to us. Let’s go to that hillside, sit down beside the shepherds and listen as the angel announce, “For unto you,” and run with them to worship the Babe lying in a manger. Pre- service music begins at 5:45
Question: Is it true that during World War 1, the fighting stopped at the front line on Christmas Eve and Silent Night was sung by the soldiers of opposing armies?
Answer: Yes, it is true. The song was sung simultaneously in French, English and German by troops during the Christmas truceof 1914, as it was a Christmas Carol known and loved by soldiers on both sides of the front line.
As John writes that we should keep God’s commandments and keep from sinning he once again brings clarity into the dilemma presented us. What dilemma? How is it possible for us who are sinful to live without sin or even not wanting to sin? The secret is this. His commandment, better translated His instruction is, “That we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another.
We put our trust, our hope in Jesus Christ. As John writes, if we do this, abide in Jesus He abides in us. We will know this by the Spirit abiding in us and through the Spirit we love one another and live life abundantly.
Question: What was the Apostle John like?
Answer: John was especially loyal to Jesus. He was the only one of the 12 apostles present at the cross. After Pentecost, John teamed up with Peter to fearlessly preach the gospel in Jerusalem and suffered beatings and imprisonment for it. John underwent a remarkable transformation as a disciple, from the quick-tempered Son of Thunder to the compassionate apostle of love. John experienced the unconditional love of Jesus firsthand, and he preached that love in his gospel and letters.
John’s love and concern for us is boldly apparent in his actions and the words he uses. He knows how to get and hold our attention. In our text today he gives us a riddle. Paraphrased John says, “I am writing you little children something that is old but yet it is new.” How can that be? Is John saying keep the law, the Ten Commandments, but now there is something new added but yet it is the same?
John gives us a clue. “Darkness is passing away and the true light is shining.” v.8 True light, that has to be Jesus, right? How does that make an old commandment a new commandment but not change the old commandment?
Is that what Jesus meant when he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 Christ is the light that leads us, allows us by grace to live not under the law but of the law. Could it be the commandments of God have not changed but have received clarity and a performance enhancement?
Life Received, Life Together, Life Giving- John 10
Question: What connection does 2nd and 3rd John have with 1st John?
Answer: The Concordia Commentary calls 2nd John the introductory letter to 1 John and designates 3rd John as a complement piece to 1st and 2nd John.
The Apostle John served His Lord and God’s people in Ephesus. Early in his ministry he preferred to tell God’s truth by speaking and he did not write to his people until the end of his life. As God planned John became the last disciple living. The Emperor Domitian condemned him to death in a vat of boiling oil before the senators but that failed to kill him and then he exiled John to the island of Patmos. There to comfort the persecuted believers John wrote Revelation. After Domitian died the senate brought John out of exile and he returned to Ephesus. Then, as the only disciple now alive, he wrote 1,2,&3rdJohn, and finally the book of John.
John writes with a passion to let his readers know the truth of Christ. He writes as the only one left that could share, “which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands,” 1 John 1:1 So he wrote that we may have fellowship with him, the Father, with Christ and with each other. The purpose of fellowship? So that all may have joy.
Question: The Apostle John served the church in Ephesus as their pastor / bishop. How did the church in Ephesus begin?
Answer: In Acts 18 we are told Jewish Christians, including Priscilla and Aquila, and Apollos brought the Gospel to Ephesus. Then Paul, over a period of three years, taught, preached, instructed and lived with them.
Word of Life is blessed to have Gary Thies of Mission Central as our worship leader this morning. “Mission Central in Mapleton, Iowa, was dedicated in a service held on August 23, 2003. What a blessing that the Lord has provided a place missionaries can stay when on furlough, offices where correspondences and meetings can take place, facilities for statewide mission events and worship space for more than 300. Not only that, Mission Central is the largest mission supporting agency, as a part of Synod’s LCMS World Mission global Gospel outreach, has been blessed by God to be the conduit helping to raise millions of dollars every year to send and keep LCMS World Mission Missionaries in the field. Since 2003, Mission Central has had hundreds and hundreds of visits from LCMS missionaries and their families (many have come several times) and has had tens and tens of thousands of people from hundreds of congregations visit. God has indeed blessed this place to be a mission center, focusing on telling others about Jesus!
What is the mission and vision of Mission Central?
MISSION: “Telling more and more people about Jesus, so that there will be more people in our real home in heaven.”
VISION: “Every Christian praying for and PERSONALLY supporting a missionary or mission project!”
Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he (man lame from birth) asked to receive alms.And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. Acts 3:3-7, guest Bible p.911
Now healed the man followed John and Peter into the temple walking and leaping and praising God. What had happened? He had looked as directed at Peter and John and by the power of Jesus tendons, cartilage and muscles in his legs, ankles and feet became strong, bones were realigned and this lame man was no longer lame. People were amazed and wondered what power Peter and John had for this miracle to happen. The lame man knew, the power was from God.
Question: Why did Peter and John and other Christian Jews go to the temple after Pentecost?
Answer: As Jews, and followers of the one true God, they continued to go to the Temple to pray. Peter also preached the Good News in the Temple, teaching “Jesus the resurrection from the dead.”
Suddenly the church of a hundred grew to over 3000 that day of Pentecost those many years ago. The promise was accepted by those who heard Peter preach for repentance and forgiveness. “Save yourself and look to the risen Christ,” was the word of Peter. Baptized they received the Holy Spirit as was promised.
Now they gathered together with excitement and joy for fellowship, prayer, breaking of bread devoted to the apostles’ teaching. What were their interests and needs? What did they seek to hear and what did the apostles teach that brought their devotion?
Jesus had told the disciples, “teach them to observe all that I have commanded you.” Earlier as Luke reports it, Jesus opened up the minds of the disciples to understand the Scriptures. Now they would explain and teach from the Scriptures, speak about Jesus who they had lived with, and the resurrected Christ they had seen with their own eyes. What did it feel like for the new believers as they listened? Luke simply says, “And awe came upon every soul.” Amazing time. Which brings the question? Can we be filled with awe?
Question: Why did Peter, cite from the Old Testament Prophet Joel, in his sermon at Pentecost?
Answer: The power of the Holy Spirit was so visible on that day of Pentecost that the Jewish people were confused and tried to explain away the Spirit given ability, for the followers of Christ, to speak the languages of those from foreign lands. The explanation, Peter declared, was to be found in the Old Testament Book of Joel, a text the doubters recognized. And so he cites Joel, “God says, that I will pour out my Spirit on all people,” to explain what was happening as they heard all around them.
Luther’s discovery and proclamation of a loving God was heard and cherished by nobles and common man alike. At the Diet at Worms in 1521 he based his beliefs on the authority of Scripture and there was no turning back. His attempt to bring an end to false teaching and practices in the Roman Catholic Church was a protest that made him an enemy of the papacy and an outlaw with death his sentence. Scripture alone, was revered and believed as the source of a loving God by those in power. His Elector, Frederick the Wise protected him and in 1522 had Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum (The Word of the Lord Endures Forever) on right sleeve of his court’s official clothing. Times had changed. By grace through faith, there was a rediscovery of the Biblical understanding of the relationship between Christ and each believer. Scripture identifies our new Christ given status as members of the priesthood of all believers.
The Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and the papacy tolerated the Evangelicals (Lutherans) until 1530 when Charles called for a “charitable hearing” to be held at Augsburg. His declared intentions for the hearing with the German princes was to establish peace. John the Steadfast, the brother of the deceased Frederick the Wise and other princes requested Peter Melanchthon to draft a common statement of faith for the Evangelicals to present to Charles.
The statement of faith, known as the Augsburg confession, was signed and presented by seven princes, including Luther’s prince John the Steadfast, to Charles V on June 25, 1530. Charles did not accept their beliefs and demanded that the Evangelicals come back into conformity with the Catholic Church. They refused, took their stand and now there was no turning back.. The princes stood behind the Augsburg confession that defined their beliefs- to the glory of God alone.
Question: Why did Luther believe that pastors could marry, contrary to what the Catholic Church believed for priest?
Answer: Luther condemned vows of celibacy on Biblical grounds. Celibacy had been taught as a way to be more righteous in the sight of God. Luther believed that Scripture teaches marriage is superior to celibacy except for a few who were chosen to be celibate.Luther wanted to restore freedom to everybody and leave each person free to marry or not to marry. Luther believed that mandatory celibacy led to the fall of many a priest and to the decline of the priesthood in general.
Just how big, how important was the Reformation? Salvation once again was understood as a gift of a loving God by grace through faith in Christ. We champion the liberation of the Scriptures. There is nothing more important, more significant than a release from damming beliefs to Gospel truth. Yet religious reform and insight also brought huge political and social change. Historian Timothy Maschke writes, “What began as a quiet protest against indulgences, made by an unknown Augustinian friar at a new university in an inconspicuous town of northern Germany, quickly, almost miraculously, transformed from gentle ripples of spiritual concern to a political and spiritual tsunami, affecting all of the European world and, rightly understood, all of Christendom.”
The tsunami moved fast. Luther’s understanding of Scripture and what Augustine and other church fathers taught expanded. He wrote and spoke for the independence of church and state. He taught and wrote that there is a direct relationship between believers and Christ who loves and forgives believers by grace through faith.
But now came the challenge from the papacy and demand for Luther to admit his mistakes and stop the protest. All watched to see what Luther would do. Would he step away from his stance that by faith alone we are saved?
Question: How was the name Luther originally spelled?
Answer: The surname Luther is first found in Saxony as one of the notable families of the region during mediaeval times. In northern Germany the name Lueder was more popular, while in southern Germany Leuther was used and in central Germany Luther was common. Martin Luther’s father wrote his name Luder. It is thought that Martin started using the spelling “Luther” during the time he studied at Wittenberg.
The 95 Theses led to the door to Christ being opened wide once again in the 16th century. Peter and John, in the 1st century, had testified to the Sanhedrin that the power they had received allowing them to heal a lame man had come from “…Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well.This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among menby which we must be saved.” Acts 4:10-12 Peter and John and the other apostles declared Christ alone.
Over the centuries the truth of Christ as our only means of salvation was lost. The 95 Theses not only led to debate about indulgences, as Luther desired, but also broke the strangle hold by the church on truth. In four short years Luther would be brought to trial to defend his belief that only through Christ we have salvation. At a city named Worms, he would be instructed to confess that he had mislead people and sinned against the Pope and the church. The question he was asked was, “Are the collection of books on this table yours, and are you ready to revoke their heresies.” If he would say yes, he would be forgiven, he no longer would be regarded as a criminal with a price on his head, But a yes would keep the door to Christ closed. What was his answer?
Question: What was the Holy Roman Empire?
Answer: The Holy Roman Empire was a feudal monarchy that encompassed present-day Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland,Austria, the Czech and Slovak Republics, as well as parts of eastern France, northern Italy, Slovenia, and western Poland.
In 1512 the name “Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation”became the official title of the empire. Charles V was ruler of both the Spanish Empire from 1516 and the Holy Roman Empire from 1519.
The National Lutherans for Life Regional Conference will be held Saturday, October 21 at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Lincoln.
Speakers will be:
Rev. Michael Salemink – “Standing Out in the Field” – How to be a life-minded congregation and
Laura Davis – “Defusing the Tension: Revealing the Heart of the Abortion Debate”
David Zach of acoustic band “Remedy Drive” with a pre-conference concert at St. John Lutheran Church
gymnasium 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20, and speaking on human trafficking Oct. 21
Brian Young on Creation
Greg Baker – “Christian Witness in the Public Square”
Adult registration $50 and student registration $25 for all workshops and meals. Children 12 & under are free, but you will need to reserve a meal. To register and for more information from National LFL, go online here or e-mail Virginia Flo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Nebraska LFL Federation will reimburse attendees for the full registration amounts. After registering, contact Treasurer Kirk Goertzen at email@example.com or (402) 725-3592. Late registrations will be accepted at at the start of the event on October 21, with late registrants signing in at 8:30. Conference events will be held from 9-4. A special LFL rate of $89 for Friday or Saturday night will be given at LaQuinta Motel, 4433 N. 27th Street in Lincoln (402-476-2222.)
Still Time to Get Tickets for the 500th Reformation Dinner at Concordia University, NebraskaConcordia University, Nebraska invites you to a Germanfest dinner at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday,October 29, complete with entertainment. The menu includes German potato salad, beef roulades, chicken schnitzel, bratwurst with fresh saurkraut, pretzel breads, cheese blintzes and German chocolate cake! (Kid-friendly options will also be available.) The dinner follows the Reformation Worship Service at 3:30 p.m. Please join us for an afternoon of worship and fellowship! Click here for tickets to the meal. Space is limited! Find more information on CUNE 500 events on their website.Click here to download a bulletin insert to use with your congregation.
Concordia University’s music department will present “Redeemed by His Grace: A Hymn Festival Celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation” at 3 p.m., September 17, 2017 in St. John Lutheran Church.
Dr. Jeffrey Blersch, professor of music and University organist at Concordia University, Nebraska, will accompany the event. Senior Assistant to the President of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, Rev. Dr. Jon Vieker, will act as commentator and give historical and spiritual background to the hymns.
Concordia’s A Cappella Choir conducted by Dr. Kurt von Kampen, Cantumus Women’s Chorus conducted by Dr. Blersch, and the Male Chorus conducted by Paul Soulek will all perform along with Professor Andy Schultz on trumpet and Dr. Wendy Schultz on trombone.
The festival will include traditional reformation hymns such as “A Mighty Fortress” with a special arrangement by Blersch commissioned by Concordia Publishing House for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Other arrangements by Dr. Blersch, Dr. von Kampen, Paul Soulek and Professor Emeritus Dr. Charles Ore are included in the program. Dr. Blersch is especially excited to introduce, “a new hymn that was the winner of the LCMS’s Reformation hymn writing competition.