And God Saw That It Was Good!” Genesis 1:31
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.
Harvest Time” Mark 1:14-15
In Mark we read about Jesus beginning His ministry and calling the disciples who would follow Him throughout this ministry. Continue reading Life Notes Harvest Time” Mark 1:14-15
“Amber Alert!” Luke 2:45-47
Things had been going so well. As was their custom, Mary and Joseph, had traveled to Jerusalem, to participate in the Festival of the Passover. Continue reading Life Notes “Amber Alert!” Luke 2:45-47
When the Time Came” Luke 2:29-32
Luke writes, when the time came, Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the Temple. Continue reading Life Notes When the Time Came” Luke 2:29-32
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 truce of 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.
Come for an evening of Prayer and Praise.
Music will be led by the Jurgen family band with Vicar Lark as the worship leader.
Contemporary music combined with Christmas carols will be played and sung throughout the evening.
All are welcome to attend. Bring your friends and neighbors.
We will have hot cider and cookies available after worship.
Saturday December 16th 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
“Beloved, I am Writing You.” 1 John 2:78
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.
So You May Have Fellowship!” 1 John 1:3-4
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!”
“Look At Us!” Acts 3:3-7
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.”
“Devoted to What?” Acts 2:42-43
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.
We held our annual trunk or treat on Halloween.
This year it was a little cold but we had little ones come out for it.
We are starting to plan for next year already. Looking forward to Halloween 2018
The Stand- 1 Peter 2:9-10 Glory to God Alone
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.|
The Protest- Romans 1:16-17 Faith Alone
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 Door- 1 Cor.6:11 Christ Alone
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 men by 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.
Concordia, Nebraska Presents Hymn Festival
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.
The festival is free and open to the public.
For Better or For Worse-Col. 3:14– 4:1
With the words, “for better or for worse” those that marry pledge their love and commitment. Solemn words, hopeful words said before God and those who have come to witness. Jesus said: “’God made them male and female.’ For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.”
God created this world in love so that we can live in community with the love of Christ in our heart giving and receiving love from each other. Is marriage and family a crucial part of God’s plan? What are the concerns, what threatens marriage and family and how is this precious gift protected and sustained?
Question: Why did Martin Luther, a former priest, decide to marry?
Answer: Luther understood that there is nothing in Scripture requiring celibacy. He taught, the Bible wants people to “be fruitful and multiply” and preachers should be married so they aren’t tempted to sin. At the age of 42 he married a former nun, Katherine Bora, 16 years younger than him. The wedding of Martin and Katherine was not done lightly, nor was it without controversy. Luther thought long and hard about whether he should get married. Melanchthon and others felt that Luther’s wedding would be scandalous and harm the cause of the Reformation. Ultimately, Luther came to the opposite conclusion. As he put it, there was “a battery of reason in favor of his proposal: his marriage would please his father, rile the pope, cause the angels to laugh and the devils to weep.”