What Does God Have in Mind for 2014

December 30, 2013

Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom. After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. . .

Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he was saying to them. Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. – Luke 2:41-52

Do you want to know what God has in mind for your life in 2014? Me too! Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) God doesn’t share such details with us. Knowing the future is kind of like knowing more details about the life of Jesus between the age of 1 and 30. This section of Scripture from Luke 2 provides the only details we know about Jesus’ life over that 29 year period. When it comes to much of Jesus’ life on this earth and when it comes to your future and mine, God shares with us what we need to know and not everything we want to know.

One of the things that God wants us to know about our Savior Jesus over that period of 29 years is that he celebrated the Passover. The people of God living before Jesus was born and during his lifetime celebrated the Passover every year. By God’s command they took a young, healthy, male lamb and killed it. They put the lamb’s blood on the doorframe of their house. They did this to remember that long ago through the blood of an innocent lamb the angel of death “passed over” the homes of their ancestors, but not those of the Egyptians in whose land they were living. They celebrated the Passover to remember how through the blood of an innocent lamb the people of God were set free from the oppressive slavery they were forced into by the Egyptians. Jesus celebrated the very festival that pointed ahead to the work he would do on the cross – freeing slaves to sin by suffering the punishment of hell in our place. He shed his blood so that when physical death comes knocking at the door or Jesus returns on Judgment Day the angel of death will “pass over” sending us to hell and instead we will be picked up to go to heaven.

Throughout his whole life on earth Jesus focused on doing the work of his Father which was to complete the plan of eternal salvation so that sinners like us don’t need to be afraid of the future. We don’t know what the future on earth holds for us, but we know this: Jesus continues to do his Father’s work for our eternal benefit. He gives spiritual direction, knowledge, and strength to those who seek him through his holy Word, just like he did in the temple when he was twelve years old. He humbles those, like Mary and Joseph, who need to be reminded of what God considers to be most important in life. He grants peace to those who trust that he is their Savior from hell and the grave. He comforts those who trust in his promise that he will never leave them nor forsake them.

Don’t sweat the fact that we don’t know details of the future. All we need to know and trust is that our obedient Savior Jesus will provide everything we need for life now and forever.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for this year that is about to come to an end. Be with me as I face the future. Never leave me nor forsake me. Continue to comfort and direct me through your Word until I am safely with you forever in heaven. Amen.


First Sunday after Christmas

December 29, 2013

Guest Preacher: Rev. Justin Pahl

Order of Service Printed in Today’s Bulletin

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Christmas Day

December 25, 2013

Divine Service I, Page 136, Lutheran Worship

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Christmas Eve Candlelight Service

December 24, 2013

Divine Service I, Page 136, Lutheran Worship

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Christmas Eve Children’s Program

December 24, 2013

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Christmas Joy is Certain Hope in Christ

December 23, 2013

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning. O Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins. – Psalm 130:5-8

Christmas is almost here. What are you anticipating? Are you waiting for the arrival of family, a break from work, Christmas services and singing, festive meals and gatherings, gift openings?

Sometimes our hopes are fulfilled; sometimes we’re left disappointed. Past disappointments can leave people feeling apprehensive about the holidays. They don’t want to get their hopes up.

But, there is a hope that never disappoints. What is this hope? The hope built on God’s word, for he never goes back on his word. Say with faith and confidence: “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.” Even though this world passes away, his word stands firm forever. His promises are surer than the sun coming up each morning.

What brings such certainty? Cradle the Christ child in your heart. Know him as your Redeemer. To redeem is to pay the ransom price that sets someone free. God’s Son came to pay the price for you. He became flesh and blood to ransom you. Faith looks at the rosy cheeks of the newborn in the manger and sees the bloody cross.

Jesus, himself, is your Ransom. He died to set you free from sin’s power to condemn you. With him is full redemption. He paid the full price for you, the price of his holy blood, the blood of God, shed on the cross. How precious the ransom paid for you!

Would he now change his mind and go back on his word? Of course not! Rather our risen Redeemer will come again in glory to raise the dead and bring to heaven all who wait for him. So no matter how dark this world’s night, your Redeemer is coming again. Put your hope in the Lord and wait for him.

Prayer:

Come, O precious Ransom come, only Hope for sinful mortals!
Come, O Savior of the world! Open are to you all portals.
Come, your beauty let us view; anxiously we wait for you.


Fourth Sunday in Advent

December 22, 2013

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