Enough Already, Stop Grumbling

August 31, 2015
“Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.” – John 6:43-44

Why were they grumbling? They knew him! They knew Jesus, the son of Joseph of Nazareth. They knew his mom, Mary, too. In Nazareth they knew his brothers and sisters. They could go to Bethlehem and talk to a few shepherds or go to Jerusalem and interview a priest. They had known Jesus from the beginning of his life. They knew his family.

Then Jesus told the crowds that he had come down from heaven! The picture he used was brilliant. Remember the manna that fell from heaven, sent from God? Remember how it saved the lives of millions of people as they wandered in the desert for forty years? Well, Jesus offers more! He promises that those who trust in him will live forever. This promise comes from the One who came down from heaven (John 6:49-51).

“Stop grumbling!” Jesus says. What a blessing to know that we have a Savior who is just like us – totally acquainted with struggles and challenges of human life: hunger, thirst, sadness, exhaustion, suffering, bleeding, dying. Jesus is our flesh and blood Savior, and he uses that flesh and blood to pay for the sins of the world. He gives us himself as the “bread of life” so that we can live forever.

“Stop grumbling!” What a blessing to know that we have a Savior who is God himself. He says, “I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life” (John 6:47).

A large portion of John chapter 6 is filled with promises from our Friend, Jesus. Who could grumble about the gift of everlasting life, a gift from the Holy Spirit who gives us faith in Jesus by the power of the gospel? Who could keep on complaining that God the Father himself, our dear Father in heaven, draws us to himself now and forever?

And what believer will be grumbling on the last day when we rise from the dead and take our place at Jesus’ right hand in the glory of heaven?

Prayer: Gracious Holy Spirit, lead me away from my constant grumbling about Jesus’ teachings; then lead me to trust every word he speaks because it is both the truth and my eternal life. Amen.

Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost

August 30, 2015

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God’s Stamp of Approval

August 24, 2015
“On him [the Son of Man] God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” – John 6:27

People have always sought to win God’s approval. This has led them to make promises, to broker deals, and to try to be better than others. In the end, all these attempts fail to secure what they seek.

The problem is sin. Even if people could live morally outstanding lives worthy of the praise of others, the result would be the same, “they fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). God is perfect, and anything less than his perfection does not secure his seal of approval.

This is why I need to look away from myself and what I do. Instead I look to Jesus alone for God’s seal of approval. He came to this earth to secure what was impossible for me to attain.

Jesus received the seal of God’s approval at his baptism (Matthew 3:17). He also received it before he went to his death on the cross (Matthew 17:5). In both instances God the Father declared, “This is my Son whom I love, with him I am well pleased.” With these words, God put his seal of approval on everything Jesus did to secure the perfect life I lacked. Jesus even went one step farther. He also went to his death on the cross. There he gave his life as the perfect payment for my sin. He provided what God the Father required—a sinless death. The Father, then, placed his final seal of approval on all Jesus did when he returned to heaven.

Through faith in Jesus I receive the benefit of his precious work. No longer do I seek God’s favor based on my merits. No longer am I driven by promises to do better in order to win God’s favor. I have God’s seal of approval because Jesus has secured it as my Savior and my Substitute.

As a result I live in peace. Life holds no fear – I am one with God. Death holds no terror – I will be raised from the dead. The Day of Judgment holds no anxiety – I will be declared an heir of heaven. All this is mine through Jesus. He has secured God’s seal of approval and placed it on me.

Prayer: O precious Jesus, I was dead, blind and rejected by God because of my sin. You have brought life, given me sight, and made me one with you and your Father. Lead me to live every day relying on your precious work by which God has declared me acceptable in his sight. Amen.

Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost

August 23, 2015

Order of Service Printed in Today’s Bulletin

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James “Jim” Kormeier, 1933-2015

August 21, 2015

The Memorial Service Bulletin

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Can God Really Love Me?

August 17, 2015
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him will not perish, but have eternal life. – John 3:16

There are many familiar Bible passages, but this one is probably the most familiar. Countless people have found hope and solace in the assurance that God loved the world. Unfortunately, many people have rejected God and his love because it didn’t measure up to their expectations. So, what do I believe?

It may be easy to conclude God loves me when everything is going well in my life. My health is excellent. My job is stable. My family is loving and considerate. On the other hand, what is my conclusion when my life is in turmoil? My health is poor. My prospects for employment evaporate. My family is dysfunctional. Does this mean God doesn’t love me? I need to understand how God does show his love to me.

The proper understanding of God’s love is actually found in the word the Bible uses for love. This is not to be understood as a feeling or an emotion. It is a special love which displays an unselfish resolve. In love, God knew what I desperately needed. In love, God responded purposefully and without reservation. In love, God came to seek me even when I didn’t seek him.

God showed his love by sending his one and only Son to rescue me from eternal death. This love required Jesus to take on my flesh and blood to become my substitute. As that substitute he lived a sin-free life to purify me from my disobedience. He died a guiltless death to pay the debt of sin I accrued. He even rose victorious from the grave to release me from the sentence of death. Jesus did everything God the Father prescribed. In the end, when I put my trust in Jesus I will have what he earned. I will also know the true joy and blessing of God’s love.

So, indeed, God does love me! But I should never measure his love by how much or little I have in my life. God’s love is seen and measured in what his Son Jesus has done for me. Through him I have everything – forgiveness, peace, joy and eternal life.

Prayer: O dearest Jesus, thank you for coming to this earth to reveal your Father’s love. Help me trust in that love, live in that love, and rejoice in that love always. Amen.

Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost

August 16, 2015

Divine Service II, Page 158, Lutheran Worship

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