Eighth Sunday after Pentecost

July 30, 2017

Divine Service II, Page 158, Lutheran Worship

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Vacation Bible School Closing Service

July 28, 2017

The Program

Losing in the Game of Life? You Cannot Lose with the Lord!

July 24, 2017

O LORD, you deceived me, and I was deceived; you overpowered me and prevailed. I am ridiculed all day long; everyone mocks me. Whenever I speak, I cry out proclaiming violence and destruction. So the word of the LORD has brought me insult and reproach all day long… But the LORD is with me like a mighty warrior; so my persecutors will stumble and not prevail. They will fail and be thoroughly disgraced; their dishonor will never be forgotten… Sing to the LORD! Give praise to the LORD! He rescues the life of the needy from the hands of the wicked. – Jeremiah 20:7,8,11,13

Jeremiah was given a very difficult task. God sent him to preach to the people of Judah – God’s chosen people. He was to warn them that if they did not repent of their sin, God was going to send the Babylonians to conquer them and take them captive. So this is what Jeremiah proclaimed.

As you might imagine, his message was not well-received. People do not like being told they are doing wrong. One of the leaders of Judah even had Jeremiah arrested and put in stocks. It was a difficult time for Jeremiah.

So he complained. He poured his heart out to the LORD, saying this was not right and this was not fair. Why should God’s enemies seem so successful while his servant suffered?

You know how Jeremiah felt, don’t you? You know how frustrating it can be to follow the LORD and receive ridicule in return. It can seem so unfair. And it can appear that you are on the losing side.

But you are not. Neither was Jeremiah. He had the almighty God on his side. What he prophesied came to pass. He was vindicated.

Remember this the next time you are ridiculed for your faith. Remember this the next time it seems you are on the losing side. You have the almighty God with you. He is like a mighty warrior. When you are on his side, you cannot lose.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, sometimes it seems so unfair when I follow you. You know how frustrated I am at times. When I begin to lose heart, send your Holy Spirit to strengthen me with the reminder that you are on my side and will ultimately give me the victory. In your powerful and victorious name, I pray. Amen.

Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

July 23, 2017

Order of Service Printed in Today’s Bulletin

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The Upmost Victory

July 17, 2017
“Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you.” – Jeremiah 32:17

Do you believe the world will ultimately end in tragedy or triumph? Based on the certainty of Jesus’ return in power and glory, and God’s promise of a new heaven and new earth (2 Peter 3:13), the answer is triumph.

But more specifically, do you think your life will ultimately end in tragedy or triumph? That might be a harder question to answer … especially if you are in a season of suffering. That’s why we need to know the history of a prophet named Jeremiah. He was an ordinary man like you and me. He didn’t call down fire from heaven or heal the sick, like Elijah. Or part waters like Moses. He spent most of his days in suffering. In fact, he was called the “weeping prophet”.

About 2600 years ago, Jeremiah was watching the Babylonian army build ramparts around the city of Jerusalem, preparing to pounce on God’s people. The likely outcome would be tragedy. And yet, in that moment, the Lord tells Jeremiah to go purchase a plot of land near Jerusalem, land that would one day be Jeremiah’s farm.

At that time, it must have sounded like the worst investment in history. But to Jeremiah, it was a deposit of hope. Hope that for him and for the people of Israel the ultimate outcome would be triumph. That is why he prayed, “Nothing is too hard for you!”

Yes, Jerusalem would be destroyed. Yes, most of the people would be taken into exile. But God would protect Jeremiah and he would stay in the land. And the exiles would one day return and rebuild the temple.

Even and especially in the midst of your pain and suffering, God has made a deposit of hope. He did it when Jesus’ cold body was placed in a damp tomb, only to rise again, fully alive. Jesus’ death and resurrection paid for your rescue, but also for your place in God’s new heaven and new earth. When Jesus returns, all of life’s suffering will be transformed into eternal joy.

Knowing that your life will end in triumph doesn’t immediately take away your pain, but it will give you hope that the best is yet to come.

Prayer: Lord God, you often bless me with joy and happiness. Thank you! But you also allow times of tears. In those moments, lift up my eyes to see that my life will ultimately end in triumph because of your victory through your cross and resurrection. Amen.

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

July 16, 2017

Divine Service, Page 6, Hymnal Supplement 98

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Help is at Hand

July 10, 2017
I will exalt you, O LORD, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me. O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me. O LORD, you brought me up from the grave; you spared me from going down into the pit. – Psalm 30:1-3

If you’ve ever seen a helicopter rescue, you’ll agree, it’s remarkable! The victims are stranded on an ice flow or trapped on a sinking vessel. They are stuck and often moments from perishing, but then from the skies comes the sights and sounds of rescue – the helicopter rotors buzzing in the sky, the rope dangling from the chopper to the place of danger, the para-rescuer ready to slide down the rope and save the day. It’s an emotional event and an amazing sight when a rescue takes place.

And that’s just for strangers. It’s emotional to watch when you don’t know any of the people involved. But imagine if it was you being rescued! Imagine what the scene looks like with you standing in the place of danger! You are the one in peril. You are the one moments from destruction. You are the one being saved. It’s a whole lot more moving when you are the one who is being rescued.

But you don’t have to imagine being rescued, you were rescued. Maybe not by a helicopter, but you have been rescued. We all have. We were drowning in a sea of sin and unbelief. We were moments away from destruction when a rescuer came from above. He came down to us, not on a rope, but in a baby’s flesh. He saved us, not by strapping us to a stretcher, but by strapping himself to a cross. He rescued us by defeating sin, and he conquered death with his resurrection.

God spared us from something worse than flood or fire or storm, he saved us from sin. He saved us by coming down to our earth, and he promises to take us to be with him in heaven. The one who came down will return so we can go up to everlasting security and joy and peace with him in glory.

All praise and glory to the one who rescued us, our Savior God!

Prayer: Thank you, Lord God, for seeing our peril and for answering our pleas. Thank you for saving us from sin and death and for promising us your guidance, your protection, your glory in heaven. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.