Help taking down decorations

We will need help taking down our Christmas decorations this Sunday at noon.  Can you help?  Please reply to this email to let me know if you can be there.  We will provide lunch to whoever can come. 

Bible Study Schedule for The Story

Happy New year everyone!!!
 
This is the NEW schedule for our study of The Story.  It is my fervent prayer that you and the members of your family will choose one of these days and times to participate in this experience.  You won't be disappointed and will grow tremendously in your faith!!
 
Adult Studies
Saturdays at 4-4:45pm
 
Sundays- 9:45-10:45am
 
Tuesdays- 11:30-12:15
 
High School- Sundays at 5-6pm
 
7-8th graders- Mondays 5-6:15pm
 
2-11 year olds- Sundays 9:45-10:45am
 
 
If you cannot make any of these days and times and would like to start a study anytime during the week, please respond to this email and we may be able to work something out. 
 
I am also working on providing different family devotional helps for at home. 
 
Peace be with you all!!
Pastor

Fwd: The Lutheran Hour: December 29, 2013




-------- Original message --------
From: Lutheran Hour Ministries <lh_min@lhm.org>
Date: 12/28/2013 9:16 PM (GMT-06:00)
To: revklaus@hotmail.com
Subject: The Lutheran Hour: December 29, 2013



 
The Lutheran Hour Logo Donate

The Lutheran Hour Speakers B/W

Sermon Text for December 29, 2013

 
"Regrets, More Than a Few" #81-17
Presented on The Lutheran Hour on December 29, 2013
By Rev. Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
(Why Bethlehem?)
Copyright 2013 Lutheran Hour Ministries

The Lutheran Hour audio button



Text: 1 John 1:9

Christ is risen. He is risen, indeed! Today, with 2014 just around the corner, God's people joyfully come together in a resolution which confesses Christ crucified and risen. By God's grace and through Jesus' blood may we rejoice in sins which are forgiven and forgotten. God grant this resolution to us all. Amen. 

Well, my friends, Christmas is over. Did you get what you wanted? If you didn't get what you wanted on Christmas Day, have you managed to exchange that not-wanted-stuff for the things on which you really had your heart set? Christmas is over and now, at least for the church, we're getting ready for the next sort-of-big holiday called Epiphany. You may not know the name Epiphany, but you do know about the Wise Men who came to worship the Christ Child. Your nativity sets usually have them showing up with the shepherds at Jesus' birth, but that's not the way it was. The Wise Men made their appearance sometime later. At any rate, next Sunday, or officially on January 6th, many churches will celebrate Epiphany by singing, "We Three Kings of Orient Are." I love that hymn. I love it, at least in part, because it has three errors in six words; it sets a record for inaccuracy. We don't know if there were three wise men, they weren't kings and they most certainly didn't come from the Orient. 

Of course, before we get to Epiphany all of us are going to have to survive the really non-religious celebration of New Year's. And New Year's really is a celebration, isn't it? No, it's not nearly as family oriented as is Christmas, but even so, folks still love to celebrate the 'out with the old and in with the new.' To that end we have established, and New Year's lays claim to, its very own special, set of select traditions. 

New Year's Eve traditions. New Year's traditions. There is the Waterford Crystal Ball which drops down in Times Square at precisely 11:00, if you live in the Midwest. And I thought Dick Clark was always going to be a tradition, but he passed away and now Ryan Seacrest has about a hundred years to catch up to Dick Clark to make himself a tradition. What other New Year's traditions are there? 

Oh, I know, the Rose Bowl Parade. I rode in that parade a few years back. Those bands, horses, mobile floral displays have been held in Pasadena on New Year's Day for over 125 years. They tell me a million people line the parade route and a billion more watch it on television. I guess that makes the Rose Bowl a New Year's tradition. Anything else? Oh, songs. Auld Lang Syne, the poem by Robert Burns. You remember: "Shid ald akwentans bee firgot, an nivir brocht ti mynd? Shid ald akwentans bee firgot, an ald lang syn*? Other songs? One by Frank Sinatra: "I Did It My Way." You remember the lyrics, don't you? "And now, the end is near And so I face the final curtain, My friend, I'll say it clear I'll state my case, of which I'm certain I've lived a life that's full I've traveled each and every highway And more, much more than this I did it my way." 

I remember that one. "Regrets, I've had a few, but then again, too few to mention." You know, if we said "We Three Kings of Orient Are" had some mistakes, so does that song sung by Frank Sinatra. 'Regrets, I've had a few?' I mean how many of us can sing that line without breaking into a belly laugh? Truth is most of us have a bushel-basket filled with regrets... and when it comes to mentioning those regrets, we couldn't forget them if we tried. 

A few weeks ago I re-read Dickens novel, "A Christmas Carol." The story line of Ebenezer Scrooge is all about regrets. First, Jacob Marley, Scrooge's old and painfully-dead partner, shows up and tells how he regrets the bad decisions he made in life, the bad decisions which he wears like chains in death. Then Marley warns Scrooge about how he'd better change his ways if he doesn't want to spend the ever-after regretting all he has done wrong. 

At midnight, Scrooge is visited by the Ghost-Of-Christmas-Past who takes the reluctant miser on a tour of his early history. Scrooge is shown some snippets of happy Christmas celebrations from long ago. He is forced to remember how his little sister had held him in awe and admiration, how royally his employer, good, old Fezziwig had treated him. He sees once again the joy he found in the love which he shared with Belle, the woman who became his fiancée. 

Then there was the turning point in Scrooge's life when money became his best and greatest love. His fiancée, realizing Scrooge was more attracted to gold than he was to her, broke off their engagement. From then on it was a downward spiral as each year found Scrooge more miserable and more miserly than he had been the year before. The story progresses. At 1:00 Scrooge is visited by the Ghost-of-Christmas-Present who shows him the disastrous, present-day results of Scrooge's past choices. By the time the Ghost-of-Christmas-Future arrives Scrooge could have changed Sinatra's song to read: "Regrets, more than a few, more than I possibly can mention..." 

And, if I'm being honest, I must confess I need to add my voice to that of Scrooge. If the Ghost-Of-Christmas-Past grabbed me out of my Texas bedroom, she would be hard-pressed to show me half of my bad decisions, wrong choices, and tragic sins in the hour which she has been given. Regrets, I've had a few? Not likely. Like Scrooge, I would find those numerous recollections of my wrongdoing to be incredibly painful. Like that old curmudgeon I would begin to wonder how much my present and future might have been changed if I had gone a different direction or made some different decisions. 

Of course, now that I think about it, most of us don't need to be haunted by ghosts, nor do we need any spirit-world apparitions taking us on a tour of our flaws and failings, our sins and shortcomings. We don't need them because our memories and our consciences keep a pretty good inventory of our many regrets. Some of those things we knew were wrong at the time we were doing them; the error of others came to light with the passing of time. Let's see, there was the time in grade school when everybody was picking on one of the kids and, rather than rising to his defense, I joined in. Allowing him to be used as the sacrificial lamb was my way of making sure that I didn't become the target of the group's cruel comments and criticisms. I would love to say that was a one-time transgression. It wasn't. 

Then there have been those times when I spoke far too harshly to someone who loved me or was trying to help me. There have been times when I criticized those who were in authority above me, undermined their position and had considerable fun at their expense. Neither president or professor, parent or pal escaped my judgmental tongue. Then, I am sorry to say there have been moments when my temper flared and my reaction was far stronger than anyone deserved. 

Regrets, more than a few. This half-hour broadcast does not give me time to scratch the surface of the many regrets from long ago which are played again and again in my mind. What I can and will say is this: I have shared what I have shared not to give you a deep understanding into my private, public, and personal sins, I did so only because I am quite confident that you are right in my side on the boat of regrets. Your conscience, like mine, is alive and well. It is eager, excited, even enthusiastic in its desire to let you know that you have messed up in a major sort of way. No, my sins may not be your sins, and my faults and flaws may seem foreign and foolish to you; but that hardly means you are without sin and none of us is so innocent that we can cast the first stone. 

Regrets, more than a few. Maybe that is why, right around this time of year we start following another New Year's tradition, the making of resolutions. Acknowledging our past failures we make promises to ourselves that we will do better and be better in the future. You know, these things are so universal, I bet you can get most of them without even trying. The five most common New Year's resolutions are: resolving to take up a new hobby; resolving to make more money; resolving to improve relationships; resolving to stop smoking, and the most popular resolution of all, is the resolution to lose weight. 

But those New Year's resolutions hardly touch upon our personal sins and our past guilt, do they? What resolution can be of help to the woman who feels guilt about having had an abortion which, at the time, may have seemed like the right, the reasonable, maybe the only option open to her? What resolution can there be for the spouse who regrets the lies, the wounds, the pain which has been inflicted on a marriage because of an affair? What resolution can be adopted which will remove the regret someone feels for having betrayed a best friend? Certainly there is no resolution which can mend the harsh words which were directed against a now-deceased loved one.

Yes, our past is full of mistakes. If you are being honest, right now you're thinking about the many regrets which you have, the actions over which you are ashamed and embarrassed, the things you've said and thought which were illegal, immoral, cruel, or scandalous. There are regrets over things which you did wrong and regrets when you failed to do what was right. They are so much a part of us that I don't even have to tell you to, "take a minute to recall those sins for which you are most mortified.' Ever since I started talking about the past, your particular episode or episodes have been right at the front of your thoughts. You may not have shared them with anyone, you probably will never reveal them to anyone, but you know them. You can't escape from them. Regrets, yes there have been more than a few. 

Now, before I go any further, I do need to say something positive about regret. Our regrets are a good thing when they lead to repentance, that is, sorrow accompanied by a commitment to abandon past sinful behavior. When a person regrets having embarrassed himself by drinking too much and then learns to curb that habit, regret and repentance have served their purpose. If regret over having treated your children poorly leads to repentance, then you are acting as the Lord wishes. If regret over your sad, sorry relationship with the Lord leads to repentance and an increased faith and devotion to the Triune God, then you have been blessed. 

Regret can be a good thing when it turns you around. Unfortunately, most of the time regret just sits there in our minds and hearts. Year after year it sits there looking stern and severe, spitting out cruel, callous, and unkind accusations. Unbridled regret doesn't care about a calendar which changes, it is tireless in its desire to give you ulcers, high-blood pressure, worry, sleeplessness, a feeling of worthlessness, hopelessness, helplessness, and doubt about your possibility of entering paradise. 

Which is why, if what I've been saying sounds uncomfortably familiar, as you stand poised to enter the New Year of our Lord, 2014, I've got good news for you. For those of you who have no faith, or a misguided and misdirected faith, I have good news. Today it is my privilege to share that you have been unsuccessful in hiding your sins and wrongdoings. You have been a miserable failure at keeping things covered up. The all-knowing Triune God is fully aware of what you have done wrong; He has looked at your excuses and He has seen you suffer under the condemnation of your guilt and regret. 

But you need to know that the Lord is much more than a distant Observer of your pain. He cares about you, your happiness, your eternity. He cares more than you can possibly imagine. Indeed, He loves you, even if you cannot love yourself. So that you might be released from your most personal regrets and redeemed from the condemnation they bring, He sent His Son into this world. God's perfect Son, Jesus Christ came into this world for the express purpose of walking in your shoes, living your life, carrying your transgressions, and dying your death. The great difference between you and Jesus is that He did all of this without having done anything wrong. 

From start to finish Jesus lived a perfect life and now, to all those who believe, His righteousness becomes theirs. Wait, let me say that in a more simple, a non-theological sort of way. Because Jesus has carried your sins, because He took them to the cross, they are gone. That's right, when you have faith in Jesus, your sins are gone. They no longer can accuse you; they cannot condemn you, they cannot call out for your punishment. 

That means, with faith in Jesus as your Savior, 2014 can be a year unlike any other. For the first time in a long time you can be free of your regrets, you can be free to live a life of thanksgiving in praise of your Redeemer; you can be free of the past and able to look forward to the future with joy. Your regrets may have said the wages of sin is death, but the Savior who lived, died, and rose from the dead to save you counters by saying, "the gift of God is eternal life." To those of you who have given up, I call you to see the Savior. See Him who alone can bring light to the darkness which envelopes you; and joy to your soul which has been wrapped in sorrow. 

And to you who already know Jesus I must also say a few words. During my years in the parish I met more than one Christian who knew and loved the Savior who had first loved them. Sadly, they were unable to fully grasp the full impact of the words Paul wrote to the church at Colossae. By inspiration the man who had been involved with the murdering of one of God's people, could honestly assure: "you, who were dead in your trespasses... God made you alive together with Jesus, having forgiven us all our trespasses." Col 2:13 (ESV) Far too many Christians think their sin and regret are the singular exceptions to John's statement which promises: "If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (11 John 1:9).

Which is why I say to you, "Do not let 2013 come to an end with you carrying around some sin which God forgave when Jesus died on the cross. Do not let 2014 begin with Satan accusing you of a transgression which Jesus carried to Calvary. My fellow believers, "Today is your day of freedom. Most certainly you should learn from your past, but do not let the ghosts of years gone by burden you with guilt for a sin which was nailed to Christ's cross." Listen to what Scripture says, believers who have confessed their sins and their faith in the risen Redeemer can be sure and certain that He will forgive us all our trespasses, cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 

Take those words to your lawyer and he will find no loophole; take those words to your jeweler and he will find no flaw; take those words and put them under an atomic microscope and you will find no exception. In Christ we are forgiven. Forgiven in 2013, 2014, and in all the days we are given. 

Last week's mail brought me a notice. The card said, "Your TIME subscription has run out." That was a bit disconcerting. I wondered if the sender knew something I didn't. But, no, that small letter referred to the magazine and not the days of my life. But I couldn't help but remember, time is running out for all of us. Which is why, since the Lord has graciously brought us to 2014, we ought to enter the New Year knowing, believing, saying, "Regrets? I have not one; because of Christ I am forgiven." 

May God grant that assurance be yours, and if it's not and you believe it ought to be, please, I encourage you to call us at The Lutheran Hour. Amen. 



LUTHERAN HOUR MAILBOX (Questions & Answers) for December 29, 2013
Topic: Why Bethlehem?

ANNOUNCER: Why did Joseph and Mary go to Bethlehem? Pastor Ken Klaus responds to questions from listeners. I'm Mark Eischer.

KLAUS: Hi, Mark. And hello to our listeners. 

ANNOUNCER: I realize we're already a week past Christmas at this point, but how about one more Christmas question?

KLAUS: Okay by me.

ANNOUNCER: Our listener wants to know, why did Luke make a point of saying that it was the Emperor Caesar Augustus who called for a census that required Joseph and Mary to go to Bethlehem? Our listener also has a follow-up challenge for you.

KLAUS: Thanks for the warning, but I don't think that would change my answer. Luke and the other Gospel writers include some historical data because they want everybody to know that this isn't a "once upon a time story." The story of the Savior doesn't begin like Star Wars... "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away." They want you to know that Jesus really was born, when He was born, where He was born, the family from which He was born. In this way people wouldn't be able to say, "Ah-ha! This really didn't happen." 

ANNOUNCER: And I suppose most Lutheran pastors would answer the same way. 

KLAUS: Yes, and now comes the second question, the semi-trick question?

ANNOUNCER: Yes, the follow-up. If you say it's so that we know Jesus is an historical figure, then why doesn't history have other records of a census called by Caesar where people had to go long distances in order to be enrolled? If Luke really wanted us to know the facts, why did he get these facts so mixed up? 

KLAUS: What he's saying is there is no corroborating record of Caesar telling people to get registered at an ancestral home. Since the part of Luke's story about Mary and Joseph going from Bethlehem to Nazareth is suspect, then the rest of what Luke says is also not to be trusted. Is that it?

ANNOUNCER: Pretty much. How would you answer? 

KLAUS: A couple ways. First, the Gospel accounts are themselves historical records. Second, we have only piecemeal information surviving from this time and especially from a remote province like Judea. So, just because we do not have additional evidence for the event outside the New Testament, we should not conclude that the Bible account is unreliable. Beyond that, Mark, I'd like to ask you some questions and have you lead us in an explanation. 

ANNOUNCER: All right. I'll try.

KLAUS: So, where did Mary live? 

ANNOUNCER: Luke says the angel Gabriel went to visit Mary in her home of Nazareth. 

KLAUS: And where does the Bible say Joseph lived? 

ANNOUNCER: I suppose I've always assumed he lived in Nazareth, too. Are you going to tell me that's wrong?

KLAUS: Sort of like they were next-door neighbors.

ANNOUNCER: Right.

KLAUS: No, I'm not going to say it's wrong; but, I am going to say we don't know. The Bible is silent as to where Joseph had his residence. It might have been Nazareth, or it could have been a considerable distance from Nazareth. All we can say is, when Caesar's decree went out, Joseph and Mary went to register in Bethlehem.

ANNOUNCER: The place where it was foretold the Messiah would also be born. 

KLAUS: Exactly. It is possible that Joseph may have lived near Bethlehem, or he may have had his home elsewhere. Like I said, we always assume that Joseph and Mary lived in Nazareth; but, maybe when Caesar's decree came out, what Joseph did was collected his expecting bride and brought her to the ancestral hometown. He may have lived close by.

ANNOUNCER: Is there more?

KLAUS: In the gospel according to Matthew we're told Herod wanted to kill Jesus and Joseph took his family to safety in Egypt. There they stayed until after Herod died. Now, can you tell me when Joseph was coming back, where did he plan to live? 

ANNOUNCER: Does the Bible tell us?

KLAUS: Not in so many words. But it does say this in Matthew 2: after Herod's death Joseph rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel... when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea... he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee. And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth..." 

ANNOUNCER: So, it sounds like Joseph at first was headed to Judea which is where Bethlehem is located and it was only his fear of Herod's successor and God's warning then that redirected him to the north, to Nazareth.

KLAUS: Which means when Caesar called for his census, maybe it was only Mary who had to travel a distance. Joseph might have been very near home.

ANNOUNCER: Thank you, Pastor Klaus, and we'd also like to thank Dr. Jeffrey Kloha of Concordia Seminary for additional historical information. This has been a presentation of Lutheran Hour Ministries.



Music Selections for this program:

"A Mighty Fortress" arranged by Chris Bergmann. Used by permission.

"My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less" arr. Henry Gerike. From Hope by the Concordia Seminary Chorus (© 2003 Concordia Seminary Chorus) Concordia Publishing House

"Drawn to the Cross Which Thou Hast Blessed" From The Concordia Organist (© 2009 Concordia Publishing House)

"Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word" From The Concordia Organist (© 2009 Concordia Publishing House)



Print this sermon
Sign up for LHM news Daily Devotions
Visit lutheranhour.org Change my email
Contact Us

a Program of LHM                                                                      

subscribe / unsubscribe / visit our website

660 Mason Ridge Center Dr.
St. Louis, MO 63141
1-800-876-9880

No late service Sunday

Just a reminder that there is no 11am service this Sunday. There is also no Sunday school for kids. There will be adult Bible class and regular Saturday service at 5pm and Sunday at 8:30am.  

Have a wonderful rest of the week and weekend!

Message from yesterday!

See y'all Tuesday night and/or Wednesday morning!!!
 
Enjoy this till then:
 
http://youtu.be/gVAKoZqn3T0

Roads are FINE

The  temperature is 33 degrees.  The roads are wet but not icy.  SEE YOU ALL IN WORSHIP!!!Emoji

The Lutheran Hour: December 22, 2013




-------- Original message --------
From: Lutheran Hour Ministries <lh_min@lhm.org>
Date: 12/21/2013 9:16 PM (GMT-06:00)
To: revklaus@hotmail.com
Subject: The Lutheran Hour: December 22, 2013



 
The Lutheran Hour Logo Donate

The Lutheran Hour Speakers B/W

Sermon Text for December 22, 2013

 
"Use What You've Been Given" #81-16
Presented on The Lutheran Hour on December 22, 2013
By Rev. Gregory Seltz, Lutheran Hour Speaker
Copyright 2013 Lutheran Hour Ministries

The Lutheran Hour audio button

 

Seltz Christmas Greeting 2013

Text: Ephesians 6:10-17

And Jesus said, "When you pray, pray, 'Father, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.'"

Grace, mercy, and peace be to you in the power of faith in the Christ of Christmas, the power to live life in the face of all challenges. Amen.

The Holy Days of Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter, are not merely days of preparation and celebration for those who believe in Jesus Christ. They are times of proclamation of a new way of life by the grace of God, a life of God's forgiveness, life, salvation, power, and peace; a life that is lived prayerfully by grace with God through faith, with fervent Christ-like love towards one's neighbor.

The last several weeks we've been studying the power of the Lord's Prayer in our lives, and today, on this Sunday before Christmas day, we have the wonderful opportunity to speak about the spiritual protection and power of the very Babe of Bethlehem, made possible for us all; God's strength to deal with our temptations, God's protection from evil and the evil one.

The Jesus who is teaching us to pray is the One who entered the world to suffer, to die, and to rise again so that evil would be vanquished, temptation would be set at bay, and life and salvation would again become a real possibility in a world full of sin and death. That's why the Christmas Babe and the resurrected Lord of Easter instructs in this petition of the Lord's Prayer, to say, "Father, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil!"

Evil, temptation, it's all around us, isn't it? Destructive seductions seem to be so inviting, don't they? As sinful people, we seem to go down those paths even when we know that they are deadly morally, ethically, and spiritually. We can't seem to lick the easy challenges in our lives, let alone the spiritually destructive ones.

In this broken world, amazingly, it seems that even good things can become a problem sometimes. For example, have you heard that sitting may be the new smoking? Let me say that again. Sitting may be the new smoking. That's right, the time we spend sitting these days may be as harmful to our health as smoking has been.

But that's what Travis Saunders, a Ph.D. student says; and who is Travis Saunders? Well, he's a certified exercise physiologist at the Healthy Active Living Group at Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario. He says according to research: "Sitting increases your risk of death and disease, even if you are getting plenty of physical activity. It's a bit like smoking," he says. 

"Smoking is bad for you even if you get lots of exercise. So is sitting too much." 

How did this happen? Easy, it seems that we are a people who don't like doing the things that are good for us. We live in a world of great new discoveries that tend to get us off our feet, demanding our time and attention while slowly stealing our health and vitality. We live in a culture that sits too much! We sit to drive. We sit to work at the computer. We sit to talk on the phone. We sit to watch TV. We sit to play video games. We sit to read the paper. There's a whole lot of sitting going on! 

And all that sitting isn't good for us. Instead of being a time of relaxation and refreshment, sitting has become destructive. A battle is going on and we don't even realize it. We think we're taking it easy and in reality, it's silently killing us. 

Deliver us from evil; lead us not into temptation; that's so hard when we can't even overcome the little challenges in life, right? It seems so impossible when merely our misuse of even good things is killing us. How are we going to deal with the big issues of life when we can't even handle the sitting issues of life? 

And that's the point. Temptation happens when anything in this world commands our attention more than God and the things of God in our lives. 

Temptation may feel more like a time of testing, where we fill our lives with everything else but the things of God. It may be a time of trial when we're challenged to sacrifice things we'd rather hold on to for that which is truly precious. Or, it may come as a time of seduction to evil, when God's Word and our desires are at odds, and we are challenged to affirm again the One in whom we trust. Temptation can overwhelm, and evil can seem so insurmountable.

Temptation, trial, evil; in all these things, the ultimate challenge is to our first love, Jesus Christ. It does seem like there is a never-ending battle going on in our hearts and our minds, doesn't it? And when we give in or are overwhelmed by it all, our hearts and souls feel like they are being ground into the dust, don't they?

But hear, even now, more importantly, the Bible's proclamation. Hear why the Christmas, Easter Message is so powerful. Jesus entered the world because there is a battle going on, a battle for our eternal lives, right now! Jesus tells us that "In this world we will have trouble, but fear not, He has overcome the world." In the midst of our struggles and temptations, we don't merely turn to fight; we turn to the Lord who has fought for us. We actually focus on Him and not our temptations. We focus on Him and we pray that He would protect us and guide us.

Now don't take temptation or the power of evil too lightly. Do you want to know how brutal temptation and evil can get? Look at the whole Christmas story; see the evil of Herod murdering 2-year old children to protect his throne, in the midst of the real joy to the world! Or jump ahead and look at the Babe of Bethlehem hanging on the cross for you. There He is tempted to come down, to save Himself and to leave our lives broken and separated from God. 

There, the sinless One faces one last struggle, one last temptation, to avoid our judgment. Yet, there He is; one time for all time, our Savior overcoming temptation to bring life and salvation to you, to me, to all!

Because of Him: if we fall, in repentance, we can still turn to God and confess. Because of Him; if we fall, we can stand up again in His forgiveness. Because of Him, if we succeed, overcoming temptation and struggle, we proclaim the grace, strength, and the care of the One who would not let us go. 

Because of Him, those who trust in Christ can: "Finally, be strong in the Lord," as Paul says, "and in the strength of his might...we can take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm" (Ephesians 6 ESV).

In fact, because of Him, we can battle our temptations and serve others even in the face of evil. In Him, this is the way to face life head on. You might says that The Lord's Prayer is the gym for your soul, Christ's church is the workout room for your eternal Monday through Saturday life. I love this quote. Can you tell me who said it?

In a recent article titled "The Gym of the Soul," someone said, "No matter what, you can overcome your past. With help, if you look to God, you can overcome your past and be reborn." 

But it was not a preacher who was quoted; rather it was someone you might not expect. It was Sylvester Stallone, a.k.a. "Rocky." Stuart Shepard tells the story of the turnaround in Stallone's life. He tells how Stallone surprised the entertainment world by resurrecting his iconic movie hero, Rocky Balboa, for one last film. And while he was traveling and promoting the film, he told how his faith in Jesus Christ and his renewed commitment to the Christian faith was instrumental in his decision to make the final movie. The article quotes Stallone as saying, "I was raised in a Catholic home and a Christian home, and I went to Catholic schools, and I was taught the faith and went as far as I could with it, until one day, you know, I got out into the so-called real world and I was presented with temptation. I kinda lost my way. I made a lot of bad choices." But, Stallone added, he's been going through a change in his life. He's realized he was wrong to place his career and fame ahead of his family. 'The more I go to church,' he said, 'the more I turn myself over to the things of Jesus, listening to His Word, having Him guide my hand, I feel as though the pressure is off me now.' And, making a correlation between physical and spiritual fitness, as only "Rocky" could, he said. 'You need to have the expertise and the guidance of someone else. You can't train yourself,' he said. 'I feel the same way about Christianity and about what the church is: the church is the gym of the soul.'"

Well, we can say that with Stallone and more, can't we? In prayer and service, we begin to exercise our faith in Christ for others. Christ has fought the battle for our lives and in the exercise of prayer and service we get to put the gracious blessings of Jesus to work. Overcoming temptation, serving while being protected from evil, that's stepping into the ring of the greatest match of your life! 

In fact, I believe in this petition, the Lord is asking us to turn our prayer attention away from ourselves and focus on our preparation for being His people in this world. The Lord's Prayer is not merely a personal prayer to God. It is also a prayer that teaches us to open ourselves to God's mission and ministry to the world. 

To pray, "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil" is to be fully aware that the world is daily in the midst of temptation; the world is caught in evil. People's lives are at stake. Our friends, our family, our neighbors, they have the same struggles and temptations that we do. So, prayerfully, we face the same pains, the same struggles, the same temptations but with an answer of God's grace as sure as the cross of Jesus Christ and the resurrection of all who believe in Him. 

In full view of the battle raging, Jesus, the One who in Hebrews 2 is said to have been made "like us in every way, yet overcoming all temptation," He challenges us to prayerfully "take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm," to live a life of no fear, to live a life of prayerful faith. It's a call to use what you have been given.

It's an invitation to put on the armor of God, not the tattered garments of this world. 

Bottom line is this; as believers, we are not defenseless in a world that tears us down and tears us apart. We are not defenseless as we wrestle with our own sin and failures. God gives us a precious gift, flowing from the Babe of Bethlehem, cross of Jesus Christ. Stronger than earthly armor, we have been given a real gift for the real rigors of the spiritual battle that rages.

Paul says, put Christ's spiritual power and protection to use. In Christ, use what you have. 

Put on the belt of truth, not only the truth of the Bible, but Jesus, as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. For the new life in Jesus gives you clarity as you face the mixed and confusing messages of the cultures in which we live--even your inner confusion as you wrestle with emotions and relationships.

Put on the breastplate of righteousness. Life seems so crazy and chaotic today. We need hearts that are protected from what is hurtful and destructive. When Christ's righteousness covers us, when His holiness is our shield, then even the crowds of hurried and grumpy people or the inner pain of feeling sad or incomplete is met with Jesus' protection for our hearts and minds.

Put to work feet fitted with the Gospel of peace, says Paul. Even though each day brings another challenge to blend in with the crowds morally, ethically, spiritually; follow Jesus alone, let Him guide you on His pathway of life. His pathway is one of peace through all the broken promises of this world. His path is one that leads somewhere. It leads to eternal life with Him. 
Put to work, Paul says, the shield of faith. Are you ready for the Christmas chaos? Crying children, an overcooked ham, an under-resourced checking account, all those things can lay us mighty low. Or maybe you've got the year-round type of pandemonium. Take heart. God gives you a shield to repel the fiery darts of the evil one that might lay you low and drain you of hope. 

Finally, Paul says, wield the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. You see, my friend, God has a say in your life. His living Word breathes life into you as you face the rigors of life and the challenges of the spiritual battle. His Word is full of His Spirit, His comfort, His encouragement, and His power. Strike boldly the attacks of guilt, of shame, of arrogance, of pride, of temptations large and small; strike boldly with the Word of God that is God's provision for your protection and power. Use this gift to quiet the confusing messages of the world, to empower you to live in God's peace and grace, and to strengthen you in your life that glorifies the Lord and serves others.

When you pray, "Father, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil," you are asking Him to help you use those gifts more effectively, for yourself and for others. 

As we continue to deal with our own temptations, as we rely more and more on God's gracious protection from evil, we're taking up the challenge of living in this world as God's agents of forgiveness. Graced people that endure a world that will make us pay, tempt us away, or challenge our peace. We face those things so that others might know that there is another kingdom, there is another power that is still available to those caught in temptation and sin. 

That's why Jesus calls us to prayerfully focus on Him; to put on His armor, and use His gifts to live life in this world. 

I love the hymn, "Angels We Have Heard on High," don't you? Every verse ends with the angels singing "Gloria!" But, in the second verse, we hear the response of the shepherds, shepherds whose lives were filled with difficult work, with struggles and dangers. Their voice was a humble testimony to the Savior, wasn't it? But the truth is, the shepherds met Jesus and they couldn't contain their joy to the world. They found deliverance from evil in this newborn King. Do you remember the verse that we sing about them? It says:
Shepherds, why this jubilee?
Why your joyous strains prolong?
What the gladsome tidings be
Which inspire your heavenly song? Gloria! 

Why it's the glory of Christmas. It's the glory of Easter for all of us today. It's the power of God to prayerfully struggle and face our temptations, to serve others even when faced with evil, to put on God's armor, or better, to put His protection and power to use in our lives. That's something that makes the shepherds glad, the angels sing, and it's the reason why in faith, you can boldly pray, "Father, lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." 

Amen!



LUTHERAN HOUR MAILBOX (Questions & Answers) for November 11, 2013
Topic: What Are God's Greatest Gifts?

ANNOUNCER: Now, Pastor Gregory Seltz responds to questions. I'm Mark Eischer. Today a listener asks, "During this season of gift-giving, what are God's greatest gifts?" 

SELTZ: Great, A gift question, asked with that joyful, Christmas spirit! I like that, Mark!

ANNOUNCER: And you sound like someone who enjoys holiday gift-giving.

SELTZ: I do, Mark. But more than that, this is a question that gets to the heart and meaning of Christmas. It's always refreshing to remember the reason for the season. 

ANNOUNCER: And I'm thinking the number one gift must have something to do with the Baby Jesus born in Bethlehem.

SELTZ: It sure does. Christmas is indeed about God's greatest gift to the world. Christmas is about His complete self-sacrifice in the sending of His One and only Son Jesus to be born among us, to live a perfect life, and to die in our place for the forgiveness of our sins. There is no other gift in this world that compares by far. 

ANNOUNCER: And that's a gift that brings other gifts, doesn't it?

SELTZ: Absolutely, it truly is the one gift that keeps on giving. So, for this one gift comes even more gifts like forgiveness and eternal life from God Himself. As John chapter one says, "For from [Jesus'] fullness we have all received, grace upon grace" (John 1:16-17 ESV). 

ANNOUNCER: An amazing, life-changing Christmas gift! 

SELTZ: Right, and wait, there's even more. That's the beautiful thing about God's grace; along with His blessing comes many other great blessings. Something like a Christmas stocking stuffed with more good things. 

ANNOUNCER: It sounds like here you're talking about God's means of grace. 

SELTZ: I sure am. The "Means of grace" are special gifts from God, tools that the Holy Spirit uses to bring the forgiveness Christ earned on the cross, to us personally. So, baptism is a gift from God. It washes away our sins and fills us with the Holy Spirit. Holy Communion is a gift from God. It's Christ's "real presence" in, with, and under the bread and wine for our forgiveness and strength. The Word of God, the words of the Bible, are living and active, bringing the life and salvation of Jesus Christ to us. Precious gifts of the Most Precious gift of all, Jesus.

ANNOUNCER: And Jesus wants us to receive these gifts. 

SELTZ: He sure does. He attaches His grace to words, water, bread, and wine because He wants us to hear, to see, to touch, and even taste the Good News that He has earned for us through His cross and His resurrection. 

ANNOUNCER: And all these gifts of God were given to us in order to create and sustain that life of faith.

SELTZ: They sure are, and these gifts empower one's life of faith, even one's faith communication with the Lord. Remember our sermon series these past two months talking about that dynamic life of faith as it prays "the Lord's Prayer." So, because of the main Christmas gift, we not only get to receive God's life-giving gifts, we also get to prayerfully communicate with the God who loves us and even answers our prayers for our good! Another gift that flows from His gifts of grace! 

ANNOUNCER: All of which brings to mind Philippians chapter 4 where St. Paul says: "....In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7 ESV).

SELTZ: And let's not forget that God's gifts even create the gift of the church, too. The church is the fellowship of God's people created by God for faith, for fellowship, for encouragement, for service, for worship, and for sharing the Good News. Gifts, gifts, and more gifts!

ANNOUNCER: And let's not forget the gifts of God's people within the church. 

SELTZ: That's Paul in 1 Corinthians 12 where he says: "Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; ... To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good" (1 Corinthians 12:4, 8 ESV). So, God gives spiritual gifts to His people. Each of us has been gifted by God to bear His grace to others. The Bible lists all kinds of gifts that were given to build up God's people and to shine His light in the world.

ANNOUNCER: And, is your gift list complete?

SELTZ: No way; in fact, I've barely started. In addition to the blessings of salvation in Jesus Christ, the gifts of life with God, and the gifts that equip us to serve as Christ's Church, there are loads of blessings for our daily lives. You see, once we see life through the gift of God's grace, received by faith through His grace-giving word and sacraments, all of life, even things like house and home, spouse and family, clothing and shoes; they become gifts received from Him lived to give Him glory and to serve our neighbor. The list of gifts just keeps on growing.

ANNOUNCER: And we pray for all our listeners a gift-filled Christmas all made possible through God's grace and love. Thank you Pastor Seltz. This has been a presentation of Lutheran Hour Ministries.



Music Selections for this program:

"A Mighty Fortress" arranged by Chris Bergmann. Used by permission.

"Hark the Herald Angels Sing" arr. Thomas Gieschen. From Glory to the Newborn King by the Kapelle (© 1999 Concordia University-Chicago)

"Now Sing We, Now Rejoice" arr. Kevin Hildebrand. From Hymns for All Saints: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany (© 2005 Concordia Publishing House)

"Joy to the World" From The Concordia Organist (© 2009 Concordia Publishing House)

"Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Your Word" From The Concordia Organist (© 2009 Concordia Publishing House)


Print this sermon
Sign up for LHM news Daily Devotions
Visit lutheranhour.org Change my email
Contact Us

a Program of LHM                                                                      

subscribe / unsubscribe / visit our website

660 Mason Ridge Center Dr.
St. Louis, MO 63141
1-800-876-9880

Thurs, Dec. 19, 2013

DEVOTION:  "Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the creator, who is blessed forever.  Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions.  For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men..."  Romans 1:24-27
 
And from 1 Corinthians 6:9-11   "Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."
 
If you have been listening to the news the last 18 hours or been on Facebook for 5 minutes, you have probably heard or read about Phil Robertson, (the dad on Duck Dynasty) who said some negative things about homosexuality.  While he probably didn't say it all with tact with exactly the right words, what he said comes from Scripture.   Homosexuality is sinful according to God's Word.  It is not according to God's plan for His creation. 
 
I appreciate and am proud of the fact that Phil Robertson and many like him are able to stand up for what God says even in the midst of much opposition. 
 
That being said, what he said later about his statement rings even more true.  Here's what he said: "I myself am a product of the 60s; I centered my life around sex, drugs and rock and roll until I hit rock bottom and accepted Jesus as my Savior. My mission today is to go forth and tell people about why I follow Christ and also what the bible teaches, and part of that teaching is that women and men are meant to be together.  However, I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other."

 We need to call sin what it is according to Scriptures, not according to what we think about a particular sin, but according to what God says about it.  At the same time we need to call the Gospel what it is too and we need to do it VERY LOUDLY AND WITH JOY!
 
We are all sinners in need of God's grace!  let's treat each other as such, and love each other with the good news that Jesus, was born, suffered, died, and rose again all for us!!
 
Let us pray:  Lord God, help us to love all sinners as you have loved us, by calling us to repentance and forgiving us all day every day!  Amen.
 

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
WEDNESDAY'S QUIZ: Who was Titus?  Titus was an early Christian, a missionary and a friend of St. Paul.  According to a later tradition he was a Bishop in Crete. (Great job Dianne!)
___________________________________________________________________________________
THURSDAY'S QUIZ: How did Paul know Timothy?
______________________________________________________________________________________
CALENDAR:
Sat- worship 5pm
Sun- worship 8:30 and 11; Sunday school 9:45
__________________________________________________________________________________________________
THANK YOU TO ALL WHO CAME FOR SUPPER LAST NIGHT!!  We made $600!!!
A special thank you to he many who helped our board of outreach and evangelism (Molly Hendershot, Denise Schlesselmann, and Julie Donsky) serve and clean up!!  It was all worth it!
____________________________________________________________________________________________________
17 DAYS TILL WE BEGIN THE STORY!!!!  HAVE YOU PURCHASED YOUR BOOKS YET? 
Kids 0-18 get their books for free!!  Adults pay $6 per book.
 
We will be starting at least one new The Story Study at 4pm on Saturday afternoons.  We may also be starting an evening Bible Study on Wednesdays at 7 (7:30 during lent) if there is enough interest. 
 
High School kids will have The Story Study at 5pm on Sunday afternoons. 
______________________________________________________________________________________
ALL MEMBERS HAVE OFFERING ENVELOPES!!!
They are on the table in the narthex. 
___________________________________________________________________________________
PRAYER REQUESTS:
WILMA WEIGLE as she continues to recover VERY SLOWLY from pneumonia and from complications after brain surgery.
 
Those going through cancer treatments:
Rick Spiniolas
Jonas Borchert (Don Nolte's grandson)
Jennifer- John and Mary Jo Fahrni's daughter
 
Those recovering from injuries and surgeries
Joyce Pietzschke- shoulder
Nancy Spiniolas- hip replacement
 
All of our servicemen-
Caleb Figura- Virginia
Danny Dreyer- Germany
Sam Hargrove- Alabama
David Mincemeyer- Colorado
Andrew Sherman (working as a military contractor in Afghanistan)
David Tate- Florida
Ryan Woolf- Colorado
Jon Rahn- Hawaii
Alex Walters- Guam
            
           

--
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "St. John's Group Email" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to stjohnswarrenton+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com.
For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/groups/opt_out.

Wed, Dec. 18, 2013

DEVOTION: "At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived, and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures.  We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.  But when the kindness and love of God appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.  He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life."  Titus 3:3-6
 
 
Sometimes you just have to let the Word speak for itself.  I can't say it any better than Paul says it right here.  Nuff said.
 
Let's pray:  Lord God help me to trust and have hope in your washing of rebirth  and renewal by the Holy Spirit, so that I may live a new life.  Amen.  
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
MONDAY and TUESDAY'S QUIZ:  Where is Philippi in relation to Israel?  (I will leave this up another day since no one answered it.) It is in south eastern Europe near Greece, north and west of Israel.
___________________________________________________________________________________________________
WEDNESDAY'S QUIZ: Who was Titus?
___________________________________________________________________________________
CALENDAR:
Wed- Supper 5:30; Worship 6:30; Choir 7:15
Sat- worship 5pm
Sun- worship 8:30 and 11; Sunday school 9:45
__________________________________________________________________________________________________
GIVING TREE GIFTS!!!
If you haven't brought them in yet, make sure you do so by TONIGHT!!!!  Thank you to all who participated in this wonderful opportunity to care for the children of our community.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________
SUPPER TONIGHT HOSTED BY THE BOARD OF EVANGELISM AND OUTREACH
Don't bring any food, but bring some cash to fill our fund for those who need help of all different kinds!!
____________________________________________________________________________________________________
18 DAYS TILL WE BEGIN THE STORY!!!!  HAVE YOU PURCHASED YOUR BOOKS YET? 
Kids 0-18 get their books for free!!  Adults pay $6 per book.
 
We will be starting at least one new The Story Study at 4pm on Saturday afternoons.  We may also be starting an evening Bible Study on Wednesdays at 7 (7:30 during lent) if there is enough interest. 
 
High School kids will have The Story Study at 5pm on Sunday afternoons. 
______________________________________________________________________________________
ALL MEMBERS HAVE OFFERING ENVELOPES!!!
They are on the table in the narthex. 
___________________________________________________________________________________
PRAYER REQUESTS:
WILMA WEIGLE as she continues to recover VERY SLOWLY from pneumonia and from complications after brain surgery.
 
Those going through cancer treatments:
Rick Spiniolas
Jonas Borchert (Don Nolte's grandson)
Jennifer- John and Mary Jo Fahrni's daughter
 
Those recovering from injuries and surgeries
Joyce Pietzschke- shoulder
Nancy Spiniolas- hip replacement
 
All of our servicemen-
Caleb Figura- Virginia
Danny Dreyer- Germany
Sam Hargrove- Alabama
David Mincemeyer- Colorado
Andrew Sherman (working as a military contractor in Afghanistan)
David Tate- Florida
Ryan Woolf- Colorado
Jon Rahn- Hawaii
Alex Walters- Guam
           

Pastor's sermon from Sunday

In case you missed it......
 
 
http://youtu.be/oS_hmczG2g8

FW: projectors for this weekend and Christmas Eve

Thank you Terry!!

Just two more to go. 
 
As I looked at my schedule I noticed that there is NO ONE signed up to do the projector for Sat or early Sun this week nor is there anyone signed up for Christmas Eve for either service. 
 
 
PLEASE HELP!!!
 
Fill in the schedule:
 
Sat, Dec 21-
 
Sun, Dec. 22- 8:30--  Terry McKenzie (Thank you Terry)
 
 
Christmas Eve:
7pm-  Perricones
 
10pm-  
           


--
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "St. John's Group Email" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to stjohnswarrenton+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com.
For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/groups/opt_out.
--
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "St. John's Group Email" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to stjohnswarrenton+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com.
For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/groups/opt_out.


FW: projectors for this weekend and Christmas Eve

Thanks Perricones!!

A few more to go. 
 
As I looked at my schedule I noticed that there is NO ONE signed up to do the projector for Sat or early Sun this week nor is there anyone signed up for Christmas Eve for either service. 
 
 
PLEASE HELP!!!
 
Fill in the schedule:
 
Sat, Dec 21-
 
Sun, Dec. 22- 8:30
 
 
Christmas Eve:
7pm-  Perricones
 
10pm-  
           

--
You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "St. John's Group Email" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to stjohnswarrenton+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com.
For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/groups/opt_out.

projectors for this weekend and Christmas Eve

As I looked at my schedule I noticed that there is NO ONE signed up to do the projector for Sat or early Sun this week nor is there anyone signed up for Christmas Eve for either service. 
 
 
PLEASE HELP!!!
 
Fill in the schedule:
 
Sat, Dec 21-
 
Sun, Dec. 22- 8:30
 
 
Christmas Eve:
7pm-
 
10pm- 

Tues, Dec. 17, 2013

Daily Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries
By Pastor Ken Klaus, Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour

Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin!  Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM). 





"Losers"
December 17, 2013
CPTLN Christ on cross(Jesus said) "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost." Luke 19:10
In life there are winners and there are losers.

Of course, there are those times when it is possible for everybody to lose. As example, I would point to the story of Edmonton, Alberta's Justin Harder and Calvin Clackson.

The story begins with 18-year-old Harder boasting to his friend Clackson that he had managed to get his hands on a "stab-proof" vest. Now I've never heard of a stab-proof vest, but apparently the article of clothing has the ability of deflecting the point of any knife thrust at it.

I say apparently for good reason.

Harder was so positive of his vest that he encouraged his friend to take a stab at puncturing it. Clackson agreed and jabbed the knife at his pal's heart. Long story short: the knife worked and the vest didn't. When the knife came out, so did a spurt of Harder's blood. Well, the blood freaked Clackson out and he ran away. As for Harder, his life was spared because of an emergency surgery, which took place at the local hospital.

So ... everybody lost. The faulty vest's inventor lost; Harder lost because of his hospital time, and Clackson lost because he has been sentenced to six months in jail.

The story seems like a modern-day retelling of humankind's fall into sin.

Satan tempted our first ancestors, and the result was disastrous. Satan -- history's biggest loser -- was told how he would be defeated when God's Son entered the world to offer Himself to rescue us from sin, the world, and Satan. The snake lost when it was condemned to eat dirt, and Adam and Eve lost because, after a life of trouble, they were condemned to spend eternity in hell.

Everybody lost. At least everybody should have lost.

You see, unlike the story of Harder and Clackson, humanity's story does have an alternative ending.

That ending can be ours because, some 2,000 years ago, God kept His promise to send His Son. In Bethlehem, Jesus was born of a virgin.

For the next decades His life was spent fulfilling the laws we had broken. Then, after having lived a perfect life, Jesus carried our sins to the cross and died the death our disobedience deserved. His descent into hell showed those regions the success of His mission, and His third-day resurrection proved to all who will take a serious look, that death itself has been defeated.

That's why, since Jesus' redemption is offered freely to all, on Judgment Day the only loser has to be the devil.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks that because Jesus has successfully paid my debt, I have been moved from condemnation to salvation. May I give thanks for His sacrifice and do my best to tell the world that, because of Jesus, they no longer have to be losers. This I ask in the Savior's Name. Amen.
Pastor KlausIn Christ I remain His servant and yours,


Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
 
Print this devotionSubscribe to this podcast!Through the Bible in a Year
Today Read:
Psalms 84,90; Revelation 9
The Lutheran HourSign up for LHM news
Pastor Klaus bioChange my email address
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
THURSDAY'S QUIZ ANSWER:  It was his nephew
____________________________________________________________________________________________
MONDAY and TUESDAY'S QUIZ:  Where is Philippi in relation to Israel?  (I will leave this up another day since no one answered it.)
___________________________________________________________________________________________________
CALENDAR:
Tues- Quilting 9-2; No Bible Study
Wed- Supper 5:30; Worship 6:30; Choir 7:15
Sat- worship 5pm
Sun- worship 8:30 and 11; Sunday school 9:45
__________________________________________________________________________________________________
GIVING TREE GIFTS!!!
If you haven't brought them in yet, make sure you do so by tomorrow evening!!!!  Thank you to all who participated in this wonderful opportunity to care for the children of our community.
____________________________________________________________________________________________________
SUPPER TOMORROW NIGHT HOSTED BY THE BOARD OF EVANGELISM AND OUTREACH
Don't bring any food, but bring some cash to fill our fund for those who need help of all different kinds!!
____________________________________________________________________________________________________
19 DAYS TILL WE BEGIN THE STORY!!!!  HAVE YOU PURCHASED YOUR BOOKS YET? 
Kids 0-18 get their books for free!!  Adults pay $6 per book.
 
We will be starting at least one new The Story Study at 4pm on Saturday afternoons.  We may also be starting an evening Bible Study on Wednesdays at 7 (7:30 during lent) if there is enough interest. 
 
High School kids will have The Story Study at 5pm on Sunday afternoons. 
______________________________________________________________________________________
ALL MEMBERS HAVE OFFERING ENVELOPES!!!
They are on the table in the narthex. 
___________________________________________________________________________________
PRAYER REQUESTS:
WILMA WEIGLE as she continues to recover VERY SLOWLY from pneumonia and from complications after brain surgery.
 
Those going through cancer treatments:
Rick Spiniolas
Jonas Borchert (Don Nolte's grandson)
Jennifer- John and Mary Jo Fahrni's daughter
 
Those recovering from injuries and surgeries
Joyce Pietzschke- shoulder
Nancy Spiniolas- hip replacement
 
All of our servicemen-
Caleb Figura- Virginia
Danny Dreyer- Germany
Sam Hargrove- Alabama
David Mincemeyer- Colorado
Andrew Sherman (working as a military contractor in Afghanistan)
David Tate- Florida
Ryan Woolf- Colorado
Jon Rahn- Hawaii
Alex Walters- Guam

Mon., Dec. 16, 2013

 
DEVOTION: I thank my God every time I remember you.  In all my prayers for all of you,  I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the Gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  Philippians 1:3-5
 
 
Paul is talking here about his friends and fellow Christians in Philippi.  In spite of severe persecution they were faithful to their Lord god.  In spite of dealing with all sorts of troubles from both the unbelieving Jews and the Roman government they didn't waiver in their faith.  Instead, the news of their faith continued to grow stronger and stronger and their example of faith revealed the love of Christ in what they said and did.
 
 
There are many of you that when I think of you I am floored by the faithfulness to Christ you exhibit and the example you are to other of what it means to be in the love of Christ.  It encourages me in my work to see Christians such as yourselves doing the work of the Lord. 
 
I am especially thankful at this Christmas time to know that so many of you care for about me and my family, and that you take time to pray for us often.  It gives me confidence that I am not doing my work in vain, but that it is producing fruit in many of you.
 
On the other hand, there are also many I am concerned about.  Maybe it is because I haven't seen you in worship in a long time.  Maybe it is because you are having trouble with relationships in your life.  Maybe it is because you are continuing in an illness  that has plagued you for a long time and it is causing you depression, anxiety, and spiritual exhaustion. 
 
Whatever the case may be, whether I am thanking God for your faithfulness and the good that He is providing to you, or am concerned for you and your faith, please know that I never stop praying for you and that I care about all of you as much as the Lord has given you to me to care for. 
 
Peace be with you all this Christmas as you rejoice in His incarnation, His life, His death, and His resurrection!  All for you!!
 
Let's pray: Lord God, bless and keep the people on St. John's in Your mercy and grace that they may serve you in peace and joy! Give them comfort in their circumstances and peace to know that you will never leave them or forsake them.  Amen.
 
___________________________________________________________________________________________
MONDAY'S QUIZ:   Where was Philippi in relation to Israel?
___________________________________________________________________________________________
THURSDAY'S QUIZ:  Who was it that warned Paul, and then the  commander of the centurions, that there was an ambush waiting for Paul to kill him?
____________________________________________________________________________________
CALENDAR
Mon- confirmation 5-6:15
Tues- Quilter 9-2; No Bible Study
Wed- Supper 5:30; Worship 6:30; Choir 7:15
Sat-  worship 5pm
Sun- worship 8:30 and 11; Sunday school and adult Bible class 9:45
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
GIVING TREE GIFTS
If you didn't bring your gifts to church this weekend, make sure you bring them to church by WEDNESDAY!!!  NO LATER!!  They will be picked up and/or delivered on Thursday!!
_____________________________________________________
WEDNESDAY'S ADVENT SUPPER IS HOSTED BY THE BOARD OF EVANGELISM AND OUTREACH AT 5:30!!!  
 
DO NOT BRING FOOD!!  JUST BRING YOURSELVES AND SOME MONEY FOR A FREE WILL OFFERING FOR OUR EMERGENCY FUND FOR THOSE IN NEED, CALLED THE BENEVOLENCE FUND. 
 
The menu is fried chicken, roasted red potatoes, green beans, salad, and dessert. 
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________
WHAT A WONDERFUL DAY YESTERDAY!!
Three kids Ava Campbell, Alyse Scott, and Elijah Scott, were baptized!!  The Sunday school kids had an EXCELLENT Program!!  And there were over 300 people at the Little Lambs Program who heard the good news of Jesus birth from 3, 4, and 5 year olds!!
 
In all about 550 people heard the good news of Jesus' salvation at St. John's yesterday, many of whom may have never heard it before!!!
 
It doesn't get much better than that!!  PRAISE THE LORD!!
__________________________________________________
20 DAYS TILL THE STORY STARTS!!
Are you excited?  Do you have your books yet? 
 
Adults may buy their books for $6 a piece before or after worship!! 
 
Kids will get their books at Sunday school, but if they miss Sunday school they can get them after worship as well!!!



What is it?  THE STORY is a book compiled and written by Max Lucado and Randy Frazee, which takes sections of the Bible and divides it up into 31 chapters and adds commentary and study notes to it.  The best way to describe it is to call it a Reader's Digest condensed version of the Bible.  It is not split up into chapters and verses but reads more like a novel, and it doesn't include every bit of the Bible, but most of the main sections and stories.  
 
How will it work?  As a family and as individual members of the congregation you will each get a copy of the book.  There are different versions for adults, teens, older elementary age and younger children.  You will get these and read chapter 1 before January 5.  Each week we will go through a chapter of the book in every part of the church's life: in Worship, Bible Studies, Confirmation and in the Home for personal devotions. 
 
Why are we doing this? This is a great opportunity for all of us to read through the Bible TOGETHER in 31 weeks and for us to all literally be on the same page.  The materials are excellent.  It is a fantastic way for us to grow together as a church and or us to reach out to the community with the Gospel! 
 
What about special weeks like Holy Week and Easter?  We will take several weeks off throughout these eight months, one for Life Sunday in January, one for Easter and another two or three when I am going to be gone for Spring Break and other vacations. A specific schedule will be coming out in the next week or so.  
 
How do we get the books?  Each adult will be asked to buy a book for $6.  A table will be set up in the narthex to buy them before and after services for the next several weeks or you can call Marilyn in the office at 456-2888 to purchase your during the week.  
 
What about the kids?  All children will receive a copy that is age appropriate courtesy of the Janet Wagner fund.  There will be a table set up for the next several weeks for adults to buy books.  Kids will get theirs in Sunday school . 
 
What kind of help is needed to make this a success?  We have several volunteers already to sell books, but could use a few more to sell before and after services until everyone who wants a copy of the book has one.    I would also like someone, a man or a woman, who would be willing to lead a study of it during the week. 
 
Can I order books for family members who are not members?  There will also be an order form for those of you who want to buy books for your children, grandchildren, relatives, and friends.  PLEASE NOTE THAT PRICES WILL FLUCTUATE ON FUTURE ORDERS DUE TO PRICE CHANGES WITH BOOK DISTRIBUTORS AND PUBLISHING HOUSES.
 
Where can I go to get more info?  Please go to www.thestory.com for more info. 
 ___________________________________________________________________________________________