Wednesday, November 30, 2016

What are blessings?

No matter how much we might be tempted to read into Holy Scripture, blessings are not a reflection of how well we are doing in this life.  Blessings are not about us; rather, blessings are about God who gives them.  Blessings are exactly what King David asked for: a sign of God's merciful favor.

Mary J. Moerbe, "Blessed - God's Gift of Love," page 18

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Fountain Overflowing

keep me from being
a masochist
or a martyr
demonstrating my distress
parading my pain
proud of my patience
before others
Let me rather be
poured out
spilled over
a fountain overflowing
the Christ in me
that others may see
and not myself
All glory 
be to You
O Lord

1 John 2:6     2 Corinthians 4:8-11

From "Prayers for People Under Pressure" by Donald L Deffner, page 47

Monday, November 28, 2016

Love Divine, All Loves Excelling

Jesus, thou art all compassion
 Pure unbounded love thou art
Visit is with thy salvation
 Enter every trembling heart

from verse one (b)

Saturday, November 26, 2016

It's a new church year!

That's right, the first Sunday of Advent marks the beginning of a new church year.  We'll spend this next four weeks "adventing" that is, preparing to celebrate Christ's first arrival in Bethlehem while looking forward to His second arrival on Judgment Day.

I'll be preaching at both the Saturday and Sunday services on the theme, "Expect the Unexpected." Join us this afternoon at 5 pm or tomorrow at 8 and 11 am.  Hope to see you at Life in Christ!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Have you heard the one about the dog and the pilot?

"What's going to be in the cockpit of the future?"

"A dog and a pilot."

"A dog? Why a dog?"

"Well, the dog is there to keep the pilot from touching anything."

"Ummm...why have the pilot then?"

"Well, someone has to feed the dog!"

Thursday, November 24, 2016

God Grant Us Gratitude

God grant that we follow His Word to praise and thank our dear Lord for His precious blood, which He so freely offered for us.  And may God keep us from the terrible vice of ingratitude and the forgetfulness of His blessings.  Amen.

From "Luther's Works"

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Thoughts from a fearless leader

Do I want to be feared or loved? Um...easy, both.  I want people to be afraid of how much they love me.

Michael Scott from "The Office"

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Sit still!

When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don't throw away your ticket.  You sit still and trust the engineer.  Corrie ten Boom

Going through a dark time in your life? Sit still and trust God.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Today's underlined Bible verse

You are my hiding place; You will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.

Psalm 32:7 - NIV

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Last Sunday of the Church Year

Yes, that's right - next Sunday marks the beginning of Advent and the start of a new church year.  So, join us for worship.  The Saturday service begins at 5 pm and features music from the Kevin Svec group.  Tomorrow I'll be preaching at both services - 8 and 11 am - and leading a new Bible class, "Because of Bethlehem," which starts at 9:30 in the morning.  Hope to see you this weekend at Life in Christ!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Abide with me

Abide with me, abide with me

 Don't let me fall and don't let go

Walk with me and never leave

 Ever close, God abide with me

Oh, love that will not ever let me go

 Love that will not ever let me go

You never let me go

 Love that will not ever let me go

And up ahead, eternity

 Weep no more, sing for joy


Thank you, Matt Maher, and others, for a song of comfort and hope.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Can't live without hope

It's been said that a person can live 40 days without food, five days without water, four minutes without air, but only four seconds without hope.

John C. Maxwell & Jim Dornan, "Becoming a Person of Influence," (page not noted)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Charlie Brown Philosophy

I have developed a new philosophy - I only dread one day at a time.

Quoted in "Homiletics" Magazine

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

From Christmas to Easter

During my struggle
O God
grant that I may
go to Bethlehem
and there enfold
my Savior
in the manger
of my faith
During my struggle
O God
grant that I may
go to dark Gethsemane
and Calvary's mournful
mountain climb
and share in 
His sufferings 
for my transgressions
During my struggle
O God
grant that I may 
go to the garden
see the empty tomb
and through faith
in my resurrected
and ascended Lord
rise above
my passing trial
and at last
win the victory
through Christ
my Lord

From "Prayers for People Under Pressure," page 38

Monday, November 14, 2016

Psalm 94:19

When anxiety was great within me, Your consolation brought joy to my soul.


Saturday, November 12, 2016

St. Cyprian says "go to church"

He  can no longer have God for his father who has not the church for his mother;...he who gathers elsewhere than in the church scatters the church of Christ.

So, join us at church this weekend - Saturday at 5 pm and Sunday at 8 and 11 am.  See you then!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Life coaching from Luther

Seek yourself only in Christ and not in yourself and you will find yourself in Him eternally.

Martin Luther, "Luther's Works," Vol. 42, page 106

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Faith does not go on vacation

For faith does not rest and declare a holiday; it bursts into action, speaks and preaches of this promise and grace of God, so that other people may also come up and partake of it.

Martin Luther, "Luther's Works," Vol. 15, page 273

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Psalm 13

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?

  How long will You hide your face from me?

How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart?

  How long will my enemy triumph over me?

Look on me and answer, O Lord my God.

  Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in heath;

  my enemy will say, "I have over come him, and my foes will rejoice when I fall."

But I trust in Your unfailing love;

  my heart rejoices in Your salvation.

I will sing to the Lord,

  for He has been good to me.


Monday, November 7, 2016

I must tell Jesus!

Once when I was talking on the phone with a Christian woman who was in the last stages of Lou Gehrig's disease, I found myself groping for words to comfort her.  Finally I realized the best thing I could offer was simply the comfort of Jesus, so I sang for her a favorite hymn:

I must tell Jesus all my trials
  I cannot bear these burdens alone
In my distress He kindly will help me
  He ever loves and cares for His own
I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!
  I cannot bear my burdens alone
I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!
  Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.

The problem of suffering is not about some thing but Someone.  It follows that the answer must not be some thing but Someone.  Besides, answers are for the head.  They don't always reach the problem where it hurts - in the gut and in the heart. Jesus reaches us where we hurt.

If someone is struggling through a disease or a divorce or the death of a loved one, point them to the Savior, whether through your testimony, your words of encouragement, a shared memory, a poem, a Scripture passage or a hymn.  The answer to our deepest longings when we hurt is...Jesus.

Joni Eareckson Tada, "More Precious Than Silver," November 11 devotional reading

Saturday, November 5, 2016

I trust when dark my road

In God, my faithful God, I trust when dark my road
Great woes may over take me, Yet He will not forsake me
My troubles He can alter; His hand lets nothing falter

My sins fill me with care, Yet I will not despair
I build on Christ who loves me; From this rock nothing moves me
To Him I will surrender, To Him, my soul's defender

If death my portion be, It brings great gain to me
It speeds my life's endeavor, To live with Christ forever
He gives me joy in sorrow, Come death now or tomorrow

O Jesus Christ, my Lord, So meek in word and deed
You suffered death to save us, Because Your love would have us
Be heirs of heavenly gladness, When ends this life of sadness

"So be it," then I say, With all my heart each day
Dear Lord, we all adore You, We sing for joy before You
Guide us while here we wander, Until we praise You yonder

Join us this weekend for worship at Life in Christ.  Saturday worship at 5 pm; Sunday worship at 8 and 11 am.  I'll be preaching and Holy Communion is celebrated at the early service.  Hope to see you!

Friday, November 4, 2016

Connected to Christ

Because Christ is the head of the church and we are His body, what happens to Him is what happens to us.

Scott Murray, "Memorial Moment," 4/24/13

Thursday, November 3, 2016

What makes for a good prayer?

God's Word and promise makes your prayer good, not your devotion.

Albrecht Peters, Commentary on Luther's Catechism - Lord's Prayer, page 15

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

How do you want to meet God?

Whoever refuses to meet God as the Savior had better get ready to meet Him as judge.

John Jeske, "From Sinai to Calvary," page 153

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

What we really need

We all need God above us and others beside us.

Pastor Frank Starr