Saturday, March 31, 2018

Our weekend service schedule

Today at Life in Christ: Easter Vigil service at 5 pm.

Tomorrow: Worship at 6:30, 8:30, 10:30 am.  Easter breakfast is served beginning at 7:30 am.  Egg Hunt for the Kids begins at 9:30 am.

Come and join us in celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ!

Friday, March 30, 2018

Upon the Cross Extended

Upon the cross extended, see, world, you Lord suspended
 Your Savior yields His breath
The Prince of Life from heaven, Himself has freely given
 To shame and blows and bitter death

I caused Your grief and sighing, by evils multiplying
 As countless as the sand
I caused the woes unnumbered, with which Your soul is cumbered
 You sorrows raised by wicked hands

LSB 453, public domain

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Lord Jesus Christ, You Have Prepared

Lord Jesus Christ, You have prepared
 This feast for our salvation
It is Your body and Your blood
 And at Your invitation
As weary souls, with sin oppressed
 We come to You for needed rest,
For comfort, and for pardon

We eat this bread and drink this cup
 Your precious Word believing
That Your true body and Your blood
 Our lips are here receiving
This Word remains forever true
 All things are possible with You
For You are Lord Almighty

LSB 622, tune and music: public domain

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Love is who God is

I've just started reading Tim Tebow's book, "Shaken." It tells the story of how Tebow dealt with the disappointment of failing to make the grade as an NFL quarterback.  He is transparent in sharing his feelings about having been rejected by the NFL.  As I read this morning I appreciated his comments about the love of God:

God's love is nothing like what we see depicted in the movies or even in our lives. Our fallen human nature typically evidences love as something we do in order to get - a "what's in it for me?" attitude. Or something we do in order to experience a particular feeling, a feeling that is fickle and fleeting. Or something that can be easily manipulated, dialed up or dialed down. God's love is nothing like that. His love is pure. It never fails. It is unconditional. It is eternal. It is not motivated by personal gain. He just loves because He is.

Page 28-29

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Reading the Bible with Rabbi Jesus

Like Kenneth Bailey, Lois Tverberg, in her latest book, "Reading the Bible with Rabbi Jesus," demonstrates the importance of reading the Old Testament with the eyes of a Hebrew.

Tverberg writes in such a way that you want to pick up your Bible and dig into the Old Testament. She takes us 20th century readers back to the 1st century where we might place our feet into the sandals of Christ's followers and better understand how Jesus used the OT Scriptures to show that He is the promised Messiah, sent from God.  The discussion questions at the end of each section are helpful for individual or group study.  A very informative book.

Book supplies by Baker Books.

Monday, March 26, 2018

From the Explanation of the Small Catechism

Why was it necessary for our Savior to be true man?

Christ had to be true man in order to a) act in our place under the Law and fulfill it for us (active obedience) and b) be able to suffer and die for our guilt because we failed to keep the Law (passive obedience).

Why was it necessary for our Savior to be true God?

Christ had to be true God in order that a) His fulfilling of the Law, His life, suffering, and death might be a sufficient ransom for all people and b) He might be able to overcome death and the devil for us.

Note: here we see why it is so important that we understand the two natures of Christ.  Being 100% man and 100% God, Jesus could be the sufficient and only sacrifice ever needed to shoulder the sins of the world.  Faith in Jesus alone brings to the believer forgiveness of sins, victory over death and the devil.

Have a blessed Monday!

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Observing Palm Sunday

I was going to give this entry the title, "Celebrating Palm Sunday." But would that be correct? Yes, the crowd is cheering, giving Jesus a king's welcome to the Holy City.  But when Jesus spies the city He weeps.  He weeps because its religious leaders and many of the people will reject Him and the salvation He will win at the cross.  How it breaks Jesus' heart when people foolishly turn their backs on His gifts - forgiveness of sins, peace with God and the hope of heaven.

Be with us this weekend - Saturday at 5 pm; Sunday at 8, 9:30, 11 am. 

God bless your day!

Thursday, March 22, 2018

How to know slow

Our church board meetings have a "what is said here, stays here," understanding.  But our congregational president, Bill Stipp, said something that cracked me up and I just had to share it.

There is nothing slower than a two floor elevator.

Now you know.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Through faith we are joined with Christ

One of the best books I've read in recent years is John Kleinig's "Grace Upon Grace." I discovered some journal entries I made while reading the book so I wanted to share some of Kleinig's thoughts with you.  Hopefully, they will be an encouragement to you.

When the people who had been miraculously fed by Jesus with five loaves of bread and two small fish asked how they could do the work of God, Jesus gave them a strange answer: He said by believing in God the Father. His work would be done in them and through them (John 6:28-29). How then do we do the of God through faith? How do we become "co-workers with God" (1 Cor. 3:9; 2 Cor. 6:1; 1 Thess. 3:2)? Through faith we are joined with Christ and His mission on earth; we work with Christ by using our faith to pray together with Him to God the Father. We do not do the work of God on earth in prayer; rather, His work is done in and through us by prayer )Matt. 18:19; 21:21-22).

In John 14:12-14, Jesus gives these amazing promises: "Truly, truly I say to you, whoever believes in Me will also do the works that I do; and greater work than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in MY name, this will I do that the Father be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it."

We continue the divine work of Jesus and perform the greater miracles of the new age where those who we born blind to God receive sight and those who were once dead in sin are raised to eternal life. And we accomplish this by prayer to God the Father in the name of Jesus.

When we pray for others and ourselves, we continue the work of Jesus.  It is, in fact, the most important work we ever do...When we pray for God's support and guidance in our work and the people we work with, we live by His grace and rely on Him to do His work through us.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Son died to please the Father

As we begin to look forward to Holy Week, author and professor D.A. Carson offers this reminder:

Jesus chose not to die only because He loved us, as wonderful as that thought is, but because He loved the Father and desired above all to do His (the Father's) will.

From "Farewell Discourse/Final Prayer of Jesus," page 100

Monday, March 19, 2018

The Cross and Christian Ministry

The sub-title of the reprint of this book by D.A. Carson is "Leadership Lessons from 1 Corinthians."

At first glance it would seem that 1 Corinthians would be the last book of the Bible in which pastors and church leaders could find leadership ideas.

But what New Testament church needed leadership more than the church at Corinth?

So, Carson utilized this often troubled church to show how the cross of Christ has power to change the focus of any congregation or ministry group.

The book is broken into five sections: The Cross and Preaching...and the Holy Spirit...and Factionalsim...and Christian Leadership...and the World Christian.  The book would be a good one for pastors and church leaders to study together.  Fortunately, at the end of each section are questions for review and reflection.

Like his previous book on the last hours Jesus spent with His disciples, as reported by St. John, again Carson make Jesus and the cross the focal point which makes for a very helpful and inspiring read.  Any church or church leaders facing challenges in bringing people together to do mission and ministry together would be blessed and helped by reading "The Cross and Christian Ministry."

Book provided by Baker Books for review.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Pastor Etiquette has a word for parents

The good pastor believes that children should sit with their parents during the worship service.  This should be the case until the child turns 30 years of age.  Exceptions include those children who are married and have children of their own. Then the parents have become grandparents and those grandparents will let the grandkids do anything in the service which ticks off Pastor Etiquette. The other exception are those who are in the military.  For such children we simply say, "Thank you for your service," and let them sit anywhere they want (except in Pastor Etiquette's chair, of course).

Now that we have that out of the way, here's our worship schedule for this weekend:

Saturday at 5 pm

Sunday at 8 am, 9:30 am, and 11 am.  The sermon title is: "Amazed! Getting What We Should Have Asked For In The First Place!"

Now, with a sermon title that long, don't you think you should be in church this Sunday? Of course you should! See you there at LICL!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Did you hear the one about the atheist and the preacher?

Atheist: "Do you honestly believe that Jonah spent three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish?"
Preacher: "I don't know, sir, but when I get to heaven, I'll ask him."
Atheist: "But suppose he isn't in heaven?"
Preacher: "Then you ask him."

Found this at a site called

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Jesus lives in us!

I just sent this little quote out to our church's Prayer Team so I thought I'd share it with you as well.

As long as we live here on earth, we will encounter temptation after temptation, trouble after trouble. But Jesus lives in us; His cross and life have become our death and new life in our Baptism. We are - right now - in the process of overcoming the worst the world can throw at us.

Jane Fryer in "Today's Light Bible," page 1710

One difference between Law and Gospel

Picked up this little gem from RJ Grunewald:

Like the Law, the Gospel is also necessary; unlike the Law, the Gospel doesn't make any demands. The Gospel makes only promises.

From "Reading Romans with Luther" page 49

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Psalm 5

The first three verses from Psalm 5 seem to set the tone of a time of prayer with the Lord:

Give ear to my words, O Lord; consider my groaning.

  Give attention to the sound of my cry, my God and my Lord, for to you do I pray.

O Lord, in the morning You hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.

Each morning offer your petitions and praises to God and then watch to see what He does.  He is certain to hear you and probably surprise you.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Our thought for the day

Only when we hear the bad news that makes us cry out, "Lord, have mercy," are we able to hear the Good News of "It it finished!"

RJ Gruenwald, "Reading Romans with Luther," page 52

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Pastor Etiquette Is Watching

There are a couple of things that Pastor Etiquette hates to see.  First, watching one of his Elders reading the bulletin while the sermon is being preached!  Also, it riles up PE when two of the Ushers are filling out their brackets for March Madness when they should be collecting the offering! A word to the wise - Pastor Etiquette is watching!

In fact, he'll be preaching at all four services this weekend - Saturday at 5 pm and Sunday at 8, 9:30 and 11 am.  The message is entitled, "Amazing - A Costly Love That Cost Us Nothing!"

Come and join us, won't you? Have a blessed day!

Friday, March 9, 2018

The preacher and the septic tank

      An inexperienced preacher was to hold a graveside burial service at a pauper's cemetery for an indigent man with no family or friends. Not knowing where the cemetery was, he made several wrong turns and got lost. When he eventually arrived an hour late, the hearse was nowhere in sight, the backhoe was next to the open hole, and the workmen were sitting under a tree eating lunch.

     The diligent young pastor went to the open grave and found the vault lid already in place. Feeling guilty because of his tardiness, he preached an impassioned and lengthy service, sending the deceased to the great beyond in style.

     As he returned to his car, he overheard one of the workman say to the other, "I've been putting in septic tanks for twenty years and I ain't never seen anything like that." 

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Putting two and two together

In preparing a Bible study yesterday I came across something the apostle James wrote in chapter five of his Epistle.  The last part of verse 16 is translated in the ESV as: "The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it it working."

Now we know that only God has the power to heal and to save.  What then makes our prayers so powerful?

Jesus explains it in John 9:31: "If anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, God listens to him."

So, our prayers make a difference.  God gives us His undivided attention as we offer our petitions.  He considers our requests.  He does what is best for each one of us. 

Pray, my friends.  Make your requests to God.  Pray "not my will but Your will, O Lord, be done." Trust that the God who gave you a Savior will also give you the time of day and more as you open your heart to Him.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Original sin is like...

Another gem from Martin Luther:

The original sin in a man is like his beard, though shaved off today, so that a man is very smooth around his mouth, yet grows again by tomorrow morning... Just as original sin remains in us and bestires itself as long as we live, but we must resist it and always cut off its hair. From "Being Lutheran," by Trevor Sutton, page 3.

How do we cut of this beard, so to speak? By daily repentance and faith. We acknowledge what original sin has caused us to do (commit actual sins every day), seek God's forgiveness and rejoice that through the Gospel the Lord forgives sin and causes the Holy Spirit to do His sanctifying work in our lives.

So, time to shave!

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Monday, March 5, 2018

That kid warms my heart!

Is there anything better than a grandchild who thinks your swell?

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Great Weekend Weather to Go to Church

Snowbirds and spring training friends, rejoice! The weatherman is your friend! Beautiful skies and warm (but not too warm) afternoons are in the forecast.  This is great going-to-church weather!

Yes, plan to sit on the outfield grass at your favorite spring training field.  But also plan to join us for worship!

Saturday at 5 pm.

Sunday at 8 am (hymns), 9:30 am (modern music), 11 am (hymns). 

All services feature the traditional liturgy of the church.

All those who wear their favorite team's garb get in free!

Actually, you get in free no matter what you're wearing!

Come and see us this weekend at LICL!

Friday, March 2, 2018

It's probably Dad

Two boys were walking home from church after hearing a strong preaching on the devil. One said to the other, "What do you think about all this Satan stuff?"

The other boy replied, "Well, you know how Santa Claus turned out. It's probably just your dad"  

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Throwback Thursday at Magnolia Market

It was about two years ago that Sherri and I added the the economic well being of Waco, TX by spending the morning shopping at the Magnolia Market.  We are huge fans of Chip and Joanna Gaines' tv program, "Fixer Upper."  While we were there we met Joanna's mother but, alas, no Chip or Joanna sightings.

I'm thinking of some way to work the "Fixer Upper" idea into my sermon this Sunday which caused me to look up the pictures.  My dear, sweet wife and I had a great time visiting the city.  We especially laughed at the T-shirts and caps that said, "Keep Waco Wacko."