Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Upcoming Event at Trinity

Upcoming Events at Trinity
·                     November 23         7:00 pm                                  Thanksgiving Eve
·                     November 26         5:30pm                     Saturday Advent 1 Service
·                     November 27         9:00 am                                             Bible Class
·                     November 27         9:00 am  Children and Youth Christmas Practice
·                     November 27         10:00 am                     Sunday Advent 1 Service
·                     November 27         11:00 am             Lunch and Church Decorating
·                     November 27         3:00 pm                        Adult Information Class
·                     November 30         5:00 pm                                Confirmation Class
·                     November 30         7:00 pm                                Advent 1 Midweek
·                     December 3           5:30 pm                    Saturday Advent 2 Service
·                     December 4           9:00 am                                             Bible Class
·                     December 4           9:00 am  Children and Youth Christmas Practice
·                     December 4           10:00 am                     Sunday Advent 2 Service
·                     December 4           3:00 pm                        Adult Information Class
·                     December 7           5:00 pm                                Confirmation Class
·                     December 7           7:00 pm                                Advent 2 Midweek
·                     December 9           5:30 pm                               Christmas in Virden
·                     December 10   9:00am–9:00pm      Christmas in Virden and Girard
·                     December 10         5:30 pm                    Saturday Advent 3 Service
·                     December 11         9:00 am                                             Bible Class
·                     December 11         9:00 am  Children and Youth Christmas Practice
·                     December 11         10:00 am                     Sunday Advent 3 Service
·                     December 11         3:00 pm                        Adult Information Class
·                     December 14         5:00 pm                                Confirmation Class
·                     December 14         7:00 pm                                Advent 3 Midweek
·                     December 16         6:00 pm                                                   Elder’s
·                     December 17         5:30 pm                    Saturday Advent 4 Service
·                     December 18         9:00 am                                             Bible Class
·                     December 18         9:00 am  Children and Youth Christmas Practice
·                     December 18         10:00 am                     Sunday Advent 4 Service
·                     December 18         2:00 – 5:00 pm     Open House at the Parsonage
·                     December 21         5:00 pm                                Confirmation Class
·                     December 21         7:00 pm                                Lessons and Carols
·                     December 22         5:00 pm Children and Youth Christmas Practice
·                     December 24         5:30 pm          Children’s Christmas Eve Service
·                     December 24         11:00 pm      Christmas Eve Candlelight Service
·                     December 25         8:00 am                           Christmas Day Service
·                     December 31         5:30 pm                                      New Years Eve
·                     January 1               9:00 am              Sunday School and Bible Class
·                     January 1               10:00 am                       New Years Day Service

Daily Readings for November 20 - November 26, 2011

Saturday    November 19                        5:30 pm                      Worship Service
Sunday      November 20                         9:00 am                             Bible Class
                                                           10:00 am                      Worship Service
                                                           11:00 pm                                   Voter’s
                                                            3:00 pm           Adult Information Class
Wednesday November 23                        5:00 pm                          Confirmation
                                                            7:00 pm              Thanksgiving Vespers
                                                            7:30 pm                                        AA
Thursday    November 24                                                             Thanksgiving
Friday        November 25                                                    Pastor’s Family Day
Saturday    November 26                       5:30 pm                      Worship Service
Jeremiah 23:5–8, Romans 13:8–14, Matthew 21:1–9
The Lord Jesus Comes in Humility to Redeem Us
The new Church Year begins by focusing on the humble coming of our Lord. “Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey” (Matthew 21:5). Even as He was born in a lowly manger, so Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a beast of burden. For He bears the sin of the world. He is the Son of David riding to His enthronement on the cross, where He shows Himself to be “The LORD is our Righteousness” (Jeremiah 23:5–6). Our Lord still comes in great humility to deliver His righteousness to us in the Word and Sacraments. Before receiving Christ’s body and blood, we also sing, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9) And as we receive the Sacrament, we set our hearts on His return in glory, for “our salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed” (Romans 13:11).

My blood.”

Daily Lectionary For November 20-26, 2011
November 20                    Ezekiel 38:1-39:29, James 4:1-17, Proverbs 28:7-17,
November 21                            Ezekiel 40:1-49, James 5:1-20, Psalms 130:1-8
November 22                     Ezekiel 41:1-42:20, 1 Peter 1:1-2:3, Psalms 131:1-3
November 23                    Ezekiel 43:1-44:31, 1 Peter 2:4-25, Psalms 132:1-18
November 24                 Ezekiel 45:1-46:24, 1 Peter 3:1-22, Proverbs 28:18-28
November 25                      Ezekiel 47:1-48:35, 1 Peter 4:1-19, Psalms 133:1-3
November 26                                                        Looking ahead to Advent 1
                                        Jeremiah 23:5–8, Romans 13:8–14, Matthew 21:1–9

Please Pray For: Annaleise McKain, Juanita Rankin, George Van Huss, Joan Shipp, Crystal Ray, Ruth Hedrick, Walt Hedrick, Erna Van Winkle, Mary Kay Schmidt, Talon Fickas, John Haynes, Margaret Branham, Mary Ehrat, Art Ehrat, Katie Ketchum, Colin Starks, George Shepherd, Donna Smith, and Bill Hoff.
Military: Please keep in your prayers all Military persons, especially Brittany Worth who will soon deploy to Afghanistan.
Hospitalizations: Please notify Pastor GeRue about any sickness or hospitalizations.

Sunday, Nov. 27 – Decorating the church for Christmas will take place following the service. Lunch will be provided by Thrivent.

OPEN HOUSE: Pastor and Valerie will once again host an open house for the members of Trinity. It will be on Sunday, December 18th from 2:00 – 5:00 pm.
ADVENT MIDWEEK SERVICES: Services will be held on Wednesday, November 30, December 7, 14, and 21, will begin at 7:00 p.m. and last about 45 minutes. Dessert will be provided after the service.


Thanksgiving Eve Sermon

Thanksgiving Eve
November 23, 2011
Luke 12:15-21

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

How obvious it is that a man’s life does not consist in his possessions, but how hard it is to believe. What do you daydream about? What would it take to make you happy? Are not your thoughts, your desires, focused mostly on possessions? Do not your daydreams consist of cars and houses, vacations and boats? Of storehouses to contain all the stuff you want to buy? Or do they run with more with the body? Do you daydream of not being sick, not being old, not being fat, of being a great athlete, or beautiful? But a man’s life does not consist in his health or in his countenance anymore than in his possessions. Is there anything left? Anything else you want? Yes. There is one more, sickest of all: you want honor and fame. You want to be recognized and loved. Your daydreams include speeches to the media, interviews on television, don’t they?

Take heed. Beware of covetousness. There is no appeasing sin. If you get what you think you want you will only want more. The three richest men on earth are not satisfied. They all want to be richer. The two who are not the richest of all want to be. The one who is the richest wants to outdo his competitors by greater and greater margins. The poor give more to the poor than the rich. The statistics are clear. The widow’s mite is not that unusual. Poor people are generous. Rich people are stingy. So also the poor almost never commit suicide. The rich do.

That is not to say that poverty is a virtue. It is simply that being poor gives life a sense of meaning. There is something to escape, a purpose. The prisoners who survived the concentration camps of World War II were not the healthiest or strongest, but those who had to live for. Some had pious motives such as the desire to see loved ones or finish a great work. Others just lived for revenge. Poverty gives purpose to life, whereas the rich have less to live for. They are more likely to see the futility of human achievement and effort, to despair because possessions and opportunity, luxury and fame, have all failed to bring them happiness or satisfaction. Pride leads to gluttony and gluttony leads to sloth and despair. A man’s life does not consist in his possessions. Learn this o men. Here is wisdom: a man’s life does not consist in his possessions.

In what does it consist then? Plato thought a man’s life consisted in virtue. The idea is that our purpose is to be virtuous, to be morally good. Our life consists in, or strives for, wisdom, justice, self-control, and courage. Those are Plato’s ideas of virtue. He is not far from the kingdom of God. But those virtues are all subject to abuse. Justice must be tempered by mercy or it is oppressive and destructive. Courage must strike the balance between recklessness and selfishness. Wisdom must resist the temptation to manipulate and an abundance of self-control easily leads to self-righteousness. Besides that there is the reality that all these virtues are on the human plane. They are what we do to men, and they are seen be men. Behind them all is lurking the Greek sense and desire for honor. Pride tempts them all. Plato was not far from the kingdom of God but he was not there. Our life does not consist in Plato’s ideals.

What Plato, sadly, did not know were the Theological virtues of St. Paul, faith, hope, and love, because he did not know the God of Abraham. A man’s life does not consist in possessions or in his virtues. A man’s life consists in God. “Store up for yourself treasures in heaven” and “serve God, not mammon” are more than accusations. They do not merely expose our fallen flesh and selfish desires. They also show us the way of Christ, the way of life. For Christ Our Lord did not seek the middle way. He was extreme and radical. He served God, not mammon. He waited for heaven. He loves His Father without limit. He does not question His Father’s will to forsake Him, but submits. He drains the Cup of Wrath of Anger of Judgment of Hell that He was given. He believes that His Father is good and loves Him, even when His Father condemns Him as sin. Out of love for the Father He loves the world and lays down His life without regret or grudge. He loves those whom He created and He would have them all back again. Thus does He reconcile all humanity to His Father. He pays the ransom to release us from the devil’s claws.

You cannot love God too much and love covers a multitude of sins. So also faith and hope. Our Lord Jesus Christ believed that He would rise, that His suffering would end, that He would join the congregation of the righteous in His Father’s court and there give testimony of the mercy, the goodness, that is His Father’s. You cannot hope or believe in Christ too much. It is not subject to abuse by overuse or extremism. We do not count the martyrs as fools who sold their lives too cheaply, but rather as heroes who loved God more than they loved themselves. We were created to believe in, hope for, and love the God who has and does believe in, hope for, and love us. This is where our life abides.

So thank God that we are not so poor we must steal, that we are not so hungry that we might make a bargain with the devil, and profane the Name of Christ. Thank God that He has provided for our physical needs, that He sends the rain and crops and even pleasant things, though we do not deserve any of them. The prayer “O God, make us not poor” is easy to pray and we should and we should thank God as it is answered. For we are fed, we are dry, we are warm. But so too we should thank God that we are not rich, that His mercy has spared us that affliction. Let us learn to pray: “O God, spare us from wealth. Spare us from excess, from pride, from gluttony, from sloth, lest we become full and deny you, thinking that we are the lord.” Mostly, daily, let us thank God that He has revealed Himself to us in His Word, that the Christ is known to us in His faith, hope, and love, that we w are His and He is ours.

Our thanks this day is not found mainly in a feast, taking pleasure in the gifts of creation, of food and drink and family. Our thanks this day is found mainly in the gifts of redemption, in what our life consists. Let us give us thank unto the Lord our God by eating His Body and drinking His Blood, by having His forgiveness, His grace, His faith, His hope, His love poured into us. Our life consists in Christ. Thanks be to God: Our life is provided by and consists in Christ who loves us.

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Sermon for November 19-20, 2011 Last Sunday of the Church Year

Last Sunday of the Church Year
Matthew 25:1-13
November 19-20, 2011

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Ten virgins pure watching in the dark; ten virgins pure waiting in the flickering light; ten virgins pure surrounded by temptations, dangers in the night. Outwardly they were all clean and undefiled. Nonetheless, these handmaidens of the Lord were overcome. Their flesh was weak. They were seduced by sleep, enticed to slumber. Their eyes grew heavy and they gave up, gave in. They quit fighting. They let the night have its way with them. The oil’s light burned in vain while they satisfied their carnal wants.

And then the midnight cry! It caught them unaware, found them tucked in bed with lovers not their husbands, their virginity and their duties all forgotten. The oil was gone, wasted, frivolously spent in vain pursuits, for pleasure´s sake. For when they gave up hope of the bridegroom’s appearing they were too lazy to extinguish their lamps. What did it matter? They thought that He would not return. And then the cry and then the panic and then the begging: give us some of yours. But there was none to spare. No one can believe for another. So out went the five fools into the night seeking to buy what can only be given. They returned empty-handed, too late. The door was shut. Therefore, watch! Beware! Repent!

It is hard to stay awake these sleepy days, James and John and Peter know. We abide at the end of time. Temptation grows stronger deeper in the night. It seems so futile to keep watch. We’ve waited already all our lives and still He has not come. There are pleasures beckoning to us all around. And no one seems to care if we slip in a few winks or go off for a while, if we go and do those things that young men and middle-aged men and old men think to be their right and their necessary rites of passage. If we behave like the ancient men of Rome or of Carthage or the modern men of New York or San Francisco or Amsterdam, who can blame us? We are but men. Must we really be so vigilant and suffer so all through this night of days and months and years? Can´t we just have our fun and then repent at the end?

No. We cannot. That way leads to death. Now is the hour of salvation. Even if Our Lord should continue to delay, no man knows when his last hour will come. Repent before it is too late. Repent and watch.

And for the sake of hope and confidence notice this: all ten virgins fell asleep. All ten. All ten were outwardly pure, yet all ten failed in their vigil. What made five wise and five foolish? The wise still had oil. By the grace of God, despite their weakness and self-pity, despite their arrogance and indulgence, even while in the midst of their unfaithfulness and defilement, they never completely gave up hope. They never stopped believing that He would come. They trimmed their lamps, and whatever little oil was left, was enough. It was multiplied like the widow’s oil in Zarephath or the Maccabean warriors’ oil in the cave. Their oil was given by God. For if He desires to be greeted and ushered into the chamber by virgins pure, He must create them. By grace, by what God supplied, the five wise virgins were spared the coming wrath and saved.

And so there is hope even for us. You have not defiled yourself so gravely that you cannot be cleansed. Your God has not forgotten you. He brought you here this day for a purpose: to forgive you anew, to restore your chastity and purity, to recreate you immaculate, strong in faith, undefiled, righteous and holy, and mostly wise. The world scoffs at this true wisdom but it comes from God: He is coming back.

He does all this for and to you through His Word. By the Word He creates and restores. He called you by Name through His Name in Holy Baptism. You were born in those waters from above and made alive. He speaks these saving, cleansing words in the Scriptures, in the absolution, in the preaching, in His Church. He feeds these Words made flesh to you in the Holy Supper. This that He would be met on the last day with faith and praise and rejoicing and His work outside the city gate would not be in vain. For He has not fallen asleep. He does not forget His promise. He still and always loves you and makes you again virgin pure. It is ever a new day in Our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Concerning then the time and the seasons, you have no need that St. Paul should tell you. He doesn´t know them anyway, nor does even the Son of Man Himself. All you need to know, the best and surest wisdom in all of creation, is that the day is surely coming. It will come suddenly, unexpectedly, like a thief in the night. God in His great love will steal you away from the darkness, death, and chaos of this fallen world. He will pull you from your traitorous bed and trim your lamp. You will again be pure and undefiled. You are not of the darkness or of the night no matter how sleepy and lazy you might feel. You are of the day. You are of Jesus Christ.

God did not appoint you for wrath. He appointed His Son for that in your stead. For one eternal afternoon He hung in Hell for you, was forsaken of the Father, was defiled by death, and the demons danced on His grave. But they were soundly dispersed and disappointed when the tomb was opened by the angel and the guards struck dumb. The night forever ended when the Dayspring from on high rose and gave Light to men. In this way, by His death and resurrection, He appointed you to Himself. He died for you that you would live with Him.

Watch and wait. Do not be afraid. Surely the day is drawing near. Thank God for it.

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.