Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Daily readings for March 18-24, 2012

Midweek March 21 – Pastor GeRue
Psalm 32    “Hiding from God or Hiding in God?”
God can either be the one we hide from or He can be the one we hide in.
Catechism: What is the Office of the Keys? Where is this written?
Midweek  God’s gift of forgiveness
SUNDAY’S DIVINE SERVICE—The Bread that Satisfies
Jesus is the true bread that came down from heaven. Whoever partakes of Jesus by faith alone will never hunger. He is forgiveness, life, salvation, health, wealth, peace, joy, contentment. He is the beginning and the end of faith and the One by whom we have everlasting life with God. The multitudes
recognized the parallels with Jesus and Moses through whom the Lord fed  Israel in the wilderness. They hailed Him as the prophet greater than Moses who was to come into the world. But only those in whom God worked true repentance and faith came to believe in Him alone.

"Good News for Religious People Too?"
Lutheran Hour Speaker: Rev. Gregory Seltz
The Bible speaks about grace for sinners, but even the so-called "good people" need God's grace and mercy, too.
(John 3:1-16)
WSMI               Carlinville, IL                1540     AM       Sun       9:30 am
WLUJ               Springfield, IL               89.7      FM       Sun       3:00 pm
WLLM              Lincoln, IL                    1370     AM       Sun       7:00 am
WLLM              Lincoln, IL                    1370     AM       Sun       7:00 pm

Sunday we will have a special voter’s meeting to discuss remodeling the parsonage basement.

Next Weeks Lessons: Fifth Sunday in Lent (Judica)
Genesis 22:1–14; Hebrews 9:11–15; John 8:42–59
Jesus Is Our Redemption
In the temple Jesus said, “If anyone keeps my word, he will never see death” (John 8:51). For Jesus came to taste death for us—to drink the cup of suffering to the dregs in order that we might be released from its power. Clinging to His life-giving words, we are delivered from death’s sting and its eternal judgment. Christ is our High Priest, who entered the Most Holy Place and with His own blood obtained everlasting redemption for His people (Hebrews 9:1115). He is the One who was before Abraham was, and yet is his descendant. He is the promised Son who carries the wood up the mountain for the sacrifice, who is bound and laid upon the altar of the cross. He is the ram who is offered in our place, who is willingly caught in the thicket of our sin, and who wears the crown of thorns upon His head (Genesis 22:114). Though Jesus is dishonored by the sons of the devil, He is vindicated by the Father through the cross.

Saturday, March 31 5:30 pm & Sunday, April 1 10:00 am              Palm Sunday
Monday, April 2         7:00 pm                       Holy Week Bible Study, Witness”
Tuesday, April 3         7:00 pm                       Holy Week Bible Study, “Mercy”
Wednesday, April 4     7:00 pm             Holy Week Bible Study, “Life Together”
Thursday, April 5        9:00 am                                            Ladies Bible Study
                                 7:00 pm                                Maundy Thursday Worship
Friday, April 6            12:00 noon                       Noonday Good Friday Service
                                 7:00 pm                                           God Friday Service
Saturday, April 7        5:30 pm                           Easter Vigil with Confirmation
Sunday, April 8          7:00 am                                       Easter Sunrise Service
                                 8:30 – 9:45 a.m.                                    Easter Breakfast

Saturday       March 17                 5:30 pm                            Divine Service
Sunday         March 18                 9:00 am       Bible Class / Sunday School
                                                   10:00 am                            Divine Service
Tuesday        March 20                 4:00 pm               North Mac Ministerium
Wednesday   March 21                 5:00 pm                              Confirmation
                                          5:45 – 6:45 pm                        Lenten Luncheon
                                                     7:00 pm            Lenten Midweek Service
                                                     7:30 pm                                              AA
Friday           March 23                                                  Pastor’s Family Day
Saturday       March 24                 5:30 pm                            Divine Service

Daily Lectionary March 18– 24, 2012
March     18                       Numbers 7:1-65; Luke 2:21-40; Psalms 35:1-10
March     19                Numbers 7:66-9:14; Luke 2:41-52; Psalms 35:11-18
March     20                        Num. 9:15-11:3; Luke 3:1-22; Psalms 35:19-28
March     21                Num. 11:4-13:25; Luke 3:23-4:13; Proverbs 7:21-27
March     22                    Num. 13:26-14:45; Luke 4:14-37; Psalms 36:1-12
March     23                     Num. 15:1-16:35; Luke 4:38-5:16; Psalms 37:1-9
March     24                                                          Looking ahead to Lent 5   Genesis 22:1–14; Hebrews 9:11–15; John 8:42–59

Sermon for March 17-18, 2012 Lent 4

March 17-18, 2012
Lent 4
John 6:1-15

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

The Lord tested Phillip. Phillip failed. He asked him: “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” But there was nowhere to buy bread. It was a trick question. Even if there had been a bakery there in the wilderness, Phillip estimated that 200 days, or 7 months´ worth of wages, would not have been enough to feed these 5000 men plus women and children so that each could have just a little. There might have been more than 15,000 people there.

A denarius was a day´s wages. Figure $100 in modern equivalence. That would be $10 an hour, no benefits. It would have been just enough to almost raise a family, to be one of the working poor. Still, at that modest rate, 200 denarii is the equivalent of $20,000. Phillip says, in effect, “$20,000 worth of bread wouldn´t be enough. We couldn´t buy that much bread in Jerusalem if we had the money. But, anyway, there is nowhere to buy even a dollar´s worth of bread!” Andrew chimes in, “There is a young boy here with some bread and fish, but it is worthless. There isn´t enough. Might as well empty the ocean with a sea shell.”

So Phillip and Andrew failed the test. I am not sure what the right answer would have been. Maybe Abraham´s line: “The Lord will provide.” Or maybe St. John´s response to the angel, “Sir, you know.” Or perhaps Phillip should have just reverted to the standard Sunday School answer. “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” And Phillip should have said: “Jesus.” In any case, that was the right answer. Jesus provided what they couldn´t buy, what they couldn´t grow, what they had not earned or deserved, and more than they could contain. Their baskets overflowed.

Phillip and Andrew failed the test but it didn´t matter. They failed because they were sinners, bent on themselves, deformed with their hungers and their lusts. They could not see or hear or think. But Jesus came to seek and to save sinners. He declared them to be holy, to be His saints, to have His innocence and righteousness. He even made them Apostles. The answer they couldn’t provide, the miracle they couldn´t imagine, was provided for them. They, too, ate and were full. They were forgiven for their lack of faith and made citizens of a Kingdom where man does not live by bread alone.

Our problem is that we are so infected with sin, so obsessed with the mundane reality and details of our work-a-day worlds, that we forget that it is God who provides. We add up our debts: our mortgages, credit cards, student loans, and car payments. We add the cost of the stuff we think we want: SUV´s, college educations, a vacation home, a new kitchen, and several large gifts to our favorite charities. We add something for our future, for our life of leisure. And the total is astronomical. It is far greater than 200 denarii! $20,000 is just the tip of the iceberg. We pay more than that in interest. What will we do? Where we will obtain it? The stock market is uncertain. The lottery is a lie. $300,000 worth of bread wouldn´t be sufficient! Repent. Your mind is on the wrong things.

“The Lord will provide.” “Sir, you know.” “Jesus.” Those are the answers to life´s troubles and worries. You have no money? Come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. As impossible as it was for 15,000 people to sit down on the mountainside and be fed with just two fish and five loaves of bread, less than one basketful, so that there were twelve baskets of leftovers, it happened. It was even less possible that one Man should die for the many, that God should love those who hate Him, and give His life to those who killed Him, but it happened and is still in effect.

Imagine if we caught All the criminals in the world. Would it be okay if the most wanted was jailed or put to death for all the rest? If he, the worst of the worst, paid their price, could they go free? Of course not. That is ridiculous. They are accountable and responsible for their own actions. But how much worse would it be if we took your 10 year old daughter and had her die for all these and they came to dinner at your house and slept in her empty bed? That is something more akin to what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. It doesn´t line up with the reason of men. It is mercy and compassion beyond our understanding or ability. The Father has sacrificed His Son who sent His Spirit. He has purchased us with Blood. We are worried about which shoes match which belt, who has the nicest lawn, or who the Republican candidate will be, and Jesus says, “Sit down. I´ll take care of it.”

He doesn´t explain or argue. He rebukes neither Phillip nor Andrew. He just tells them to have the people sit down. Then He passes out bread and fish, as much as they want. And when they are filled the disciples gather up the fragments. Each of the twelve fills his basket. The Lord saw the need better than they did. He provided what they hadn´t even asked for and they could not contain the bounty.

He does the same for you. Our conversation with God is a bit like a small child at the dinner table telling his mother about Little Red Riding Hood. The child says, “The wolf dressed up like her grandma,” And the mother says, “Have some broccoli.” She knows what the child needs. She knows these foolish, childish fears are not legitimate, but that they are real. She knows that they are not overcome by words but by maturity. The child must outgrow them. In the meantime, she does what she can. She ensures that he is safe whether he always feels like it or not. She comforts him and she leaves the night light on. But she does not indulge the fantasy and give the child a gun to shoot imaginary grandma-posing wolves in the night! She simply says, “Yes, dear. Have some broccoli.”

So also Our Lord. He knows better than you what you need. You say, “I can´t pay my bills.” He says, “Take, eat, this is My Body.” You say, “My wife doesn´t love me.” He says, “I forgive you.” You say, “I don´t have a job. My friends have betrayed me. My children hate me.” He says, “I remember you. I confess you before My Father.” He is the Prophet come into the world, the King of the Jews who rules by grace and makes men saints by the power of His Word, who provides. He knows what you need. He will give you all things. He loves you, died and rose for you, and is coming back.

So rejoice with Jerusalem, the city that killed the prophets. Rejoice with all who love the Lord of Life, the Prince of Peace, raised up from the earth on the cross, and raised again from the dead for your life. There is food to eat, broccoli for the soul. The Lord will provide.

In + Jesus´ Name. Amen.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

March 10-11, 2012 Lent 3 Sermon

March 10-11, 2012      Oculi   Luke 11:14-28             “Seeing”

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

Lent is when the Church emphasizes spiritual warfare. The first Sunday recounts Our Lord's fasting and temptation by Satan in the desert. This Sunday has Him casting out a demon and being accused of being in league with Satan. The Pharisee's charge wasn't quite as far off base as it sounds. At least they recognized the supernatural. There are only two options: either Jesus was casting out demons by the finger of God or He was doing it by the power of the devil. The idea that He was simply a nice man, Tim Tebow-like, if a bit delusional or extreme, trying to show us a better way is right out. And what is true for Jesus in this regard is true of all prophets, all ministers, all religions. If they are not worshiping the Holy Trinity they are worshiping the devil. There are no other gods. There is only the true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Our Lord Jesus Christ. The Pharisees say "Beelzebub" which was the name of an idol. Jesus cuts to the chase and calls him "Satan." There are no other gods, no other ways. If you don't worship Jesus you worship the devil. So even though the Pharisees were wrong, even though they accused Jesus of casting out demons by Satan, at least they realized what was at stake, what the options were. In that, they were mostly ahead of us.

Repent. We have so often played the mild-mannered, timid Christian, more distressed about recycling than abortion, more worried about the honor of “Justin Allgaier” or “the Illini” than of our God we've nearly forgotten what is real and what matters. We've preferred the good opinion of our pagan neighbors to their salvation. But here is the truth: there is no neutral territory. You either belong to God or you belong to Satan. Those who think they sit on the fence, who choose the calm, middle way of moderation, are delusional. Christianity is a radical and extreme religion. It is not nice. Fence-riders belong to Satan. Jesus spits them out of His mouth. Repent.

You are not a fence-rider though you have been tempted that way. You belong to God. You are baptized. That is no small thing. Baptism casts out demons. It is not so much that Amelia, who had heard the Word of God in her mother's womb since conception, and whose parents and siblings have been fervently praying for her, was under the control of a demon or belonged to Satan, rather God's Word and Spirit cast demons away from her. They drove them out. Our Lord suffered demonic attacks in the desert and throughout His Ministry. Christians also suffer demonic attacks. Unlike Christ, we have invited them in. The demons come with all manner of sin, not merely with Ouija boards and horoscopes, but also with gossip, vanity, drunkenness, and lies. But the most direct portal for demons is pornography. I'd rather my children played with Ouija boards than look at x rated material. Opening or viewing pornography in your home is like inviting demons to sleep in your child's bedroom. This is no game. What you do effects your family. Demons need to be driven away not just from those about to be Baptized but from us all. Let us not forget that Satan entered one of the Twelve and Jesus was betrayed with a kiss. Be aware. Be careful. Repent.

But do not despair. Do not be afraid. Weak as we are, Jesus was weaker. He made Himself a perfect target for all of Hell's fury. He drew all their hatred, all their violence, all God's wrath into Himself. He was stronger than the strong man in weakness and poverty. He disarmed the strong man by suffering all the strong man's strength and attacks. He emptied him of poison and the devil has no strength left. He is spent. He used everything he had to kill Jesus on the cross. He has no more accusations. The demons are mute in heaven's courtroom. The blood of Jesus filled their mouths and damned them to Hell and they cannot complain. For whosoever drinks this Cup in an unworthy manner is guilty of the Body and Blood of Jesus. They have their reward. And you -- O defendant - you are declared innocent and holy. You are pardoned. You do not have to face the charges. There are no witnesses against you. God does not even remember your sins. You are forgiven and welcomed as the rightful heir and beloved of the Father.

The devil is still roaming about this earth seeking someone to devour. He is real and he is dangerous, but you are safe. You belong to God. His Name is upon you. His promise will not fail. You hear the Word of God. You eat the Body of Jesus. You drink His Blood. This miraculous eating and drinking do not consume Jesus for He is risen from the dead. Rather this eating and this drinking proclaims the glorious, life-giving death of Jesus. It proclaims the kind of death He died: a death to end death, a death that stands in our stead, a death that draws men unto Him, that destroys the gates of Hell, and shuts the devil's mouth. This death means that He will come again. He gives Himself as food and drink for your body and soul, to make you whole, to make you His. You eat and you drink and you are consumed. He joins you to Himself. It is a sign of His love for you and a foretaste of things to come.

Blessed is the womb that bore you and the one who nursed you; but more than that blessed are those who brought you to the font to offer you to God and placed your soul into the care of the Stronger Man. Demons cannot have you.

In + Jesus' Name. Amen.

Daily readings for March 11-17, 2012

Midweek March 14 – Pastor Michael Strong - Farmersville
Psalm 102  “But You, O Lord, Are Enthroned Forever”
Catechism: What sins should we confess?
Midweek  God’s gift of forgiveness

Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well teaches us that He is the Savior of all people, especially those who are the most unworthy and the most outcast of society. Samaritans were half-breed Jews who did not believe in the worship at the Temple in Jerusalem. Even more than this, the Samaritan woman is portrayed as a notorious sinner who had had many adulterous relationships. When Jesus is shown to be the Savior of all people, it does not mean that He does not take sin seriously. Quite to the contrary, Jesus exposes this woman’s sin that she might be drawn to Him for forgiveness. The awesome reality of the Gospel is that, even though she is such a notorious sinner, the Lord really does love her and really does desire to save her from her sin by offering to her the water of life. Jesus’ ministry of Law and Gospel to this woman resulted in her conversion. She was brought to repentance and faith in Christ. Out of this repentant faith in Christ, she then began to speak boldly of Him to others who need His salvation. This is always the way it is for those who have been touched by Christ’s salvation.

Next Weeks Lessons: Laetare—The Fourth Sunday In Lent
Old Testament: Isaiah 49:8–13 [Restoration of Israel]
Epistle: Acts 2:41–47 (alternate) [The fellowship of believers]
Holy Gospel: John 6:1–15 [Feeding of the 5000]

The Lord provided bread from heaven for His people in the wilderness. (Exodus 16:221) Now He who is Himself the Living Bread from heaven miraculously provides bread for the 5000. (John 6:115) This takes place near the time of the Passover, after a great multitude followed Jesus across the Sea, when He went up on a mountain. Thus we see that Jesus is our new and greater Moses, who releases us from the bondage of Mount Sinai and makes us free children of the promise. (Galatians 4:2131) Five loaves become twelve baskets, that is, the five books of Moses find their goal and fulfillment in Christ, whose people continue steadfastly in the doctrine and fellowship of the twelve apostles, and in the breaking and receiving of the Bread of Life, which is the body of Christ together with His precious blood, and in the prayers. (Acts 2:4147) So it is that God’s people “shall neither hunger nor thirst.” (Isaiah 49:813) For He abundantly provides for them in both body and soul.

Collect: Almighty God, our heavenly Father, we implore You that we, who do worthily deserve to be punished for our evil deeds, may mercifully be relieved by the comfort of Your grace; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

Saturday       March 10                 5:30 pm                            Divine Service
Sunday         March 11                 9:00 am       Bible Class / Sunday School
                                                   10:00 am                            Divine Service
Monday        March 12                                                              Army Duty
Tuesday        March 13                 4:00 pm                   Unity Finance Board
Wednesday   March 14                 5:00 pm                              Confirmation
                                          5:45 – 6:45 pm                        Lenten Luncheon
                                                     7:00 pm            Lenten Midweek Service
                                                     7:30 pm                                              AA
Thursday      March 15                 7:30 am                         Virden Chamber
Friday           March 16                                                  Pastor’s Family Day
Saturday       March 17                 5:30 pm                            Divine Service

Daily Lectionary March 11– 17, 2012
March     11              Leviticus 23:1-24:23, Mark 15:33-47, Psalms 32:1-11
March     12                Leviticus 25:1-26:13, Mark 16:1-20, Psalms 33:1-11
March     13                 Leviticus 26:14-27:34, Luke 1:1-25, Proverbs 7:1-5
March     14                    Numbers 1:1-2:9, Luke 1:26-38, Psalms 33:12-22
March     15                  Numbers 2:10-3:51, Luke 1:39-56, Psalms 34:1-10
March     16                  Numbers 4:1-5:10, Luke 1:57-80, Psalms 34:11-22
March     17                                                          Looking ahead to Lent 4
                                                 Isaiah 49:8–13, Acts 2:41–47, John 6:1–15