January 24, 2022
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 20:11-15; Matthew 25:31-46
Do you remember what Jesus told His disciples about when He would return? Jesus said, “But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come” (Mark 13:32–33). Do you remember the promise the angels shared as Jesus ascended? “This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). Be on guard, keep awake, and remember He is coming soon.
January 19, 2022
1 John 3:1-3; Revelation 7:9-17; John 14:1-7
Today we lift our eyes from the present and focus them on the promises of God that will be fulfilled in the future. What a blessed day it will be when we will gather with all of Jesus’ holy ones around His throne in heaven! In John 14, Jesus gives us a picture of what happens when we close our eyes for the last time here on earth. It is a message that brings comfort and hope to all who call Jesus their Savior. Today we explore what comes after this life.
January 10, 2022
Psalm 90:1-17; Galatians 5:13-18; Luke 5:1-5
Last week we introduced the concept of God in our vocations. God’s leadership and hands are with us wherever and whatever we are doing. This week we look at the details of how we live that out and what God is calling us to do.
January 3, 2022
Ecclesiastes 3:9-15; Colossians 3:1-11, 17; Luke 6:32-38
What is your vocation at work? Boss of a company? Teacher? Administrator? Builder? Marketing? What about at home? Parent? House cleaner? House fixer? Financial plainer? Driver? What about at church? Singer? Cleaner? Bible Class? Sunday School? Decorator? Community service? What does God say about the many vocations of our life?
December 21, 2021
Malachi 3:1-7b; Phillipians 1:2-11; Luke 3:1-14, 15-20.
“Hark! A Thrilling Voice Is Sounding” (LSB 345) is a cherished Advent hymn. That thrilling voice is that of John the Baptist crying out in the wilderness, “The Savior is near! The kingdom of God is near! Repent, and live out your new life in Christ! Produce fruits worthy of repentance!” In many ways, we still live in the wilderness. Our nation continues to polarize, causing us to lose friends and feel as though we are alone in the world. Many of us walk through the wilderness of serious disease, job loss, or watching our children or grandchildren walk away from faith. There is also the self-created wilderness of our own sin—the damage we have done in relationships with others. But John’s thrilling words bring us hope. While we are powerless to make it through the wilderness ourselves, God is powerful and sees us through. By the gift of repentance in turning to Him in our desperation and pain, God restores a right relationship to us and then sets us free to bear fruit worthy of repentance. We are not stuck. God can change and restore us! A thrilling voice indeed!
December 14, 2021
Zephaniah 3:14-20; Philippians 4:4-7; Luke 7:18-28
The American folk song “I Wonder as I Wander” captures the Advent question asked by John the Baptist’s messengers in today’s Holy Gospel. “Are You the one,” they wondered, “or shall we look for another?” We live in a wandering world, constantly looking, seeking, and yearning for that one thing, that one idea, that one person, that one amount of money that unlocks the way to a life of flourishing. We ourselves, wandering as we sometimes do, at times have put our trust in people or things that cannot deliver what only Jesus can. Today we rejoice that amidst our wonderings and wanderings, Jesus is the one. He is the one by whom the blind saw, the lame walked, lepers were cleansed, demon-possessed people were freed, and the dead were raised. Jesus is the one who will restore all creation to its original perfection and who, when He comes again in glory, will restore all things forever.
December 6, 2021
Psalm 62; 1 John 4:1-6; Matthew 11:25-30
Every Christmas season is a busy time of year. Setting up the Christmas tree, decorating inside and out, cleaning for guests, going to see family, making delicious food, buying presents for people, giving to those in need, preparing for singing Christmas songs. Our lives are filled with many things as we prepare for the celebration of birth of our Savior. Very different was the first Christmas.
November 29, 2021
Isaiah 52:7-10; 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13; John 1:1-14.
Christian Formation is a process that followers of Jesus engage in personally and corporately to grow to full maturity in Christ. Christian maturity leads it incarnational living. That is a fancy way of saying that we partner with the Holy Spirit to let Christ live both in and through us. Often, we think of God’s work in big moments, Easter and Christmas, dramatic faith stories, and the like. However, mature faith is learning to let Christ live in and through us in the everyday moments. God transforms the ordinary to extraordinary by the power of His Holy Spirit. As we move through our days we bring the living presence of God into every conversation, opportunity and effort. It is not because we learn to strive to keep God in the front of our minds all the time, but because He is in us all the time and we learn the sound of His voice and the pressure of His nudge to action. We give Him permission use us in whatever way He thinks is best. This is incarnational living.
November 24, 2021
Psalm 1:1-6; 1 Timothy 4:6-16; Mark 12:38–44.
An old story tells of a stranger walking in the streets of a noisy city. He listens, stops, and finds a cricket on the street that no one has noticed. He drops some coins on the pavement, and everyone hears and stops. In the Gospel today, no one but Jesus noticed the copper coins amid the large sums placed in the offering box. But He did not hear coins; He heard the sound of a great faith. This woman gave her all, trusting in the Lord alone. We live in times of great abundance. Great abundance does not produce generosity, but faith does. From the generous God who has given us all things in Christ, we learn to live as a generous people. The grace of God is sufficient for all things we need today and for our eternal salvation.
November 15, 2021
Joel 2:15-17; Acts 4:23-31; Matthew 18:18-20
No matter what age we are or experiences we have had in life, we still have much to learn. The God who has done so much for us brings us together to praise Him and call on Him in times of trouble.