The 20th Sunday after Pentecost

I Am Poster

Readings, Devotion, and Prayers for the 20th Sunday after Pentecost, October 18, 2020, for both MLLC and Waldeck Evangelical Lutheran Church

We continue to offer in-person and Facebook Live services following the normal Sunday schedule for both MLLC and Waldeck.  The Facebook Live services will be offered on Sundays at 8:00 a.m. from Waldeck, and at 10:00 a.m. from MLLC.  The Saturday 6:00 p.m. service at MLLC is in-person only.

Below are the readings, prayers, and Sunday sermon.

Remember Your Regular Offerings

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For both of our congregations, Waldeck and MLLC, please remember that our expenses continue even when we are unable to meet as usual.  Please make a point to give your offerings as you would on a typical week.  Here are some ideas of what to do:

For Waldeck Evangelical Lutheran Church in Ledbetter:

– send your offering by mail to the church office  – Waldeck Evangelical Lutheran Church; 6915 Waldeck Church Lane; Ledbetter, TX 78946

– set aside your offerings each week, and then bring these to church when you can be at worship again.

For MLLC in Carmine:

– send your offering by mail to the church office  – MLLC, P O BOX 362, Carmine, TX 78932-0362

– set aside your offerings each week, and then bring these to church when you can be at worship again.

– give offerings through the church web site:  mllccarmine.com/online-giving  This page has a link to our secure giving page.  Offerings can be made by bank draft, debit card, or credit card through this special web site.

October 17th & 18th, 2020

The 20th SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

First Reading: Isaiah 45:1-7

The First Reading is from the 45th chapter of Isaiah.

The prophet announces that Cyrus the Persian emperor is the one the Lord has anointed to end Israel’s exile. The Lord makes this choice so that the whole world will recognize this Lord as the only God. Persia had a god of light and a god of darkness; the Lord claims sovereignty over both light and darkness. And now the reading.

1Thus says the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus,
whose right hand I have grasped
to subdue nations before him
and strip kings of their robes,
to open doors before him—
and the gates shall not be closed:
2I will go before you
and level the mountains,
I will break in pieces the doors of bronze
and cut through the bars of iron,
3I will give you the treasures of darkness
and riches hidden in secret places,
so that you may know that it is I, the Lord,
the God of Israel, who call you by your name.
4For the sake of my servant Jacob,
and Israel my chosen,
I call you by your name,
I surname you, though you do not know me.
5I am the Lord, and there is no other;
besides me there is no god.
I arm you, though you do not know me,
6so that they may know, from the rising of the sun
and from the west, that there is no one besides me;
I am the Lord, and there is no other.
7I form light and create darkness,
I make weal and create woe;
I the Lord do all these things.              Here ends the reading.

Psalm: Psalm 96:1-9 [10-13]

Psalm 96 read responsively by verse.

1Sing to the Lord| a new song;
sing to the Lord, | all the earth.
2Sing to the Lord, bless the name | of the Lord;
proclaim God’s salvation from | day to day.
3Declare God’s glory a- | mong the nations
and God’s wonders a- | mong all peoples.
4For great is the Lord and greatly | to be praised,
more to be feared | than all gods. R
5As for all the gods of the nations, they | are but idols;
but you, O Lord, have | made the heavens.
6Majesty and magnificence are | in your presence;
power and splendor are in your | sanctuary.
7Ascribe to the Lord, you families | of the peoples,
ascribe to the Lord hon- | or and power.
8Ascribe to the Lord the honor due the | holy name;
bring offerings and enter the courts | of the Lord. R
9Worship the Lord in the beau- | ty of holiness;
tremble before the Lord, | all the earth.
10Tell it out among the nations: “The | Lord is king!
The one who made the world so firm that it cannot be moved will judge the peo- | ples with equity.”
11Let the heavens rejoice, and let the | earth be glad;
let the sea thunder and all that is in it; let the field be joyful and all that | is therein.
12Then shall all the trees of the wood shout for joy at your com- | ing, O Lord, for you come to | judge the earth.
13You will judge the | world with righteousness
and the peoples | with your truth. R

Second Reading: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

The Second Reading is from the first chapter of First Thessalonians.

Most likely this letter is the first written by Paul. Paul is giving pastoral encouragement and reassurances to new Christians living in an antagonistic pagan environment. Their commitment of faith, love, and hope makes them a model for other new Christian communities.

And now the reading.

1Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy,
To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.
2We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly 3remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 4For we know, brothers and sisters beloved by God, that he has chosen you, 5because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of persons we proved to be among you for your sake. 6And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit, 7so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but in every place your faith in God has become known, so that we have no need to speak about it. 9For the people of those regions report about us what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, 10and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath that is coming.

Here ends the reading.

*Gospel: Matthew 22:15-22

P:  The holy gospel according to St. Matthew, the 22nd chapter.

Glory to you, O Lord.

After Jesus begins teaching in the temple, religious leaders try to trap him with questions. First they ask if God’s people should pay taxes to an earthly tyrant like Caesar.

And now the reading.

15Then the Pharisees went and plotted to entrap [Jesus] in what he said. 16So they sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are sincere, and teach the way of God in accordance with truth, and show deference to no one; for you do not regard people with partiality. 17Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to the emperor, or not?” 18But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why are you putting me to the test, you hypocrites? 19Show me the coin used for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. 20Then he said to them, “Whose head is this, and whose title?” 21They answered, “The emperor’s.” Then he said to them, “Give therefore to the emperor the things that are the emperor’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 22When they heard this, they were amazed; and they left him and went away.

After the Gospel is read:  P:  The Gospel of the Lord.

C:  Praise to you, O Christ.

Devotion:  “Life from the Great I Am”

By Pastor David Tinker

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Do you remember in Exodus, chapter 3, when Moses and God talk at the Burning Bush?  In this account we hear God announce his special name by which the people will call upon him.  In English it is essentially the ‘be’ verb.  It is often translated as, “I am.”  This could also be, “I will be who I will be,” or, “I am becoming who I am becoming,” or similar things.  It is an announcement of God’s active existence.  This active existence, or this “I am becoming,” invites us to receive God’s goodness and to continue to grow as his people.

Today we begin reading from First Thessalonians.  A major theme of Paul’s letter is his exhortation for this church to become what God wants them to be.  He writes this letter to encourage this very young church during a time of persecution and difficulty. After greeting the people, Paul offers a written prayer of thanksgiving to God for the church and for the faith and witness of the Thessalonians.  Our reading gives an outline of the life of the church so far.  It shows their spiritual journey in their short existence as a community of faith.

Consider the ways that Paul praises God about this young church.  He mentions that the church has been steadfast in its hope.  The church has been chosen by God, and the community is filled with the Spirit.  The members of the congregation have been imitators of Paul, and even more so, of Jesus himself.  Even though the people have lived under severe persecution by the Romans and others, they have been joyful.  Their way of life and their joy have been an example to believers elsewhere in Macedonia.  The people in the church have preached the Word of God, and the Word has spread beyond their borders.  The people have welcomed others.  They have turned away from idolatry and toward serving the living and true God.

These opening remarks, in a sense, provide a vision of what the church of every time and place is to be like. Every church, at first, or even for a chapter, may not look like much.  Maybe it has lost its grasp on the message of Jesus’ death and resurrection for our sin.  It may have missed out on truly understanding the depth and power of God’s forgiveness of our sin.  But with God given faithfulness, leadership, commitment, and discipleship, a congregation grows in spirit, and people get more connected to God’s work in their lives and in the world.  It moves from simply existing to flourishing, witnessing, worshiping, forgiving and living.  It moves from a random group of sinners to become a lively communion of forgiven sinners.

Our faith in God, both individually and as a community, can look a bit like a hot air balloon.  I have watched what seems like not much of anything become quite grand.  The balloon team starts with a large box.  They pull out large amounts of colorful cloth. Then they set up what looks like a booth, about the size of a closet.  With a flame to heat up the air in the balloon, these strange bundles of cloth and the little booths become beautiful and graceful hot air balloons. These end up being about 4 stories tall.  These seem insignificant at first, but great things get to happen when the right tools and heat are applied.

The Lord, the Great I Am, takes us where we are, and with the Word and Holy Spirit, he grows us.  We grow in faithful people and faithful communities doing God’s will where we are planted in this life and also in new contexts to which we are called.

In order to grow us into the people and congregation which God designed and called us to be, the Lord has given us what we need.  The centerpiece of this is the saving work of Jesus Christ.  God initiates a relationship with us by entering into our lives through the death and resurrection of Jesus. God offers this once and for all sacrifice in order to bring forgiveness and life to each one of us.  By the Holy Spirit, God enables us to trust in this work of Jesus for life, both now and forever.

With is strong foundation of the forgiving and life-giving work of Jesus, our Lord provides guidance and resources for growing into the people and communities of faith which God continues to work for in this world.  There are core resources which I believe we all must revisit in our lives. These are given so that we can cooperate with God’s work to build up our faith and life both individually and in our community of faith.  We get to revisit core teachings of our faith and calling.

God’s Calling for the Church –

Great Commission         Matthew 28:19-20

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.”

Greatest Commandment        Matthew 22:37-39

“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”

New Commandment             John 13:34-35

“34 I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

The Marks of Discipleship

Founded in what God’s Word teaches in Act 2:37-47

I will strive to…

*Pray daily

*Worship weekly

*Read the Bible daily

*Serve at and beyond Waldeck Lutheran Church – Martin Luther Lutheran Church

*Be in Relationship with others to encourage spiritual growth

*Give of my time, talents and resources in a generous manner and to the glory of God

Receptivity to the Holy Spirit – This opens us up to greater action and conviction of our faith.  As we pray for the Holy Spirit to stir in us and guide us, we will grow in faith and witness to faith.  This is lived out in both word and action.  Paul describes the witness of the church in this way. “9 For the people of those regions report about us what kind of welcome we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath that is coming.”

Fruit of the Spirit – “22 By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control.”

The Lord, the one who is continuously becoming and existing, has given us what we need – his Word and his Holy Spirit – and has given us the tools we need to grow – discipleship, calling, Holy Spirit – and has shown us what our lives get to show for his work in us.  For all this, we can be joyful and thankful for the inspiration and the provision of the Great I Am.

Let us pray – Almighty God, by your Spirit stir in us renewed joy in following the way of Jesus.  Enliven our study of your Word.  Guide us into the way of peace, reconciliation, hope, joy, and service.  We pray this in the Holy Name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

*Prayers of Intercession

Let us pray for the whole people of God in Christ Jesus, and for all people according to their needs.

A brief silence.

Lord God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we give you thanks for your provision of our daily needs.  Receive our prayers and praise. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for the leaders of our nation, the President, Congress, and the Courts.  Grant them wisdom in their service.  Provide safety and support for all who serve on our behalf in the military, including…     .  Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

By your compassion bring healing to the sick, comfort to the dying, and hope to those who struggle in any way, including…   and those we name aloud or in quiet prayer…   . Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We lift in pray all who mourn following the death of a friend or loved one.  (We especially remember…) Help each of us to be a source of comfort and care for those who struggle with grief.  Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

We give thanks for our life together as your faithful followers.  Stir us to strive for faithfulness in worship participation on a weekly basis.  Help us to love you with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.  Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Grant safety and relief to those affected by recent natural hurricanes.  Help us all work together to help those in need.  Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Into your hands, O Lord, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in your mercy, through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen

Lord’s Prayer

Waldeck Announcements

*Congregational Meeting was last week.  Thank you to everybody who made the point of attending the meeting. Thank you to all who were willing to be up for election as Church Council members.  Thank you to the church council for creative thinking during our difficult times, as we held worship and this meeting outside.

*Thanksgiving Eve Service.  Wednesday, November 25, at Waldeck. 7:00 p.m.

*Wednesday Advent Services. December 2, 9, and 16.  All services at Martin Luther Lutheran Church in Carmine, 211 Luther Lane.  No Meal, due to COVID19 safety measures.  Worship at 7:00 p.m. in the sanctuary.  Joint services with the four congregations of Crossroads Shared Lutheran Ministry.

*PORTALS OF PRAYER are available in the Annex. October – December 2020 edition.

*Daily Devotions by Pastor David Tinker.  These are sent by email to the Waldeck Church newsletter list.  If you would like these, but are not receiving the emails, send a message to pastordjt@gmail.com requesting these.

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