Devotion and Readings April 8

jesus-anointed-at-bethany

Bible Readings and Devotion for April 8, 2020

Here are the references for the readings.  Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:

Matthew 26:1-16

Luke 20:9-19

Psalm 90

Psalm 91

Habakkuk 1

Devotion for April 8, 2020

By Pastor David Tinker

Here in the midst of Holy Week (Palm Sunday through the Resurrection of our Lord/Easter) we are remembering various things that happened that week. Later this week we will focus on the Three Holy Days, the Holy Triduum, of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Great Vigil of Easter/Paschal Vigil.

Today we read from Matthew 26 about the small reaffirmation of Jesus’ Passion Prediction, and we also hear the account of the Anointing at Bethany.  Each of these events points to the central action of Jesus for the world, for us.  These point to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sin.

First, verse 2, Jesus notes, “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.”  This statement is a small version of the three major statements our Lord makes earlier in the book.  These statements, known as “Passion Predictions” are in these three passages:

Matthew 16:21

Matthew 17:22-23

Matthew 20:17-20

The term “passion” in this context means, “to suffer.” The term comes to modern English from Latin (“pati,” meaning “to suffer”), into late Latin, into Old French, and into Middle English.  So, the “pati” becomes for us, “passion”.  These are predictions of his suffering for us. It is important to note that in each of these three main Passion Predictions, Jesus notes his suffering, death, and very importantly, his rising from the dead. His followers didn’t like this idea that he would die.  They missed that he would also be raised from the dead.

The other scene we have from Matthew 26 is the Anointing at Bethany.  The woman uses a costly ointment to show her loving respect for Jesus.  Jesus notes the following about what she is doing, “By pouring this ointment on my body she has prepared me for burial.”  The action points to what is about to happen to Jesus.  He is going to die for us on the cross.  Just as with the Passion Predictions, Jesus knows what his future holds for him. Our Lord is all about fulfilling his purpose for walking the earth.  Everything he has done is leading up to this.

The scriptures all lead up to Jesus.  The ministry of Jesus leads up to the cross of Jesus.  The resurrection of Jesus is even more significant because it follows Jesus’ death on the cross. As we remember Jesus in the Holy Communion we look back to the death of Jesus on the cross.  Paul teaches us in 1 Corinthians 11:26, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”  In our lives and in the church we point to Jesus’ death on the cross as we use the symbol of the Cross for our Christian faith.  Our lives are founded in the cross, and our lives have meaning because of the crucifixion of Jesus.

 

A note of interest: This passage also includes one of my favorite statements in scripture.  Jesus so appreciates this caring action by this woman that he tells his listeners to remember this incident.  He says, “Truly I tell you, wherever this good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.”  They did remember this, and it has been told to the world for the past 2000 years.  This same thing will be told for the foreseeable future.  It was a bit like a lecture when the teacher notes, “Write this down,” and then gives the listeners what to write.

 

Prayer

Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit: our life begins and ends in you.  Help us to see the central placed which the death of Jesus holds in our lives.  Guide us to live to the praise of your glory which is shown in the crucifixion.  We pray this in Jesus’ holy name. Amen.

 

Devotion and Readings April 7

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Bible Readings and Devotion for April 7, 2020

Here are the references for the readings.  Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:

 

Matthew 25:1-13

John 12:42-50

Psalm 89

Lamentations 5

 

 

 

Devotion for April 7, 2020

By Pastor David Tinker

Sadly, I have observed of a wide variety of approaches to telling and teaching God’s Word.  Most are kind and reasonable and uplifting.  A few I have encountered have seemed to delight in seeing other people suffer under judgment.  A very few have event laughed in delight that they understand that a certain person or group of persons, other than themselves, are all “going to hell.”

I do not see anything in God’s Word that delights in the death of sinners.  And yes, I have read all of the Bible more than once.  With all things of Biblical interpretation, we need to see what Jesus and the Apostles teach about this.  In today’s reading from John chapter 12 we have Jesus speaking in Holy Week.  This is right before the scene of the Last Supper and the washing of the disciples’ feet by Jesus.  Our Lord notes the following as part of this speech, verse 47: “I do not judge anyone who hears my words and does not keep them, for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.” He does not affirm disregard of God’s Word.  Rather, he announces that he has come to bring forgive and to bring life to sinful humanity.  Even when we disregard his Word, the Lord still seeks to bring us back to connection with him.

The idea that Jesus came to bring life and forgiveness and love to sinners is shown over and over in God’s Word.  Here are some examples of Jesus’ message on this from John’s Gospel, the same one from which our reading came from for today.

 

“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” John 10:10b

 

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.  Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”  John 3:16-17

 

In speaking to the woman caught in adultery, ““Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and from now on do not sin again.”  John 8:11b

 

When the Apostle and Evangelist John tells the purpose of his Gospel Book he notes, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.”  John 20:30-31

 

In the writings of St. Paul we read the following from 1 Timothy 2:3-4: “This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

 

In today’s reading from Lamentations chapter 5 we have the following:  Lamentations 5:21-22  “Restore us to yourself, O Lord, that we may be restored; renew our days as of old—unless you have utterly rejected us, and are angry with us beyond measure.”  This is a pondering request for mercy from God.

The entire book of Lamentations is a sad poem of regret for the destruction of Jerusalem.  The prophet Jeremiah is pleading with the LORD asking that those who have sinned and lost so much might be restored to fellowship with the LORD.  In a powerful way, this closing statement points to the mercy and loving action of Jesus Christ as noted earlier in today’s devotion.  It is a statement about God’s overarching will that we humans be restored to our connection with our creator.  There is no delight by God in the condemnation of sinners.  With God’s Holy Spirit in our lives, may we also delight whenever even one sinner is restored to the Lord.

Prayer

Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit: we thank you for your mercy for each one of us.  Stir us to love our neighbors who do not yet understand what you have done for humanity.  Enliven our faith, and help us to rejoice in the life you bring. We pray this in Jesus’ holy name.  Amen.

 

Devotion and Readings April 6

Jerusalem Temple model

Photo of model of Jerusalem Temple in the time of Jesus: By Berthold Werner – Own work, Public Domain

Bible Readings and Devotion for April 6, 2020

Here are the references for the readings.  Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:

 

Matthew 21:18-22

John 12:37-41

Psalm 86

Psalm 87

Psalm 88

Lamentations 4

 

Devotion for April 6, 2020

By Pastor David Tinker

 

In today’s reading from Psalm 87 we hear about the delight of the Lord for Zion.  This is Jerusalem.  In this, the psalmist is also delighting personally in the Holy City.  Jerusalem was the hub, the centerpiece, the prime location, for life, government, identity, and faith for the people of Israel, and eventually the Jews.  During the time of the Kings of Israel and Judah the Temple was in the city.  When it was rebuilt after the exile in Babylon (500s BC), and up to the time of Jesus (~AD 30), there was a temple in the city.  It was destroyed by the Romans in AD 70.

The Temple was the main place of worship for the Israelites and Jews.  It was the place where the LORD dwelt among the people.  It was the place where the appointed sacrifices for the people were made.  The priests of the Temple helped the people make connection with the LORD their God. The priests, Levites, and the people observed the Law in their actions at the Temple.  The people delighted in their life with God at the Temple.

All of these things change when Jesus does his greatest work for us on the cross.  When Jesus suffers and dies for us, he replaces the three things of the Temple.  He also gives us a new perspective on the Old Testament Law.  Let’s look at these four points:

1) Jesus becomes the once and for all sacrifice. Hebrews 10:1-13

2) Jesus lives his role as the Great High Priest. Hebrews 4:14-16

3) Jesus becomes the Temple, the place where God and humanity meet.

We read in John 1:51, which reads, “51 And (Jesus) said to him, “Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.””  This passage is about the connection between the Temple and the “stairway to heaven” as noted in Genesis 28:10-12 where we read, “10 Jacob left Beer-sheba and went toward Haran. 11 He came to a certain place and stayed there for the night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place. 12 And he dreamed that there was a ladder set up on the earth, the top of it reaching to heaven; and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.”  There was a tradition noting that the stone Jacob used as a pillow eventually became part of the foundation of the Temple in Jerusalem.  The place where the “angels of God were ascending and descending” was now the Temple.  When Jesus says that he, the Son of Man, is where we see the “angels of God ascending and descending,” he is saying that he is the new Temple.  Jesus replaces the Temple.  Jesus becomes the place where, and person in whom, God and humanity interact.

 

4) The work of Jesus Christ also deals with the Old Testament Law.

The Old Testament Law, in itself, had been a temporary measure until the gift of faith in Jesus could be brought to the world.  St. Paul writes about this in Galatians 3:24-26; “24 Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.”  The “disciplinarian” as noted in this passage is a sort of nanny or guardian escort for a child.  It is as if the Law were a not quite as good as the parent itself.  The gift of faith in Jesus is what God wanted for his people all along.  It was at the fullness of time that Jesus Christ, God the Son, was sent into the world for us.  We now have him, and we deal with the law through our relationship with Jesus.  We focus on what he has done, what he teaches, and his commandments:  love God, love neighbor, love one another, tell others about Jesus.

 

With all this we get to delight in the new Zion. For those who have faith in Jesus, Zion in our relationship with God in Christ.  Zion is where we worship God in “Spirit and in truth,” as Jesus teaches us in John 4:23-24, which reads, “(Jesus said, “23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.””

Here we are reminded that, by God’s abundant mercy and grace, we get to connect with God through our relationship with Jesus Christ.  This is brought to us and expressed through many means.  Our relationship with Jesus is received and lived out through:  God’s Word, the Holy Spirit, contemplation of Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross, Holy Baptism, Holy Communion, prayer, devotion and learning, our worship gatherings, service to others, fellowship with Christians, etc.  Each of these connects us to Jesus.  Jesus is our connection with God.  Therefore, we delight in Jesus Christ – the one who was crucified and died for us, and who was raised from the dead – for Jesus is our Zion, our place where God meets us.

Prayer

Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit: we give you thanks for seeking us out and giving us a connection with you in Jesus.  Help us during this Holy Week to contemplate the beautiful truth that Jesus has died for us for the forgiveness of our sin. We pray this in Jesus’ holy name.  Amen.

 

Palm Sunday April 5, 2020

Palm Sunday 2015 Lined Up 3

Palm Sunday Bulletin and Devotion

 

Readings, Devotion, Prayers and Announcements for Palm Sunday, April 5, 2020, for both MLLC and Waldeck Evangelical Lutheran Church

As we are not able to meet due as usual to health and safety concerns, yet we are still finding ways to share and celebrate our faith together.

Below are the readings, prayers, and various announcements for this Sunday and this week.  The Sunday devotion is at the end of the page.

 

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.

 

PROCESSIONAL Gospel: Matthew 21:1-11

P:  The holy gospel according to St. Matthew, the 21st chapter.  Glory to you, O Lord.

Fulfilling the prophecy from Zechariah, Jesus enters the city of Jerusalem, humble and riding on a donkey.  The people announce him as the king, but his kingdom will be a different one than most expected.

And now the reading.

1When they had come near Jerusalem and had reached Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, 2saying to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to me. 3If anyone says anything to you, just say this, ‘The Lord needs them.’ And he will send them immediately.” 4This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying,
5“Tell the daughter of Zion,
Look, your king is coming to you,
humble, and mounted on a donkey,
and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”
6The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; 7they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaks on them, and he sat on them. 8A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
10When he entered Jerusalem, the whole city was in turmoil, asking, “Who is this?” 11The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee.”

The gospel of the Lord.   Praise to you, O Christ.

 

First Reading: Isaiah 50:4-9a

A reading from Isaiah.

The servant of the Lord expresses absolute confidence in his final vindication, despite the fact that he has been struck and spit upon. This characteristic of the servant played an important role in the early church’s understanding of the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

4The Lord God has given me
the tongue of a teacher,
that I may know how to sustain
the weary with a word.
Morning by morning he wakens—
wakens my ear
to listen as those who are taught.
5The Lord God has opened my ear,
and I was not rebellious,
I did not turn backward.
6I gave my back to those who struck me,
and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard;
I did not hide my face
from insult and spitting.

7The Lord God helps me;
therefore I have not been disgraced;
therefore I have set my face like flint,
and I know that I shall not be put to shame;
8he who vindicates me is near.
Who will contend with me?
Let us stand up together.
Who are my adversaries?
Let them confront me.
9aIt is the Lord God who helps me;
who will declare me guilty?

The word of the Lord.  Thanks be to God.

 

Psalm: Psalm 31:9-16

9Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I | am in trouble;
my eye is consumed with sorrow, and also my throat | and my belly.
10For my life is wasted with grief, and my | years with sighing;
my strength fails me because of affliction, and my bones | are consumed.
11I am the scorn of all my enemies, a disgrace to my neighbors, a dismay to | my acquaintances;
when they see me in the street | they avoid me.
12Like the dead I am forgotten, | out of mind;
I am as useless as a | broken pot. R
13For I have heard the whispering of the crowd; fear is | all around;
they put their heads together against me; they plot to | take my life.
14But as for me, I have trusted in | you, O Lord.
I have said, “You | are my God.
15My times are | in your hand;
rescue me from the hand of my enemies, and from those who | persecute me.
16Let your face shine up- | on your servant;
save me in your | steadfast love.” R

 

Second Reading: Philippians 2:5-11

A reading from Philippians.

Paul uses an early Christian hymn to help us comprehend Jesus’ obedient selflessness on the cross and how God has made Christ lord over all reality. The perspective of the cross becomes the way we rightly understand God, Christ, our own lives, and fellowship within the community of Christ.

5Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,
6who, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
as something to be exploited,
7but emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
being born in human likeness.
And being found in human form,
8he humbled himself
and became obedient to the point of death—
even death on a cross.

9Therefore God also highly exalted him
and gave him the name
that is above every name,
10so that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11and every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

The word of the Lord.  Thanks be to God.

 

Gospel: Matthew 27:11-54

The holy gospel according to Matthew.  Glory to you, O Lord.

 In fulfillment of scripture and obedience to God’s will, Jesus goes to the cross so that a new covenant in his blood may bring forgiveness of sins. Even the soldiers who crucify him recognize him to be the Son of God.

11Now Jesus stood before the governor; and the governor asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You say so.” 12But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he did not answer. 13Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many accusations they make against you?” 14But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.

15Now at the festival the governor was accustomed to release a prisoner for the crowd, anyone whom they wanted. 16At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Jesus Barabbas. 17So after they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you, Jesus Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” 18For he realized that it was out of jealousy that they had handed him over. 19While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that innocent man, for today I have suffered a great deal because of a dream about him.” 20Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus killed. 21The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.” 22Pilate said to them, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” All of them said, “Let him be crucified!” 23Then he asked, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!”

24So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.” 25Then the people as a whole answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” 26So he released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.

27Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole cohort around him. 28They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on his head. They put a reed in his right hand and knelt before him and mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. 31After mocking him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

32As they went out, they came upon a man from Cyrene named Simon; they compelled this man to carry his cross. 33And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), 34they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall; but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. 35And when they had crucified him, they divided his clothes among themselves by casting lots; 36then they sat down there and kept watch over him. 37Over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.”
38Then two bandits were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads 40and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” 41In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking him, saying, 42“He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. 43He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he wants to; for he said, ‘I am God’s Son.’ ” 44The bandits who were crucified with him also taunted him in the same way.

45From noon on, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 46And about three o’clock Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 47When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “This man is calling for Elijah.” 48At once one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink. 49But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” 50Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed his last. 51At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. 53After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many. 54Now when the centurion and those with him, who were keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were terrified and said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!”

The gospel of the Lord.  Praise to you, O Christ.

 

*Prayers of Intercession

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

A brief silence.

Almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we praise you for you are the one true God.  During this Holy Week help us to be drawn into your holy presence.  We ask that you stir in each of us a renewed passion for worshiping you with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength.  Hear us, O God.  Your mercy is great.

We give thanks for the faithful service of all county officials.  We pray that those who serve will work for the common good.  Hear us, O God.  Your mercy is great.

We pray for all who suffer in mind, body or spirit, and for those facing difficult decisions, especially… and also those whom we now name aloud or in quiet prayer…

Bring comfort and healing, strength and hope, and faithful discernment to all for whom we pray.  Hear us, O God.  Your mercy is great.

Other petitions may be added here.

We entrust to you all who have entered the Church Triumphant, especially…  Help us to care for those who are bereaved.  Hear us, O God.  Your mercy is great.

We pray that the Holy Spirit would draw all people to you.  We especially pray for the family and friends of this congregation who have drifted from the church.  Help them to feel welcome in this community of faith.  Hear us, O God.  Your mercy is great.

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

 

 

 

Announcements and Prayer Request list for Waldeck Evangelical Lutheran Church of Ledbetter

Health and Well-being Prayer List:  Phillip Procell, Brian Shaffer, Sandra Gest, James Smith, Barbara Spence, April Weyand, Fritz Schoenst, Alicia McQuaig, Diana Garik Poentisch, Sally Beettner, Carrie Oltmann, Robin Hardin, Beverly Drescher

HOLY WEEK schedule:

We will be offering a streaming video for each of the three Holy Week Services.   The Time of each it to be determined.  We will post the times on this web site and Facebook.

Maundy Thursday – April 9

Good Friday – April 10

The Great Vigil of Easter – April 11

We will also offer an Easter Sunday service on streaming video at 10:00 a.m. on April 12

 

 

 

Announcements and Prayer Request list for Martin Luther Lutheran Church of Carmine

REMEMBER IN PRAYER: Ruby Ivey (Nikki Pohl’s mother, health concerns); Ricky Eckert (brother of Ronnie Eckert, health concerns); Jeannie Johnson (grandmother of Matthew & Nick Colpetzer, Joshua Aranzolo, and Emily Ortiz, chronic pain); J. C. Pohl (health concerns); Kalisa Pomykal (Paula Barrick’s sister, medical concerns); Jacquelyn Mercado (JoLynn Schoenbeg’s daughter, severe broken wrist); Kenny Lorenz (former member Robert Hinze’s relative, serious burns); Nancy Pietsch (former RT-C teacher, health concerns); Johnny Dunham (health concerns); LaVerne Krumrey (friend from Brenham, cancer); Joyce Kelley (friend, health concerns); Jack Walsh (friend of Wade Eilers, recurring melanoma); Bill Clarke (friend of Daryl & Susan Ray, stage 4 cancer); Robert Vaughn (at Texas Neurology, thankful for extended stay for rehab); Carrie Bozarth (friend of Sedalia Ullrich, cancer); Edna Mae Krivacka (friend of Ed and Carol, back home, health concerns)

 

Sympathy to the families of Elisabeth McDaniel (mother of R.W. Crawford, friend of Alvis Mueller); Eugene Muehlbrad; The Rev. August M. Hannemann (former MLLC pastor); Genie Fuhrman (Ruby Renck’s niece); Edna Krause (mother of former organist Susan Michael); Charles Rudy Weigelt (brother-in-law of Kay Schmidt, JoLynn Schoenberg, and Darrel & Vickie Neutzler); Ricky Ebner (friend from Ledbetter)

 

The Ongoing Prayer Concerns may be found in the monthly newsletter.

 

 

THIS WEEK at MLLC

Today              5:00 pm-AA Meeting (subject to change)

Tuesday          5:30 pm-Yoga class

April 12           5:00 pm-AA Meeting (subject to change)

HOLY WEEK schedule:

We will be offering a streaming video for each of the three Holy Week Services.   The Time of each it to be determined.  We will post the times on this web site and Facebook.

Maundy Thursday – April 9

Good Friday – April 10

The Great Vigil of Easter – April 11

We will also offer an Easter Sunday service on streaming video at 10:00 a.m. on April 12

 

MESSAGE FROM PASTOR TINKER

Based on discussions with our church council and the church council of our partner church, we will be continuing the suspension of any in person worship services and activities.  We will begin internet streaming a Sunday devotional/service at 10:00 a.m. each Sunday. All of this is done out of love for one another and for our neighbors.  There are more and more reports of people and churches pushing the borders of the health guidelines, and then people getting sick or spreading COVID19 illness to others.  Our biggest concern is for those in the 60+ generation of the congregation, for those are the most vulnerable to the intense and deadly symptoms of this virus.

We will make it through this difficult time.  The next few weeks will be especially important as we work together in our community and nation. Let’s work together to love God, to love neighbor, to love one another, and to push back against the spread of this illness.

 

 

LUTHERAN WORLD RELIEF SHIPMENT has been postponed until November.  It will not be taken on April 13.  Packing on April 8 has also been postponed.

 

DATE CHANGE FOR CONFIRMATION The new date is Sunday, May 17.  This has been changed since the MS150 Bike Ride was to come through Carmine on May 3, but has now been cancelled.

 

2020 FLOWER CHART:  Three dates are open on the flower chart.  They are September 20 and November 1 & 22.

 

SPECIAL LENTEN ENVELOPES this year are designated for Lutheran Disaster Response of the ELCA.  You may send contributions in the mail, or bring it by the office, with the check made out to MLLC and in the memo line, put Lutheran Disaster Response.  You may also go to the website to donate.

mlllccarmine/online-giving/

disaster relief-lutherandisasterresponse

 

VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL will be at MLLC June 14-18, 2020 with the theme Rocky Railway.  See the codes on p. 2 of the March newsletter to register your child and volunteer.  There is a possibility that we will shift this to a later date in the summer due to the COVID19 health concerns.  We will announce this as soon as possible.

Registration is also available at the church web site:  https://mllccarmine.com/vacation-bible-school-2020/

 

VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL at Bethlehem Lutheran in Round Top will be June 1-4 from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. with the theme “Anchored.”  There are registration forms in the narthex and church office.

 

CHURCH COUNCIL MEMBER A person is needed to serve as chairperson of the Outreach/Care Committee.  Please consider serving in this role.

Devotion

David J. Tinker

Martin Luther Lutheran Church – Carmine

Waldeck Evangelical Lutheran Church

“A Different Victory”

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

We most often see this at the time of war.  We see soldiers line up and march in parades.  Military bands and Color Guards lead these parades.  It is a wonderful and inspiring scene, and we are drawn to the excitement of the moment.

In today’s Gospel from Matthew chapter 21 we see a military parade of sorts.  In this account we see Jesus on the donkey, and we read the following:  “A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.  The crowds that went ahead of him and that followed were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David!  Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!  Hosanna in the highest heaven!””

This is clearly a fulfillment of a prophecy from Zechariah chapter 9, verse 9, which references the king riding on a donkey.  Another aspect of this is more surprising to us.  The palm branch parade is from the Apocrypha. The Apocrypha is that collection of Jewish writings, written in Greek, which come from the 200 or so years before the birth of Jesus.  There are two events noted in two different books of the Apocrypha which help us understand what is going on in this scene.  In one passage, 1 Maccabees 13:51-52 we read that the Jews had defeated the Greek Empire which was occupying Jerusalem.  For the years to come they celebrated their victory with an annual Palm Branch parade.  Some time later, in 2 Maccabees 10, we read of the rededication of the Temple at Jerusalem.  At that time, they instituted another parade with Palm Branches.  In each of these examples from the 100’s BC we see that many of the Jews were regularly celebrating these past victories over oppressors.  Jump ahead about 200 years.  With the Roman Occupation of the Holy Land, many Jews were looking forward to the overthrow of the Romans.  With Jesus entering the city as a Messiah King and being hailed with Palm Branches, many likely thought he was coming to defeat the power of Rome.

Little did they know that Jesus came to defeat a much greater power.  Jesus Christ came to defeat the final and horrendous power of sin, the devil, death, and evil.  These oppress all people in all places, not just the Jews.  We are reminded in John’s Gospel that God dearly loves all the people of the world and that he came to save us all.  Jesus came to bring forgiveness of sin.  He came to die the death which each person faces, so that, by faith, we would know life beyond that death.  Out of his great power and love Jesus offered a different victory.  His victory was that he was raised to life, never to die again.  His rising to life defeated the final enemy, death itself, and he leads us to follow in his way. With Jesus’ resurrection, the finality of death is ended.  Jesus has defeated the greatest oppressor.

We continue to look to Jesus to save us.  We even commemorate that original Palm Sunday Parade in worship.  Each week as we have the Holy Communion we sing or say this line, which is from the original Palm Sunday accounts: “Hosanna in the highest.  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.”  When we say or sing “Hosanna” we are praying that God will save us.

Each and every time we say or sing that we are joining in the eternal parade of people who know that Jesus is the one who has saved us and will save us.  As we receive the bread and the wine of the Holy Communion we are saying in our faith, “Hosanna, Lord Jesus save us”.  St. Paul notes this in First Corinthians, chapter 11, verse 26, when he writes, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”  The death of Jesus is for the forgiveness of our sin. It is for the saving of our life for eternity with the Lord.  When we receive the Lord’s Supper we are expressing our faith in what God has done and is doing for us.  The communion meal reminds us of the different victory which Jesus accomplishes for us.  It points to his death on the cross and his rising from the dead.  As we have faith in Christ and his rising from the dead it changes how we approach life.

On this Palm Sunday, we celebrate a different victory.  We can say with sure and certain hope that, by faith, we have been saved from the final power of sin, death, evil and the devil.  As we shout Hosanna, we know this is true for us always.

Let us pray – Great and Loving God, you have given yourself for our sake and you call us to follow you.  Guide us into all truth, and lead us into the new life we get to have in Jesus Christ our Lord.  We pray this in his most holy name.  Amen

 

Devotion and Readings April 4

'The_Raising_of_Lazarus',_tempera_and_gold_on_panel_by_Duccio_di_Buoninsegna,_1310–11,_Kimbell_Art_Museum

 

Bible Readings and Devotion for April 4, 2020

 

Here are the references for the readings.  Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:

 

John 11:1 – 12:11

Psalm 81

Psalm 83

Lamentations 2

 

Devotion for April 4, 2020

By Pastor David Tinker

 

Football is a surprising game. It may, at first, seem like a bunch of players smashing into each other, along with some who throw or kick the ball around.  In reality, a very technical, precise and well-planned game.  The players and coaches work together to create a plan of various plays and movements.  The work out scenarios of what to do in various circumstances in various games.

One of the things which is quite common is to study to understand the opposing teams.  The team will watch videos of how the opposition plays in certain circumstances.  This makes it possible to prepare specific plays and defensive actions which will effectively counter the plays of the opposition.  In essence, they know what they are getting themselves into in the next game.

In our reading today from John 11 and 12, we are shown that our Lord Jesus knows what he is getting himself into.  As he heads toward Jerusalem, and eventually his death on the cross, he does a few things which point this out to us.

1) He brings Lazarus back to life – and points us toward his own rising from the dead.

2) He teaches us that that we can join him in this rising from our own deaths.  Thus, he knows there will be people who follow him throughout time.

3) He teaches that the anointing by Mary, the sister or Martha and Lazarus, is done to prepare his body for burial, but he is not yet dead.

Jesus makes these announcements that he knows what is going to happen to him. He faces great opposition, and he deals with it at every turn.  Even when he is arrested and put on trial, he is still living out God’s will for the situation.  He may be in custody of the powerful Roman Empire, but Jesus is in this situation willingly, and for the sake of the world.  In this we learn more about Jesus and what he has done for us.  All of this is leading to the cross, and from that cross and Jesus’ rising from the dead, we are granted life with the Lord.

As you prepare for the celebrations of Holy Week, always remember that it leads us to the cross.  Then what we do leads us from the cross to life everlasting.

 

Prayer

Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit:  we give thanks that Jesus went to the cross willingly for our sake.  Help us to have faith in what he has done for us. We pray this in Jesus’ holy name.  Amen.

Devotion and Readings April 3

jesus-christ-crucifixion-395

Bible Readings and Devotion for April 3, 2020

 

Here are the references for the readings.  Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:

 

Matthew 23:23-39

1 Corinthians 9:19-27

Psalms 78:41-73, 80

Lamentations 1

 

Devotion for April 3, 2020

By Pastor David Tinker

 

I ran cross country in high school.  We often had well over 100 runners in a race of three miles. I was not a star runner, nor did I ever win a race.  Typically, I ended up somewhere in the broad middle of the pack of runners.  Only one person would win, and only 10 would be given a numbered place among the many who ran.  Even so, I did my best in the race, and I always finished my run.  Some would quit if they saw that they would not even be in the top half of runners.  I always felt that if I were to start the race, then I would do my best and finish it.  (Never did I experience an injury, for that would have altered my plan.)

In the reading from 1 Corinthians 9:24-25, Paul writes, “24 Do you not know that in a race the runners all compete, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win it. 25 Athletes exercise self-control in all things; they do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable one.”

In life we are living our faith for the long haul.  What we do in response to Jesus is not just for the moment nor the hour nor the day nor the week.  What we do as followers of Jesus is both one day at a time and for a lifelong reality.

The COVID19 pandemic colors everything we do in life right now. For the benefit of all we have made all sorts of changes.  We rarely, if ever, leave our homes.  Worship and learning are happening in very different ways than we have done any time in our lives.  People are practicing “social distancing,” and sometimes not even looking each other in the eye.

These changes are not forever, but these are going to last longer than any of us would like them to last.  That is where Paul’s encouragement in our reading comes into play.  As our faith is a long-term reality, so is our perspective on the current pandemic crisis.  There will be an end to this at some point.  Life will be both different and the same.  We don’t know all that will be in either category.

In our faith lives we look forward to a time when we will safely gather for worship, Word, and Sacrament.  We long for our times of fellowship and learning.  We joyfully anticipate our opportunities for serving our neighbors face to face.  These are faithful expressions of our faith in Jesus Christ.

Throughout the days, weeks, months, and years ahead as we deal with these changes, there is always something, rather, someone, who never changes.  By faith and God’s Word we know that, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) Yesterday, before there was ever the COVID19 disease in our lives, Jesus was there to guide us, to forgive us our sins, to comfort us, to encourage us, and to give us hope.  Today, as we huddle in our homes, avoid others, wash our hands over and over, and practice social distancing, Jesus is here to guide us, to forgive us our sins, to comfort us, to encourage us, and to give us hope.  As we move into the future, some of which is very unclear, rest assured that Jesus will be there to guide us, to forgive us our sins, to comfort us, to encourage us, and to give us hope.

Because Jesus is always there, we are given strength and encouragement to stay the course of our calling to be his followers. We know what Jesus has done for us through his suffering at human hands, his death on the cross, and resurrection from the dead.  We know that our Lord is with us through this journey of life, every step of the race.  We know that, by God’s abundant grace, we will be with Jesus face to face forever.  Together, may we all continue our race to the end, relying on God’s goodness, and doing our best to love God, love our neighbors, love one another, and to tell the world of his merciful goodness.

Here is a video of a song by one of my favorite singer/songwriters, Leslie Phillips.  It is called “You’re the Same”.  Click this link to watch a video which plays this song.

 

 

Prayer

Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit:  you lead the way in the race set before us.  Guide us through the trials and struggles of this time, and give us hope for our life together in the months to come.  We pray this in Jesus’ holy name.  Amen.

 

Devotion and Readings April 2

jonah under plant

Bible Readings and Devotion for April 2, 2020

 

Here are the references for the readings.  Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:

 

Matthew 23:1-22

1 Corinthians 9:1-18

Psalm 78:1-40

Jonah 4

 

Devotion for April 2, 2020

By Pastor David Tinker

 

The Book of Jonah is a very special book in my faith life and my study of God’s Holy Word.  See my notes on this in the devotion from March 31.  Jonah’s book gets us thinking about our own faith and our own sinful ways.  It even has a mildly humorous approach to these issues.

In Jonah chapter 4 we have the last section of the story of Jonah’s ministry.  It presents to us Jonah’s reaction to the repentance of the people of Nineveh as shown in chapter 3.  He is not happy about this situation.  We read, “1 But this was very displeasing to Jonah, and he became angry. 2 He prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord! Is not this what I said while I was still in my own country? That is why I fled to Tarshish at the beginning; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and ready to relent from punishing. 3 And now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.””

The Parable of the Fig Tree in Luke 13:6-9 can help us inform our understanding of this situation fig tree.  Here is how it reads:  “6 Then (Jesus) told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and found none. 7 So he said to the gardener, ‘See here! For three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and still I find none. Cut it down! Why should it be wasting the soil?’ 8 He replied, ‘Sir, let it alone for one more year, until I dig around it and put manure on it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.'”

Often people have interpreted this parable as God being the one who tells the gardener to cut the tree down.  Could it be that God is the gardener who asks the landowner to have some patience?  Maybe this is really about human impatience with one another.  Maybe it is also about our impatience with God’s judgment.  Maybe God is the one who seeks to give us a second chance again and again.  We saw this in yesterday’s devotion.

The story of the prophet Jonah deals with this reality.  Jonah is sent to the Assyrian capital Nineveh.  God tells him to announce God’s impending judgment on the people of the city:  “40 days more and Nineveh will be overthrown.”  Jonah tells the people, and then goes outside the city to wait for the destruction.  Well, God’s Word did what it was supposed to do. The people turned from sin and toward faith in God.  They repented.  Jonah was furious.  He was so angry that he would die from that anger.  Jonah, like most of humanity, was angry that God was patient, and Jonah was impatient with God for not bringing judgment already.

Our human reality is that we are all too often cruel, impatient, hateful and quick to pass eternal judgment.  Sadly, there are three things wrong with our propensity to pass judgment.

1)  We don’t have the right to pass eternal judgment on others;

2) We pass judgment too quickly;

and 3) We deserve the same judgment we cast on others.

 

We are reminded in God’s Word that we are all sinners, and that the judgment on us is death and separation from God.  We have been impatient with God and with our neighbor.  We have wanted so much for ourselves that we ignore others in need around us.  We have chosen the supposedly easy way due to our impatience with God’s better way.  Ultimately, human sin and God’s holiness are naturally incompatible.  It is only through God’s patience with us and his great love for us that we can be drawn back to God.  In being with God, we are transformed into a people who live out God’s better form of patience.

All of this patience of God is to call us to live God’s most excellent way.  We are forgiven and then Jesus calls us to turn away from the wrong and to turn toward the right way.  Our “repentance” is the result of the love and patience of our God for us.  Remember what St. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 13:4a, “Love is patient; love is kind…” Our amazing and wonderful God eagerly desires fellowship with us.  He is patient and he is kind.  Jesus is the personification of God’s love for humanity, and his entire work is for the purpose of bringing that love to us.  That love, patience and kindness lead us to repentance, to life with God.

Even though we are sometimes impatient with God at times, and we know that Jonah was impatient with God, it is very good that the Lord is immensely patient with us.  Today is the day to reconnect with God, for he is seeking connection with you each and every day.

Here is a link to a YouTube video of a song about God’s Kindness and Repentance.  It is one of my favorite songs.  “Your Kindness,” by Leslie Phillips.  Note that you may have to endure or skip past one or more ads in order to see the video and listen to the song.  It is worth your time.

Prayer

Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit:  thank you for your patience and kindness.  Help us by your Spirit to respond with repentance.  Grant us faith, hope and love for the sake of others in this world.  We pray this in Jesus’ Holy Name.  Amen.

April Newsletter Uploaded

Newsletter Image

 

Newsletter Page Updated

The monthly newsletters are archived on our web site.  The most recent edition of the newsletter (April 2020) has been posted there for your viewing.

This is an important edition as it notes major updates due to the COVID19 health crisis.  Please take time to read the newsletter.  This month includes numerous resources for connecting with our faith and with one another during this time.

Here is the link to the Newsletter Archive Page.

You will see newsletters going back several years on this page.  Feel free to read about past events, in addition to the April 2020 events.

Devotion and Readings April 1

Jonah_and_the_Whale_-_Google_Art_Project

 

Bible Readings and Devotion for April 1, 2020

 

Here are the references for the readings.  Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:

Matthew 24:36-51

1 Corinthians 8:1-13

Psalm 75

Psalm 76

Psalm 79

Psalm 82

Jonah 3

 

Devotion for April 1, 2020

By Pastor David Tinker

 

The Book of Jonah is a very special book in my faith life and my study of God’s Holy Word.  See my notes on this in yesterday’s devotion.  Today we read chapter 3 of this little book in the Old Testament.  It is one the 12 books of the Minor Prophets, or the Book of the Twelve.  These are simply shorter, prophetic books.  This is in contrast to the Major Prophets, which are a few longer books by prophets.  These include the large books Isaiah and Jeremiah.  The message of all of these books, both Minor and Major, are important, for these are messages from God himself.

Chapter 3 of Jonah is about God giving people a second chance.  It starts at about the mid-point of the book. The first half is about Jonah’s disobedience and God’s action to stop him with the storm and the giant fish.  The second half shows how Jonah is given a second chance to obey the Lord’s calling.  It begins with the statement, “1 The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, 2 “Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.””  This was the second calling of Jonah by God, and this time the prophet headed in the right direction.  In a very real sense, God reaches out to Jonah.  The prophet then responds with repentance. He stops doing the wrong, and gets back on track with the Lord.

The prophet who was given a second chance is sent to the great city of Nineveh to preach.  As with all prophetic messages in God’s Word, the Lord’s goal is to bring people back into relationship with the Lord.  It is to give people a second, 100th, 1 millionth, etc. chance.  We are reminded in Ezekiel 18:23 the following: “Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, says the Lord God, and not rather that they should turn from their ways and live?”  God’s goal in sending Jonah was not to destroy the city and its people.  Rather, it was to get their attention and to urge them to return to the Lord.  It was to give them a second chance with the Lord.

When given this chance, the people of Nineveh repent in mass numbers.  The king and all the people return to the Lord.  They show their repentance by putting on sackcloth and ashes.  This was a typical symbol of repentance, similar to the ashes on Ash Wednesday.  The Lord responds to this repentance as we see in John 3:10:  “10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.”

Our loving God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is one who offers second chances to each of us.  Any confrontation of sin in our lives is there to bring us back to God.  In the Lutheran Theological Tradition, we have the three uses of the Law of God.  The three uses of the Law are:

  1. Curb – Through fear of punishment, the Law keeps the sinful nature of both Christians and non-Christians under check. This does not stop sin, since the sin is already committed when the heart desires to do what is wrong, yet it does stop the open outbreak of sin that will do even further damage.
  2. Mirror – The Law serves as a perfect reflection of what God created the human heart and life to be. It shows anyone who compares his/her life to God’s requirement for perfection that he/she is sinful.  It drives us toward the Good News, the Gospel, of Jesus Christ.  This is where we are urged to be reconciled to the Lord through what Jesus has done for us in his death and resurrection.
  3. Guide – This use of the law that applies only to Christians. The law becomes the believer’s helper. Empowered by the gospel truth of forgiveness and righteousness in Christ, the believer’s new self eagerly desires to live to please the Lord.

All the work and teachings of God in Holy Scripture are there to help us connected with God and, ultimately, to follow in the way of Jesus Christ our Lord. We know that we are not always following his ways, for we are sinners.  More importantly, we know that we are loved by God and are invited to receive what he has done for us in Jesus. The Holy Spirit reminds us that when we have not done things in God’s way, we are given a chance to return to God and his way.  He did it for Jonah.  He does it for us.  He offers it to all in the world who will receive his love, forgiveness, and abundant life, both now and forever.

 

Prayer

Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit:  we give you thanks for you are the God who gives us second chances.  May your Holy Spirit lead us back to a relationship with you.  Turn us from our sin to live for you alone. We pray this in Jesus’ Holy Name.  Amen.