Ash Wednesday 2023

Ash_Wednesday with ashes

Lent Begins February 22, 2023

Ash Wednesday services will be at both MLLC and Waldeck Evangelical Lutheran Church.  You are invited to choose which one best suits your situation.  Both services will offer Holy Communion and the Imposition of Ashes as we begin our Lenten Season.

See the end of this article for more about the ashes of Ash Wednesday.

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The Ash Wednesday Services this year are as follows:

Worship at MLLC at 7:30 p.m.

Worship at Waldeck Lutheran Church at 5:45 p.m.

Waldeck Evangelical Lutheran Church is in a shared ministry with MLLC.  The Church is located at 6915 Waldeck Church Lane, Ledbetter, TX 78946 – this is about 6.5 miles south of Ledbetter at the corner of FM 2145 and FM 1291.  Click here for a map for the church in Waldeck.

The Exhortation on Ash Wednesday invites us into the season of Lent.  Here is that Exhortation as presented in Evangelical Lutheran Worship (ELW) – the book used at Martin Luther Lutheran Church:

Friends in Christ, today with the whole church we enter the time of remembering Jesus’ passover from death to life, and our life in Christ is renewed.

We begin this holy season by acknowledging our need for repentance and for God’s mercy. We are created to experience joy in communion with God, to love one another, and to live in harmony with creation. But our sinful rebellion separates us from God, our neighbors, and creation, so that we do not enjoy the life our creator intended.

As disciples of Jesus, we are called to a discipline that contends against evil and resists whatever leads us away from love of God and neighbor. I invite you, therefore, to the discipline of Lent—

self-examination and repentance, prayer and fasting, sacrificial giving and works of love—strengthened by the gifts of word and sacrament.

Let us continue our journey through these forty days to the great Three Days of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

We are very blessed by the opportunity to work side by side with the people of Waldeck  Evangelical Lutheran Church.  Together we are glorifying God, loving our neighbors and loving one another.

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From the Introduction to our Ash Wednesday Services

What is Ash Wednesday?

On Ash Wednesday, the community of faith comes face to face with two realities.  First, we confront our own mortality.  None of us lives in this life forever. Secondly, all of us are sinners and need to confess our sin to God.  These two themes (death and sin) are brought together in light of God’s redeeming love in Jesus Christ.  As the Apostle John says in 1 John 1:9b, “…(God) who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  The confession of sin on Sundays reminds us, “In the mercy of almighty God, Jesus Christ was given to die for us, and for his sake God forgives us all our sins.”  The Lutheran Book of Worship (1978) confession also included, “To those who believe in Jesus Christ he gives the power to become the children of God and bestows on them the Holy Spirit.”

 

What are the ashes for?

The “ashes” of Ash Wednesday are rooted in the ancient worship of both the Jewish and Christian communities.  They are a sign of mortality and penance.  Even though we have used the imposition of ashes in our Ash Wednesday worship for many years, they still may seem new or uncomfortable to some of us.  What we should remember about the ashes is they are a visible sign of our cleansing and rebirth, both a recognition of our daily dependence on God for life and a promise of eternal life through Jesus Christ.

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Should I receive the ashes?

The ashes are not compulsory by any means.  You may choose, if you wish, to remain in your seat during the imposition of ashes.  But remember that they are a powerful and visible way to participate in the call to repentance and reconciliation.  If you choose to participate, come forward at the appropriate time in the liturgy with others desiring the ashes.  The pastor will dip his thumb in the ashes and trace the sign of the cross on your forehead.  Afterwards, return to your seat and the liturgy will continue.

Ash Wednesday Questions adapted from the work of Pastor Thomas Weitzel.  He served at a neighboring church to Pastor David Tinker when they were both serving congregations in western Indiana.

Longest Night Service – December 22

 

2022 Longest Night Print Flyer

God’s Care for the Hard Times at Holidays

While taking part in our preparations for all the joyous special services and events of the Christmas season, our thoughts and prayers go out to those who struggle with grief, difficult feelings, and sad memories at this time of years.  The feelings these persons are experiencing is hard to bear at any time.  At Christmas, it is likely to be even more difficult.   These are normal feelings. Our friends at Shared Lutheran Ministry of Fayette County are offering a Longest Night Service.  This is an opportunity to connect with God and one another as we experience struggles and grief in this time.

 

Longest Night Service

Wednesday, December 21 at 6 p.m.

St. John Lutheran Church

5743 State Hwy 159 in Rutersville

This service is for all community members who struggle with the merriment of this season.  We hope this worship service will create a safe and sacred space for people who need to feel the presence of our God who is with us even in the darkest times and to remember the hope brought into the world through Jesus Christ.  For more information, please call Shared Ministry at 979-249-3155 or Phyllis Fritsch at 979-966-7154.

 

2022 Longest Night Flyer

 

 

 

 

Luther’s 95 Theses and the Reformation 2022

Wittenberg Door

Reformation Sunday is October 29-30, 2022

We will gather this weekend, October 29-30, for worship.  Saturday at 6 p.m. at the church and Sunday at 9:30 a.m. for our special service at Lutherhill camp near La Grange.  See this link for full details.

Our theme for the day will be Reformation Day.  We will remember and give thanks for the ministry of Martin Luther and the Reformers of the 1500s.  We choose this date because it is the final Sunday in October, and the Sunday in October closest to Reformation Day (October 31).  That is the date on which Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses on the castle church door in Wittenberg, in what is now Germany.

We have a permanent spot on our church web site which has a modern translation of Luther’s 95 Theses, as well we a brief explanation of the major themes.  You are invited to click on this link to view that page.  A printed version of this same information is available at the church in the Narthex/lobby.

Another part of our celebration of Reformation Sunday/Weekend is that we will display our Martin Luther Banner.  This will be on the banner stand, just to the left as you face the altar at MLLC.  It will be on view at the Lutherhill service as well. Here is a catalog image of that banner.

Martin Luther Banner

Worship and Fellowship on Labor Day Weekend 2022

people working

Sunday Schedule for September 4

Worship at 10:00 a.m.

Fellowship and Meal at ~11:10 a.m.

Worship on Sunday, September 4, will be in the Fellowship Hall at MLLC.  This is the older, white building on the north/US-290 side of the church campus.  On future weeks we will resume gathering for worship in the sanctuary – the brick building on the south side of the church campus.

See below for details about worship, food, dressing the part, etc.

The Saturday evening worship service will be in the sanctuary at 6 p.m. as usual.

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Note: We will resume our normal schedule on the weekend of September 10 and 11:

Saturday Worship at 6:00 p.m. in the Sanctuary

Sunday School at 9:00 a.m.

Sunday Worship at 10:00 a.m. in the Sanctuary

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A National Holiday

The beginning of September brings a Holy Day of sorts for all of us.  Labor Day is a civic holiday to celebrate at least two things: 1 – the opportunity for work; and 2 – the American Labor Movement.  As Lutheran Christians we go deeper with this and view all work as part of God’s calling and his provision of our daily bread.  All Christians are doing the work of God, regardless of where or what they do in their honorable vocation in life.

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Dressing the Part

To celebrate this blessing of vocation we will be taking the Sunday of Labor Day weekend to give thanks for the blessings of daily bread, of work, of school, of family, etc.  To enhance our time together you are invited to wear the clothes or uniform of your current, prior to retirement, or planned for vocation (such as students or children seeking to enter a certain career).  No matter what, know that we will be giving thanks for, and honoring, all that God has called each of us to do as part of his greater work in the world.  Know that who each of us is and what God has called and equipped each of us to do is important.  On Sunday, September 4, we will take time to give thanks for all which God calls and equips us to do.

Food and Fellowship

As part of this we will have a pot-luck lunch following worship.  The committee in charge of this event will provide barbecue pork and condiments, along with beverages.  You are invited to bring a side, salad or dessert to share.

Blessing of Backpacks 2022 + Lutherhill Sunday August 20-21

Lutherhill Sunday 2015 Students

Students and Pastor David Tinker at the blessing of backpacks some years ago.

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Lutherhill Sunday

and Blessings of Students and their Backpacks

By Pastor David Tinker

The weekend of August 20-21 offers a combined special event for our congregation.  We will offer our annual Lutherhill Sunday and our annual blessing of students and their backpacks.  Both will be offered at our regular Saturday 6 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. services.

Lutherhill Sunday

We will welcome our longtime friend, Matt Kindsvatter, Executive Director of Lutherhill Ministries.  For most the past decade he has joined us in August to share about Lutherhill and to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with us.  We are thankful for our partnership with this area ministry.  Our cooperative work with our Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) is a major part of our support and direction of this camping and retreat outdoor ministry.

Pictured is Matt Kindsvatter at a Lutherhill Sunday some years ago.

Lutherhill Sunday 2015 Matt

Lutherhill Staff to Lead Sunday School Class

There will also be a special Sunday school class led by some of our staff friends from Lutherhill.  Get your children, grandchildren, and younger friends together for a fun time of learning, prayer, and play.  Sunday school is offered at 9:00 a.m. each Sunday.

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Blessing of Backpacks

Blessing of Students and their Backpacks

At each of these services we will pray for students of all ages and situations.  It is not required that the students bring a backpack, but, if the student has one, he or she is encouraged to bring it.

This is an opportunity for students to be involved in their faith every day of the week.  We connect their school life with how these students grow and learn as an extension of their connection with Jesus.

We involve students of a wide variety of situations.  Over the years we have involved students in preschool through various types of graduate school.  We have involved students who are enrolled in public schools, private schools, and home school programs.  We have involved students who are quite young through those well into their adult years.  The important and joyful thing is that our students are present with us and God. We are also showing that we support them in their growing and learning.

New Bible Study Class

Bible with bookmark

New Bible Study Opportunity


No Experience Necessary

By Pastor David Tinker


You are invited to participate in a new Bible Study.  This will take place at Martin Luther Lutheran Church (MLLC), 211 Luther Ln, Carmine, TX 78932.

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It will run for six weeks in June and July. No experience necessary to participate. You are accepted where you are with what you know or don’t know. You are not expected to be an expert in the Bible.
You can simply come and listen, if that is what you are comfortable doing.

The class will be providing a broad view of the story of scripture. This time of learning will be
centered on two tools.
1 – The Holy Bible

2 – the Biblical Time-Line created by Pastor Harry Wendt of Crossways International.

This tool takes the whole of scripture and shows the connections between various

times, places, people, and books of the Bible.
You will get to see the whole sweep of
God’s Word and Work for the world.
You will eventually see how you are part of this
great work of God.  This photo shows both sides of the Crossways Bible Timeline. 

Each student will  receive a copy of this excellent resource.

timelineLarge

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There will also be the joy of fellowship with fellow learners.

Here are the dates, times, and location for the class.

Wednesdays, 7-8:15 p.m.

In the Parlor – area by church offices – at MLLC.

June 22, 29, July 6, 13, 20, and 27

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If you have a Bible, you are invited to bring it.
If you do not have a Bible, come
anyway.  We will have Bibles for your use.

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This class was offered about 8-10 years ago at MLLC.
It is also part of the Bible Year of our
Confirmation program. Previous participants are welcome to attend.
All are welcome.
Friends and neighbors and people from other congregations are welcome as well.

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Let me know if you are planning to attend.

Pastor David Tinker

pastordjt@gmail.com

office: 979-278-3388

Luther Rose Seal

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Understanding the Luther Rose Seal

At worship on Sunday, January 30, there was mention of the Luther Rose Seal. It is depicted in two, stained glass windows at MLLC. Check out this link to the special page about the Luther Rose.

This is an important symbol used in the Lutheran Church to express and teach our faith.

If you have been to the Martin Luther Lutheran Church building you will recognize the window depicted above.  It is the most visible of our wonderful stained glass windows at MLLC.

Devotion and Readings for February 1, 2, and 3, 2021

Presentation of our Lord

Bible Readings and Devotion for February 1, 2 and 3, 2021

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

February 1

Matthew 10:1-15

Hebrews 12:12-29

Psalm 78:41-72 and 80

Genesis 32

February 2

*Luke 2:22-40

Malachi 3:1-7

Psalms 24, 81, 84

Genesis 33

February 3

Matthew 10:16-26  

Malachi 3:8-15

Psalms 83, 85

Genesis 34

Devotion for February 1, 2, 3, 2021

By Pastor David Tinker

This article was originally published on the mllccarmine.com web site in 2014.  It has been adapted for the current context.

presentation-of-our-lord Icon

This date, February 2, is a very special celebration among Christians.  We celebrate what is called the feast of the Presentation of our Lord.  On February 2 each year the church celebrates the presentation of Jesus in the Temple at Jerusalem. Ancient Jewish law required that, following the birth of a firstborn male child, the mother must come to the temple after 40 days for purification and for presentation of the child to the Lord.  February 2 is the 40th day of Christmas.  Christmas Day being day 1; February 2nd being day 40.

The presentation of Mary’s child, however, was different from most. This was the Christ Child, Jesus, the Savior, the Messiah who had been promised. And he was recognized as such by the old prophet Simeon, who knew that this child was “a light for revelation to all nations.” Thus, the image of light carries an important part in this day’s liturgy and links itself with the Christmas season and its lights of the Advent wreath, the decorative tree lights, and the many candles of the Nativity celebration.

To mark this particular feast, the ancient tradition calls for 1) the blessing of candles and burning oils to be used during the year and 2) a procession “to meet the Lord,” just as Simeon and Anna went to the Temple and found the Christ there. The liturgy is called “Candlemas” (the Candle Mass).

Here is another special note about this day.  In the reading from Luke we have the Canticle of Simeon, often called the “Nunc Dimittis”.  This is Latin phrase which begins this Canticle of Simeon.  Many churches use this Canticle of Simeon during funerals.  Since my arrival as pastor at Martin Luther Lutheran Church in Carmine we have been using this statement as well.  Here is what we use in the funerals:

“Lord, now you let your servant go in peace:

your Word has been fulfilled.

My own eyes have seen the salvation

which you have prepared in the sight of every people:

a light to reveal you to the nations

and the glory of your people Israel.   (Luke 2:29-32)

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit,

As it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever.”

This Canticle of Simeon is used because of the context of its original use in Luke chapter 2.  Simeon was promised by God that he would not die until he had met the Lord’s Messiah.  He was likely a bit older, possibly around the age of Anna (noted in Luke 2:36-38). She was 84 years old.  Upon meeting the Messiah, Jesus, Simeon could rest in peace.  When a Christian, who is a person who has met the Messiah, has died, we remember his or her relationship with God and the fulfillment of God’s promises when we share this Canticle of Simeon.

Original Text by Pr. Thomas L. Weitzel, adapted and added to for use at MLLC and mllccarmine.com by Pr. David J. Tinker

Almighty and ever-living God, your only-begotten Son was presented this day in the temple. May we be presented to you with clean and pure hearts by the same Jesus Christ, our great high priest, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

Prayer from Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Copyright © 2021 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.

Devotion and Readings for January 28, 29, 30, and 31, 2021

footprints

Bible Readings and Devotion for January 24, 25, 26, 27, 2021

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

January 28

Matthew 9:9-13

Malachi 1:9-14

Psalms 71, 73

Genesis 28

January 29

Matthew 9:14-17

Malachi 2:1-9

Psalms 74-77

Genesis 29

January 30

Matthew 9:18-26

Malachi 2:10-17 

Genesis 30

Psalms 75, 76, 79, 82

January 31

Matthew 9:27-38

Hebrews 12:1-11*

Psalm 78:1-40

Genesis 31

Devotion for January 28, 29, 30, 31, 2021

By Pastor David Tinker

There is the famous poem often entitled, “Footprints in the Sand.” It has been shared numerous times in the past several decades.  Here is that poem:

“One night I had a dream…

I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord, and
Across the sky flashed scenes from my life. For each scene I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand; One belonged to me, and the other to the Lord. When the last scene of my life flashed before us, I looked back at the footprints in the sand. I noticed that many times along the path of my life, There was only one set of footprints.

I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest
and saddest times in my life
This really bothered me, and I questioned the Lord about it.
“Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
You would walk with me all the way;
But I have noticed that during the
most troublesome times in my life,
There is only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why in times when I
needed you the most, you should leave me.

The Lord replied, “My precious, precious
child. I love you, and I would never,
never leave you during your times of
trial and suffering.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.”

This is a wonderful poem, but it does not tell the whole story of the support we have in our faith.  Our reading today from Hebrews 12:1-3. We read, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Essentially, as we go through life’s ups and downs, we have two powerful faith resources.  We have Jesus, such as the poem asserts.  We also have what Hebrews refers to as the, “great cloud of witnesses.”  We have one another.  We have the broad support of Christians of every time and place who are with us in support and prayer.

Looking back at the Footprints poem. It could be that, instead of just 1 set or 2 sets of footprints, that we see a beach full of footprints during tough times.  We have many of the faithful who are with us when life gets tough.  Yes, we always have God.  We also get to have one another in the body of Christ.

When we are united to Jesus, we are never truly abandoned nor alone.  God is with us.  All those joined to Jesus are with us.

Prayer

Draw your church together, O God, into one great company of disciples, together following our teacher Jesus Christ into every walk of life, together serving in Christ’s mission to the world, and together witnessing to your love wherever you will send us; for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Prayer from Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Copyright © 2021 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.

Devotion and Readings for January 24, 25, 26, 27

MLLC Church Sketch drawing copy

Bible Readings and Devotion for January 24, 25, 26, 27, 2020

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

January 24

Matthew 8:5-13

Hebrews 10:1-10

Psalms 40, 61, 62, 65, 67

Genesis 24

January 25

Matthew 8:14-22

Hebrews 10:11-25*

Psalm 68

Genesis 25

January 26

Matthew 8:23-34

Hebrews 10:26-39

Psalm 69   

Genesis 26

January 27

Matthew 9:1-8   

Malachi 1:1-8

Psalm 66, 70, 72

Genesis 27

Devotion for January 24, 25, 26, 27, 2020

By Pastor David Tinker

Being a follower of Jesus is a team sport.  We do life together. Scripture teaches us that we are one body of believers. We worship together.  We pray together.  We have communion with God and one another.  We are baptized into a community of faith, not just a, “Jesus and me,” relationship. We strive together side by side to love our neighbors as ourselves.  We are lovingly commanded by Jesus to love one another.  We support one another throughout the highs and lows of life.  We gather around those in grief for continued support. As we sing and commune, we are united to the eternal throne room of God and to the body of Christ in every time and place.  We bring our unique gifts, contexts, and experiences into the workings of our life together.  We are the team of the people of Jesus. 

The biggest reason a person of faith in Christ is not gathering with others is due to getting out of the habit.  That is what our reading from Hebrews 10:24-25 is talking about.  The author notes, “And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”  Over time, some people had gotten out of the habit of gathering. 

A habit takes just a short time to form or to fade.  About three weeks is all that is needed.  Missing a week of worship can be painful.  Missing two in a row is hard, but not so hard as the first.  At three weeks a person may start feeling that not attending worship is normal.  The opposite is true for making the positive habit.  Striving to be at worship on three or more successive weeks will make the habit.

I know full well that the COVID19 pandemic has thrown so much of this faithful discipline out the window for so many.  My hope and prayer for all of us is that in the months to come, however many that is, our situation will improve enough for us to return to meeting as would be beneficial to all of us.  Life will get better, and being able to have all generations of our congregation at worship will be one of those better things.

 

Prayer

God of grace, you have given us minds to know you, hearts to love you, and voices to sing your praise. Fill us with your Spirit, that we may celebrate your glory and worship you in spirit and truth, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen

Prayer from Evangelical Lutheran Worship. Copyright © 2021 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved.