Hurricane Laura Relief

This is the interior of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Lake Charles, Louisiana, following the Hurricane Laura disaster.

Bringing Relief Following Hurricane Laura

Our Texas – Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod – ELCA has experienced another hurricane. This time, Hurricane Laura hit the coastline near the border of Texas and Louisiana. There was extensive damage to homes, businesses, and churches, especially in Lake Charles. The sanctuary at one of our synod congregations experienced significant damage – see photo above.

We can help now. Lutheran Disaster Response is working already to bring relief. Click this link to find out more and to give online directly.

Our Gulf Coast Synod is working with congregations and coordinating some relief. Click here to see the synod Facebook page for disaster relief.

Click here to see the Synod disaster relief link page.

Click here to give money to help through MLLC. The secure giving page has options to give to Lutheran Disaster Response and through our synod.

Together we are working to love one another in the Body of Christ, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.

The 11th Sunday after Pentecost

Jesus Pharisee

Readings, Devotion, and Prayers for the Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost, August 16, 2020, for both MLLC and Waldeck Evangelical Lutheran Church

We resumed in-person services on the weekend of June 6-7, following the normal 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.

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.

 

AUGUST 16, 2020

ELEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

 

First Reading: Isaiah 56:1, 6-8

R:  A reading from Isaiah, the 56th chapter.

The prophet calls upon Israel to do justice in view of God’s imminent intervention to save. Righteousness and obedience define who belongs to the Israelite community—not race, nationality, or any other category. And now the reading.

1Thus says the Lord:
Maintain justice, and do what is right,
for soon my salvation will come,
and my deliverance be revealed.

6And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord,
to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord,
and to be his servants,
all who keep the sabbath, and do not profane it,
and hold fast my covenant—
7these I will bring to my holy mountain,
and make them joyful in my house of prayer;
their burnt offerings and their sacrifices
will be accepted on my altar;
for my house shall be called a house of prayer
for all peoples.
8Thus says the Lord God,
who gathers the outcasts of Israel,
I will gather others to them
besides those already gathered.

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

 

Psalm: Psalm 67

R:  Psalm 67, read responsively by verse.

1May God be merciful to us and bless us;
may the light of God’s face shine upon us.
2Let your way be known upon earth,
your saving health among all nations.
3Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.
4Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
for you judge the peoples with equity and guide all the nations on earth.                                           
5Let the peoples praise you, O God;
let all the peoples praise you.
6The earth has brought forth its increase;
God, our own God, has blessed us.
7May God give us blessing,
and may all the ends of the earth stand in awe. 

 

Second Reading: Romans 11:1-2a, 29-32

R:  A reading from Romans, the 11th chapter.

God has not rejected Israel. Rather, the call and gifts of God are irrevocable so that, while all have been disobedient, God has mercy upon all.  And now the reading.

[Paul writes:] 1I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. 2aGod has not rejected his people whom he foreknew.

29For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30Just as you were once disobedient to God but have now received mercy because of their disobedience, 31so they have now been disobedient in order that, by the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy. 32For God has imprisoned all in disobedience so that he may be merciful to all.

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

 

*Gospel: Matthew 15:10-28

P:  The holy gospel according to St. Matthew, the 15th chapter.

Glory to you, O Lord.

Jesus teaches his disciples that true purity is a matter of the heart rather than outward religious observances. Almost immediately, this teaching is tested when a woman considered to be a religious outsider approaches him for help.

10[Jesus] called the crowd to him and said to them, “Listen and understand:11it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.” 12Then the disciples approached and said to him, “Do you know that the

Pharisees took offense when they heard what you said?” 13He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. 14Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if one blind person guides another, both will fall into a pit.” 15But Peter said to him, “Explain this parable to us.” 16Then he said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth enters the stomach, and goes out into the sewer? 18But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this is what defiles. 19For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. 20These are what defile a person, but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile.”]
21Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. 22Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, “Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon.” 23But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us.” 24He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” 25But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” 26He answered, “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” 27She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 28Then Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed instantly.

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

 

Devotion

“God’s Goodness for Us”

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

Calculators are great tools.  These tiny computers help us deal with our various simple and complicated math needs.  With just a few taps on the keys you can balance your checkbook, figure percentages, compare prices, or do some quite complicated calculations.

Over the years I have heard school aged youth make some statement like this: “I don’t need to learn this math, I’ve got a calculator.”  Whenever I hear that I have to laugh.  I’ve learned that one cannot rely upon the answer of a calculator.  Sure, they device is doing the math correctly, but operator error is common and frequent.  If the source material was in error, then the results will be in error.

In today’s reading we have a teaching of Jesus about what truly defiles a person.  Many were concerned about the purity laws of Judaism, especially in regard to food and hand washing.  Jesus basically states that these are secondary considerations.  What really matters is what our internal and spiritual life is about and how that expresses itself in what we say and do.

As we reflect on this story, we can see that the connection between who we are and what we do is important. If we are in bondage to sin and death, then that will come out in our lives.  If we are more connected to God and his way, that will also show in our lives.

Jesus’ teaching invites us to a consider some things:

1)  that our inner thoughts and motives need to be godly;

2) that our actions matter;

3) that we have the greatest resource to make it possible to live in God’s most excellent way.

And, finally 4), that we are all people who need God’s help and forgiveness.

Our account in Matthew is in the context of an argument regarding purity laws in the Jewish religion and culture. The Pharisees, or teachers of the law, made a big deal about proper purity and cleanliness before eating.  The general idea of cleanliness is not challenged by Jesus. Jesus, in his typical way, broadens the discussion to regard the way that God wills his people to live. I believe Jesus is saying that life is about a connection with God which leads to us to express sacrificial love, compassion and forgiveness.

At issue here is that we need to focus on our faith connection with the Lord.  The Lord is concerned about what is happening in our spiritual heart.  As that is healed and redirected, we begin to live and speak in ways which honor the Lord and are a blessing to others.

The only way we can truly have any faithful connection with God’s healing and forgiveness is through the saving work of Jesus Christ.  God knew that inside our spiritual hearts we are broken, foul and filled with mixed motivations.  What is inside us is not pure or holy.  Through Jesus’ suffering and death, he meets us in the depths of our souls.  He enters our lives and meets us at the cross.  What is lost and wrong and unclean inside us is brought to the cross.  All of this is forgiven by Jesus.  All of what is tainting our action and faith dies with Jesus on the cross.  Through his rising from the dead he grants to us a new and right spirit.

St. Paul writes about this in Romans chapter 6.  We read:  “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”  God has acted for us, and we get a fresh start on life.  From that wonderful new start we get to live the new and most excellent way of Jesus.

There is system of thought which helps connect the work and Word of God with how we live.  It uses the phrase, “Because; therefore.”   This teaches us that Because God has done such great things for us, therefore we are called to live according to his ways.  Because Jesus served others and gave himself on the cross for the forgiveness of our sin, we are called to serve others and to give of ourselves for their benefit.

As we study God’s Word more deeply we come to see this pattern.  We see that God has done great things for us. The logical response to what God has done is to worship God and serve others.  With our reconnection with God through Jesus Christ we get to have our internal faith and motivation purified by the Spirit.  We then go forward in life spurred on and guided to action by what God has first done for us.

As we receive God’s goodness, we are given the opportunity to follow his most excellent way.  We are invited to receive the goodness of God in Jesus Christ, and then to express this goodness in thought, word and deed.  We are invited to respond to what God has first done for us in our spiritual life by expressing our lives with worship of God and serve to others.

 

Let us pray – Loving God, your Good News is for us and for of humanity.   Help us to receive the good news of Jesus Christ more fully in our lives.  By your Spirit transform our knowledge of this message into action which is blessing to others.  We pray this in your most holy Name.  Amen

 

*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.

 

Loving God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, your grace is sufficient for us, your mercy is everlasting.  Receive our prayers, our praise, and our heartfelt thanksgivings.  Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

 

In the midst of our brokenness and sin we come to you seeking your forgiveness.  Graciously restore us to fellowship with you and one another. Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

 

We lift in prayer the martyrs and persecuted Christians of all ages in Syria and Iraq.  Be with all who follow the Way of Jesus Christ.  Help us to stand firm in faith.  Lord, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

 

We pray for your strength and presence for those who face difficult grief.  Help us to offer care and support for those who remember those who rest in you.   (We especially remember…)   Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

 

We pray that you would bring healing, strength and hope to those who struggle in mind, body, or spirit, especially . . .  and those we now name aloud or in quiet prayer… Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

 

Other petitions may be added here.

 

We look to you in the midst of the heat of summer.  We pray that you will provide refreshing rain and favorable weather for all.  Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

 

We pray that you would help us to grow in our joy in giving.  By your Spirit open our spiritual hearts for the joy of generous giving.  Receive our tithes and offerings for your glory and service in the world. Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

 

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

 

LORD’S PRAYER 

 

Copyright © 2020 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #27061.

 

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 

BLOOD DRIVE is scheduled for next Sunday, August 23 from 9:30 – 2 in the Fellowship Hall at Martin Luther in Carmine.  Appointments will be required to donate.  This is to keep group sizes small.  It is in conjunction with Bethlehem Lutheran Church of Round Top.

Go to the MLLC website to make an appointment:

https://mllccarmine.com/2020/08/06/blood-drive-august-23/

Or, you may contact Kelly Hardin at 832-212-2799 or email her at khardin@giveblood.org

There is a great need for blood, so please consider giving the Gift of Life.

 

LUTHERAN WORLD RELIEF Three 40-foot shipping containers with LWR items were lost in the Beirut, Lebanon port explosion.  Lost were:  22,000 quilts; 100 cartons of school kits; 300 cartons of personal care kits; and 125 cartons of baby care kits.  They are in need of donations.  To make a monetary contribution go to the MLLC website with the following link:

https://mllccarmine.com/2020/08/10/beirut-explosion-and-lutheran-world-relief/

 

Mourning with our Peruvian Partners

Peru Bishop Photo

Death of the Pastor/President (Bishop) of the Lutheran Church of Peru

We, as part of our Gulf Coast Synod – ELCA, have a ministry partnership with churches around the world.  We have a special partnership with the Lutheran churches in Peru and the Central African Republic.  We received the sad news today that Adita Torres Lescano, the Pastor/President (same role as presiding or national bishop in the ELCA) of the Lutheran Church of Peru, Iglesia Luterana del Peru, died today.  It appears that she died due to COVID19 illness.

Here is the notice of her death in translation:

Dear Brothers and Sisters:
The Pastoral Conference of the Lutheran Church of Peru – ILP and the Secretary of the ILP, with much regret and deep pain, must inform you that our beloved Pastor Adita Torres Lescano has passed into the arms of our Lord God.
We share this unfortunate news today, August 10, with all the sisters and brothers of the national and international congregations and other institutions that accompany us.
Our Lutheran Church of Peru is in deep mourning, dismayed by her death. We ask our community to pray for their families and other members who today mourn her passing.
“Gracious is the Lord, and righteous;
our God is merciful…
Return, O my soul, to your rest,
for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.
For you have delivered my soul from death,
my eyes from tears,
my feet from stumbling.”
—Psalm 116.
Sincerely,
The ILP Pastoral Conference
ILP Board of Directors Secretary

 

Here is the original letter:

Peru Bishop Letter Death

Please pray for her family and friends, as well as for the people of our partner congregations in Peru.  We will remember her in prayer at worship in the coming weeks.

 

 

The 10th Sunday after Pentecost

Nativity Sacred Art NatShepherdMurillo

The Birth, life and ministry of the Jesus is the greatest expression of God being with us.  O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.

Readings, Devotion, and Prayers for the Tenth Sunday after Pentecost, August 9, 2020, for both MLLC and Waldeck Evangelical Lutheran Church

We resumed in-person services on the weekend of June 6-7, following the normal 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.

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.

 

AUGUST 9, 2020

THE TENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

 

First Reading: 1 Kings 19:9-18

R:  A reading from 1 Kings, the 19th chapter.

On Mount Horeb, where God had appeared to Moses with typical signs of God’s presence—earthquake, wind, and fire—Elijah now experienced God in “sheer silence.” God assured Elijah that he is not the only faithful believer. Seven thousand Israelites are still loyal. God instructed Elijah to anoint two men as kings and to anoint Elisha as his own successor.

9At [Horeb, the mount of God,][Elijah] came to a cave, and spent the night there.
Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10He answered, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.”
11He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. 13When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.Then there came a voice to him that said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 14He answered, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.” 15Then the Lord said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus; when you arrive, you shall anoint Hazael as king over Aram. 16Also you shall anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king over Israel; and you shall anoint Elisha son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah as prophet in your place. 17Whoever escapes from the sword of Hazael, Jehu shall kill; and whoever escapes from the sword of Jehu, Elisha shall kill. 18Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

 

Psalm: Psalm 85:8-13

8I will listen to what the Lord God is saying;
for you speak peace to your faithful people and to those who turn their hearts to you.
9Truly, your salvation is very near to those who fear you,
that your glory may dwell in our land. 
10Steadfast love and faithfulness have met together;
righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
11Faithfulness shall spring up from the earth,
and righteousness shall look down from heaven.
12The Lord will indeed grant prosperity,
and our land will yield its increase.
13Righteousness shall go before the Lord
and shall prepare for God a pathway. 

 

 

Second Reading: Romans 10:5-15

R:  A reading from Romans the 10th chapter.

A right relationship with God is not something we achieve by heroic efforts. It is a gift received in the proclamation whose content is Jesus Christ. This proclaimed word creates our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Hence Christian proclamation is an indispensable component of God’s saving actions.

5Moses writes concerning the righteousness that comes from the law, that “the person who does these things will live by them.” 6But the righteousness that comes from faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ down) 7“or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8But what does it say?
“The word is near you,
on your lips and in your heart”
(that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved. 11The scripture says, “No one who believes in him will be put to shame.” 12For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and is generous to all who call on him. 13For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
14But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him? 15And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

The word of the Lord.  Thanks be to God.

 

*Gospel: Matthew 14:22-33

The holy gospel according to St. Matthew, the 14th chapter.

Glory to you, O Lord.

Matthew’s gospel typically portrays Jesus’ disciples as people of “little faith,” who fail despite their best intentions. In this story, Matthew shows how Jesus comes to the disciples when they are in trouble and sustains them in their time of fear and doubt.

22[Jesus] made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side [of the Sea of Galilee], while he dismissed the crowds.23And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up the mountain by himself to pray.

When evening came, he was there alone, 24but by this time the boat, battered by the waves, was far from the land, for the wind was against them. 25And early in the

morning he came walking toward them on the sea. 26But when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, saying, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. 27But immediately Jesus spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”
28Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” 29He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. 30But when he noticed the strong wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32When they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

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

 

 

Devotion

“God is With Us”

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

There is a traditional story about trusting in God.  A man was stranded on his roof during a massive flood.  The flood waters were rising all around him.  In fear for his life he prayed and asked him to save him from the rising waters.  Suddenly a neighbor came by in a boat.  The neighbor encouraged the man to climb down from the roof into the boat so they could escape the dangerous flood.  But the man on the roof replied that he had prayed and had complete faith that God would protect him and save him.  Therefore, no thanks for the boat ride.

Several hours passed and then the sheriff’s deputy came by in another boat.  By this time the waters were lapping at the eaves of the roof.  Still the man refused the help and insisted on staying at his home.  He was sure that God would not allow any harm to come to him, and would save him from the flood waters.

Later a National Guard helicopter arrived to lift him from the roof.  By this point the man was perched atop his chimney because the flood waters had risen so high as to cover his roof.  But still the man would not take the rescue line lowered to him. He screamed at the rescue crew that God would save him from the flood.  Soon afterward the helicopter left, the house collapsed and the man drowned in the flood waters.

Later the man found himself in heaven, standing before the Lord.  Even so, he was quite exasperated.  The man confronted God and said, “Lord, how could you have failed me?  I put faith in you, and I bore testimony to that faith again and again.  Why didn’t you save me from the flood?”

To this the Lord answered, “What do you mean?  I sent two boats and a helicopter to save you.  What more did you want me to do?”

One of the struggles of people throughout time is that we often look for powerful signs and wonders from God, yet miss out on what God is doing right now for us.  Maybe this problem comes because we lack the faith to recognize that God is present and active with us in simply amazing ways each day.

Gospel Reading:  A dramatic sign of God’s presence and power – Jesus walking on the water.

In today’s reading from First Kings we see that Elijah doesn’t get it at first.  The powerful signs are not really God’s presence.  God was not in the earthquake, the strong wind, or the fire.   Rather, God was present in the sound of sheer silence, or the “Still Small Voice”.  In that quiet moment, God is there, speaking to Elijah, assuring him of the prophet’s call, and sending him to live out his ministry.

Our Lord is with us today in many ways, including the quiet and simple moments.  Here are some examples:

In the quiet of the end of our day as we pause to pray– God is there.

In the reading of God’s word, individually, or with others– God is there.

In the sharing of the Holy Communion– God is there.

In the kind and encouraging words we share with others– God is there.

In the fellowship we have with others– God is there.

In those whom we serve in any way– God is there.

In the most difficult moments of loss – God is there.

In the singing of joyful songs in worship – God is there.

In the times when we remember all that God has done for us through Jesus’ death on the cross and in his rising from the dead– God is there.

In all this, we give thanks that God first loves us and seeks us out.  A faithful response to God loving us is to utilize disciplines of the Christian life.  I have shared many times about the Six Marks of Discipleship.  As a reminder, these are:

I will strive to…

*Pray daily

*Worship weekly

*Read the Bible daily

*Serve at and beyond Martin Luther Lutheran Church or Waldeck Evangelical 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

We practice these Marks of Discipleship or spiritual disciplines because these are part of God’s gifts which help us to be transformed into the image of Christ.  The core purpose of these and any other Christian spiritual discipline is to become more like Jesus.  We don’t do these for the mere sake of doing them.  It always goes back to the core purpose – to be with God and to be transformed by the presence of God.  The Holy Spirit does this work in us. As we engage in any of these Marks of Discipleship, we are stepping into the reality that we are being worked on by God.  We are being transformed by God into something else.  As we spend time with God in these Marks of Discipleship, we are becoming more like the company we keep.  We are becoming more and more holy as God is with us, and as we are united with Jesus.

I encourage you to reflect on your own lives and to ponder where God has been present in the ordinary and quiet and powerful points of each week. As you do, remember that our God loves each of us with a love which surpasses all understanding.  His love draws us to himself, and in this, we are becoming more and more like Jesus.  We are becoming what he designed us to be in this life and forever more.  For this we give thanks.

Let us pray – Lord God Almighty, you are amazing beyond measure.  We praise you because you are the God who loves us, forgives us, and leads us toward our eternal home.  By your Holy Spirit enable us to see and to believe that you are present with us each day.  Transform our hearts and wills so that we grow to rejoice in the simple and quiet ways you bless us each and every day.  This we pray in Jesus’ holy name.  Amen

 

*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, your mercy is everlasting and your grace is sufficient for us.  Draw us to a closer walk following the way of Jesus.  Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We lift in prayer all of those who mourn.  Draw us together in care for those who have suffered a recent loss.   (We especially remember the family and friends of …)   Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We ask that you bring healing, strength and hope to those who struggle in mind, body, or spirit, especially . . .  and also those whom we name aloud or in quiet prayer…  We pray that you will be their help and their shield.   Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

We pray for the ministry of Lutheran World Relief.  Help us as we work with this organization to bring comfort and care to those who face difficulty.  Lord, in your mercy, Hear our prayer.

Other petitions may be added here.

Grant us greater joy as we encourage faith in the lives of others.  Help us to reach out with your Good News so that our neighbors will know what you have done for them.  We pray that your Holy Spirit will open their spiritual hearts to receive this Gospel. Lord, in your mercy,  Hear our prayer.

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

LORD’S PRAYER 

COVID 19 Carona Virus Update

MLLC Church Sketch drawing copy

Important Notice about COVID 19

The Church Council of MLLC has made the decision to suspend worship services and other church activities from now (March 18, 2020) through at least April 3, 2020.  This is due to the significant, worldwide health crisis of the COVID 19 Pandemic.  The council did not take this decision lightly, as this is a new and dramatic step for the congregation.  They consulted with area congregations, our Gulf Coast Synod, as well as government health officials.  We will send out updates as these become available.

Please read the notice here:  Click Link

The Daily Bible Readings through April 3 are here:  Click Link

The church staff and leadership are still here for you in these trying times.  We will have devotional items and other items available through this web site.

Hurricane Relief Grants

Hurricane Harvey

 

Our Gulf Coast Synod, ELCA, has posted information about how to apply for grants for Hurricane and Flood Relief.  Here is what they have to say about this:

Dear Gulf Coast Synod Leaders,

In the weeks since Hurricane Harvey, we have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from God’s people around the world.  Many gifts were shared with us on your behalf.  In an effort to assess needs to distribute these gifts, we invite you to participate in our disaster grant process.  Although the funds cannot replace all that you have lost, we pray that the grants disbursed will be of help in a significant way.

This link will direct you to the page on our website that was prepared for this unique purpose: gulfcoastsynod.org/congregations/disaster/grant

You can also find this page by clicking the yellow “Disaster Grant” link, on the Disaster Prep & Recovery page of the synod website (gulfcoastsynod.org).

 

Our timeline for distribution is:

Application deadline: December 31, 2017.

Notification of grant status: January 31, 2018.

 

We will take into consideration critical needs and respond appropriately to the requests identified in that manner.

Please note that the phrase “disaster recovery needs” includes damage done to the location of your special community outreach ministries, such as food pantry, book pantry/collection, and so forth, as well as the ability to continue these ministries following the disaster that may or may not have flooded your congregation’s facilities. We can discuss any questions you have about what can be represented in your request.

 

Amount of Your Request Range

We ask that you request a dollar range (e.g. $2K to $5K), rather than a specific dollar amount. This allows us some flexibility as we determine how best to stretch the dollars in the fund.

 

Designated Contact Person

Please clearly identify the person who will be accountable to corresponding with the synod about this grant request. We ask that the contact person provide an update to the synod 3-6 months following distribution, as to how the money was actually used.  Before-&-after photos of your project, along with a couple of sentences on how the grant supported your recovery efforts, will be used in synod communications about funding, recruiting volunteers, and especially to those who want to support this recovery effort with their prayers.

 

About Additional Documents

Please attach any documents that will assist in decision-making regarding this request. This may be a document you already have distributed to your church council or congregation outlining the status of the damage and the related repair/rebuild costs. If the document is accessible by link to your Web site, please indicate that by providing the link in your response to us.

 

Sample Documents

Thanks to Salem Evangelical, Houston, and St James/Santiago Apostόl for allowing their own status statements to be used as samples. These documents are an example of the questions we will ask about your current status.

 

Thank you for your commitment to fulfilling God’s call to the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod for holistic ministry in this region.

We look forward to hearing from you through this means and in continuing conversations about our service together in the Gulf Coast.

 

Blessings,

Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod Disaster Recovery Team

Hurricane Relief Day – September 9

Gulf Coast Synod Disaster Response

You can help this week.

Our Gulf Coast Synod has organized a Hurricane Harvey Work Day. It will be this Saturday, September 9. There are several crews being organized. One crew will be out of Lutherhill, which will help in Fayette County. Visit the Synod web page link below to find out more:  Click Link.

Please note that the sign up deadline to be part of one of these crews is Wednesday, September 6.

 

Our Hurricane Relief page is being updated frequently.  Check out that page to find more way to help.  Monetary donations are especially helpful at this time.

Click here for the link to our Hurricane Relief page.

Hurricane Relief: Help Now

Hurricane Harvey Relief

Photo of Relief Workers, as shown on the Lutheran Disaster Response Web Site.

For continued updates on Hurricane Relief, see this page:  Click Link

Together We Can Help

We will have an ongoing Hurricane Harvey Recovery Page on the church web site.

There are several ways to help right now with relief for those affected by Hurricane Harvey.  There are and will be many volunteer opportunities.  As you are able, please give of your time to help those in need.  Much of the focus has been on Houston, since there are millions who have faced damage, displacement, loss, or more.  There are also many in Fayette County who have faced similar struggles due to flooding of the Colorado River and other waterways.  Our town has had flooding, but not to the point of massive damage.  It looks like the flooding of May 2016 in Carmine was worse for our town than that brought by Hurricane Harvey.

Ways to help:

At this time monetary donations are the most helpful.  You can always give through MLLC. All gifts will be forwarded to Lutheran Disaster Response, our ELCA organization which is already at work for long term relief from Hurricane Harvey in Texas.

*We will receive donations through the offerings at every worship service as long as there is need to help.  Designate the gift as Hurricane Relief.

*You can mail in a check to MLLC at any time.  Designate the gift as Hurricane Relief.

*You can give through our web site.  Click this link for our special giving web page.  On that page you can choose the section for Disaster Relief.  Gifts can be made through your bank account, debit card or credit card.

Mucking Crews – groups of people who will help clean up junk and ruined parts of homes so householders can fix up their homes and move back in.  Our Gulf Coast Synod has partnered with crisiscleanup.org to coordinate volunteers to help muck out homes.   Chris Markert, Assistant to the Bishop, will be helping synod church volunteer crews get connected to opportunities to serve.  Here is the contact page for Pastor Markert:  Click this link.

 

ELCA Gulf Coast Synod Message

Our Gulf Coast Synod has shared this message:

The number one question we hear: “How can I help?”

As followers of Jesus, we seek to love our neighbor and serve those in need.

So first, thank you. Here on the Gulf Coast, we have heard and felt your love and support during this disaster.

Second, as people of faith, join us in prayer. For first responders and those who had to evacuate flooded homes, for people worried about family and those who trying to pick up the pieces.

Third, financial gifts are more helpful than gifts of goods right now. Financial resources are portable and used for many different purposes. Consider donating to the Gulf Coast Synod Disaster Fund (to help congregations and their people get back on their feet and serve their neighborhoods http://gulfcoastsynod.org/Hurricane-Harvey) and to Lutheran Disaster Response (for case management).

Finally, wait and listen. The disaster isn’t over. It is still raining. Once the rain stops and the water recedes, then the work begins. Then we will begin to assess what the needs are and begin to clean up.

Lutherhill Weekend 2015

ActLoveWalkTriangleLogo Lutherhill smaller still

Joyful Weekend

We celebrated God’s love for the world and we celebrated our partnership with Lutherhill Ministries on the weekend of August 22-23, 2015.  Our guest speaker from Lutherhill was Matt Kindsvatter.  He serves as the Executive Director of Lutherhill Ministries.  Matt is a familiar face at MLLC, since he has been a guest preacher several times over the years.  Matt was the preacher at both the Saturday evening and Sunday morning services.

Lutherhill Sunday 2015 Matt

MLLC Kids Get in on the Act

Several of the youth from the congregation participated in the service.  The Lutherhill staff members worked with the youth to prepare a skit for use in worship on Sunday.  The skit reminded the congregation to share God’s love with others.  Here is a photo of the MLLC Thespians in action.

Lutherhill Sunday 2015 Skit

Making a Joyful Noise

Lutherhill staff members lead the music on Sunday.  All of the songs were ones which were sung at camp during the summer 2015.  This gave us a taste of the joyful songs which the youth sang while at camp this year.

Lutherhill Sunday 2015 Singing

Blessing of Backpacks and Students

We continued our annual tradition of blessing our students and their backpacks.  This Sunday was the weekend just before most of our students returned to school.  We invite students of all ages to come forward.  From year to year the age range varies depending upon who is present on the day.  Some years the grade level ranges from nursery school to graduate school.

Lutherhill Sunday 2015 Students

We are very thankful for the wonderful ministry we do with Lutherhill Ministries.  About 15 youth from MLLC attended Summer Camp at Lutherhill this year.  We look forward to an even better year in 2016.  Here is a photo of three of our youth working on dining hall clean up at Lutherhill in August 2015.

Lutherhill at Camp for Newsletter Sep15

Lutherhill Weekend August 22 & 23

Lutherhill-LogoWe invite you all to a very special event here at MLLC.  On the weekend of August 22-23 we will welcome Matt Kindsvatter, the executive director of Lutherhill Ministries.  He is familiar to many people in MLLC.  We know him from his previous visits to MLLC, and because many of our youth have attended summer camp at Lutherhill over the years.

Matt will be our preacher at both of our weekend services.  Invite your family and friends for these special times together.  Let’s give Matt and the Lutherhill staff members a great MLLC Carmine Welcome!

Saturday, August 22 at 6 p.m. – Matt will preach at a typical MLLC Saturday evening service.

Sunday, August 23 – three special events in one day

8:30 a.m. – children and youth invited to arrive early to prepare a skit for use in worship.  These young people will meet with Lutherhill staff in the new Mission & Ministry building to prepare a brief skit which will be presented in the 9:00 a.m. worship service.  There is no reservation needed, simply arrive at 8:30 and join in the fun.

9:00 a.m. – worship in the Sanctuary.  Matt and some Lutherhill staff members will lead all of our music this day.  They will teach us and lead us in singing camp style songs.  Matt will also preach at this service.  Our youth will present the skit which they have prepared.  This skit will take the place of the children’s sermon for this day.

10:15 a.m. – Sunday School – Lutherhill staff will lead a children’s Sunday School lesson in the Mission & Ministry building.  We have enjoyed their leadership in the past as they have come to do this over the years.

This summer we had a large group of MLLC youth attend camp at Lutherhill.  This special weekend is a way to celebrate the great summer experience we had at Lutherhill.

Here is a photo of Matt Kindsvatter and Pastor David Tinker after a recent meeting to plan for this special Sunday.

Tinker Kindsvatter Aug15