Our First Facebook Live Streaming Service will begin at 10:00 a.m. today.
Our First Facebook Live Streaming Service will begin at 10:00 a.m. today.
Here are the references for the readings. Please look these up in your print Bible, your smartphone app Bible, or your online Bible:
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.
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.
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.
You are invited to attend the annual Thanksgiving Eve service this Wednesday, November 21, 2018. The service will be held at 7:00 p.m. at the building of our partner church, Waldeck Evangelical Lutheran Church. That church is located at 6915 Waldeck Church Lane. This is at the intersection of FM 2145 and FM 1291, just 6.5 miles south of Ledbetter.
A new thing this year is that we have invited the other two churches from the Crossroads Shared Lutheran Ministries to worship with us. The people of St. Paul Lutheran in Shelby and Bethlehem Lutheran in Round Top will join with us for this special time of giving thanks. Of course, all from the community are invited to participate, even if they are not members of any of these four churches.
You are invited to gather with God’s people for our Lenten Wednesday services.
February 17, 24, March 2, 9 and 16
Fellowship Meal 6:00 p.m. each week
Evening Prayer 7:00 p.m. each week
Both the meal and worship will be in the Fellowship Hall.
Our Lenten Theme is “Reflections Around the Cross”. We are participating in a Pulpit Exchange with area Lutheran clergy. Each one will bring a message from a Biblical character who reflects on Jesus’ death on the cross. Each week we will also read a portion of Jesus’ Passion from the Gospel of Luke. We will use our usual service of Evening Prayer.
February 17 Pastor Candy O’Meara, portraying the Roman Centurion
February 24 Pastor Marcia Kifer, portraying Mary, the mother of our Lord
March 2 Pastor Willie Rotter, portraying Caiaphas, the High Priest
March 9 Pastor John David Nedbalek, portraying Satan
March 16 Pastor Glenn Hohlt, portraying Nicodemus
Later, on Good Friday, Pastor David Tinker will be portraying the Apostle John.
See this link for additional information: https://mllccarmine.com/
Our Lutheran Youth Organization (LYO) has been working hard preparing for Christmas Eve. As they have done for most of the past many years, they are leading the service and presenting their play. We look forward to seeing you at worship at 6 p.m. Christmas Eve, December 24. This will be a service of Word, Prayer and Song.
This will be our Candlelight Service as well. Come to hear the Good News. Come to support our youth. Come to celebrate that Jesus Christ has been born for us.
Also note: we will have our annual Festival Worship with Holy Communion on Christmas Day at 10 a.m.
Invite your friends and family.
by Pastor David Tinker
Martin Luther Lutheran Church
The 12 Days of Christmas are the days of the Christmas Season. These are the days between the Nativity of our Lord (December 25) and the Epiphany of our Lord (January 6). There are 2 traditions of counting these 12 Days of Christmas. One tradition is that the 12 Days of Christmas start on Christmas Day, and conclude on “Twelfth Night”, which is January 5. The second tradition is that the 12 Days of Christmas begin on December 26, and run through January 6. “Twelfth Night” would then be January 6. Despite the promotions and activity of our culture, the Christian “Christmas Season” begins on Christmas Day, rather than during the time leading up to Christmas.
Here are some ways to mark the 12 Days of Christmas in your home and daily life.
— Daily read something in the Bible about the birth and youth of Jesus. Look especially in Matthew chapters 1-2, and Luke chapter 2.
— For fun with your family sing the popular song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” — “on the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me..” Maybe do only the total number of days which have passed. Only on January 5 or 6, depending on how you count these days, would you sing all twelve verses. Another option would be to play a recording of someone singing this popular song.
— Tell others about the 12 Days of Christmas, such as in conversation, letters, e-mail, or on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.
— Use 12 candles to count off the days during a meal or at devotions. One more candle is lit each day until all are lit on January 5th or 6th.
— Keep your Christmas tree up until at least January 6.
— Send your Christmas cards during this time, and possibly note the 12 Days of Christmas in your letter to family and friends.
— Attend worship at Martin Luther Lutheran Church in Carmine on the two weekends which always occur in the 12 Days of Christmas. These will be on December 27 and January 3 for this season (2015-2016). Some folks pull back from worship during this time and miss out on a joyful time of the year at church.
— Schedule Christmas Parties during this time. You will be less stressed and it will give your friends another chance to get together for joyful fellowship.
Special Days during the 12 Days of Christmas
*December 26 – The Feast of St. Stephen, Deacon and Martyr. Read about his ministry in Acts chapters 6 and 7
*December 27 – The Feast of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist. Read one of the books connected to his ministry, such as the Gospel of John, the three letters of John, and Revelation.
*December 28 – Remembrance of the Holy Innocents of Bethlehem, Martyrs. Read about these victims of tyranny in Matthew chapter 2, especially verses 16-18.
*December 31 – New Year’s Eve – a chance to reflect on God’s grace for you during this past year.
*January 1 – The Name of Jesus. On this day we remember Jesus’ 8th day. Read about this in Luke 2:21. This is when his name was announced in a public way.
*The Epiphany of our Lord – January 6
‘The People who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness — on them light has shined.’ — Isaiah 9:2
The Epiphany of our Lord is mostly known as the celebration of the arrival of the Magi for their visit to bring their gifts of Jesus. It is much more. When we celebrate the Epiphany we are celebrating the spreading of the Good News of Jesus Christ. The Epiphany reminds us about the growing glory of God in the Son of God/Son of Man, Jesus Christ. Epiphany is the manifestation, or showing, of Jesus to the world. The Magi were non-Jewish foreigners who came to worship Jesus, and are thus representatives of those who would eventually benefit from the birth, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus. This visit, from Matthew chapter 2, foreshadows the mission which Jesus grants to his followers. In the Great Commission in Matthew 28:16-20, our Lord commands us to make disciples of all nations, not just of the Jews.
— Attend worship on Sunday, January 3, 2016, at 9:00 a.m. as we celebrate the Epiphany of our Lord at Martin Luther Lutheran Church in Carmine.
— Read the story of the Magi in Matthew, which is told throughout chapter 2.
— Pray for Christian missionaries as they spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth.
— Pray for the Church around the world.
— Host an Epiphany Party.
— Give generously to people in need. Remember, as Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)
— Sing “We Three Kings” and/or “The First Noel”
— Attend worship on all or most every weekend in the season after the Epiphany.
The gifts of the Magi to Jesus point us to who Jesus really is:
*The Magi offer Gold, a possession of kings.
*The Magi offer Frankincense, used in ritual and prayer to indicate the presence of God
*The Magi offer myrrh, an oil used at the time of death as well as for anointing priests.
By their gifts, the wise men reveal the identity of this child:
*the king before whom nations will bow down
*the anointed high priest of God
*and the suffering servant who will die for the ones he has come to serve
What we do is to the glory of God, for the love of neighbor, and for the love of one another as God’s people. What we plan is meant to facilitate your participation in this way of life.
Click this link for our upcoming events and festivals page.
If you need more information about these events please call the church office at 979-278-3388 or send an email to our pastor at firstname.lastname@example.org
First Communion Class begins March 9, 2014, at 10:15 a.m.
First Communion will be celebrated on Thursday, April 17, at our 7 p.m. Maundy Thursday Service.
If you would like your child to participate, please contact Pastor David Tinker. email@example.com or 979-278-3388
How do I know my child is ready to attend First Communion Class?
He/She may. . .
*have expressed interest in participating during worship, perhaps copying your movements at the altar
*have begun to ask questions about why we take Holy Communion
*have begun to reach for the Holy Communion elements which are offered to you
*have a foundation in Christ through attendance in Christian education or worship, or through family conversations, devotions or prayer
*be able to speak about God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) as loving and trustworthy
*pray the Lord’s Prayer and be able to say other simple prayers (such as at bedtime and meals)
The following questions can help you determine the readiness of your child to receive her or his first Holy Communion.
The most important question is about God’s gift of Grace for your child:
***** Has your child been baptized?
If your child is not yet baptized, please speak with a pastor to set a date for your child to receive this Sacrament. It is understood that Holy Communion is for the baptized children of God.
Other questions to consider:
*Is your child comfortable in various locations around the church, like the altar?
*Does your child have a basic, age-appropriate awareness that God loves him or her?
*Does your child understand the idea of “right” and “wrong”, and can grasp the basic notion of “forgiveness”?
*Will your child extend his or her hands when asked to do so?
*Will your child be able to understand the basic concept that Holy Communion is a gift from God to each person?
*Does your child seem to have a basic trust that they are a child of God?
*Does your child seem interested in what goes on in church during Communion?
*Does your child interact enough with others to receive the bread and wine?
*Is your child aware enough of others in the congregation and their needs to show respect for the communion experience?
*Are you prepared to help make the process positive?
*Are you prepared to continue to fulfill the promises you made at your child’s baptism to bring him or her regularly to the Lord’s Table?
Only the first question requires a “Yes” before your child can be considered ready to receive his or her first communion. Use the others to generate discussion and to plan, in consultation with Pastor David Tinker, for your child’s preparation to begin receiving the sacrament and the gifts it brings.
Contact Pastor David Tinker if you have any questions about Holy Communion. He would be happy to help answer your questions.
Some history about changes in the practice First Holy Communion:
Over a generation ago (1969) many Lutheran congregations began separating First Communion from Confirmation. Thus, they began preparing children to receive their first communion when they reached fifth grade. Both the former American Lutheran Church (ALC) and the former Lutheran Church in America (LCA), predecessor church bodies of our Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), affirmed this practice. In its 1989 publication “A Statement on Communion Practices” the ELCA affirmed the fifth grade and/or ten years of age as an appropriate and desirable guideline for when a young person, after appropriate preparation, may first commune. This is not the end of the story, so please read on.
However, it became apparent that focusing on a particular age as the primary criterion for determining when first communion is received did not adequately consider other important factors, e.g., a child’s maturity, a child’s experience in the church, a child’s family as a supportive context for faith, discipleship and understanding, etc.
After years of study and conversation, in 1997 the ELCA issued a new First Communion guideline as part of a larger document on the centrality of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion in the life of faith.
This document lifts up a biblical based Lutheran understanding of the Sacraments intended to help us avoid a “legalistic” and “mechanical” approach to how parents, pastors, and congregations raise up our children in the Christian faith. Regarding Holy Communion the statement recognizes that:
*“Baptized children may begin to commune on a regular basis at a time determined through mutual conversation that includes the pastor, the child, and the parents or sponsors involved, within the accepted practices of the congregation.”
*“Ordinarily this beginning will occur only when children can eat and drink, and can start to respond to the gift of Christ in the Supper.”
*“In all cases, participation in Holy Communion is accompanied by (instruction) appropriate to the age of the communicant.”
*“There is no command from our Lord regarding the age at which people should be baptized or first communed. Our practice is defined by Christ’s command (“Do this”), Christ’s twin promises of his presence for us and for our need, and the importance of good order in the Church. In all communion practices congregations strive to avoid both reducing the Lord’s Supper to an act effective by its mere performance without faith and narrowing faith to intellectual understanding of Christ’s presence and gifts.”
Notes from “The Use of the Means of Grace: A Statement on the Practice of Word and Sacrament”, Augsburg Fortress, 1997, pages 41-43.
We are well on our way to our goal for the Souper Bowl of Caring in 2014. As of Sunday, January 26, 2014, we have collected $223.00 for local hunger relief. The Lutheran Youth Organization (LYO) of Martin Luther Lutheran Church thanks you for your generosity so far.
Our goal is to meet or exceed last year’s total. In 2013 we collected $637.74. We are only $415.75 away from exceeding last year’s very successful year. Together we can help alleviate hunger in our community.
If you will not be able to attend worship this Sunday, or you simply forget to bring something to give on those dates, feel free to drop by or mail your Souper Bowl of Caring gifts to the church office by February 9.
Martin Luther Lutheran Church
P O BOX 362
Carmine, TX 78932-0362
Here is the official web site of the Souper Bowl of Caring: http://www.souperbowl.org/
Here is the Mission and Vision of the national Souper Bowl of Caring ministry:
Using the energy of the Super Bowl to mobilize youth in a united national effort to care for people in their local communities who are hungry and those in need.
Transform the time around the Super Bowl into the nation’s largest celebration of giving and serving.