Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Holy Tuesday-The example of the fig tree. (as posted by CPH)
Jesus’ disciples see the withered fig tree on their return to Jerusalem from Bethany. Matthew 21:20-22. When the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying,“How did the fig tree wither at once?”And Jesus answered them,“Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”Mark 11:20-21As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. And Peter remembered and said to him,“Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.”
We are reminded this Holy Tuesday that we are the withered fig tree. Our faith is dead without Christ and the reason that Christ had to die was because of us being those weak vessels that quickly wither away.
Lord have mercy today as we celebrate our Lord taking us withered vessles and making us His redeemed. Lord have mercy
Monday, March 29, 2010
On Monday morning Jesus and the Twelve leave Bethany to return to Jerusalem, and along the way Jesus curses the fig tree
In the morning, as he was returning to the city, he became hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the wayside, he went to it and found nothing on it but only leaves. And he said to it,
“May no fruit ever come from you again!”
And the fig tree withered at once.
On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. And he said to it,
“May no one ever eat fruit from you again.”
And his disciples heard it.
Jesus enters Jerusalem and clears the temple
And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them,
“It is written,‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’
but you make it a den of robbers.”
And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. And he was teaching them and saying to them,
“Is it not written,‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’?
But you have made it a den of robbers.”
And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold, saying to them,
“It is written,‘My house shall be a house of prayer,'but you have made it a den of robbers.”
In the evening Jesus and the Twelve leave Jerusalem (returning to Bethany)
And when evening came they went out of the city.
May we all celebrate Holy Monday in our Lord's mercy.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
This begins an exciting week of centering our faith on Christ and Him Crucified. Holy Thursday will be very exciting as we bring back the old Red Hymnal communion liturgy. Good Friday will include a new candleabra to represent Jesus' gradual death. Easter will be the normal exciting message and the return of Alleluia's in the liturgy.
Today was one of those days that I thank God for all He does and I thank God for the faithful people at St. John Evangelical, North Prairie, WI. May they continue to extend mercy to their sinful pastor!
Saturday, March 27, 2010
I sometimes default to an opinion that is bright eyed and bushy tailed. An opinion that things aren't as bad as they seem. Most college students that go to big time universities basically have faith, but just are getting their freak on, I naively think although I experienced something different in college. However, I am once again proven wrong when I try to gloss things over, God reminds me of the depravity of man.
I have had a few discussions with students at the great University of Wisconsin-Madison. All of which grew up in a LCMS church, have staunchly conservative parents, and were taught what it means to be a Christian. However, they ALL have basically denied the faith, question the validity of the Bible, and are antagonistic toward any type of conservative view (pro-life, pro-marriage, etc).
What is the answer?
We need to start digging deeper. In a typical church, one that I am most comfortable with, sings songs we like, does an occasional skit, focuses on what types of lillies to get, and learn simple stories in Sunday school...then we send our kids to UW-Madison and expect it to work out fine. We need to have majority of our adults highly skilled in the Bible, apologetics, Lutheran doctrine, and creation science. At the same time, our Sunday School and Bible studies all need to center on Christ, His Work, and ask all the questions that people are asking. Then once our young people are in college we bombard them with information about faith, encouraging letters, visits, and talks about faith. Then after college, we bombard them again with information about life, help in the real world, and resources of how to find good churches.
I'm ready to start tomorrow. Who is with me?
Friday, March 26, 2010
After a two week hiatus, I am back. Fishing went awesome. We caught the limit in Walleye, I got a nice perch, and we are eagerly awaiting the time to fry them up. I received God's gifts Bethlehem Lutheran, Warroad, MN with the voice of their vicar. And now back with God's people whom He has called me to serve.
This Sunday we are ready to celebrate for the first time Passion Sunday with Palms (as indicated in the LSB Altar book p.501). It will be the typical procession of palms, prayer, children's message, and then a narrative of the passion from Luke (myself and two other people). Then leading into receiving the Sacrament.
Passion Sunday is a unique twist to Holy Week due to its symbolism of the dynamic that Jesus experienced in Jerusalem. He entered in triumph and soo thereafter he had to deal with the crucifixion in the same place. This way we as a church experience it all on one Sunday. Plus it sets the tone for the week to the center of our faith, "Christ and Him crucified."
Lord have mercy as we celebrate this wonderful day.
Friday, March 12, 2010
I will be taking the next few days off from blogging and looking forward to receiving God's gifts on Sunday from the mouthpiece of another pastor (Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Baudette, MN). There is nothing better than visiting another church and receiving the gifts of Christ.
Otherwise, it will be a great time of fishing, Dr. Pepper (my version of beer), and roughing it!
Lord have mercy
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
By Rev. Gary Tillman
and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel” ~ Ephesians 3:6
As I was reading this section of scripture, a song came into my mind. You may have heard it before: This land is your land, this land is my land/From California,to the New York Island/From the redwood forest, to the Gulf Stream waters/This land was made for you and me.
The Gospel, the good news of your forgiveness through Jesus’ death and resurrection, unites all people. We are all baptized into his death and resurrection and made members of his one family. God is the Father of us all. The New Colossus is a sonnet by Emma Lazarus (1849-1887), written in 1883 and, in 1903, engraved on a bronze plaque and mounted inside the Statue of Liberty: Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame/With conquering limbs astride from land to land/Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand/A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame/Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name/Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand/Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command/The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame./"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she/With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor./Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,/The wretched refuse of your teeming shore./Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,/I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
The Statue of Liberty stands as a beacon of hope and light for all people looking for freedom in this world. The Statue can only serve as a picture. The Statue cannot deliver freedom. True unity, for people of all time and place, lies under the cross of Calvary. As Christians we look to the cross as our beacon of hope and freedom. The cross is the tool used by God, to demonstrate his love and compassion for all people of all time.
Jesus, the cross, for you, mystery revealed!
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
“Truly I say to you, as you did to one of the least of thesemy brothers,
you did it to me” ~ Matthew 25:40
We live in a world that separates. Good guys-bad guys, lectern side-pulpit side, Vikings-Packers, Democrat-Republican-Independent. You get the picture! We like to put people into a specific box.
In our reading for today, we hear the Lord Jesus doing a little separating of his own: sheep to the right; goats to the left. These are two totally different kinds of people; believers and non-believers.
Jesus does notwant tomake this distinction.Hewants all people to be saved and live with himforever.However, some people do not want Jesus to be their Lord, so Jesus gives them what theywant; life without him, a life as a stubborn, unforgiven old goat.They will receive the consequences of rejecting Jesus: “I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers” (Matthew7:23).Theywill be thrown into hell.The goats get what they want, a placewhere theywon’t be “bothered” by God. As Jesus is talking to the sheep, he tells them about a reward they were going to receive. They were going to receive this gift of eternal paradise by the way they responded to the needs of people. The sheep, in their humbleness, were totally unaware that whenever they helped someone in their time of need, they
were serving the Lord of the universe. (Think of it! Jesus puts his face on those we serve.)
The sheep were doing what comes naturally for them to do. They were bearing the fruit of their faith. As Luther says, you don’t have to tell an apple tree to grow apples, it just does it. The sheep were bearing the image of their Jesus. People would see Jesus through their work of charity and love for the people God loves.
We reflect the mercy our Jesus has for us (his suffering, death and resurrection) to those around us. You might say that Jesus is the light of the world and we are little mirrors, reflecting his compassion to those we see in need!
Monday, March 8, 2010
by Rev. Gary Tillman, St. John Lutheran, Ashippun, Wis
Sunday, March 7, 2010
God really worked through this mercy ministry. In the end all three churches gathered 1800 cans of vegetables and at tonight's prayer service there was a uniting spirit that will definately lead us to many great ministries in the future. The competition was highlighted with a "mercy trophy" that possessed a can of corn on it. St. John, North Prairie won it this year with 920 cans collected. This trophy will be a traveling trophy to the church who gathers more cans each year.
We look forward to next year and hopefully more churches involved.
Lord have mercy
by Ms. Lauren Jensen, Sheldon, IA
Saturday, March 6, 2010
by Ms. Lauren Jensen, Sheldon, IA
Friday, March 5, 2010
by Ms. Lauren Jensen, Sheldon, IA
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Now until Easter morning, I will post the devotions that focus first on the mercy of Christ and then our mercy to others. I look forward to this journey together. We begin with Day 16, "Christ for mercy: To heal the brokenhearted."
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
This article from the Milwaukee Journal, March 2, 2010, gives us a taste of why.
"She grew up in a house on a cul-de-sac in Chicago's western suburbs. It was her parents' dream, the American dream.
So, when she struck out on her own in Milwaukee, Clarissa Mankus climbed on the first rung of home ownership and bought a condo in the Third Ward. She liked the space and briefly enjoyed pride of ownership.
But she learned quickly that her parents' dream was not really her dream. She wanted to be independent, mobile and able to pack up and go at any moment. And she also wanted to pay her tuition bills for graduate school at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
She sold the condo after a few months and now doubles up with a roommate in Grafton.
"The thought of having a mortgage to worry about doesn't seem appealing to me," says Mankus, 26. "A lot of people in my age group feel the same way. We're anti-commitment."Ring true? Younger people today are seeing the deep debt that their parents went through to have the perfect house, the deep debt that they have because their parents kept telling them they had to go to school, the numerous divorces their parents and neighbors endured and seeing everything they have said, "Enough with commitment."
Generation Y is anti-commitment, anti-marriage, anti-institution, and living for the moment. Yet, this generation far exceeds their parents in looking to change the world through social action, joining together in small groups to do big things, and helping America continue to be great.
So what is the church to do? A well thought-out plan of living among Generation Y, investing in a Gen. Y pastor, small groups, and a more contemporary music service? That might work for awhile, but this generation sees right through people being fake. What will work is this...Presenting the Gospel, administering the Sacraments, and caring for our neighbor. Sound familiar?
The church will be presented with many challenges due to this next generation, but the Holy Spirit will also do many amazing things through His means and despite us getting in the way.
Lord have mercy