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Are you REALLY ready for Christmas?

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Mark 1: 1-8The Second Sunday in Advent – (Year B 2017) Epiphany Lutheran Church, Racine WI                                                                                      Rev. Kevin Hundley

So, have you been asked THE Question? At this time of year, conversations usually turn to THE Question, “So, are you ready for Christmas?” That’s code for “how well have you checked off the Christmas TO Do list?”
Some call this the season of giving. But really, it’s the season of DOING. Have you put up lights? Have you decorated a tree? Have you done the shopping, the cooking, the baking the Christmas card making? The clock is ticking you know. Two weeks and then the big event is here. So, are you READY?
If we aren’t careful, this time of year can fill us with anxiety and guilt instead of peace and hope. And if that’s the case Christian, you are missing the purpose of Advent. Advent is a time when we prepare for Jesus coming. So, for a few moments this morning relax. Put aside the to-do list. Beca…

Worship Helps for Advent 3

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Art: The Preaching of St. John the Baptist Artist: Francesco Bacchiacca
Worship Theme: Most people don’t want the Savior who promised to come. Do you?  The Third Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete, a Latin word that means “rejoice.” The rose candle is lit to emphasize this theme of joy. It is a glimmer of gladness in an otherwise more solemn season. 
Prayer of the Day: Hear our prayers, Lord Jesus Christ, and come with the good news of your mighty deliverance.  Drive the darkness from our hearts and fill us with your light; for you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Old Testament: Malachi 4:1-6 Look! The day is coming, burning like a blast furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble. The day that is coming will set them on fire, says the Lord of Armies, a day which will not leave behind a root or branch for them. 2But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness will rise, and there will be healing in its wings. You will go …

Watch

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Mark 13:32-37 32“No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33Watch! Be alert and pray, because you do not know when the time will come. 34It is like a man going away on a journey. When he left his home, he put his servants in charge and assigned what each one was to do. He also commanded the doorkeeper to keep watch. 35Therefore keep watch, because you do not know when the owner of the house is coming: whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or early in the morning. 36If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. 37What I say to you, I say to everyone: Keep watch!” I bike a lot to church, to WLS, to Shoreland, and other places. In that biking, I’m on major roads. I want others to be watching out for me. So when the weather is nice, I wear a bright yellow shirt. Because I take my computer almost everywhere with me, I have a reflective vest from Waste Management permanently pinned to my comp…

Worship Helps for Advent 2

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Art: Baptism of Christ Artist: Pietro Perugino
Worship Theme: Since his coming is sure and so important, he sends out forerunners in the footsteps of St. John the Baptist who help us to make proper preparation for his coming. They do that with a message not their own. They do it with the message that he himself has given. Pay close attention to those heralds of the coming Lord, the prophets and apostles, and to the pastors and teachers in our midst who have succeeded them to get us ready for his coming.
Prayer of the Day: Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to prepare the way for your only Son.  By his coming give us strength in our conflicts and shed light on our path through the darkness of this world; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Old Testament: Isaiah 40:1-11 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. 2Speak to the heart of Jerusalem and call out to her. Her warfare really is over. Her guilt is fully paid fo…

Reformation for Advent: Sola Gratia – Grace Alone

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Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. I begin almost every sermon the same way, with the prayer, “Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.” Grace and mercy. We often use those words interchangeably. It’s easy to think they are the same. They are not. There is a subtle, but very real, difference between the words “mercy” and “grace.” Imagine for a moment that you’ve fallen behind in your car payments, in your house payments, and in your credit card bills. The businesses to whom you owe money expect to be paid. That’s understandable. At first, they ask nicely for their money. Then, they get more aggressive. They send you bills in the mail. They call you incessantly. Eventually, they take you to court. There’s no question that you owe them. You have an unpaid debt. Now, here’s where mercy and grace com…