Showing posts from December, 2011

Appearances are deceiving

John 1:14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

‘Tis the season for Christmas, Hanukkah … and atheism. At the Milwaukee County Courthouse there is a giant lighted Christmas tree, a crèche on a small table, a menorah marking the Jewish Festival of Lights, and a three-foot-high sandwich board type sign proclaiming the winter solstice. The solstice sign comes courtesy of the Freedom from Religion Foundation. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that the group’s sign states: “At this season of winter solstice, let reason prevail. There are no gods, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but a myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”
Seeing a winter-solstice sign like this next to the manger scene may make you upset that people put down Christianity so brazenly. Or maybe it makes you sad that the devil has such a…

Do not be afraid

Luke 2:10-12 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Tommy was in the Preschool class of his Sunday School. All the children were assigned different parts to play for their church’s Christmas play. Tommy was given the role of the first angel on Christmas Eve announcing to the shepherds, “It is I. Do not be afraid.” Other older children were the other angels who would them recite the longer, more difficult verses. All Tommy had to say was one line, “It is I. Do not be afraid.” To his credit, no actor on the silver screen ever rehearsed his lines with as much dedication as that little lad.

Again and again he said, “It is I. Do not be afraid.” He said it fast; he said it slow; he said it with emphasis on one word and then on anothe…

Songs of Advent: Gloria

Midweek Advent 2011Luke 2:14J.D.Roekle

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
Dear Friends in Christ,

An old pioneer traveled westward across the Great Plains until he came to an abrupt halt at the edge of the Grand Canyon.He gawked at the sight before him.He saw a vast chasm one mile down, eighteen miles across, and more than a hundred miles long.He gasped: “Something musta happened here!”
A visitor to our world at this time of year might say the same thing.The lights, the wreaths, the trees, the parades, the decorations in stores and homes alike, the special cookies, candy, and eggnog, the special festivities and the special worship services,… they all point to the fact that something musta happened here.
And indeed something did happen here over 2000 years ago.The Savior of the world was born!Since Jesus Christ has come into the world, countless songs, hymns and carols have been written to honor him, and are still being written.
In Old Testam…

This Christmas, Get the Best News of All!

It's hard to find good news these days, and heaven knows people are trying. But believe it or not, the best news in the history of the world isn't new at all. At Epiphany Lutheran Church, Christmastime is a great season to hear all about the Good News of Jesus Christ. Hear about the Savior who was born as a baby and laid in a manger so that He might be laid on a cruel cross to die and save us from our sins.
Join us and find out why Christmas means you’ll never be without good news again!
Christmas Eve … 5:00 pm
Christmas Morning … 9:00 am

The O Antiphons of Advent

For our sermon today we use the Great “O Antiphons” of Advent. An antiphon is a psalm, hymn or prayer sung or chanted in alternate parts. These O Antiphons have been used at the end of the Advent season since the very early Church.

The importance of the O Antiphons is twofold: each one highlights a title for the Messiah: O Emmanuel, O Wisdom, O Lord, O Root of Jesse, O Key of David, O Dayspring and O Desire of the Nations. Also, each one refers to the prophecy of Isaiah of the coming of the Messiah.
“God helps those who help themselves.” It almost sounds biblical. Some people think it comes from the Bible, but it doesn’t. It is actually unbiblical, even anti-biblical. For the Bible actually says the opposite: God helps the helpless, those who cannot help themselves. God saves those who cannot save themselves. For we are prisoners who cannot free ourselves. We are dead and cannot raise ourselves. We are hell-bound and cannot change our direction.
God must come to us to help us. H…

The Song of Mary: Magnificat

Luke 1:46-55

And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
50His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
51He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
53He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
54He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
55to Abraham and his descendants forever,
even as he said to our fathers.”

My Soul Glorifies the Lord

She burst into singing.That’s the only way Mary thought she could express how great God is and how wonderful he has been towards her.Her song was the most personal and heartfelt a song could be.What she sang weren’t jus…