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Showing posts from July, 2013

Dealing with denying yourself while running the race

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The Amazing Race - Training Camp 2013 Evening Devotions Hebrews 11:24-26 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. The Badwater Ultramarathon is a two-day, 135-mile trek that begins in the desert of Death Valley and ends high in the Sierra Nevadas. The race entails roughly the equivalent of running from FishLake north to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, or southeast from CampDuncan to Monticello, Indiana. While climbing nearly halfway to Mount Everest. In temperatures that can approach 130 degrees. It is an extreme race that requires a tremendous amount of mental toughness. The Ultramarathon, triathlons, marathons are becoming more popular for serious runners. But even smaller races that invo…

Worship Helps for Pentecost 11

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Artwork: Parable of the Rich Fool Artist: Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn Date: 1606-1669 Worship Theme: Earthly wealth is meaningless without God.The meaning of life cannot be found in the abundance of earthly possessions but in the abundance of heavenly blessings. The believer recognizes that everything the world seeks and offers is meaningless. Rather, he sets his heart on the treasure found in the fullness of Christ. Old Testament:Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:18-26 "Meaningless! Meaningless!" says the Teacher. "Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless." … 18 I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. 19 And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the work into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless. 20 So my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labor under the sun. 21 For a man may do his work with wisdom, knowl…

Athletics and God

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Most of us enjoy watching sports. We like watching various sports on TV, we enjoy going to games, and we have fun participating in our kids’ sporting events. But is there a danger that these sporting activities might be taking over our lives to a certain extent? How can we make sure sports don’t become our religion? Personally, I enjoy sports. I like playing soccer, but I must admit it’s a bit more painful than it used to be. I love watching my girls play in their various sports because it is great family time together. Seeing their skill and the strategy involved in any sporting event is a lot of fun. But they are games. I think we can all admit that our culture has become a little too serious about such things, devoting a bit too much attention and money to people who are playing games for our entertainment.

Playing games and watching sports is a fun way to spend the time God has given us on this earth. However, we must always realize that’s all they are – fun and games. If we want t…

Worship Helps for Pentecost 9

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Artwork: Mary and Martha Artist: Nathan Greene Date: born 1961 Worship Theme: Doctors sometimes tell sick, weak people to put on some weight. Their body needs proper nourishment. That is true also for our souls. Even after we become Christians through the powerful working of the Holy Spirit, our faith-life needs daily nourishment to fight against the power of sin inside us and around us. And how is our faith-life nourished? Only through God’s gospel promises in Word and Sacrament. Old Testament:1 Samuel 3:1-10 The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli. In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions. 2 One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. 3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was. 4 Then the LORD called Samuel. Samuel answered, "Here I am." 5 And he ran to Eli and said, "Here I am; you called m…

Justifying yourself doesn't work

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Luke 10:25-37 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" 26 "What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?" 27 He answered: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" 28 "You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live." 29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" 30 In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and sa…

Bringing your young children to church

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Dear parents with young children in church,
You are doing something really, really important. I know it isn’t easy. I see you coming to church with your little ones and know how much of an effort you put forth to be here. I can see it in your eyes how tired you are. Parenting is tiring. Really tiring.
I see you entering the church juggling the infant car seat and the diaper bag, trying to find a seat toward the back of the church. I watch you bounce and sway and shush your infant trying to keep her quiet. I see you wince when your child cries and you feel like all eyes are on you. Not everyone is looking, but I know it feels that way.
I see you with your toddler and your preschooler. I watch you wince when your little girl announces that she has to go to the bathroom in a voice that might not be an inside voice let alone a church whisper. I watch you cringe when your little boy raises his hand during the children’s devotion, not knowing what embarrassing answer he might give to the pas…