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Showing posts from January, 2014

A light in the darkness

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Isaiah 9:1-2 Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan-- 2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. In 1789 when the Bastille, the castle-like prison in Paris, was about to be destroyed, a long-term inmate was brought out. He had lived in his gloomy cell for many, many years. Sadly, instead of welcoming his liberty, the man begged to be taken back to his cell. Unaccustomed to the sunlight, he had only one desire – to die in the murky dungeon that had held him captive for so long. No, not everybody wants to be in the light. Sadly, we live in an age where many people wish to continue to live in their self-imposed darkness of sin and unbelief. On January 22, 1973 the Supreme Court made its ruling in the Roe v. …

Worship Helps for Epiphany 4

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Artwork: Jesus preaching on the mount Artist: Gustave Dore Today begins something extra added to the weekly Worship Helps. Every week, in addition to a piece of art that depicts one of the Scripture lessons, we will examine the artist and the art more in depth. We begin with one of the most popular artist that you have probably never heard of. Gustave Dore (1832-1883) was a child prodigy from Strasbourg, France. His first illustrated story was published at the age of 15. Within a year, Dore was the highest paid illustrator in France. Gustave Dore never had an art lesson. Yet he was the illustrator for some of the most famous authors in history – Milton, Dante, Lord Byron, and Edgar Allen Poe, among them. He also illustrated the English Bible by John Wycliffe in 1866. Dore created 238 illustrations for the Bible. But he wasn’t just an illustrator of books. He also engraved in both wood and metal. He was also famous as a painter and sculptor. But his lasting legacy is in his engravings and…

Deliver us from evil

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We pray in the Lord’s Prayer, “Deliver us from evil.” And yet, evil continues to strike those who are close to us. The story has made its way onto the national news programs. It is a story that has shaken the WELS church, as well as the entire community of Libertyville, IL. It is a story that has affected many of the children at Shoreland, WLS and Training Camp. A young girl is dead at the hands of her older sister. Your children may have lots of questions. There aren’t really a lot of answers. But there is encouragement. It is encouragement that is found in Jesus Christ. We need this encouragement because the world in which we live is very evil. But this evil isn’t just “out there” in the world. The evil is “right here” inside of each of us. This evil lurks inside of us and can lash out at any moment. Cain killed his brother. Moses killed an Egyptian. David had Uriah killed. Peter cut off the ear of Malchus. Even those who believe in the true God have evil in their hearts. But that evil…

The Enlightenment

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In the 17th century, a period of time began which historians call “the enlightenment.” It was a time when human reason and intellect began to make great strides in science and technology. The so-called superstitious and silly ways of the supernatural and religion were being left behind, and now things would be better. More enlightened. And there is no denying that the advances made since that time have had a great impact on our lives today, and have made them better in many ways. However, this verse from the prophet Isaiah is still true: “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned” (9:2). No matter what strides have been made in medicine and technology, in learning and discovery; no matter how “enlightened” we think we are, there is still darkness in our world. Deep darkness. The darkness of sin. And no matter how hard we try, we can’t overcome it. And though we may not see it from time to time, it always…

Funeral sermon for Louise Damaschke

The Good Shepherd loves His sheep John 10:11-16 “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. 13 The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me-- 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father-- and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.” Shrek the sheep became famous several years ago when he was found after hiding out in caves for six years. Shrek had wandered away from his shepherd and flock. The shepherd searched and searched, but assumed that the sheep had died. Shrek had managed to survive on his own for those six years … but …

Jesus loves His job as Servant

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Isaiah 49:1 Listen to me, you islands; hear this, you distant nations: Before I was born the LORD called me; from my birth he has made mention of my name. 2 He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver. 3 He said to me, "You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will display my splendor." 4 But I said, "I have labored to no purpose; I have spent my strength in vain and for nothing. Yet what is due me is in the LORD's hand, and my reward is with my God." 5 And now the LORD says-- he who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel to himself, for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD and my God has been my strength-- 6 he says: "It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation…

Worship Helps for Epiphany 3

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Artwork: Calling of the Apostles Artist: Domenico Ghirlandaio Date: 1481 Location: Vatican
Jesus appears as the light that shines in the darkness. Dark places remain covered in the shadow of sin and unbelief. Now there are, however, bright places too, and there you find God’s children. Jesus shines his light by preaching repentance and the good news of the nearing kingdom, and he invites us to follow him to a life illumined by him. Following him means living in the joy of freedom (First Lesson) and walking in the light of love for God and brother (Second Lesson).
Old Testament:Isaiah 8:19-9:2 When men tell you to consult mediums and spiritists, who whisper and mutter, should not a people inquire of their God? Why consult the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn. 21 Distressed and hungry, they will roam through the land; when they are famished, they will become enraged and, looking upward, wi…