Friday, December 30, 2016

A New Creation

Looking ahead to worship on January 1

Our focus will be A New Creation

╬ New Beginnings

We stand on the cusp of a new year.  It’s a “new moon” moment; a hinge point in the unfolding story of our lives and the continuing story of God’s great work of creation.  The joys and the hardships of times past trail behind us.  And, by grace, we’re given the gift of new beginnings.  We gather to celebrate this First Sunday of Christmas – this New Year’s Day – to step forward with great hope and expectation into the time ahead.

Here is a bulletin cover image, Sermon and Reflection Slides are attached.  The Prayer of the Day and the Gospel Reading (the only reading for the day) are below.  We are working on a little different Order of Service for our single worship gathering on Jan. 1, at 9:30.

Looking forward to celebrating with you!

- Pastor Brad Highum

PRAYER OF THE DAY ------------------------------------------------
God of new beginnings, we greet you at the dawning of a new day.  You who have led us on the journey thus far, go with us in the time to come.  Shine light on the path ahead and lead us in the way, the truth and the life that leads to you!  Amen.

READINGS --------------------------------------------------------
Gospel:  Luke 2:22-40

22 When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, "Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord"), 24 and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, "a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons."

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Messiah. 27 Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, 29 "Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace, according to your word;30 for my eyes have seen your salvation,31 which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel."  33 And the child's father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him.

34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, "This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed 35 so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed —  and a sword will pierce your own soul, too." 

36 There was also a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.  She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.

39 When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40 The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

First Sunday of Christmas

December 25, 2016, 9:30 AM
First Sunday of Christmas

We gather as the family of faith to welcome the Christ child!  In his birth is the fulfillment of the prophets, the fulfillment of God's covenant and the full flowering of God's promise ... that in him all creation will be born anew.  We sing Glory to God in the highest, and give thanks to God for the light no darkness can overcome.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve 2016

Christmas Eve Services at Abiding Love Lutheran Church

Saturday, December 24
4:00 & 6:00 pm
Child-friendly worship - Christmas Story
Carols,Communion & Candlelight

Saturday, December 24
 8:00 pm
Carols, Communion & Candlelight

Wednesday, December 7, 2016


Worship on Sunday, December 11 …  

╬ Joy!

In this season of hope and anticipation we are invited to experience profound joy.  Not to be confused with cheerful disposition, genuine joy stems from a far deeper sense of the goodness of God and God’s will for the wholeness of creation.  We are invited to dwell in the joy of the Lord and to find our strength there.  True joy is one of the paradoxes of faith.  Even in the darkest of times and the hardest of circumstances we can hold to the promise of this joy that springs from God.  We discover that in God, suffering is never ultimate; Joy is!  We can rejoice with the Psalmist that “weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning!”  (Psalm 30:5)

We look forward to Rev. Norb Firnhaber joining us in worship this Sunday to bring us a message of Joy!

Here is a bulletin cover image.  Sermon and Reflection slides are attached.  The Prayer of the Day and Readings are below.  Note:  we have selected a Luke Gospel text for our theme, a change from our original worship plan.

Blessings and the true Joy of the season to you all!

- Pastor Brad Highum

The following links will work after Sunday Dec 11th, 2016
Prayer of the Day ______________________________________________

God of grace, teach us true joy in this season.  As we await the coming of your Christ, help us to live in the joy of your love and goodness.  Let your joy lift our hearts above the circumstances of life and give us the strength to live faithfully with you.  Amen.

Readings _________________________________________________

First Reading:  Isaiah 35:1-10

1 The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus 2 it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God.  3 Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees.4 Say to those who are of a fearful heart, "Be strong, do not fear!  Here is your God. He will come with vengeance, with terrible recompense. He will come and save you."  5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped;6 then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.  For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert;7 the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp, the grass shall become reeds and rushes.  8 A highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Holy Way; the unclean shall not travel on it, but it shall be for God's people; no traveler, not even fools, shall go astray.9 No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there.10 And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Psalm 146:5-10

5 Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord their God,
6 who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them; who keeps faith forever; 
7 who executes justice for the oppressed; who gives food to the hungry.  The Lord sets the prisoners free;
8 the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous.
9 The Lord watches over the strangers; he upholds the orphan and the widow, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
10 The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, for all generations.  Praise the Lord!

Second Reading:  James 5:7-11

7 Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. 8 You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. 9 Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors! 10 As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 

Gospel:  Luke 2:8-12

8 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for see —  I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11 to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger." 

Friday, December 2, 2016


Second Sunday in Advent … Season of Peace!

╬ Peace

“Blessed are the peacemakers,” Jesus says.  At Jesus’ birth, the voices of angels ring in the heavens singing, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill among all people.”  Hebrew Testament proclaims “Jehovah-Shalom;” the very name of God is ‘peace.’ But Scripture also rails against those who deal falsely saying, “ ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace!” (Jeremiah 6:14).  Real and lasting peace remains both the greatest hope and the greatest challenge for humanity.  And peace will not be achieved passively, will not come about on its own.  Jesus blesses peace-makers for they are, he says, “the children of God.”  And all creation is waiting with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God.  

Below are the Prayer of the Day and Readings:  

We come together as the people of God to commit ourselves to peace in our time, to peace in God’s world.

Blessings all!

- Pastor Brad Highum

The following links will work after Sunday Dec 4th, 2016
PRAYER OF THE DAY ----------------------------------------------- 
God of peace, make us peacemakers.  Guide us in the way of peace.  Call us forth as your children, to live peace, so that all the world might come to know your Great Shalom … a world ordered according to your goodness, grace and peace.  Amen.

READINGS ---------------------------------------------------------
First Reading:  Isaiah 11:1-10

11 A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.2 The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.3 His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.  He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear;4 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.5 Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins.  6 The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.7 The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.8 The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder's den.9 They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. 10 On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious.

Psalm 72:1-7, 18-19

1 Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to a king's son.
2 May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice.
3 May the mountains yield prosperity for the people, and the hills, in righteousness.
4 May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the needy, and crush the oppressor.
5 May he live while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations.
6 May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth.
7 In his days may righteousness flourish and peace abound, until the moon is no more.
18 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things.
19 Blessed be his glorious name forever; may his glory fill the whole earth.

Second Reading:  Romans 15:4-13

4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. 5 May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, 6 so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  7 Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. 8 For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the circumcised on behalf of the truth of God in order that he might confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, 9 and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, "Therefore I will confess you among the Gentiles, and sing praises to your name"; 10 and again he says, "Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people"; 11 and again, "Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples praise him"; 12 and again Isaiah says, "The root of Jesse shall come, the one who rises to rule the Gentiles; in him the Gentiles shall hope."  13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Gospel:  Luke 1:67-79

67 Then his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke this prophecy:  68 "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them. 69 He has raised up a mighty savior for us in the house of his servant David, 70 as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,71 that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us.72 Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors, and has remembered his holy covenant,73 the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham, to grant us 74 that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies, might serve him without fear, 75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the forgiveness of their sins.78 By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us,79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace."

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


November 27 … the First Sunday in Advent

We begin our Advent series with a focus on hope!
╬ Hope

Emily Dickinson said, “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without the words and never stops – at all –”  She captures the essence of this fluttering of the Spirit in the hearts of people of faith.  It is a force – at once fragile and gentle, but unwavering and unstoppable –  that ministers to our souls.  It speaks to us of goodness when all about seems threatening.  It speaks to us of persistence when despair gnaws at us.  It speaks to us of a light, growing brighter, when shadows crowd round us.  It is the song that accompanies us in the night, promising the dawn.  It is fitting that we begin our Advent journey here – in the place of hope – as we long for the light that is coming.

Here is as bulletin cover image.  Sermon and Reflection Slides are attached.  The Prayer of the Day and Readings are below.

In the most challenging of times, my hope is in the Lord and the mission we share as a community of faith!

Blessings and peace to you all, 

- Pastor Brad Highum

The following links will work after Sunday Nov 27th, 2016

PRAYER OF THE DAY ----------------------------------------------

Creating God, we are unafraid and undeterred, for our hope is in you.  Our trust is in your grace, and your goodness.  Hope in you is a light that grows in us, leading us to the fulfillment of your promise of deliverance, redemption and peace.  Amen.

READINGS -----------------------------------------------------------

First Reading:  Isaiah 2:1-5

1 The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.  2 In days to come the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it.  3 Many peoples shall come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths."  For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.  4 He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.  5 O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!

Psalm 122

1 I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the Lord!"
2 Our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem.
3 Jerusalem — built as a city that is bound firmly together.
4 To it the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, as was decreed for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the Lord.
5 For there the thrones for judgment were set up, the thrones of the house of David.
6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:  "May they prosper who love you.
7 Peace be within your walls, and security within your towers."
8 For the sake of my relatives and friends I will say, "Peace be within you."
9 For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your good.

Second Reading:  Romans 13:11-14

11 Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; 12 the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; 13 let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

Gospel:  Matthew 24:36-44

36 "But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, 39 and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. 41 Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. 42 Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour. 

Christ the King Sunday

Worship on November 20, Christ the King Sunday …

╬ King Jesus

The title “king” is used with regard to Jesus in different ways throughout his life, literally from nativity to crucifixion.  Magi follow a star seeking the birthplace of the one born “king of the Jews.”  It becomes a cruel taunt of derision as he hangs upon the cross:  “Hail, ‘king of the Jews’ … save yourself!”  He is honored by the faithful in the words of the prophet – “King of kings and Lord of lords!” – even as Pilate, in a trial for his life, asks him:  “Are you a king?”  Jesus himself defies worldly conceptions of kings.  Yet we proclaim him this day “Christ the King” … even as he his crucified between two thieves.

Here is a bulletin cover image.  Sermon and Reflection Slides are attached.  The Prayer of the Day and Readings are below.

Here at the turning of the church year, we celebrate the reign of Christ, even as we prepare for his birth among us.

Blessings all, 

- Pastor Brad Highum 
The following links will work after Sunday Nov 20th, 2016
PRAYER OF THE DAY ----------------------------------------------

God of all, we proclaim your Son king in a world struggling with oppression and fear, injustice and violence.  Keep your Christ ever before us that his light and love might guide us as we seek his rule and reign in our lives, for the healing of the world.  Amen.

READINGS ----------------------------------------------------------

First Reading: Jeremiah 23:1-6

23 Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! says the Lord. 2 Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who shepherd my people: It is you who have scattered my flock, and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. So I will attend to you for your evil doings, says the Lord. 3 Then I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the lands where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. 4 I will raise up shepherds over them who will shepherd them, and they shall not fear any longer, or be dismayed, nor shall any be missing, says the Lord.  5 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 6 In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. And this is the name by which he will be called: "The Lord is our righteousness."

Psalm 46

1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
3 though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its tumult. Selah 
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved; God will help it when the morning dawns.
6 The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts. 
7 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah 
8 Come, behold the works of the Lord; see what desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.
10 "Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth."
11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. 

Second Reading:  Colossians 1:11-20

11 May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.  15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; 16 for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or powers — all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.

Gospel:  Luke 23:33-43

33 When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left.[34 Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." And they cast lots to divide his clothing. 35 And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, "He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!" 36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, 37 and saying, "If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!" 38 There was also an inscription over him, "This is the King of the Jews."  39 One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!" 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong." 42 Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." 43 He replied, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise." 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

To Everything a Season

Worship on Sunday, November 13

We are taking an opportunity here at the end of the church year to connect with the theological calendar that overlays the seasons and cycles of the year.

╬ To Everything a Season

In this change of seasons, we are coming to the end of the church year.  Our chronological calendars chart the natural seasons of the year and keep us centered in the natural cycles of life.  At the same time, we follow a theological calendar of spiritual observance and celebration that keeps us centered in ongoing revelation of God in the world.  Each season brings a beauty and richness of its own, in the cycles of nature, flowing one into another, and in the changing seasons of our relationship with the One who gives us life.  We take time to locate ourselves in the spiritual calendar and to see the way the coming year and the journey of faith unfold before us.

Below are the Prayer of the Day and Readings.

We are in a beautiful season of time, in the calendar of chronosand in the spiritual calendar of faith life.  What a blessing to share it all with you!

- Pastor Brad Highum

PRAYER OF THE DAY -----------------------------------------------

Creating God, the seasons flow in the current of nature and bring shape and meaning to our lives.  Awaken us to the seasons and cycles of our spiritual walk that continually return us and draw us ever closer to you.  Amen.

READINGS -------------------------------------------------------------

First Reading:  Exodus 12:33-42

33 The Egyptians urged the people to hasten their departure from the land, for they said, "We shall all be dead." 34 So the people took their dough before it was leavened, with their kneading bowls wrapped up in their cloaks on their shoulders. 35 The Israelites had done as Moses told them; they had asked the Egyptians for jewelry of silver and gold, and for clothing, 36 and the Lord had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have what they asked. And so they plundered the Egyptians.  37 The Israelites journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand men on foot, besides children. 38 A mixed crowd also went up with them, and livestock in great numbers, both flocks and herds. 39 They baked unleavened cakes of the dough that they had brought out of Egypt; it was not leavened, because they were driven out of Egypt and could not wait, nor had they prepared any provisions for themselves.  40 The time that the Israelites had lived in Egypt was four hundred thirty years. 41 At the end of four hundred thirty years, on that very day, all the companies of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt. 42 That was for the Lord a night of vigil, to bring them out of the land of Egypt. That same night is a vigil to be kept for the Lord by all the Israelites throughout their generations.

Responsive Reading:  Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

Second Reading:  Leviticus 23:15-21

15 And from the day after the sabbath, from the day on which you bring the sheaf of the elevation offering, you shall count off seven weeks; they shall be complete. 16 You shall count until the day after the seventh sabbath, fifty days; then you shall present an offering of new grain to the Lord. 17 You shall bring from your settlements two loaves of bread as an elevation offering, each made of two-tenths of an ephah; they shall be of choice flour, baked with leaven, as first fruits to the Lord. 18 You shall present with the bread seven lambs a year old without blemish, one young bull, and two rams; they shall be a burnt offering to the Lord, along with their grain offering and their drink offerings, an offering by fire of pleasing odor to the Lord. 19 You shall also offer one male goat for a sin offering, and two male lambs a year old as a sacrifice of well-being. 20 The priest shall raise them with the bread of the first fruits as an elevation offering before the Lord, together with the two lambs; they shall be holy to the Lord for the priest. 21 On that same day you shall make proclamation; you shall hold a holy convocation; you shall not work at your occupations. This is a statute forever in all your settlements throughout your generations.

Gospel:  Luke 22:7-13

7 Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 8 So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and prepare the Passover meal for us that we may eat it." 9 They asked him, "Where do you want us to make preparations for it?" 10 "Listen," he said to them, "when you have entered the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him into the house he enters 11 and say to the owner of the house, 'The teacher asks you, "Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?" ' 12 He will show you a large room upstairs, already furnished. Make preparations for us there." 13 So they went and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal.

The following links will work after Sunday Nov 13th, 2016

Monday, October 31, 2016

All Saints Sunday November 6, 2016

My friends, we enter into a series of Festival Sundays … Reformation, ALL SAINTS, and Christ the King!  Here at the completion of the church liturgical year, we look back in honoring the past and we look forward to all that God is doing as the future stretches broad before us.

╬  Feast of All Saints

The Christian Testament describes all the people of God as “saints” – deriving from the Latin sancire, “consecrated,” and sanctus, “holy.”  Not just particular, especially virtuous people … but all of us!  Claimed by God in our baptism, God sanctifies us for a life of faith.  Here on the Feast of All Saints, we celebrate the lives and the witness of all who have gone before us, our heritage of saints stretching back over untold generations.  And we celebrate the saints of our time – the people of God, the Body of Christ, in the world today – even as we look forward in hope to generations of saints to come. We remember the saints of God “who from their labors rest.”  And we lift up and celebrate each other, as saints of God, who carry forward in the great calling we share:  to bless God’s world, now and in the future.

We are blessed on Nov. 6 to have as our visiting pastor and preacher, Rev. Brad Fuerst, Pastor of Lutheran Campus Ministry at the University of Texas in Austin!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Semper Reformanda

╬ Semper Reformanda!

We are called to be the church in our time and place.  The calling of the Body of Christ – God’s church in the midst of the world -- is to faithfully live out the Gospel in context, in a given place and time. An obvious challenge is the variety of contexts and circumstances in which that life takes place:  urban, rural, in times of war or times of peace, amid social revolutions and periods of retrenchment, among the rich and the poor, the powerful and the oppressed.  And an even greater challenge is the fluidity of it all.  Our world is not static and predictable, but dynamic, ever-changing.  Our Reformation heritage teaches us to continually be reforming to engage a changing culture in new ways.  And to paraphrase the Prophet, “That ain’t easy!”

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Blessed are You

╬ Blessed are You!

“You will be hated because of my name.”  (Mark 13:13)  To the ones who are being transformed:  to his followers who have embraced the way and the truth and the life of Jesus, he gives this warning.  The world will resist – even violently – this way of being that calls forth love in the face of fear, that celebrates generosity in the face of greed, that honors God above empire. Who knows better than Jesus the consequences of speaking truth to power when power does not want to hear.  And yet, Jesus encourages us that even in the face of persecution we can know the “beatus,” the blessing of God, the joy of the Lord!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Blessed are the Peacemakers

LOOKING AHEAD … to Worship on Sunday, October 16:

As we continue in our Beatitudes series, we begin to see the profound movement of Jesus’ teaching in this discourse on blessings. 

╬ Blessed are the Peacemakers

We begin to discover a grander purpose underlying Jesus’ teaching of the Beatitudes.  He has been talking in paradoxical terms that challenge us to experience real blessing in the hardest circumstances of life.  He moves on to talk about Kingdom attributes that God is blessing and calling forth from us.  And we discover that all the while he has been leading us on the path of transformation, toward embracing our true identity and calling as God’s people.  The children of God are the peacemakers:  the ones who are actively working to bring about the great Shalom that God intends for humanity and all creation.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Blessed are the Merciful and Pure in Heart

Worship on Sunday, October 9 …

As we continue with our exploration of the Beatitudes.  As we move into October, we prepare to renew our commitment to support the mission and ministries of Abiding Love.  And in our study, we begin to fold in the vital consideration of “Blessed for …”

╬  Blessed are the Merciful and Pure in Heart
There is a palpable progression in Jesus’ teaching of the Beatitudes.  He begins with the blessing that is experienced even (or especially) when our spirits are famished and grieving.  He then moves to the way God blesses us when we are humbled by circumstance, hungry for change and open to God’s leading.  He moves on, into more positivistic places of blessing:  experienced when we can approach others and the world with compassion and mercy, and when we operate from the purest sense of who we are in God.  All the while, Jesus is expanding our focus, from the ways in which God is blessing us, to the ways God is seeking to bless the world through us.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Meek and Hungry

Sunday, October 2:  “Meek and Hungry”    We continue in our Beatitudes series

╬  “Only the Meek and Hungry Need Apply.”  Employers today are looking for the accomplished and successful.  Only the best and brightest people with a proven track record need apply. Yet the One who calls us to action, in actualizing the Kingdom of Heaven – the rule and reign of God in the world – is looking for a different skill set, a different attitude toward life and the world.  God is calling forth the conviction that righteousness – right relationship between God and people and creation – as the central priority in life.  We rarely hear “meekness” lifted up as a positive qualification or attribute … until we understand it as the ability to be led and guided in the will and ways of God.  We open ourselves to true blessing when we begin to understand and embrace this way of being, God’s way of being. The Beatitudes.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Empty and Lost

Sunday, October 2:  Our focus today is on the first two Beatitudes Jesus teaches … for the poor in spirit and those who mourn.

╬ “ Empty and Lost ”  The Beatitudes have this extraordinary character of paradox.  We are blessed when we are “poor in spirit?”  What does it mean to be poor “in spirit,” and how can that be understood as blessing?  In the same way, how are we to receive and embrace the idea of blessing when we are grieving?  And yet, Jesus says these things clearly and directly, inviting us to go deeper … to discover that only empty vessels may be filled; to engage a deeper of notion of the goodness of God:  present in healing and redeeming power in the very places of our loss and emptiness.  Blessed are we when famished in spirit and mourning loss.  It is here that the inflowing of God begins.  The Beatitudes.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Mount and Plain

Sunday, September 18:  We begin our new series focusing on the Beatitudes!

╬ “Mount and Plain” In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus ascends the mountain to deliver his most profound teaching about blessing.  In the Gospel According to Luke, he leads his followers out on a wide, level plain.  The differences in the Gospel accounts have a lot to say about the Gospel writers and intended audiences, about the context and situations in which the teachings are recounted.  But the truth of the message – the core of Jesus’ teaching – comes through with paradigm-shattering clarity.  He’s teaching us how to live God’s way in a world that struggles with the will and ways of God.  We begin with the contexts and uniqueness of “the sermon on the mount” and the “sermon on the plain” … the Beatitudes.

Rally Day … Day of Service -claimed-gathered-sent

WORSHIP on Sunday, September 11 … 
Rally Day … Day of Service!

What an exciting Sunday!  And the perfect day to complete our series focusing on the people of God as The Body of Christ.

╬ “claimed-gathered-sent”  Our faith life is filled with “trinities.”  God is revealed as Father-Son-Spirit.  We are created-redeemed-sustained by the love and grace of God.  The continual renewing of creation and much of our human experience follows a pattern of life-death-resurrection to new life.  The calling of people to live out their faith – to the glory of God and for the sake of the world – can be understood in a triune way, as well.  The people of God are claimed by God in baptism, gathered together as a community of faith and sent in a mission of love and service to a needful world.   As the Body of Christ in the world today, we are the claimed-gathered-sent ones of God.  Our shared journey is to live into and to live out that true identity.

The God who claims us has gathered and gifted us and is sending us to the world God loves.  What a blessing to make our way together!