21st Sunday after Pentecost
Serve the Lord with All Your Heart
Text: 1 Samuel 12:20-24
For the third time in the history of Israel, a legend stood before the people to deliver his farewell speech. When the Israelites had come out of Egypt and were finally about to enter the Promised Land of Canaan, Moses addressed the people of Israel just before he died. Moses’ message? “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and obey his commands.”
Moses was succeeded by Joshua who led the people in conquering and capturing that Promised Land. Then, just before Joshua died he also addressed the people of Israel. Joshua’s message? “Serve the Lord your God and obey him.”
Now several generations later one more legend stood before the people of Israel. His name was Samuel. Samuel the prophet had been leading Israel since he was just a teen. But now as he was retiring he had one final, important message to deliver to the people of Israel. Samuel’s message? You can find the theme at the end of verse 20 of the first lesson today: “Serve the Lord with all your heart.”
Three giants of faith and leadership. All three giving one final message of encouragement. All three urging the same thing before they died: Serve the Lord with All Your Heart. Read the rest of this entry
3rd Sunday after Pentecost – Confirmation Sunday
Which is Better?
Text: Philippians 1:18b-26
Today is a special day for Christ the King. We haven’t done this before. Strange enough, in the six year history of Christ the King today is our first ever confirmation Sunday. We’ve had plenty of adults join our church when standing up here to confirm their unity of belief and dedication to the Lord. I’m privileged to have taken most of you adults here today through those instructional classes.
We’ve also had plenty of young’uns at Christ the King. Hence the herd that stampeded down the hallway to children’s church a few minutes ago. But we’ve never had eighth grade students go through catechism classes and confirmation. Today, we have our first three.
The practice of catechism classes and confirmation is not something unique to Christ the King. It’s not even specifically Lutheran. In fact, the practice is as old as the Christian church itself. Just before Jesus ascended into heaven he told his disciples, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing the in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” You heard those words this morning and saw that command carried out with Lucy’s awesome baptism. But Jesus also continued that command saying, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing the in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” So Jesus’ disciples and the early Christians began to thoroughly teach everything Christ taught. Read the rest of this entry
Devotion Text: Acts 11:19-26
Can you imagine?
This man was not only your worst enemy, he literally wanted you dead at every turn. You didn’t just disagree at the water cooler, he spoke out against your beliefs in the city square as led stonings of your friends and leaders. This was pure hatred. If you had once had the opportunity to kill him, it would have been self-defense.
Now, things had changed. This man had changed.
Once completely opposed to your teachings, he was now learning and teaching among your people! He was living among your friends and forsaking his former way of life. How could this be? Was it a trick? People don’t just change like this do they?
This is the story of Paul and Barnabas. Once an enemy of the church, Paul was converted by a vision of the risen Lord Jesus and he changed. Barnabas, a leader in the church of Jerusalem was asked to go to Antioch to see the blessings of the Lord as the church was growing like wildfire. Seeing the blessings at Antioch, Barnabas knew he needed help to serve this congregation and sought out Paul and the two of them became longtime co-workers, spreading the gospel together and the Lord blessed their efforts in Antioch and around the world.
This is the power of the gospel.
It changed the hearts of the people of Antioch, before Paul and Barnabas even arrived. It changed the heart of Paul to become a minister of the gospel instead of an enemy of it. It changed the heart of Barnabas to accept a one-time enemy as a brother. This same gospel changes our hearts and minds as well to willingly leave our lives of sin and serve God.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, change my heart. Turn me from selfish worrying and pride, from sins of habit and sins of choice. Turn me toward you in willful service to your church and my neighbors. Help me to live for you and for others rather than for myself. Give me that strength dear Lord. Amen.
This is the fifth weekly reading in the plan for reading your Bible in one year. The assignment for this week is the book of Acts. It should only take about 15 minutes a day, or about 4 chapters a day to complete the assignment.
Here are some comments to help you grow in knowledge and faith as you read Acts.
Background: Luke wrote the book of Acts. Luke was not one of the 12 disciples, but he was an apostle. This letter to Theophilus is a continuation of where he left off with his detailed account in his gospel. Luke the doctor investigated carefully everything that Jesus said and did for his gospel account. But for Acts, Luke was a witness of many of the events himself. There are several “we” sections in Acts that indicate Luke was with Paul on these journeys. These “we” sections are: 16:10-17; 20:5-15; 21:1-18; 27:1-28:16.
Some think of Acts as a record of “the Acts of the Apostles.” This could be appropriate and fitting. Perhaps a better view might be to see this book as “the Acts of the Holy Spirit.” Acts is an amazing testimony to the power of the Spirit who worked in great and mighty ways through the preaching of the gospel.
As we read Acts, it can only be our prayer that God would use us to spread his Word in such bold and courageous ways, and that God would bless our work as he blessed the work of these first believers! Read the rest of this entry