Pastor's Blog

Worship preview for 10/22

Our God patiently looks for fruits of faith, also called good works. What are good works in the sight of God? The catechism answers: “In the sight God good works are the works of faith which the Holy Spirit leads the Christian to do out of love, according to the Ten Commandments, for the glory of God, and for the welfare of his neighbor.”

As the Reformation so clearly emphasized, good works do not earn salvation. The Holy Spirit comes to us through Word and Sacraments to lead us to repentance and faith. Through those means of grace the Holy Spirit gives us new birth in Christ and then strengthens us in faith and good works.

Good works show on the outside what is the condition of the inside, and that is why they are also called “fruits” of faith. The grapes on the outside of the vine show the condition of the vine on the inside.


THE GOSPEL: MATTHEW 21:33–43
Jesus’ words in the Gospel highlight the patience of our God as he seeks fruits of faith. Could God have done anything more for Israel? The point here is the amazing patience the owner displays. What owner would continue to send servants when they were treated this way? Who would ever answer such barbarity by sending his only Son? The patience of God with Israel is without comparison. Even Jesus’ enemies had to agree that the only just end for such tenants was judgment.

The owner’s Son looked his enemies in the eye and proclaimed that opposing him was impossible. Killing the Son means defeat for his enemies and victory for God as prophesied in Psalm 118. God will lift his Son from death and use the stone rejected by men as his capstone.

Let Jesus’ enemies be warned. You can oppose the Son actively and you will find yourself on your face. You can ignore the Son at your peril and you will find yourself ground to powder.

Israel’s leaders refused to produce the fruits of repentance and faith. As a result, the kingdom of God will be ripped away and given to a different nation. The point is not that he will give the kingdom to Gentiles, but that God’s kingdom doesn’t belong to an ethnic group, but an ethical group: those who produce its fruit. The nation to whom is it given is the body of believers. Whether they are prostitutes (Matthew 21:32) or members of the Sanhedrin (John 19:39) or Gentiles who are of the faith of Abraham (Romans 4:16), the kingdom belongs to them by faith.

FIRST LESSON: ISAIAH 5:1–7
The details of grape cultivation were common knowledge in Israel. They understood the backbreaking work that went into establishing a vineyard. They knew the joy of harvesting its fruit. Did Isaiah share this message at the time of the grape harvest when every detail was fresh?

The song of the vineyard starts out as a beautiful love ballad. Israel is God’s own vineyard, and he gave her everything she needed.

After planting vines, a farmer normally had to wait two years for the first harvest. Isaiah tells us that God was not idle after planting. He built a tower, a press—this vineyard had everything needed. No expense was spared. What a surprise then, when God came to look for fruit and found only “stinking things.” When God speaks in verse 3, who could disagree with him?

Like the vineyard, Israel lacked nothing. God took her from Egypt and planted her in the Promised Land. He drove out her enemies and made her secure. She had the Law, the Temple, the priesthood, the sacrifices, the prophets. What more could God have done? Yet when he came to harvest, there was no fruit. In fact, God found the opposite of his intention! God looked for “justice” but found “bloodshed.” He looked for “righteousness” but found “cries of distress.” It had a beautiful beginning, but the song of the vineyard has a harrowing end: God himself will tear it down.

When God looks for fruits of faith in our life and finds them lacking, couldn’t he ask the same question of us, “What more could I have done for you? I planted you in baptism; I bought you with blood; I guarded you with angels.” This song leads God’s people of every generation to self-evaluation and self-condemnation. Such a song leads us to repent and cry, “Lord, have mercy!” Let us never receive God’s grace in vain, but pray that we might produce the fruits that our beloved seeks.

SECOND LESSON: PHILIPPIANS 3:12–21
This is the third of four consecutive readings from Philippians. Today’s lesson fits nicely with the theme of the Gospel: Paul encourages us to live up to what we have already attained. God has given us the kingdom of heaven by faith. We are the people he promised would produce its fruits. So let us do exactly that. Let us live drastically different lives than the people of this world who worship their stomach and their shame. Let us with free hearts do everything that pleases our Lord and Savior.


WELS Commission on Worship

The Symbol of the Reformation: Luther's Rose

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The Luther seal or Luther rose has become familiar to almost all Lutherans. The seal is important because it is a depiction of Luther’s theology. Luther gave this explanation of it in a letter dated July 8, 1530:

“There is first to be a cross, black and placed in a heart, which should be of its natural color, so that I myself would be reminded that faith in the Crucified saves us. For if one believes from the heart he will be justified. Even though it is a black cross, which mortifies and which also should hurt us, yet it leaves the heart in its natural color and does not ruin nature; that is, the cross does not kill but keeps man alive. For the just man lives by faith, but by faith in the Crucified One. Such a heart is to be in the midst of a white rose, to symbolize that faith gives joy, comfort, and peace; in a word it places the believer into a white joyful rose; for this faith does not give peace and joy as the world gives and, therefore, the rose is to be white and not red, for white is the color of the spirits and of all the angels. Such a rose is to be in a sky-blue field, symbolizing that such joy in the Spirit and in faith is a beginning of the future heavenly joy; it is already a part of faith, and is grasped through hope, even though not yet manifest. And around this field is a golden ring, symbolizing that in heaven such blessedness lasts forever and has no end, and in addition is precious beyond all joy and goods, just as gold is the most valuable and precious metal.


Luther’s Works vol. 49, pp. 358–359.

Worship preview for 10/15

The theme for the 19th Sunday after Pentecost is repentance. Repentance means to say, “I’m sorry.” In the Gospel lesson, neither son in the parable did what was pleasing, but one apologized and changed his ways. In the Old Testament lesson, God says he will forgive everyone who says, “I’m sorry.”

The New Testament lesson isn’t selected for it’s theme, but is rather part of a few weeks of continuous readings from the book of Philippians. This section contains the passages defining Jesus’ state of humiliation (when he set aside the full use of the divine attributes given to his human nature) and his state of exaltation (when he again made full use of those divine powers).


Our God wants real repentance that leads to true obedience. One day, everyone will bow before Jesus of Nazareth and confess him as Lord. Some will do so in grief and others in joy. God wants real repentance from every sinner they might bend the knee to Christ in true obedience and confess with gladness that Jesus is Lord. The Church prays that God would rule our hearts through Word and Sacrament that our repentance might be real and our obedience truly pleasing.

THE GOSPEL: MATTHEW 21:28–32
They seemed so righteous as they stood in the temple courts. The great men of Israel had gathered against Jesus. These men knew all the words to say and ways to act, but the only “righteousness” they had was a self-righteousness that offended God. They claimed to be doing God’s work and fulfilling his will, but there was no repentance and no true obedience. The parable Jesus spoke against them convicts every self-righteous person. The father commands two sons to work in his vineyard and receives two surprising answers. The first son flatly refuses; he fails to even offer an excuse, but simply says, “I will not.” The second son says all the right things and tacks on an appropriately respectful title. He seems almost breathless in his readiness to do the father’s will. True obedience, however, is not merely saying what God wants to hear, but doing what God wants done. The first son repented of his wickedness and gave his father true obedience; the second merely mouthed the words and contented himself with doing his own thing. Which did what the father wanted? Jesus’ question had only one answer, and the religious leaders gave it and indicted themselves. Yes, even the vilest sinner that repents gives an obedience far more true that the upright man wallowing in his self-righteousness. What a powerful preachment against the Pharisee inside each of us that wants to be content with saying the right words when it comes to faith! What a stinging rebuke of our lukewarm Christianity that confesses Christ with our mouth but denies him with our deeds! Repent, Christ says, and believe—true obedience will surely follow.

FIRST LESSON: EZEKIEL 18:1–4, 25–32
On this Sunday when the Church is called to continual repentance, Ezekiel brings a strong warning for Christians who grow lax in their faith or dismissive of their sin. God wants real repentance that leads to true obedience. Israel had not given either. Instead of seeing their suffering as a result of their sin and as a call to repentance, they saw only injustice. With their favorite proverb, “The fathers eat sour grapes and the children’s teeth are set on edge,” they were saying that God should certainly punish sin, but they felt he was punishing the wrong people. They felt they were being punished for the sins of their parents, and they implied that God was not just in treating them this way. God denies it all: the soul that sins is the one that will die. This is not injustice—no, the injustice is that human beings who were made for perfection sinned again and again against their God. God shows just how just he is: he will judge each person according to his way. Repent, God says, turn from your wickedness and live. God promises not to judge us by our past, but by our present, and so he calls us to live anew. Repent and receive a new heart and new spirit that leads to true obedience. Why will you die, O Israel? God wants exactly the opposite—repent and live!

SECOND LESSON: PHILIPPIANS 2:1–11
Paul quotes a Hymn of Humiliation and Exultation as a model to shape our attitudes. Real repentance leads us to the true obedience of imitating Christ. Jesus is the third son—the one never mentioned in the Gospel parable above—the son who said “Yes,” and also worked in the vineyard. Jesus is the true son of his Father who both said the words, “Not my will, but yours,” and did the work, “obedient to death—even death on a cross.” When his work in the vineyard was complete, God exalted his Son to the highest place and now calls every person to real repentance and the true obedience of bending the knee and confessing with joy that Jesus Christ is Lord.


WELS Commission on Worship

The Motto of the Reformation: VDMA

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Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum (The Word of the Lord Endures Forever) is the motto of the Lutheran Reformation, a confident expression of the enduring power and authority of God’s Word. The motto is based on 1 Peter 1:24–25. It first appeared in the court of Frederick the Wise in 1522. He had it sewn onto the right sleeve of the court’s official clothing, which was worn by prince and servant alike. It was used by Frederick’s successors, his brother John the Steadfast, and his nephew John Frederick the Magnanimous. It became the official motto of the Smalcaldic League and was used on flags, banners, swords, and uniforms as a symbol of the unity of the Lutheran laity who struggled to defend their beliefs, communities, families, and lives against those who were intent on destroying them. It was found inscribed inside churches, over doorways, on foundation stones, even on horse’s helmets! The VDMA logo and statement has appeared throughout Lutheran churches worldwide and remains an enduring motto of the Reformation to this day.

https://lutheranreformation.org/history/the-motto-of-the-reformation/

Worship preview for 10/8

The theme for this coming Sunday, the 18th Sunday after Pentecost, is GRACE. The Gospel lesson is one of the most beautiful pictures of God's grace in Scripture. The Old Testament lesson is the most extreme historical example of grace—the Ninevites to whom Jonah preached were absolutely terrible people who went from the depths of depravity immediately to the heights of forgiveness. In the New Testament lesson, St. Paul gives examples showing that God always works in this "last shall be first" fashion, so that we must always depend on his grace and not on our works.


What is our God like? Over the next four Sundays, the Church hears Jesus tell four parables which reveal characteristics of our God. Today’s lessons cause the worshiper to ask: Is God fair? No, he’s not. He doesn’t give us what we deserve, and that’s called mercy. In fact, he gives us what we don’t deserve, and that’s called grace. Our God is inconceivably gracious.

THE GOSPEL: MATTHEW 20:1–16
"What is our God like? Jesus teaches us with a story, but we struggle with the lesson. The parable offends our finely honed sense of what’s fair and what’s not. Note the context: the disciples had just asked what they would receive in the kingdom, and Jesus promised them twelve thrones. Then he immediately quashes any prideful thoughts by saying that in the kingdom of heaven, God makes no distinction by merit or work (For the kingdom of heaven is like...). In reality, God is not fair; rather, he is inconceivably gracious. Onemhourm workers receive the same as those who bore the heat of the day. This parable carries both warning and promise for us—a warning that all comparisons based on merit or work do not belong in God’s kingdom; a promise that our relationship with God is based solely on grace which he lavishes in abundance. The story only offends our sense of fairness when we compare ourselves to other workers. Even though they were promised twelve thrones, Jesus wouldn’t allow his disciples to make comparisons. How much less would he let us whose labor is so late and light? When we keep our eyes where they belong—fixed on God—then we have a correct view of our worth and labor. Then, when God places a denarius in our hands, we can marvel that the Lord isn’t fair—thanks be to God! He doesn’t give us what we deserve; no, he gives us what we don’t."

FIRST LESSON: Jonah 3:6–4:4, 11
"Jonah wanted Nineveh destroyed; in his mind it would only be fair. Nineveh was wicked, bloodthirsty, and feared. Jonah had not wanted to prophesy to them because he was afraid that they might listen and repent. Jonah knew what that would mean: God would have compassion on them and forgive them (Jonah 4:4). But God is far more gracious than Jonah could have even imagined. The LORD taught his prophet with a vine and made a striking point. Jonah, though you had no part in the creation, growth, or life of this vine, yet you were so emotionally attached to it. But think of me, Jonah! Those people, those children—even those cows!—I made them; I sustain them; I want them to be mine forever. So great is my grace!"

SECOND LESSON: ROMANS 9:6b–16
"Is God fair? Is God just? Neither—he is inconceivably gracious, as our eternal election proves. Paul answers the question by pointing us back to God’s speech to Moses in Exodus 33. The Israelites had worshiped the golden calf, and Moses made intercession for them. Moses asked the LORD to show him his ways (v 13) and his glory (v14). God responded by declaring his inconceivable grace: he would show mercy and grace to those he chose, regardless of any merit or worth. Though these people had abandoned him, he would be merciful and gracious to them. So also with us, the children of the faith of Abraham: God’s eternal election of us to salvation had nothing to do with merit or worth or works, but only stems from his inconceivable grace and mercy. Take the opportunity to read the exceptional treatise on election found in the Formula of Concord’s eleventh article on predestination (FC SD XI)."


WELS Commission on Worship

The Las Vegas Shootings

In this world, it may seem better to close our eyes and ears to the evil!  Horrendous evil struck Las Vegas and it fills the news and radio today.  Where is God?  Why?  What are we to learn? 

Here are some things to think about. God knows what will happen before it happens (Exodus 3:19).  God is able to prevent an evil from happening (Genesis 19:11).  It is clear from history and from the Las Vegas incident that God permits an evil action, but He also sets limits that it may not cross (Job 1:12; 2:6).  God also uses evil to bring about a good result for those who are his (Genesis 50:20, Romans 8:28).  God knows and understands exactly what we suffer here on earth. Surely, God is good and His mercy endures forever and He does not will any evil actions (Psalm 5:4). 

Sin and evil, the causes of suffering, are a great mystery to us and much of it is hidden from us. However, Christianity understands the true nature of evil and its only solution; Christ crucified. The problem of evil was so serious that God sent His only Son to remedy the dire situation. Jesus knew what it meant to suffer; He was unjustly treated, He bore the evil consequences of sinful men, innocently, unto death.  The risen Christ has promised to return and upon that return there will be no more weeping, no more tears, no more pain or death for His people of faith. 

We live under the cross of Jesus.  We wait with confidence in Christ on the basis of what He has done for us – His death and resurrection and His return.  “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18).

May our prayers ascend for the many victims and may we stay prepared daily to meet our Savior.

CELEBRATING THE 500TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE LUTHERAN REFORMATION

It has been 500 hundred years since Luther posted the 95 theses (sentences)!  How shall we celebrate?

TRUTHS TO TREASURE AND TEACH -

We give humble thanks to God for using His servant, Martin Luther, in extraordinary ways, educating people with the Word.

We, with Luther, continue to embrace the chief teaching of the Bible, the doctrine of justification by grace through faith in Christ! God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not charging their sins to them, but to His Dear Son!  Amazing grace!  God’s declaration to an underserving world is received personally through faith in Jesus.  What marvelous gifts God has given – His One and Only Son, and the faith to believe in Him. Here is a summary statement of these truths as it is expressed in our Synod’s statement “We Believe, Teach, and Confess”.

By His perfect life and His innocent sufferings and death Jesus has redeemed the entire world (See 1 John 2:2, 2 Corinthians 5:19). God thereby reconciled the world to Himself, and by the resurrection of His Son declared it to be righteous in Christ. This declaration of universal righteousness is often termed “objective justification.” One has this justification as a personal possession and is personally declared by God to be righteous in Christ when he or she is brought to faith in Him as Savior. This is often called “subjective justification” (See Romans 1:17 and Romans 5:1-2).

Another Reformation marvel is the fact that the Word of God was translated into the common language of the people. The Bible put into the language of the people and into the hands of the people cannot be underestimated!  Seek a way to read your Bible on a daily basis.

Luther was a prolific writer!  He published the Small Catechism in 1529, a gem which still guides both young and old alike! We continue to teach children and others from the Catechism.

Luther refreshed the truth that God comes to us, meets us, deals with us, yes forgives us our sins and grants us peace through His Means of Grace, the Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.  These are not just rituals or church ceremonies, but the divine ways which God interacts with His people.

Luther’s constant stand on the Word of God alone, transcending the voice of worldly reason, remains a legacy we cannot do without!

Can we through teaching and through any influence we may have in our vocations in life have some impact on preserving and sharing this large dowry from the Lutheran Reformation?

 

REFORMATION WORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES -

King of Grace Lutheran Church will have its Reformation Sunday Worship on October 29th at 8:15 a.m. and 10:45 a.m.  At 9:30 a.m. we will have a special Reformation Hymn Festival in the sanctuary.  Our Senior Choir will participate and we hope that you will as well.

On Sunday, November 5th at 4:00 p.m. St. Croix Lutheran High School, 1200 Oakdale Avenue, West St. Paul is hosting an area Reformation Worship Service.

Worship preview for 10/1

I have found Sunday morning worship to be more interesting when I have an idea what is going to happen before I get there. Each Sunday has a theme that coordinates the readings and the prayers. Here is some information about what we will learn this coming Sunday, the Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost.


The Church forgives as God forgives. Anytime we try to imitate God, we quickly realize our inadequacy. Yet today God tells us to model our forgiveness on his: a boundless, free, and loving forgiveness based on the sacrifice of Christ. How could our sinful hearts ever forgive like that? The Prayer of the Day asks that the mercy and grace of God precede us and follow after us, that we might love God with undivided hearts—hearts always ready to forgive as God does: sins are forgiven, forgotten, forever.

THE GOSPEL: MATTHEW 18:21–35
"The human animal is not...good at forgiveness. Forgiveness is not some innate, natural human emotion. It is natural for the human animal to defend itself, to snarl and crouch into a defensive position when attacked, to howl when wronged, to bite back when bitten. Forgiveness is not natural." (Willimon) Forgiveness must be learned, and Peter thought he had figured it out. From the elders of the Jews Peter had heard: “If a man transgresses one time, forgive him. If a man transgresses two times, forgive him. If a man transgresses three times, forgive him. If a man transgresses four times, do not forgive him.” Three times, the elders said, was the limit of forgiveness for a good Jew. Peter, however, was willing to go much further; not three times, but seven times, Peter thought with a smile. Until Jesus said, “Not seven times, Peter, seventy times seven— what the elders say doesn’t matter. I say to you that your forgiveness should have no limit, but be like God’s.” Jesus’ parable contrasts the forgiveness of God and our own unforgiving nature. The servant’s debt— by any measure of calculation—was impossibly high (perhaps 150,000 years’ wages). Who could have accrued debt such as this? Who could ever hope to repay? What an arresting picture of our debt of sin before God! The greatness of the debt magnifies the compassion of the king who wipes the debt away. Who can comprehend the forgiveness of God? Certainly not unmerciful servants like us, who refuse to forgive the small debts owed to us, and instead, inflict on our fellow servants the punishments that God should rightly have given us. Have mercy on us, Lord, and teach us to forgive like you!

FIRST LESSON: GENESIS 50:15–21
How hard it is to forgive like God! We may forgive someone who hurts us, but we never forget. We harbor that hurt deep inside of us for years—never understanding that we are locking ourselves in the prison of the past. Joseph’s brothers feared that they would finally have to pay for what they did to Joseph. His father was gone; he was still in charge in Egypt; and the brothers thought that they were going to face Joseph’s vengeance. As repentant sinners, we often act like the brothers and wait for God to get even with us for our past sins. Shame on us! We are making God as shallow as we are! In God’s eyes our sins are forgiven, forgotten, forever. Joseph wept at their words as he remembered the sordid history and all the emotions that came with it. He wept, but he was free from the prison of the past; he had forgiven his brothers their terrible deeds. Through his tears, Joseph never wavered, but he calmed his brothers’ fears, forgave them like God forgives, and set them free from their prison of the past.

SECOND LESSON: ROMANS 14:5–9
This is the last in a series of sixteen lessons that run through Pentecost 17. Christ set us free from the burdens of the Law; in the Gospel we have the freedom of sons. With freedom, though, comes responsibility. Our Christian freedom must be normed by love for our neighbor. I am certainly free to eat or drink, but my eating and drinking doesn’t happen in a vacuum. My Christian freedom is not freedom to enslave a weaker brother’s conscience. We are bound to our brothers because we both belong to Christ. Therefore let us make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification (v.19). Restricting my freedom out of love for my brother is service to Christ that pleases God and brings righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (v. 17).


WELS Commission on Worship

A Christian how-to for daily meditation

Many Christians have never been taught how to meditate on the text of the Bible. We have all heard many encouragements to read the Bible every day, but sometimes that feels like a chore rather than a joy.

Eastern religions like Buddhism and Hinduism teach meditation techniques designed to empty your mind, and ultimately are looking for a god inside a person. But Christians seek to fill their minds rather than empty them. Christians seek to have the God of the universe come and live in their hearts and minds in the person of Jesus Christ.

For me, a key to enjoyable meditation was the change from fast reading to slow reading. Today we most often read for information—scanning newspaper articles or webpages, looking for the few interesting facts. That type of reading is well-served by fast reading. But meditation is not for information, it is for contemplation. So it is much better to read as slowly as you can, and to read out loud.

Here is a simple method of meditation used by Christians around the world for 500 years. Try it out for a few days. Remember that practice makes perfect.

The Ignatian Method simplified:

A method of meditation that can be used by both the intellectual and the affective types is the following. Further, it can be used in church to meditate on the Gospel for the day or at home on any part of the contents of the four Gospels. As a method, it is relatively easy to remember since each of the titles for its five parts begins with “P.”

  1. Prepare. Find a quiet place, make yourself comfortable, become aware of the presence of God around you, with you and in you. Breathe deeply and slowly. Open your Bible to the passage in the Gospels which you are going to read and meditate upon.
  2. Picture. Read the short passage concerning Jesus (e.g., Mark 1:16-20) and form a picture of the scene in your mind’s eye. Ask for the illumination of the Holy Spirit. Then place yourself in the scene so that you can see and hear Jesus and feel the power of his presence. Remember similar occasions from the Gospels where Jesus did or said similar things.
  3. Ponder. Carefully consider what you hear Jesus say and what you see him do. What message does this have for you? What is he actually saying to you? What can you discern for your own good from the reactions of those around and with Jesus?
  4. Pray. Convert your reflections and considerations into prayers to God the Father of desire, love, joy, commitment, awe and reverence (as appropriate), and also offer petitions for God’s help, guidance and blessing.
  5. Practice. Make one or two specific (not general) resolutions to take into your daily life, from this moment, from that which you have learned and seen in the meditation.

In this approach, those whose imagination is vivid will find the picturing of the scene easy whilst those who enjoy discursive reason will pay special attention to the pondering. Further, those who feel their way into situations will be quickly moved by being in the presence of Jesus as they picture the scene and place themselves there. What is important is that the whole soul is exercised by all who meditate and that the memory, the intellect, the imagination, the will and the emotions and affections are exercised in a godly manner so that the fruit of meditation is holiness.


Peter Toon, “Meditating: Using a Simple Method,” Mandate 28, no. 5 (Sept/Oct 2005): 11.

Wanted: Thrivent Action Teams

If you have a Thrivent action team grant available but no idea what to use it on, please contact Pastor Ferkenstad. I have some projects in mind that could be paid for by action team money.

If you are a Thrivent insurance policy holder and don’t know what action team money is, please contact Pastor Ferkenstad. Thrivent gives each policy-holder $500 per year to use on service projects. King of Grace could have an extra $30,000 to spend per year if we used everything available to us.

If you have no idea what Thrivent is, you could contact Pastor Ferkenstad for an explanation if you’re curious, or you could safely ignore this request.

During Bible study last Tuesday morning we talked a little bit about how to pray. There are many models and rubrics for prayer. The most important is the seven-part model given us by our Lord himself. It's not necessary to repeat the Lord's Prayer word for word, but you may expand each of the petitions to include more personal detail and context on any given day.

I shared with the ladies on Tuesday morning another model—one of my personal favorites. It uses the acronym ACTS. Maybe it will help you too. Leave your thought or reactions in the comments below!

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Philippians 4:6).

An acrostic for prayer.

A is for Adoration. Praise God in a way that relates to the central topic of the prayer. We might praise him for who he is, for his presence with us, for his supply of all our needs, for his greatness, or for countless other reasons. “Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise” (Psalm 145:3).

C is for Confession. As we remember who we are when we come into God’s presence, we see that we have come short of his holiness and have need of his forgiveness. Agree with God about anything he shows us that is sinful or unhealthy in our lives. Be ready to forgive others who have sinned against us. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

T is for Thanksgiving. Thank God for the many good gifts he gives us every day that we didn’t even ask for, like sunshine or rain, a place to live, protection, and a million more details. Especially thank God for his forgiveness and grace. “O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever” (Psalm 107:1).

S is for Supplication. Share with God our concerns for others and for ourselves. Tell God exactly what things we or someone else needs. “My God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

Biblical Themes Bible studies

Please register for these studies at https://www.kingofgracelutheran.com/register. Registration will help us make better plans for childcare and hopefully we can host some of these studies in homes rather than at the church building.

The Bible is big and understanding it can be hard. But exploring themes running throughout the Bible can make reading and understanding Scripture easier. These themes are developed by various biblical authors across centuries of writing, all pointing to Christ.

Themes studied will include:

  • Heaven & Earth
  • The Covenants
  • The Day of the Lord
  • Holiness
  • The Messiah
  • The Holy Spirit

Rather than the usual weekly Bible studies offered at King of Grace, we are experimenting with this study on a monthly schedule, but offered several times. The same study will be offered six separate times during October, so choose just one of the following:

  • 10/6 (1st Fridays), 5:30pm
  • 10/12 (2nd Thursdays), 8:30pm
  • 10/16 (3rd Mondays), 12:10pm     (online)
  • 10/21 (3rd Saturdays), 4:00pm     (childcare)
  • 10/21 (3rd Saturdays), 9:00pm     (online)
  • 10/24 (4th Tuesdays), 6:00pm      (childcare)

Wednesday Night Parenting Class coming in October

Dad and Mom

What do you especially want help with?  What do you want to discuss with other parents?

Thanks!

 

 

Men Of His Word Conference

Please register Sunday in the narthex with Pastor Ferkenstad.  King of Grace will pay your registraton fee.  We plan to carpool and leave at 6:15 AM on 10/28 and return by 4:00 PM the same day.

Last year, God blessed the 2nd year of Men of His Word in Rochester with 150 attendees, and we look to build on that number at the Saturday, October 28 session. The day holds great promise.  Our keynote speaker will talk about how we can Be Strong and Courageous as the Christian men God expects us to be.  Speakers will talk about Christian parenting, Godly leadership, male friendship, dealing with Alzheimer’s and many more topics. This conference is designed to serve Christian men of all ages. If you want more details, please go to www.menofhisword.org.  Please contact Pastor Ekhoff at <eekhoff@kog-els.org> if you are interested in attending this one day workshop. 

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Scripture Storytelling

Daniel Dexter, a staff minister from Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church (WELS) in El Paso, TX, will be visiting King of Grace with his Scripture Storytelling on Saturday, September 30. 

The storytelling will begin at 4:00 PM and is expected to last 90 minutes with an intermission. Daniel's travel and income are supplied by free-will donations at the event.

This is a family-friendly event. Daniel memorizes books of the Bible and then shares them word-for-word in what he calls a “storytelling” style. This isn’t a dry recitation nor is it an actor's performance. Daniel calls it a “living proclamation” that speaks to the listeners as participants, giving them a feel of what it may have been like to hear and see the words and works of God through the apostles and prophets.

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Sunday Bible Study

This Sunday for adult class we will finish up "Christian Freedom in the Cause of Reform" and move on to "Teaching the Word to children". Other studies to come are "The Role of the Old Testament Law"; "Good works"; "Conversion and the will"; "Prayer"; "Marriage", and the "Lord's Supper". Please take time to visit, have a cup of coffee and take a seat in the fellowship hall by 9:30 a.m.

New blog and weekly newsletter

The weekly email newsletter from King of Grace has a new format! Your feedback is welcome with this experiment. You may give that feedback in the comments below or directly to one of the pastors.

The newsletter is experimenting with short headings followed by links to posts on this blog for more information. We hope this new format will let each person scan the topics more quickly to find what is personally interesting. The risk of the new format is asking you to click for more information, which you might not do.

We are trying to find the middle ground between these two principles: (1) each person is interested in different information and (2) irrelevancy is discouraging. No one is interested in every topic in the newsletter, but someone is interested in each item.

We are always working to change and improve the way we communicate. So we will see how it goes! The pastors at King of Grace appreciate your prayers and support!

Check out the new Pastor's blog with weekly posts and updates about King of Grace! 

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