Waiting and Serving
Sermon for May 24, 2020


Worship Service for May 24, 2020

Christ Lutheran Rawlins, Wyoming
The Seventh Sunday of Easter
May 24, 2020
The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

Great to Have You with Us! Thanks for coming!  ✙ ✙ ✙ ✙ ✙ ✙ ✙ ✙ ✙ ✙

This past Thursday, May 21, was Ascension Day. The Ascended Lord Jesus Is with Us Always in His Church on Earth After He rose from the dead, the Lord Jesus presented Himself alive to the apostles, "appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God" (Acts 1:3). When He ascended to the right hand of the Father, He did not orphan His Church, but He fills all things in heaven and on earth and gives gifts to His disciples. Even now, through His Church, He continues "to do and teach" (Acts 1:1), preaching "repentance for the forgiveness of sins" (Luke 24:47) even "to the end of the earth" (Acts 1:8). Though the cloud hid Jesus from the sight of His disciples then, and He remains hidden from sight even now, He remains with His people through His Gospel and Sacraments. He comes to us by the Word of His apostles, by the promise of His Father and by the power of the Holy Spirit, whom He pours out upon "the church, which is his body" (Eph. 1:22–23). In this holy Christian Church, we bless God and worship Christ with joy, for in His Church He blesses us with forgiveness, lifts us up in His hands and seats us with Himself "in the heavenly places" (Eph. 1:20).

Welcome and Announcements:

Hymn: “Up through Endless Ranks of Angels” # 491

Up through endless ranks of angels, cries of triumph in his ears,
to his heavenly throne ascending, having vanquished all their fears,
Christ looks down upon his faithful, leaving them in happy tears.

Death-destroying, life-restoring, proven equal to our need,
now for us before the Father as our brother intercede:
flesh that for our world was wounded, living, for the wounded plead.

To our lives of wanton wandering send your Spirit promised guide,
through our lives of fear and failure with your power and love abide:
welcome us, as you were welcomed, to an endless Eastertide.

Alleluia, alleluia, oh, to breathe the Spirit's grace!
Alleluia, alleluia, oh, to see the Father's face!
Alleluia, alleluia, oh, to feel the Son's embrace!

Pastor: We make our beginning in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
People: Amen

Responsive reading of “Word of God, Come Down on Earth” # 545

P: Word of God, Come down on Earth, Living Rain from Heaven Descending;
C: Touch Our Hearts and Bring to Birth, Faith and Hope and Love Unending.

P: Word Almighty We Revere You ;
C: Word Made Flesh, We Long to Hear You.

P: Word Eternal, Throned on High, Word That Brought to Life Creation
C: Word That Came from Heaven to Die, Crucified for Our Salvation.

P: Saving Word, the World Restoring
C: Speak to Us, Your Love Outpouring

P: Word That Speaks God’s Tender Love, One with God Beyond All Telling
C: Word That Sends Us from Above, God the Spirit, with Us Dwelling

P: Word of Truth, to All Truth Lead Us;
C: Word of Life, with One Bread Feed Us. Amen.

Pastor: We confess our sins to God our Father.
People: Most merciful God, we confess that we are by nature sinful and unclean. We have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone.

Pastor: We have not loved You with our whole heart;
People: we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We justly deserve Your present and eternal punishment.

Pastor: For the sake of Your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us.
People: Forgive us, renew us, and lead us, so that we may delight in Your will and walk in Your ways to the glory of Your holy name. Amen

Pastor: Almighty God in His mercy has given His Son to die for you and for His sake forgives you all your sins. In the stead and by the command of Jesus Christ I announce the grace of God to you. Your sins are forgiven in the name of the Father, and of the (+) Son and of the Holy Spirit.
People: Amen

Hymn of Praise: “Heavenly Hosts in Ceaseless Worship” # 949

Heavenly hosts in ceaseless worship "Holy, holy, holy!" cry;
"He who is, who was and will be, God Almighty, Lord Most High."
raise and honor, power and glory be to him who reigns alone;
we, with all his hands have fashioned, fall before the Father's throne.

All creation, all redemption, join to sing the Savior's worth;
Lamb of God whose blood has bought us, kings and priests, to reign on earth.
Wealth and wisdom, power and glory, honor, might, dominion, praise
now be his from all his creatures and to everlasting days

Prayer of the Day:
Pastor: O King of glory, Lord of hosts, uplifted in triumph far above all heavens, leave us not without consolation but send us the Spirit of truth whom You promised from the Father; for You live and reign with Him and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
People: Amen.

Our First Lesson is the account of the disciples seeking the Lord's guidance in choosing a replacement for Judas who betrayed the Christ. We note that Peter applied writings from the book of Psalms to guide them in this undertaking. The First Reading for the Seventh Sunday of Easter is from Acts, chapter 1.

Acts 1:12-26 12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey away. 13 And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. 14 All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers. 15 In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said, 16 "Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry." 18 (Now this man bought a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. 19 And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20 "For it is written in the Book of Psalms, "'May his camp become desolate,and let there be no one to dwell in it'; and "'Let another take his office.' 21 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection." 23 And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, "You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place." 26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles. ESV

Reader: This is the Word of the Lord.
People: Thanks be to God.

The Gradual:
Christ has risen from the dead*
[God the Father] has crowned him with glory and honor,
He has given him dominion over the works of his hands;*
he has put all things under his feet.

In our Epistle Lesson we learn that God permits suffering in our lives for a variety of reasons. Sometimes our suffering comes as a direct result of our own sin and is there to discipline us. Other suffering comes to us simply because we are Christians and are seen as enemies by the world that opposes God. The Lutheran study Bible says "Although we do not know God's hidden will, we trust he has only the best in mind for us. He will strengthen, uphold, and bless us in the midst of persecution." Peter also reminds us that the great "Good Shepherd" is with us and will strengthen us and help us to get through all the challenges of this life. The Epistle Lesson for today is from 1 Peter chapter 4 and 5.

1 Peter 4:12-19; 5:6-11 12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And "If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?" 19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. 1 Peter 5:6-11 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7 casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 8 Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. ESV

Reader: This is the Word of the Lord.
People: Thanks be to God.

The Gospel Reading: [Please stand]
Our Gospel Lesson for today is part of Christ's "high priestly prayer." The Lutheran study Bible says, "Knowing that he is going to the cross, Jesus prays for his disciples and asks that they be united by faith in him. Whenever Christians ignore God's word, they foster divisions within the church and diminish their witness. But God's word is the truth and will unite His church, glorify Him, and enable His people to fulfill their calling in a troubled world." The Holy Gospel is according to St John, the 17th Chapter.

John 17:1-12 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed. 6 "I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. 8 For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9 I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. ESV

Pastor: This is the Gospel of our Lord.
People: Thanks be to God.

[The Apostles' Creed] I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day he rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From thence he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

Hymn: “God’s Own Child, I Gladly Say It” # 594

God's own child, I gladly say it: I am baptized into Christ!
He, because I could not pay it, Gave my full redemption price.
Do I need earth's treasures many? I have one worth more than any
That brought me salvation free Lasting to eternity!

Sin, disturb my soul no longer: I am baptized into Christ!
I have comfort even stronger: Jesus' cleansing sacrifice.
Should a guilty conscience seize me Since my Baptism did release me
In a dear forgiving flood, Sprinkling me with Jesus' blood!

Satan, hear this proclamation: I am baptized into Christ!
Drop your ugly accusation, I am not so soon enticed.
ow that to the font I've traveled, All your might has come unraveled,
And, against your tyranny, God, my Lord, unites with me!

Death, you cannot end my gladness: I am baptized into Christ!
When I die, I leave all sadness To inherit paradise!
Though I lie in dust and ashes Faith's assurance brightly flashes:
Baptism has the strength divine To make life immortal mine.

There is nothing worth comparing To this lifelong comfort sure!
Open-eyed my grave is staring: Even there I'll sleep secure.
Though my flesh awaits its raising, Still my soul continues praising:
I am baptized into Christ; I'm a child of paradise!

Sermon: “Waiting and Serving”Acts 1:1-14

Hymn “O Lord, Hear My Prayer” # 780
O Lord, hear my prayer, O Lord, hear my prayer;
When I call answer me.
O Lord, hear my prayer, O Lord, hear my prayer;
Come and listen to me. (Repeat)

Prayers: (Lord in your mercy - Hear our prayer)

Let us pray for the whole Church of God in Christ Jesus and for all people according to their needs. Almighty God, we give You thanks for the gift of Your Church, purchased by the blood of Jesus. Refresh us here, Lord. Help us to rejoice in Your forgiveness and love. Make us ready to face anything that comes our way this week. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

Lord, be with Pastor Wiley as he prepares for the next phase of his life and with Pastor elect Baldwin as he finishes up at seminary and gets his family ready to travel across the country. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

Lord, Bless Donald, our president; Mark, our governor; and all who make, administer and judge our laws. As we render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and unto You what is Yours, help us to acknowledge that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given by You. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

Lord, please give us a way to defeat this virus and drive it from our land. Uphold Your children who are ill and suffering [ _____ ] - keep the sick and hurting from doubting Your love and care for them as they endure these trials; give wisdom to those who serve their medical needs, and, if it be Your will, restore them to health. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

Lord, You are the source of all wisdom and knowledge. Bless those who teach, those who learn and especially those who graduate this year. Be the hope of those whose plans have been disappointed, and grant that all graduates would find good employment. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer

Into Your hands, O Lord, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in Your mercy; through Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
C: Amen.

Offertory: “Praise God From Whom All Blessing Flow” # 805
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; praise him, all creatures here below;
praise him above, ye heavenly host; praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

P: Lord God, our heavenly Father, we, Your servants and Your people bring offerings of thanksgiving. Bless us, and help us to also give ourselves to others in service. In Jesus' name.
C: Amen.

Taught by our Lord and believing the promise we are bold to pray: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven; give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

P: Almighty and merciful God, we have again worshiped in Your presence and received both forgiveness for our many sins and the assurance of Your love in Jesus Christ. We thank You for this undeserved grace and ask you to keep us in faith until, with all Your saints, we inherit eternal salvation; through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
C: Amen.

P: Receive the blessing of the Lord: The Lord bless you and keep you, The Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace.
C: Amen.

Closing : “Jerusalem, My Happy Home” # 673

Jerusalem, my happy home, when shall I come to thee?
When shall my sorrows have an end? Thy joys when shall I see?

O happy harbor of the saints, O sweet and pleasant soil!
In thee no sorrow may be found, no grief, no care, no toil.
Thy gardens and thy gallant walks continually are green;
there grow such sweet and pleasant flow'rs as nowhere else are seen.

There trees forevermore bear fruit and evermore do spring;
there evermore the angels dwell and evermore do sing.

Apostles, martyrs, prophets, there Around my Savior stand;
And soon my friends in Christ below Will join the glorious band.

O Christ, do Thou my soul prepare For that bright home of love
That I may see Thee and adore With all Thy saints above.


Parts of the liturgy in this service are reprinted from Lutheran Worship, copyright (c) 1982 by Concordia Publishing House and from The Hymnal Supplement 98, copyright (c) 1998 by Concordia Publishing House and Lutheran Service Book, © 2006 CPH CHRIST LUTHERAN The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod Church Phone (307)324-4168 Pastor’s Cell Phone (307)321-0669 website: christlutheranrawlins.com
Sermon for May 24, 2020

Acts 1:1-14 - - After He said this, He was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid Him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as He was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven."

Waiting is not very popular. Dave Barry said: “It is inhumane, in my opinion, to force people who have a genuine medical need for coffee to wait in line behind people who apparently view it as some kind of recreational activity.”
One day a man was speaking with God and he asked, "God from your perspective, what is a million years like?" “In my perspective a million years is like a second," answered God. So the man asked, "God, in your perspective what is a million dollars like?" "In my perspective a million dollars is like a penny," said God. "God," said the man, "can I borrow a penny?" "Sure," God replied, "just a second."

We spend a lot of life waiting for one thing or another. Right now, we are waiting for this corona virus to get tired of making us crazy. Waiting can be the "in between" time. You're not where you were and not where you want to be.

The disciples were in "between time." They were between the Ascension of Christ into heaven and the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. They had just spent time with Jesus after His resurrection - 40 days with Him teaching, guiding, strengthening them. In spite of having Jesus as their teacher the disciples were still looking for earthly achievements - power, fame and glory! But everything was so much bigger than they imagined. Jesus redefined glory not in terms of power or fame.

Leon Morris said: “the gospel of John uses glory words - People commonly use them for majesty, for what is high and lifted up, for what is ornate and richly decorated. But John's great idea is that "glory", real glory is to be seen in lowly service. When someone who is high and powerful chooses to leave that secure and comfortable place in order to engage in a piece of humble service, that in John's eyes is real glory. And the cross is the place where we see what real glory means. There the Son of God who is supreme in heaven accepted abuse and rejection and torture from evil earthlings. He could have destroyed them in a moment, but he accepted what they did to him, for this was the path by which forgiveness and salvation would become available to sinners. John tells us of the cross, the lowliest of lowly service and therefore the most splendid revelation of glory."

In Jesus’ plan the kingdom of God would progress in His followers’ mission: to take the message of the grace of God in the glory of Christ to all people. To carry out this mission they would receive power from God when the Holy Spirit came. But it was confusing. Jesus told them to wait - - and then He left.

On one occasion, while He was eating with them, He gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit." So when they met together, they asked Him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?" He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." After He said this, He was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid Him from their sight.

Just like that, in what seemed like the middle of a lesson, Jesus is gone.
“What do you suppose he meant by that?” asked Peter.
“Beats me,” replied James.

They were looking intently up into the sky as He was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven."

Another promise. It was time to wait. Perhaps it is time for us to wait as well: waiting for life to come back a few clicks toward center; waiting for a time when everything doesn’t come back to trying to figure out how to stop a virus - an achievement that has very rarely been accomplished in history.

Waiting - “between times.” In a way we are always in “between times," not literally like the disciples between Ascension and Pentecost, but we are between Christ's first coming and His second. The Church calls the times we live in the "end times.” There is a constant tension between the now and the not yet. On the one hand, the end has arrived in Christ. We receive all the promised blessings of the Grace of God in Christ! We live in the age of fulfillment - the great "day of the Lord" has arrived. Christ has come. We are in the last days. On the other hand, the consummation is still a future reality. We have not yet entered into the glories of heaven.

The disciples went back to Jerusalem and they joined together in prayer. They prepared for the task that Jesus said would come. And the church today occupies herself as the disciples did carrying out Christ's words, trusting in His promises, sharing His sacraments, calling on Him in prayer. We wait and we serve. We have questions, sometimes doubts and often inadequacies but the mission remains and the promises of Christ are true.

God keeps His promises. We wait in the power of Christ. We wait for our time here to be completed. That helps me. There is a point to all of this. There is a destination. There is a reason for hope. Indeed it can be said of all the things happening to us in this life: this too shall pass.

It helps when life is tough. 1 Pet 4:12-13 “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed.”

True glory is humble service, patient service, trusting service. "Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord." If we put it in God’s hands, we can be sure all is well. Time for another lesson from the early Celtic Christians.

This is from the “Long Wandering Prayer.”

“Father of all mankind, who keeps my journey and marks the horizon of my destiny, Love me through my journey towards tomorrow.
Son of God, leader and keeper of the maps, show me not the whole road at once, but give me the distance to be gained in single steps.
Spirit of God, who holds my inner compass, may your presence on the journey awaken trust within me when I don't know what lies around the bend.”

The lesson from the Celts is that God is with us. We can count on God and draw strength from God right now! Things are happening - perhaps not as fast as we would desire or perhaps it is not the answer we want. But His promises stand sure.

We join with the disciples between Christ’s Ascension and His coming again. It is not in a vain hope or wishful thinking but in faith and prayer to the Christ. Jesus, who showed us true glory on the cross. Jesus, who has promised to return and take us home. We remember His crucifixion, resurrection, ascension to heaven. We rejoice in the forgiveness Christ gives us!

This time between time belongs to Christ. “Son of God, leader and keeper of the maps, show me not the whole road at once, but give me the distance to be gained in single steps.”

As the great theologian Winnie the Pooh says: "Rivers know this: there is no hurry we shall get there someday."

When we arrive the waiting will be over. Christ will welcome us home. "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven." Even so - come quickly Lord Jesus. Amen.

It's A Hard-Knock Life
Sermon for May 17, 2020


Christ Lutheran Rawlins, Wyoming
The Sixth Sunday of Easter May 17, 2020
The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

Great to Have You with Us!
✙ ✙ ✙ ✙ ✙ ✙ ✙ ✙ ✙ ✙
Welcome and Announcements:

Hymn: “He’s Risen, He’s Risen” # 480

He's risen, He's risen, Christ Jesus, the Lord;
Death's prison He opened, incarnate, true Word.
Break forth, hosts of heaven, in jubilant song
While earth, sea, and mountain the praises prolong.

The foe was triumphant when on Calvary
The Lord of creation was nailed to the tree.
In Satan's domain his hosts shouted and jeered,
For Jesus was slain, whom the evil ones feared.

But short was their triumph, the Savior arose,
And death, hell, and Satan He vanquished, His foes;
The conquering Lord lifts His banner on high.
He lives, yes, He lives, and will nevermore die.

Oh, where is your sting, death? We fear you no more;
Christ rose, and now open is fair Eden's door.
For all our transgressions His blood does atone;
Redeemed and forgiven, we now are His own.

Then sing your hosannas and raise your glad voice;
Proclaim the blest tidings that all may rejoice.
Laud, honor, and praise to the Lamb that was slain;
In glory He reigns, yes, and ever shall reign.

Pastor: We begin in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
People: Amen

Responsive reading of “Word of God, Come Down on Earth” # 545

P: Word of God, Come down on Earth, Living Rain from Heaven Descending;
C: Touch Our Hearts and Bring to Birth, Faith and Hope and Love Unending.

P: Word Almighty We Revere You ;
C: Word Made Flesh, We Long to Hear You.

P: Word Eternal, Throned on High, Word That Brought to Life Creation
C: Word That Came from Heaven to Die, Crucified for Our Salvation.

P: Saving Word, the World Restoring
C: Speak to Us, Your Love Outpouring

P: Word That Speaks God’s Tender Love, One with God Beyond All Telling
C: Word That Sends Us from Above, God the Spirit, with Us Dwelling

P: Word of Truth, to All Truth Lead Us;
C: Word of Life, with One Bread Feed Us. Amen.

Pastor: We confess our sins to God our Father.
People: Most merciful God, we confess that we are by nature sinful and unclean. We have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone.

Pastor: We have not loved You with our whole heart;
People: we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We justly deserve Your present and eternal punishment.

Pastor: For the sake of Your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us.
People: Forgive us, renew us, and lead us, so that we may delight in Your will and walk in Your ways to the glory of Your holy name. Amen

Pastor: Almighty God in His mercy has given His Son to die for you and for His sake forgives you all your sins. In the stead and by the command of Jesus Christ I announce the grace of God to you. Your sins are forgiven in the name of the Father, and of the (+) Son and of the Holy Spirit.
People: Amen

Hymn of Praise: “Heavenly Hosts in Ceaseless Worship” # 949

Heavenly hosts in ceaseless worship "Holy, holy, holy!" cry;
"He who is, who was and will be, God Almighty, Lord Most High."
Praise and honor, power and glory be to him who reigns alone;
we, with all his hands have fashioned, fall before the Father's throne.

All creation, all redemption, join to sing the Savior's worth;
Lamb of God whose blood has bought us, kings and priests, to reign on earth.
Wealth and wisdom, power and glory, honor, might, dominion, praise
now be his from all his creatures and to everlasting days

Prayer of the Day:
Pastor: O God, the giver of all that is good, by Your holy inspiration grant that we may think those things that are right and by Your merciful guiding accomplish them; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
People: Amen.

Our First Lesson is the account of the apostle Paul visiting Athens, Greece. Athens was full of idols and religious objects of every type. The people of Athens liked nothing better than to discuss the newest teachings. Paul took advantage of this hunger for knowledge and addressed the Athenians at "Mars Hill" (Mars was the Roman god of war) or it was also called the "hill of Ares" who was the Greek god of thunder and war. Paul makes the arguement that his teaching about Jesus is the answer that they have been searching for in all of their idols and religious practices. The First Reading for the Sixth Sunday of Easter is from Acts, chapter 6

Acts 17:16-31 16 Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. 17 So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. 18 Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, "What does this babbler wish to say?" Others said, "He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities"—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. 19 And they took hold of him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, "May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? 20 For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean." 21 Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new. 22 So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: "Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, 'To the unknown god.' What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, 25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 27 that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 28 for "'In him we live and move and have our being'; as even some of your own poets have said, "'For we are indeed his offspring.' 29 Being then God's offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. 30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead." ESV
Reader: This is the Word of the Lord.
People: Thanks be to God.

The Gradual:
Christ has risen from the dead.*
[God the Father] has crowned him with glory and honor,
He has given him dominion over the works of his hands;*
he has put all things under his feet.

In our Epistle Lesson the apostle Peter gives us a plan for evangelism. Peter wants us to follow the Lord and the commandments. Then when others see how different our life is from theirs they will become curious about why we are able to find true joy and contentment in life. When they ask us for the reason we have this hope, we are to respond to them in gentleness and respect. The last section of this reading about Jesus' descent into hell has been interpreted in many ways. According to the Lutheran Study Bible a sound interpretation is that Christ in his glorified body went and preached to the spirits in prison(hell) to declare his victory over death and all the evil forces. Jesus did not go there to offer them a second chance. The formula of Concorde, one of our Lutheran confessions, says "It is enough if we know that Christ descended into hell, destroyed hell for all believers, and delivered them from the power of death and of the devil, from eternal condemnation and the jaws of hell. We will save our questions and not curiously investigate about how this happened until the other world. Then not only this mystery but others will be revealed that we simply believe here and cannot grasp with our blind reason." The Epistle Lesson for today is from 1 Peter chapter 3

1 Peter 3:13-22 13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; 16 yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God's will, than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, 20 because they formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. 21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him. ESV

Reader: This is the Word of the Lord.
People: Thanks be to God.

The Gospel Reading: [Please stand]
In our Gospel Lesson Jesus promised that He and His Father will dwell with those who love Him. He also promised to send us the Holy Spirit who will help us and guide us. The Lord Jesus revealed His grace to us in His Word and promised to return and take us home. He will not leave us as orphans. In Jesus Christ, we are the children of God. The Holy Gospel according to St John, the 14th Chapter.

John 14:15-22 15 "If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. 18 "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21 Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him." ESV

Pastor: This is the Gospel of our Lord.
People: Thanks be to God.

Pastor: We confess our faith with the Nicene Creed.
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made; who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried. And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures and ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father. And He will come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead, whose kingdom will have no end. And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets. And I believe in one holy Christian and apostolic Church, I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins, and I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life + of the world to come. Amen.

Hymn: “Father Welcomes” # 605

Refrain:
Father welcomes all His children To His family through His Son.
Father giving His Salvation, Life forever has been won.

Little children, come to Me, For My kingdom is of these
Life and love I have to give, Mercy for your sin. Refrain

In the water, in the Word, In His promise be assured:
Those who are Baptized and believe Shall be born again. Refrain

Let us daily die to sin; Let us daily rise with Him
Walk in the love of Christ our Lord, Live in the peace of God. Refrain

Sermon: “Hard-Knock Life”John 14: 15-21

Hymn “O Lord, Hear My Prayer” # 780

O Lord, hear my prayer, O Lord, hear my prayer;
When I call answer me.
O Lord, hear my prayer, O Lord, hear my prayer; Come and listen to me. (Repeat)

Prayers (Lord in your mercy - Hear our prayer)
Let us pray to the Father in the name of our blessed Lord, since He has promised that we will receive answers to our prayers. Father of mercy, we give You thanks that You have sent to us Your only Son and that He has accomplished all things for our salvation. Give us the joy of Your presence, help us to believe and follow You without fear. We are happy to know Jesus did not leave us as orphans but brought us into Your family. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

Father of mercy, we know that we will have tribulation in the world. During this pandemic give us confidence in Your presence, courage in adversity and the peace of Jesus who has overcome the world. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

Father of mercy, bless our president, the Congress, all elected and appointed civil servants, and those who guard us at home and abroad. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

Lord God, heavenly Father, receive our thanks for the knowledge gained by those who are graduating. Be with our pastor elect Patrick and Brett as they continue to learn and grow. Grant them Your Holy Spirit that their talents and abilities may be used for Your glory and as a blessing to others. Lord in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

Almighty God, creator of all that exists, we thank You this day for the birth of Briar. Give health and protection to mother, father and child. By the gracious working of Your Holy Spirit, help her to grow in Your grace and favor that she may bring glory to You and serve others in Your name Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

We pray for the sick, the suffering, (especially ___________) O God, your compassion never fails, give healing to the sick, relief to the suffering, peace to the sorrowful, and mercy to every soul that is distressed, that they may find in You the help that only You can give them. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer. Holy Father we thank you for the rain and ask you to continue to bless our desert home. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

Holy Lord Jesus, as You come to us in Your true body and blood, restore, confirm, strengthen and establish us in the faith. Forgive our sins, and guard our souls as we await the day when we will join in Your eternal wedding feast on that mountain where You swallow up death forever. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.

P Into Your hands, O Lord, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in Your mercy; through Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.
C Amen.

Offering: "Praise God From Whom All Blessing Flow" # 805
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him, all creatures here below;
Praise him above, O heavenly host; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen

+ SACRAMENT + P: Bless the Lord, for he is good!
C: He Has Answered the Cries of His People. He Has Prepared a Table for Us in the midst of Our Starvation.

P: God has given us life from death.
C: We Praise the Lord of Our Life, for He Has Sent Salvation to Us in the Lamb of Life.

Pastor: O Lord, we give You thanks for Your mercy, that You did not leave us behind in our sins, but sent Your only-begotten Son to be our Savior. And now You bestow upon us the forgiveness of sins and the strengthening of our faith by the body and blood in this Holy Supper. For all this we praise You with all the saints and angels before Your throne.
People: Amen.

[Luther’s Encouragement for the Lord’s Supper]
Pastor: Brothers and Sisters in Christ - we must give attention to the Testament of Christ in true faith, and above all take to heart the words with which Christ presents his body and blood to us for forgiveness; that we take note of and give thanks for the boundless love that he showed us when he saved us from the wrath of God, sin, death, and hell by his blood; and that we then externally receive the bread and wine, that is, his body and blood, as a guarantee and pledge. Let us then in his name, according to his command, and with his own words administer and receive the Testament.
People: Amen.
Lord's Prayer
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those Who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Pastor: Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night when He was betrayed, took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to the disciples and said: Take, eat; this is My + body, which is given for you. This do in remembrance of Me. In the same way also He took the cup after supper, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying: Drink of it, all of you; this is My + blood of the new testament, which is shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.

Pastor: These are the gifts of God for the people of God.
People: Glory to You, O Lord. Amen.

The Distribution: + 629 - What Is This Bread +
What is this bread? Christ's body risen from the dead:
This bread we break, This life we take,
Was crushed to pay for our release.
O taste and see--the Lord is peace.

What is this wine? The blood of Jesus shed for mine;
The cup of grace Brings His embrace Of life and love until I sing!
O taste and see--the Lord is King.

So who am I, That I should live and He should die
Under the rod? My God, my God, Why have You not forsaken me?
O taste and see--the Lord is free.

Yet is God here? Oh, yes! By Word and promise clear,
In mouth and soul He makes us whole– Christ, truly present in this meal.
O taste and see--the Lord is real.

Is this for me? I am forgiven and set free!
I do believe That I receive His very body and His blood.
O taste and see--the Lord is good.

+ 635 O Gracious Lord, I Firmly Am Believing +

O gracious Lord, I firmly am believing Your boundless love will bless each faithful soul,
and from this altar we are here receiving
Your body and Your blood to make us whole,
Your body and Your blood to make us whole.

Lord, I have sinned a thousand times offending;
My thankless thoughts and words and deeds erase,,
to me Your hand of mercy now extending,
O God my Savior I implore Your grace.
O God my Savior I implore Your grace.

You see my sin yet seat me at Your table;
Lord as a guest, I surely am the least
Unclean, unfit, of worthy deeds unable-
My heart prepare for this most holy feast,
My heart prepare for this most holy feast.

O Lamb of God, my faithful loving Savior,
You I embrace in faith and holy love;
Grant me the strength to show by my behavior
A life now hidden in Your reign above,
A life now hidden in Your reign above.

Heavenly Bread, my life and benediction,
this cup You give can take away each ill.
Come and relieve my soul from all affliction;
Calm every sigh until my heart is still,
Calm every sigh until my heart is still.

The Post-Communion Prayer
Pastor: We give thanks to You, loving and faithful Lord, for by the ransom payment You have made with Your precious blood You have provided for our healing. You have restored us that we may now live in Your presence eternally. We rejoice that in this Sacrament You are at work in us enabling us to live with the Spirit. Give us the hearts of servants and fulfill Your good purposes in our lives; through the same Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and forever.
People: Amen.

Pastor: Let us bless the Lord.
People: Thanks Be to God.

Pastor: Receive the blessing of the LORD: The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to You. The Lord look upon You with His favor and + give you peace.
People: Amen.

Closing Hymn “Sent Forth by God’s Blessing” # 643
Sent forth by God’s blessing, Our true faith confessing,
The people of God from His dwelling take leave.
The Supper is ended. O now be extended
The fruits of this service in all who believe.
The seed of His teaching, Receptive souls reaching,
Shall blossom in action for God and for all.
His grace did invite us, His love shall unite us
To work for God’s kingdom and answer His call.

With praise and thanksgiving To God ever-living,
The tasks of our ev’ryday life we will face.
Our faith ever sharing, In love ever caring,
Embracing His children of each tribe and race.
With Your feast You feed us, With Your light now lead us;
Unite us as one in this life that we share.
Then may all the living With praise and thanksgiving
Give honor to Christ and His name that we bear.

Parts of the liturgy in this service are reprinted from Lutheran Worship, copyright (c) 1982 by Concordia Publishing House and from The Hymnal Supplement 98, copyright (c) 1998 by Concordia Publishing House and Lutheran Service Book, © 2006 CPH CHRIST LUTHERAN The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod Church Phone (307)324-4168 Pastor’s Cell Phone (307)321-0669 website: christlutheranrawlins.com
Sermon for May 17, 2020
John 14:15-18 "If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever- the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (NIV)

The musical “Annie” is all about the life of an orphan in the 1930's and the depression is on. The first scene begins with a young couple talking. They leave a bundle in front of the orphanage. Miss Hannigan steps out and starts complaining about getting another orphan. The note left with the little one reads: "Please take care of our little darling. Her name is Annie. We have left half of a silver locket so that when we come back for her you will know that she's our baby.” As Annie grows up in the orphanage she clings to that promise. Someday her parents will come for her. There is a great song that the orphans sing: It's The Hard- Knock Life for us. It's The Hard Knock Life for us! 'Steada treated - we get tricked. 'Steada kisses - we get kicked. It's The Hard-Knock Life! Oh... Full of sorrow life! No tomorrow life! no one cares for you a smidge, when you're in an orphanage. It's The Hard- Knock Life!

To be an orphan is to be on your own with no family to protect you, to claim you, to love you. An orphan is a lot like a lost sheep. They both have to count on someone else to rescue them. The song goes on.... ‘steada treats - the world tricks us ‘steada kisses - the world kicks us. The world can make you hard. Out there, it’s every person for themselves! You have to grab every advantage to get ahead and learn to use any means necessary to get what you want. Success is having more, doing more, being more. That formula gives you a life with almost no peace. A life with few times of calm can lead straight to burn-out life.

The hard-knock life can produce people with no hope. Jesus came to change the hard-knock life into a life filled with hope. Jesus is going to leave his followers. His mission is a go. The time has come for the Lamb of God to be sacrificed for the sins of the world. The next few days will be very tough on the disciples as they watch their whole world fall apart. The triumphant entry into Jerusalem turns into the tragedy of Jesus’ betrayal and crucifixion. The bad guys won and no one stepped in to stop it. Jesus was going away and they were going to feel like orphans. But Jesus says it won't stay that way. "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you."

That promise is for us too. No matter where this life takes us, Jesus will come to us. He will not leave us alone. Jesus was going away. They would not see Him or touch Him. Jesus leaves His people in this life where the effects of sin are all around us. He doesn’t just instantly take us home. Sickness, disease, hatred, greed, lust, pain, sorrow - all these are part of life. Life in this fallen world can be cruel and ruthless - it is a hard-knock life.

The world we live in does not like boundaries so it moves them whenever it wants to. There was a middle school group lock-in. After a study they discussed use of the building they were locked in. There were ribbons that marked "off limits" areas in the building-boundaries! During a break some kids ran through the marked off areas. When they came together again, the leader asked the group what they thought should be done to those who crossed the boundaries. The unanimous agreement of the group was to move the boundaries with no punishment, no confession, no forgiveness necessary. That is life all around us....constantly moving boundaries, pushing further and further. Soon you hardly recognize the old rules and there is no safety net that defines right and wrong. Grade schools have fences to make the kids feel more secure. They did studies and found where there were no fences the kids hovered close to the buildings. But where there were fences the kids used the whole playground. When we know there are limits, we know there is protection. Even high school kids when interviewed wanted some limits set by their parents.

Without limits life gets out of hand. 'Steada treated - we get tricked. 'Steada kisses - we get kicked. Full of sorrow life! No tomorrow life! No one cares for you a smidge, when you're in an orphanage. Annie's parents never make it back to claim her. Instead she is rescued by a man of wealth and power. Drowning in our sin and captured in a place where all the boundaries are moved or even done away with God came to rescue us. Jesus came for us. Jesus claimed us. Jesus adopted us as His own. Jesus gave His life for our life. He took the punishment and now our sins are forgiven in Christ. Jesus finds us and lifts us up on His shoulders and brings us home. And there will come a day when Jesus will come and get us for good. When He will do that is not known to us.

It's the hard-knock life that beats us up and drags us back into sin. Actually, most of the time we go willingly. But time after time Jesus comes to claim us Full of sorrow life! No tomorrow life! Jesus is the hope Peter is talking about - Jesus is our hope.

And now I get to share one of my favorite tales.
John Todd was born in Rutledge, Vermont, into a family with lots of children. They later moved to the village of Killingsworth back in the early 1800's and there, at a very young age, both John's parents died. The relatives wondered what they would do with so many children - how they could parcel them out to other friends and relatives. One dear and loving aunt said she would take little John. The aunt sent a horse and a servant to get John, who was only six at the time. The servant, Caesar, came and put the little boy on the back of the horse. On the way back this conversation took place: John: Will she be there? Caesar: Oh, yes, she'll be there waiting up for you. John: Will I like living with her? Caesar: My son, you fall into good hands. John: Will she love me? Caesar: Ah, she has a big heart. John: Will I have my own room? Will she let me have a puppy? Caesar: She's got everything all set, son. I think she has some surprises, too. John: Do you think she'll go to bed before we get there? Caesar: Oh, no! She'll be sure to wait up for you. You'll see when we get out of these woods. You'll see her candle shining in the window. When they got to the clearing, sure enough, there was a candle in the window and she was standing in the doorway. She reached down, kissed him, and said "Welcome home!" She fed him supper, took him to his room, and waited until he fell asleep. John Todd grew up to be a great minister of the gospel. But it was there at his aunt's, his new mother's home, that he grew up. It was always a place of enchantment because of his aunt. It awed him that she had given him a second home. She had become a second mother to him. Years later, long after he had moved away, his aunt wrote to tell him of her impending death. Her health was failing and she wondered what was to become of her. This is what John Todd wrote her: "My Dear Aunt, Years ago I left a house of death not knowing where I was to go, whether anyone cared, whether it was the end of me. The ride was long but the servant encouraged me. Finally, he pointed out your candle to me, and there we were in the yard and you embraced me and took me by the hand into my own room that you had made up. After all these years I still can't believe it - how you did all that for me!! I was expected; I felt safe in that room - so welcomed, it was my room. Now it's your turn to go and as one who has tried it out, I'm writing to let you know that Someone is waiting up. Your room is all ready, the light is on, the door is open, and as you ride into the yard - don't worry, Auntie. You're expected! I know. I once saw Jesus standing in your doorway - long ago!"

These are difficult times. We all face changes and challenges that we can’t even imagine now. Our world has changed. It seems like everything we do is more complicated and things we took for granted are suddenly precious and important. Like our Sunday morning worship service together!

It’s the hard knock life! Don’t it feel like the wind is always howlin’? Don’t it seem like there’s never any light? Once a day don’t you want to throw the towel in? It’s easier than putting up a fight. No one cares for you a smidge, when you’re in an orphanage.

When we get through this forest - and we will - we know Someone is waiting up. Your room is all ready, the light is on, the door is open, and as you ride into the yard - don't worry. You're expected! I know. I once heard Jesus tell us - long ago! “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you... Because I live, you also will live.” Amen. Come quickly Lord Jesus!

"Easy"
Sermon for May 10, 2020


The Sheep Hear His Voice
Sermon for May 3, 2020


Blest Be The Boat
Sermon April 26, 2020


Testing Our Faith
Sermon for April 19, 2020

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Easter Sermon
2020

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