Join us for our Midweek Lenten Services
- Wednesdays — 10:00 AM and 7:00 PM
- Soup Supper – 6:00 PM
- Ash Wednesday – Service with Holy Communion
Christ In The Strangest Places: Foreshadowed, Fulfilled, Forever
Two tablets of stone, a few vessels of oil, simple markings, a small army, a remote field, a solemn oath–these are some of the strangest people, places and things through which God revealed himself to his people in the Old Testament. The Old Testament is chock-full of passion themes, from the serpent being crushed in Genesis 3:15 to Isaiah’s Fourth Servant Song. Yet this series looks at some of the lesser-known Old Testament passion themes and focuses on them by means of single words.
February 22nd — Ash Wednesday — “Mine!” — Exodus 20:17
The commandments point out our desire to acquire
February 29th – “Nothing” — 2 Kings 4:1-7
Elisha provides for a widow
March 7th — — “Marked” — Isaiah 44:5
God marks his people
March 14th — “Enlist” — Judges 6:16
March 21st — “Invest” — Jeremiah 32:25
Jeremiah buys a field in wartime
March 28th — “Finish” — 1 Kings 11:3
Solomon can’t finish what he started
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Are you familiar with Glamour Shots? It’s a photo studio that specializes in “makeover photography.” Everyday looking people can be made to look like they should be models for lipstick or jeans or at least Campbell’s Soup. The beauty of Glamour Shots, however, is matched by its danger. If I had such a picture of myself looking down on me from the shelf, it would be saying, “Hey, Dean, why do you look so drab today? And those gray hairs, bald head, and wrinkles appearing like messengers of your mortality? Get a life, Dean! You ought to look like this Glamour Shot every day!”
And therein is the lie. Not of Glamour Shots, for they do nothing on their own to give the impression that the look will last. That’s why they call it a “makeover.” The lie is of our own misguided human nature, cheered on by the devil himself.
“You don’t look good. So you must not be good.” Jesus looked good for his momentary makeover at his transfiguration. Really good. “The appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white.” (Luke 9:29). So good that Peter wanted to keep him that way. A momentous display of glory that Peter told Jesus should last a long time. “Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah” (Luke 9:33).
Peter believed the lie. If Jesus had believed it too, he wouldn’t have trudged down the mountain and ridden into Jerusalem to die as the sacrificial Lamb of God. Jesus didn’t look good when he was bound by the guards, spit on by the Sanhedrin, and crucified next to criminals. But he was good. Very good.
Jesus’ transfiguration was meant to be a momentous glamour. To last only a moment, as a glimpse of glory. The real glory for sinners, however, would come through a Savior’s suffering for sinners in a way that was good but not glamorous. With Valentine’s Day approaching, lovers will celebrate their momentous glamour of love. The lie will tickle their ears and hearts: love should look and feel this good all the time. The roses. The chocolates. The sweet whispers and warm hugs and romantic dinners.
No. Sometimes love doesn’t look good. It sacrifices.
It groans. It bleeds. Perhaps even dies.
How did you do with your resolutions for the year 2011? About the same as for other years? Can you even remember what those resolutions were?
Why do we struggle so much with resolutions? Is it because they are not realistic? Is it because we try to do it completely on our own without any outside
help (even from God)? Failure is one of the biggest disappointments in life. Is it possible to start over successfully?
As we enter into this New Year we have another opportunity to start over. Having the privilege of starting over is one of the things in life that gives us hope and courage as we look to the future.
As we take down our 2011 calendars and replace them with 2012 calendars we really can start over. In Romans 12:12 (NIV) the Holy Spirit gives us some great ingredients for a really good New Year’s
resolution. The encouragement is to “be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer.” Life would be so sweet if everyone could adopt and live out those three pieces as a New Year’s resolution.
“Be joyful in hope” should be pretty easy for Christians because our hope is in Christ and “that hope will never disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.” (Romans 5::5 NIV)
“Be patient in affliction” can be considerably more difficult because we do not like affliction. Who of us likes to be mistreated by people who are rude, inconsiderate and downright nasty? Where can we get the strength to be patient in affliction? It takes a giant transformation to behave so nicely when afflicted? Our comfort is that the power to do that does not come from within us, but from outside of us. When we were baptized “we were buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” (Romans 6:4 NIV) No one in the history of mankind had to deal with as much affliction as Jesus, our Savior! And He did it out of love for us so that we do not have to fear eternal affliction!
“Faithful in prayer” keeps us in touch with God–Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Jesus spent entire nights in prayer with His Father in heaven so that He would have the strength to carry out His mission of dying for sinners so that they might have the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation. Prayer is an excellent way to stay in touch with God and His love and power.
How does this threefold resolution make a difference in our lives and the lives of those around us? It does because the Holy Spirit is at work within us to make us more and more the children of God. As children of God we seek to do the same things that give Him such delight. John 3:16 tells us that God delights in loving and giving. God has entrusted us with all of life and life’s resources and desires that we manage them wisely according to His purposes. Loving and giving are at the heart of Christian stewardship.
May God bless us all as His stewards in this New Year of 2012!
The Junior High youth will once again be heading up to Lutheran Valley Retreat for fun
and fellowship on January 27-29, 2012. We’ll be tubing, playing broomball, and building
forts once again. More importantly, we will be in God’s Word with other youth from
across the Rocky Mountain Region. Last year was a blast and this year looks to even
more exciting! The cost is only $55. You can sign up in the Church Office. Hope to see
We will get forms out right away in January. Food must be ordered 5-6
weeks in advance. Subs will be made on February 4 and pick-up will be
February 4 & 5, 2012. Watch for more info in early January!
Lydia Circle (LWML) is hosting a SENIOR BRUNCH! Come for Fellowship, good food, a devotion, and
Join us on January 26, 2012 at 10:30 a.m. in the Zion Fellowship Hall