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02/23/2020

Jesus appears in glory as the Son of God.

Shortly before he began his journey to Jerusalem to suffer and die, Jesus took three of his disciples to a high mountain and showed them the divine reality that existed within his humble appearance: the Suffering Servant is truly the Son of God. We see this same sight through the eyes of faith as we prepare to follow the Savior to the cross during Lent.

Prayer:

Lord God, before the suffering and death of your one and only Son, you revealed his glory on the holy mountain. Grant that we who bear his cross on earth may behold by faith the light of his heavenly glory and so be changed into his likeness; through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

02/20/2020

A gift is only worthwhile if it is used and used in the proper way.  God’s Word is an enormous gift to mankind, yet it doesn’t come without God’s instructions on how to use it!  In this latest episode, Pastors Huebner and Hackmann discuss the Proper Use of the Bible.  Four rules of biblical interpretation are explored and put into practice.   The discussion ends with the need for and purpose of creeds and confessions.    This discussion on Grace Abounds chapter 4 rounds out the introductory chapters on the Word of God!  

02/16/2020

Live a holy life.

How does God want us to live? How do we define “obedience” from God’s point of view? Jesus has the answer.

Prayer:

Lord God, in mercy receive the prayers of your people. Grant them the wisdom to know the things that please you and the grace and power always to accomplish them; through Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

09/30/2019

"10 for 10"

People will invariably give beneath their ability when they fail to put the Bible’s teaching on firstfruits and proportionate giving into practice. Others give at their ability. This happens when people, confident in God’s blessing, prayerfully and thoughtfully practice firstfruits and proportional giving. Finally, one can even give beyond their ability. That’s the case when God’s people step out in faith and give in a way that, humanly speaking, doesn’t add up.

Scripture tells us of people who, even in their poverty, opened up their hands and gave beyond their ability. They gave from the overflow of their hearts. How could they do this? They simply trusted in God’s unlimited ability to care for them.

These biblical accounts of heartfelt giving are another one of God’s blessings to us. May we hear them, be inspired by them, and—as God gives us opportunity—make them our own story!

Sermon on Mark 12:41-44 preached at Grace Ev. Lutheran Church by Pastor Aaron Strong.

Prayer:

Gracious God, all that I have comes from you: my body and mind, my strength and intelligence, my time and abilities, my energy and possessions. Guard me from the temptation to use these gifts only for my personal benefit. Make me willing to use them joyfully in service to you and to your people. Amen.

09/27/2019

One final bit of wisdom before we close out our Bible Reading Challenge year...the book of Job aims to take down every last resistance to faith and a living love for God, resistance that often comes when we suffer and "need" answers. How to respond to suffering? How to speak to others when they are crying out? This book serves as a powerful statement to let God be God and go long in his love.

Next up: At Grace we'll be using two books for our spiritual growth, Prepared to Answer by Prof. Mark Paustian and Grace Abounds by Prof. em. Daniel Deutschlander. Check out www.gracedowntown.org and the "Learn and Grow" section for PDF schedules, Bible classes and more podcasts!

09/23/2019

"10 for 10"

This weekend, the Lord will open our minds to consider the magnitude of his blessings. Each of us has been blessed in different ways and at various levels. What should our thoughtful, prayerful response be to these blessings? That’s where the Bible’s teaching about proportionate giving is such a help. For some families with fewer resources, the practice of giving 10% of their income might be a significant leap of faith. For other families with more resources, the practice of giving 10% may be a starting point for faith-filled giving.

St. Paul wrote to the Christians in Corinth, “On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made” (1 Corinthians 16:2). Christians are blessed as they put God’s principles of proportionate giving into practice!

Sermon on Matthew 25:14-30 preached at Grace Ev. Lutheran Church by Pastor Daniel Bondow.

Prayer:

Dear Father, you have given me so much more than I can ever return to you. Give me the wisdom I need to respond to your love thoughtfully. Strengthen my will to thankfully dedicate all that I am and have to your glory. I ask this in the name of the One who lived and died for me, Jesus Christ, your Son, my Lord. Amen.

09/19/2019

Don't be afraid - both of the book of Revelation, but also because of its core message. Through terrifying sights and terrific sounds, incredible imagery and poetry in song, Revelation is a masterpiece of apocalyptic literature in which Jesus triumphantly shouts - "Hang in there, I've got this!" We discuss some helpful ways to outline and interpret this special book of Scripture that its purpose might not be lost on us and we be left in despair because of the threats of the world around us. Ultimately, we are not abandoned, but hear the reassuring promise of our Lord, "Yes, I am coming soon."

09/16/2019

"10 for 10"

Today we begin a three-week stewardship emphasis to lead us toward giving ten percent of our income for ten weeks. The word stewardship is often regarded as a dirty word—a gimmick to get people to dig deeper and “give ’til it hurts.” Nothing could be further from the truth! Instead, stewardship is a precious word that sums up the Christian life. It encourages us to be who we truly are in Christ: Precious people who have been richly blessed by a Father who knows how to give good gifts to his children!

Sermon on Haggai 1:1-11 preached at Grace Ev. Lutheran Church by Pastor Brian Hackmann.

Prayer:

O Lord, giver of life and source of all love, we know that all we have received comes from your gracious hand. Help us to always use your gifts wisely and teach us to share them generously. Send your Holy Spirit to work through us, that many more might come to know the saving riches of your Son. May our faithful stewardship bear witness to the love of your Son in our hearts, through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord. Amen.

09/10/2019

Keep Christ Jesus as Life’s Highest Priority.    The Christian life is all about setting priorities. Faith asks: what is most important in my walk with God? Faith answers: To make God and his message the highest priority of life.

Sermon on Luke 14:25-35, preached at Grace Ev. Lutheran Church by Pastor Brian Hackmann. 

O merciful Lord, you did not spare your only Son but delivered him up for us all. Grant us courage and strength to take up the cross and follow him, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

09/08/2019

At the right place and the right time, God used a cupbearer to King Artaxerxes to lead a remnant of his people back into his grace. We get to relive this wonderful history and breathtaking book where persecution is met with perseverance and tired, weak arms find their strength in the Lord and his faithfulness. Nehemiah may be the name of the book, but the ultimate goal of this story shows a different main Character and praises the Lord of full and free grace to sinners. With such a Savior, we delight to see the storied examples of joyful worship, selfless service and undying courage in the pages of this book. The Lord encourage us all to imitate their fruits of faith as blesses the work of our hands and fuels us with his faithful love.

09/06/2019

Seek the way of humility.   Arrogance is a cancer that eats away at our relationship with God and our friends and neighbors. Faith grasps the danger of arrogance and strives to live in humility.

Sermon on James 2:1-13, preached at Grace Ev. Lutheran Church by Pastor James Huebner. 

O Lord of grace and mercy, teach us by your Holy Spirit to follow the example of your Son in true humility, that we may withstand the temptations of the devil and with pure hearts and minds avoid ungodly pride; through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

 

08/30/2019

The Door to Heaven Is Narrow.   Who will enter the gate that leads to eternal life with God? Jesus’ followers believe that only faith in their Savior will enable them to enter heaven. They also understand that many will be surprised and horrified at the end of time.

Sermon on Luke 13:22-30 preached at Grace Ev. Lutheran Church by Pastor Aaron Strong. 

Almighty and everlasting God, give us an increase of faith, hope, and love; and, that we may obtain what you promise, make us love what you command; through Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

 

08/29/2019

...Grace Bible Study Days! What a thrill! These congregational growth nights of August mark a special time of year for our faith family. Listen in for a recap of the sessions offered, and to hear about some of the great blessings that come from an evening together in the Word in such a format. If you didn't make it this year, see you next August!