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Welcome To Grace Lutheran Church

Yorba Linda, California

Weekend Service Schedule

Saturday Worship: 6:30 PM

Sunday Worship: 9:30 AM

Sunday School/Bible Study: 8:30 AM

Holy Week Service Schedule

4/18 – Maundy Thursday: 7:00 PM

4/19 – Good Friday: 7:00 PM

4/20 – Saturday Easter Vigil 6:30 PM

4/21 – Sunday Easter Sunrise 7:00 AM

Easter Breakfast 8:00 AM

Sunday Easter Festival 9:30 AM

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Latest Weekend Services At Grace

 

The King of Glory Comes

Palm Sunday

SERMON TEXT:  Luke 19:28-40

After Jesus had said these things, he went on ahead,
going up to Jerusalem. As he came near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples ahead, saying, “Go to the village ahead of you. When you enter it, you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it here. And if anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you will say this: ‘The Lord needs it.’”
Those who were sent ahead went and found things just as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?”
They said, “The Lord needs it.”
Then they brought the colt to Jesus. They threw their robes on the colt and set Jesus on it. As he went along, people spread their robes on the road. As he was approaching the slope of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began to praise God joyfully, with a loud voice, for all the miracles they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
Some of the Pharisees from the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
He replied, “I tell you, if these people would be silent, the stones would cry out.”

Sermon Audio, Video, & Transcript

Transcript Text


Bible Readings

FIRST LESSON:  Zechariah 9:9-10

Rejoice greatly, Daughter of Zion!
Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem!
Look! Your King is coming to you.
He is righteous and brings salvation.
He is humble and is riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the horse from Jerusalem.
The battle bow will be taken away,
and he will proclaim peace to the nations. His kingdom will extend from sea to sea, from the River to the ends of the earth.

SECOND LESSON:  Philippians 2:5-11

Indeed, let this attitude be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. Though he was by nature God, he did not consider equality with God as a prize to be displayed, but he emptied himself by taking the nature of a servant. When he was born in human likeness, and his appearance was like that of any other man, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross. Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

VERSE OF THE DAY:  John 12:23 (NIV)

The hour has come for the Son of Man to be Glorified.

GOSPEL: Luke 19:28-40

See Sermon Text

Two Sides

The Fifth Sunday In Lent

SERMON TEXT:  Luke 20:9-19

He began to tell the people this parable: “A man planted a vineyard, leased it to some tenant farmers, and went away on a journey for a long time. When it was the right time; he sent a servant to the tenants to collect his share of the fruit of the vineyard. But the tenant farmers beat the servant and sent him away empty-handed. The man went ahead and sent yet another servant, but they also beat him, treated him shamefully, and sent him away empty-handed. He then sent yet a third. They also wounded him and threw him out. The owner of the vineyard said, ‘What should I do? I will send my son, whom I love. Perhaps they will respect him.’
“But when the tenant farmers saw him, they talked it over with one another. They said, ‘This is the heir. Let’s kill him, so that the inheritance will be ours.’ They threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. So, what will the owner of the vineyard do to them? He will come and destroy those tenant farmers and give the vineyard to others.”
When they heard this, they said, “May it never be!”
But he looked at them and said, “Then what about this that is written:
The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.
“Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and it will crush the one on whom it falls.”
That very hour the chief priests and the experts in the law began looking for a way to lay hands on him, because they knew he had spoken this parable against them. But they were afraid of the people.

Sermon Audio, Video & Transcript

Transcript of sermon


Bible Readings

FIRST LESSON:  Isaiah 43:16-21

This is what the LORD says,
who makes a road through the sea
and a path through mighty waters,
who brings out the chariot and the horses,
the army and the strong warrior.
They will all lie down together.
They will not get up.
They are extinguished.
Like a wick they go out.
Do not remember the former things.
Do not keep thinking about ancient things.
Watch, I am about to do a new thing.
Now it will spring up. Don’t you know about it?
Indeed, I will make a road in the wilderness.
In the wasteland I will make rivers.
The wild animals, the jackals and ostriches, will honor me,
because I am providing water in the wilderness,
rivers in a parched wasteland,
to provide water for my chosen people to drink.
This people that I formed for myself will declare my praise.

SECOND LESSON:  Romans 11:11-21

So I ask, “Did they stumble in order to fall permanently?” Absolutely not! Rather, by their trespass, salvation came to the Gentiles to make the Israelites jealous. Now if their trespass meant riches for the world, and their failure meant riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fullness mean! I am speaking to you Gentiles. For as long as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I am going to speak highly of my ministry. Perhaps I may make my own people jealous, and so save some of them. For if their rejection meant the reconciliation of the world, what does their acceptance mean other than the dead coming to life? If the part offered as first fruits is holy, so is the whole batch. And if the root is holy, so are the branches. But if some of the branches were broken off, and you—a wild olive branch—were grafted in among them and share in the rich sap from the root of the olive tree, do not boast that you are better than the branches. If you do boast, remember that you are not supporting the root, but the root is supporting you. Then you will say: “Branches were broken off so that I am grafted in.” That is true—but remember that they were broken off because of unbelief, and you remain in place by faith. Do not be conceited but stand in awe. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you.

VERSE OF THE DAY:  Mark 10:45

The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.

GOSPEL: Luke 20:9-19

See sermon Text

The Love of a Father

4th Sunday in Lent

SERMON TEXT:  Luke 15:11-32

All the tax collectors and sinners were coming to Jesus to hear him. But the Pharisees and the experts in the law were complaining, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” He told them this parable: “A certain man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered together all that he had and traveled to a distant country. There he wasted his wealth with reckless living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that country, and he began to be in need. He went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. He would have liked to fill his stomach with the carob pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, and I am dying from hunger! I will get up, go to my father, and tell him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.”’ “He got up and went to his father. While he was still far away, his father saw him and was filled with compassion. He ran, hugged his son, and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick, bring out the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let us eat and celebrate, because this son of mine was dead and is alive again. He was lost and is found.’ Then they began to celebrate. “His older son was in the field. As he approached the house, he heard music and dancing. He called one of the servants and asked what was going on. The servant told him, ‘Your brother is here! Your father killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ The older brother was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and began to plead with him. He answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I’ve been serving you, and I never disobeyed your command, but you never gave me even a young goat so that I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours arrived after wasting your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ “The father said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. But it was fitting to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again. He was lost and is found.’”

Transcript Not Available


Bible Readings

FIRST LESSON:  Isaiah 12:1-6

In that day you will say:
I will give thanks to you, LORD,
for though you were angry with me,
your anger has turned away,
and you comfort me. Surely God is my salvation.
I will trust him and will not be afraid, because, the LORD, is my strength and song, and he has become my salvation. Therefore with joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. In that day you will say, Give thanks to the LORD! Proclaim his name. Declare among the peoples what he has done. Proclaim that his name is exalted! Sing to the LORD, for he has done amazing things!
Let this be known in all the earth! Shout aloud and sing for joy, daughter of Zion, for the Holy One of Israel is great among you!

SECOND LESSON:  1 Corinthians 1:18-25

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God. In fact, it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will bring to nothing. Where is the wise man? Where is the expert in the Jewish law? Where is the probing thinker of the present age? Has God not shown that the wisdom of this world is foolish? Indeed, since the world through its wisdom did not know God, God in his wisdom decided to save those who believe, through the foolishness of the preached message. Yes, Jews ask for signs, Greeks desire wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified which is offensive to Jews and foolishness to Greeks, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. We preach Christ crucified, because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

VERSE OF THE DAY:  John 3:16 (NIV)

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life

GOSPEL: Luke 15:11-32

See Sermon Text

The Grace Messenger

Holy Week

As we finish our Lenten prepaprations for another year during the early part of April (Wednesday evening servies on April 3 and 10), we anticipate the start of Holy Week.

Ushered in with Palm Sunday (April 14), Holy Week marks the culmination of Jesus’ ministry and life here on earth as our Savior and Substitute. On Palm Sunday He was greeted with shouts of “Hosanna” and with the waving and spread of Palm Branches. So we will also celebrate during the services on April 13 and 14 with songs and hymns ringing out with Hosannas, the Hebrews word meaning “Lord, save us.” Our service will begin with a Palm Procession reminding us to welcome Jesus.

We have the opportunity on Thursday, April 18 to gather together as Jesus and His disciples did. No, we will not climb to an upper room, but we will gather in our santuary to remember what Jesus isntituted for us that evening, the Sacrament of Holy Communion. Reviewing the sections from Luther’s Small Catechism we will reinforce our understanding of the Lord’s Supper. The day is called Maundy Thursday from the Latin word command. On that night Jesus told His disciples “A new command I give you: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, so also your are to love one another.” (John 13:34 EHV). Jesus showed just how much He loved them and us the next day when He died on the cross. And in the Lord’s Supper He continues to give us that love. Our worship at 7 pm that evening will include the opportunity to receive Jesus’s true body and blood as we celebrate Holy Communion. At the end of the service the altar is stripped bare in preparation for Good Friday. The stripping of the altar is an ancient custom of the Church for Maundy Thursday. It is symbolic of the humiliation of Jesus at the hands of the soldiers. The lights are dimmed to signify the approaching sacrifice. The altar is draped in black to remind us that it took the death of Jesus, the Son of God, to atone our sins. The liturgy ends in silence; the congregation hears no benediction…yet. Rather the services of Holy Week flow into one another as the congregation leaves in silence to reassemble for Good Friday.

On Good Friday, April 19, we will assemble at 7 pm for a Tenebrae service centered around the Seven Words of Christ from the Cross. As the candles are extinguished and the church becomes darker we remember the darkness that coverd the earth as Jesus hung on the cross suffering for our sins. Again we will have the opportunity to partake of Jesus’ True Body and Blood in the Sacrament of the Altar.

Maundy Thursday and Good Friday begin the three day or Triduum. Since the last half of the 20th century, Lutherans have been rediscovering the richness of ancient Triduum and adapting the traditional services associated with it for use in evangelical Lutheran worship. Christian Worship: Occasional Services includes these forms of the Triduum services: a Maundy Thursday service that includes the stripping of the altar in preparation for Good Friday; Good Friday: Service of the Cross of Christ; Good Friday: Service of Darkness (Tenebrae); and the Vigil of Easter. In keeping with their origins, the Triduum services are closely connected with one another. Conceptually they are a single service that extends over the Athree holy days.@

The Easter Vigil service is at 6:30 pm (normal Saturday evening time) on April 20. The Paschal Candle is lit at this service and will burn at every service until Ascension.

Easter morning (April 21) begins with a sunrise service at 7:30 am. The newly lit (from the Easter Vigil) Paschal candle is seen as people enter. The songs with returned “Hallelujahs” ring out from the voices of the people. The readings will be a compilation from the Four Gospels presenting the events of the first Easter Day. Easter hymns will be sung by the joyous people. Easter lilies fill the altar area. The response “Christ Is Risen Indeed” is shouted out by the participants. Following a breakfast and egg hunt for the children a second service will be held. The Easter Festival Service is a song service again filled with Easter hymns and readings.

May you use these opportunities during the high points of the Christian Church Year to refresh and strengthen your faith in your suffering, dying and risen Savior. Invite a friend to join you in these observances. Share the wondrous message: HE IS RISEN INDEED! ALLELUIA!

FASTING

Going without food for a given period of time is called fasting. It is not something that I have spent much time encouraging or studying, but recently I have begun to consider it.

A gentleman I know has begun the practice of fasting two days a week. He has lost significant weight, lowered his blood pressure and blood sugar levels, and feels better all around. As a healthy practice, fasting seems to be gaining momentum as studies and anecdotes show significant benefits, especially to those with diabetes or prediabetes, hypertension, and obesity.

Fasting has long been a spiritual exercise. Jesus fasted forty days at the beginning of his ministry. The Jews had a regular practice of fasting weekly; the Pharisees sometimes boasted about their twice weekly fasting. My grandparents fasted for a period of time before receiving the sacrament of Holy Communion. The Apostle Paul sometimes took a vow of abstinence from food for a period of time. He recommended the practice of pairing prayer and fasting. The Ninevites fasted in repentance after Jonah proclaimed God’s Word to them.

A friend of mine who attends a Non-Lutheran church often encourages me and many other friends of his to devote themselves to prayer and fasting. Recently he asked that we fast and pray for our country in view of the new law in New York that allows for abortion up to the moment of birth. As a nation, we certainly have reasons to repent, pray, and fast.

If we remember that fasting is not a good work that gains us favor with God, we can certainly understand that it can help us think about spiritual things rather than earthly things. The time you normally spend preparing a meal and eating can be used in prayer, meditation, reading, or doing works of service. It is not necessary to fast in order to be prepared for the sacrament or to pray properly. But many have found spiritual, health, and even stewardship benefits with fasting.

Imagine the money you would save in one day of fasting. That money could be set aside for savings, given to the needy, or used to supplement your offering to church.

Perhaps it is not for everyone. But maybe there are some of you who have read this who will give it a try. Let me know how it goes.

THE MAGI

Every Nativity Scene ever sold has them. The Magi, or wise men, seem very familiar. They followed the Star from the East, went to Herod in Jerusalem, learned that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem, and found him in a house there. They presented gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. They worshipped the baby and then returned home by a different route, in order to avoid King Herod.

Matthew 2:1-12 is the only place where we read of their visit to Judea. We do not know their names or their number. The fact that there were three gifts led to the tradition that there were three men. We have no reason to think they were three kings as the popular song goes. The word Orient simply means from the east, but we don’t know how far East. Their home may have been Persia, Babylon, Assyria, or Arabia. It is doubtful but not impossible that they could have come from as far as India or China. We never hear of them again after Matthew 2.

The word “Magi” indicates they were men of learning, familiar with astrology and various sacred texts. They read in Genesis 49:10 about the scepter of Judah and in Numbers 24:17 about the scepter and the star. Herod’s advisors informed them of the prophecy in Micah 5:2, concerning Bethlehem. The Greek word for star, “Aster,” can refer to any of the lights in the sky including planets, meteors, comets, etc. We do not know what the Magi saw, but its illumination was specific enough that they followed the star to a house.

The brevity, lack of detail, and mystery concerning these people leads to many creative traditions. But we can learn from them some sure and important truths. First, Jesus is the Son of God who fulfilled the Old Testament Scriptures by becoming man. He is the Savior not only for the Jewish people but also for Gentiles like the Magi. He was protected in his infancy and throughout his life to preserve him for the ultimate sacrifice he was to give on Calvary’s cross to pay for the sins of all people.

FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH

But you, O man of God, flee from these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of eternal life, to which you were called and about which you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses (1 Timothy 6:11,12; EHV).

Two of the hymns that usually make a list of favorite hymns at our church are “Fight the Good Fight” and “Onward, Christian Soldiers.” This always surprises me because I tend to picture our faith and our church life as seeking peace through kindness, gentleness, and the gospel. But the Bible itself shows an active, energetic, even athletic side of this pursuit.

A Christian fights on three fronts: he resists the devil, he battles his own sinful nature, and stands against the world and its influence. How is this fight carried out? It is not a fight using weapons and fists. It is spiritual warfare.

First, a Christian soldier must be armed with God’s Word and prayer. Just as a soldier goes through rigorous training, a Christian must be solidly trained in God’s Word to recognize good and evil, to place himself under the Holy Spirit’s influence by the Word of God, and to discipline himself. Physical weapons and armor are ineffective against the devil. Therefore, as we face spiritual oppressions and temptations, we need to be protected by the armor of God. Paul writes about this armor in Ephesians 4:10-17. The full armor of God is the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the footwear of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

The world with its philosophies and temptations must be recognized for what it is. Christians must be equipped to defend the truth. False philosophy and sinful pleasures lead people away from God and threaten their eternal salvation.

Too quickly and easily my sinful flesh falls for the world’s charms and Satan’s tricks. The only way I can win is to be in Christ. Through faith in him, I won’t perish. The Son of God, Jesus Christ, took on himself all the sins of the world. I have the white robe of Jesus’ righteousness. When I know this, I am clean in the sight of God. I am also motivated to spend my time, energy, and resources in pursuit of righteousness and peace.

Is it ever proper to take up arms for the sake of the faith? No, never. The Christian faith is not advanced by swords or guns, nor by civil unrest or disobedience to God’s “other” kingdom, the government. For the sake of civil rights, Americans might rightly protest, but don’t say you are advancing the gospel by it. A Christian might be a soldier or law enforcement officer, an elected official, legislator, or a judge, and in his or her duties might use force. This is not the good fight of faith. This is fulfillment of his or her earthly vocation.

At the time of the crusades and the colonization of America and other places around the world, some Christians thought it proper to convert the heathen by force “for their own good.” No! The Church must stand against that wrong idea. Years ago, there were people bombing abortion clinics and assassinating abortion providers in the name of the Christian faith. They were wrong. There are some who disrespect fallen military and law enforcement personnel and disrupt their funerals in the name of Christ. They, too, are wrong. Wrong-headed and often mentally disturbed people have shot worshipers at synagogues, mosques, temples, and churches. In Christ’s name, let this not happen again! That’s not the good fight of faith! That is evil!

When people “insult you and persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of [Jesus], Rejoice and be glad . . .” (Matthew 5: 11,12). “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt 5:44). Fighting the good fight of faith entails trusting God to protect you and to vindicate you. “Be still and know that I am God,” he said in Psalm 46:10.

Rejoice!

PHILIPPIANS 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”
The Holy Spirit gave these words to the Apostle Paul to write while he was “in chains for Christ.” Even though the Apostle was imprisoned in Rome due to his preaching of the gospel, he found reasons to rejoice. He was always thankful to God for the Philippian congregation (Philippians 1:3). He was thankful for their gospel partnership, for their gift, for their faith and life.
Paul could pray with joy even though he was in prison and longing to die and go to heaven (Philippians 1:21-23). He said going to heaven is to be with Christ, which is far better; but to go on living means fruitful labor, which is also a good thing.
He knew that suffering, hard work, exhaustion, disappointments, rivalries and false accusations are a small price to pay for the good that God would work through him for others, and for the glory that would be revealed in him (see Romans 8).
This Epistle (letter) to the Philippians is truly a letter filled with joy. Sixteen times the word “joy” is used in these 4 chapters. The NIV translates it as “joy” when it is a noun, “rejoice” in its verb forms, and “glad” when it is an adjective. How could Paul be joyful in these circumstances? How can we follow his lead and experience the joy of Jesus more and more?
1. Focus on Jesus, and what he has done for you. Read and meditate on the good news of Jesus Christ every day (Philippians 2:5-11).
2. Consider the needs of others, not just your own interests (Philippians 2:4).
3. Be thankful. Gratitude is a big part of joy. Rather than considering yourself entitled to good things, see each blessing as a gift from God (Philippians 4:10-20).
4. Keep on thinking about things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable, excellent or praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8).
5. Present all your needs and requests to the Lord in prayer, confident that he hears you (Philippians 4:6).
6. Remember that “happiness” and “joy” are two different things. Happiness is dependent on what happens in our lives. I may feel sad because of sad events or I may be depressed because of illness, yet still have the deep joy of knowing my Savior loves me and is taking me to heaven.

Holy Week

As we finish our Lenten prepaprations for another year during the early part of April (Wednesday evening servies on April 3 and 10), we anticipate the start of Holy Week.

Ushered in with Palm Sunday (April 14), Holy Week marks the culmination of Jesus’ ministry and life here on earth as our Savior and Substitute. On Palm Sunday He was greeted with shouts of “Hosanna” and with the waving and spread of Palm Branches. So we will also celebrate during the services on April 13 and 14 with songs and hymns ringing out with Hosannas, the Hebrews word meaning “Lord, save us.” Our service will begin with a Palm Procession reminding us to welcome Jesus.

We have the opportunity on Thursday, April 18 to gather together as Jesus and His disciples did. No, we will not climb to an upper room, but we will gather in our santuary to remember what Jesus isntituted for us that evening, the Sacrament of Holy Communion. Reviewing the sections from Luther’s Small Catechism we will reinforce our understanding of the Lord’s Supper. The day is called Maundy Thursday from the Latin word command. On that night Jesus told His disciples “A new command I give you: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, so also your are to love one another.” (John 13:34 EHV). Jesus showed just how much He loved them and us the next day when He died on the cross. And in the Lord’s Supper He continues to give us that love. Our worship at 7 pm that evening will include the opportunity to receive Jesus’s true body and blood as we celebrate Holy Communion. At the end of the service the altar is stripped bare in preparation for Good Friday. The stripping of the altar is an ancient custom of the Church for Maundy Thursday. It is symbolic of the humiliation of Jesus at the hands of the soldiers. The lights are dimmed to signify the approaching sacrifice. The altar is draped in black to remind us that it took the death of Jesus, the Son of God, to atone our sins. The liturgy ends in silence; the congregation hears no benediction…yet. Rather the services of Holy Week flow into one another as the congregation leaves in silence to reassemble for Good Friday.

On Good Friday, April 19, we will assemble at 7 pm for a Tenebrae service centered around the Seven Words of Christ from the Cross. As the candles are extinguished and the church becomes darker we remember the darkness that coverd the earth as Jesus hung on the cross suffering for our sins. Again we will have the opportunity to partake of Jesus’ True Body and Blood in the Sacrament of the Altar.

Maundy Thursday and Good Friday begin the three day or Triduum. Since the last half of the 20th century, Lutherans have been rediscovering the richness of ancient Triduum and adapting the traditional services associated with it for use in evangelical Lutheran worship. Christian Worship: Occasional Services includes these forms of the Triduum services: a Maundy Thursday service that includes the stripping of the altar in preparation for Good Friday; Good Friday: Service of the Cross of Christ; Good Friday: Service of Darkness (Tenebrae); and the Vigil of Easter. In keeping with their origins, the Triduum services are closely connected with one another. Conceptually they are a single service that extends over the Athree holy days.@

The Easter Vigil service is at 6:30 pm (normal Saturday evening time) on April 20. The Paschal Candle is lit at this service and will burn at every service until Ascension.

Easter morning (April 21) begins with a sunrise service at 7:30 am. The newly lit (from the Easter Vigil) Paschal candle is seen as people enter. The songs with returned “Hallelujahs” ring out from the voices of the people. The readings will be a compilation from the Four Gospels presenting the events of the first Easter Day. Easter hymns will be sung by the joyous people. Easter lilies fill the altar area. The response “Christ Is Risen Indeed” is shouted out by the participants. Following a breakfast and egg hunt for the children a second service will be held. The Easter Festival Service is a song service again filled with Easter hymns and readings.

May you use these opportunities during the high points of the Christian Church Year to refresh and strengthen your faith in your suffering, dying and risen Savior. Invite a friend to join you in these observances. Share the wondrous message: HE IS RISEN INDEED! ALLELUIA!

FASTING

Going without food for a given period of time is called fasting. It is not something that I have spent much time encouraging or studying, but recently I have begun to consider it.

A gentleman I know has begun the practice of fasting two days a week. He has lost significant weight, lowered his blood pressure and blood sugar levels, and feels better all around. As a healthy practice, fasting seems to be gaining momentum as studies and anecdotes show significant benefits, especially to those with diabetes or prediabetes, hypertension, and obesity.

Fasting has long been a spiritual exercise. Jesus fasted forty days at the beginning of his ministry. The Jews had a regular practice of fasting weekly; the Pharisees sometimes boasted about their twice weekly fasting. My grandparents fasted for a period of time before receiving the sacrament of Holy Communion. The Apostle Paul sometimes took a vow of abstinence from food for a period of time. He recommended the practice of pairing prayer and fasting. The Ninevites fasted in repentance after Jonah proclaimed God’s Word to them.

A friend of mine who attends a Non-Lutheran church often encourages me and many other friends of his to devote themselves to prayer and fasting. Recently he asked that we fast and pray for our country in view of the new law in New York that allows for abortion up to the moment of birth. As a nation, we certainly have reasons to repent, pray, and fast.

If we remember that fasting is not a good work that gains us favor with God, we can certainly understand that it can help us think about spiritual things rather than earthly things. The time you normally spend preparing a meal and eating can be used in prayer, meditation, reading, or doing works of service. It is not necessary to fast in order to be prepared for the sacrament or to pray properly. But many have found spiritual, health, and even stewardship benefits with fasting.

Imagine the money you would save in one day of fasting. That money could be set aside for savings, given to the needy, or used to supplement your offering to church.

Perhaps it is not for everyone. But maybe there are some of you who have read this who will give it a try. Let me know how it goes.

THE MAGI

Every Nativity Scene ever sold has them. The Magi, or wise men, seem very familiar. They followed the Star from the East, went to Herod in Jerusalem, learned that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem, and found him in a house there. They presented gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. They worshipped the baby and then returned home by a different route, in order to avoid King Herod.

Matthew 2:1-12 is the only place where we read of their visit to Judea. We do not know their names or their number. The fact that there were three gifts led to the tradition that there were three men. We have no reason to think they were three kings as the popular song goes. The word Orient simply means from the east, but we don’t know how far East. Their home may have been Persia, Babylon, Assyria, or Arabia. It is doubtful but not impossible that they could have come from as far as India or China. We never hear of them again after Matthew 2.

The word “Magi” indicates they were men of learning, familiar with astrology and various sacred texts. They read in Genesis 49:10 about the scepter of Judah and in Numbers 24:17 about the scepter and the star. Herod’s advisors informed them of the prophecy in Micah 5:2, concerning Bethlehem. The Greek word for star, “Aster,” can refer to any of the lights in the sky including planets, meteors, comets, etc. We do not know what the Magi saw, but its illumination was specific enough that they followed the star to a house.

The brevity, lack of detail, and mystery concerning these people leads to many creative traditions. But we can learn from them some sure and important truths. First, Jesus is the Son of God who fulfilled the Old Testament Scriptures by becoming man. He is the Savior not only for the Jewish people but also for Gentiles like the Magi. He was protected in his infancy and throughout his life to preserve him for the ultimate sacrifice he was to give on Calvary’s cross to pay for the sins of all people.

FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH

But you, O man of God, flee from these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of eternal life, to which you were called and about which you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses (1 Timothy 6:11,12; EHV).

Two of the hymns that usually make a list of favorite hymns at our church are “Fight the Good Fight” and “Onward, Christian Soldiers.” This always surprises me because I tend to picture our faith and our church life as seeking peace through kindness, gentleness, and the gospel. But the Bible itself shows an active, energetic, even athletic side of this pursuit.

A Christian fights on three fronts: he resists the devil, he battles his own sinful nature, and stands against the world and its influence. How is this fight carried out? It is not a fight using weapons and fists. It is spiritual warfare.

First, a Christian soldier must be armed with God’s Word and prayer. Just as a soldier goes through rigorous training, a Christian must be solidly trained in God’s Word to recognize good and evil, to place himself under the Holy Spirit’s influence by the Word of God, and to discipline himself. Physical weapons and armor are ineffective against the devil. Therefore, as we face spiritual oppressions and temptations, we need to be protected by the armor of God. Paul writes about this armor in Ephesians 4:10-17. The full armor of God is the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the footwear of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

The world with its philosophies and temptations must be recognized for what it is. Christians must be equipped to defend the truth. False philosophy and sinful pleasures lead people away from God and threaten their eternal salvation.

Too quickly and easily my sinful flesh falls for the world’s charms and Satan’s tricks. The only way I can win is to be in Christ. Through faith in him, I won’t perish. The Son of God, Jesus Christ, took on himself all the sins of the world. I have the white robe of Jesus’ righteousness. When I know this, I am clean in the sight of God. I am also motivated to spend my time, energy, and resources in pursuit of righteousness and peace.

Is it ever proper to take up arms for the sake of the faith? No, never. The Christian faith is not advanced by swords or guns, nor by civil unrest or disobedience to God’s “other” kingdom, the government. For the sake of civil rights, Americans might rightly protest, but don’t say you are advancing the gospel by it. A Christian might be a soldier or law enforcement officer, an elected official, legislator, or a judge, and in his or her duties might use force. This is not the good fight of faith. This is fulfillment of his or her earthly vocation.

At the time of the crusades and the colonization of America and other places around the world, some Christians thought it proper to convert the heathen by force “for their own good.” No! The Church must stand against that wrong idea. Years ago, there were people bombing abortion clinics and assassinating abortion providers in the name of the Christian faith. They were wrong. There are some who disrespect fallen military and law enforcement personnel and disrupt their funerals in the name of Christ. They, too, are wrong. Wrong-headed and often mentally disturbed people have shot worshipers at synagogues, mosques, temples, and churches. In Christ’s name, let this not happen again! That’s not the good fight of faith! That is evil!

When people “insult you and persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of [Jesus], Rejoice and be glad . . .” (Matthew 5: 11,12). “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt 5:44). Fighting the good fight of faith entails trusting God to protect you and to vindicate you. “Be still and know that I am God,” he said in Psalm 46:10.

Rejoice!

PHILIPPIANS 4:4 says, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”
The Holy Spirit gave these words to the Apostle Paul to write while he was “in chains for Christ.” Even though the Apostle was imprisoned in Rome due to his preaching of the gospel, he found reasons to rejoice. He was always thankful to God for the Philippian congregation (Philippians 1:3). He was thankful for their gospel partnership, for their gift, for their faith and life.
Paul could pray with joy even though he was in prison and longing to die and go to heaven (Philippians 1:21-23). He said going to heaven is to be with Christ, which is far better; but to go on living means fruitful labor, which is also a good thing.
He knew that suffering, hard work, exhaustion, disappointments, rivalries and false accusations are a small price to pay for the good that God would work through him for others, and for the glory that would be revealed in him (see Romans 8).
This Epistle (letter) to the Philippians is truly a letter filled with joy. Sixteen times the word “joy” is used in these 4 chapters. The NIV translates it as “joy” when it is a noun, “rejoice” in its verb forms, and “glad” when it is an adjective. How could Paul be joyful in these circumstances? How can we follow his lead and experience the joy of Jesus more and more?
1. Focus on Jesus, and what he has done for you. Read and meditate on the good news of Jesus Christ every day (Philippians 2:5-11).
2. Consider the needs of others, not just your own interests (Philippians 2:4).
3. Be thankful. Gratitude is a big part of joy. Rather than considering yourself entitled to good things, see each blessing as a gift from God (Philippians 4:10-20).
4. Keep on thinking about things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable, excellent or praiseworthy (Philippians 4:8).
5. Present all your needs and requests to the Lord in prayer, confident that he hears you (Philippians 4:6).
6. Remember that “happiness” and “joy” are two different things. Happiness is dependent on what happens in our lives. I may feel sad because of sad events or I may be depressed because of illness, yet still have the deep joy of knowing my Savior loves me and is taking me to heaven.

Welcome To Grace Lutheran Church

 

Grace Lutheran Church is a Christian church located in Yorba Linda, CA, We are a member of Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS). We believe that the Bible is the true word of God and the only guiding principle for the life of a Christian.

Our Mission

The mission of our congregation is to make disciples for Jesus Christ by sharing the gospel in God’s Word and sacraments.  With the help of God, we will fulfill this mission through the following activities:

  • glorifying and praising God through public worship services,
  • teaching classes for all ages (to strengthen those who believe, to train (equip) members to lead exemplary Christian lives, and reach out to others).
  • seeking the lost and the wayward,
  • administering the sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion,
  • to help and encourage one another through fellowship activities,
  • supporting one another (carrying each others’ burdens),
  • finally, Grace Lutheran is a contributing member of a synod of churches (WELS). We do this to help to carry out Christ’s command to, “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…”

Midweek Lent Services

Follow Jesus to Pilate’s Court

04/10/2019 Midweek Lent Service

SERMON TEXT:  Luke 23:1-25

The whole group of them got up and brought him before Pilate. They began to accuse him, saying, “We found this fellow misleading our nation, forbidding the payment of taxes to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king.”
Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?”
“It is as you say,” Jesus replied.
Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.”
But they kept insisting, “He stirs up the people, teaching all through Judea, beginning from Galilee all the way here.”
Pilate Sends Jesus to Herod
When Pilate heard this, he asked if the man was a Galilean. When he learned that he was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem during those days.
When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad. For a long time, he had wanted to see him, because he had heard many things about him. He hoped to see some miracle performed by him. He questioned him with many words, but Jesus gave him no answer. The chief priests and the experts in the law stood there, vehemently accusing him. Herod, along with his soldiers, treated him with contempt and ridiculed him. Dressing him in bright clothing, he sent him back to Pilate. Herod and Pilate became friends with each other on that day. Before this they had been enemies of each other.
Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers, and the people, and said to them, “You brought this man to me as one who is misleading the people. Look, I have examined him in your presence. I have found in this man no basis for the charges you are bringing against him. Herod did not either, for he sent him back to us. See, he has done nothing worthy of death. So I will have him flogged and release him.”
Barabbas or Jesus?
Pilate needed to release one prisoner to them at the Festival. But they all shouted together with one voice: “Take him away! Release Barabbas to us!” Barabbas had been thrown in prison for a rebellion in the city and for murder.
Pilate addressed them again, because he wanted to release Jesus. But they kept shouting, “Crucify! Crucify him!”
He said to them the third time, “Why? What evil has he done? I have found no grounds for sentencing him to death. So I will whip him and release him.” But they kept pressuring him with loud voices, demanding that he be crucified. And their voices were overwhelming. So Pilate decided that what they demanded would be done. He released the one they had asked for, who had been thrown in prison for rebellion and murder, but he handed Jesus over to their will.


Bible Readings

Psalms 2

Why do the nations rage?
Why do the peoples grumble in vain?
The kings of the earth take a stand, and the rulers join together against the LORD
and against his Anointed One.
“Let us tear off their chains and throw off their ropes from us.” The one who is seated in heaven laughs.
The Lord scoffs at them.
Then he speaks to them in his anger, and in his
wrath he terrifies them.
“I have installed my King on Zion, my holy
mountain.”
I will proclaim the decree of the LORD.
He said to me:
“You are my Son.
Today I have begotten you.
Ask me, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance and the ends of the earth as your possession.
You will smash them with an iron rod.
You will break them to pieces like pottery.”
So now, you kings, do what is wise.
Accept discipline, you judges of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son, or he will be angry,
and you will be destroyed in your way,
for his wrath can flare up in a moment.

GOSPEL: Luke 23:1-25

See Sermon Text

Good Friday – Jesus our great high priest is better than any other high priest

GOOD FRIDAY: SERVICE OF DARKNESS

SERMON TEXT:  Hebrews 9:11-14

But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!


Bible Readings

FIRST LESSON:  Lamentations 1:1-5

How deserted lies the city, once so full of people!
How like a widow is she, who once was great among the nations!
She who was queen among the provinces has now become a slave.

Bitterly she weeps at night, tears are upon her cheeks.
Among all her lovers there is none to comfort her.
All her friends have betrayed her; they have become her enemies.

After affliction and harsh labor, Judah has gone into exile.
She dwells among the nations; she finds no resting place.
All who pursue her have overtaken her in the midst of her distress.

The roads to Zion mourn, for no one comes to her appointed feasts.
All her gateways are desolate, her priests groan,
her maidens grieve, and she is in bitter anguish.

Her foes have become her masters; her enemies are at ease.
The LORD has brought her grief because of her many sins.
Her children have gone into exile, captive before the foe.

SECOND LESSON:  Lamentations 1:6-14

All the splendor has departed from the Daughter of Zion.
Her princes are like deer that find no pasture;
in weakness they have fled before the pursuer.

In the days of her affliction and wandering, Jerusalem remembers all the treasures that were hers in days of old.
When her people fell into enemy hands there was no one to help her.
Her enemies looked at her and laughed at her destruction.

Jerusalem has sinned greatly and so has become unclean.
All who honored her despise her nakedness;
she herself groans and turns away.

Her filthiness clung to her skirts; she did not consider her future.
Her fall was astounding; there was none to comfort her.
“Look, O LORD, on my affliction, for the enemy has triumphed.”
The enemy laid hands on all her treasures;
she saw pagan nations enter her sanctuary—
those you had forbidden to enter your assembly.

All her people groan as they search for bread;
they barter their treasures for food to keep themselves alive.
“Look, O LORD, and consider, for I am despised.”

“Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look around and see.
Is any suffering like my suffering that was inflicted on me,
that the Lord brought on me in the day of his fierce anger?

“From on high he sent fire, sent it down into my bones.
He spread a net for my feet and turned me back.
He made me desolate, faint all the day long.

“My sins have been bound into a yoke; by his hands they were woven together.
They have come upon my neck and the Lord has sapped my strength.
He has handed me over to those I cannot withstand.”

GOSPEL:

The Passion History Part 7 from “The Christ of the Gospels” by William F. Beck

Grace Events

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26apr5:30 pm6:30 pmAA Meeting

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Facebook & Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

 

Grace News & Events For The Week Of Apr 14 – Apr 20

WELS SOFTBALL: Important Notice: The date for the one-day tournament of our WELS softball league is changed from May 5th to May 19th. May 12th is Mother’s Day. Two churches have said they have confirmation of May 5th. Please let me know as soon as you can how many participants we might expect from your congregation.

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Upcoming Events

 

Grace News & Events For The Week Of Apr 14 – Apr 20

WELS SOFTBALL: Important Notice: The date for the one-day tournament of our WELS softball league is changed from May 5th to May 19th. May 12th is Mother’s Day. Two churches have said they have confirmation of May 5th. Please let me know as soon as you can how many participants we might expect from your congregation.

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Messenger Of Grace

 

Messenger Of Grace – April 2019

April 2019 Holy WeekAs we finish our Lenten prepaprations for another year during the early part of April (Wednesday evening servies on April 3 and 10), we anticipate the start of Holy Week. Ushered in with Palm Sunday (April 14), Holy Week marks the culmination of...

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Messenger Of Grace – March

March 2019 PASTOR GLENN WENZEL Let me introduce myself as I will be serving as your pastor the next few months as you are calling your next full time pastor. I grew up in the small city of Menasha in Wisconsin, about 40 miles from Green Bay and about 100 miles from...

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Messenger Of Grace – February

February 2019 PET PEEVES Is there something that bothers you way beyond its actual importance? That would be a pet peeve. Some examples: Slow drivers in the left lane Toilet paper comes around the back of the tube instead of in front (or the opposite) Toilet seat left...

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Messenger Of Grace – January

January 2019 EPIPHANY On January 6, the Church celebrates the Epiphany of our Lord. Epiphany means revealing. The main emphasis of the season in the revealing of Jesus as our Savior; as prophet, priest, and king; as Savior of all peoples, not just the Jews. During...

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