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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

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A Lamb Goes Uncomplaining Forth

The 2nd Sunday in Lent

 

SERMON TEXT:  Luke 13:31-35

In that very hour, some Pharisees came to him and said, “Leave, and go away from here, because Herod wants to kill you.” He said to them, “Go tell that fox, ‘Look, I am going to drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal. Nevertheless, I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the next day, because it cannot be that a prophet would be killed outside Jerusalem!’ “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I have wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! Look, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you will say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’”

Sermon Audio, Video, & Transcript

Transcript will be available later


Bible Readings

FIRST LESSON:  Jeremiah 26:8-15

When Jeremiah had finished saying everything the LORD had commanded him to say to all the people, then the priests, the prophets, and all the people seized him and said, “You must die! Why do you prophesy in the name of the LORD that this house will be like Shiloh and that this city will be desolate with no one living here?” All the people crowded around Jeremiah in the House of the LORD.
When the officials of Judah heard about these things, they came up from the king’s house to the House of the LORD and sat in the entrance of the New Gate of the LORD’s house.
Then the priests and the prophets said to the officials and to all the people, “This man deserves the sentence of death because he has been prophesying against this city, as you heard with your own ears.”
Then Jeremiah said to all the officials and to all the people, “The LORD sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city all the things that you have heard. Now reform your ways and your actions, and obey the LORD your God. Then the LORD will relent and not bring about the disaster he has pronounced against you. But as for me, look, I am in your hands. Do with me whatever seems good and right in your eyes. But you can be certain of this. If you put me to death, you will bring innocent blood on yourselves and on this city and on those who live here, for it is true that the LORD has sent me to you to speak all these words in your hearing.”

SECOND LESSON:  Philippians 3:17-4:1

Brothers, join together in imitating me and in paying attention to those who are walking according to the pattern we gave you. To be sure, many walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. I told you about them often, and now I am saying it while weeping. Their end is destruction, their god is their appetite, and their glory is in their shame. They are thinking only about earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. We are eagerly waiting for a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ. By the power that enables him to subject all things to himself, he will transform our humble bodies to be like his glorious body. :So then, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, in this way keep standing firm in the Lord, my dear friends.

VERSE OF THE DAY:  Philippians 2:8

Jesus humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross.

GOSPEL: Luke 13:31-35

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Theme: The Big Test

The First Sunday In Lent

SERMON TEXT:  Luke 4:1-13 (EHV)

Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where he was tempted by the Devil for forty days. He did not eat anything during those days. When they came to an end, he was hungry. The Devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’” The Devil led him up to a high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. The Devil told him, “I will give you all this power and the glory of these kingdoms, because it has been entrusted to me, and I can give it to anyone I want. So, if you worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered him, “It is written: ‘You shall worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’” The Devil led him to Jerusalem and had him stand on the pinnacle of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down from here, because it is written: He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you. And, they will lift you up with their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” Jesus answered him, “It says: ‘You shall not test the Lord your God.’” When the Devil had finished every temptation, he left him until an opportune time.

Sermon Audio, Video, & Transcript

Transcript will be available soon


Bible Readings

FIRST LESSON:  Joshua 7:16-26

Joshua got up early in the morning, and he had Israel come forward tribe by tribe. The tribe of Judah was identified. Then he had the tribe of Judah come forward, and he identified the clan of the Zerahites. Next, he had the clan of the Zerahites come forward by individual familes, and Zabdi’s family was identified. Then he had Zabdi’s household come forward one man at a time, and Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, was identified.
Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory now to the LORD, the God of Israel, and give him praise. Now tell me what you did. Do not conceal it from me.”
Achan answered Joshua, “It is true. I am the one who has sinned against the LORD, the God of Israel, and this is what I did: Among the plunder I saw an expensive Mesopotamian robe, a fine one, and two hundred shekels of silver and one wedge of gold—it weighed fifty shekels. I coveted them and I took them. Now they are hidden in the ground inside my tent, and the silver is underneath it.”
So Joshua sent agents. They ran to the tent, and there it was! The robe was hidden in his tent, and the silver was underneath it! They took them from the middle of the tent and brought them to Joshua and to all the people of Israel, where they poured them out before the LORD.
Then Joshua took Achan son of Zerah and the silver, the garment, and the wedge of gold, as well as Achan’s sons and his daughters, his ox, his donkey and his flock, and his tent and everything that belonged to him—so all Israel, led by Joshua, brought them up to the Valley of Achor.
Joshua said, “Why have you brought disaster on us? The LORD will bring disaster on you this day!”
Then all Israel stoned Achan to death. They also burned him and them with fire, and they pelted them with stones. They erected a large heap of stones over Achan, which remains to this day. Then the LORD turned from the heat of his anger. For that reason the name of that place is called the Valley of Achor to this day.

SECOND LESSON:  Hebrews 4:14-16

Therefore, since we have a great high priest, who has gone through the heavens, namely, Jesus the Son of God, let us continue to hold on to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are, yet was without sin. So let us approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

VERSE OF THE DAY:  Matthew 4:10b (NIV)

“Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.”

GOSPEL: Luke 4:1-13 (EHV)

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Theme: Learn from Jesus

Transfiguration Sunday

SERMON TEXT:  Luke 9:28-36

About eight days after he said these words, Jesus took Peter, John, and James and went up on the mountain to pray. While he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothing became dazzling white. Just then, two men, Moses and Elijah, were talking with him! They appeared in glory and were talking about his departure, which he was going to bring to fulfillment in Jerusalem.
Peter and those with him were weighed down with sleep, but when they were completely awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him.
As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, it is good for us to be here. Let’s make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He did not realize what he was saying.
While he was saying these things, a cloud came and overshadowed them. They were afraid as they went into the cloud. Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” After the voice had spoken, they found Jesus alone. They kept this secret and told no one in those days any of the things they had seen.

Sermon Audio, Video & Transcript

Theme: Learn From Jesus

Grace be unto you and peace from God our father and our lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Our text today as stated is the gospel lesson for today, Transfiguration Sunday. Transfiguration Sunday marks the end of the Epiphany season. That part of the church year that talks about how Jesus was manifested, how he was showing forth, how people saw who he was. The season can be up to nine Sundays. This year because Easter is quite light, this is actually the seventh Sunday in the epiphany. Part of that cycle that we follow year after year. A cycle that gives us the life of Jesus, from advent, through Christmas’s birth, now Epiphany where his miracles, his teachings show us to lent which will enter this next week on Wednesday with Ash Wednesday. Epiphany, this season is really a set of bookends on each end of it. Epiphany itself, which is January 6, is the visit the Wise men, but the first Sunday after Epiphany gives us that account of Jesus baptism. Where he was going to get ready, anointed by the Holy Spirit, to begin his ministry. From that time on that occasion we heard the voice of the Father who said, You are my son whom I love. With you I am well pleased, is a bookend the beginning of his ministry. And now those three years of his ministry would go on, they’re almost over. Today, on Transfiguration Sunday we hear that same voice say similar words. Then a voice came out of the cloud saying, This is my son whom I love. Listen to him. Isn’t that what we do when we come to church? We listen to Jesus. We learn from Jesus as his disciples did. As they sat at his feet for those three years. As you do week after week, day after day. Especially this morning we learn from Jesus in a special way in His transfiguration, that glimpse of His glory. Our text tells us about eight days after he said these words, Jesus took Peter, John, and James and went up on the Mount to pray.

Jesus knew the end of his ministry here on earth was almost over. He took that inner three, Peter, James, and John, up on the mountain. We don’t know exactly where. Bible scholars pick two locations, one in northern Galilee, see the little red dot at Mount Herman. Others say down the south part of Galilee, not really important. It was up on one of these mountains. The holy land was filled with isolated areas where Jesus could quietly go off by himself to pray. How often don’t we hear that Jesus did just this, when he needed time alone. When he was looking for strength from his Heavenly Father. He gives us that example, when there’s times of stress, times of difficulty, times of uncertainty, he shows us go off and pray. Or, don’t you have those times in your life? Never times of stress? Never times when you’re not certain what you have, or maybe you know what’s going to happen. Maybe you have that surgery scheduled. You know it’s coming. As Jesus knew what was coming. We see what Jesus did during these times. We learn from Jesus. Take the time to quietly pray, because God will answer. Jesus I’m sure was praying for strength for His passion. For Lent that we’re getting ready to celebrate. For his suffering and death. He was praying for strength and what did God do? God gave him an answer in one sense of strength, because we’re told in our text, while he was praying the appearance of his face changed, and his clothing became dazzling white. It was changed. It was transfigured. The term is metamorphosis. Remember that term from science years ago, metamorphosis? It talked about how that caterpillar when into the cocoon and changed into that beautiful butterfly. It was transfigured, it was transformed, changed from a humble caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly. Jesus here for himself and for his disciples enter us got once more a glimpse of the glory that he left behind. The glory that was His in heaven before He came down here on earth. The first Christmas before he took on our human nature. This glimpse of glory, and just then two men, Moses, we heard about their Old Testament reading and Elijah, were talking with him. They appeared in glory and were talking about his departure, which he was going to bring to fulfillment, interesting. What do we have here? We have two figures from the Old Testament. We see some kind of comparison, some kind of contrast. We see Moses, the lawgiver. We see Elijah, great prophet and in between them, we see Jesus. What a comparison. Moses was a great preacher. Remember he didn’t always listen to God. He ended up not being able to go into the promised land. Instead, he died, and God buried him in some special location. He was a sinner. Elijah was a prophet. A speaker of God’s message, but he also was a human being. There in between, in full glory Jesus was showing them that He was the one, not Elijah, not Moses, but the message they proclaim, because that’s what they were talking about, Jesus.

We can look at that today too. You preaches the gospel. For about 20 years had pastor Wagenknecht. For a few months you’ll have me. Then you’ll have someone else, but it’s not us is it? Just like it wasn’t Moses, it was Elijah, it’s the great Shepherd who brings the message of his glory. The message we see, we see in his glory. That’s what we learn from Jesus. The focus is on Him. That’s what we heard when we studied that epistle lesson in Bible class. The focus is on Jesus, not Paul. And that’s what Peter, James, and John saw as they woke up from that sleep and saw the transfigured glory of Jesus. Yes, Moses and Elijah were basking in that glory. They had part of that glory. Why? Because they were talking about his departure which He was going to bring to fulfillment in Jerusalem. They were discussing how Jesus was going to be going to Jerusalem one last time, and then depart. His exodus. His death and what that was meaning. What that was going to happen, what that meant for Peter, James, and John, and what that meant for us, His passion. The message we’re going to study in detail in the weeks ahead. The Wednesday night services. The Sunday morning services. The message of Jesus, and Peter, and those with him were weighed down with sleep, but when they were completely awake, they saw His glory, and the two men standing with Him. As the men were leaving Jesus, Peter said to Him, master it is good for us to be here let’s make 3 tents, one for you, one for Moses, one for Elijah he did not realize what he was saying. Peter saw this glory that Jesus is Lord, and Elijah and Moses basking in the glory. They receive that glory. They had died, or did Moses had died. Elijah was taken right up into heaven, but they now had Jesus’ glory. Peter said, we want that we want that now! In a sense what Peter was saying, Lord it’s good for us to be here. Can’t we just put up our tent and stay here, for like forever? Let’s not go forward. Let’s stay here. Everything’s good. Think about it. Those disciples had been following Jesus for three years. They had seen him do miracles. They had seen him heal the blind, the lame, the deaf. Take away their sicknesses so they can walk again, see again. He fed the 5,000. He took care of their stomachs. Wouldn’t that be great if we just had the glory of Jesus, and stay here on the mountain, and we don’t have to go forward. Everything would just be so good. We sometimes I think get caught up in that. God, why can’t you just make everything good for us here. Take away my illness that I have. Paul thought that one point, remember? Take away this thorn of the flesh. I can do so much better. We get caught up in that too.

We want the glory of God now for our life here, as the Peter. But Peter needed to learn, as we do, look forward. They talked about His mission. Yes, they saw His glory. They saw the power and what Jesus had, but they also needed to hear His mission. What was it that Elijah and Moses and Jesus were talking about? The cross. His suffering, His death and what would follow. Jesus told us to take up our cross. That life here on earth is not always going to be physically as we wanted, but what is coming? What is beyond? Transfiguration gave the disciples and us, and Jesus that strength, that glimpse, of what is coming! Last evening you had a funeral here and pastor Wagenknecht preached a very good sermon on that message pointing to what Evelyn Hokenson who is now with her Lord has. Isn’t that what we’re looking forward to? Isn’t that what we want? Not like Peter, but stay here enjoy it. Let’s look forward to the full glory of what’s coming, because that’s the message that was here. The message that God the Father delivered. While he was saying these things, a cloud came and overshadowed them. They were afraid as they went into the cloud. Then a voice came out of the cloud saying, this is my son whom I love, listen to Him. Listen to Jesus, listen to his word. Listen to what he has to say to us in scripture. But I ask you, what does it mean to listen? Parents do you ever tell your children, listen! Why do you have to tell them that? They don’t always. What does it mean to listen? Is it like most people? Do not listen with the intent to understand, they listen with the intent to reply. Isn’t that us sometimes? We maybe are listening to what someone has to say, so we can figure out how we’re going to reply. What are we going to say in answer to them? Why don’t we give our viewpoint? I think sometimes we do that with God. We listen to what He has to say. Okay God, you promised this. Now, do it my way! Listen is not the intent to reply. Peter learned that. And later on years later he would write a letter in which he said, we did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eye witnesses of His Majesty. For He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to Him from the majestic glory saying this is my son whom I love with him I am well pleased.

Peter listened later, got the message. He heard what Jesus once said, blessed are those who hear the word of God, and obey it, and follow it. do it. Who don’t try to respond and say, no, this is a way. Who say this is what God says, so I follow it. Follow that word, that Scripture, that we hear again and again in our services. The word that we study in Bible classes. The Scripture that we privately sit down with at home in private meditations. Using the devotion book, Meditations1, a wonderful source.

Listen to God, because when we do so, we learn from Jesus. We learn. We learn to see his glory. Transfiguration a glimpse. The Lord’s supper, which you’ll be offered this morning, a foretaste of heaven. It’s often referred to as a heavenly meal. A glimpse of the glory of heaven. We hear his mission. Why Jesus came, the cross. The mission that again comes to us fulfilled in the Lord’s supper when we receive his true body and blood shed for us, for our forgiveness. We listen to His word again and again, because we need that strength. We need that encouragement. We need that reminder. Transfiguration Sunday, it gives us that big picture. The bookend at the end of the Epiphany of Jesus life. It gets us ready to enter this next season of Lent to prepare us for Easter. When the message of transfiguration teach us again about Jesus.

Amen

  1. Also available as an app. ↩︎


Bible Readings

FIRST LESSON:  Exodus 34:29-35

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not realize that the skin of his face was shining because he had been speaking with the Lord. When Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses, they were amazed that the skin of his face was shining, so they were afraid to come close to him. Moses called to them, so Aaron and all the rulers of the community returned to him, and Moses spoke to them. Afterward all the people of Israel came close to him, and he gave them all of the commands that the Lord had spoken to him on Mount Sinai. When Moses was finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face. But whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with him, he would take the veil off until he came out again. Then he would come out and tell the people of Israel what he had been commanded. Whenever the people of Israel saw Moses’ face, they would see that the skin of Moses’ face was shining. Then Moses would put the veil on his face again, until he went in to speak with the Lord again.

SECOND LESSON:  2 Corinthians 4:3-6

But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled among those who are perishing. In the case of those people, the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from clearly seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is God’s image.
Indeed, we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For the God who said, “Light will shine out of darkness,” is the same one who made light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the person of Jesus Christ.

VERSE OF THE DAY:  Mark 9:7

“This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him.”

GOSPEL: Luke 9:28-36

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The Grace Messenger

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.

In God We Trust

IN GOD WE TRUST is printed on all our American money. Officially it is our national motto. It is good to glorify God in such a way. But consider this: it does not really say very much.

How many Americans worship the true God? God can be defined in many different ways. There’s the “higher power” of AA, the Universe (as in, “Can’t the Universe just give me a break?!”), any of the gods of the ancient peoples or world religions. In fact, if there are 330 million Americans, there is the potential of 330 million gods being recognized as many either proclaim or silently believe, “I am God.”
The One True God is the LORD (Jehovah). He is the creator and preserver of the universe. He created it for mankind, whom he created good. God’s desire was for man and woman to live in harmony with him forever, but Adam and Eve followed Satan who rebelled against God. Sin brought about the curse of creation, death, and separation from God.

The One True God gave us his moral law to show us the right and best way to live. But if we don’t follow the law perfectly, it is called sin and it separates us from God’s love—potentially forever. The One True God demands obedience.

The good news is that the One True God is Triune (3 in 1). God the Son took on human existence so that he could live under the law in our place, die on the cross in our place, and rise from the dead to guarantee that we too will live. God the Holy Spirit works in the Word to bring people to faith so that we can receive God’s gift of forgiveness and eternal life.

As Christians, we know who “God” is. We can sing “God bless America” and “God shed his grace on thee” and speak “under God” with thankfulness not only for God’s temporal gifts but especially his eternal ones. Don’t be fooled, however, by the outward appearance of spirituality that we see on display once in a while at Christmas time, national holidays, and state funerals. The outward form of American popular religion is not the same as Bible-based faith in Christ as Savior, the only faith that saves us from sin and guilt. American civic religion is based on good works. Therefore, it is important that we as Christians testify to the good news that faith in Jesus saves, not good works. God bless your witness.

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.

In God We Trust

IN GOD WE TRUST is printed on all our American money. Officially it is our national motto. It is good to glorify God in such a way. But consider this: it does not really say very much.

How many Americans worship the true God? God can be defined in many different ways. There’s the “higher power” of AA, the Universe (as in, “Can’t the Universe just give me a break?!”), any of the gods of the ancient peoples or world religions. In fact, if there are 330 million Americans, there is the potential of 330 million gods being recognized as many either proclaim or silently believe, “I am God.”
The One True God is the LORD (Jehovah). He is the creator and preserver of the universe. He created it for mankind, whom he created good. God’s desire was for man and woman to live in harmony with him forever, but Adam and Eve followed Satan who rebelled against God. Sin brought about the curse of creation, death, and separation from God.

The One True God gave us his moral law to show us the right and best way to live. But if we don’t follow the law perfectly, it is called sin and it separates us from God’s love—potentially forever. The One True God demands obedience.

The good news is that the One True God is Triune (3 in 1). God the Son took on human existence so that he could live under the law in our place, die on the cross in our place, and rise from the dead to guarantee that we too will live. God the Holy Spirit works in the Word to bring people to faith so that we can receive God’s gift of forgiveness and eternal life.

As Christians, we know who “God” is. We can sing “God bless America” and “God shed his grace on thee” and speak “under God” with thankfulness not only for God’s temporal gifts but especially his eternal ones. Don’t be fooled, however, by the outward appearance of spirituality that we see on display once in a while at Christmas time, national holidays, and state funerals. The outward form of American popular religion is not the same as Bible-based faith in Christ as Savior, the only faith that saves us from sin and guilt. American civic religion is based on good works. Therefore, it is important that we as Christians testify to the good news that faith in Jesus saves, not good works. God bless your witness.

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…”

Grace Events

Upcoming From The Grace Calendar

(See Full Calendar)

march

20mar6:00 pm7:00 pmLent SupperLenten Soup Supper – Fellowship Hall

20mar7:00 pm8:00 pmLent Worship 7PMLenten Worship

22mar5:30 pm6:30 pmAA Meeting

23mar6:30 pm7:30 pmWorship 6:30PMSaturday Evening Worship

24mar9:30 am10:30 amWorship 9:30AMSunday Morning Worship

27mar6:00 pm7:00 pmLent SupperLenten Soup Supper – Fellowship Hall

27mar7:00 pm8:00 pmLent Worship 7PMLenten Worship

29mar5:30 pm6:30 pmAA Meeting

30mar6:30 pm7:30 pmWorship* 6:30PMSaturday Evening

31mar9:30 am10:30 amWorship*Sunday Morning

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Facebook & Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

 

Grace News & Events For The Week Of Mar 10 – Mar 16

CLHS is having their annual fund raising dinner and silent auction, along with a performance of “Vaudeville Tonight: A Musical Revue” on Saturday, March 16. Our $450.00 donations were collected and have been sent to support CLHS. Ticket sales for the March 16th event have ended, but walk ups are welcome to the matinee at 2:00pm on Sunday, the 17th. Price for the matinee is $7.00.

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Grace News & Events For The Week Of Mar 03 – Mar 09

LWMS will be holding their Spring Rally at Prince of Peace in Thousand Oaks on March 9th. If you would like to attend, please sign up on the bulletin board to carpool. $360.00 was collected here at Grace and sent to support our mission’s projects.

read more

Upcoming Events

 

Grace News & Events For The Week Of Mar 10 – Mar 16

CLHS is having their annual fund raising dinner and silent auction, along with a performance of “Vaudeville Tonight: A Musical Revue” on Saturday, March 16. Our $450.00 donations were collected and have been sent to support CLHS. Ticket sales for the March 16th event have ended, but walk ups are welcome to the matinee at 2:00pm on Sunday, the 17th. Price for the matinee is $7.00.

read more

Grace News & Events For The Week Of Mar 03 – Mar 09

LWMS will be holding their Spring Rally at Prince of Peace in Thousand Oaks on March 9th. If you would like to attend, please sign up on the bulletin board to carpool. $360.00 was collected here at Grace and sent to support our mission’s projects.

read more

Messenger Of Grace

 

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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Messenger Of Grace – December

  December 2018   ADVENT Advent is from the Latin word for “Coming.” The four weeks leading up to Christmas are the time of Advent. Advent is the beginning of the “Church Year”, which is different from the usual way we mark the time using the Julian...

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