Weekend Services
Saturday: 6:30PM
Sunday: 9:30AM

Sunday School & Bible Class Sunday: 8:30AM
Welcome To Grace Lutheran Church
Slider

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

Need a bulletin?

Click the image or text below to view today’s service bulletin online and follow along on your smart phone or tablet.

Latest Weekend Services At Grace

 

What’s New About Love?

Fourth Sunday after Easter

SERMON TEXT:  John 13:31-35

After Judas left, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify the Son in himself and will glorify him at once.” “Dear children, I am going to be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come. “A new commandment I give you: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, so also you are to love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Sermon Audio & Video


Bible Readings

FIRST LESSON:  Acts 13:44-52

On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of God. But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with envy and began to contradict what Paul was saying by slandering him. Then Paul and Barnabas responded fearlessly, “It was necessary that God’s word be spoken to you first. But since you reject it and consider yourselves unworthy of eternal life, look: We are now turning to the Gentiles! For this is what the Lord has instructed us: I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the end of the earth.” When the Gentiles heard this, they were rejoicing and praising the word of the Lord. All who had been appointed for eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord was being carried through the whole region. But the Jews incited the God-fearing women of high standing and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas and expelled them from their district. So they shook the dust off their feet against them and went to Iconium. The disciples continued to be filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.

SECOND LESSON:  Revelation 21:1-6

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, because the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. And the sea no longer existed. And I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And from the throne I heard a loud voice that said, “Look! God’s dwelling is with people. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them, and he will be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain, because the former things have passed away.” The one who was seated on the throne said to me, “Look, I am making everything new!” He also said, “Write, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me: It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To anyone who is thirsty, I will give freely from the spring of the water of life.

VERSE OF THE DAY:  –Book– CW #154 stanza 4

 

GOSPEL: John 13:31-35

See Sermon Text

We Are Safe in the Arms of Jesus

Good Sheperd Sunday

SERMON TEXT:  John 10:22-30

Then the Festival of Dedication took place in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple area in Solomon’s Colonnade. So the Jews gathered around Jesus, asking, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” Jesus answered them, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I am doing in my Father’s name testify about me. But you do not believe, because you are not my sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all. No one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”

Sermon Audio & Video


Bible Readings

FIRST LESSON:  Acts 13:15-16a, 26-33

After the reading of the Law and the Prophets, the leaders of the synagogue sent a message to them, saying, “Gentlemen, brothers, if you have a word of encouragement for the people, say it.” Then Paul stood up, motioned with his hand, and said, “Gentlemen, brothers, sons of Abraham’s family, and those among you who fear God, this message of salvation has been sent to you. The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize him, and by condemning him they fulfilled the statements of the prophets that are read every Sabbath. Though they found no grounds for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have him executed. When they carried out everything that was written about him, they took him down from the cross and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead, and for many days he was seen by those who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. These same individuals are now his witnesses to the people. “We are preaching to you the good news about the promise that was made to our fathers. God has fulfilled this promise for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: You are my Son. Today I have begotten you.

SECOND LESSON:  Revelation 7:9-17

After these things I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing in front of the throne and of the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and with palm branches in their hands. They called out with a loud voice and said: Salvation comes from our God, who sits on the throne, and from the Lamb. All the angels stood around the throne, the elders, and the four living creatures. They fell on their faces before the throne and worshipped God, saying: Amen. Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and might belong to our God forever and ever. Amen. One of the elders spoke to me and said, “These people dressed in white robes, who are they and where did they come from?” And I answered him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me: These are the ones who are coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Because of this they are in front of the throne of God, and they serve him day and night in his temple. He who sits on the throne will spread his tent over them. They will never be hungry or thirsty ever again. The sun will never beat upon them, nor will any scorching heat, for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd. He will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.

VERSE OF THE DAY:  CW 

#154 stanza 5

GOSPEL: John 10:22-30

See Sermon Text

Recognize the LORD!

2nd Sunday aftrer Easter

SERMON TEXT:  John 21:1-14

After this, Jesus showed himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. This is how he showed himself: Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. Simon Peter said to them, “I’m going fishing.” They replied, “We’ll go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Early in the morning, Jesus was standing on the shore, but the disciples did not know it was Jesus. Jesus called to them, “Boys, don’t you have any fish?” “No!” they answered. He told them, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” So they cast the net out. Then they were not able to haul it in because of the large number of fish. The disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard, “It is the Lord!” he tied his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the sea. But the other disciples came in the little boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about one hundred yards. When they stepped out on land, they saw some bread and a charcoal fire with fish on it. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you just caught.” So Simon Peter climbed aboard and hauled the net to land, full of large fish, of them. Yet even with so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, “Come, eat breakfast.” None of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” because they knew it was the Lord.

Sermon Audio & Video


Bible Readings

FIRST LESSON:  Acts 9:1-19a

Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the disciples of the Lord. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any men or women belonging to the Way, he might bring them to Jerusalem as prisoners. As he went on his way and was approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” He asked, “Who are you, Lord?” He replied, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you need to do.” The men traveling with him stood there speechless. They heard the voice but did not see anyone. They raised Saul up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes, he could not see anything. They took him by the hand and led him into Damascus. For three days he could not see, and he did not eat or drink. There was a disciple in Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias!” He answered, “Here I am, Lord.” The Lord told him, “Get up and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. In fact, at this very moment he is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he can regain his sight.” Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many people about this man and how much harm he did to your saints in Jerusalem. And he has authority here from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” The Lord said to him, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the people of Israel. Indeed, I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” Ananias left and entered the house. Laying his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, whom you saw on your way here, has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized. And after taking some food, he regained his strength.

SECOND LESSON:  Revelation 5:11-14

And I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels who were around the throne and around the living creatures and the elders. Their number was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands upon thousands. With a loud voice they were saying: Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing. I also heard every creature that is in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever. The four living creatures said, “Amen,” and the elders bowed down and worshipped.

VERSE OF THE DAY:  –Book– CW #154 stanza 5

Alleluia, Alleluia, give thanks to the risen Lord.
Alleluia, Alleluia, give praise to his name.
Jesus is Lord of all the earth;
He is the King of creation.

GOSPEL: John 21:1-14

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…”

Grace Events

Upcoming From The Grace Calendar

(See Full Calendar)

may

24may5:30 pm6:30 pmAA Meeting

25may6:30 pm7:30 pmWorship 6:30PMSaturday Evening Worship

26may9:30 am10:30 amWorship 9:30AMSunday Morning Worship

31may5:30 pm6:30 pmAA Meeting

h

Facebook & Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

 

Grace News & Events For The Week Of Apr 28 – May 04

AnnouncementsOUR MANAGEMENT OF GOD’S GIFTS LAST WEEK: SERVING AT GRACE THIS WEEK: Saturday Worship Leader: David Stansfield; Sunday Organist: Margie Erickson; Altar Guild: Hurst; Flowers: Dowler Refreshments: Volunteer; Acolyte: Ilena Vandiver; Ushers:...

read more

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.

read more

Upcoming Events

 

Grace News & Events For The Week Of Apr 28 – May 04

AnnouncementsOUR MANAGEMENT OF GOD’S GIFTS LAST WEEK: SERVING AT GRACE THIS WEEK: Saturday Worship Leader: David Stansfield; Sunday Organist: Margie Erickson; Altar Guild: Hurst; Flowers: Dowler Refreshments: Volunteer; Acolyte: Ilena Vandiver; Ushers:...

read more

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.

read more

Messenger Of Grace

 

Messenger Of Grace – May 2019

May 2019 PASTORAL VACANCYWith the retrun of the divine call by Pastor Daniel Johnston, the Voters met on Sunday, April 28 and voted to ask Pastor Buchholz, the District President of our Arizona-California District, for a Seminary graduate for Grace. Call Day at our...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more
X