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

Sunday School & Bible Class Sunday: 8:30AM
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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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Latest Weekend Services At Grace

 

Three Important Epiphanies to You

The Epiphany of Our Lord
WELS Walking Together Sunday

  1. God’s Word is True
  2. God’s Christ is Savior
  3. God’s Salvation is Intended for All
SERMON TEXT:  Ephesians 3:2-12

Surely you have heard of the administration of God’s grace given to me for you, namely, that the mystery was made known to me by revelation (as I have already written briefly). When you read this, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ. This mystery was not made known to people in past generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to his holy apostles and prophets. This mystery is that in Christ Jesus the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and people who also share in the promise through the gospel. I became a servant of this gospel, in keeping with the gift of God’s grace that was given to me by the working of his power. To me—even though I am the very least of all the saints—was given this grace: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ and to enlighten everyone about the administration of this mystery. In past ages this mystery remained hidden in God, who created all things. He did this so that, through the church, the multifaceted wisdom of God in the heavenly places might now be made known to the rulers and authorities. This was done according to the eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus.


Bible Readings

FIRST LESSON:  1 Kings 10:1-9

The Queen of Sheba heard about Solomon’s fame, which was connected with the fame of the LORD, so she came to test him with hard questions. She came to Jerusalem with a very great entourage—with camels carrying spices and a large quantity of gold and precious stones. She came to Solomon and told him everything that was on her heart.
Solomon answered all her questions. There was nothing hidden from the king that he could not explain to her.
The Queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon, the house which he built, and the food on his table. When she saw the council meeting of his officials, the careful attention of his ministers, as well as their attire, his cupbearers, and the whole burnt offerings which he offered at the House of the LORD, it took her breath away.
She said to the king, “The report I heard in my own country about your accomplishments and your wisdom is true. I did not believe the report until I came and saw it with my own eyes. The truth is, not even half of it was told to me! Your wisdom and wealth surpass the report which I heard. Blessed are your men, blessed are your servants, who stand before you continually hearing your wisdom! May the LORD your God be blessed, who was pleased to put you on the throne of Israel. Because the LORD loves Israel forever, he made you king to administer justice and righteousness.”

SECOND LESSON:  Ephesians 3:2-12

See Sermon Text

VERSE OF THE DAY:  Matthew 2:2

We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.

GOSPEL: Matthew 2:1-12

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, when Herod was king, Wise Men from the east came to Jerusalem. They asked, “Where is he who has been born King of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When King Herod heard this, he was alarmed, and all Jerusalem with him. He gathered together all the people’s chief priests and experts in the law. He asked them where the Christ was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, because this was written through the prophet: You, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are certainly not least among the rulers of Judah: because out of you will come a ruler, who will shepherd my people, Israel.” Then Herod secretly summoned the Wise Men and found out from them exactly when the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. When you find him, report to me, so that I may also go and worship him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. Then the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them, until it stood still over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with overwhelming joy. After they went into the house and saw the child with Mary, his mother, they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Since they had been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they went back to their own country by another route.

Rejoice! For Jesus is Coming Soon

The Fourth Sunday in Advent

  1. Mary Prepares for Christmas
  2. We Prepare for Christmas
SERMON TEXT:  Luke 1:39-55

In those days Mary got up and hurried to the hill country, to a town of Judah. She entered the home of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. Just as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She called out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why am I so favored that the mother of my Lord should come to me? In fact, just now, as soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy! Blessed is she who believed, because the promises spoken to her from the Lord will be fulfilled!”
Then Mary said,
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior,
because he has looked with favor on the humble state of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed,
because the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm.
He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones.
He has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things, but the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the aid of his servant Israel, remembering his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his offspring forever.


Bible Readings

FIRST LESSON:  Genesis 4:1-2,6-8,25-5:5

The man was intimate with Eve, his wife. She conceived and gave birth to Cain. She said, “I have gotten a man with the LORD.” She also gave birth to Cain’s brother Abel. Abel tended sheep, but Cain worked the ground. The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why do you have that angry look on your face? If you do good, will you not be lifted up? If you do not do good, sin is crouching at the door. It has a strong desire for you, but you must rule over it.” Cain said to Abel, his brother, “Let’s go into the field.” When they were in the field, Cain attacked Abel, his brother, and killed him. Adam was intimate with his wife again. She gave birth to a son and named him Seth, because she said, “God has set another child in place of Abel for me, since Cain killed him.” Later a son was born to Seth, and he named him Enosh. This is when people began to proclaim the name of the LORD. :This is the account about the development of Adam’s family: In the day that God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them, and on the day they were created, he named them “mankind.” Adam lived years, and he became the father of a son in his own likeness, according to his own image, and he named him Seth. The days of Adam after he became the father of Seth were years, and he became the father of sons and daughters. All the days that Adam lived were years. Then he died.

SECOND LESSON:  Revelation 12:1-6

A great sign appeared in the sky: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant, and she cried out in pain and agony as she gave birth. Another sign also appeared in the sky: There was a huge red dragon that had seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads. His tail swept away a third of the stars in the sky and threw them to the earth. The dragon stood before the woman, who was about to give birth, so that he could devour the child as soon as it was born. She gave birth to a son, a male child, who will shepherd all the nations with an iron rod. Her child was snatched up to God and to his throne. Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God in order that she might be fed there for 1,260 days.

VERSE OF THE DAY:  Matthew 1:23

The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel.

GOSPEL: Luke 1:39-55

See Sermon Text

Be Faithful! Jesus is coming soon!

The Third Sunday of Advent

  1. Our Faithfulness falls flat
  2. Jesus’ faithfulness is credited to us!
SERMON TEXT:  Luke 3:7-18

So John kept saying to the crowds who came out to be baptized by him, “You offspring of vipers, who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Therefore produce fruits in keeping with repentance! Do not even think of saying to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ because I tell you that God is able to raise up children for Abraham from these stones. Even now the ax is ready to strike the root of the trees. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is going to be cut down and thrown into the fire.” The crowds began to ask him, “What should we do then?” He answered them, “Whoever has two shirts should share with the person who has none, and whoever has food should do the same.” Tax collectors also came to be baptized. They said, “Teacher, what should we do?” To them he said, “Collect no more than what you were authorized to.” Soldiers were also asking him, “And what should we do?” He told them, “Do not extort money from anyone by force or false accusation. Be satisfied with your wages.” The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John could be the Christ. John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But someone mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to untie the strap of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing shovel is in his hand, and he will thoroughly clean out his threshing floor. He will gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” Then with many other words, he appealed to them and was preaching good news to the people.


Bible Readings

FIRST LESSON:  Nehemiah 8:9-18

Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites, who helped the people understand, said to all the people, “Today is holy to the LORD your God. Do not mourn or cry!” because all the people were crying as they heard the words of the Law. Nehemiah said to them, “Go, eat rich food and drink sweet drinks and send portions to those who have nothing prepared, because today is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, because the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Then the Levites silenced all the people, saying, “Hush! Today is holy. Do not grieve.” All the people went to eat and drink and to send portions to others and to celebrate with great joy, because they understood the words that had been made known to them. Now on the second day, the heads of the families of all the people, the priests, and the Levites were gathered around Ezra the scribe to study the words of the Law. They found written in the Law, which the LORD had commanded by the hand of Moses, that the Israelites should dwell in temporary shelters during the festival of the seventh month, and that they should proclaim this and make this announcement in all their cities and in Jerusalem: “Go out to the mountains and bring branches from olive trees, wild olive trees, myrtle bushes, date palms, and leafy trees to make shelters, as it is written.” So the people went out and brought branches and made shelters for themselves. Each man made a shelter on his roof. They also made shelters in their courtyards, in the courtyards of the house of God, in the square by the Water Gate, and in the square by the Ephraim Gate. The entire congregation that had returned from the captivity made shelters and stayed in the shelters. From the days of Joshua son of Nun until that day, the Israelites had not celebrated in this way, because there was very great joy. Ezra also read from the Book of the Law of God every day, from the first day to the last day of the festival. They celebrated a festival for seven days, and on the eighth day they held an assembly according to the ordinance.

SECOND LESSON:  Philippians 4:4-7

Rejoice in the Lord always! I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

VERSE OF THE DAY:  Matthew 11:10

I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.

GOSPEL: Luke 3:7-18

See Sermon Text

The Grace Messenger

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.

Christian Education

The Bible contains abundant encouragement for parents to bring up their children in the training and instruction of the Lord. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Proverbs gives this general truth: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn away from it.”

Paul commands fathers, “Do not exasperate your children but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” There are also warnings abundantly stated throughout the Bible. After the Fall into sin, the descendants of Cain did not teach their families about God and each generation became more and more wicked. The descendants of Seth also became lazy in the raising of their children and their descendants also followed the ways of the wicked world. After the Israelites settled in the Promised Land, they neglected to pass on the Word of God to their children and in a few generations they had become so far estranged from God’s Word that “everyone did whatever was right in his own eyes,” without caring what God said.

These examples and encouragements show us how important it is for parents (especially fathers) to teach the Word of God to children. The church and its called teachers and pastors can assist, but cannot take the place of parents. Parents need to be learning the Word and being nourished by it so they can teach them every day by word and example.

My suggestion would be for the head of the household to read a section of Scripture at an agreed-upon time every day. Maybe it is after dinner or just before bedtime. Maybe start at the beginning and read a paragraph or a chapter and then discuss it. Of course the devotions in Meditations are also a great resource.

Grace Lutheran Church is privileged to be part of the California Lutheran High School Association. While we do not have any high school students attending CLHS at this time, we have many supporters. Eric Erickson, Garrett Challacombe, and Rob Krueger have attended in the past. We also are a member congregation of the WELS, which operates two high schools, a college, and a seminary for the preparation of pastors, teachers, and staff ministers. WELS congregations also support Wisconsin Lutheran College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Grace member Bethany Wagenknecht is currently a senior there and Austin Wagenknecht is an alumnus. We are in fellowship with the ELS, which operates a college in Mankato, Minnesota. Former member Christi Jenkin Hagen is an alumna of Bethany.

Confirmation class, also called Catechism class, is meeting after church on Sundays. Three excellent teachers share responsibilities for teaching children on Sunday mornings at 8:30, beginning September 9. Please bring the children!

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.

Christian Education

The Bible contains abundant encouragement for parents to bring up their children in the training and instruction of the Lord. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Proverbs gives this general truth: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn away from it.”

Paul commands fathers, “Do not exasperate your children but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” There are also warnings abundantly stated throughout the Bible. After the Fall into sin, the descendants of Cain did not teach their families about God and each generation became more and more wicked. The descendants of Seth also became lazy in the raising of their children and their descendants also followed the ways of the wicked world. After the Israelites settled in the Promised Land, they neglected to pass on the Word of God to their children and in a few generations they had become so far estranged from God’s Word that “everyone did whatever was right in his own eyes,” without caring what God said.

These examples and encouragements show us how important it is for parents (especially fathers) to teach the Word of God to children. The church and its called teachers and pastors can assist, but cannot take the place of parents. Parents need to be learning the Word and being nourished by it so they can teach them every day by word and example.

My suggestion would be for the head of the household to read a section of Scripture at an agreed-upon time every day. Maybe it is after dinner or just before bedtime. Maybe start at the beginning and read a paragraph or a chapter and then discuss it. Of course the devotions in Meditations are also a great resource.

Grace Lutheran Church is privileged to be part of the California Lutheran High School Association. While we do not have any high school students attending CLHS at this time, we have many supporters. Eric Erickson, Garrett Challacombe, and Rob Krueger have attended in the past. We also are a member congregation of the WELS, which operates two high schools, a college, and a seminary for the preparation of pastors, teachers, and staff ministers. WELS congregations also support Wisconsin Lutheran College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Grace member Bethany Wagenknecht is currently a senior there and Austin Wagenknecht is an alumnus. We are in fellowship with the ELS, which operates a college in Mankato, Minnesota. Former member Christi Jenkin Hagen is an alumna of Bethany.

Confirmation class, also called Catechism class, is meeting after church on Sundays. Three excellent teachers share responsibilities for teaching children on Sunday mornings at 8:30, beginning September 9. Please bring the children!

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)

january

sat19jan6:30 pm7:30 pmWorship* 6:30PMSaturday Evening6:30 pm - 7:30 pm Grace Lutheran Church

sun20jan8:30 amSunday School/Bible Class 8:30AMChildren's Sunday School & Adult Bible Class8:30 am Grace Lutheran Church

sun20jan9:30 am10:30 amWorship* 9:30AMSunday Morning Worship9:30 am - 10:30 am

thu24jan10:00 amBible Study 10AMWeekly Adult Bible Class10:00 am Grace Lutheran Church

sat26jan6:30 pm7:30 pmWorship 6:30PMSaturday Evening Worship6:30 pm - 7:30 pm Grace Lutheran Church

sun27jan8:30 amSunday School/Bible Class 8:30AMChildren's Sunday School & Adult Bible Class8:30 am Grace Lutheran Church

sun27jan9:30 am10:30 amWorship 9:30AMSunday Morning Worship9:30 am - 10:30 am

thu31jan10:00 amBible Study 10AMWeekly Adult Bible Class10:00 am Grace Lutheran Church

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Facebook & Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

 

Grace News & Events For The Week Of Dec 09 – Dec 15

AnnouncementsOUR MANAGEMENT OF GOD’S BLESSINGS THIS WEEK: Worship Attendance: Saturday 19 (10 communed); Sunday 73 (56 communed); Advent Wed: 22; Sunday School: 3 (2 teachers); Adult Bible Studies: 12+6+7; GriefShare: 3; Offerings: General fund: $9,184.60...

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Grace News & Events For The Week Of Dec 02 – Dec 08

LIFE LINE SCREENING is offering a preventive health event on December 11. Five screenings are offered that screen for blocked arteries, abdominal aortic aneurysms, hardening of the arteries, irregular heartbeat, and bone density. Register for a Wellness package which includes 4 vascular tests and osteoporosis screening for $139 (after $10 member discount). Call toll-free 1-888-653-6441.

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Upcoming Events

 

Grace News & Events For The Week Of Dec 09 – Dec 15

AnnouncementsOUR MANAGEMENT OF GOD’S BLESSINGS THIS WEEK: Worship Attendance: Saturday 19 (10 communed); Sunday 73 (56 communed); Advent Wed: 22; Sunday School: 3 (2 teachers); Adult Bible Studies: 12+6+7; GriefShare: 3; Offerings: General fund: $9,184.60...

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Grace News & Events For The Week Of Dec 02 – Dec 08

LIFE LINE SCREENING is offering a preventive health event on December 11. Five screenings are offered that screen for blocked arteries, abdominal aortic aneurysms, hardening of the arteries, irregular heartbeat, and bone density. Register for a Wellness package which includes 4 vascular tests and osteoporosis screening for $139 (after $10 member discount). Call toll-free 1-888-653-6441.

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Messenger Of Grace

 

Messenger Of Grace – September

  September 2018   CHRISTIAN EDUCATION: The Bible contains abundant encouragement for parents to bring up their children in the training and instruction of the Lord. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of...

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Messenger Of Grace – August

  August 2018   See "The Little Mermaid" FELLOWSHIP ACTIVITY: Join your friends on Friday, August 10, at Peppertree Park in Tustin for Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.” The cast has been practicing in our fellowship hall since the beginning of July, and part of...

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Messenger Of Grace — July

July 2018 BAPTISM Lutherans baptize babies because Jesus and the Apostles command it and hold out divine promises to all who are baptized. This statement might shock some of our Baptist, Methodist, Friends, and most Nondenom. friends. They do not agree. Jesus commands...

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Messenger Of Grace – May

PRAYING IS GOOD!

It is hard to imagine a less controversial statement, at least among Christians and other people who believe in God or a god. Prayer is one of the most basic things humans, who have a sense of the infinite, will do.

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