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

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

 

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

Peace Be With You

First Sunday after Easter

SERMON TEXT:  John 20:19-31

On the evening of that first day of the week, the disciples were together behind locked doors because of their fear of the Jews. Jesus came, stood among them, and said to them, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. So the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you! Just as the Father has sent me, I am also sending you.” After saying this, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whenever you forgive people’s sins, they are forgiven. Whenever you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
But Thomas, one of the Twelve, the one called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples kept telling him, “We have seen the Lord!”
But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands, and put my finger into the mark of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will never believe.”
After eight days, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and look at my hands. Take your hand and put it into my side. Do not continue to doubt, but believe.”
Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”
Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Jesus, in the presence of his disciples, did many other miraculous signs that are not written in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Sermon Audio & Video


Bible Readings

FIRST LESSON:  Acts 5:12. 17-32

Many signs and wonders were done among the people through the hands of the apostles. With one mind, they all continued meeting in Solomon’s Colonnade. The high priest rose up, along with his associates (that is, the party of the Sadducees), because they were filled with envy. They arrested the apostles and put them in the public prison. But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the prison, brought them out, and said, “Go, stand in the temple and keep on telling the people the whole message about this life.” After they heard this, they entered the temple courts at daybreak and began to teach. When the high priest and his associates arrived, they called together the Sanhedrin (that is, the whole council of elders of the people of Israel). Then they sent orders to the jail to have the apostles brought in. But when the officers arrived, they did not find them in the prison. They returned and reported, “We found the prison securely locked and the guards standing at the doors, but when we opened them, we found no one inside!” When the captain of the temple guard and the chief priests heard these words, they were puzzled about them, wondering what could have happened. Then someone came and reported to them, “Look! The men you put in prison are standing in the temple courts and teaching the people.” Then the captain went with the officers and brought the apostles in without force, because they were afraid that the people might stone them. After they brought them in, they had them stand before the Sanhedrin. The high priest asked them, “Did we not give you strict orders not to teach in this name? Look, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you are determined to bring this man’s blood down on us!” But Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you arrested and killed by hanging him on a cross. God exalted him to his right hand as Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and the forgiveness of sins. We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”

SECOND LESSON:  Revelation 1:4-18

John, To the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is, who was, and who is coming, and from the seven spirits that are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his own blood and made us a kingdom and priests to God his Father—to him be the glory and the power forever. Amen. Look, he is coming with clouds, and every eye will see him, including those who pierced him. And all the nations of the earth will mourn because of him. Yes. Amen. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, the one who is, and who was, and who is coming, the Almighty. I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingship and patient endurance in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony about Jesus. I was in spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard a loud voice behind me, like a trumpet, saying, “Write what you see on a scroll and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.” I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me. When I turned, I saw seven gold lampstands, and among the lampstands was one like a son of man. He was clothed with a robe that reached to his feet, and around his chest he wore a gold sash. His head and his hair were white, like white wool or like snow. His eyes were like blazing flames. His feet were like polished bronze being refined in a furnace. His voice was like the roar of many waters. He held seven stars in his right hand. A sharp two-edged sword was coming out of his mouth. His face was shining as the sun shines in all its brightness. When I saw him, I fell at his feet like a dead man. He placed his right hand on me and said, “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last— the Living One. I was dead and, see, I am alive forever and ever! I also hold the keys of death and hell.”

VERSE OF THE DAY:  –Book– Hymn 154

Give Thanks

GOSPEL: John 20:19-21

See Sermon Text

The King of Glory Comes

Palm Sunday

SERMON TEXT:  Luke 19:28-40

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

Sermon Audio, Video, & Transcript

Transcript Text


Bible Readings

FIRST LESSON:  Zechariah 9:9-10

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

SECOND LESSON:  Philippians 2:5-11

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

VERSE OF THE DAY:  John 12:23 (NIV)

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

GOSPEL: Luke 19:28-40

See Sermon Text

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

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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

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Messenger Of Grace

 

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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Messenger Of Grace – November

November 2018 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...

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Messenger Of Grace – October

  October 2018   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...

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