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

 

Theme: The Big Test

The First Sunday In Lent

SERMON TEXT:  Luke 4:1-13 (EHV)

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

Sermon Audio, Video, & Transcript

Transcript will be available soon


Bible Readings

FIRST LESSON:  Joshua 7:16-26

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

SECOND LESSON:  Hebrews 4:14-16

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

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

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

GOSPEL: Luke 4:1-13 (EHV)

See Sermon Text

Learn From St. John How To Walk

The Seventh Sunday after Epiphany

  1. Walk In Truth
  2. Walk In Love
SERMON TEXT:  2 John 1:1-13

The Elder,
To the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in the truth—not only I, but also everyone who knows the truth— because of the truth that remains in us and will be with us forever:
Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, in truth and love.
I was overjoyed to find out that some of your children are walking in the truth, in keeping with the command we received from the Father. And now I ask you, dear lady—not as though I were writing a new command to you, but the one we have had from the beginning—let us love one another. And this is love: that we walk according to his commands. This is the command: Just as you have heard from the beginning, keep on walking in it. Many deceivers who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh have gone out into the world. Such a person is a deceiver and an antichrist. Watch yourselves so that you do not lose what we have labored for but receive a full reward.
Anyone who goes on ahead and does not remain in the teaching of Christ does not have God. The one who remains in this teaching has both the Father and the Son. If someone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house. Do not even wish him well. For the one who wishes him well shares in his wicked works. I have many things to write to you, but I did not want to do it with paper and ink. I hope instead to be with you and speak to you face to face so that our joy may be made complete.
The children of your chosen sister greet you.

Sermon Audio, Video, & Transcript

Learn From St. John How To Walk

Grace mercy and peace to all of you from God our father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Dear brothers and sisters, the word of God for this seventh Sunday in epiphany is from 2 John 1:

The Elder,

To the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in the truth—not only I, but also everyone who knows the truth— because of the truth that remains in us and will be with us forever:

Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, in truth and love.

I was overjoyed to find out that some of your children are walking in the truth, in keeping with the command we received from the Father. And now I ask you, dear lady—not as though I were writing a new command to you, but the one we have had from the beginning—let us love one another. And this is love: that we walk according to his commands. This is the command: Just as you have heard from the beginning, keep on walking in it. Many deceivers who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh have gone out into the world. Such a person is a deceiver and an antichrist. Watch yourselves so that you do not lose what we have labored for but receive a full reward.

Anyone who goes on ahead and does not remain in the teaching of Christ does not have God. The one who remains in this teaching has both the Father and the Son. If someone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house. Do not even wish him well. For the one who wishes him well shares in his wicked works. I have many things to write to you, but I did not want to do it with paper and ink. I hope instead to be with you and speak to you face to face so that our joy may be made complete.

The children of your chosen sister greet you.

Dear brothers and sisters,

This letter is only 13 verses long, but it contains some wonderful truth in its brevity. It contains St. John’s instructions to a particular congregation in the ancient world about how to walk. In this instruction about how to walk is appropriate for us today as well. As we all learn to walk, we seek to walk in truth, and we seek to walk in love. The Elder wrote this letter. It’s possible that John was one of the older people in the congregation. We don’t know exactly when he wrote it, possibly near the end of his life. We don’t know to whom he wrote it. From the expressions where it says the chosen lady and her children and some of your children are walking in the truth, and where at the end the writer calls on the children of your chosen sister who greet you, makes it pretty clear that we are not talking to ordinary lady, but rather a lady in the sense of a church and a sister congregation. The children of this chosen lady of course are the people who belong to the body of Christ within this church. And so the elder writes the letter how to walk. As you came in today since this is my last Sunday preaching among you maybe some of you looked at the picture of the five pastors in the entryway. I know one of you did for sure. In the middle of course is the big Shepherd, the picture of Jesus with his sheep. He’s the important one. There’s Pastor Bill Godfrey pictured on the upper left who serve this congregation from ‘75 to ‘77. Pastor Rich Kugler, who served from ‘77 till ‘89. Pastor Goeglein, who served from ‘89 till ‘99, and I having served from ‘99 to the present. If you look at that picture you can see that I was at one time very young. You can also then see from the present expression in my hair and on my face that I am now among those who are considered elders. But there was a time that I was even younger than that picture.

Love, if it’s absent from truth, is chaos, and truth, if it is absent from love, is cruelty.

There was a time about a year after I was born I think it was, when my legs were too weak to support me for walking, I lacked the coordination and I lacked the knowledge of how to do it. I couldn’t walk it all. After about 12 months however, of exercising my legs by kicking and crawling, and by playing I was finally able to stand up and take a few steps. I wasn’t very good at it at first. In fact, I fell down a lot. I don’t remember this, but my parents who were there they tell me it’s true, that I would stand up and I would walk a few steps and I would fall down. That continued for a while until I really got the hang of it, and you can tell that by this time, 50 years of practice, that maybe pretty good at walking, and most of you also are pretty good. Except, for every once in a while when we may trip or fall. And so it is with a Christian or a Christian congregation, we need to learn how to walk. We need to gain the knowledge about Christ before we can walk in his paths. Before we can follow in his footsteps, we need to learn and we need to know and we need to grow. It’s important to know who Jesus Christ is. He is the important one. It’s important to know that he is the true Son of God who also became flesh. He is the son of Mary, the son of man. He calls himself his favorite term for himself and the gospel’s. As the elder, St. John reflects upon this chosen lady, this wonderful congregation that he remembers so dearly, he rejoices because he has found out that some of her children our walking according to the truth.

we know that God loves us, because of what Jesus did. The true son of God becoming human,… taking that humiliation to the cross suffering…the guilt that you and I had piled up upon ourselves. Dying there to suffer the wages that you and I deserve to receive because of our sin’s.

In other words, they know who Jesus is. He has received a report from them that tells him that Jesus is still being correctly preached in this congregation, and for that he rejoices. He rejoices also to know that not only is Christ being preached, and is known among the congregation, but that people are imitating him. We heard what that imitation is in our other readings for the day. Joseph in the Old Testament, sold into slavery, taken into prison, and left there to rot for many years until finally God worked his deliverance. Revealing to him the meaning of of Pharaoh’s dreams and elevating him to a position of authority which was below only the Pharaoh of Egypt. When Joseph’s brothers came looking for food, which was so scarce at that time, Joseph welcomed them and even kissed them, and cried over them. The apostle Paul in one of his letters speaks to the the people of God of all times and says, if anyone is evil to you, pay them back with kindness. If anyone mistreats you, then speak kindly to them, echoing the words of Jesus, who said some of the shocking things like, if someone strikes you on one cheek turned to him the other also. If someone steals your coat give them your shirt as well. If someone asks something of you, do not withhold your blessings. Then he says you should love those who can’t pay back your love. Lend to those who can’t repay your money, and that you should do good and love even your enemies. When the apostle John, when the apostle Paul, when Jesus≤ and when Moses said to love your enemies, they were not kidding. They were serious, because God’s word is truth, and that truth-that truth that God loves us and that God wants us to love one another-it is that truth that remains in us and will be with us forever. You can’t have this truth, unless you know the love of God. You can’t have love unless you know the truth of God, at least not in a pure sense. Love, if it’s absent from truth, is chaos, and truth, if it is absent from love, is cruelty. Truth and love going together, it’s like the left foot in the right foot as we learn to walk.. We have to know the truth, and we have to know the love, and we have to see how they balance each other, and how they work together. We know that Jesus is the true God, because of the testimony that God has sent in his word, and because of the Holy Spirit that through that word has filled our hearts and convinced us of the truth of Scripture, and we know that God loves us, because of what Jesus did. The true son of God becoming human, taking on human flesh, taking the way of sorrows taking on the humiliation of our sin and guilt, and taking that humiliation to the cross suffering therefore the guilt that you and I had piled up upon ourselves. Dying there to suffer the wages that you and I deserve to receive because of our sin’s.

That is the truth, but you know as well as I do that not everyone who reports himself as a teacher of Scripture, teaches the truth about Jesus Christ. The apostle John tells us that there are many deceivers who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. He says they have gone out into the world. John might have in mind here a very specific number of people who were not teaching that Jesus is true God in his day. There were people had broken away from the apostles. They were separatists. They did not teach that Jesus is true God, but that he is something less than God. And what does John say? He does not mince his words. He says, such a person is a deceiver and an Antichrist. How important is it that we continue to have the truth of Jesus Christ is true God and true man? Well, the apostle says watch yourselves so that you do not lose what we have labored for, but receive a full reward. In other words, if you follow those who preach that Jesus is something other than true God, if you follow after those who teach false doctrine, who deny truths of God’s word, or who add something to them, then you could very well lose the salvation that Jesus worked so hard to provide to you. If you follow after falsehood, you can lose the salvation that the Holy Spirit worked hard to implant in your heart. So listen to that truth and walk in that truth. John says anyone who goes on ahead and does not remain in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. All of these heretics, all of these false teachers, the false prophets who are in the world, none of them woke up one morning and said I think I’ll become a heretic. None of them woke up one morning and said I think I’m going to invent something new that’s going to lead people to hell. In fact, Jesus calls the false prophets wolves in sheep’s clothing. One of the characteristics of false prophets is they can be very convincing. They can speak very winsomely. They can probably convince you that they are innocent sheep, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. In other words, the effect of their false teaching is to lead to the destruction of many people. John does not want that to happen to the children of this dear lady. He says that if someone comes and does not bring this teaching of the apostles, don’t welcome him into your home. Do not wish him well. He says if you give material or spiritual support, or any kind of support to these false teachers, that you are sharing in the wicked work.

The overall tone of St. John’s letter is love. That God inspiring John is telling him to tell us that we need to love one another above all, but love as I said before must never be absent from the truth or else it can be misled. Love for God’s word, love for God’s glory, love for God’s people, will always move us to stand firm in the truth of the Scriptures. That means sometimes we must say things that others won’t understand, and might even think is cruel. One of the characteristics of our synod, and of our churches is that we do what we can to stand on God’s word alone in its truth and purity. And with all humility we seek to subject ourselves and to submit ourselves to that teaching, even when it doesn’t make sense to our reason, and even when it is not popular in our society today. It is my prayer that this congregation and our synod, and each of the children of this congregation, this dear lady, will also remain true and faithful to that word of God. And that as you do remain in this truth that you will also love one another. One of the legends that is told about St. John is that when he was very old-and you know that St. John is the only of the 12 apostles who did not die young as a martyr but he rather lived into his elder years and died a natural death-St. John, one of his last sermons that he preached when he was in Ephesus is reported to have been this; he stood up and he said, dear little children love one another and with that he didn’t have any more strength, and so he sat down and the sermon was over. One of the best sermons ever, also one of the shortest. The apostle John’s spirit which is the same as the apostle Paul, and Joseph, and Jesus Christ, may that spirit of love prevail among us, and may it always characterize our congregation. Love for one another, love for the community, love for the truth, and faithfulness to that truth. The apostle John in the last sentence of his letter (which probably the length of this letter is because it fit one piece of parchment paper and when he ran out of room on that paper he closed off his letter) he said I have many things to write to you now as I like to write more, but I’m not going to instead I would prefer to be with you and speak to you face-to-face. So, that our joy may be made complete there is joy even as Christians say farewell to one another joy because we know that we will meet again when the Lord has finished whatever he wants to accomplish through us on earth. God is going to call us from this place to the heavenly gates where he will welcome us, and where we will rejoice to see Him as He is. There we will look around and we will see the people that we have known on our earthly journey. Those who have come to know Christ through us. Those who have told us about Christ. Those that we have worshiped with side-by-side. As we gather together before that throne, I’m sure that I will look to the left and the right, and I will see you there and we will bow down together, and we will worship Christ because he’s the important one.

Years from now God willing you will have forgotten about me, but years from now I want you to remember Christ, the important one, that you may know the truth of who he is and that he may always motivate you and empower you to share his love in word and in deed. So, as you learn to walk, learn to walk well, with truth and with love.

Amen

 


Bible Readings

FIRST LESSON:  Genesis 45:3-8a, 15

Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” His brothers could not answer him, because they were terrified by his presence. Joseph said to his brothers, “Come closer to me, please.” They came closer. He said, “I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. Now do not be upset or angry with yourselves for selling me to this place, since God sent me ahead of you to preserve life. For two years now the famine has been in the land, and there are still five more years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. God sent me ahead of you to preserve you as survivors on the earth, and to keep you alive by a great act of deliverance. So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He kissed all his brothers and wept over them. After that his brothers talked with him.

SECOND LESSON:  Romans 12:14-21

Bless those who persecute you; bless, and do not curse. Rejoice with those who are rejoicing; weep with those who are weeping. Have the same respect for one another. Do not be arrogant, but associate with the humble. Do not think too highly of yourselves. Do not pay anyone back evil for evil. Focus on those things that everyone considers noble. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, maintain peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath. For it is written, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay,” says the Lord. But: If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink. For by doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

VERSE OF THE DAY:  Luke 6:36 (NIV)

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

GOSPEL: Luke 6:27-38

“But I say to you who are listening: Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, offer the other too. If someone takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes away your things, do not demand them back. “Treat others just as you would want them to treat you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? To be sure, even the sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? Even the sinners do the same thing. If you lend to those from whom you expect to be repaid, what credit is that to you? Even the sinners lend to sinners in order to be paid back in full. Instead, love your enemies, do good and lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the unthankful and the evil. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be poured into your lap. In fact, the measure with which you measure will be measured back to you.”

BE SATISFIED WITH WHAT GOD GIVES YOU

The Sixth Sunday after Epiphany

  1. GOD’S GRACE IS SUFFICIENT
  2. OUR WEAKNESSES ONLY HIGHLIGHT HIS POWER
  3. WE HAVE DELIGHT IN EVERYTHING
SERMON TEXT:  2 Corinthians 12:7-10

Therefore, to keep me from becoming arrogant due to the extraordinary nature of these revelations, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me, so that I would not become arrogant. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that he would take it away from me. And he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, because my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will be glad to boast all the more in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may shelter me. That is why I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties, for the sake of Christ. For whenever I am weak, then am I strong.

Sermon Audio, Video, & Transcript

BE SATISFIED WITH WHAT GOD GIVES YOU

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of our hearts be pleasing in your sight oh God, our rock and our Redeemer.

Dear brothers and sisters

The word of God for today’s meditation comes from 2 Corinthians 12. St. Paul writes to people of Corinth, “to keep me from becoming arrogant due to the extraordinary nature of these revelations, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me so that I would not become arrogant. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this that he would take it away from me, and he said to me, my grace is sufficient for you because my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will be glad to boast all the more my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may shelter me. That is why I delight in weaknesses, in insults and hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties, for the sake of Christ. For whenever I am weak then I am strong. This is the word of God.

It is very easy for us to be happy and content on days when things are going well. When we are well fed when we have plenty of money to pay all of our bills. When we are enjoying good relationships with family members and friends. It is very easy for us to be content when our bodies are cooperating and giving us good feelings but, when the opposite of all of these things happen it is difficult to be content. It is difficult to be content when you are hungry, or when you are living in poverty. It is difficult to be content when your body is racked with pain, and when relationships with your family members and friends are strained, or worse. St. Paul however tells us that he had found the secret of being content in any circumstance and he continues that thought by saying I can do all things through Christ who strengthens. In other words, the way to be content no matter what circumstance you’re facing in life is to focus on Jesus. When things are going well for you then you know that you don’t deserve them and you receive all benefits and blessings only by the grace of God. And when things are not going so well in your outward circumstances then you know, one that God means it for your good, and you know too that God will take you to heaven one day where all of the bad things of this earth are going to not even be brought to mind anymore. The glory that will be revealed in us is so much greater, yet how many of us have actually matured as Christians to the point where we can say that that is the case for us. How many of us can really begin the day with a broken shoestring and with a sour carton of milk, and say thank you Lord for this blessing. No, when things go badly for us we very quickly turned to the opposite of blaming God, don’t we? We’re just like little children and that way.

There is a phrase that I think most teachers of younger children have used and you can probably fill in the blank, you get what you get and you don’t throw fit. I saw this in action one time when I was teaching vacation Bible school a few years ago. When the teacher who was leading the crafts that year was passing out little ribbons of paper and everybody had to use the ribbon of paper in a project, and some of them were getting green ribbons, and some of them got blue ribbons, and some of them got purple, and some of them got red but, there was only one yellow ribbon. And of course that one yellow ribbon caused the disruption in the class because it was unique. Everybody wanted that yellow ribbon, not because they love yellow more than other colors but, because they want what they want and that’s when the teacher said you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit. One of the children who wasn’t clamoring for it, got the yellow ribbon. You and I have trouble being content sometimes it’s because we want what somebody else has often times. It’s just because of our human nature that we have inherited from Adam and Eve, our first sinful parents. Discontentment is really what led to Eve’s falling into temptation and sin. When Satan had rebelled against God decided that he didn’t want to be alone in rebellion, he tried to tempt Eve and Adam to follow his way instead of God’s righteous way. And Satan came in the guise of a snake and met Eve when she was in the garden, and snake spoke and said to Eve did God really say you can’t eat from any of these trees in the garden? As he looked around at all the beautiful trees and, Eve followed his gaze, Eve looked and all of the trees were good for food and the fruit was beautiful, and she caught herself. She said, while God said we can eat for many of those trees but not this tree in the center of the garden, and we must not touch it, or we will certainly die. Satan grasp hold of that opportunity and he said he will not certainly die, but God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will become like God knowing good and evil. You see that’s why God is trying to withhold you from this tree. He knows he knows that if you eat of it, you’re gonna be like he is. You’re going to experience things that you’ve never experienced before. Your eyes are going to be open to a whole new world. Imagine how foolish that was for Eve to be discontent in the garden of Eden. Where all of the plants and all of the crops cooperated perfectly. When the weather always was beautiful. Where the animals even submitted to the domination of man, and where all things were pleasing to God, including Adam and Eve’s relationship. How could you be discontent in that circumstance?

It is a strange thing about human nature isn’t it that that we are so easily discontent. I mean those of you that have dogs in your home you know dogs just act like dogs act. A dog is a dog. He eats what he eats he sleeps when he wants. Goes to the bathroom where he wants. The dog is content being a dog. If you know anything about farm animals, you’ll notice the same thing. Farm animals are content being whatever they are. The sheep eats the grass. The cow. The pig does what a pig does, but then when you look at human beings, the crown of God’s creation. The highest achievement of God’s creation on earth. Human beings are always trying to be something, different something more. How foolish. That foolishness that began with Eve and Adam is part of our hearts and our daily experience as well. It would have been very easy for St. Paul to become puffed up with pride, to become arrogant. Because God had shown him things that he had not shown anyone else. The apostle Paul was able to look into the third heaven. It probably means that the veil was open so that he was able to see the spiritual reality that you and I are not able to see. Paul was able to receive direct revelations from God. Something that we don’t receive today anymore. Paul was told to write down what he saw to write letters to the Christians around the world. Letters that are still read today and still expounded today and still revered today. What an amazing privilege that the apostle Paul had, but God did not want him to be arrogant ,because that would not be good for Paul, and it would not be good for all of the other Christians who are listening to his words. So in order to keep him from becoming arrogant God sent him what is called a thorn in his flesh. We don’t know what that thorn in the flesh was. It’s described also as a messenger from Satan to torment me. The apostle Paul had a thorn in the flesh, and we all have some kind of thorn in the flesh. It maybe something mental or emotional. It may be something physical. People have speculated for all of these centuries about what Paul might have been referring to. Bad vision. A speech impediment? Maybe it was a physical deformity or a chronic pain. Maybe it was a guilty conscience. Maybe it was some other kind of sharp temptation that he daily had to fight. We don’t know what the thorn in the flesh was, but what we do know is this, it caused pain and it kept Paul from becoming arrogant, because it highlighted his personal weakness. God sent it to them so that he would trust in God’s strength. So that he would look not to his own goodness, but to the goodness of his good God. It took Paul a little while to understand this and to mature to the point where he could truly rejoice in this weakness. Paul says three times he pleaded with the Lord to take it away, and I think that means a lot more than just three times saying God take it away, but he is talking about periods of time of intense prayer where he is wrestling with God.. Paul thought he could be a better friend, a better man, a better pastor. If only God would take this thorn away, but what did God reply? He said my grace is sufficient. So for you and I that struggle with temptations. For you and I that struggle with pain, illnesses, troubled relationships. We might pray all day, many days about those problems, but God’s answer for you is the same as his answer to Paul. My grace is sufficient. It is enough that you know the love that God has for you sent Jesus to become a human being. To live a perfect life of struggling against sin but never falling, never falling into temptation. God sent Jesus to die on the cross as a perfect sacrifice that took away all of your sins, and the sins of the entire world. God raised him from the dead so that your life, your eternal life would also be guaranteed. God’s undeserved love for you is truly all that you really need. It is enough to get you eternal life.

The work of Christ, being washed in the blood of Jesus Christ. In the waters of holy baptism. The Holy Spirit coming into your heart to create a faith in your heart, so that you trust in him. The body and blood of Christ that in a few minutes we will share for a personal assurance of forgiveness. All of that, the grace of God is sufficient. You don’t need all of the other things, and in fact, the apostle Paul grew in his understanding of his weakness. So much that he even understood that his weaknesses highlighted God’s power. That’s one of the lessons the pastors always need to learn is that our weaknesses our weaknesses highlight God’s power. So that for me I know that any success, it does not owe to me being a good pastor, but it is God being a good God. And a congregation that sees blessings, it’s not because the congregation is so good, but because God’s word is so good and powerful, and God is so gracious and blessing. Our weaknesses highlight God’s power, because on my own I would only fail and I would only receive damnation from God, because I constantly fall short of God’s requirements. But Jesus has given me eternity, forgiveness, and grace. We even take another step in our maturity when we can actually delight in everything, including our sorrows, including our weaknesses. The apostle Paul concludes this section by saying this is why I delight in weaknesses, because God’s power is highlighted by my weaknesses I delight in them, and in fact I delight Paul says in insult. That’s what Jesus says we should see when when he tells us in the sermon on the mount that we should rejoice and be glad when people mistreat us because of Christ. He says you’re in good company. That’s how they treated the prophets. Delight in insults. Delight in hardships, persecutions, and difficulties. Christians who followed this word of God appear to be very strange to the world. Really, you can find delight and comfort in all of these problems? Yes you can. Whatever difficulty you are facing whatever struggle you have. Whatever bad relationship you’re trying to fix. Whatever thorn in the flesh you encounter for the sake of Christ, and through the work of Christ, you have something much better. You are growing in strength. You are growing in understanding. You are growing unto eternal life. I know that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. And so no matter what I face, I can be satisfied with what God gives. No matter whether it’s a yellow ribbon, or blue, or green, because what God gives, is always best.

Amen

Why audio, video, and a transcript?

Though the video, audio, and transcript are for the same sermon, there are benefits to having all three.
Video
Video has the most obvious benefit in that it gives you the ability to watch and listen as if you were sitting in church on Sunday morning.

Audio
The audio gives you the freedom of being able to listen while doing something else, like driving. Also, the audio is much better quality then the audio track on the video. The audio comes from the pastor’s mic, which picks up his voice much more clearly. Another benefit is that most of the longer pauses have been shortened or removed, resulting in the entire length being several minutes shorter. Finally many audio players allow you to slow down or speed up the audio so that you can listen at your own pace.

Transcript
The transcript has its own advantages in the same way actively reading something is often better than passively listening or watching. Reading a sermon means not wondering off and missing something. In addition, though video and audio are easy enough to keep around, transcripts are are even easier to archive and store. They also make it easy to search for past sermons for content. Even if you’re not able to remember the date or the service, you can still search for words in the sermon. For example, searching for “billboards on this road promise a lot of really good things.” will take you right to this sermon.


Bible Readings

FIRST LESSON:  Deuteronomy 30:1-10

When all these things come upon you, both the blessing and the curse that I have given you, and you take them to heart while you are among all the nations to which the LORD your God has banished you, and when you return to the LORD your God and listen to his voice with all your heart and soul, in every way that I am commanding you today, you and your children, then the LORD your God will restore you from your captivity. He will have compassion on you, and he will gather you together again out of all the peoples where the LORD your God has scattered you. Even if your banished people are at the end of the heavens, the LORD your God will gather you together there and take you away from there. The LORD your God will bring you back to the land that your fathers possessed, and then you will possess it. He will make you more prosperous and numerous than your fathers. The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, with the result that you will live. Then the LORD your God will place all these curses on your enemies and on those who hated you and persecuted you. Once again you will listen to the voice of the LORD, and you will carry out all of his commands that I am giving you today. The LORD your God will cause you to be overflowing with good things from all the work of your hands, in the fruit of your womb, in the fruit of your animals, and in the fruit of your soil. For once again he will rejoice over your prosperity, just as he rejoiced over your fathers, when you obey the voice of the LORD your God by keeping his commandments and his statutes written in this Book of the Law, when you return to the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

SECOND LESSON:  2 Corinthians 12:7-10

See Sermon Text

VERSE OF THE DAY:  John 6:68 (NIV)

You have the words of eternal life.

GOSPEL: Luke 6:17-26

He went down with them and stood on a level place with a large crowd of his disciples, and a large number of people from all Judea and Jerusalem, as well as from the coastal area of Tyre and Sidon. These people came to listen to him and to be healed of their diseases. Those who were troubled by unclean spirits were also cured. The whole crowd kept trying to touch him, because power was going out from him and healing them all. He lifted up his eyes to his disciples and said: Blessed are you who are poor, because yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, because you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, because you will laugh. Blessed are you whenever people hate you, and whenever they exclude and insult you and reject your name as evil because of the Son of Man. “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy because of this: Your reward is great in heaven! The fact is, their fathers constantly did the same things to the prophets. But woe to you who are rich, because you are receiving your comfort now. Woe to you who are well fed now, because you will be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, because you will be mourning and weeping. Woe to you when all people speak well of you, because that is how their fathers constantly treated the false prophets.

The Grace Messenger

FASTING

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE MAGI

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

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

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

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

FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rejoice!

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

In God We Trust

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

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

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

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

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

FASTING

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE MAGI

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

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

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

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

FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rejoice!

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

In God We Trust

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

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

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

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

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

Welcome To Grace Lutheran Church

 

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

Our Mission

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

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

Grace Events

Upcoming From The Grace Calendar

(See Full Calendar)

march

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

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

22mar5:30 pm6:30 pmAA Meeting

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

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

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

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

29mar5:30 pm6:30 pmAA Meeting

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

31mar9:30 am10:30 amWorship*Sunday Morning

h

Facebook & Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

 

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

THE PREP SINGERS OF LUTHER PREPARATORY SCHOOL, Watertown, Wisc. will begin their tour of the western US with a concert at our congregation, Thursday, March 14. We need host families to host pairs of students that night. Please see the signup sheet in the hall. We will also be serving them supper that night, and are invited to join them.

read more

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

BYLAWS REVISION PROPOSAL: A new printing of the Grace Lutheran Constitution and Bylaws was distributed last week. This revision is not proposing any changes to our current practice, but is intended to define what our current practice is. The revisions are found on page 7, under Article III.

read more

Grace News & Events For The Week Of Jan 27 – Feb 02

BYLAWS REVISION PROPOSAL: A new printing of the Grace Lutheran Constitution and Bylaws was distributed last week. This revision is not proposing any changes to our current practice, but is intended to define what our current practice is. The revisions are found on page 7, under Article III.

read more

Grace News & Events For The Week Of Jan 20 – Jan 26

EASTER FOR KIDS PLUS: a.k.a. Spring Festival, will take place on April 13, from 9 am – 3 pm. Steve Bautista will be here to perform an outdoor concert. We hope to have many other attractions; games, bouncies, carnival attractions, booths, and a huge rummage sale. Watch for more announcements and information soon! If you have contact with organizations and businesses who would be willing to sponsor a booth, let Pastor know about it.

read more

Upcoming Events

 

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

THE PREP SINGERS OF LUTHER PREPARATORY SCHOOL, Watertown, Wisc. will begin their tour of the western US with a concert at our congregation, Thursday, March 14. We need host families to host pairs of students that night. Please see the signup sheet in the hall. We will also be serving them supper that night, and are invited to join them.

read more

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

BYLAWS REVISION PROPOSAL: A new printing of the Grace Lutheran Constitution and Bylaws was distributed last week. This revision is not proposing any changes to our current practice, but is intended to define what our current practice is. The revisions are found on page 7, under Article III.

read more

Grace News & Events For The Week Of Jan 27 – Feb 02

BYLAWS REVISION PROPOSAL: A new printing of the Grace Lutheran Constitution and Bylaws was distributed last week. This revision is not proposing any changes to our current practice, but is intended to define what our current practice is. The revisions are found on page 7, under Article III.

read more

Grace News & Events For The Week Of Jan 20 – Jan 26

EASTER FOR KIDS PLUS: a.k.a. Spring Festival, will take place on April 13, from 9 am – 3 pm. Steve Bautista will be here to perform an outdoor concert. We hope to have many other attractions; games, bouncies, carnival attractions, booths, and a huge rummage sale. Watch for more announcements and information soon! If you have contact with organizations and businesses who would be willing to sponsor a booth, let Pastor know about it.

read more

Messenger Of Grace

 

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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more

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...

read more
X