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

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

Yorba Linda, California

Weekend Service Schedule

Saturday Worship: 6:30 PM

Sunday Worship: 9:30 AM

Sunday School/Bible Study: 8:30 AM

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Latest Weekend Services At Grace

 

Be Ready! Jesus Is Coming!

The First Sunday of Advent

  1. For fear if not ready
  2. For joy if ready!
SERMON TEXT:  Luke 21:25-36  (all readings from EHV)

“There will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars. And on the earth nations will be in anguish, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the surging waves, people fainting from fear and expectation of the things coming on the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these things begin to happen, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is near.”
He told them a parable. “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. As soon as they are sprouting leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is actually near. So also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. Amen I tell you: This generation will not pass away until all these things happen. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
“Watch yourselves or else your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and the worries of this life, and that day may come on you suddenly. For it will come like a trap on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Stay alert all the time, praying that you may be able to escape all these things that are going to happen and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”


Bible Readings

FIRST LESSON:  Genesis 19:15–17, 23–29

When the dawn came, the angels urged Lot, “Get going! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, so that you will not be swept away by the guilt of the city.” But Lot was taking too much time, so the men grabbed his hand, his wife’s hand, and the hands of his two daughters, because of the LORD’s compassion for him. They led him out and placed him outside of the city. Then when they had taken them out, one of them said, “Run for your life! Don’t look behind you, and don’t stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, so that you are not swept away!”
The sun had risen over the land when Lot came to Zoar. Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire out of the sky from the LORD. He overthrew those cities, as well as all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and whatever grew in the soil.
But Lot’s wife, who was behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.
Abraham got up early in the morning and went to the place where he had stood before the LORD. He looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and all the land of the plain. As he looked, he saw that the smoke from the land was going up like the smoke from a kiln.
And so when God destroyed the cities of the plain, God remembered Abraham and brought Lot out through the middle of the devastation, when he overthrew the cities where Lot had lived.

SECOND LESSON:  1 Thessalonians 3:9-13

Indeed, how can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have before God on account of you? Night and day we are praying earnestly to see you in person and to supply what is lacking in your faith.
May God our Father himself and our Lord Jesus direct our way to you. And may the Lord increase your love and make it overflow for each other and for all people, just as ours does for you, so that he may establish your hearts as blameless in holiness before our God and Father, when our Lord Jesus comes with all his saints.

VERSE OF THE DAY:  Revelation 22:20

He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”

GOSPEL: Luke 19:15–17, 23–29 (EHV)

See Sermon Text

Our Salvation Comes From God

Twenty First Sunday after Pentecost

  1. Overestimating Yourself.
  2. Underestimating God.
SERMON TEXT:  Mark 10:17-27

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, one man ran up to him and knelt in front of him. He asked, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except one—God. You know the commandments. ‘You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not give false testimony. You shall not defraud. Honor your father and mother.’” The man replied, “Teacher, I have kept all these since I was a child.” Jesus looked at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack. Go, sell whatever you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he looked sad and went away grieving, because he had great wealth. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it will be for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus told them again, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in their riches to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” They were even more astonished and said to one another, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For people, it is impossible, but not for God, because all things are possible for God.”


Bible Readings

FIRST LESSON:  2 Kings 5:14-27

So he went down and dipped in the Jordan seven times, just as the man of God had said. Then his flesh was restored like the flesh of a small child, and he was clean. Then he and his whole escort went back to the man of God. He stood in front of Elisha and said, “To be sure, now I know that there is no God in all the earth except in Israel. Now accept a gift from your servant.” But Elisha said, “As surely as the LORD lives, in whose presence I stand, I will not take anything.” Even though Na’aman urged him to accept something, he refused. Then Na’aman said, “If you do not want anything, please give me, your servant, as much dirt as two donkeys can carry, for your servant will never again burn incense or sacrifice to other gods, but only to the LORD. But may the LORD forgive your servant this one thing: When my master goes into the house of Rimmon to bow down there and he supports himself on my arm, then I too have to bow down in the house of Rimmon. When I bow down in the house of Rimmon, may the LORD forgive your servant this one thing.” Then Elisha said to him, “Go in peace.” When Na’aman had gone some distance from him, Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, “My master was too easy on this Aramean, Na’aman, when he did not accept anything that he brought. As surely as the LORD lives, I will run after him and get something from him.” So Gehazi chased after Na’aman. When Na’aman saw him running after him, he got down from his chariot to meet him. He said, “Is everything all right?” Then Gehazi said, “Yes, everything is all right. My master sent me to say, ‘Look, just now two young men from the hill country of Ephraim, from the sons of the prophets, have come to me. Please give them a talent of silver and two sets of clothing.” Na’aman said, “Certainly! Take two talents!” He urged Gehazi and tied up the two talents of silver in two bags with the two sets of clothing. Then Na’aman gave them to his two servants, and they carried them ahead of Gehazi. When he came to the hill, he took the gifts from them. Then he hid them in the house and sent the men back, so they left. Then he went in and attended his master. Elisha said to him, “Where were you, Gehazi?” Gehazi said, “Your servant didn’t go anywhere.” Then Elisha said to him, “Didn’t my heart go along when the man got down from his chariot to meet you? Is this the time to take silver, or to accept clothes or olive groves or vineyards or sheep or cattle or male and female servants? Na’aman’s leprosy will cling to you and to your descendants forever.” Then Gehazi went out from his presence, leprous like snow.

SECOND LESSON:  Hebrews 13:1-6

Continue to show brotherly love. Do not fail to show love to strangers, for by doing this some have welcomed angels without realizing it. Remember those in prison, as if you were fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated, as if you yourselves were also suffering bodily. Marriage is to be held in honor by all, and the marriage bed is to be kept undefiled, for God will judge sexually immoral people and adulterers. Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have. For God has said: I will never leave you, and I will never forsake you. So then we say with confidence: The Lord is my helper, and I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?

VERSE OF THE DAY:  Isaiah 25:9b

This is the Lord, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.

GOSPEL: Mark 10:17-27

See Sermon Text

What Is God’s Position on Marriage and Life?

Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost

  1. God Defines Marriage
  2. God Loves Children
SERMON TEXT:  Mark 10:2-16

Some Pharisees came to test him and asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He replied, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.” But Jesus told them, “He wrote this command for you because of your hard hearts. But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.” In the house his disciples asked him about this again. He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. If she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” Some people began bringing little children to Jesus so that he would touch them. But the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said, “Let the little children come to me! Do not hinder them, because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Amen I tell you: Whoever will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the little children in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.


Bible Readings

FIRST LESSON:  Genesis 2:18–24

The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is a suitable partner for him.” Out of the soil the LORD God had formed every wild animal and every bird of the sky, and he brought them to the man to see what he would call them. Whatever the man called every living creature, that became its name. The man gave names to all the livestock, and to the birds of the sky, and to every wild animal, but for Adam no helper was found who was a suitable partner for him. The LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. As the man slept, the LORD God took a rib and closed up the flesh where it had been. The LORD God built a woman from the rib that he had taken from the man and brought her to the man. The man said, Now this one is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She will be called “woman,” because she was taken out of man. For this reason a man will leave his father and his mother and will remain united with his wife, and they will become one flesh.

SECOND LESSON:  Ephesians 5:21-6:4

… and by submitting to one another in reverence for Christ. Wives, submit to your own husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, just as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he himself is the Savior. Moreover, as the church submits to Christ, so also wives are to submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, in the same way as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, by cleansing her with the washing of water in connection with the Word. He did this so that he could present her to himself as a glorious church, having no stain or wrinkle or any such thing, but so that she would be holy and blameless. In the same way, husbands have an obligation to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. To be sure, no one has ever hated his own body, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body, of his flesh and of his bones. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will be one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I am talking about Christ and the church. In any case, each one of you also is to love his wife as himself, and each wife is to respect her husband. :Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with a promise: “that it may go well with you and that you may live a long life on the earth.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

VERSE OF THE DAY:  Psalms 22:22

I will proclaim your name to my people; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you.

GOSPEL: Mark 10:2-16

See Sermon Text

The Grace Messenger

THE MAGI

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

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

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

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

FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rejoice!

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

In God We Trust

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

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

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

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

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

Christian Education

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE MAGI

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

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

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

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

FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rejoice!

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

In God We Trust

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

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

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

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

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

Christian Education

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

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

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

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

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

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

Welcome To Grace Lutheran Church

 

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

Our Mission

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

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

Grace Events

Upcoming From The Grace Calendar

(See Full Calendar)

january

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Facebook & Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

 

Grace News & Events For The Week Of Jul 22 – Jul 28

ITEMS YOU CAN CONTRIBUTE TO CHURCH:

• Postage stamps and related collectibles—they are sold on eBay with proceeds going to Grace’s general fund

• Used ink and toner cartridges—Staples gives $2 credit per cartridge, with a maximum of 20 per month

• Christian books for the library—Books will be reviewed, and if approved, will be placed in the library. If not, they will be donated to other charities

• Coupons from the mail or newspaper—to be shared with the entire congregation

• Used eyeglasses—given to Dr. John Spaeth of All About Eyes Family Optometry, for distribution to needy

• CRV bottles and cans—turned in for CRV redemption for Grace general fund

• Pill bottles—used by Liz Ehlers for a charity

• Used cell phones, smart phones, and pagers—sent to be recycled, with money sent back to Grace for the general fund

• “Boxtops for Education”—sent to the Apache schools in Arizona

read more

Grace News & Events For The Week Of Jul 08 – Jul 14

GRIEFSHARE is a grief recovery support group that will help individuals understand the journey of grief and move from mourning to joy. Thirteen sessions include living with grief, the journey of grief, the effects of grief, God’s prescription for grief, heaven, and other topics.

read more

Upcoming Events

 

Grace News & Events For The Week Of Jul 22 – Jul 28

ITEMS YOU CAN CONTRIBUTE TO CHURCH:

• Postage stamps and related collectibles—they are sold on eBay with proceeds going to Grace’s general fund

• Used ink and toner cartridges—Staples gives $2 credit per cartridge, with a maximum of 20 per month

• Christian books for the library—Books will be reviewed, and if approved, will be placed in the library. If not, they will be donated to other charities

• Coupons from the mail or newspaper—to be shared with the entire congregation

• Used eyeglasses—given to Dr. John Spaeth of All About Eyes Family Optometry, for distribution to needy

• CRV bottles and cans—turned in for CRV redemption for Grace general fund

• Pill bottles—used by Liz Ehlers for a charity

• Used cell phones, smart phones, and pagers—sent to be recycled, with money sent back to Grace for the general fund

• “Boxtops for Education”—sent to the Apache schools in Arizona

read more

Grace News & Events For The Week Of Jul 08 – Jul 14

GRIEFSHARE is a grief recovery support group that will help individuals understand the journey of grief and move from mourning to joy. Thirteen sessions include living with grief, the journey of grief, the effects of grief, God’s prescription for grief, heaven, and other topics.

read more

Messenger Of Grace

 

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