Monthly Archives: June 2020

Swords and Rewards

Biblical Text: Matthew 10:34-42

The gospel text today is the end of Jesus’ missionary sermon, and it contains one of the hardest sayings of Jesus. “I have have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” That is actually understandable from Matthew’s Gospel, which I hope the sermon brings to life. It is just that we are more used to Luke’s Christmas story. Understanding peace and swords is the first part.

The second part is about why anyone would take up the call and what that means. It is an expansion on what should be the greater phrase, but we go ho hum to “the one who received you receives me, and the one who receives me receives the one who sent me”. What that phrase tells us is that we get God. We get the Father. Our reward? God. That should be stunning.

Virtual Bulletin – 6/28

June 28, 2020 – 4th Sunday after Pentecost

WORSHIP

Everything remains on our current schedule.  10AM, Lord’s Supper for those present.

Bulletin/Worship Link Here – June 28, 2020

Zoom (same as before): https://zoom.us/j/6458485288

Devotion & Prayer Thought

“The rain falls on the just and the unjust alike”.  That is grace is action.  Strictly speaking no one is just, no not one.  So the Loving Father who continues to sustain our existence is giving us good things which we in no way deserve.  Grace.  But I was contemplating the opposite of that recently. While reading along in Romans.  What happens when the Lord’s wrath is expressed?  You know, when war, famine, plague and death ride the land? God’s grace is often expressed in overlooking the many for the sake of the few, for example remember Abraham’s pleading for Sodom.  More often God’s grace is expressed in a remnant.  Eight souls saved through the flood on the Ark.  7000 have not bowed the knee to Baal which Paul quotes from Elijah.  But those 8 souls and those 7000 experienced the calamity right along with everyone else.  Jeremiah went into exile when Jerusalem fell.  In this world, being a Christian is not a get out of trouble free card.

When we talk about fairness the ultimate fairness in this world is that everyone dies.  We have all sinned and fallen short and so labor under the same burden.  The Christian Hope is not in this world.  It does not come from princes, or laws or regulations or money or fairness.  The Christian Hope is the coming Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.  That does not mean we cannot seek address of grievances.  We can by orderly lawful means.  That does not mean we give up working here.  We don’t because the Lord has given us a task to live as residents of the Kingdom now.  But it does mean that we can never lose sight of the true Hope.  It is not fairness or justice here, it is eternal grace.   This world is both the good creation of our Loving Father and yet a veil of tears.  The wheat and the weeds grow together.  But the Reign of God is near.  When you aim for the kingdom, God often throws in the world although not always.  When you aim for the world, you get nothing. Lord increase and multiply upon us thy mercy, that you being our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal that we lose not the things eternal.

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF:  June 29th – July 5th

Mon., Wed., Fri.: ……… 8:00am     NO Preschool

Thursday: …………….. 10:00am     Bible Study

Sunday: ………………….  9:00am     Bible Study and Sunday School

                                           10:00am    Worship

BIBLE STUDIES

  • Thurs 10am: : We are reading the book of Zechariah, the OT Revelation and the most quoted from book in the passion accounts in the NT.  We are up to Chapter 6, both live in person and on zoom.  Same link as the service.  The start time is 10, but we probably talk 15 mins or so first.  Everyone is invited!
  • Life Application Fellowship (LAF):  Keep a look out here and in your email for future plans for LAF.
  • Confirmation: Will return in the fall – September
  • Sunday Morning: We’ve taken a little break, which I’ve needed to make sure things are set up prior to service. This will return, but it might be September as well.  Pending the pandemic course, there are some things with our Sunday schedule that we might have to address.
  • Catechism Moment: I hope you are all receiving these and find them meaningful or at least a good prod to the memory. 

MOWING CALENDAR

It is mowing season again (it beats shoveling season!) and at St. Mark we ask the men of the congregation to donate a few hours to cut the grass.  The good news is that we have a riding lawn mower for the majority of the work.  This summer’s mowing calendar is now posted on the bulletin board (across from the Conference Room windows); please take a moment to look at it and enter your assigned date on your personal calendar.  Friday or Saturday mowing is the preferred timeframe.  We ask that you make arrangements with someone else on the schedule if you have a previous commitment on the date you are assigned.  There is a white tin in the News Nest that contains a key for the church and the padlock combination as well as Jerry’s cell number for an emergency.  If you have any questions please contact Jerry Gardner.

Leadership Boards Summer Break

Elders are taking off July & August from formal meeting. Council will be taking off July.

Things May Not Be This Way

Biblical Text: Matthew 10:21-33

Sometimes you have one of those spooky encounters. This includes mine floating in a pool a few years ago. But the points is about the warning and the blessing of being a follower of Jesus. The warning could cause fear, a little like my story. But it shouldn’t, because the blessing is so much greater.

I also left in a great hymn at the end that captures everything. LSB 836

Virtual Bulletin – 6/21

June 21, 2020 – 3rd Sunday after Pentecost

WORSHIP

Everything remains on our current schedule.  10AM, Lord’s Supper for those present.

Bulletin/Worship Link Here – June 21, 2020

Zoom (same as before): https://zoom.us/j/6458485288

Devotion & Prayer Thought

I’m sorry for the somewhat personal reflection here. Something came across my reading material this week, that reminded me of another instance, which fed into the Jeremiah reading.  The Catholic chaplain at MIT was fired this week for his sermon. I read through his sermon.  My reflection was it was incredibly solid. It called out sin. It pointed to Christ.  It encouraged us to do better in our walk with Christ.  It reminded me of an instance in the news about two years ago of another minister getting removed over a funeral sermon.  I had read that too and was shocked.  He had preached the gospel exceedingly well.  It was an example of what I’d want at my funeral.  But it had fallen on deaf ears who took it up with his bishop.  The sermon was offensive they held because it didn’t celebrate the life of the deceased.  Instead it held out Christ as his and all of our only hope.  And bishops being what they so often are banished the gospel.

Jeremiah reflects a bit on what I’m sure both of those preachers thought after getting caught in the spotlight.  “O Lord, you have deceived me, and I was deceived…I say, ‘I will not mention him or speak any more in his name.”  But if it is the gospel in your bones Jeremiah continues, “there is in my heart a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary of holding it in, and I cannot.”  I have been graced with a pulpit where the gospel is welcomed.  I remind myself that this is probably not the standard.  And we should be reminded that the gospel is a scandal – a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the gentiles.  Yet it remains mankind’s hope.  And while Jeremiah gives voice to what is surely felt “ O Lord…let me see your vengeance upon them, for to you I have I committed my cause”, Christ would remind us that the day of judgment comes soon enough.  Today, the day of grace, love your enemies, pray for them.

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF:  June 22nd – June 28th

Mon., Wed., Fri.: ……… 8:00am     Preschool

Thursday: …………….. 10:00am     Bible Study

Saturday: ………………  9:00am    Rummage Sale

Sunday: ………………….   9:00am    Bible Study and Sunday School

                                           10:00am    Worship

BIBLE STUDIES

  • Thurs 10am: : We are reading the book of Zechariah, the OT Revelation and the most quoted from book in the passion accounts in the NT.  We are up to Chapter 5, both live in person and on zoom.  Same link as the service.  The start time is 10, but we probably talk 15 mins or so first.  Everyone is invited!
  • Life Application Fellowship (LAF):  Keep a look out here and in your email for future plans for LAF.
  • Confirmation: Will return in the fall – September
  • Sunday Morning: We’ve taken a little break, which I’ve needed to make sure things are set up prior to service. This will return, but it might be September as well.  Pending the pandemic course, there are some things with our Sunday schedule that we might have to address.
  • Catechism Moment: I hope you are all receiving these and find them meaningful or at least a good prod to the memory. 

RUMMAGE SALE … June 27th

We are now accepting donations for the Rummage Sale; they can be dropped off in the Multipurpose Room.  This event will be held outside.  If you would like to help with this please contact Miss Kelly.

MOWING CALENDAR

It is mowing season again (it beats shoveling season!) and at St. Mark we ask the men of the congregation to donate a few hours to cut the grass.  The good news is that we have a riding lawn mower for the majority of the work.  This summer’s mowing calendar is now posted on the bulletin board (across from the Conference Room windows); please take a moment to look at it and enter your assigned date on your personal calendar.  Friday or Saturday mowing is the preferred timeframe.  We ask that you make arrangements with someone else on the schedule if you have a previous commitment on the date you are assigned.  There is a white tin in the News Nest that contains a key for the church and the padlock combination as well as Jerry’s cell number for an emergency.  If you have any questions please contact Jerry Gardner.

Tools for the Work

Biblical Text: Matthew 9:35-10:8

The essence of the text is a list, a list of names. Sermonic suicide, right?

I think the list, when you add the stuff around it is more meaningful than that. And it goes right at our problems with evangelism. We grumble, we come up with all kinds of excuses why we can’t, why things are going good. We look at this text and say, “if you gave me those powers.” But that is simply a surface reading. Give is a good read. List out what the tools for the work of mission actually are. And then ask yourselves, are you willing to pick up these tools? That is what the sermon does.

Virtual Bulletin – 6/14

June 14, 2020 – 2nd Sunday after Pentecost

WORSHIP

Everything else remains the same.  10AM, Lord’s Supper for those present.

Bulletin/Worship Link Here – June 14, 2020

Zoom (same as before): https://zoom.us/j/6458485288

Devotion & Prayer Thought

Our opening hymn is one of my personal favorites. It is extremely easy to spend all our time focusing on what is not right.  Everything in this world seems to be tilted to encourage what in the OT would have been called grumbling.  And as Moses makes clear, you might think you are grumbling against whoever the figurehead is, but all grumbling is really against God. God wants our prayers, not our grumbling.  Grumbling assumes two things.  It assumes that God doesn’t really care and that he can’t do anything. So we grumble. Prayer can have the same agenda as the grumble – “I don’t like this”. But prayer makes the assumption that God is good and that he is Almighty i.e. he can do stuff.  He might not.  His answers might not be what we are after. But prayer removes us from envy and places us in hope.  Praise to the Lord, the Almighty for He is your health and salvation. Even in personal poor health, we have been promised eternal life. Praise to the Lord, who o’er all things is wondrously reigning. Even in the midst of strife, the Lord works good for his people. Praise to the Lord, ponder anew, what the almighty can do.  Do so; ponder. Has the Almighty befriended you with his love? Has he provided our daily bread? Has he ever abandoned his people?  No. Because he is good, and his mercy endures forever.  Let the Amen, sound from his people again.

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF:  June 15th – June 21st

Mon., Wed., Fri.: ……… 8:00am     Preschool

Wednesday: …………… 7:30pm     St. Mark Council Mtg

Thursday: …………….. 10:00am     Bible Study

Sunday: ………………….   9:00am    Bible Study and Sunday School

                                           10:00am    Worship

CONTRIBUTION UPDATE

6/7:  $ 5,910       YTD: $ 69,548        Organ – $5,000/goal …$ 1,445/collected            Missionary Support:  $2,000/goal … $ 300/collected

BIBLE STUDIES

  • Thurs 10am: We are reading the book of Zechariah, the OT Revelation and the most quoted from book in the passion accounts in the NT.  We are both live in person and on zoom.  Same link as the service.  The start time is 10, but we probably talk 15 mins or so first.  Everyone is invited!
  • Life Application Fellowship (LAF):  Thanks to Nick for all he did this past year! Keep a look out here and in your email for future plans for LAF.
  • Confirmation: 

Year 1: Ok, it’s June, you guys are really out of school, even though you aren’t.  I’m going to call it.  We will pick back up in year 2 in the fall.

Year 2: Congrats to our confirmands!

RUMMAGE SALE … June 27th

We are now accepting donations for the Rummage Sale; they can be dropped off in the Multipurpose Room.  This event will be held outside.  If you would like to help with this please contact Miss Kelly at 334-4130

Tell That Young Man

Biblical Texts: Zechariah 2:1-13 NLT, Lamentations 2

This was a sermon delivered for the pastors of the LCMS Rochester Circuits meeting. It is called occasional preaching. In the category with weddings, funerals, and some impromptu times people ask you to speak. What is special to me about these is the audience – preaching to preachers. So the measuring line is pulled a little tighter. But it is also a great occasion to “swing for the fences”. Things that don’t show up in the lectionary – like Lamentations. Things that are built on a deeper collective understanding of the text – like a solid biblical historical framework. Things that might make people mad. As one of the Lamentations verses has it: “You prophets have not exposed your iniquity to restore your fortunes…”. It is an audience you don’t hold back with playing a longer game. (Note, I used selected verses from the Lamentations as a responsive reading introit. It didn’t come off well on the recording because the responses were mostly online and not mic’d.) So that is the background of this one.

From, To, and In the Love of God

Text: Athanasian Creed, Texts of the Day (all in the worship folder)

The Sunday after Pentecost is always set aside as Trinity Sunday. And the key piece of Trinity Sunday worship is the Athanasian Creed. Creeds can unfortunately be turned into dead letters. Something read or looked at, but not pondered within one’s heart. Not a symbol of a living faith. When they are dead letters they turn into checklists of mental assent or legalisms or even worse esotericism. What this sermon attempts to do is show them as invitations. “This is the catholic faith”. When you hear/say them as that, they become deadly practical. They help us remember what this sermon attempts to bring back.

Note: Here is the “funny” that the sermon starts off describing.

Virtual Bulletin – 6/7/20

June 7, 2020 – Trinity

WORSHIP

Everything remains the same.  10AM, Lord’s Supper for those present.

Bulletin/Worship Link Here – June 7, 2020

Zoom (same as before): https://zoom.us/j/6458485288

Devotion & Prayer Thought

MENE, MENE, TEKEL, PARSIN.  That is the original “Writing on the Wall”.  Belshazzar, Neo-Babylonian King has had a dream.  A giant hand had written those words out.  And nobody can interpret them.  Nobody except Daniel.  Daniel tells the King who is engaged in one of his “great feasts” what they mean.  This is no longer the young Daniel who pushed Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar’s father, to grant him his special diet and interpreted his dreams. This is an older Daniel. And he tells this King the writing on the wall means, “The days of your kingdom have been numbered. You have been weighed and measured and found wanting.  Your kingdom is being taken from you.”  And that very night it was, and it was handed over to Darius the Persian who installed Daniel as one of his three high officials.

As in all times when things seem to be going to hell in a handbasket, when all the leadership is busy feasting and drinking, when they claim all knowledge but can’t read the handwriting, things might be scary.  But I’ve always been strangely comforted by those words and this scene.  The days of a corrupt establishment are numbered by God Almighty.  And when they are done, they are brought to a swift end.  Like the day the Berlin Wall came down and the Soviet Union collapsed.  Those who are responsible are weighed and measured and found wanting by a higher authority.  And the order of Heaven is eventually reestablished.  Yes, sometimes it is “meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”  We are a fallen people.  But throughout it, even in exile as Daniel was, the LORD has his eyes on his people.

We look for a better Kingdom, one whose throne is not here.  Today we live in the midst of various authorities, some of whom the handwriting is on the wall.  But even this world that can seem out of control, is under the Lord’s authority.  It all comes from His hand, and he intends good for us.

UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF:  June 8st – June 15th

Mon., Wed., Fri.: ……… 8:00am     Preschool

Monday: ……………….  6:00pm    Women’s Group Mtg on Zoom

Tuesday: ……………..… 9:00am    Rochester West Circuit Mtg on Zoom

3:00pm     Conf. Cls – 1st yr – Cancelled see below

Thursday: …………….. 10:00am     Bible Study

Sunday: ………………….   9:00am    Bible Study and Sunday School

                                                      10:00am    Worship

BIRTHDAYS & ANNIVERSARIES

Happy Birthday to:  Frank Miller (Sr) 6/6, Rachel Follaco (DeWitt) 6/11, Alexz Ademovic 6/11, Anna Brown 6/12, Ethan Burtsell 6/12, Ryan Connorton 6/13, Nancy Bauchle 6/14, Sylvia Bayer 6/14,Roger DeWitt 6/14

Anniversary Congrats: none reported this week

BIBLE STUDIES

  • Thurs 10am: We are reading the book of Zechariah, the OT Revelation and the most quoted from book in the passion accounts in the NT.  We are both live in person and on zoom.  Same link as the service.  The start time is 10, but we probably talk 15 mins or so first.  Everyone is invited!
  • Life Application Fellowship (LAF):  Thanks to Nick for all he did this past year! Keep a look out here and in your email for future plans for LAF.
  • Confirmation: 

Year 1: Ok, it’s June, you guys are really out of school, even though you aren’t.  I’m going to call it.  We will pick back up in year 2 in the fall.

Year 2: Congrats to our confirmands!

RUMMAGE SALE … June 27th

We are now accepting donations for the Rummage Sale; they can be dropped off in the Multipurpose Room.  This event will be held outside.  If you would like to help with this please contact Miss Kelly at 334-4130