February 21, 2021 – First Sunday in Lent
WORSHIP & Bible Study
Worship is at 10AM, Lord’s Supper for those present.
This week’s service Bulletin/Worship Link Here
Zoom Info: Meeting ID: 645 848 5288 Passcode: miracles
Bible Study after service or 11:15ish. I’ll keep the zoom line on.
Devotion & Prayer Thought
A Lutheran preaching on James always does so under the burden of Luther’s remark calling it “an epistle of straw.” He called it that in his original introduction to the letter in his New Testament. He would change it by the time the entire German Bible was translated, but it would become part of the general polemic. Which in some ways is fair, because Luther was always a polemicist. Part of his dismissal was how well his theological opponents were using the letter. Even great men occasionally fail the trial and require grace anew. The best way to think about the letter of James is as the New Testament’s Proverbs. It is a father teaching a son general truths. We live in an age that ridicules general truths because we all like to think we are special. We can’t be self-fulfilled if we are not unique. But for the vast majority of humanity’s time on this earth such thoughts would have been laughed at. Understanding the way of the world, the way of God, and how they either flow together or diverge and one’s individual life in that confluence was much more important.
One of those great truths is found in the difference of trial and temptation. In the Greek of James, they are the same word. It is in coming into English that we make the distinction. A temptation as James says is “when each person is lured and enticed by his own desire.” We were made to find our peace in God. We desire to have our peace our way. When we choose our way over God’s way, “the desire gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” Satan is always trying to obscure things, but per James, again in general truth, it is not that hard. God is “the eternal Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” The way that we are supposed to walk, “every good and perfect gift”, is not that hard. If we listen to that still small voice, we know it. And again this is not talking about what we so often want to discern like “God, which job should I take.” We largely have freedom in those choices. And whatever we choose, God will bring about good. What James is talking about are our moral lives. Do we live for self-fulfillment, or do we live for God and our neighbor?
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial.” The trial may contain a temptation. We are at war with our own flesh and those desires (Galatians 5:24, Colossians 3:5-7) because we are a fallen creation. But God brings even out of these things blessings. When one mortifies the desires, crucifies, or puts them to death, one has chosen the path of every good and perfect gift. And the end of that path is the crown of life. The trial lets us know that God loves us. He has given us deliverance as Paul would say “from this body of death”. In the day of our trial, Christ walks with us, “the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits.” The trial clearly shines God’s love and gives us the opportunity to reflect His love back. “He who has stood the test will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” May we turn from temptation’s hour and remain steadfast in the trial.
UPCOMING ACTIVITIES FOR WEEK OF: Feb 22th – Feb 28th
Mon. – Fri. ……….….… 9:00amPreschool
Wednesday: …………… 9:00amConfirmation
Thursday: ……………… 10:00amBible Study
Sunday: …………………. 10:00am Worship
11:00am Bible Study
- Thurs 10am: Ezekiel Chapters 25-32 (“A Gentile Interlude”)
- Confirmation: Begin Review & World Religions Comparison
- Life Application Fellowship (LAF): Feb 24th. See you on the Zoom line.
- Sunday Morning: Study will be at 11:15ish, after worship, in the sanctuary and on the zoom line.
- Catechism Moment: Pick Back up after Ash Wednesday
SAVE THE DATE (please contact Ellen or Mindy if you would like to lend a hand with any of these projects)
- April 22nd (Thursday) … Brownie baking and Beef cooking for Beef on Weck
- April 23rd (Friday) … Potato salad Prep day for Beef on Weck
- April 24th (Saturday) … Spring Drive-Thru Beef on Weck Fundraiser Dinner
- June 24th (Thursday) … collecting begins for our Rummage Sale
- June 28th (Monday) … sorting and pricing begins for our Rummage Sale
- July 10th (Saturday) … Rummage Sale
A LENTEN CHALLENGE: The season of Lent is upon us and is traditionally a penitential time of prayer, repentance of sins, and self-denial. It was also traditionally a period of alms-giving – an act of charity in sharing with those less fortunate. We have a special challenge of giving to our local food pantry, RHAFT, for the six weeks of Lent. For each Sunday of Lent we have chosen a particular category of items needed by RHAFT as the focus of our donations. We hope you will join us in this challenge to help RHAFT fill its pantry shelves