Wednesday, February 26, 2014

LMI Update - February 2014

LMI Update - February 2014

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

This month brings more great news about the spread of LMI’s message throughout Africa! The focus of the FebruaryLMI Update is the launch of LMI in Liberia and how the church will play a key role in educating communities about malaria and its prevention.

You also can read about a South Dakota church that recently raised funds for LMI and a National LCMS Youth Gathering participant who encouraged his congregation to support LMI! We bid farewell to our former LMI Manager Dionne Lovstad-Jones, who has joined Lutheran Hour Ministries. We pray the Lord will bless her new endeavor!

LMI Update can be found at or Please share the links with others, post the newsletter to your website, and print and display it at your church or school. Encourage others to learn more about LMI!

Blessings to you in your work and ministry.

Martha Mitkos
Lutheran Malaria Initiative, LCMS
1333 S. Kirkwood Road
St. Louis, Mo. 63122
LMI on Facebook

Reasons to Say "Thank You" (LCEF)

Reasons to Say "Thank You"

The link below will take you to a short video from the Lutheran Church Extension Fund. Lamb of God has an account with them. The interest rate is lower than regular commercial accounts, but that allows them to loan money at a lower rate. They do a lot of good for the Lord's Kingdom. This video just gives you a very small sampling.

Blessings in Christ,

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Worship Notes for Epiphany VII (Commemoration of Polycarp) - 2014

Thursday after Epiphany VI
February 20, 2014

The Lord be with you

This coming Sunday is the Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany. It is also the Commemoration of Polycarp of Smyrna, Pastor and Martyr. Polycarp was born around 69 ad and was a central figure in the early church. A disciple of the evangelist John, he linked the first generation of believers to later Christians. Those leaders who fall into this time period are often called the Apostolic Fathers. After serving for many years as bishop of Smyrna (located in what is now modern Turkey), Polycarp was arrested, tried, and executed for his faith on February 23, around 156, by being burned alive. An eyewitness narrative of his death, The Martyrdom of Polycarp, continues to encourage believers in times of persecution.

We will be using Divine Service setting one for our liturgy (page 151). This is a Communion Service. This service is based on the western tradition’s “Cathedral” services. These are distinct from the services that grew up in the monasteries. The “Cathedral” service was intended for people outside the religious community, that is, for the town’s people. Originally offered once a week, it always offered the Lord’s Supper. To prepare for the Lord’s Supper you can read again the Small Catechism on the subject.

Our Hymn of Praise will be the Gloria in Excelsis. Our Post-Communion Canticle will be the Nunc Dimittis.

Our opening hymn will be “O Word of God Incarnate” (LSB 523). The sermon hymn will be “How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds” (LSB 524). Our closing hymn will be “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name” (LSB 549). Our distribution hymns will be “Hail, O Source of Every Blessing” (LSB 409); “Crown Him with Many Crowns” (LSB 525); and “What Is This Bread” (LSB 629).

Below is a video of the Lutheran Warbler playing and singing “O Word of God Incarnate.”  

Our Sunday morning Bible hour begins at 9:00 am. We continue with Colossians.

There are no designated scripture lessons for the Commemoration of Polycarp (or any Commemoration as far as that goes) so we will use the assigned lessons for Epiphany VII. They are Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18; 1 Corinthians 3:10-23; and Matthew 5:38-48. The sermon is titled “Pointing To Jesus.” The text will be Leviticus 19:2.

Below is the summary of the lessons provided by the LCMS.

God Manifests His Perfect Holiness in Christ through Compassion and Forgiveness
God reveals His perfect holiness in compassion as “he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt. 5:45). By His grace in Jesus Christ, we are holy just as He is holy (Lev. 19:2) and we are “God’s temple” in whom “God’s Spirit dwells” (1 Cor. 3:16). This gift of holiness begins with fearing, loving and trusting God above all things, and it leads us to love our neighbor as ourselves (Lev. 19:18). No longer should we practice “injustice in court.” No longer should we “be partial to the poor or defer to the great.” No longer should we “go around as a slanderer” among God’s people. No longer should we “take vengeance or bear a grudge” (Lev. 19:15–18). Though we were His enemies, our Lord Jesus Christ has loved us and forgiven us. Nourished and sustained by His holy body and blood under the bread and wine of His holy Supper, we “shall be holy” (Lev. 19:2) even as the Lord our God is holy.

Sunday’s Lessons
Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18
19:1      And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2“Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them, You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy. …
9 “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. 10And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.
11        “You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; you shall not lie to one another. 12You shall not swear by my name falsely, and so profane the name of your God: I am the Lord.
13        “You shall not oppress your neighbor or rob him. The wages of a hired worker shall not remain with you all night until the morning. 14You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.
15        “You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor. 16You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not stand up against the life of your neighbor: I am the Lord.
17        “You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. 18You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

1 Corinthians 3:10-23
10        According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. 11For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—13each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.
16        Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? 17If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple.
18        Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 19For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” 20and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” 21So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, 22whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's.

Matthew 5:38-48
38        “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. 41And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. 42Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.
43        “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Well, I pray we will see you Sunday morning.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Worship for Epiphany VI - 2014

Wednesday after Epiphany V
February 12, 2014

The Lord be with you

This coming Sunday is the Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany. It is also the Commemoration of Philipp Melanchthon (birth), Confessor In our prayers we will remember the blessings God worked through him and ask that God continues to raise up faithful confessors today. We will be using Matins (page 219) for our liturgy. This is one of the old “Prayer Hours” and, as such, is a service of the word only (no communion). We will use the appointed Psalm for the Day (Psalm 119:1-8) and chant it by the half-verse. We will use the Benedictus (page 226) for our Canticle.

The appointed lessons are Deuteronomy 30:15-20, 1 Corinthians 3:1-9 and Matthew 5:21-37. The text for the sermon is Deuteronomy 30:15. The sermon title is “The Law, Us and Jesus.” Our opening hymn is “The Law of God Is Good and Wise” (LSB 579). Our sermon hymn is “The Gospel Shows the Father’s Grace” (LSB 580). The closing hymn is “I Know My Faith is Founded” (LSB 587).

Matthias Loy
The first two hymns were written by Matthias Loy (1828-1915) of the old Joint Ohio Synod (which was absorbed by The American Lutheran Church which was absorbed by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America). They were written as companion pieces, one with a focus on God’s Law and the other with a focus on God’s Gospel.

Below is the summary of the lessons provided by the LCMS.

Christ Sets Life before Us so that We Can Walk in His Ways
The God who reveals Himself in His incarnate Son promises life and blessing to all who obey His commandments “by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules” (Deut. 30:16). However, we are “people of the flesh” and “infants in Christ” (1 Cor. 3:1) among whom “there is jealousy and strife” (1 Cor. 3:3). Jesus must instruct us against the human ways of anger, adultery, divorce and false witness (Matt. 5:21–37), because all who live in these ways “shall surely perish” (Deut. 30:18). On the cross He died to forgive our sins and free us from the ways of curse and death. Since Jesus Christ is our “life and length of days” (Deut. 30:20), we can be reconciled to our brother, live in chastity and marital faithfulness, and speak with honesty. He who serves from His cross also offers His gift of reconciliation at His altar, and we can be at peace with our brothers and sisters in Christ who are “God’s field, God’s building” (1 Cor. 3:9).

Sunday’s Lessons
Psalm 119:1-8 (1)
119:1     Blessed are those whose way is blameless,
                   who walk in the law of the Lord!
2         Blessed are those who keep his testimonies,
                   who seek him with their whole heart,
3         who also do no wrong,
                   but walk in his ways!
4         You have commanded your precepts
                   to be kept diligently.
5         Oh that my ways may be steadfast
                   in keeping your statutes!
6         Then I shall not be put to shame,
                   having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.
7         I will praise you with an upright heart,
                   when I learn your righteous rules.
8         I will keep your statutes;
                   do not utterly forsake me!

Deuteronomy 30:15-20
15             “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil. 16If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. 17But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, 18I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess. 19I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, 20loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”

1 Corinthians 3:1-9
3:1       But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. 2I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, 3for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? 4For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human?
5         What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. 6I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 8He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. 9For we are God's fellow workers. You are God's field, God's building.

Matthew 5:21-37
21        “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. 23So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are going with him to court, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. 26Truly, I say to you, you will never get out until you have paid the last penny.
27        “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.
31        “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
33        “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ 34But I say to you, Do not take an oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36And do not take an oath by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil.

Below is a video of a violinist who plays and sings the first verse of “The Gospel Shows the Father’s Grace.”

Our Sunday morning Bible hour begins at 9:00 am. We continue with Colossians.

Well, I pray we will see you Sunday morning.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

Commemorations this week

Wednesday after Epiphany 5
February 12, 2014

The Lord be with you

Well we all are snowbound here in the upstate. That is giving me a few extra minutes. I’ve just looked at the liturgical calendar and noted we have three Commemorations as we finish off the week. I thought I’d post something about each person. The information comes from the LCMS.

Thursday, February 13
Aquila, Priscilla, Apollos
Aquila and his wife Priscilla (Prisca), Jewish contemporaries of St. Paul, traveled widely. Because of persecution in Rome, they went to Corinth where they met the apostle Paul, who joined them in their trade of tentmaking (Acts 18:1-3). They, in turn, joined him in his mission of proclaiming the Christian Gospel. The couple later traveled with Paul from Corinth to Ephesus (Acts 18:18), where the two of them established a home that served as hospitality headquarters for new converts to Christianity. Apollos was one of their numerous Jewish pupils in the faith. An eloquent man, Apollos "spoke with burning enthusiasm and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus" (Acts 18:25). He later traveled from Corinth to the province of Achaia, where he "showed by the Scriptures that the Messiah is Jesus" (Acts 18:28). Aquila, Priscilla, and Apollos are all remembered and honored for their great missionary zeal.

Friday, February 14
Valentine, Martyr
A physician and priest living in Rome during the rule of the Emperor Claudius, Valentine become one of the noted martyrs of the third century. The commemoration of his death, which occurred in the year 270, became part of the calendar of remembrance in the early church of the West. Tradition suggests that on the day of his execution for his Christian faith, he left a note of encouragement for a child of his jailer written on an irregularly-shaped piece of paper. This greeting became a pattern for millions of written expressions of love and caring that now are the highlight of Valentine's Day in many nations.

Saturday, February 15
Philemon and Onesimus
Philemon was a prominent first-century Christian who owned a slave named Onesimus. Although the name "Onesimus" means "useful," Onesimus proved himself "useless" when he ran away from his master and perhaps even stole from him (Philemon 18). Somehow Onesimus came into contact with the apostle Paul while the latter was in prison (possibly in Rome), and through Paul's proclamation of the Gospel he became a Christian. After confessing to the apostle that he was a runaway slave, he was directed by Paul to return to his master and become "useful" again. In order to help pave the way for Onesimus' peaceful return home, Paul sent him on his way with a letter addressed to Philemon, a letter in which he urged Philemon to forgive his slave for having run away and "to receive him as you would receive me" (v. 17), "no longer as a slave, but as a beloved brother" (v. 16). The letter was eventually included by the church as one of the books of the New Testament.

Blessings in Christ,