Saturday, November 14, 2015

John in 24 Hours

These things 
are written 
that you may believe 
that Jesus is the Christ, 
the Son of God, 
and that by believing 
you may have life 
in His name. 

The Gospel of John in 24 Hours


a live 24-hour broadcast
from 10:00 am Eastern, Friday, November 20
until 10:00 am Eastern, Saturday, November 21

Friday, November 13, 2015



Father of all mercy, God of peace, look in compassion upon the people of France, and particularly those who have lost loved ones in the recent terrorist attacks. Grant to them the comfort that comes from Your Son's victory over death. Heal the injured and bless those who provide them care. Give to the government officials Your wise counsel that they may protect their people. Grant that those who have perpetrated this slaughter may be brought to justice, and grant them the gift of repentance. We ask these things in the name of Him who knew in His own body the damage of those who thought they served You with violence and hatred, even Jesus Christ, whose death has atoned the sin of all and whose Resurrection is our constant and only hope. Amen.

Nos prières ce soir sont avec la peuple de Paris, traumatiser une deuxième fois cette année par des actes de terreur. Que la voix du Christ, le Prince de Paix, soit entendu dans les arrondissements du capitale français dans les jours qui suivent.

Iranians Becoming Christian

The Lord be with you

Today, a team from LCMS Communications visited with a group of Iranian refugees and immigrants who have found their way to Lukas Kirche in Leipzig, Germany, a congregation of our German partner church, the SELK. Many are presently in classes leading to Baptism with Pastors Hugo Gevers and Markus Fischer. Others have been Christian for several years. They shared the stories of their journey to Germany. They spoke of what drew them to Christianity. They spoke of the kindness of Christians who had come to their aid. They had questions for us and our church. They were grateful for our gifts of Farsi Bibles and Catechisms and the Bible story poster sets that were donated by CPH. Look for the full story about how God is blessing the Lutherans in Germany as they respond to the refugee crisis in their nation in the next LCMS Reporter newspaper and on our Facebook page.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Worship Notes for Pentecost 25, 2015

Thursday after Pentecost 24
November 12, 2015

The Lord be with you.

This coming Sunday is the Twenty fifth Sunday after Pentecost. It is the second to last Sunday in this Church Year. It also will be the last Sunday I will stand in the pulpit as the called and ordained pastor of Lamb of God Lutheran in Spartanburg. Next week Kitty and I will depart Spartanburg for Our Redeemer Lutheran in Newark, DE. So this will be a farewell sermon. However, as our daughter and her family live here, we expect we will visit in the future.

We will share the Lord’s Supper this Sunday and use the first setting of the Divine Service for our liturgy (page 151). Our opening hymn will be “At the Name of Jesus” (LSB 512). The sermon hymn will be “Built on the Rock” (LSB 645). The closing hymn will be “Thine the Amen, Thine the Praise” (LSB 680). Our distribution hymns will be “I Come, O Savior, to Thy Table” (LSB 618) and “Thy Body, Given for Me, O Savior” (LSB 619). In former hymnals our two distribution hymns were actually one long hymn. It was often used during distribution of the Lord’s Supper, but seldom (if ever) used for an opening or closing hymn. By breaking it into two hymns, it became available for use as something other than a distribution hymn. However, as we will be using it during distribution, we will simply sing it as originally designed.

The appointed Scripture lessons for the day are Daniel 12:1-3, Hebrews 10:11-25, and Mark 13:1-13. As it traditional for the three last Sunday’s of the Church Year, the accent falls on “end times” ;things. The sermon is titled “A Lasting Work” and the text is Mark 13:2.

Below is a video of our sermon hymn, “Built on the Rock.” Again I’m using one of the videos posted by the Lutheran Warbler.

During our prayers we will remember the India Evangelical Lutheran Church (IELC), Good Shepherd Lutheran, Charleston and Lamb of God.

Our adult Bible class continues with the study, Word: God Speaks to Us. Though you may have missed the class up to this point, you are still encouraged to attend. What you learn will be a blessing. The Bible study hour begins at 9:00 am. Fill free to bring children. Class is provided for them as well.  

What follows is a synopsis of Sunday’s lessons, provided by the synod, then the lessons. Following that are some important notes.  

The Crucified and Risen Body of Christ Jesus Is the True Temple of God
Despite its “wonderful stones” and “great buildings,” the Jerusalem temple would be torn down, with not one stone left upon another, just as this present world and its kingdoms will come to an end (Mark 13:1–8). But that temple pointed beyond itself to Christ, to His sacrifice upon the cross and to the resurrection of His body as the true Temple of God. In the midst of sin and death, by the proclamation of the Gospel, He now gathers disciples into His body, wherein “the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Mark 13:10–13). For He is “a great priest over the house of God,” who “will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.” By the pure water of His Baptism, they “draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith,” and by His flesh and blood, they enter the Holy of Holies (Heb. 10:17–22). Thus are His people delivered, “everyone whose name shall be found written in the book.” For by the wisdom of His Gospel, He turns “many to righteousness,” so that “many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake” to everlasting life (Dan. 12:1–3).

Daniel 12:1-3
12:1        “At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. 2And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

Hebrews 10:11-25
11          And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
15          And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,

16          “This is the covenant that I will make with them
                        after those days, declares the Lord:
            I will put my laws on their hearts,
                        and write them on their minds,”

17          then he adds,

            “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”

18          Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.
19          Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Mark 13:1-13
13:1        And as he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” 2And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”
3           And as he sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, 4“Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?” 5And Jesus began to say to them, “See that no one leads you astray. 6Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray. 7And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet. 8For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains.
9           “But be on your guard. For they will deliver you over to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them. 10And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations. 11And when they bring you to trial and deliver you over, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. 12And brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death. 13And you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.

Some Additional Notes

  • There is a congregational meeting planned for Saturday, November 21, 9:00 am with Rev. Bill Seaman, the SED’s Area Mission and Ministry Coordinator. This is the first step in the LOG self-examination as congregation plans for the future. The meeting will take all day. All who care for the future of Lamb of God should make every effort to attend.

  • Keep Praying for your Neighbors and Walking your Neighborhoods.

  • Our vice president, Cyril Kendrick, has agreed to take over the blog. We’re still trying to get him access. Once we do, it will be his. Please encourage him by providing information concerning up-coming activities and information about what your group has done.  

  • We need everyone involved in the coming months to insure Lamb of God is a blessing to Spartanburg, and beyond.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor Rickert

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

"For Me"

Christ for me - wonderful, sweet Gospel. From Luther's “SERMON ON THE FIRST SUNDAY AFTER EASTER ON JOHN 20:19FF.,” Preached on April 10, 1523, Luther's Works, 69:334

Monday, November 9, 2015

Former atheist astrophysicist, Sarah Salviander, explains her journey to Christianity


Testimony of former atheist Sarah Salviander. She is a research scientist in astronomy and astrophysics at the University of Texas.

“I was born in the U.S., but grew up in Canada. My parents were socialists and political activists who thought British Columbia would be a better place for us to live, since it had the only socialist government in North America at the time. My parents were also atheists, though they eschewed that label in favor of “agnostic.” They were kind, loving, and moral, but religion played no part in my life. Instead, my childhood revolved around education, particularly science. I remember how important it was to my parents that my brother and I did well in school.

I grew up in the 1970s and 1980s, a time when science fiction was enjoying a renaissance, thanks largely to …

To read the rest, follow the link: FORMER ATHEIST …

More on Muslim Converts to Christianity

More from Synod about the Muslims who are converting to Christianity.

The refugee situation and conversion of Muslims to Christianity is garnering international attention. But there are more stories to be told, particularly regarding what the Church's response should be.
Later this week, we will be sending a team to Berlin to visit this very congregation mentioned by NPR to meet Rev. Gottfried Martens and some of the recent converts. This last weekend there were three baptisms conducted for converted Muslims and more are planned this coming Sunday. While the NPR report implies that these conversions may simply be to gain sanctuary in Germany, Rev. Martens has this to say:

"I talk to them personally to see whether they are really convinced that they are Christians, whether they really know the basics of the Christian faith," he says. "And when I see that this is not the case, then I don't baptize them, of course."

Listen to the interview, particularly the parts where Pastor Martens speaks, and consider what the Church's response should be in these situations.
Some Muslim migrants from Afghanistan and Iran are converting to Christianity in Germany. Skeptics claim it is a ploy to gain asylum.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Pentecost 24 Sermon Posted

The Lord be with you

Today's sermon, "Man Proposes but God Disposes," has been posted on the sermon page.

Blessings in Christ,

Friday, November 6, 2015


Anyone in the Spartanburg, SC area want a piano, a large dining table, lawn furniture, nearly-new electric water heater, a ping pong table, or a small hutch? ALL FREE!!! Must part with in the next week at the latest!!!

Electronic Front Porch - Nov. 10

Electronic Front Porch Conversation 
Tuesday, November 10 @ 7:30 pm

Quick Links
Please register in advance at:
Register Here

Join President John Denninger and members of the executive team on the Electronic Front Porch(webcast) on Tuesday, November 10. The evening topic is "I'm a Priest Too"

"Chosen race, royal priesthood, a holy nation" (1 Peter 2:9)", called to serve where we are as people blessed to bless.

This is the very core of iNeighborhood - God sends us into the very places where we live and work to be the royal priesthood. During this E-Front Porch, President Denninger will be joined by Bill Seaman, Don Schaefer, Bob Schulze, Yared Halche, Brent Smith, Steve Heemann, and Sally Hiller for a lively discussion of living life as the Royal Priesthood.

Join us for the conversation from 7:30 -8:30 pm Tuesday, November 10, 2015.   

This is a free webcast but participants need to register. Register NOW

Forever Holding Our Peace

Forever Holding Our Peace

by Rebekah Curtis
Once upon a time, churches published the banns, an announcement that two members intended to marry. Some of us may remember a line from TV weddings, if not real ones: “Speak now or forever your hold your peace.” The banns were not the old-timey version of the local paper’s engagement announcements or Facebooking a relationship status update. They were a way of making sure the couple
didn’t have any legal loose ends that would have compromised their marriage. If you knew about a wife hidden upstairs, it was your duty to ...

For the rest of the article, follow the link.

Forever Holding Our Peace | LCMS News & Information

Does Science Argue for or against God?

This video is from PragurU

Forgive Yourself?

Only God can forgive sin, and the self is not God! It is one thing to say that one must learn to live by the promise that sin is forgiven. That's faith. It is quite another thing to say, "You must forgive yourself." That's idolatry, because it makes the self the savior."

John T. Pless

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Worship Notes for Pentecost 24, 2015

Thursday after All Saints’ Day
November 5, 2015

The Lord be with you.

This coming Sunday is the Twenty fourth Sunday after Pentecost. It is also the Commemoration of Johannes von Staupitz, Luther’s Father Confessor. (Click on his name to go to a post concerning him made in 2012.) As with all other commemorations in our lectionary series, there are no special Scripture lessons assigned for the day. The idea behind all commemorations in our lectionary series is to encourage the members of the LC-MS to investigate and learn more about some of the important saints and events in Church history.

The assigned readings for Pentecost 24 are Psalm 146;1 Kings 17:8-16; Hebrews 9:24-28; and Mark 12:38-44. You will notice a strong “end-times” theme in the readings. The theological term for “end-times” themes is eschatology. The final three Sundays of the Church Year are traditionally reserved for eschatology. As such they are kind of like a mini-season in the Church Year. In some Liturgical Calendars this is recognized by giving them the names “Third-Last Sunday of the Church Year;” “Second-Last Sunday of the Church Year;” and “Last Sunday of the Church Year.” Our calendar has retained only the name “Last Sunday of the Church Year,” which will be November 22.

For our liturgy Sunday we will use Matins (LSB page 219). As readers of this blog know, Matins is one of the “Prayer Hours” developed in the monasteries during the Middle Ages. Every main LC-MS hymnal has retained both Matins and Vespers from this tradition. Other Prayer Hours have been included from time to time. LSB has included Compline as well as two services that are adaptations from these Prayer Hours, “Morning Prayer” (page 235) and “Evening Prayer” (page 243). Each of these services accents the Word of God, giving over more time for its reading, singing, and exposition, than the “Divine Service.” The “Divine Service” includes the Lord’s Supper and so less time for the spoken and sung word. Therefore, when we use Matins we use the appointed Psalm for the Day instead of the shorter Introit for the Day.

One of the things I like about using the Psalm for the Day is that it gives me another Scripture lesson to consider as I prepare the message for Sunday. Such was the case this week. The text for the sermon is Psalm 146:5, and the sermon deals primarily with Psalm 146. The sermon title is “Man Proposes but God Disposes.”

Our opening hymn will be “Who Trusts in God a Strong Abode” (LSB 714). Our sermon hymn will be “I Leave All Things to God’s Direction” (LSB 719). Our closing hymn will be “Children of the Heavenly Father” (LSB 725).

Below is a video of our opening hymn, “Who Trusts in God A Strong Abode.” It includes only the organ with no singing. Following the video I’ve included the words, so you can sing along if you want.

“Who Trusts in God a Strong Abode” LSB 714
Text: Joachim Magdeburg, c. 1525-after 1587

Who trusts in God
A strong abode
In heav’n and earth possesses;
Who looks in love
To Christ above,
No fear that heart oppresses.
In You alone,
Dear Lord, we own
Sweet hope and consolation,
Our shield from foes,
Our balm for woes,
Our great and sure salvation.

Though Satan’s wrath
Beset our path
And worldly scorn assail us,
While You are near,
We shall not fear;
Your strength will never fail us.
Your rod and staff
Will keep us safe
And guide our steps for ever;
Nor shades of death
Nor hell beneath
Our lives from You will sever.

In all the strife
Of mortal life
Our feet will stand securely;
Temptation’s hour
Will lose its pow’r,
For You will guard us surely.
O God, renew
With heav’nly dew
Our body, soul, and spirit
Until we stand
At Your right hand
Through Jesus’ saving merit.

During our prayers we will remember The Lutheran Church - Hong Kong Synod, Mt. Olive Lutheran, Irmo, and the witness of Johannes von Staupitz.

Our adult Bible class continues with the study, Word: God Speaks to Us. Though you may have missed the class up to this point, you are still encouraged to attend. What you learn will be a blessing. The Bible study hour begins at 9:00 am. Fill free to bring children. Class is provided for them as well.  

What follows is a synopsis of Sunday’s lessons, provided by the synod, then the lessons.  As always, the synopsis does not include any references to the appointed Psalm as those who put this together assume everyone celebrates the Lord’s Supper every Sunday and therefore never use the appointed Psalm.

The Lord Freely Feeds and Provides for Us with Everything He Has
Those who contribute “large sums” from “out of their abundance” have done very little. They cannot purchase God’s favor with their money. But the “poor widow” with her two small coins, who “out of her poverty has put in everything she had,” entrusts herself and her life to the mercy of God (Mark 12:41–44). Such faith is not disappointed, for the Lord is faithful, and He provides for His people by His grace. Thus was the poor widow of Zarephath able to feed the prophet Elijah “for many days,” as well as herself and her household, “according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by Elijah” (1 Kings 17:15–16). He feeds us, too, by His Word, not only with daily bread for this body and life, but unto the life everlasting in Christ Jesus. “By the sacrifice of himself,” by the giving of His body and life and all that He had, He has entered “into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf” (Heb. 9:24–26). He is our great High Priest and the Temple of God, as well as the priestly food with which He feeds us.

Psalm 146 (9)
1           Praise the Lord!
            Praise the Lord, O my soul!
2           I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
                        I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

2           Put not your trust in princes,
                        in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
4           When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;
                        on that very day his plans perish.

5           Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
                        whose hope is in the Lord his God,
6           who made heaven and earth,
                        the sea, and all that is in them,
7           who keeps faith forever;
                        who executes justice for the oppressed,
                        who gives food to the hungry.

            The Lord sets the prisoners free;
8                       the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
            The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
                        the Lord loves the righteous.
9           The Lord watches over the sojourners;
                        he upholds the widow and the fatherless,
                        but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

10          The Lord will reign forever,
                        your God, O Zion, to all generations.
            Praise the Lord!

1 Kings 17:8-16
8           Then the word of the Lord came to him, 9“Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to feed you.” 10So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.” 11And as she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” 12And she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. And now I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it and die.” 13And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said. But first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make something for yourself and your son. 14For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth.’” 15And she went and did as Elijah said. And she and he and her household ate for many days. 16The jar of flour was not spent, neither did the jug of oil become empty, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by Elijah.

Hebrews 9:24-28
24          For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

Mark 12:38-44
38          And in his teaching he said, “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes and like greetings in the marketplaces 39and have the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, 40who devour widows' houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.”
41          And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. 42And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. 43And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 44For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

Some Additional Notes

  • The “ingathering” at the recent LWML Fall Rally, which was at Lamb of God, was for Bethlehem Center. At that time the ladies not only gave to the director of Bethlehem Center the items they brought to the rally, but also the coats we gathered. So, I guess, that wraps up our Second Coat Drive. However, if you still wish to donate a coat, I expect the ladies of the LWML will be happy to deliver them. (Follow the link to pictures of the LWML Fall rally.)
  • There will be one last Women’s Bible Fellowship led by pastor. It will be Wednesday, November 11. We are considering the theology behind some favorite hymns.
  • Keep Praying for your Neighbors and Walking your Neighborhoods.
  • Don’t forget to check out the other posts from earlier this week. An easy way to review the titles is by looking at the left hand side of this blog. If a title catches your attention, just click on it and you will go to that post. Remember, you can link one or more of our blog posts to your facebook (or other social media) page. Find one you like and share it.
  • Pastor and Kitty have only two Sunday’s left at Lamb of God before they move to Newark, DE. We need everyone involved in the coming months to insure Lamb of God is a blessing to Spartanburg, and beyond.
Blessings in Christ,
Pastor Rickert