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getting out the WORD - the first sunday in lent
Written by Pastor Bob   
Wednesday, 08 March 2017 16:01

the PRAYER...
Lord God, our strength, the struggle between good and evil rages within and around us, and the devil and all the forces that defy you tempt us with empty promises. Keep us steadfast in your word, and when we fall, raise us again and restore us through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

the READING...
Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished.

Matthew 4:1-11

the DEVOTION...
Four words that show up just once in the whole bible! Jesus is asked, "How do I inherit?" He replies, "What's written?" "Love god, love others." "Right you are!" "And who is my neighbor," the other counters. Jesus tells the parable of the Samaritan and asks one, last question, "Which was a neighbor?" "The one that showed mercy." Then come those words - Luke 10 . 37 - "Go and do likewise!"

I'd have sworn they were used more than that. The way they echo and ricochet and reverberate through the entire book. Like this week, in the wilderness, with Jesus! Stones into bread! Throw yourself down! Worship me! Jesus says, "Never!" And each time, I hear those words. "Go and do the same!" Daring me! Challenging me! To act just like Jesus! Just say, "No!"

Only thing, we had our chance! A long time ago! We failed; failed miserably! That's why Jesus is here, to begin with! To redeem! To save! To deliver! There's no going; no doing the same! Not even if we wanted to! This is Jesus' story! Jesus' story and Jesus' story alone! And when it's over, when all's said and done, the most we can do is, simply, say, "Amen!"

Bob Barndt, pastor

 
getting out the WORD - ash wednesday
Written by Pastor Bob   
Wednesday, 01 March 2017 13:36

the PRAYER...
Gracious God, out of your love and mercy you breathed into dust the breath of life, creating us to serve you and our neighbors. Call forth our prayers and acts of kindness, and strengthen us to face our mortality with confidence in the mercy of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

the READING...
[Jesus said to the disciples:] "Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen... ."

Matthew 6:1-6 , Matthew 6:16-21

the DEVOTION...
For the past century or so, the prayer for this day's been the same: "Almighty and ever-living God, you hate nothing you have made, and you forgive the sins of all who are penitent... ." That last phrase makes it sound like god forgives, but only if! Only if we, first, confess our sins... Only if we, first, say we're sorry... Only if we, first, ask for forgiveness... If we don't do that? Well, forgiveness never comes! God watches... and god waits... nothing more than a spectator...

But maybe that's why, ten years ago, in the latest hymnal, an alternative was added... the prayer of the day printed above! In it - beginning to end, start to finish - god does everything! Breathing into dust! Creating to serve! Calling forth prayers and acts of kindness! Strengthening to face mortality! It's all GOD'S work! All GOD'S doing! And before we do anything, GOD'S ALREADY DONE IT! Ash Wednesday isn't a demand! Like everything else, it's a gift and god forgives! Not because we're penitent, but because that's the kind of god we have! Or rather, that's the kind of god who has us!

Bob Barndt, pastor

 
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Today's Bible Reading

  • Psalm 6

    ​O LORD, do not rebuke me in your anger,
    or discipline me in your wrath.
    Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing;
    O LORD, heal me, for my bones are shaking with...

Verse of the Day

  • Psalm 6

    ​My soul also is struck with terror, while you, O LORD — how long? Turn, O LORD, save my life; deliver me for the sake of your steadfast love. For in death there is no remembrance of you; in Sheol who can give you praise?

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