God will come to Our Rescue – December 31, 2017

I will tell of the kindnesses of the Lord, the deeds for which he is to be praised, according to all the Lord has done for us—yes the many good things he has done for the house of Israel, according to his compassion and many kindnesses. He said, “Surely they are my people, sons who will not be false to me”; and so he became their Savior. In all their distress he too was distressed, and the angel of his presence saved them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.
Isaiah 63:7-9

God will come to Our Rescue


Daily Devotion – December 31, 2017

Devotion based on Isaiah 63:7-9

See series: Devotions

There is a story you can tell of the New Year before it even unfolds. You can tell it because it will be the same story as last year. It is a story that is old and never gets old at the same time. Out of the overflow of the heart, you must tell it.

There will be sin in your New Year. And even if it is the same old story, it is anything but “ho-hum.” Just like the children of Israel when they were in slavery in Egypt or wandering in the desert of Sinai or doing their own thing during the period of the Judges, you will cry, kick, scream and complain in the New Year. You will doubt God, blame him, maybe even shake your fist at him, or worse. You will challenge God, “Why the bondage in my life? Why the aimless wandering? Why the chaos?” You know you will. You did it last year. So one day into the New Year, and you are already hanging your head in shame. Same pathetic story.

But then there is the other part of your story that never gets old. Again, you can tell it even before it unfolds in the New Year. God will see your distress, your pain, your fear, your frustration, and he will come to your rescue. Even in spite of your sin, he will do this. He will because you are his people, and he is your Savior. He will free you from your bondage with his forgiveness. He will give your life meaning with his promise of paradise. He will carry you through the chaos with his enduring love. You know he will. He did it last year. It’s the only reason you survived.

Is there a kindness or goodness or compassion that compares to your God and Lord? Not when you realize that what God continues to do for you each and every year, he did in the flesh, born in a manger, crucified on a cross, for sins the world. Yes, you have to say, “It never gets old.”

Prayer:
Dear Lord, I praise you for your compassion and kindnesses to me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Our All-knowing God – December 30, 2017

When the Magi had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
Matthew 2:13-15

Our All-knowing God


Daily Devotion – December 30, 2017

Devotion based on Matthew 2:13-15

See series: Devotions

It’s usually not a good thing to be called a “know-it-all!” That probably means that you are a little too eager to share your wisdom. It probably means that you are coming off to others as a show-off. You might be rubbing people the wrong way. They might think you are trying to get others to notice just how smart you are!

Our God is a know-it-all! And that’s not being a “smart-aleck.” He really does know it all! He created our earth and all that is in it. He knit each person together in their mother’s womb. He knows everything about everyone. He is our all-knowing God.

But that can be a scary thought, too. God not only sees my actions, but he knows my thoughts and attitudes, too. That means that God knows the evil thought that I had about my neighbor yesterday. That means that God saw the lustful way I looked at that woman who wasn’t my wife. He heard the complaint I issued under my breath. He knows my sins, even the ones that I’ve kept secret from others. He even knows the sins that I don’t even know.

But he knows how to forgive my sins, too. He knows how to make right what I have wronged. He sent his Son Jesus to be my Savior. He sent him on every step in his life for you and for me. He sent him to Bethlehem’s manger, to a safe house in Egypt, to a cross outside Jerusalem—for us. He walked the perfect life and died an innocent death for you and for me and for the world.

And God, who knew how to keep his precious Son safe from danger, knows how to keep you, his sons and daughters through faith, safe from danger, too. He knows how to deliver us from evil. The proof is found in the baby that came with Mary and Joseph back from Egypt. So surely will God keep us safe as we journey through this life, until we reach our final destination—eternal life with Jesus in heaven. God who kept Jesus safe in life, through death, to his resurrection and ascension, promises the same for us. He will keep us safe in life, through death, to our own resurrection and ascension. There, with new and glorified bodies he will welcome us to eternal life at Jesus’ side in heaven.

Prayer:
Lord God, thank you for your wisdom and guidance in my life, thank you for sending me your Son, for keeping him safe, and for accepting his payment for my sins. Guard and guide me through this life, until I rest at your side in heaven. Amen.


This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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God’s Servant to Do Us Good – December 29, 2017

For he [the one in authority] is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.
Romans 13:4

God’s Servant to Do Us Good


Daily Devotion – December 29, 2017

Devotion based on Romans 13:4

See series: Devotions

The U.S. pledge of allegiance reads, “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God…” Some might think that the phrase “one nation under God” is a uniquely American characteristic. But the same phrase could be said of Canada, France, Peru, Zambia, and every other country in the world. All nations, all governments, and all authorities are under God. No authority exists except that which God has established (Romans 13:1).

Our verse today reminds us why God established the governing authorities. Governing authorities are God’s servants to do us good. Ponder the comfort contained in that phrase “God’s servants to do us good”. All kings and kingdoms serve the eternal King. God remains in firm control “far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come” (Ephesians 1:21). God has even shared the guiding principle of his governance of earthly authorities and of all things. He rules over everything for the good of his church (Ephesians 1:22). Jesus bought the church with his blood, made her holy through the waters of baptism, and rules to gather and bring her safely to his heavenly kingdom.

Now ponder the good God provides through his servants. In addition to caring for our souls and our eternity, our good and gracious God also cares for our bodies and lives. He seeks to provide care, order, and protection for life in a sinful and evil world. He has servants who serve these good purposes by punishing wrong-doing, and promoting and doing good.

Will we see failures, weaknesses, and evil in God’s servants who are to do us good? Yes, just as we see these things in our own hearts and lives. This is why we ponder God’s perfect servant most of all. God sent his own perfect Son into this world who came not to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). God’s perfect servant Jesus gives us peace as we live in this temporary kingdom and look forward to his eternal kingdom.

Prayer:
Lord God, thank you for the good you provide me through your governing servants and through your perfect servant, Jesus Christ. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Bulletin for NEW YEAR’S EVE/DAY DECEMBER 31, 2017 & JANUARY 1, 2018

ST. JOHN’S & EMMANUEL

Ev. Lutheran Churches

Montello & Mecan, WI

Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod

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NEW YEAR’S EVE/DAY

DECEMBER 31, 2017 & JANUARY 1, 2018


WELCOME TO OUR CHURCH! We extend a warm welcome to everyone today, especially our visitors. In the bulletin you’ll find an outline of today’s service, a calendar of events and other bits of information. In the red hymn book you’ll find the songs we sing and the order of service that we follow. If you would like a large print hymnal or bulletin please ask one of our ushers and they will gladly assist you. Restrooms and nursery area are located the parish hall at Emmanuel and in the lower level and “link-way” at St. John’s. It’s nice to have you visit today. May God bless our worship together!

A PERSONAL PRAYER BEFORE WORSHIP

Help us, O Lord, for now we enter

Upon another year today.

In you our hopes and thoughts now center;

Renew our courage for the way.

New life, new strength, new happiness

We ask of you, oh, hear and bless. (Hymn 70:1)

GOD’S WORD FOR TODAY Jesus Comes to Save Us, Even as an Infant – Whether or not we had a “good Christmas,” as some may ask us, today over and over we hear good news of God’s grace.

ORDER OF SERVICE–LITURGY

“Service of the Word and Sacrament” (hymnal page 26)

PASTOR’S GREETING

OPENING HYMN 441:1-4 “O God, Our Help in Ages Past” (printed in hymnal, all sing)

(Please stand)

LITURGY (hymnal page 26, read & sung responsively)

(Please be seated for the day’s Bible readings)


OLD TESTAMENT Psalm 90

A Prayer of Moses, the man of God

Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

You turn men back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, O sons of men.” For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. You sweep men away in the sleep of death; they are like the new grass of the morning- though in the morning it springs up new, by evening it is dry and withered.

We are consumed by your anger and terrified by your indignation. You have set our iniquities before you, our secret sins in the light of your presence. All our days pass away under your wrath; we finish our years with a moan. The length of our days is seventy years- or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.

Who knows the power of your anger? For your wrath is as great as the fear that is due you. Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

Relent, O Lord! How long will it be? Have compassion on your servants. Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, for as many years as we have seen trouble. May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children.

May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us- yes, establish the work of our hands.

PSALM 145 (hymnal page 119, sung in unison)

EPISTLE 1 Peter 1:22-25 (today’s sermon text)

Born Anew For the New Year

Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For,

“All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you.

VERSE OF THE DAY (hymnal page 30, all sing)

“Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! These words are written…”

(Please stand)

GOSPEL: Luke 12:22-34

Do Not Worry

Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

“Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

“Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

After the Gospel, all sing:

“Praise be to you, O Christ!”

(Please be seated)

SERMON HYMN 69 “Help Us, O Lord, for Now We Enter” (printed in hymnal, all sing)

SERMON: 1 Peter 1:22-25

“Change in the New Year”

1. What has changed

2. What needs to change

3. What never changes

HYMN 551: 1-2 “For All the Saints” (printed in hymnal, all sing)

READING OF THE NAMES OF OUR 2017 SAINTS TRIUMPHANT (Emmanuel and St. John’s members called home this past year)

Name To heaven Age
Arlowayne Wegner January 4 91
Don Schumann February 13 90
Mary Raymond March 8 81
Frieda Wachholz-Ritchie March 19 99
Pat Ewert March 30 84

HYMN 551: 3-4 “For All the Saints” (printed in hymnal, all sing)

Name To heaven Age
George Raymond April 5 83
Henry Vierow May 27 88
Marolyn Warner July 18 79
Dorothy Klawitter July 24 79
Don Werdin August 2 84

HYMN 551: 5-6 “For All the Saints” (printed in hymnal, all sing)

Name To heaven Age
Bob Mateske August 30 91
Gene Boville October 9 89
Carolyn Smart October 18 82
Alice John November 6 95
Walter Bubolz November 16 99

HYMN 551: 7-8 “For All the Saints” (printed in hymnal, all sing)

(Please stand)

NICENE CREED (hymnal page 31, read responsively)

(Please be seated)

OFFERING, GREETINGS, FRIENDSHIP REGISTERS,

OFFERING PRAYER

(Please stand)

NEW YEAR PRAYER (read by pastor)

INTERCESSORY PRAYERS (read by pastor)
– For those hospitalized, ill, shut-in and others facing trials: George Alexander, Bill Aumann, Chuck Boetcher, Alexandria Buehrens (Bob & Carolyn’s great granddaughter), Bob & Carolyn Buehrens, Sharon Crook, Harley & Liola Crown, Agnes Dassow, Mavis DeWitt, Susan DeWitt (Mavis’ daughter-in-law), Elaine Emond (Mark’s mother), Mike Farrell, Jaedan Gain (Ed & Marlene Buchholz’s great grandson), Donna Gatzke, Lori Gerth (Marvis Wegner’s sister), Millie Henke, Laurana Hoffman (Tim’s daughter), LuAnn Hoffman-Reber, Drake Hunter (Bill & Cally’s grandson), Mary Isberner, Geri Kerl (Sue Brown’s mother), Bob Klapper (Sandy’s husband), Anna Madigan, Linda Malsack, Sherry Miller (Candace Sonnenberg’s sister), Marion Neuman (Marjorie Fabian’s sister), Marolyn Riemer, Wilma Rudolph, Bob Schrank, Becky Schulz (Kristen Cragin’s sister), Jordan Scott (Debbie Parrish’s grandson), Roger Stellick (Doug’s uncle), Jennifer Strauss, Dennis Umland (Harold Fandrey’s brother), Linda Lou Wacholtz, Bob Wegner – (added this week: Bob Buehrens)
– For Gordon & Marjorie Fabian who celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on Saturday (12/30)

LORD’S PRAYER (hymnal page 32b)

HOLY COMMUNION LITURGY (hymnal page 33, sung & read responsively)

(Please be seated for holy communion)

At St. John’s Ev. Lutheran Church & Emmanuel Ev. Lutheran Church we practice closed Communion. If you are a guest at worship today and interested in receiving the Lord’s Supper, please speak with the pastor prior to the service.

DISTRIBUTION HYMN 310:1-6 “I Come, O Savior, to Your Table”(printed in hymnal, all sing)

(After the distribution, please stand)

LITURGY (hymnal page 36)

(Please be seated)

CLOSING HYMN 441:5,6 “O God, Our Help in Ages Past”(printed in hymnal, all sing)

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Theme for next Sunday (1/7):

The Sunday after Christmas–New Year’s Eve: Jesus Shared Our Humanity

Note: Please give your completed friendship register page to an usher or pastor as you leave today’s service.

ACTIVITIES FOR THE WEEK DECEMBER 31-JANUARY 6
Sun. 8:00 A.M. Emmanuel Worship
8:20 A.M. Emmanuel Nursery Sunday School
8:30 A.M. St. John’s Sunday School
10:00 A.M. St. John’s Worship
7:00 P.M. St. John’s Candlelight Memorial/New Year’s Eve Worship with communion
Mon. 9:00 A.M. Emmanuel memorial/New Year’s Day Worship with communion
Tues. 8:00 A.M. SJS classes resume
9:00 A.M. Elder’s meeting at St. John’s
Wed. 10:00 A.M. Adult Bible Study at St. John’s begins
1:40 P.M. SJS/LL Early dismissal
2:15 P.M. Public School Teen Confirmation class at St. John’s
6:30 P.M. St. John’s Worship
7:30 P.M. Bible Information Class at St. John’s begins
Thurs. 12:00 P.M. Ladies Aid lunch & meeting
Fri.
Sat.
SCHEDULE FOR NEXT SUNDAY, JANUARY 7, 2018

The Sunday after Christmas–New Year’s Eve: Jesus Shared Our Humanity 

8:00 A.M. Emmanuel Worship with communion
8:20 A.M. Emmanuel Nursery Sunday School
8:30 A.M. St. John’s Sunday School
9:00 A.M. Emmanuel Adult Bible Study
10:00 A.M. St. John’s Worship

LITTLE LAMBS DIRECTOR CALL MEETING Our current Little Lambs director, Sandy Hemling, has asked to step down from her position as Little Lambs director.  The school board has requested from our WELS Northern Wisconsin District President, Pastor Joel Zank, a list of candidates to be reviewed at a Call meeting scheduled for Sunday 1/7/18 at 11:30 a.m.  We thank Sandy Hemling for her faithful service and willingness to continue serving part-time in coming months until her position as Little Lambs director is filled.

ST. JOHN’S OFFERING STATEMENT SIGN-UP The signup sheet is located in the church link way. Please sign up if you wish to have a copy of your 2017 offering statement.

ST. JOHN’S OFFERING ENVELOPES 2018 are located in the link way of church. Please pick yours up but do not use until January 2018. If you do not have a box, feel free to contact pastor or the office and we will get one to you!

EMMANUEL SUNDAY BIBLE CLASS will resume January 7, 2018 at 9:00a.m.

NEW YEAR’S EVE LOCK-IN All 6th-12th graders are invited to our youth group’s 3rd annual NYE lock-in. Enjoy an evening of fun & games, movies, not to mention lots of snacks & food. We will begin after St. John’s New Years Eve service, concluding at 9 am on NY’s day. For more details, or to sign up, call or text us at 608-697-1600(Mark)or 608-697-3327(Patty). Deadline to sign up is December 27.

NEW YEAR’S EVE/DAY COMMUNION/SAINTS TRIUMPHANT SERVICES  Sunday 12/31 7pm at St. John’s and Monday 1/1 9am at Emmanuel, communion services are scheduled where the names of our E/SJ members called to their heavenly home in 2017 will be read and bells tolled. “For all the saints who from their labors rest…” (Hymn 551)

INTERACTIVE FAITH Adult Discipleship offers LIVE online Bible studies for use by congregations, small groups, or individuals to serve as a mid-week Bible study. Gather at your church or around the computer to join in fellowship and learn about the Bible with brothers and sisters in faith from around the country.

Daniel Habben, pastor at St. John, St. John’s, Antigua, will lead the next interactive faith Bible study starting in January. Entitled “Isaiah: God confronts and comforts his people,” the study will cover the first 12 chapters of Isaiah. “ ‘A virgin will be with child . . . and he was pierced for our transgressions.’ Seven hundred years before the arrival of God’s Son into our world, the Holy Spirit worked especially hard through the prophet Isaiah to get the people of his day to turn from their sin and embrace their Savior-God,” says Habben. “Through the words of Isaiah, God still confronts and comforts his people.”

The study will be streamed Wednesdays at 6 and 8 p.m. CT, from Jan. 10–Feb. 7, 2018.

When: Wednesday’s Jan. 10 – Feb. 7 at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. (central)

Who: Rev. Daniel Habben

What:“Isaiah: God confronts and comforts his people”

Study guides will be available in January.

For more information, visit the website: https://wels.net/serving-you/christian-life/adult-discipleship/interactive-faith/

CHURCH WEBSITE Thank you Kerry and Jen Mann for the work on our church website: www.stjohnsmontello.org.  Your comments and suggestions for improvement are welcomed: 414-339-9031 – kerry@inmarketsuccess.com

WELCOME NEW MEMBERS 12/3 at Emmanuel: Josh & Amanda Kuchar and son Weston, 12/10 at St. John’s: Adam Myers & Jennifer Strauss – A new “Bible Information Class” will begin on Wed 1/3/18 at 7:30pm in pastor’s office/conference room at St. John’s.  Alternate days/times can also be scheduled. Free study guides are available from pastor…just ask.

NEW WEEKDAY/EVE BIBLE CLASS Beginning January 2018, we’ll be starting a new weekday/eve Bible Study entitled: “Your Questions–Scriptures Answers: Adiaphora” (things that God doesn’t command or forbid in the Bible and how we are to properly use our Christian freedom). We meet at St. John’s in the pastor’s office/conference room Monday 7:30pm (beginning 1/8) and Wednesday 10am (beginning 1/3). “Therefore let us leave the elementery teachings about Chrsit and go on to maturity…” (Hebrews 6:1)


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In addition to our regular St. John’s Sunday 10:00 a.m. and Emmanuel 8:00 a.m. services, please see our special Christmas Service schedule below. God bless you this Christmas season!

Sunday, December 31, 2017 7:00 p.m. New Year’s Eve Service at St. John’s with communion
Monday, January 1, 2018 9:00 a.m. New Year’s Day service at Emmanuel with communion

USHERS

Emmanuel: December 31 New Year’s Eve Lucas Stelter, Paul Wuerch, DuWayne Sommerfeld January 1 New Year’s Day (C) 9:00am Brian Ninneman, Bob Ferber, Joe Heller, communion assistant: Wayne Stelter, January 1 New Year’s Day (C) Brian Ninneman, Bob Ferber, Joe Heller, communion assistant: Wayne Stelter, January 7 (C) Lucas Stelter, Warren Buchholz, Don Stelter, communion assistant: Wayne Stelter

St. John’s: December 31 New Year’s Eve Don Smith; Chief, Calvin Wojtalewicz, Zeb Zuehls, Mark Emond, Kevin Kaul, December 31 New Year’s Eve Candlelight (C) 7:00pm Kenon Smith; Chief, Scott Ritz, James Kunde, Ken Borzick, Thomas Wojtalewicz, January 7 Cal Kapp; Chief, Martin Schmanke, Lee Ollendorf, Aaron Kendall, Chuck Boetcher

GREETERS TODAY Paul & Christa Van Treeck

Attendance Emmanuel St. John’s
12-23E 12-24 12-24 Candle. 12-25 12-27 150 30 79 79 91 124 0
ST. JOHN’S ALTAR COMMITTEE CONTACT DECEMBER 2017 Jennie Utke & Susan Brown

Welcome To Our Visitors!

Please Sign Our Guest Register

Visit our website & Facebook link at: www.stjohnsmontello.org

Pastor Peter Zietlow Office (608) 297-2321

Cell & Text (608) 408-7830, E-mail: ZietlowPL6@hotmail.com

Principal Tim Hemling (608) 745-2549

Teacher Karin Stellick (920) 342-3689

Teacher Sara Borck (858) 731-7919

Teacher Sandra Hemling (608) 745-2776

Parish/School Secretary Ciara Neuhauser (608) 297-2866

Altar Ladies Elaine Kelm (920) 344-0025 &

Carolyn Rosenthal 589-5036

Mail to: 313 E Montello St, Montello, WI 53949

OR scsecretary@stjohnsmontello.org

Winnebago Lutheran Academy

Principal Mr. David Schroeder/WLA office (920) 921-4930

WLA website: www.wlavikings.org

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Bulletin- THE FIRST SUNDAY OF CHRISTMAS DECEMBER 31, 2017

EMMANUEL and ST. JOHN’S

Evangelical Lutheran Churches

Mecan and Montello, WI

Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod

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THE FIRST SUNDAY OF CHRISTMAS

DECEMBER 31, 2017


 

WELCOME TO OUR CHURCH! We extend a warm welcome to everyone today, especially our visitors. In the bulletin you’ll find an outline of today’s service, a calendar of events and other bits of information. In the red hymn book you’ll find the songs we sing and the order of service that we follow. If you would like a large print hymnal or bulletin please ask one of our ushers and they will gladly assist you. Restrooms and nursery area are located the parish hall at Emmanuel and in the lower level and “link-way” at St. John’s. It’s nice to have you visit today. May God bless our worship together!

THE SEASON OF CHRISTMAS On the Sundays after Christmas we stop to PONDER and PROCLAIM. With Mary at the manger we ponder the meaning of the birth of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, the Savior. With the shepherds in from the fields we witness the miracle in Bethlehem, then spread the good news of great joy for all people–Jesus Christ the Savior is born!

A PERSONAL PRAYER BEFORE WORSHIP O Lord–my Maker, Redeemer, and Comforter–I have come before you to hear your holy Word. Open my heart by your Holy Spirit, that through the preaching of your Word I may repent of my sins, believe in Jesus, and grow day by day in grace and holiness. Hear me for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

GOD’S WORD FOR TODAY  Jesus Comes to Save Us, Even as an Infant – Whether or not we had a “good Christmas,” as some may ask us, today over and over we hear good news of God’s grace.

ORDER OF SERVICE–LITURGY

“Morning Praise” (hymnal page 45)

PASTOR’S GREETING

(Please stand)


MORNING HYMN (hymnal page 45, all sing)

LITURGY (hymnal page 45b, read & sung responsively)

(Please be seated for today’s scripture readings)

SCRIPTURE READING THEME

New Year’s Eve: Jesus Shared Our Humanity 

OLD TESTAMENT LESSON Isaiah 45:20-25 (sermon text)

In the Lord all the descendants of Israel will be found righteous and will exalt

“Gather together and come; assemble, you fugitives from the nations. Ignorant are those who carry about idols of wood, who pray to gods that cannot save. Declare what is to be, present it– let them take counsel together. Who foretold this long ago, who declared it from the distant past? Was it not I, the LORD? And there is no God apart from me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none but me.

“Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear. They will say of me, `In the LORD alone are righteousness and strength.'” All who have raged against him will come to him and be put to shame. But in the LORD all the descendants of Israel will be found righteous and will exult.

PSALM 111 (hymnal page 106, all read verses in unison, all sing refrain in unison)

EPISTLE LESSON Colossians 3:12-17

Live as God’s chosen people

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

VERSE OF THE DAY Alleluia. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. Alleluia.

(Please stand)

GOSPEL LESSON Luke 2:25-40

Simeon and Anna lived as God’s people

Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”

The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.

(Please be seated)

At Emmanuel, all children ages 2-6 are invited to Nursery Sunday School in the parish hall.

CHILDREN’S SERMON

SERMON HYMN 77 “In His Temple Now Behold Him”

(printed in hymnal, all sing)

SERMON Isaiah 45:22-25

“Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other. By myself I have sworn, my mouth has uttered in all integrity a word that will not be revoked: Before me every knee will bow; by me every tongue will swear. They will say of me, `In the LORD alone are righteousness and strength.'” All who have raged against him will come to him and be put to shame. But in the LORD all the descendants of Israel will be found righteous and will exult.

A Turn for the Better

  1. Possibly only through our Lord
  2. Available to all people

3. Accomplished for our salvation

(Please stand after the sermon)

LITURGY (hymnal page 48, all sing)

(Please be seated)

OFFERING, WORSHIPER GREETINGS & FRIENDSHIP REGISTERS

OFFERING PRAYER

(Please stand)

PRAYER FOR CHRISTMAS AND THE NEW YEAR (read by pastor)

INTERCESSORY PRAYERS

– For those hospitalized, ill, shut-in and others facing trials: George Alexander, Bill Aumann, Chuck Boetcher, Alexandria Buehrens (Bob & Carolyn’s great granddaughter), Bob & Carolyn Buehrens, Sharon Crook, Harley & Liola Crown, Agnes Dassow, Mavis DeWitt, Susan DeWitt (Mavis’ daughter-in-law), Elaine Emond (Mark’s mother), Mike Farrell, Jaedan Gain (Ed & Marlene Buchholz’s great grandson), Donna Gatzke, Lori Gerth (Marvis Wegner’s sister), Millie Henke, Laurana Hoffman (Tim’s daughter), LuAnn Hoffman-Reber, Drake Hunter (Bill & Cally’s grandson), Mary Isberner, Geri Kerl (Sue Brown’s mother), Bob Klapper (Sandy’s husband), Anna Madigan, Linda Malsack, Sherry Miller (Candace Sonnenberg’s sister), Marion Neuman (Marjorie Fabian’s sister), Marolyn Riemer, Wilma Rudolph, Bob Schrank, Becky Schulz (Kristen Cragin’s sister), Jordan Scott (Debbie Parrish’s grandson), Roger Stellick (Doug’s uncle), Jennifer Strauss, Dennis Umland (Harold Fandrey’s brother), Linda Lou Wacholtz, Bob Wegner – (added this week: Bob Buehrens)
– For Gordon & Marjorie Fabian who celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary yesterday (12/30)

LITURGY (hymnal page 50, all sing)

LORD’S PRAYER (hymnal page 50b, all read)

(Please be seated)

HYMN 78:1-3 “O Light of Gentile Nations” (printed in hymnal, all sing)

PRAYER FOR GRACE AND BLESSING (hymnal page 50c-51)

CLOSING HYMN 78:4 “O Light of Gentile Nations” (printed in hymnal, all sing)

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Theme for next Sunday (1/7):

Reformation 500 “Faith Alone”

Note: Please give your completed friendship register page to an usher or pastor as you leave today’s service.

ACTIVITIES FOR THE WEEK DECEMBER 31-JANUARY 6
Sun. 8:00 A.M. Emmanuel Worship
8:20 A.M. Emmanuel Nursery Sunday School
8:30 A.M. St. John’s Sunday School
10:00 A.M. St. John’s Worship
7:00 P.M. St. John’s Candlelight Memorial/New Year’s Eve Worship with communion
Mon. 9:00 A.M. Emmanuel memorial/New Year’s Day Worship with communion
Tues. 8:00 A.M. SJS classes resume
9:00 A.M. Elder’s meeting at St. John’s
Wed. 10:00 A.M. Adult Bible Study at St. John’s begins
1:40 P.M. SJS/LL Early dismissal
2:15 P.M. Public School Teen Confirmation class at St. John’s
6:30 P.M. St. John’s Worship
7:30 P.M. Bible Information Class at St. John’s begins
Thurs. 12:00 P.M. Ladies Aid lunch & meeting
Fri.
Sat.
SCHEDULE FOR NEXT SUNDAY, JANUARY 7, 2018

Reformation 500 “Faith Alone” 

8:00 A.M. Emmanuel Worship with communion
8:20 A.M. Emmanuel Nursery Sunday School
8:30 A.M. St. John’s Sunday School
9:00 A.M. Emmanuel/St. John’s Adult Bible Study
10:00 A.M. St. John’s Worship
11:15 A.M. Call meeting at St. John’s

LITTLE LAMBS DIRECTOR CALL MEETING Our current Little Lambs director, Sandy Hemling, has asked to step down from her position as Little Lambs director.  The school board has requested from our WELS Northern Wisconsin District President, Pastor Joel Zank, a list of candidates to be reviewed at a Call meeting scheduled for Sunday 1/7/18 at 11:30 a.m.  We thank Sandy Hemling for her faithful service and willingness to continue serving part-time in coming months until her position as Little Lambs director is filled.

ST. JOHN’S OFFERING STATEMENT SIGN-UP The signup sheet is located in the church link way. Please sign up if you wish to have a copy of your 2017 offering statement.

ST. JOHN’S OFFERING ENVELOPES 2018 are located in the link way of church. Please pick yours up but do not use until January 2018. If you do not have a box, feel free to contact pastor or the office and we will get one to you!

EMMANUEL SUNDAY BIBLE CLASS will resume January 7, 2018 at 9:00a.m.

NEW YEAR’S EVE LOCK-IN All 6th-12th graders are invited to our youth group’s 3rd annual NYE lock-in. Enjoy an evening of fun & games, movies, not to mention lots of snacks & food. We will begin after St. John’s New Years Eve service, concluding at 9 am on NY’s day. For more details, or to sign up, call or text us at 608-697-1600(Mark)or 608-697-3327(Patty). Deadline to sign up is December 27.

NEW YEAR’S EVE/DAY COMMUNION/SAINTS TRIUMPHANT SERVICES  Sunday 12/31 7pm at St. John’s and Monday 1/1 9am at Emmanuel, communion services are scheduled where the names of our E/SJ members called to their heavenly home in 2017 will be read and bells tolled. “For all the saints who from their labors rest…” (Hymn 551)

INTERACTIVE FAITH Adult Discipleship offers LIVE online Bible studies for use by congregations, small groups, or individuals to serve as a mid-week Bible study. Gather at your church or around the computer to join in fellowship and learn about the Bible with brothers and sisters in faith from around the country.

Daniel Habben, pastor at St. John, St. John’s, Antigua, will lead the next interactive faith Bible study starting in January. Entitled “Isaiah: God confronts and comforts his people,” the study will cover the first 12 chapters of Isaiah. “ ‘A virgin will be with child . . . and he was pierced for our transgressions.’ Seven hundred years before the arrival of God’s Son into our world, the Holy Spirit worked especially hard through the prophet Isaiah to get the people of his day to turn from their sin and embrace their Savior-God,” says Habben. “Through the words of Isaiah, God still confronts and comforts his people.”

The study will be streamed Wednesdays at 6 and 8 p.m. CT, from Jan. 10–Feb. 7, 2018.

When: Wednesday’s Jan. 10 – Feb. 7 at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. (central)

Who: Rev. Daniel Habben

What:“Isaiah: God confronts and comforts his people”

Study guides will be available in January.

For more information, visit the website: https://wels.net/serving-you/christian-life/adult-discipleship/interactive-faith/

CHURCH WEBSITE Thank you Kerry and Jen Mann for the work on our church website: www.stjohnsmontello.org.  Your comments and suggestions for improvement are welcomed: 414-339-9031 – kerry@inmarketsuccess.com

WELCOME NEW MEMBERS 12/3 at Emmanuel: Josh & Amanda Kuchar and son Weston, 12/10 at St. John’s: Adam Myers & Jennifer Strauss – A new “Bible Information Class” will begin on Wed 1/3/18 at 7:30pm in pastor’s office/conference room at St. John’s.  Alternate days/times can also be scheduled. Free study guides are available from pastor…just ask.

NEW WEEKDAY/EVE BIBLE CLASS Beginning January 2018, we’ll be starting a new weekday/eve Bible Study entitled: “Your Questions–Scriptures Answers: Adiaphora” (things that God doesn’t command or forbid in the Bible and how we are to properly use our Christian freedom). We meet at St. John’s in the pastor’s office/conference room Monday 7:30pm (beginning 1/8) and Wednesday 10am (beginning 1/3). “Therefore let us leave the elementery teachings about Chrsit and go on to maturity…” (Hebrews 6:1)


https://download.churchart.com/artlinelibrary/f/fo/forgiven_16456c.jpg

In addition to our regular St. John’s Sunday 10:00 a.m. and Emmanuel 8:00 a.m. services, please see our special Christmas Service schedule below. God bless you this Christmas season!

Sunday, December 31, 2017 7:00 p.m. New Year’s Eve Service at St. John’s with communion
Monday, January 1, 2018 9:00 a.m. New Year’s Day service at Emmanuel with communion

USHERS

Emmanuel: December 31 New Year’s Eve Lucas Stelter, Paul Wuerch, DuWayne Sommerfeld January 1 New Year’s Day (C) 9:00am Brian Ninneman, Bob Ferber, Joe Heller, communion assistant: Wayne Stelter, January 1 New Year’s Day (C) Brian Ninneman, Bob Ferber, Joe Heller, communion assistant: Wayne Stelter, January 7 (C) Lucas Stelter, Warren Buchholz, Don Stelter, communion assistant: Wayne Stelter

St. John’s: December 31 New Year’s Eve Don Smith; Chief, Calvin Wojtalewicz, Zeb Zuehls, Mark Emond, Kevin Kaul, December 31 New Year’s Eve Candlelight (C) 7:00pm Kenon Smith; Chief, Scott Ritz, James Kunde, Ken Borzick, Thomas Wojtalewicz, January 7 Cal Kapp; Chief, Martin Schmanke, Lee Ollendorf, Aaron Kendall, Chuck Boetcher

GREETERS TODAY Paul & Christa Van Treeck

Attendance Emmanuel St. John’s
12-23E 12-24 12-24 Candle. 12-25 12-27 150 30 79 79 91 124 0
ST. JOHN’S ALTAR COMMITTEE CONTACT DECEMBER 2017 Jennie Utke & Susan Brown

Welcome To Our Visitors!

Please Sign Our Guest Register

Visit our website & Facebook link at: www.stjohnsmontello.org

Pastor Peter Zietlow Office (608) 297-2321

Cell & Text (608) 408-7830, E-mail: ZietlowPL6@hotmail.com

Principal Tim Hemling (608) 745-2549

Teacher Karin Stellick (920) 342-3689

Teacher Sara Borck (858) 731-7919

Teacher Sandra Hemling (608) 745-2776

Parish/School Secretary Ciara Neuhauser (608) 297-2866

Altar Ladies Elaine Kelm (920) 344-0025 &

Carolyn Rosenthal 589-5036

Mail to: 313 E Montello St, Montello, WI 53949

OR scsecretary@stjohnsmontello.org

Winnebago Lutheran Academy

Principal Mr. David Schroeder/WLA office (920) 921-4930

WLA website: www.wlavikings.org

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Servants of God – December 28, 2017

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.
Romans 13:1-5

Servants of God


Daily Devotion – December 28, 2017

Devotion based on Romans 13:1-5

See series: Devotions

The President of the United States was recently visiting various countries around the world. As he arrived in one country, some citizens carried out violent protests against him, American flags were burned, and pictures of the President were defamed or destroyed. As he arrived in another country, some of those citizens hailed the President as a hero. Two very different attitudes toward the same person.

Scripture urges one consistent attitude toward all those in positions of authority. Whether or not we like them or agree with their policies, we must treat them as we would treat any other servant of God.

The apostle Paul says very clearly, “The one in authority is God’s servant.” Some rulers may or may not believe that they are God’s servant. The Emperor in Rome, at the time Paul wrote this letter, certainly did not believe in God nor see any value in those who did. Yet a ruler’s unbelief does not diminish or negate God’s promise to use human authority to serve his divine purposes.

We see that promise kept on Calvary, where the governing authorities, to whom Paul urges Christians “to submit,” killed Jesus. They killed him because they hated him and his message. Yet God used their hatred for the Son of God to serve his divine purpose of saving the world and forgiving our sins. It is the clearest example we have that human authorities are limited in what they can accomplish. God’s good plan and purposes will always prevail.

When we subject ourselves to the governing authorities and are active in helping to improve our system of government, when we treat our leaders with respect and encourage others to do the same—we honor God by obeying his Word and place our confidence in his loving purposes through Christ.

Prayer:
Dear Lord, thank you for establishing our governing authorities, and for promising to use them as your servants for our good. Be gracious to them as they carry out difficult tasks. Lead us to honor you by honoring them. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Eternal King – December 27, 2017

“Now then, tell my servant David, ‘This is what the LORD Almighty says: I took you from the pasture and from following the flock to be ruler over my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the greatest men of the earth. And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning and have done ever since the time I appointed leaders over my people Israel. I will also give you rest from all your enemies. “‘The LORD declares to you that the LORD himself will establish a house for you: When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he will be my son. When he does wrong, I will punish him with the rod of men, with floggings inflicted by men. But my love will never be taken away from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.’”
2 Samuel 7:8-15

Eternal King


Daily Devotion – December 27, 2017

Devotion based on 2 Samuel 7:8-15

See series: Devotions

Leave it to God to answer our prayers by giving us gifts that are bigger, better, and greater than anything we could ask for or imagine! Not only that, his gifts are global in reach and eternal in scope. They are “forever and ever!”

It’s not hard to imagine the “small” prayers prayed by David, the last son of Jesse as he tended his father’s flocks. “Kill the bear, Lord.” “Save me from the lion, O God.” But did he pray that he would one day sit on the throne of Israel? Doubtful!

Yet the Lord who found him in the pasture placed him on the throne of Israel. The Lord defeated his enemies. The Lord made David famous and firmly established the kingdom of Israel with David as king. The Lord gave David and his people rest from all their enemies. There was a period of national peace and prosperity in Israel which was never equaled again.

The Lord’s promises to David did not stop at the end of David’s life. God had bigger, better and greater things in mind. The eternal God made eternal promises. Long after David died, God raised up one of his descendants to establish his throne forever in a kingdom that endures forever. Great David’s greater Son, Jesus Christ, became an eternal King in an eternal kingdom. Though David desired to build a material, temporal house for the LORD, Jesus built the spiritual, permanent house of God. Jesus built his Father’s house by establishing peace between us and God through his sacrificial death on the cross for us. By his resurrection from the dead, complete victory over our enemy Satan is ours to enjoy forever.

Jesus builds his Father’s house today by making us part of God’s kingdom through the gospel. By faith in David’s great descendant, Jesus Christ, we are privileged members of his glorious kingdom. Eternal promises from our eternal King belong to us who enjoy the kingdom and the power and the glory of God forever and ever.

Prayer:
Thank you, Lord God, for building an eternal house for us by the eternal King, great David’s greater Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Life of Faith – December 26, 2017

Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him—to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.
Romans 16:25–27

Life of Faith


Daily Devotion – December 65, 2017

Devotion based on Romans 16:25–27

See series: Devotions

There is an ancient Greek myth about a man named Sisyphus, whose fate it was to roll a boulder up a steep hill. He would work and push, and labor and haul at that boulder. He would advance it a few feet. But whenever he stopped to rest, the boulder would roll back down the hill. And all his progress would be lost.

Is that sometimes how it feels with your spiritual life? Do you try to move forward in your life of faith, only to lose the ground you just gained? Do you sometimes feel like it’s an impossible task to progress your life as a Christian? Do you ever feel shaky about just trying to maintain your footing on the “steep slope” of life?

God is able to establish you. God is able to make you stand firm. God has the power to place your feet on solid ground.

Picture a construction site. The lot is cleared. The ground is levelled. And then…bam! bam! bam! Pile drivers pound the backbone of the building firmly into the ground.

Picture God doing that with you. He takes the message of your Savior, announced in advance through the Old Testament prophets and revealed in the writings of the New Testament, and drives it deep into your heart. God takes the good news of Jesus Christ—his blessed birth in Bethlehem, his life lived for you, his death on the cross for you, and his resurrection from the dead for you—and firmly builds your faith on it.

Moving forward in our life of faith is hard work. It takes perseverance. It sometimes seems impossible, given our sinful weakness. But our gracious God is the one who establishes us in the good news message of Christmas. God is the one who keeps us firmly grounded in his loving promises. God is the one who gives us the power to progress in our life of faith.

To him be glory forever through Jesus Christ!

Prayer:
Dear Father, you see how I struggle in my life as your child. Establish me in faith, ground me firmly in your promises of love and forgiveness in Christ, and give me the strength to serve you and others. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Christmas Greetings – December 25, 2017

In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Luke 1:26-28

Christmas Greetings


Daily Devotion – December 25, 2017

Devotion based on Luke 1:26-28

See series: Devotions

The Christmas card has gone through some big changes. There was a day when each one was written out by hand and individually addressed. Technology has simplified much of that.

The purpose of a Christmas card has changed too. Often it served as a kind of condensed history of the sender’s past year. Now we can simply check social media and see what our entire network of casual acquaintances are doing at any time. However, despite the changes in form and function, it’s still nice to get a Christmas card.

At the time of the first Christmas, Mary, the mother of Jesus, got a wonderful kind of greeting. An angel from God came to her with a special message: “Greetings, you who are highly favored!” This message must have taken this young woman by surprise. She did not think she was anything special (Luke 2:48). But the angel had some special good news for her: “The Lord is with you.”

The Lord knew everything about this young woman. God knew her life plans, her hopes and dreams. Most importantly he loved Mary deeply. As God was about to enact the culmination of his plan of salvation for the world he loved, he chose Mary, a virgin, to be a special part of that plan. God chose her to give birth to his Son, our Savior, Jesus.

At times, God’s knowledge of us may make us feel uneasy and ashamed. He knows more about us than posts on social media reveal. He sees the ups and downs, the good and bad moments. He cannot be fooled by outward appearances because he examines our hearts and our motives. He knows our sins—all of them. This is why we need his Son, Jesus Christ, because we are not perfect. As we get closer to Christmas celebrations, our hearts are filled with joy as we read God’s Christmas greetings to us in the Bible. He tells us what he enacted throughout the history of the world to save us from eternal death. God tells us of our Savior who came to open the way to heaven for us.

Christmas cards may make us feel better for a little while, but the Bible gives us abiding peace and lasting joy. Even now, the Lord is with us—just as he was with Mary. We have many advantages in our day and age, but many of the problems and challenges we face are essentially the same. We still live in a sinful world, with a sinful flesh, just like Mary did.

Take comfort in knowing that the Lord is with you. He stands by your side when you feel all alone. He forgives you even when you struggle to forgive yourself. He strengthens you through his gospel when you are feeling weak. He is the Light you long for as you walk in a world of darkness. The Lord is with you and always will be.

Prayer:
Lord God, you are with me. Remind me of your loving and abiding presence throughout this Christmas season. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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Jesus is the Son of God – December 24, 2017

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God—the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 1:1-4

Jesus is the Son of God


Daily Devotion – December 24, 2017

Devotion based on Romans 1:1-4

See series: Devotions

Who is Jesus Christ? That’s a fair question to ask this time of year, isn’t it? After all, Christmas is the most popular holiday of the year. People from all over the world celebrate it, and, whether they recognize it or not, Jesus Christ is the very reason for and cause of the celebration! So who is this world-famous baby lying so meekly and mildly in the manger of Bethlehem? Who is Jesus Christ?

Depending on whom you ask, you might hear a few different answers to that question. “Jesus Christ was a great prophet, the greatest to ever live!” “Jesus Christ was a great pioneer, a visionary who started one of the most popular religions in the world!” “Jesus Christ was a great hero who gave up his life for a noble cause!”

But all those descriptions fall short, because none of them give Jesus Christ credit for who he truly is. The apostle Paul’s description of Jesus Christ, however, does not fall short. His description here in Romans chapter one is both true and beautiful. Jesus Christ is true man, “a descendant of David,” Paul says. But Paul also confesses the truth that Jesus Christ is the very “Son of God”. It was this Jesus, the one true God made flesh, who willingly gave up his life in order to pay for the sins of the world with his blood.

But how do we know this for certain? How do we know that this man who died on a cross just thirty-three years after his birth wasn’t just some great prophet, some great pioneer, some great hero who gave up his life for a noble cause? How do we know that this man was also the one true God whose death truly forgave all of our sins?

Paul’s answer is simple. We know because this man who died did not stay dead. Rather, he “was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead.”

So who is this world-famous baby lying so meekly and mildly in the manger of Bethlehem? Who is Jesus Christ? The complete answer does not lie in his manger, for his manger was only the beginning. The answer truly lies in his empty tomb. Jesus Christ is the one true God who willingly became true man and then lived, died, and rose to save us from our sins.

May this beautiful truth resound throughout your Christmas celebration this year!

Prayer:
Lord Jesus Christ, by your resurrection from death, you have proven yourself to be the one true God who has forgiven all our sins. As we celebrate your birth this Christmas season, may the beautiful truth of your resurrection remain in our hearts and minds as well. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and www.WhatAboutJesus.com.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.

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