In Due Time – July 22, 2018

Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, the weeds also appeared” … The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest.’”
Matthew 13:24-26,28-30

In Due Time

Daily Devotion – July 22, 2018

Devotion based on Matthew 13:24-26,28-30

See series: Devotions

It is easy to wonder why the Lord allows good and evil to exist side by side. Wouldn’t the world be a better place, if the Lord would uproot everything evil and allow only good to exist?

This might be an easy assumption to make since I consider myself to be “good.” Unfortunately, I tend to forget the Lord’s standard of good is different than mine. This is why I need to understand why the Lord does allow both to exist.

One reason is fairly obvious. If the Lord would rid the world of everything evil, where would that put me? As I look at my life according to his standard, I am resigned to accept what the Lord declares: “There is no one who does good, not even one” (Psalm 53:3).

The Lord allows good and evil to exist side by side as a result of his undeserved love for me. Instead of dealing with me immediately and justly, he provides a time of grace through which I can come to know Jesus and his gift of forgiveness, and then enjoy living in the peace of his forgiving love.

Another reason why the Lord allows good and evil to exist is his gracious will for all people. “He wants all to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). The same time of grace he gives me, he offers to all. He wants no one to perish. This is why he sent his Son Jesus to be the Savior of all.

In due time, however, when his time of grace comes to an end, he will separate the good from the evil, namely believers from unbelievers. This promise of divine and eternal separation exhorts me to daily repent of my sin and focus on Jesus to strengthen my trust in him as my Savior. It is this life of faith which gives me the confidence to know, that also in due time, the Lord will gather me to himself and bring me into his heavenly kingdom.

O gracious Lord, how can I ever thank you enough for your compassion and mercy. Give me the strength of faith I need to trust what you say, to look to Jesus for forgiveness, and to be prepared for the day when you will bring your harvest in. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and
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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When the Words Don’t Come – July 21, 2018

The Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.
Romans 8:26

When the Words Don’t Come

Daily Devotion – July 21, 2018

Devotion based on Romans 8:26

See series: Devotions

Give some careful thought to the following statement: The times we find it hardest to talk to God in prayer are often the times we need to talk to him the most. Here it is again. The times we find it hardest to talk to God in prayer are often the times we need to talk to him the most.

If you have lived more than a few years in this difficult place, you know how true that statement is. What words do you speak to God, exactly, when you walk out the doctor’s office with the news that your spouse has stage 4 cancer? What words do you speak to God when your finances are on the verge of collapse? What words do you speak to God when you can no longer process how stressful your place of work has become? What words do you speak to God when it feels as though a member of your family has run a sword through your soul? What words do you speak to God when your marriage begins to implode? And what words do you speak to God when all the regrets from your past begin to smother you like a heavy shroud?

These are the times when the words don’t come. These are the times when coherent thought disappears. These are the moments when you and I cannot even articulate a simple cry to the Lord for help.

Enter the Holy Spirit. He knows. He knows very well how the wreckage of this sinful world can overwhelm us, paralyze us to the point of stunned silence. In those moments he comes to us. He intercedes for us. On our behalf he speaks to our heavenly Father “with groans that words cannot express.” And to such groans God listens and responds.

You are a forgiven child of God through faith in Jesus Christ. That means you possess the exclusive privilege of talking to the Lord in prayer. But when you set aside time for him and the words do not come, take heart. The Holy Spirit knows exactly what you need. What he says on your behalf will go beyond human words. And God will listen. And he will answer.

Holy Spirit, there are times when the words just do not come. Speak on my behalf with groans that words cannot express. And fill me with the peace that is mine in Jesus. Amen.

This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and
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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Evangelical Lutheran Churches

Mecan and Montello, WI

Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod



JULY 22, 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!

GOD’S WORD FOR TODAY Jesus Gives the Bread of Life By His Faithful Word – Last week we saw how Jesus gives the Bread of Life through faithful public ministers. This week we focus on their message. In order to be a faithful public minister, you must proclaim God’s faithful Word. When people don’t proclaim the whole truth of God, they destroy faith and ultimately turn people away from Jesus. It is only through his faithful Word that Jesus creates and strengthens faith (Romans 10:17). Nothing else will do!

A PERSONAL PRAYER BEFORE WORSHIP O Lord, our God: rule over the nations of earth and direct the affairs of this world so that your church may worship you in peace and joy. Through your Word and Sacrament, come to us. Forgive our sins, strengthen our faith, and help us live up to our high calling as your children. Amen.


“The Common Service” (hymnal page 15)


OPENING HYMN 336 “Come unto Me, Ye Weary”

(printed in hymnal, all sing)

(Please stand)

LITURGY (hymnal page 15, read & sung responsively)


LITURGY (hymnal page 17b, read & sung responsively)

(Please be seated for the Scripture readings)


The Savior Is our Compassionate Shepherd

OLD TESTAMENT LESSON Jeremiah 23:1-6 (today’s sermon text)

The Messiah is the true Shepherd, the Lord our Righteousness

“Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord. Therefore this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: “Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done,” declares the Lord. “I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number. I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the Lord.

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord,

“when I will raise up for David[a] a righteous Branch,

a King who will reign wisely

and do what is just and right in the land.

In his days Judah will be saved

and Israel will live in safety.

This is the name by which he will be called:

The Lord Our Righteous Savior.

PSALM 23 (hymnal page 72, sung in unison)

EPISTLE LESSON Ephesians 2:13-22

The Shepherd is also the Cornerstone of the Church, his believing sheep

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

VERSE OF THE DAY Alleluia! My Word will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Alleluia. (Isaiah 55:11b)

LITURGY (hymnal page 18, all sing)

“Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! ”

(Please stand)

After the announcement of the Gospel, all sing:

“Glory be to you, O Lord!”

GOSPEL Mark 6:30-34

The compassionate Shepherd gives spiritual rest: the forgiveness of sins, life & salvation

The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

After the Gospel, all sing:

“Praise be to you, O Christ!”

NICENE CREED (hymnal page 18b, all read)

(Please be seated)

SERMON HYMN 362 “Lord Jesus Christ, My Savior Blest”

(printed in hymnal, all sing)

SERMON Jeremiah 23:1-6

“Give It To Me Straight, Lord!”

(Please stand after the sermon)

LITURGY (hymnal page 20, all sing)

“Create in me a clean heart, O God…”

(Please be seated)


(Please stand)


PRAYER FOR THE SUNDAYS AFTER PENTECOST (hymnal p. 127, read responsively)


– For those hospitalized, ill, shut-in and facing trials: George Alexander, Gale “Blackie” Boyd, Marilyn Bredeson (Karin’s Stellick’s mother),  David Broderick, Mike Brown, Alexandria Buehrens (Bob & Carolyn’s great granddaughter), Bob & Carolyn Buehrens, George Chapman, Gene & Sharon Crook, Harley & Liola Crown, Agnes Dassow, Caleb & Emery Degenstein (Mark Emond’s friends), Elaine Emond (Mark’s mother), Marjorie Fabian, Mike Farrell, Donna Gatzke, Kellen Grucza (Judy Fandrey’s daughter), RaeLynn Hodgkins (Beth Johnson’s daughter), Brian & Bonnie Harmon (Linda Lou Wacholtz’ sister & brother-in-law), Brody Henke, Ardis Henning, Dawn Hirn (Linda Krause’s niece), Geri Kerl (Sue Brown’s mother), Bob Klapper (Sandy’s husband), Doris Klawitter, Aspen Raelynn Lefeber (Barb Hoffman’s greatgrandaughter), Anna Madigan, Kerry & Lily Mann, Ruthie Marcelain (Dawn’s granddaughter), Steve Parrish, Wayne Riemer, Wilma Rudolph, Frankie Russell, Bob Schrank, Jennifer Strauss, Jane Torres (Stacie Starke’s mother), Dennis & Romana Wacholtz, Donny Weber (Betty’s son), Paul Weldon, Raymond Zacharias (Marilyn Riemer’s brother) – (added this week: Mike Brown, Dawn Hirn, Dennis & Romana Wacholtz)

– For the family of Bill Schroeder, Ashley’s father-in-law, called home on 6/18

– For Kash Z. Kuchar, the son of Joshua and Amanda Kuchar born on 6/27

– For our communicants at St. John’s

LORD’S PRAYER (hymnal page 20b)


HOLY COMMUNION LITURGY (hymnal page 21, read & sung responsively)

(Please be seated for holy communion)

Our church follows the historic and widespread Christian practice of closed Communion. We ask that only members of Emmanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church and St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church or another congregation of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) partake of the sacrament. We follow this practice because the Bible teaches it and because we love you. Please speak with the pastor if you have any questions.

DISTRIBUTION HYMN 311 “Soul, Adorn Yourself with Gladness” (printed in hymnal, all sing)

(After the distribution, please stand)


(Please be seated)

CLOSING HYMN 375:1, 6 “The King of Love My Shepherd Is” (printed in hymnal, all sing)


LITURGY (hymnal page 25)

(Please be seated)

HYMN 375:1-4 “The King of Love My Shepherd Is” (printed in hymnal, all sing)

(Please stand)

CLOSING PRAYER & BLESSING (hymnal page 25b)

(Please be seated)

CLOSING HYMN 375:5-6 “The King of Love My Shepherd Is” (printed in hymnal, all sing)



The Tenth Sunday after Pentecost:

A Miraculous Meal Points to Fellowship with God

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

Sun. 8:00 A.M. Emmanuel Worship
10:00 A.M. St. John’s Worship
Mon. 8:00 A.M. St. John’s School staff meeting
Wed. 6:30 P.M. St. John’s Worship with communion
Thurs. 10:00 A.M. Montello Care Center devotion with communion

The Tenth Sunday after Pentecost:

A Miraculous Meal Points to Fellowship with God

8:00 A.M. Emmanuel Worship
9:00 A.M. Emmanuel Council meeting
10:00 A.M. St. John’s Worship

CHRISTIAN ONE-LINERS (from a WELS pastor):  “He who angers you, controls you!”

LIFETOUCH PHOTOS If you have not yet picked up your personal Lifetouch photos, please pick them up in the link way at St. John’s.


Sunday 7/29: Emmanuel Council Meeting

Sunday 8/5: Emmanuel Congregation Meeting

THANK YOU To the Tutaj family who made a donation of $1,154.00 to Emmanuel in loving memory of Randy Tutaj. Your donation is deeply appreciated.

“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

SCHOOL REGISTRATION AND PICTURES As we prepare for this school year, there are a few upcoming dates to keep in mind. REGISTRATION for St. John’s Ev. Lutheran School and Little Lambs will be Sunday, August 19 at 11:15a.m. and Monday, August 20 at 6:00p.m. Both will be held at St. John’s in Pastor’s office. SCHOOL PHOTOS will be taken during registration times. To all St. John’s School and Little Lambs families, look for an informational school packet coming in the mail to you soon.

MEN’S BIBLE STUDY They say that first impressions are lasting impressions. That may be true. But what about last impressions themselves? Wouldn’t the last words from someone we know well and love be important also, and stay with us. Then, if those last words of instruction, encouragement, or blessing are all about faith and the life of faith, how much more valuable! The next men’s Bible Class will read and discuss some of  the last impressions left by three Bible heroes of faith. This short 3-lesson study will be Tuesday nights, 6:30pm on August 7, 14, and 21. Think about  it and plan to make this one hour on a week night a priority for you. BIBLE SCHOOL (VBS) 2018 St. John’s Vaction Bible School will be August 6-10 from 9:00am-3:00pm and will be available for ages 3yrs-6th grade. Camp Phillip will be leading it for us this year! There will be sign-up sheets in the office, St. John’s info room and Emmanuel parish hall. OR you can call/email the office during summer hours to sign your child up. The deadline for sign-up is July 30th. BIBLE SCHOOL VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!

WE STILL NEED VOLUNTEERS FOR THIS YEAR’S VBS! If you want to help, call the office and let Ciara know ASAP!

VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL DONATIONS NEEDED! St. John’s needs a list of supplies to run VBS efficiently. If you are willing to donate, you may swing by the office during summer hours or drop boxes will be located in Emmanuel parish hall and St. John’s link way.

Here is a list of things needed: glue, glue sticks, onion powder, cardstock paper, ground mustard, yellow mustard, black and red permanent markers, plastic mixing spoons, apple corer, small mixing bowls, baking rack, garlic powder, microwave-safe bowls, box of food coloring, silver glitter, toothpicks, measuring cups, measuring spoons, baby oil, white sand, red satin ribbon, cross penny, satin nylon cord, heavy duty paper plates, black felt, 18 oz. plastic bottles (BAI), black construction paper, 32 quarters, masing tape, index cards, blindfolds, 40 ping pong balls, long rope, water guns.

ST. JOHN’S A/V ROOM–HELP WANTED Our current audio/visual crew (Tracy Hoffman & Aaron Wachholz) welcomes more members to learn what they do to create and show PowerPoint services on the big screen, record services to create DVD’s and upload to our church website, operate the sound system, etc. “Many hands make light work.”

ST JOHN’S STREAMING ON YOUTUBE Church services are now streaming live to our YouTube channel. To find St. John’s YouTube channel, simply visit our website: and click on the VIDEO link in the top menu. Prior videos can be watched on this page or you can click the link to our YouTube channel page where services can be watched live, as they happen.  Be sure to subscribe on Youtube and click the bell icon in the upper right corner of YouTube to get notified of new videos and live streams.

See the source imageALTAR FLOWERS If you would like to have flowers put on the altar for a special occasion or just to add beauty to St. John’s, please contact our Altar Ladies, Carolyn Rosenthal 589-5036 or Elaine Kelm 920-344-0025, and they can have it arranged. Thank you.

CAMEROON MISSION WISH LIST On Sunday 5/20 Missionary Dan Kroll and family shared with our Montello congregations the blessings and challenges of our WELS mission in Cameroon.  Earlier this week he e-mailed me a wish list to share with you.  Please consider a financial gift to help our gospel mission among our brothers and sisters in The Lutheran Church of Cameroon. (see insert)

See the source imageSCHOOL UPDATE REPORT

God is good and we are blessed! After much deliberation and discussion between the school board, council, pastor, synod leadership and many others, we are able to report that our school status is on track and in a good place. The teaching staff is now set and it is a good one. We are pleased.

Little Lambs – Sara Borck, as planned an announced earlier will take over this program.

K-1 – Cassie Doering, a 5th-Year Senior at Martin Luther College has agreed to serve as a 1-year emergency teacher. She’s from Lake Mills.

2-4 – Karin Stellick will continue her work in this classroom

5-8 – Rachel Naumann, our newest teacher, will bring  her 2 years of experience at Luther Prep School into our 5-8 classroom.

This a good mix of experience and youth that will give us a fine faculty for the upcoming school year. We are blessed and  excited by that. We will also have qualified and experienced classroom aides and other support people.

The duties of principal will be handled for the time being by a “committee” approach. Pastor Dolan  has agreed to serve as a spiritual advisor to the faculty and staff and will be a liaison to the school board and church council. Other duties will be  handled by  the school board, and other church leaders, staff, and members as needs arise. Specific duties and details are still being researched and worked out, and we are making good progress. We are not where we hoped to be at this point as far as full-time principal/teacher is concerned, but the situation has worked out well. We are in good hands as we make further preparations for the new school year. Watch for more updates in the weeks ahead. Continue to pray for and support our school ministry, staff, students and parents as together we “feed the lambs” of Jesus.

Bad decisions. Good stories.

By Linda Buxa

I was driving down the main street of my town when I saw the guy’s shirt: “Bad decisions make the best stories.”

I got all high-and-mighty because I was pretty sure his shirt was trying to make sin sound like good fun. Perhaps it was an out-of-hand spring break. Maybe teenage rebellion earned a visit from the police. Or a bachelor party in Vegas where things stayed there.

Then I realized the shirt was pretty accurate. My dumbest decisions do make the best stories—of God’s grace. So do yours, because you are “convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38,39).

King David knew. He slept with Uriah’s wife and then had Uriah killed in battle. God still called him a man after his own heart.

Abraham understood. Twice he tried to pass his wife off as his sister so he wouldn’t be killed and have Sarah taken into a harem. God made him the father of many nations as he had promised.

Peter denied that he even knew Jesus, yet Jesus gave him the high privilege of feeding his lambs.

How about you? Jesus’ sacrifice brought you back into a relationship with the Father. His love washes away your dumb decisions. His mercy takes away your shame. Thanks to Jesus, nothing—not even your bad decisions—can separate you from his love.

Time of Grace Writer,

C:\Users\secretary\Downloads\unnamed (3).jpg

Description: Description: Macintosh HD:Users:karmenruplinger:Desktop:2 Impr...:2nd Impressions Logo.jpg
Store Hours

Tuesday – Friday 10 AM – 6 PM

Saturday 10 AM – 3 PM

Donation Accepted Times

Monday 10 AM – 4 PM

Tuesday – Friday 10 AM – 5 PM

Saturday 10 AM – 3 PM

Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow!

We are happy to announce that Second Impressions is donating

$20,000 to Winnebago Lutheran Academy for operating expenses!

By the Grace of God, we are continuing to grow, and we need more volunteers now more than ever!! We have an awesome group that have fun and enjoy each other’s comradery. Stop by today or call(920) 907-9900 to see how you can be part of our team and “Give God the Glory!”

New Items Arrive Daily, Come On Over And Check Them Out!

Store News: The assistant manager position has been split into two positions. We welcome Edie Wandell and Judy Steinbrenner! Edie and Judy have retail backgrounds with talents and skills that will certainly benefit Second Impressions. We are grateful that they will be part of our team!

We are thankful to Deb Giffey, our former assistant manager, for all that she has done for Second Impressions and wish her God’s blessings in her move to Red Granite.

Thanks to our intern, Holly Christie, we now have a website up and running! Check out our website at

We are blessed to have Holly in our midst and are grateful for the time she spends with us. Please be sure to also look us up on Facebook and “Share” with others. This will be very beneficial in helping us get the word out about our store.

You can also VOTE online to help make us the “Best of Fond du Lac” Readers’ Choice Award for 2018. Log on to (category Thrift Store).

MARK YOUR CALENDARS: Our Back-to-School Sale will be held July 31 through August 4. Take advantage of some GREAT deals along with tax free purchases on clothing, shoes, and school supplies (August 1 through August 4th)! Tuesday, July 31, entire store will be 20% OFF; Wednesday, August 1, 25% OFF; Thursday, August 2, 30% OFF; Friday, August 3, 40% OFF and Saturday, August 4th 50% OFF (all sale days exclude furniture). All Jeans will be $1 (excludes sale).

Donations: We can always use any type of donation. Higher priority items this month include: Tools & Hardware; Jewelry (especially earrings) Children’s clothing and shoes, size newborn through 6 years; Small Appliances (blenders, toasters, etc); kettles; Men’s size small shirts; Men’s and Children’s shoes; Men’s jeans; towels and sheets, purses and furniture.

We could also use larger size bags (i.e. from Kohl’s, Target, etc)

Call or come by the store to volunteer, donate, or do some shopping!

325 Winnebago Drive, Fond du Lac 920-907-9900

Attendance Emmanuel St. John’s
7-15 7-18 73 133 13
St. John’s Altar Committee:

July 2018

Elain Kelm


Carolyn Rosenthal

Just East of the A&W Restaurant

St. John’s Greeter Schedule
July 22 Sara Borck & Jennie Utke
July 29 Jon & Jean Sheller
Usher Schedule
July 22


(with comm)


Cal Kapp; Chief, Martin Schmanke, Lee Ollendorf, Aaron Kendall, Chuck Boetcher

Darrell Buchholz, Glenn Buchholz, Joe Heller

July 29



James Wachholz; Chief, Jim Eisermann, Corey Kaul, Jerre Duerr, Robin Smith

DuWayene Sommerfeld, Bob Ferber, Brian Ninneman


Monday – 8:00am-4:00pm

Tuesday – 8:00am-4:00pm

Wednesday – 8:00am-4:00pm

Thursday – 8:00am-2:00pm

Welcome To Our Visitors!

Please Sign Our Guest Register

Visit our website & Facebook link at:

Pastor Peter Zietlow Office (608) 297-2321

Cell & Text (608) 408-7830, E-mail:

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


Winnebago Lutheran Academy

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

WLA website:

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Good Works are God’s Work – July 20, 2018

It is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.
Philippians 2:13

Good Works are God’s Work

Daily Devotion – July 20, 2018

Devotion based on Philippians 2:13

See series: Devotions

“I’m doing it, daddy!” the little girl said excitedly.

What a sight! A four-year-old behind the wheel of an oversized Sport Utility Vehicle. Her little hands not fully grasping the steering wheel. Her feet dangling inches from the floor board. Her neck craned upward, chin thrust out, eyebrows raised as high as they would go. Still, she could barely see over the dash board. But she was doing it.

“Daddy, I’m driving!”

Or so she thought. She was proud of her efforts behind the wheel, but dad was in control. His eyes were watching for any obstacles in the vacant parking lot. His foot was hovering over the brake ready to stop the behemoth vehicle in an instant. His hands were firmly grasping the steering wheel. His voice was instructing her when and how far to turn the wheel.

Spiritually, we are more hindered than a four-year-old. From the moment our life begins, we are dead in sin and separated from God. Without faith in Christ, we cannot do anything that pleases God. But the Holy Spirit works through the good news about Jesus. He connects us by faith to him who died for our sins and was raised again. He gives us life in Christ, so we can live like Christ.

The funny thing is, it looks like we are doing the work. Others see us humbly serving without expecting anything in return. They see us work without grumbling and talk without complaining. They see us lead upright, innocent lives. But really, it is God at work in us. The loving Father empowers us. The living Christ motivates us. The enlightening Spirit guides us.

Do you want God to fulfill his good purpose in you? Do you wonder what God’s good purpose for you is? The little girl skillfully moved the over-sized SUV because she was connected to power—her father. As we stay connected to Jesus in Word and sacrament, God’s power is at work in us. We will know God’s good purpose and offer our lives and lips in thanks because God is working in us.

Heavenly Father, work in me by your Word the desire and the drive to fulfill your good purpose. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and
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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Fully Meeting God’s Standards – July 19, 2018

Without faith it is impossible to please God.
Hebrews 11:6a

Fully Meeting God’s Standards

Daily Devotion – July 19, 2018

Devotion based on Hebrews 11:6a

See series: Devotions

Has there been anyone in your life who always had expectations of you that were too high—so much so that you never felt like you could live up to what they expected? Maybe it was a parent who had really high expectations when it came to your grades at school. No matter how hard you tried, your grade point average was never good enough. Or maybe it was the football coach who was never satisfied with the way you ran that one particular play in the playbook. Even when you thought your team had it down, he shook his head and said, “Run it again!” Perhaps it was the boss who was never satisfied with your sales numbers, even when you surpassed the projected earnings for the company.

Often it feels impossible to live up to the expectations that others have for us. All of the above examples are nothing compared to the expectations that God has for you and me. God is holy. The bar he has set for us could not be any higher than it is. God commands us to be perfect. He demands that we be holy as he is holy. His expectations for sinners cannot be any loftier than that.

God’s Word states that “without faith it is impossible to please God.” On our own, sinners like you and I have no hope of ever meeting God’s expectations. Because of sin, we fall short day, after day, after day. Some days we don’t even try to meet God’s standards. Scripture speaks the truth when it states that, “we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” We are powerless to meet God’s standards and because of that we deserve his eternal punishment.

That’s where faith comes in! The word faith in this verse describes a confident trust that an individual has in someone else. We know we have fallen short of God’s demands, but we are confident that someone else has met those demands for us. We trust that a Savior has taken our place under God’s law and fulfilled it perfectly for us. We have faith that because of our Savior’s life, death, and resurrection, our status before God has changed. In Christ, God no longer sees our failures. He no longer sees how far short we have fallen from perfection. Instead, through faith in Jesus, God sees works that please him. God sees his own forgiven children serving him in love. By faith in Jesus, God sees us as ones who have fully met his standards!

Dear Jesus, thank you for keeping the demands of the law perfectly for me and for taking away all of my sins. Help me to live in thanks for your blessings. Help me to live by faith and to serve God in all I do. Amen.

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When the Pressure is On – July 18, 2018

Then Amaziah (the priest at Bethel) said to Amos, “Get out, you seer! Go back to the land of Judah. Earn your bread there and do your prophesying there. Don’t prophesy anymore at Bethel, because this is the king’s sanctuary and the temple of the kingdom.” Amos answered Amaziah, “I was neither a prophet nor a prophet’s son, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees. But the LORD took me from tending the flock and said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’ Now then, hear the word of the LORD.”
Amos 7:12-16a

When the Pressure is On

Daily Devotion – July 18, 2018

Devotion based on Amos 7:12-16a

See series: Devotions

It was a time of prosperity in the northern kingdom. Sadly, comfort and ease led to complacency, slipshod worship, superficial offerings, then open idolatry, immorality, self-indulgent/selfish living, and cruelty to the poor. Amos was called to announce God’s judgment on Israel. The people and the king did not like it. Amaziah gave Amos his “marching orders.” “Get out, you seer!” “Who do you think you are?” “This is the king’s sanctuary and the temple of the kingdom!” Oh, oh, the pressure was on!

Amos recognized the threat, but respectfully answered, “The LORD took me from tending the flock and said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’ Now then, hear the word of the LORD.”

Today, the Lord Jesus calls Christians to be witnesses for him, to share the “word of the Lord” with people in our lives, starting with our own families. In addition, we have a sphere of friends, relatives, acquaintances, and neighbors to whom we can tell the good news about Jesus the Savior. Since trusting the Savior begins with recognizing a need for the Savior because of one’s sinfulness, the reaction can be that heard by Amos. “Who do you think you are?” Oh, oh, the pressure is on!

If someone asks, “Who do you think you are?” be ready to give an answer. The apostle Peter gives excellent instruction in his first New Testament letter: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).

Israel needed to hear what God had to say through Amos. People today need to hear what Jesus has to say, and that can happen through you!

Dear Holy Spirit, help me listen and learn from Scripture so that, with your blessing, when the pressure is on, I am prepared to give an answer. Amen.

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Chosen by God – July 17, 2018

Note: On Tuesday, July 17 the WELS Mobile app installed from the iPhone/iPad App Store, Google Play Store, or Amazon will be removed. Any users with the app installed on their devices will find that many of the features will no longer function correctly. The reason for this change is that a new WELS App is now available at This new app provides all the same functionality as the old WELS Mobile app and more. Please read all about it in a recent blog posted entitled WELS App Launches.

[God] chose us in [Jesus] before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
Ephesians 1:4-6

Chosen by God

Daily Devotion – July 17, 2018

Devotion based on Ephesians 1:4-6

See series: Devotions

Do you remember the feeling? You are preparing to play kickball during recess at school. Two captains are choosing players for their teams. They start with the best athletes. Was that you? Or were you picked later? Maybe even last?

If God were picking teams, would you be chosen?

There are days when you think, “Of course I would! I try my hardest. I’m honest, kind, and caring, just the kind of person God would want on his team.” And maybe you go to church and sing in the choir and volunteer to serve in many ways. God should not only pick you but should name you MVP—Most Valuable Person.

But there are other days—or parts of every day—when you realize that you don’t even deserve to be picked last. You shouldn’t even get a spot on the bench. So often, you hurt those around you with what you say or don’t say, with what you do or don’t do. With your life, you say to God, “I want to play by my own rules.”

If God were picking teams, why would he choose you?

But God did choose you! God’s choice was not based on your ability or performance. His choice, which he made before the creation of the world, came from pure love. He gives you that love freely, generously, and without condition. How comforting that is! It is all in God’s hands! It is all because of God’s love!

In love, God chose to send his Son, Jesus, to take away your sins and failures, so that you are holy and blameless in his sight. In love, God chose to adopt you as his own child through faith in your Savior Jesus. In love, God chose to give you an eternal inheritance and a home with him in heaven.

Praise God for his loving choice!

Father, I thank you that, in awesome and undeserved love, you chose me to be your child. Amen.

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You are Needed – July 16, 2018

Calling the Twelve to him, [Jesus] sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits. … They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.
Mark 6:7,12,13

You are Needed

Daily Devotion – July 16, 2018

Devotion based on Mark 6:7,12,13

See series: Devotions

We are needy people who need to be needed. In the prime of life, we take pride in our work and service to others. But how do we feel when advanced age, sudden illness, or loss of employment prevents us from doing the work we love? Hardworking, independent people are told they can no longer live on their own. Loving parents no longer have children at home to care for. People in such situations can feel worthless, thinking they are not needed anymore.

Jesus’ twelve disciples were not the most “needed people” in the world. Some of them were working class fishermen. Others occupied a lower rung on the social ladder, such as Matthew the despised tax collector. All of them had their own sins and failings. (See Matthew 10:2-4.) But Jesus the Son of God graciously chose them to be his disciples. He chose to give these Twelve the inside knowledge of the kingdom of God. This kingdom centered around the good news of the forgiveness of sins that Jesus himself would accomplish by dying on a cross for all people. Jesus chose imperfect people to hear this message. Jesus equipped imperfect people to share this message. Jesus anointed the Twelve with his Spirit to tell people to turn from their sins and trust God who was working in the world to save them.

What human being would ever be “up to the task” of sharing such an important message with others? Jesus chose twelve who desperately needed his love and forgiveness to receive his love and forgiveness. Then he chose them to share his love and forgiveness with others. He chose to make them important and special by entrusting them with the best news the world has ever heard.

This message of repentance and forgiveness is for you as well. As you hear it and ponder what it means for you, think about what it means for someone close to you. God graciously chose to use you to serve others. He makes your life eternally significant.

Praise be to God. It feels good to be needed!

Lord Jesus, out of thankfulness for all you have done to save me, help me to look for opportunities to love and serve others. Remind me of how valuable I am in your sight that I may work hard to be of some value to others. Amen.

DailyCreative Commons License Devotions are brought to you by WELS and
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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