St. Johns News

BULLETIN- THE FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER APRIL 29, 2018

ST. JOHN’S & EMMANUEL

Evangelical Lutheran Churches

Montello & Mecan, WI

Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod

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THE FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER

APRIL 29, 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 Produce Fruit! Through faith, we are connected to Christ as a branch is connected to a grape vine. The result of being connected to Jesus is that we will now bear fruit. The fruit of a Christian is a life of love. Out of thanks for God’s love, we now seek to love our fellow man by sharing God’s message of love with him. As believers we seek to show love not only in what we say, but also in what we do.

A PERSONAL PRAYER BEFORE WORSHIP All-merciful Father in heaven: In love you sent your Son Jesus to suffer, die on the cross and rise from the grave to save us. In love you send the Holy Spirit through the gospel in Word and Sacrament to call us to repentance, faith, and discipleship. Inspire and empower us to CLING TO THE VINE AND PRODUCE FRUITS OF FAITH. Bless our lip worship today and our life worship tomorrow. Amen.

ORDER OF SERVICE–LITURGY

Service of the Word (hymnal page 38)

PASTOR’S GREETING

OPENING HYMN 162 “He is Arisen! Glorious Word”

(printed in hymnal, all sing)

(Please stand)

LITURGY (hymnal page 38, read & sung responsively)

PRAYER OF THE DAY

LITURGY (hymnal page 39b, all sing)

“Amen.”

(Please be seated for the Scripture readings)

THE DAY’S BIBLE READING THEME

The Fifth Sunday of Easter: Fruits of Faith Flow from our Connection to the Risen Lord

FIRST LESSON Acts 8:26-40 (today’s sermon text)

You are branches grafted to the Vine through the gospel in Word and Sacrament

Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians. This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the book of Isaiah the prophet. The Spirit told Philip, “Go to that chariot and stay near it.”

Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. “Do you understand what you are reading?” Philip asked.

“How can I,” he said, “unless someone explains it to me?” So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

The eunuch was reading this passage of Scripture: “He was led like a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth. In his humiliation he was deprived of justice. Who can speak of his descendants? For his life was taken from the earth.”

The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?” Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.

As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. Why shouldn’t I be baptized?” And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing. Philip, however, appeared at Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea.

PSALM 67 (hymnal page 91; lectern side sings the first line, pulpit side sings the second line, all sing refrains and Gloria)

EPISTLE LESSON 1 John 3:18-24

You are branches, inspired and empowered to produce fruits of faith–Christian love

Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

VERSE OF THE DAY Alleluia. Alleluia. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia. “I am the vine; you are the branches,” says the Lord. Alleluia. (John 15:5)

LITURGY (hymnal page 40, all sing)

“Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! These words are written that we may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!”

(Please stand)

GOSPEL John 15:1-8

“I am the Vine; you are the branches” –planted, pruned, and productive

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

LITURGY (hymnal page 40b, all sing)

“Praise be to you, O Christ”

(Please be seated)

CHILDREN’S SERMON

SERMON SONG “Philip and the Ethiopian” (see insert, all sing)

SERMON Acts 8:26-40

“Chasing Chariots”

  1. Our salvation is won
  2. Our job’s not done

(Please stand after the sermon)

THE APOSTLES’ CREED (hymnal page 41, all read)

(Please be seated)

OFFERING, WORSHIPER GREETINGS, FRIENDSHIP REGISTERS

& WELS CONNECTION DVD

OFFERING PRAYER

(Please stand)

EASTER SEASON PRAYER

INTERCESSORY PRAYERS

– For those hospitalized, ill, shut-in and facing trials: George Alexander, Gale “Blackie” Boyd, 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), Brian & Bonnie Harmon (Linda Lou Wacholtz’ sister & brother-in-law), Brody Henke, Ardis Henning, Mary Isberner, Geri Kerl (Sue Brown’s mother), Bob Klapper (Sandy’s husband), Doris Klawitter, Anna Madigan, Kerry & Lily Mann, Ruthie Marcelain (Dawn’s granddaughter), Sherry Miller (Candace Sonnenberg’s sister), Steve Parrish, Wayne Riemer, Wilma Rudolph, Bob Schrank, Bill Schroeder (Ashley’s father-in-law), Jane Torres (Stacie Starke’s mother), Donny Weber (Betty’s son) – (added this week: Wayne Riemer)
– For today’s Teacher Call meeting at St. John’s

LORD’S PRAYER (hymnal page 43, all read)

(Please be seated)

HYMN 564 “There is a Balm in Gilead” (printed in hymnal, all sing)

(Please stand)

CLOSING PRAYER & BLESSING (hymnal pages 43b-44)

(Please be seated)

CLOSING HYMN 562 “I Love to Tell the Story” (printed in hymnal, all sing)

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Theme for Next Sunday, May 6, 2018:

The Sixth Sunday of Easter:

Remain in the Risen Lord

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

ACTIVITIES FOR THE WEEK APRIL 29 – May 5
Sun. 8:00 A.M. Emmanuel Worship
8:20 A.M. Emmanuel Nursery Sunday School
8:30 A.M. St. John’s Sunday School
9:00 A.M. Emmanuel Council meeting
9:00 A.M. St. John’s Adult Bible Study
10:00 A.M. St. John’s Worship
11:15 A.M. St. John’s Teacher Call meeting
Mon. 6:30 P.M. Senior Choir at St. John’s
7:30 P.M. Adult Bible Study at St. John’s
Tues. 9:00 A.M. St. John’s Elders meeting
5:00 P.M. Pizza Dinner at St. John’s lower level
6:00 P.M. High School Options Presentation at St. John’s lower level
6:30 P.M. Men’s Bible Study at St. John’s
Wed. 10:00 A.M. Adult Bible Study at St. John’s
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
Thurs. NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER
12:00 P.M. St. John’s Ladies Aid Hot Lunch, Entertainment & meeting
Fri.
Sat.
SCHEDULE FOR NEXT SUNDAY, May 6, 2018

The Sixth Sunday of Easter:

Remain in the Risen Lord

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. St. John’s Adult Bible Study
9:00 A.M. Emmanuel Congregational meeting
10:00 A.M. St. John’s Worship

ART FOR DINNER Thanks to all who organized and participated in last night’s (4/28) Art For Dinner school fundraiser.

See the source imageLIFETOUCH PHOTOS If you were unable to schedule a photo session through Lifetouch for our new church directory and would still like to be in it, please send your photo to Pastor Pete or Ciara BY JUNE 14TH. Thank you.

See the source imageMEN’S BIBLE STUDY Jesus says to take up your cross. Why? Do I have to? What does that mean anyway? We will be answering questions like that at the Men’s Bible class this month. “Jesus Cross- and Yours!” is the topic. On Tuesday (5/1) 6:30pm at St. John’s lower level, Pastor Dolan will lead the 2nd of a 5-week Men’s Bible Study. Questions? Contact Pastor D at: 608-297-1075 or pastordolan@gmail.com

HIGH SCHOOL OPTIONS PRESENTATION
On Tuesday, May 1st from 6-8pm, Winnebago Lutheran Academy, Luther Prep, Northland High school and Montello Jr/Sr high will be here to give you a presentation on their schools and what each of their respective schools have to offer for your child’s high school education if you choose to go there. This is offered for the upper grades classroom (4th – 8th) and all p arents are encouraged to attend as they make plans for their child’s future high school education. There will be a Pizza dinner from 5-6pm and presentations will start at 6pm.

See the source imageST. JOHN’S LITTLE LAMBS is now accepting enrollment for the 2018-2019 school year.  Registration forms are available in the office.  If you would like more information about Little Lambs please call the school at (608) 297-2866 to schedule a time to come visit Little Lambs.

C:\Users\secretary\Downloads\unnamed.jpgPLEDGE DRIVE UPDATE FOR THE WELS INTERNATIONAL YOUTH RALLY:  We are nearing our goal & have extended the deadline to turn in pledges. Thanks to those who have donated so far, we were able to cover the registration fee for 3 teens to attend the rally who would not have been able to go otherwise. We have a month before the fees are due in for the transportation & excursions costs. The teens have a wonderful opportunity to visit the Creation Museum, The Ark Encounter, & Cedar Point Amusement Park in addition to the rally. With the additional monies donated, we have elected to join in on these excursions. We currently have about 80% of the money needed to cover the additional excursions costs. Any additional pledges towards this would be greatly appreciated. Payment is not needed immediately, but if you could fill out a pledge form located in the back of church, so we have an idea of how much more money we need to raise to reach our goal. Any questions can be directed to us Patty or Mark Emond at 608-697-3327 or 608-697-1600. You can also email us at mpmbte@frontier.com. Thanks again!

CONGRATULATIONS, SEND ONE SISTER RECIPIENTS!  The Lutheran Women’s Missionary Society’s Send One Sister program aims to help mission-minded women attend their first LWMS Convention.  At the April 21 Beaver Dam Circuit Rally in Fox Lake, a fun silent auction provided proceeds that were divided between two Send One Sister applicants. The BD Circuit of LWMS is pleased to help Becky Zimmerman, Juneau, and Sandra Sletten, Pardeeville, attend their first LWMS Convention this June 21-24 in Green Bay!   There is no better place than an LWMS Convention to hear and learn how our WELS missionaries and their families are working to spread God’s Word around the world!  Once they’ve attended, it’s certai n Sandra and Becky will want to go again and again!   TO ALL WOMEN IN  BEAVER DAM CIRCUIT CHURCHES:  Start praying and dreaming about next year!  Your sisters in Christ want to help you attend an LWMS Convention, too!  Watch for 2019 Send One Sister information in your church bulletin or contact your Reporter for information.

See the source image

MISSION FESTIVAL ON SUNDAY, MAY 20, OFFERS FOOD FOR BODY & SOUL.  Mark your calendars for a full day celebrating missions!  Cameroon, Africa, will be highlighted at mission festival services at 8 a.m. at Emmanuel and at 10 a.m. at St. John’s with Missionary Daniel Kroll.  A freewill offering will be taken at both services to support the work in Cameroon. 

   The day offers you a “4-Ps Mission Meal” of Preaching- Pasta-Pie- Presentation.  Pastor Kroll will share food for the soul as he preaches God’s Word at both worship services.  Then, ALL are invited for food for the body at a meal of pasta (lasagna) and homemade pie (Freewill Offering), at St. John’s, beginning around 11:30 a.m. and hosted as a Thrivent Action Team event by women of the LWMS.  Finally, more food for the soul as Missionary Kroll and his wife Karen do a tag-team presentation about Cameroon at St. John’s.

C:\Users\secretary\Downloads\842x342-Missions-Cameroon1.jpg    The Lutheran Church of Cameroon (LCC) is on a journey to build up the church and the faith of her members in a land filled with ancestor worship, witchcraft, and false teachers.  Ten seminarians are finishing the second of their five-year seminary. This is big news as there have been no new pastors since 1999—when these men graduate, their pastorate will have more than doubled!  The number of missionaries has doubled with a second couple joining the Krolls in Cameroon in 2017.  Your prayer and monetary support is vital.  Cameroon currently operates on project funds rather than being part of the WELS budget.


CHRISTIAN ONE-LINERS “Some minds are like concrete–thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.”

Usher Schedule
April 29 SJ

 

 

E

Cal Kapp; Chief, Karl Whitrock, Matt Borzick, Glen Bubolz, Al Rosenthal

DuWayne Sommerfeld, Jim Stuempges, Joe Heller

May 6 SJ

E

(with comm)

James Wachholz; Chief, Christopher Smith, Calvin Wojtalewicz, Zeb Zuehls, Mark Emond

Lucas Stelter, Paul Wuerch, Paul Dahlke, Darrell Buchholz; comm. assist.

May 13 SJ

(with comm)

E

Dennis Wacholtz; Chief, Kevin Kaul, Scott Ritz, James Kunde, Ken Borzick

Brian Ninnemann, Warren Buchholz, DuWayne Sommerfeld

St. John’s Greeter Schedule
April 29 Aaron Kendall & Christopher Smith
May 6 Scott & Debbie Ritz
May 13 Karl Whitrock & Elsa Russell
Attendance Emmanuel St. John’s
4-22 4-25 67 227 11
St. John’s Altar Committee

April 2018

Elaine Kelm

&

Carolyn Rosenthal

Welcome To Our Visitors!

Please Sign Our Guest Register

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

https://www.facebook.com/St-Johns-Evangelical-Lutheran-Church-107160252675/

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

A Close Call – April 26, 2018

If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.
1 Corinthians 15:17

A Close Call


Daily Devotion – April 26, 2018

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 15:17

See series: Devotions

A man made a really big mistake when he was hunting a couple of years ago. While climbing up into his tree stand he failed to follow basic safety protocol. He did not unload his gun. Somehow, as he was hauling it up into the tree, the gun discharged, firing a bullet within inches of his face.

It was definitely a close call. Just a few inches over and the story would have been a terribly tragic one. His family would have been devastated. His wife would be a widow, and his youngest child would have never been born.

Fortunately, those tragic results are only hypothetical because the bullet sailed harmlessly past. Now instead of tragic heartbreak, his family has an astonishing, albeit scary, story to tell.

Jesus’ resurrection from the dead is an astonishing story. He died, and his lifeless body was prepared for the grave and placed in a tomb. Then he came alive again!

If he hadn’t, if his body is still in the tomb, the results for us would be unimaginably tragic. Everything Christians believe would be worthless. Even worse than that—we would still be immersed in our sins, and the eternal punishment we deserve for them would be unavoidable.
Thankfully, those horrific results are only hypothetical, and it wasn’t even really a close call. There was never any question as to whether or not Jesus would rise. That had been God’s promise all along. Jesus clearly told his disciples that he would rise from the grave three days after his death, and that is exactly what he did.

Since Jesus is alive, our faith is not worthless. It is firmly placed in our God who keeps his promises and is so powerful that he can even overcome death. Since Jesus is alive, we are no longer in our sins. The One who gave his life as the payment for everything we have ever done wrong was no ordinary man. He is God himself, which means that his sacrifice was valuable enough to pay for our sins and the sins of the entire world.

Prayer:
Jesus, my Savior, your resurrection from the dead is the single most important event in the history of our world. Help me to know and believe that it is true and fill my heart with joy because of the truly amazing results that are mine: a sure foundation for my faith and sins that are removed eternally. In your name I ask it. 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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More Than Just Facts – April 25, 2018

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.
Acts 4:32-33

More Than Just Facts


Daily Devotion – April 25, 2018

Devotion based on Acts 4:32-33

See series: Devotions

The purpose of Christianity is not just learning Bible trivia. It’s not about knowing all the right answers to every theological question. God is not primarily interested in growing your head but moving your heart to action.

That’s what we see in the early Christian church. After Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, Christians regularly gathered to learn the teachings of Jesus. But they didn’t stop there. The good news about Jesus moved them to action. The message of Jesus filled them with such spiritual riches that they were moved by God’s love to share all their physical possessions with others.

Certainly, God was doing something special in the early Christian church. But I wonder, is there something we are missing? Why don’t we see more examples of such dedication among us today?

Maybe we have forgotten how good the good news really is. Maybe we have reduced the resurrection of Jesus to just theological facts. Maybe we have been too concerned about growing our heads, that we have neglected our hearts.

Let the word of Christ dwell deep in your heart. Let the love of God melt away all your guilt and shame. Let the power of Jesus’ resurrection lead you to live a new life today. Let the facts of Jesus be so heavy in your life that they drop from your head down to your heart, so God’s grace might powerfully work in us all.

Prayer:
Come Holy Spirit, renew our hearts and kindle in us the fire of your love. 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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You are a Child of God, Right Now! – April 24, 2018

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
1 John 3:1-2

You are a Child of God, Right Now!


Daily Devotion – April 24, 2018

Devotion based on 1 John 3:1-2

See series: Devotions

Can you picture yourself enjoying heaven right now? Can you picture yourself forever free from all sadness, grief, sickness, or pain? Looking into God’s eyes and seeing your Savior face-to-face? Serving God perfectly, with no more sin ever getting in the way? And can you picture yourself as a perfect child of God, standing before your perfect Father in his perfect heaven, experiencing nothing but joy, gladness, happiness, and peace that will never end?

Maybe you can’t picture all that because right now is filled with so much that is confusing, jumbled up, and messy. Maybe you can’t because right now is clouded by turmoil, pain, fears, doubts, questions, and worries. It seems like everything you see and experience is about as far away from a perfect life, in a perfect heaven as you can possibly imagine.

In a sinful world, it is easy for children of God to feel like that, and even feel like they aren’t children of God at all. That is why the words of the apostle John are so comforting. He reminds us that our status before God doesn’t depend on how we are feeling or how things are going in life right now—good or bad. Instead, our status before God depends solely on what God has declared us to be.

So, what has God declared us to be? “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” God has declared us to be his children through the forgiving work of Jesus, his Son. Not might be, could be, or will be someday. God says, “That is what we are!”

Thanks to the saving work of Jesus, we are children of God right now. We already experience so many of the blessings that come along with being his children—the strength and desire to say “No” to sin, the peace of sins forgiven, the joy of our salvation, and the certain hope of eternal life.

All these blessings, and so many more, are already ours right now, even in the midst of turmoil, pain, fears, doubts, questions, and worries that cloud this sinful life. God’s blessings will continue to be ours right up until the day our perfect heavenly Father takes us to join him as his perfect children in his perfect heaven.

Oh, how great is the love the Father has lavished on us!

Prayer:
Dear Father in heaven, there is no greater status we could enjoy than to be your very own children. Thank you for making us so, through the work of your Son. Grant us the joy of living as your children until the day you bring us to be with you in heaven. 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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Our Good Shepherd – April 23, 2018

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
John 10:11-18

Our Good Shepherd


Daily Devotion – April 23, 2018

Devotion based on John 10:11-18

See series: Devotions

The Bible is full of wonderful pictures that show us who Jesus is: he is the Light of the world and the Lamb of God. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He is the vine. He is the friend of sinners.

But there is perhaps no more loved picture of Jesus than what we see in John 10. Twice Jesus calls himself the “Good Shepherd.” Many pieces of art depict our Savior and his sheep. Whether it is Jesus lovingly taking the lambs in his arms or vigilantly watching over the lambs gathered nearby, there is something tremendously comforting in that picture. Scripture is filled with references to the relationship between the sheep and the Shepherd and the message is clear: Jesus is there for us. He keeps us safe. He cares for us and supplies our need. He leads us home.

Is there a part of us that balks at that relationship? At times we like to think that we are in control and don’t need a Shepherd watching over us 24-7. We think that life would be better if we called the shots without someone looking over our shoulder all the time. We like to think that we are smart enough to handle what comes our way, so we tend to avoid praying to or leaning on our Shepherd.

Truthfully, we are all nothing more than sinful, wayward sheep. Sheep who wander off to do our own thing. Sheep who tend to think we’re doing just fine on our own and don’t fully realize the spiritual danger we are often in. In reality, because of our sins, our Shepherd ought to open the gate and let the wolf have open season on us.

Remarkably, that is not what our Shepherd does. Rather, we are told: “The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” Our Good Shepherd did not stop at simply giving us some food and taking care of us. He willingly did so much more. He gave his own life in our place and died so that we might live. His sacrifice in our place on the cross has washed away our sins and has opened the gate for us to go in and enjoy the green pastures of eternal life in heaven. As God’s forgiven people, we are happy to admit that we need a Shepherd and we are thankful to have one who loves as much as Jesus does.

Prayer:
Dear Savior, thank you for sacrificing yourself in my place and for being my Good Shepherd. Forgive me for the times I take you for granted and please continue to take such good care of me. 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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Money – April 22, 2018

You know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed…, but with the precious blood of Christ.
1 Peter 1:18-19

Money


Daily Devotion – April 22, 2018

Devotion based on 1 Peter 1:18-19

See series: Devotions

“There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else there’s MasterCard.” That popular ad of some years ago suggested that the credit card would help us get the things that make life better—things money can buy.

When one stops to think about it, though, there are quite a few things money can’t buy. While it can buy exotic and luxurious vacations, it can’t really make my marriage better or improve my relationship with my kids. It can pay for surgeries and medicines, but there are some illnesses that surgery and medicine can’t heal. It can make me very popular, but it can’t buy me true friendship.

Money also can’t buy a clear conscience and provide peace with God. It cannot purchase the certainty of life in heaven after I die. No, all the riches in the world can’t buy me one ounce of freedom from a guilty conscience or from the fear of dying.

For these crucial things that money can’t buy, there is Jesus. His blood was the full payment for our freedom from guilt, fear, and death. The Bible teaches: “You know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed…, but with the precious blood of Christ.”

Imagine you are about to be executed—deservedly so—for crimes you have committed. Imagine being locked in a prison cell, waiting for the end. Then your brother walks into that prison and takes your place. He dies and you go free because your sentence is carried out on your innocent brother. He purchased (redeemed) your life with his.

Come back to reality. All people are sinners and deserved to die eternally. But Jesus, the perfect Son of God, came from heaven to take our place. He bore the punishment our sins had earned so that we could be free from the prison of eternal death. When the debt of our sin was far beyond our ability to pay, in love he paid that debt with his own blood at Calvary’s cross.

Money’s great. But there are some things money can’t buy, such as a relationship with God. This is a free gift of God’s love, paid for with the precious blood of Jesus.

Prayer:
Joy, hope and comfort is mine, Savior Jesus, knowing that my sins are forgiven and my relationship with God is restored by the blood that you shed on the cross. Keep the pleasures and treasures of this life from replacing my reliance on your great work of redemption. 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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The Language of Home – April 21, 2018

Live your lives as strangers here.
1 Peter 1:17

The Language of Home


Daily Devotion – April 21, 2018

Devotion based on 1 Peter 1:17

See series: Devotions

It’s said that, many years ago, in England, there was a circus elephant by the name of Bozo. Bozo was gentle and friendly. Children and their families would come from all around so they could feed him peanuts, admire his size, and enjoy his personality. One day, however, something changed in Bozo. He was not himself. An examination revealed that there did not appear to be anything wrong with him physically. He was neither injured nor sick. Nevertheless, it was clear that something was wrong.

It was then that a small man stepped out of the crowd. He told the manager that he thought he knew what the problem was. With the manager’s permission, the man stepped right up to the elephant and began speaking to him in very soft tones. Almost immediately, Bozo returned to his old, happy self. He wagged his massive head in delight. He even wrapped his trunk around the small man’s waist.

The manager, of course, could not wait to find out what had just happened. As the small man walked away from the elephant, he explained to the manager what he had done. “This elephant is from India,” he said, “and none of you spoke his language.” And there it was. The elephant was homesick. All he needed was to hear the sounds of the language of home.

As Christians, you and I stay in this fallen world for just a little while, and then we go home. When we forget that however—when we instead get caught up in all the distractions of this temporary journey—then it’s easy to lose sight of who we are. Then it’s easy to lose sight of why we are here and where we are going.

When that happens, it’s time for you and me to hear the language of home.

The language of home is the voice of Jesus. The language of home is the Word of God. It cleanses our hearts in the blood of Calvary. It embraces us in the Lord’s forgiveness. It gives us peace of mind and heart. It empowers us to remember the joy of what we have and the joy of who we are. That is what the language of home does for us.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, at those times when I drift in the details of this temporary world, speak to me in the language of home. Speak to me in your Word. Refresh me in the joy I have in you. 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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First Things First – April 20, 2018

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.
1 Corinthians 15:3-6

First Things First


Daily Devotion – April 20, 2018

Devotion based on 1 Corinthians 15:3-6

See series: Devotions

“Where do I start?” “When I’m confused or depressed; when I need assurance, comfort, or simply need direction, where do I start?” Today’s lesson from God’s Word says, “of first importance,” consider that “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised again on the third day according to the Scriptures.” Why is that first things first? It speaks directly to our greatest need and God’s gracious solution.

It’s been three weeks since Easter. Lent and Easter are not just seasonal customs of the Christian Church. The message of Jesus’ death and resurrection verifies God’s amazing love for sinners. That is always where you start. Yes, you are a sinner, but Jesus’ all-sufficient sacrifice confirms that God’s forgiving love is for you! Warmed by that truth, consider your various needs.

Notice that the apostle Paul twice writes, “according to the Scriptures.” That’s where you go next. The Bible not only foretold Jesus’ death and resurrection, it also makes you “wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” With its truth and promises you are “thoroughly equipped” to deal with … whatever! (See 2 Timothy 3:15-16.) It follows that each of us benefits to the extent that we continue to read, learn, and remember the Bible’s blessed assurances, greatly helped by instruction received through: hearing sermons, attending Bible classes, and having home and private devotions.

Thirdly, Paul refers to the many eye-witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection. Appreciate the encouragement from those who saw the risen Jesus with their own eyes! Likewise, talking with a mature fellow Christian, who has life experiences to share, helps you review Bible truths as seen with the eyes of faith.

Incidentally, some of the 500 eye-witnesses had “fallen asleep.” That always refers only to our body at the time of death. The souls of believers in Christ go immediately to heaven. (See Luke 23:43.) “First things first!” The resurrection of our body and the “new heaven” and “new earth” will follow on the Last Day. (See 2 Peter 3:13.) That’s ultimate assurance!

Prayer:
Day by day, Lord, help me keep “first things first!” 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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Know God – April 19, 2018

Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
John 14:9

Know God


Daily Devotion – April 19, 2018

Devotion based on John 14:9

See series: Devotions

“How are you doing?” I asked. The elderly woman who had been going through a pretty rough time responded, “I’m hanging in there. God is with us.”

“How are you holding up?” The father in the hospital waiting room replied, “I don’t really know, but God has a plan.”

I’ve witnessed it countless times. When life gets hard, and circumstances leave people feeling powerless and helpless, Christians find the ability to express hope fueled by their trust in God.

Who is this God? That’s an excellent question because the true answer is the difference between hope that is wishful thinking and hope that is an unwavering confidence.

Who is this God? He seems to be shrouded in mystery, described with terms like: eternal, holy, righteous, almighty, source of everything that exists. These terms make it clear that God is nothing like us and can certainly leave us with the feeling that he is so big and distant that we can’t really know him.

Admittedly, a God who is far-removed and unknowable would not be all that comforting. Thankfully, we don’t have that kind of a God. We have Jesus.

God became one of us. He lived in our flesh and blood in our world. He experienced all the pain, suffering, heartache, and temptation that our world has. He spent time eating with the outcasts, touching the unclean, and loving the sinners. He allowed himself to be arrested, beaten, and executed even though he was certainly powerful enough to stop all of it. He suffered punishment that he did not deserve because he didn’t want you to have to suffer it. Then he came alive again, defeating death, and rose from the grave.

Intimately familiar with everything you are going through because he experienced it all himself, kind and compassionate, loving, selfless, merciful, gracious, and powerful—that is Jesus. That is your God.

Trust in him brings real hope. It’s not wishful thinking. It’s the solid confidence that the One who loved you enough to die and is powerful enough to overcome death, loves you enough to know what is best for you, and is powerful enough to accomplish it.

Prayer:
Jesus, thank you for becoming one of us and dying to save me from my sins. Thank you for showing us what God is like. Keep my eyes focused on you and give me hope, confidence, and peace. In your name I ask it. 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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Do you have what it takes? – April 18, 2018

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He is “‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
Acts 4:8-12

Do you have what it takes?


Daily Devotion – April 18, 2018

Devotion based on Acts 4:8-12

See series: Devotions

For much of his experience as a disciple of Jesus during the Lord’s ministry, Peter must have struggled with the question, “Do I have what it takes?” Like the time when Jesus was about to be put on trial, Jesus told Peter, “Tonight you are going to deny me three times.” Peter responded, “Even if everyone falls away, I never will.” He wanted to prove that he had what it takes, that he was a true disciple.

So when Jesus was brought to trial, Peter followed behind, warming himself outside by a fire. A servant girl came up to him and asked, “Are you one of Jesus’ followers?” Peter denied it, not just once, but three times.

Peter felt like a failure. He didn’t have what it takes. So he went out and wept bitterly.
But then, after Jesus died and rose from the dead, he came to Peter and reinstated him as his disciple (John 21:15-19).

Now in the book of Acts, we see a whole new side of Peter. He is no longer relying on his own strength. He is filled with the Holy Spirit. He is no longer trying to prove himself but testifies boldly to the truth that Jesus is the only Savior from sin.

Now it’s your turn. You don’t need to prove that you have what it takes. In Christ, you have a new identity. He has filled you with the Holy Spirit. Now you can follow Peter’s example. You can live for God’s glory and boldly testify your faith in Jesus, the one and only Savior.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, forgive my pride. Fill me with your Holy Spirit that I might live for your glory and boldly testify that you are the Savior. 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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