Lutheran Worship and Resources

Saturday, March 29, 2008

First Sunday after Easter




Quasimodo Geniti – The First Sunday after Easter

KJV 1 John 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? 6 This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. 7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. 9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. 10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.

KJV John 20:19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. 20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. 21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: 23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. 24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. 26 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. 27 Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. 29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. 30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Lord God, heavenly Father, we thank Thee, that of Thine ineffable grace, for the sake of Thy Son, Thou hast given us the holy gospel, and hast instituted the holy sacraments, that through the same we may have comfort and forgiveness of sin: We beseech Thee, grant us Thy Holy Spirit, that we may heartily believe Thy word; and through the holy sacraments day by day establish our faith, until we at last obtain salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

The First Sunday after Easter

The Hymn tune – Doxology vss. 1-8 #331
The Invocation p. 15
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual 1 John 5:4-10
The Gospel John 20:19-31
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn vss. 1-10 #208
The Sermon
The Two Natures and Communion

The Offertory p. 22
The Hymn #314
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn (Koren) vss. 1-4 #44

KJV John 20:19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. 20 And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side.

Preface

It is such a privilege to be able to teach and preach the Word of God. I am currently teaching some students an Old Testament survey course. They live all over the United States. Many have limited backgrounds in the Bible, so they love taking a required course in the Old Testament, followed by a required course in the New Testament.

Every day I write to them (online) about the Gospel in the Old Testament, the Trinity in the Old Testament, and what Luther says about the Bible. Sometimes I teach the same students in the Old Testament and then the New Testament.

Now this opportunity has arisen to provide the Word of God to people all over the world. We are already hearing from people. One man said, “I never thought I would need the Internet to have a service from The Lutheran Hymnal.

John 20:19-31
This passage is one of the great doctrinal sections of John’s Gospel. The Fourth Gospel is undoubtedly a supplement to Matthew, Mark, and Luke. John’s Gospel assumes we know the first three Gospels. Therefore, each passage in John is especially important to learn, because the “disciple Jesus loved” (John), the man commended to care for Mary, had significant things to teach through the Holy Spirit’s revelation.

Lutherans often say, “What people teach about Christ is what they teach about Holy Communion.”

This passage is one of the best examples.

The doors were locked for fear of the Jews, but Jesus stood in the midst of them.

John Calvin did not accept Jesus being able to pass through the walls. He had Jesus coming by a secret passage. This is important for his view of Christ. Calvin imagined that the divine nature of Christ was limited by His human nature. Therefore, Calvin also taught against the Real Presence and made fun of it in his Institutes (the main doctrinal book of Calvinism).

Calvin was the founded of the Presbyterians and those who call themselves Reformed. Lutherans generally lump them together, even though there are differences. They agree about the rationalistic interpretation of the appearance of Jesus in the locked room and the Lord’s Supper being merely symbolic. For them, the Lord’s Supper is a law to obey, to witness to their faith, not a sacrament where our sins are forgiven.

The Calvinistic phrase used to defend this is – the finite is not capable of holding the Infinite. The bread and wine could not also be the Body and Blood of Christ, in their opinion.

But the Scriptures teach us otherwise, in two different ways.

One is through Christ Himself. His human nature was and is united with His divine nature. When He was surrounded by crowds ready to take Him and kill Him, he passed through them. It does not say they parted to let Him by. The Son of God, the Creating Word, does not have human barriers.
Coming into the locked room twice (John 20) is another example of the divine nature of Christ not being limited by His human nature.

If that were so, how could He ascend into heaven?

In so many passages we see the emphasis upon one nature, then the other nature, to show us the union of the two natures in the One Person, Christ. Jesus spoke to the woman at the well, John 4, “I am thirsty.” To her He was only a human being looking for water. And Jesus did experience all our human emotions, desires, and pains. But then Jesus spoke to the woman with such divine wisdom that she knew immediately He was the promised Messiah. He knew her heart. Only God could know her heart that way, so she immediately began witnessing to her friends about Jesus.

The crucifixion emphasizes the human nature of Christ, His enormous suffering, but that alone is not enough to make Him our Savior. The innocent Son of God died on the cross, not just a good and kindly Teacher. The Son of God rose from the grave, taught His disciples, and ascended into heaven. But He did not discard His human nature.

When Jesus entered the locked room, He showed His disciples His wounds. This revealed to them that He was not a vision, not a ghost, not a spirit. The crucified Messiah was in their midst with the wounds of His warfare against Satan. He came as the victor over Satan, the Hero, as Luther often mentioned in his writing. He won the battle against sin, death, and Satan.

Another way is way in which the Bible teaches us about Holy Communion. Paul in 1 Corinthians 10 speaks about the bread and the Body, the wine and the Blood. That clearly teaches us that the Lord’s Supper is not merely symbolic (where 2 remain 2), nor is it the sacrifice of the Mass (where the priest turns 2 into 2), but something else. The 2 elements, bread and wine, remain bread and wine, but they include the Body and Blood of Christ through the efficacious consecration of the Word.

Inventions
The human mind invents so many barriers to the truth of God’s Word, but the Scriptures have more insights than we have doubts.

How can the Son of God give us His body over the centuries, to millions of people?

That question is not answered by human reason but by the Feeding of the Five Thousand. Jesus took ordinary food and multiplied it so that far more was left than He received from the boy. The same introductory formula is used, “Jesus took the bread and broke it and gave thanks,” reminding us that the Feeding of the Five Thousand was a prefiguring of Holy Communion.
Why does God need so many Means of Grace?

God has appointed the Means of Grace (the Word and the Sacraments of Holy Baptism and Communion) because of man’s need, not His need.

Why so many revelations of the Three Persons, One God? Every article of faith is backed by hundreds of interlocking Biblical passages? Why so many? Does God need them or does man?

Doubting Thomas
Much is said about Doubting Thomas, who denied the resurrection of Christ until he saw and felt the wounds of Christ. Thomas is not the major emphasis of this passage. Christ is. When Jesus appeared the second time and offered His wounds to be touched, Thomas cried out, “My Lord and my God.”

Jesus rebuked him in a gentle way, by saying, “Because you have seen Me you believe? Blessed are they who believe without seeing.”

That is a blessing for all those listening today. Blessed are you for believing in the death and resurrection of Christ without having visible evidence.

Miracle service
Some long for miracle services. I have even read of famous miracle rabbis in Poland in the last century (Isaac B. Singer’s stories). That is one way to bring people in. I know of large churches near us where they promise miracles to people.

We have a miracle every time Holy Communion is offered. The Word consecrates ordinary bread and wine. People receive the Body and Blood of Christ. God forgives the sins of those who receive the Gospel in faith.

KJV 1 John 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? 6 This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Bethany Lutheran Worship Will Be Weekly




The Bethany Lutheran Worship broadcast will be weekly from now on, with broadcasts saved at the site. Cable or DSL are ideal for watching the service.

People can watch live on a 56k telephone line, but sound and images are not exactly together. Perhaps the recorded version is better. This is new to all of us. We are working on various ways to improve the service.

Hymnal improvements do not include feminist, Church Growthy, or ELCA-ish hymnals.

For some of us, the word improvement means something better, not something worse. The rash of Lutheran hymnal publishing has not been an advance.

A WELS member sent a check to help out with the broadcasts. His note said, "I never thought I would need the Internet to participate in a TLH service."

Education in Doctrine
Educational broadcasts can be planned, once the worship service is more routine.

Some ideas mentioned previously are: The Book of Concord and a series on Catholic, Lutheran, Protestant. I plan on making the PDF of CLP free.

A lot of things are happening at once. I am behind in my homework, which is funny, because I urge students to be on time. About one month of the semester is left. Then I can catch up with some of my promises. I am getting a degree in journalism and having a great time, but it is one more thing to do at the end of a long day.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Another View on Easter





Like the Golden Sun Ascending Hymn

Like the golden sun ascending,
Breaking through the gloom of night,
On the earth His glory spending
So that darkness takes to flight,
Thus my Jesus from the grave
And death’s dismal, dreadful cave
Rose triumphant Easter morning
At the early purple dawning.

Thanks to Thee, O Christ victorious!
Thanks to Thee, O Lord of Life!
Death hath now no power o’er us,
Thou hast conquered in the strife.
Thanks because Thou didst arise
And hast opened Paradise!
None can fully sing the glory
Of the resurrection story.

Though I be by sin o’ertaken,
Though I lie in helplessness,
Though I be by friends forsaken
And must suffer sore distress,
Though I be despised, contemned,
And by all the world condemned,
Though the dark grave yawn before me,
Yet the light of hope shines o’er me.

Thou hast died for my transgression,
All my sins on Thee were laid;
Thou hast won for me salvation,
On the cross my debt was paid.
From the grave I shall arise
And shall meet Thee in the skies.
Death itself is transitory;
I shall lift my head in glory.

Grant me grace, O bless├Ęd Savior,
And Thy Holy Spirit send
That my walk and my behavior
May be pleasing to the end;
That I may not fall again
Into death’s grim pit and pain,
Whence by grace Thou hast retrieved me
And from which Thou hast relieved me.

For the joy Thy advent gave me,
For Thy holy, precious Word;
For Thy baptism, which doth save me,
For Thy blest communion board;
For Thy death, the bitter scorn,
For Thy resurrection morn,
Lord, I thank Thee and extol Thee,
And in heaven I shall behold Thee.


One of our greatest Lutheran hymn-writers is Thomas Hansen Kingo.

Bethany Lutheran Worship will feature the great Lutheran hymns at each service. There are many fine non-Lutherans hymns. Beyond question, the finest examples of Christian hymnody are found in the Lutheran Church.

Easter Service




We had some audio problems during the Bethany Lutheran Worship service. I learned afterwards that it was probably the computer calendar program trying to remind me of a date. And you thought noisy kids were the worst problem in church!

We had 51 households viewing at one point. That indicates far more interest than I would have imagined. Our technology team is stunned.

Fellow pastors, I suggest doing this. The shut-ins and scattered members can watch, no matter what the weather. The broadcast can be saved and viewed later. I am learning how to use those files on a separate website.

Independent pastors - this is ideal.

The congregation needs a fairly recent computer. Our broadcast computer is a laptop, about five years old. It works fine. The congregation also needs a webcam ($100) and broadband (DSL or cable). Viewers will do better with broadband but can get by with 56k. How many grannies have Internet? Plenty. The alternative is an audio service through a telephone teleconference bridge.

Anyone can view the service. A 56k phone line will mean that the live service will be out of sync, as one viewer told me. Perhaps the downloaded file will view better than live. The trouble is, downloading video at 56k can be troublesome.

I used to wonder why I got into computer science just in time for the boom to collapse. The technology I have learned has been useful ever since, but I have a lot to learn. I hope to keep up with my grandson. His father will probably teach him to count in hexadecimal. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-a-b-c-d-e-f. ff= 255 or 11111111.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Dial-Up Works with Ustream



Lilies, by Norma Boeckler


One of our intrepid readers tried to watch the Good Friday service on a dial-up, 56K telephone line, and it worked.

I confused the broadcast requirement (broadband, CPU speed) with the receiving requirement. I hope others will try it and let me know how it works for them.

Bethany's email is bethanylutheranworship@gmail.com.

Bethany Lutheran Church is an ecclesiastical corporation, registered in Minnesota, so donations are tax-deductible. We are working toward every Sunday services and other features, such as educational broadcasts on the Book of Concord, Catholic Lutheran Protestant, and other doctrinal topics. The broadcasts can be saved and provided on a website. That will be another item to learn. Fortunately, we have consultants in broadcasting, wireless, and the Internet.

If you wish to donate, the address is:

Bethany Lutheran Church
6421 W. Poinsettia Drive
Glendale, AZ 85304


A good friend is working with me to get previously published books on Lulu.com. We are finishing up Jesus, Priceless Treasure. The next new book will be a book about Jesus for small children.

I would like to encourage Lutheran pastors to investigate Lulu.com and Internet broadcasting. Lutherans can be independent of the apostate synods and thrive.

Easter Service




The Feast of the Resurrection of Our Lord

KJV 1 Corinthians 5:6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? 7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

KJV Mark 16:1 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. 2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. 3 And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? 4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. 5 And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. 6 And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. 7 But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you. 8 And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid.

Lord God, heavenly Father, who didst deliver Thy Son for our offenses, and didst raise Him again for our justification: We beseech Thee, grant us Thy Holy Spirit, that He may rule and govern us according to Thy will; graciously keep us in the true faith; defend us from all sins, and after this life raise us unto eternal life, through the same, Thy beloved Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

Easter Sunday

The Hymn (Gerhardt) vss. 1-8 #192
The Invocation p. 15
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual 1 Corinthians 5:6-7
The Gospel Mark 16:1-8
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn vss. 1-4 #199
The Sermon
Christ the Victor

The Offertory p. 22
The Hymn (Kingo) #207
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn vss. 1-5 #341

Mark 16:6 And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. 7 But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.

Easter Sunday remains the most religious Sunday of the year. This day marks the resurrection of Christ, His victory over death, our greatest enemy. Every Sunday marks His triumph. The earliest Christians gathered each Sunday at dawn and sang hymns. The rising of the sun reminded them of the trip to the Empty Tomb. Sunday was renamed in Revelation – the Lord’s Day:

KJV Revelation 1:10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,

The actual event was predicted by Christ and yet a shock to His followers. That shock should not surprise us. Believers often find themselves forgetful of God’s promises, prone to despair, pessimistic about what God can do, sunk in the Slough of Despond, as Bunyan described it in The Pilgrim’s Progress.

The women went to prepare a corpse. The men were in hiding “for fear of the Jews.” We have no record of Jews hunting for them, but they were locked in a room. Fear does that to people. The disciples trusted their knowledge, experience, and feelings. When we trust those things instead of the Word, fear determines all our actions. Faith is gone, at least for a time.

The women headed for the tomb, worried. Those worries should make us smile. The sparse narrative of the Resurrection gives us details which the Holy Spirit determined were important for all believers. The women were worried. Why? The tomb was empty. We know that. The stone door had already been taken down, to show everyone that the tomb was already empty. But the women worried. Who will roll that monstrous rock for us? Their reasoning was superb. I have a small slab of rock attached to a floor-lamp, to make it steady. Two of us men had trouble getting it to move across the clay tile and into place again. That was nothing compared to a stone covering the entrance to a tomb. The reasoning was good, but the women’s faith in the Word had vanished. So had the disciples’ faith, even though they heard the prediction three times:

KJV Mark 8:31 And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.

KJV Mark 9:31 For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day.

KJV Mark 10:34 And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again.

The question is not whether they knew this to be true. They knew it, men and women both, but their fears and anxieties drove faith away. The Gospels show us many examples of the frailties of the followers. They panicked in the boat during the storm. They accused Jesus of not caring if they died. They worried about having food after the Feeding of the Multitude. In other words, they were a lot like us.

God let them fall down on their own and picked them up again, many times over. Their faith in Jesus grew with each incident. They were tested and strengthened with the Word. We know faith drove out their fears because they died as witnesses to the Gospel. We only know of John living to an old age. What terrified them during Holy Week was their loss of the Savior and the threat to their lives. Later, they realized they had the Savior for eternity and no longer saw death as a threat.

The women approached the tomb, bent with worry, then saw the tomb was empty.

Recently a student in my New Testament class noted something important. Some artists show the angels letting Jesus out of the tomb, by rolling the stone away. The student saw that this was not Biblical and certainly not necessary. How could the creating Word be bound by the stone He fashioned in the beginning of time? – “whose Word the mountains rendeth” (Gerhardt, #142).

The women entered the tomb and saw an angel (a young man in a long, white robe) who addressed them. “You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.” That may seem like an ordinary way to speak about the risen Lord. But the name is very specific. We get involved in the same issues today with identity theft and fraud. People have to prove who they are. Jesus, the Greek form of Joshua, was a common name. In Hebrew or Aramaic He was called Yeshuah – salvation. The first name and the city of origin identified Him as one particular man, a unique individual.

The women must have nodded yes, in stupefied amazement. The next statement is quite remarkable. The angel tells them the new identity of Jesus:

He is risen;

He is not here.

behold the place where they laid him.


We are used to various titles of Jesus: Son of God, Messiah, Savior, Redeemer, Son of Man, Lord. These two sentences define Jesus in the positive sense – He is risen—and also in the negative sense—He is not here.

Those are really the most powerful descriptions of Jesus, since all the titles are generally shared in one way or another with earthly rulers. Apostates glory in that knowledge. An emperor was called Lord. The kings of Israel were called Messiah-King, which means Anointed King. Christ is the Greek form of Anointed.

He is risen. He is not here. Both statements go far beyond human experience and reason. They can only define God Himself.

Jesus was raised for our justification. Lutherans like to quote that passage. Let’s look at it in context.

22 And therefore it was imputed to him [Abraham] for righteousness. 23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

Righteousness shall be imputed to us also (we shall be justified) if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was turned over (betrayed, delivered) for our sins and lifted up for our justification.

Since we look back upon the death and resurrection of Christ, we may miss the association everyone had with His death. He died as a guilty man. There was a terrible stigma attached to someone who was crucified. We assume today that the death sentence means a horrible crime has been committed. The crucifixion was just one of hundreds unless it had special meaning. That was a difficult message to get across for the apostles. When Jesus rose from the tomb, He showed everyone that He did not die as a mortal sinner but as the crucified Messiah, the innocent Son of God.

Paul used an early Christian hymn or creed to repeat the same message to Timothy. God declared Jesus innocent in raising Him from the dead. (The resurrection is described both as God raising Him from the dead and as Jesus rising from the dead.)

The creed or hymn is more easily seen as poetry, thus:

KJV 1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:

· God was manifest in the flesh,
· justified in the Spirit,
· seen of angels,
· preached unto the Gentiles,
· believed on in the world,
· received up into glory.

The two passages complete the meaning of the death and resurrection of Christ. He died for our sins and became sin for us. He was so completely sin on the cross that God abandoned Him. “My God. My God. Why have you forsaken Me?” This cry of desolation shows how terribly Christ suffered for us in bearing our sins.

His Resurrection means that He did not deserve His punishment, that God declared Him righteous, innocent of all sin. He was raised for our justification because His death was meaningless if He was also a sinner.

Justification by faith is a continuous blessing enjoyed by Christians. We are daily forgiven:

I believe in the Holy Ghost; one holy Christian Church, the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.
What does this mean?--Answer.

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith; even as He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith; in which Christian Church He forgives daily and richly all sins to me and all believers, and at the last day will raise up me and all the dead, and will give to me and to all believers in Christ everlasting life. This is most certainly true.


This continuous forgiveness is something we should cherish, but we take for granted, the way we take for granted anything in abundance. The difficulties of life bring to mind how important justification is, how great a treasure the Gospel is.

Easter Sunday reminds us at Bethany of those believers who have gone before us: Brenda Kiehler, Walt Boeckler, and my mother. We communed with them on earth, in preparation for that day when we would join them again.

Christ is risen! Hallelujah!
Risen our victorious Head!
Sing His praises! Hallelujah!
Christ is risen from the dead.
Gratefully our hearts adore Him
As His light once more appears,
Bowing down in joy before Him,
Rising up from grief and tears.


Chorus:
Christ is risen! Hallelujah!
Risen our victorious Head!
Sing His praises! Hallelujah!
Christ is risen from the dead.


Stanza 2:
Christ is risen! all the sadness
Of His earthly life is o'er;
Thro' the open gates of gladness
He returns to life once more;
Death and hell before Him bending,
He doth rise, the Victor now;
Angels, on His steps attending,
Glory 'round His wounded brow.


Chorus:


Stanza 3:
Christ is risen! henceforth never
Death or hell shall us enthral;
We are Christ's, in Him for ever
We have triumphed over all;
All the doubting and dejection
Of our trembling hearts have ceased;
'Tis His day of resurrection,
Let us rise and keep the feast.

Christ Is Risen! Hallelujah!

Lyrics ~ John S. B. Monsell, 1811 - 1875
Music ~ Frederick C. Maker, 1844 - 1927


Quotations

"When Christ arose, He brought with Him complete righteousness. For He arose for the sake of our righteousness, Romans 4:25. So then, when you, in a similar fashion, arise from sin through true repentance, you are justified from sins, for faith lays hold of this completed righteousness in Christ, by which we are enabled to stand before God."
Johann Gerhard Eleven Easter and Pentecostal Sermons, Malone: Repristination Press, 1996, p. 80. Romans 6:3-4; Romans 4:25.


"That the Lord Christ, after His resurrection, wishes peace to the disciples and eats the broiled fish and honey comb in their presence, and thereby portrays the benefit and fruit of His resurrection. For through His death and resurrection He has reconciled us with God, His heavenly Father, so that we may from now on, through faith in Him, have peace with God, have peace in our hearts, and have peace against the accusations of the devil and our conscience. When a war lord victoriously overcomes the enemy, peace follows after. So also, since Christ has overcome all His and our enemies in His victorious resurrection, He can thereafter wish [us] peace...Through Him, Samson's riddle was fulfilled: From the eater came something to eat and sweetness from the strong one...He is the powerful Lion from the stem of Judah, Rev 5:5, which mightily fought and overcame so that ours souls find honey-sweet food in Him."
Johann Gerhard, Eleven Easter and Pentecostal Sermons, Malone: Repristination Press, 1996, p. 52. Judges 14:14,18.

"Furthermore, another reason for stating that the Lamb of God was slain from the beginning of the world is that God the Lord, soon after the Fall in the beginning, made the promise that He wanted to have the Seed of the woman step on and crush the head of the hellish snake; and, it would also occur that the snake would bite the woman's Seed in the heel. This stinging of the heel is none other than that Devil's inflicting himself on the woman's Seed and bringing Him to the cross."
Johann Gerhard, Eleven Easter and Pentecostal Sermons, Malone: Repristination Press, 1996, p. 60. 1 Corinthians 5:7-8; Genesis 3:15.

"He who follows his feelings will perish, but he who clings to the Word with his heart will be delivered."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 245. Mark 16:1-8.

"For when the heart clings to the Word, feelings and reasoning must fail."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 246. Mark 16:1-8.

"Therefore the Holy Spirit must come to our rescue, not only to preach the Word to us, but also to enlarge and impel us from within, yea, even to employ the devil, the world and all kinds of afflictions and persecutions to this end. Just as a pig's bladder must be rubbed with salt and thoroughly worked to distend it, so this old hide of ours must be well salted and plagued until we call for help and cry aloud, and so stretch and expand ourselves, both through internal and through external suffering, that we may finally succeed and attain this heart and cheer, joy and consolation, from Christ's resurrection."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 253. Mark 16:1-8.

"If I do not believe it, I will not receive its benefits; but that neither renders it false nor proves that anything is lacking in Christ."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 258. Mark 16:1-8.

"For this reason one should not be too credulous when a preacher comes softly like an angel of God, recommends himself very highly, and swears that his sole aim is to save souls, and says: 'Pax vobis!' For those are the very fellows the devil employs to honey people's mouths. Through them he gains an entrance to preach and to teach, in order that he may afterward inflict his injuries, and that though he accomplish nothing more for the present, he may, at least, confound the people's consciences and finally lead them into misery and despair."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 322. Luke 24:36-47.

"Thus we have two parts, preaching and believing. His coming to us is preaching; His standing in our hearts is faith. For it is not sufficient that He stand before our eyes and ears; He must stand in the midst of us in our hearts, and offer and impart to us peace."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., xd., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 355. John 20:19-31.

"The first and highest work of love a Christian ought to do when he has become a believer, is to bring others also to believe in the way he himself came to believe. And here you notice Christ begins and institutes the office of the ministry of the external Word in every Christian; for He Himself came with this office and the external Word."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 359. John 20:19-31.

"Now God drives us to this by holding the law before us, in order that through the law we may come to a knowledge of ourselves. For where there is not this knowledge, one can never be saved. He that is well needs no physician; but if a man is sick and desires to become well, he must know that he is weak and sick, otherwise he cannot be helped."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 370. John 20:19-31.

"Who are the people, therefore, to whom God makes known the resurrection of His Son? Women of little learning and poor fishermen."
Sermons of Martin Luther, The House Postils, 3 vols., ed., Eugene Klug, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1996, II, p. 22. Luke 24:13-35.

Click on this link to get there:

Bethany Lutheran Worship

You will need broadband (cable or DSL) to get the service, plus speakers to hear the service. You will be watching it live on the Internet. We will make provisions for saving files and posting them on a website.

Double-click on the Bethany logo at the link to start the service. We start early to test some things. You will see the altar at that time.

You can use this link below to determine your local time compared to Phoenix, where we do not deal with the fraud of Daylight Savings Time:

Time Zone Comparisons

Easter Sunday's service will be Holy Communion at 8 AM Phoenix time.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday Service




Isaiah 52:12 For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the LORD will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rereward. 13 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.
14 As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: 15 So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider. 53:1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. 9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

KJV John 19:1 Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. 2 And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, 3 And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands. 4 Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. 5 Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! 6 When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him. 7 The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God. 8 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid; 9 And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? 11 Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin. 12 And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar's friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar. 13 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. 14 And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! 15 But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar. 16 Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away. 17 And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: 18 Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst. 19 And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. 20 This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. 21 Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews. 22 Pilate answered, What I have written I have written. 23 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. 24 They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did. 25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! 27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. 28 After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. 29 Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. 31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 32 Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. 33 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs: 34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. 35 And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. 36 For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. 37 And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.

NIV John 19:1 Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. 2 The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe 3 and went up to him again and again, saying, "Hail, king of the Jews!" And they struck him in the face. 4 Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews, "Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him." 5 When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, "Here is the man!" 6 As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, "Crucify! Crucify!" But Pilate answered, "You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him." 7 The Jews insisted, "We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God." 8 When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, 9 and he went back inside the palace. "Where do you come from?" he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 "Do you refuse to speak to me?" Pilate said. "Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?" 11 Jesus answered, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin." 12 From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting, "If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar." 13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge's seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). 14 It was the day of Preparation of Passover Week, about the sixth hour. "Here is your king," Pilate said to the Jews. 15 But they shouted, "Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!" "Shall I crucify your king?" Pilate asked. "We have no king but Caesar," the chief priests answered. 16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 17 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). 18 Here they crucified him, and with him two others-- one on each side and Jesus in the middle. 19 Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS. 20 Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. 21 The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, "Do not write 'The King of the Jews,' but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews." 22 Pilate answered, "What I have written, I have written." 23 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom. 24 "Let's not tear it," they said to one another. "Let's decide by lot who will get it." This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled which said, "They divided my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing." So this is what the soldiers did. 25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Dear woman, here is your son," 27 and to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. 28 Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I am thirsty." 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus' lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. 31 Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jews did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32 The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus' side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35 The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: "Not one of his bones will be broken," 37 and, as another scripture says, "They will look on the one they have pierced."

Good Friday


Hymn #174
The Invocation p. 5
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 6
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 7
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 9
The Epistle and Gradual Isaiah 52:12ff.
The Gospel John 19:1ff.
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Apostles Creed p. 12
Sermon Hymn #172
The Sermon
The Little Gospel
The Votum
The Offertory p. 12
The Prayers and Lord's Prayer p. 13
The Benediction p. 14
The Closing Hymn #52

KJV Isaiah 53:1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? 2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

UPON THE CROSS

People confused about justification by faith write, “What happened on Good Friday?” They fail to see the difference between the sacrificial act of Christ and the proclamation of that act. Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the world, for you and for me. That is the Gospel message. The proclamation of the Gospel message is a work of the Holy Spirit, declaring to all those who believe in Christ that their sins are taken away.

Every child knows the meaning of this Old Testament prophesy. It was written centuries before Christ was born. Imagine someone from King Arthur’s Court predicting what would happen today. That is how distant this prophesy was (not in exact years), so far back in time that one can hardly imagine so many years. And yet, these verses, in fact the entire chapter is a vivid portrayal of the crucifixion of Christ.

Paul uses this verse in Romans 10, teaching us that faith comes by hearing. To be more accurate, he is saying that faith comes by preaching. It is not the act of hearing itself that brings about faith but the Holy Spirit working through the spoken Word of God. Faith comes by sermons, we might say. Who has believed our sermon?

KJV Romans 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

God’s love for His people was so great that He began preaching the Gospel to us when Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden (Genesis 3:15). If Isaiah was early, think how ancient those words are that we remember tonight. God said to the serpent, “You will bruise his heel, but He will crush your head.”

From the beginning God placed faith in the hearts of people through the spoken Word. Most of the time He entrusted this Word to prophets. Christ appointed apostles who then trained pastors to serve under them. I know one person who does not accept any sermon as the Word of God. He said he can only be taught by direct quotation of Scripture. But Jesus said, “Whoever hears you hears Me.”

KJV Luke 10:16 He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.

Some people did not even pay attention to Jesus, who taught them:

KJV John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life

So we are inclined to say, “Who is this, a mere man, to tell us what God thinks and says?” But that is exactly what pastors have been called by God (through the congregation) to do. In the same way the head of the household is placed in that role to teach his family the Word of God. True, many men despise this role and reject it. But it is still God’s decision and appointment, God’s Creation and order. Those who acknowledge this as good and wise will benefit from it.

Faith grows from hearing the Gospel promises. The last two verses in this section are especially noteworthy in a remarkable chapter:

4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Verse 4 tells us how terrible the crucifixion would be. Verse 5 teaches us what the crucifixion means. It would have a purpose. The Son of Man would be wounded to pay for our sins, beaten for our evil. His whipping would be to give us peace through the forgiveness of sins. “By His stripes we are healed.”

For those who believe in Jesus, and this comes only through the work of the Holy Spirit in the Word, these words are a great comfort. We already know this, but in hearing it again our faith is deepened.

Luther has two very good points to make about the crucifixion. One is that we should never dwell upon the cross in this way, saying, “Look at what those Jews and Romans did to the perfect Son of God!” That is all wrong and contrary to this lesson. Instead we should say when we meditate on the cross, “Look at what I did to Jesus. Those are my sins that He bore. I was the transgressor and He was whipped. I rebelled against God’s Law and He was humiliated and mocked. I am the cause of His suffering.” Otherwise, although the Romans and the Jewish leaders played a role, we miss the whole concept of His atoning death. If Jesus died because of THEIR sins and not because of MY sins, then I am not expressing faith in the cross.

Secondly, Luther correctly taught that the surest form of sorrow for sin is not weeping, or feeling bad, or outward and emotional signs of repentance. No, the surest sign of genuine repentance (a work of the Holy Spirit and not from our own efforts) is when we are forgiving toward others. Whenever we stew about wrongs committed against us, and many of these things do happen, since we do them to others as well, then we are saying, “I would like to enjoy complete and free forgiveness of my sins, but I will not give an ounce of mercy to anyone else.” That is a failure to grasp the meaning of forgiveness, a failure to be thankful for forgiveness.

Why did Jesus die on the cross? He was tortured to give us peace, not agitation. The first step is taking away our sins through His atoning death. God says, “Here is a great Treasure, an infinite source of forgiveness, the cross of My beloved Son, where He poured out His blood for your sins.” The more God teaches us this great truth, the more we trust it and grasp it as the greatest and most life-giving truth on earth. Through this trust in our hearts created by the Word God grants us forgiveness. God says, “You must do one thing absolutely to receive the forgiveness of sins. You must believe the Gospel of forgiveness.” In believing and holding on to this truth, we receive the what the promise offers.

In practicing this forgiveness we enjoy a double blessing. It is far better to be forgiving than to be full of revenge. (Unfortunately, it is also much more difficult, but it gets easier with practice.) And in addition—this is the second blessing—the person forgiven also enjoys this peace of God. Revenge and bitterness are doubly difficult on people, both in giving and receiving. It is very contagious. I knew one family where the youngest child was a blond angel. She was very sunny all the time. Not one day. I was at their home when she stormed in and whacked her older sister for some slight on the way home from school. It’s hard to sort out. One child said eloquently, “He hit me back first.” Somebody started something and it gets escalated. It spirals out of control, as we see all the time on the news. For those of us who care nothing for soccer – why would anyone riot at a soccer match?

To enjoy this blessing of forgiveness, we have to dwell on the meaning of the cross of Christ rather than whatever annoys us at the moment. I don’t mean to minimize this, because some people have really been the victims of various kinds of assault and robbery. I knew a woman who was beaten almost to death for a few dollars in the cash register. However, when we think about the immensity of God’s forgiveness of all of our sins, then we can be more expansive in forgiving others. We can do that for two reasons. One is that forgiveness is not wasted. If someone is forgiven and yet goes on doing more bad things, then God will add up the totals later. God is just and will be not be mocked. Secondly we can be forgiving because we need to be in that pattern of behavior, which belongs to Christ, rather than following the unbelieving world in exacting revenge.

The first place to begin practicing this forgiveness earned for us by Christ is within our own homes. That is where the greatest and most important conflicts arise. When we apply this lesson of forgiveness, we enjoy the benefits and see its blessings in our children, who also have the peace that passes understanding from this message of the Gospel.

Link to Live Worship Service, Good Friday, 1 PM Phoenix Time.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Worship Services on Good Friday and Easter




The first Bethany Lutheran Worship service will be Good Friday at 1 PM Phoenix time.

Click on this link to get there:

Bethany Lutheran Worship

You will need broadband (cable or DSL) to get the service, plus speakers to hear the service. You will be watching it live on the Internet. We will make provisions for saving files and posting them on a website.

Double-click on the Bethany logo at the link to start the service. We start early to test some things. You will see the altar at that time.

You can use this link below to determine your local time compared to Phoenix, where we do not deal with the fraud of Daylight Savings Time:

Time Zone Comparisons

Easter Sunday's service will be Holy Communion at 8 AM Phoenix time.

Those who are interested are scattered from the East Coast to the West Coast. I used to say, "If I could only get you gathered together." Now we can do that through a webcam and the Internet. This was not possible a few years ago when I investigated. The quality seems to be quite good.

This began with a blog about Lutheran apostasy:

Ichabod The Glory Has Departed.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Our Good Friday Service



Our Good Friday service will be broadcast on March 21st at 1 PM Arizona time.