Online Services at St. Peter’s

Here are links for watching our service online. We pray that this will give you an opportunity to participate in worship and grow in Christ. God be with you.

We will be recording the live service at 9:00 am and putting up as soon as we can after the service. 

Christ the King Sunday – November 22, 2020Link to watch on Youtube

Bulletin: November 22, 2020 bulletin

Saints Triumphant Sunday – November 15, 2020Link to watch on Youtube

Bulletin: November 15, 2020 bulletin

Last Judgment Sunday – November 8, 2020Link to watch on Youtube

Bulletin Link: November 8, 2020 bulletin

Reformation Sunday – November 1, 2020Link to watch on Youtube
Bulletin link: Bulletin for November 1, 2020

21st Sunday after Pentecost Worship – October 25, 2020
Bulletin link: Bulletin for October 25, 2020

20th Sunday after Pentecost Worship – October 18, 2020
Bulletin link: Bulletin for October 18, 2020

19th Sunday after Pentecost Worship – October 11, 2020
Bulletin link: Bulletin for October 11, 2020


18th Sunday after the Pentecost Worship – October 4, 2020

Here is a link to the bulletin: drive.google.com/file/d/1C47RgIUSZes7CvKgcbwxvkFbAW_Mh_B3/view?usp=sharing


17th Sunday after the Pentecost Worship – September 27, 2020

Here is a link to the bulletin: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1C47RgIUSZes7CvKgcbwxvkFbAW_Mh_B3/view?usp=sharing

 

16th Sunday after the Pentecost Worship – September 20, 2020

Bulletin Link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1HOl5vKgNhob9dewh4e-DfImA4ofAeALd/view?usp=sharing

15th Sunday after the Pentecost Worship – September 13, 2020
Bulletin link: 15th Sunday after Pentecost, September 13, 2020
(Note – we had technical issues. There is no sound until 2:15.)

14th Sunday after the Pentecost Worship – September 6, 2020
Bulletin link: 14th Sunday after Pentecost, September 6, 2020

 

Marriage Moments

Marriage Moments

Every marriage has its “moments.” That’s why marriages need moments of encouragement and refreshment. Marriage Moments are short, weekly videos highlighting one Biblical marriage thought accompanied by a discussion question. Couples may subscribe to receive the videos in a weekly e-mail. Congregations can upload them to their social media pages, encourage members to sign up for the e-mail, and use them as part of their marriage counseling or Bible study ministries.

Watch the videos below or go to Marriage Moments – WELS to subscribe and see more.

7 — Marriage Moments – November 16, 2020

Monday, November 16, 2020

God created a work of art.

Genesis 2:7


6 — Marriage Moments – November 9, 2020
Monday, November 9, 2020

God calls his creation really good.

Genesis 1:31


5 — Marriage Moments – November 2, 2020

Monday, November 2, 2020

See your differences as unique strengths.


4 — Marriage Moments – October 26, 2020

Monday, October 26, 2020

We are created in God’s image.

Genesis 1:27


3 — Marriage Moments – October 19, 2020

Monday, October 19, 2020

We are the crown of God’s creation.

Genesis 1:27


2 — Marriage Moments – October 12, 2020

Monday, October 12, 2020

God gave us special status.

Genesis 1:26


1 — Marriage Moments – October 5, 2020

Monday, October 5, 2020

We are God’s special creation.

Genesis 1:26


Intro for couples

Sunday School Lessons

Sunday School Lessons

You can click on the links below for this Sunday’s lesson!!

LESSON VIDEOS – Available Now!

 

Week 11 – 11/22/2020 — Story: The Twelve Spies


Week 10 – 11/15/2020 — Story: The Golden Calf


Week 9 – 11/8/2020 — Story: God Gives the Ten Commandments


Week 8 – 11/1/2020 — Story: God Gives His People Food


Week 7 – 10/25/2020 — Story: The Crossing of the Red Sea


Week 6 – 10/18/2020 — Story: God Leads the People Out of Egypt/ The PASSOVER


Week 5 – 10/11/2020 — Story: The Plagues


Your kids might enjoy the Jesus Cares Virtual Bible Camp! Check out all 3 days at this link.
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL7tjHhyLxt18huDUw5ckGPBqs-awe8amq

It even has camp songs sung around the campfire. Your kids might remember some of the songs from VBS!


Week 4 – 10/04/2020 — Story: God Chooses Moses/God Calls Moses


Week 3 – 9/27/2020 — Story: Baby Moses or The Birth of Moses


Week 2 – 9/20/2020


Week 1 – 9/13/2020


For more information about this program, check out the information page at Northwestern Publishing House – https://online.nph.net/ss-remote.

You can find the weekly links at this page also or go directly to their Youtube page at this link: Youtube.com

Baptism

Baptism Connects Us To Christ’s Promises
The Gift of Faith Is A Gift From God

Infant Baptism

 

We need to start with what is faith. Faith is a gift from God.

 

It connects us to Jesus and to all of His promises: forgiveness, righteousness, holiness, child of God, heirs, belonging to God, sons & children of God, redeemed and eternal life.

 

Jesus’ Command – Make Disciples of ALL Nations

  • Matthew 28:18–2018 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

 

What does he tell us to use in order to make disciples?

 

 

Whom should we make disciples? How many people is that?

 

 

What about babies? Should they be baptized too?

  • Acts 2:38-39 – Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
  • Mark 10:14,16 – When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.

 

 

What does it mean to “baptize”?

  • Mark 7:4 When they come from the marketplace they do not eat unless they wash (Greek: baptize). And they observe many other traditions, such as the washing of cups, pitchers and kettles and dining couches.

 

Scriptures speak of two things needed for baptism, what are they?

  • Ephesians 5:25–2725 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

What does baptism do for us?

  1. What does baptism do for our sins?
  • Acts 22:16 And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.

 

  1. What does baptism do about death and the devil?
  • Romans 6:3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
  • Hebrews 2:14-15 Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.

 

  1. What is the greatest blessing baptism gives?
  • Mark 16:16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
  • 1 Peter 3:18–2218 For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, 19 through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison 20 who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.

 

What gifts does God give through baptism?

  • Acts 2:38–3938 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”
  • Acts 22:1616 And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’

 

Faith a gift from God. It directs our eyes to God and his promises for certainty and comfort, not to ourselves and what we need to do.

  • Ephesians 2:8–98 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
  • Ephesians 3:1212 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

 

Do Children need to be saved? Do they have sin?

  • Psalm 51:55 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
  • John 3:1–81 Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.” 3 In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” 4 “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!” 5 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”
  • Romans 5:12–1512 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned— 13 for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come. 15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!

 

Can Children, especially infants, believe?

  • Matthew 18:5–65 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. 6 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
  • 2 Timothy 3:14–1714 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

 

Jesus has the power to do the impossible, miracles.

 

Baptism Saves & Brings the Promises of God  to Us

 

What did God cause to happen when a person is baptized?

  • Titus 3:4–74 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
  • Romans 6:1–81 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. 5 If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.
  • Colossians 2:6–156 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. 8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. 9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. 11 In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
  • Galatians 3:24–4:724 So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law. 26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. 1 What I am saying is that as long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a slave, although he owns the whole estate. 2 He is subject to guardians and trustees until the time set by his father. 3 So also, when we were children, we were in slavery under the basic principles of the world. 4 But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, 5 to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. 6 Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.
  • 1 Peter 1:3–93 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Pentecost 20 Readings

INTRODUCTION

Whose responsibility is it to care for the Lord’s vineyard, the Church? Rightly answered, it’s all of us who have been called by the gospel and given faith. By this faith, we love the Lord and produce abundant fruits of faith in His service. Conversely, there are those who reject their Savior and live for self. In the case of such individuals, invariably the judgment of God is not far behind. Our God patiently seeks fruit from his people.

May we cherish the fact that the Lord has saved us and granted us heavenly citizenship. May we never take this fact for granted. Rather may we see that God has brought us to faith by the gospel and now God has richly endowed us with the gospel of Christ to call others into his kingdom. Lord, help us to be faithful stewards of your gifts and live as citizens of heaven!

FIRST LESSON Isaiah 5:1-7

The song of the vineyard starts out as a beautiful love ballad. Israel is God’s own vineyard, and he gave her everything she needed. After planting vines, a farmer normally had to wait two years for the first harvest. Isaiah tells us that God was not idle after planting. He built a tower, a press—this vineyard had everything needed. No expense was spared. What a surprise then, when God came to look for fruit and found only “stinking things.” When God speaks in verse 3, who could disagree with him?

Like the vineyard, Israel lacked nothing. God took her from Egypt and planted her in the Promised Land. He drove out her enemies and made her secure. She had the Law, the Temple, the priesthood, the sacrifices, the prophets. What more could God have done? Yet when he came to harvest, there was no fruit. In fact, God found the opposite of his intention! God looked for “justice” but found “bloodshed.” He looked for “righteousness” but found “cries of distress.”

It had a beautiful beginning, but the song of the vineyard has a harrowing end: God himself will tear it down. When God looks for fruits of faith in our life and finds them lacking, couldn’t he ask the same question of us, “What more could I have done for you? I planted you in baptism; I bought you with blood; I guarded you with angels.” This song leads God’s people of every generation to self–evaluation and self–condemnation. Such a song leads us to repent and cry, “Lord, have mercy!” Let us never receive God’s grace in vain, but pray that we might produce the fruits that our beloved seeks.

Isaiah 5:1–71 I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My loved one had a vineyard on a fertile hillside. 2 He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines. He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress as well. Then he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit. 3 “Now you dwellers in Jerusalem and people of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard. 4 What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad? 5 Now I will tell you what I am going to do to my vineyard: I will take away its hedge, and it will be destroyed; I will break down its wall, and it will be trampled. 6 I will make it a wasteland, neither pruned nor cultivated, and briers and thorns will grow there. I will command the clouds not to rain on it.” 7 The vineyard of the Lord Almighty is the nation of Israel, and the people of Judah are the vines he delighted in. And he looked for justice, but saw bloodshed; for righteousness, but heard cries of distress.

SECOND LESSON Philippians 3:12–21

Paul encourages us to live up to what we have already attained. God has given us the kingdom of heaven by faith. We are the people he promised would produce its fruits. So let us do exactly that. Let us live drastically different lives than the people of this world who worship their stomach and their shame. Let us with free hearts do everything that pleases our Lord and Savior.

The inspired apostle puts to rest two notions that war against the gospel of our salvation. Some assert that we can achieve holiness already in this life. This arrogance excludes grace. Although we strain toward heavenly perfection, we know that our holiness in this life comes from the Savior alone. Others make a mockery of Jesus’ forgiveness by using it as a license to sin. They are earthly minded. But our citizenship is in heaven, where our omnipotent Lord Jesus will transform our bodies for the ultimate perfection and freedom!.

Philippians 3:12–2112 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained. 17 Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

GOSPEL Matthew 21:33–43

Jesus’ words in the Gospel highlight the patience of our God as he seeks fruits of faith. Could God have done anything more for Israel? The point here is the amazing patience the owner displays. What owner would continue to send servants when they were treated this way? Who would ever answer such barbarity by sending his only Son? The patience of God with Israel is without comparison. Even Jesus’ enemies had to agree that the only just end for such tenants was judgment. The owner’s Son looked his enemies in the eye and proclaimed that opposing him was impossible. Killing the Son means defeat for his enemies and victory for God as prophesied in Psalm 118. God will lift his Son from death and use the stone rejected by men as his capstone. Let Jesus’ enemies be warned. You can oppose the Son actively and you will find yourself on your face. You can ignore the Son at your peril and you will find yourself ground to powder. Israel’s leaders refused to produce the fruits of repentance and faith. As a result, the kingdom of God will be ripped away and given to a different nation. The point is not that he will give the kingdom to Gentiles, but that God’s kingdom doesn’t belong to an ethnic group, but an ethical group: those who produce its fruit. The nation to whom is it given is the body of believers. Whether they are prostitutes (Matthew 21:32) or members of the Sanhedrin (John 19:39) or Gentiles who are of the faith of Abraham (Romans 4:16), the kingdom belongs to them by faith.

Matthew 21:33–4333 “Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. 34 When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit. 35 “The tenants seized his servants; they beat one, killed another, and stoned a third. 36 Then he sent other servants to them, more than the first time, and the tenants treated them the same way. 37 Last of all, he sent his son to them. ‘They will respect my son,’ he said. 38 “But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ 39 So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. 40 “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” 41 “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end,” they replied, “and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.” 42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ” ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? 43 “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit.

Wednesday Bible Class

Wednesday Bible Study — We will meet at 1:30 pm on November 25th!

We will look at the Gospel of Mark. If you would like to join, please click on this link will open up Zoom or prompt you to download the program.
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89770685512?pwd=KzF5amEwTDU4ZFd0VXBta3dFQ3U3QT09

Meeting ID: 897 7068 5512
Passcode: 413
One tap mobile
+19292056099,,89770685512#,,,,,,0#,,413# US (New York)

Dial by your location
+1 929 205 6099 US (New York)

Meeting ID: 897 7068 5512
Passcode: 413

Service for Violet Drazkowski

A Celebration Service of Worship & Praise to God for: Violet Drazkowski

Here is the link to the beginning of the service, after the slideshow. https://youtu.be/qYCar36k5TQ?t=1029

Bulletin & Obituary: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Ie13Dw3h4qdN0ZVAU1TO4xdV4RJ2bJyy/view?usp=sharing

Scripture Readings for the 18th Sunday after Pentecost

What is our God like? Over the next few Sundays, the Church hears Jesus tell parables which reveal characteristics of our God. Today’s lessons cause the worshiper to ask: Is God fair? No, he’s not. He doesn’t give us what we deserve, and that’s called mercy. In fact, he gives us what we don’t deserve, and that’s called grace. Our God is inconceivably gracious. May we see our lives as our “Time of Grace” to know God and serve him & others!

THE FIRST LESSON – Isaiah 55:6–9

How gracious is God? His call to repentance doesn’t extend only to backsliding Christians. His call to return to him isn’t restricted to upright citizens. His invitation to call on him is not reserved for sensible, suburban folk with 2.1 children and a white picket fence. The LORD calls the ungodly and wicked men who worship lust and self. The LORD calls the hardened sinner whose conscience has long stopped balking at his deeds. Look at what he promises to these people when they repent: mercy and pardon, the care of God and the forgiveness of God. They won’t get what they deserve, that is, mercy. They get what they don’t deserve. That is, the free pardon of grace. God’s plan to save sinners by grace soars above all that we could conceive or imagine.

Isaiah 55:6–96 Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. 8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

THE SECOND LESSON – Philippians 1:18b-27

From prison, St. Paul speaks of the joyful tension in which a Christian lives. On the one hand, we long to be with Christ in heaven. On the other hand, we are happy to serve Christ on earth. Paul’s confident words remind us that because of God’s inconceivable grace, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Life lived under such grace is life filled with joy and ordered by God’s wisdom (Prayer of the Day). May God give us courage and willingness to exalt our Savior in life and in death!

Philippians 1:18–2718 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19 for I know that through your prayers and God’s provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. 20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22 If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23 I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24 but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25 Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26 so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me. 27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel.

VERSE OF THE DAY Alleluia. My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Alleluia. (2 Corinthians 12:9a)

THE GOSPEL LESSON – Matthew 20:1-16

What is our God like? Jesus teaches us with a story, but we struggle with the lesson. The parable offends our finely honed sense of what’s fair and what’s not. God’s kingdom comes to different people at different times. The reward is the same for all because it is a reward of grace, not personal accomplishment. Work in God’s kingdom, be it short or long, is the privilege of grace. Those who take issue with God’s grace will find themselves “last,” that is, outside of his grace. In reality, God is not fair; rather, he is inconceivably gracious. One-hour-workers receive the same as those who bore the heat of the day. This parable carries both warning and promise for us—a warning that all comparisons based on merit or work do not belong in God’s kingdom; a promise that our relationship with God is based solely on grace which he lavishes in abundance. The story only offends our sense of fairness when we compare ourselves to other workers. When we keep our eyes where they belong—fixed on God—then we have a correct view of our worth and labor. Then, when God places a denarius in our hands, we can marvel that the Lord isn’t fair—thanks be to God! He doesn’t give us what we deserve; no, he gives us what we don’t.

Matthew 20:1–161 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire workers for his vineyard. 2 He agreed to pay them a denarius for the day and sent them into his vineyard. 3 “About nine in the morning he went out and saw others standing in the marketplace doing nothing. 4 He told them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ 5 So they went. “He went out again about noon and about three in the afternoon and did the same thing. 6 About five in the afternoon he went out and found still others standing around. He asked them, ‘Why have you been standing here all day long doing nothing?’ 7 ” ‘Because no one has hired us,’ they answered. “He said to them, ‘You also go and work in my vineyard.’ 8 “When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the workers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last ones hired and going on to the first.’ 9 “The workers who were hired about five in the afternoon came and each received a denarius. 10 So when those came who were hired first, they expected to receive more. But each one of them also received a denarius. 11 When they received it, they began to grumble against the landowner. 12 ‘These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’ 13 “But he answered one of them, ‘I am not being unfair to you, friend. Didn’t you agree to work for a denarius? 14 Take your pay and go. I want to give the one who was hired last the same as I gave you. 15 Don’t I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ 16 “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.”

Readings for Pentecost 12 – August 23, 2020

1 Kings 19:9–189 There he went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” 11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 14 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” 15 The Lord said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. 16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. 18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.”

Romans 9:1–51 I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit—2 I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. 3 For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, 4 the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. 5 Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.

Matthew 14:22–3322 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. 25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. 27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” 32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Below are an introduction and summary for the readings from Planning Christian Worship A

Intro to the Readings:
The Christian answers doubt with faith. Doubt is the unfortunate companion of faith. Wherever faith clings to the promises of God, doubt is always right there lingering in the back of our mind, constantly asking the serpent’s Garden question, “Did God really say?” How striking to think that we must have faith in God before we can doubt him! Today’s lessons show us believers who had faith in God and his abilities to save them, but yet doubted when his plans or purpose failed to match theirs. In each case, it is adversity that fights against faith and allows its unfortunate companion to rear its ugly head. And in each case, the true answer to doubt is not found in the great miracle that removes adversity, but in the still small voice of our Savior God whispering in his Word. Today we hear our Savior God ask us, “Why did you doubt?”, and we see that the Christian answers doubt with faith. May our Lord help us keep our eyes on Jesus through ALL!

First Lesson:
1 Kings 19:9-18
Elijah’s great victory of faith was followed closely by great adversity. From the heights of Mt. Carmel, Elijah fell into the depths of frustration. Even after such a great display of God’s glory, this evil queen issued her death threats. Even after such a powerful display of God’s might, a general spiritual renewal did not occur. Elijah had faith in God’s power, but he doubted when God’s plans and purpose did not match his own. Hadn’t the people broken the covenant? Why didn’t God come and make things right with earthquake, wind, and the fire of judgment? Elijah went to the site where the covenant had been made, to the mountain of God where God had come once before in fire and wind and earthquake. There Elijah brought his case against the people of Israel. God answered his prophet not with great acts of power, but rather with quiet words of promise. God displayed all of his power, so that his display of grace might be all the more astounding. He would not come in judgment, but in grace for his elect. The still small voice of his message would accomplish all that he desired. It would tear down kingdoms and establish dynasties. It would bring judgment on his enemies and reserve a people for himself. Elijah heard the Word of God and had to wonder, “Why did I doubt?”

 

Second Lesson: Romans 9:1-5
Paul explains the roots of the Christian Church. He speaks of his brothers, the children of Israel, and asks them, “Why did you doubt? Why did you doubt that salvation is by grace, not by works? Why did you doubt the Messiah long promised was fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth?” The unbroken line of God’s acts of grace left Israel no reason to doubt. Yet they did. And God’s answer to that doubt? He chose a remnant by grace and spoke to them in the gentle whisper of God made man.

 

Verse of the Day: Alleluia. Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Alleluia. (Hebrews 11:1).

 

Gospel Lesson: Matthew 14:22-33
Doubt and faith rose and fell like the waves of the sea that dark night. The evangelist paints a picture of a frantic effort against a storm with little progress. Then Jesus came—and note the way he came! He did not simply appear among them, as he could have. He did not fly or float. He walked on the water. The very thing they had been fighting, the water that threatened to take their life, Jesus walked on it like it was dry ground. What a Savior we have that walks on the waters of all our greatest fears! See the faith in the disciples grow! See Peter show it in his own miraculous walk. But, all too often, doubt is the unfortunate companion of faith. Though Jesus was standing on the water, Peter feared it. What pulls our eyes of faith away from Jesus? What are the waves and wind in our lives that make us doubt him? To Peter, Jesus asked, “Why did you doubt?” He gave no answer. What could he say? With Jesus there is never any need to doubt. How sad that we so often do! Rather, let us focus on the Savior and watch our faith swell as the disciples’ did when their doubts vanished, and they gave the greatest evidence of faith: they worshiped that man from Nazareth for what he truly was, the Son of God.

Readings for Pentecost 11 – August 16, 2020

Isaiah 55:1–51 “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. 2 Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. 3 Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David. 4 See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a ruler and commander of the peoples. 5 Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations you do not know will come running to you, because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.”

Romans 8:35–3935 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Matthew 14:13–2113 When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. 14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. 15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.” 16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” 17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. 18 “Bring them here to me,” he said. 19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. 20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. 21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.