Christmas is the season in which we hear the “tidings of great joy” that the Savior of the world was born in Bethlehem. The Second Person of the Trinity had to become man in order to redeem man. After the Feast of the Resurrection, then, the Feast of the Nativity is the greatest in the Church. The atmosphere and appearance of the church building, in addition to its message and music, reflect the exceeding gladness of this celebration.
A gift opens the way for the giver and ushers him into the presence of the great. (Proverbs 18:16)
gift to us at Christmas is a little like a very special gift received
in the mail. The gift looks plain on the outside, but God knows that
when we take the time to carefully unwrap the package and get to know
what’s inside, we will appreciate the gift very much. In fact, it’s the
best gift we could ever receive!
we are like the brown paper wrap. There are messages about Jesus
Christ to be sent and delivered all around the world today and they can
be delivered by people who are humble, simple, and plain, just like the
brown wrap. You don’t need fancy words or clothes. Look at Jesus who
was born in a barn. It was not a fancy place, yet God’s message and
gift to us came so precious and beautiful, just like the fancy ribbon
Dear Jesus, help me be the sender of the Christmas message to someone who needs to hear your Word. You are the best gift anyone could receive. Use me, Lord to be the packaging wrap of brown, simple paper and not to be afraid to tell others about eternal life in heaven. Amen.
Members of Mount Calvary now have electronic access to our latest church directory from any smartphone, tablet or computer with internet access. Each household has a unique ID that can be emailed to them upon request. Let the church office know when you’d like your ID code to access the church directory online (via email or a note on your attendance card), and it will be emailed to you. Step-by-step instructions are available on our website and at the Mount Calvary office.
“The Case for Christ” premieres in theaters this weekend (more
info below). At Mount Calvary, we will be providing booklets
written by the same author, Lee Strobel, “The Case for Easter,”
that you’re welcome to read and pass along to others, possibly
as an invitation to join us at Mount Calvary for Worship and
Bible study. We are privileged to be on the front lines of
Jesus’ church, reaching out with the Good News, to positively
impact people’s lives now and for eternity. See you Sunday!
also New Member Sunday and “Bring-a-Dozen Sunday.”
because He first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
starting in junior high, your teenagers are beginning to hear
offhand comments like these in class discussions and even from
teachers—and this kind of missional skepticism only
intensifies in high school and college.
is just a bunch of fairytales.”
science don’t really mix.”
“Jesus may have
existed, but the whole Messiah thing sounds like a hoax.”
During my first
week in college, a science professor asked for those who
believed in Creation Theory to raise their hands. As everyone
stared at the two people who raised their hands, the professor
dismissed the theory as nothing more than folklore and said it
would never be discussed in class.
Faced with the
tension between what they’re taught on Sunday mornings and the
predominant worldview of their teachers during the week, many
students learn to compartmentalize their faith. Jesus is in
one compartment, science in another, history in a third. As
a result, Jesus becomes less and less real as life goes on.
I read Lee
Strobel’s The Case for
Christ in my 20s, and it opened my eyes to the
truth. Through it, I realized that God and science can
coexist…quite well, actually. Most of all,
it solidified Jesus’ place in my heart and mind as Lord and
week the movie based
on Strobel’s book is premiering in theaters
across the country. The film is based on the best-selling book.
A journalist and atheist, Strobel decided to investigate the
claims of Christ and simply to go where the evidence led him. In his
investigation he came face-to-face with overwhelming
evidence that Jesus was and is everything he claimed to be.
How often do events in your life bring about a sense of fear and dread? Holiday seasons like Thanksgiving and Christmas can easily lose their joy and delight when little things relentlessly nag at us and annoy us. Maybe the busy preparations of the season have you down, or perhaps you are reeling from a major life crisis or catastrophe.
Using Advent Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries this Advent and Christmas season, we will study the events of our Savior’s birth as recorded in the first two chapters of the Gospel of Luke. There we will hear God’s answers to the fears that threaten to engulf and overwhelm us.
As we approach the winter season it brings to mind the extreme cold, snow, ice, and other wintry conditions we expect to see this time of year. So grab a cup of hot chocolate and consider these creative ways people at your church can serve their community this winter.
Offer to take an elderly neighbor to the store to stock up on winter supplies/groceries, or have your neighbor make a list for you to pick up while you’re out.
Shovel your neighbor’s walkway. Or, get your exercise in for the day and do the whole street!
Place salt on someone’s front door steps or that neglected bit of sidewalk between houses.
If others lose power, offer your house as a location for cell phone/laptop charging.
Invite neighborhood kids/families to build snowmen if schools are cancelled.
Create a free hot chocolate stand outside a busy shopping area.
Offer to help someone scrape the ice off their car or scrape someone’s car when you do yours in the morning/after work.
Send thank you notes to police, firefighters, road crews, etc.
Order a PIZZA for your local police, fire station, or road crew!
Carry extra winter supplies in your car to assist distressed motorists.
Contact local emergency shelters to learn how you can support their efforts.
Offer hand warmers to people standing at bus stops or to school crossing guards.
If your kids have had school cancelled, help them write appreciation notes to their teacher.
Offer to watch your friend/neighbor’s kids while they run out for groceries or during their work hours.
If a friend/neighbor has mobility issues, offer to walk their dog—or better yet, keep your kids occupied and have them offer to walk the neighbor’s dog!
Share or post the locations of heating stations in your area on your social media pages or church website.
Whatever you decide to do—please be sure to do it safely and with good judgment. After all, it can be slick out there!
CPH is excited to introduce our new devotional blog, Today in the Church Year. We hope this resource is helpful as you continue to grow in Christ and His Word. Each blog post features a short devotional passage on feasts, festivals, and Sundays.
August means getting ready for school, fall programs, etc. but we don’t want you to miss out on the incredible summer your kids experienced here at Camp Concordia. Please click on this You Tube link to watch a 3:44 minute highlight video and then share it with everyone you can think of who might like to join your kids next summer. Thank you!
My mother and father moved into a retirement community when Dad could no longer provide all the necessary care for Mom’s dementia, diabetes, digestive problems and spinal stenosis that makes her wheel-chair bound. That huge adjustment and expense could be eased if Dad’s long-term care insurance could be approved to pay the in-home care for Mom. On the day the insurance company sent a RN to do the physical check of my mom the nurse found her vitals to be concerning and recommended mom be taken to the hospital ER. An endoscopy and colonoscopy was performed among other tests and found cancer in the right side of Mom’s colon. Prayer requests went out and were answered. Mom’s colon surgery was successful and her related physical therapy has allowed her to walk better than she had in 12 years! -submitted by Dave Gantz
At the apartments where I work a tenant came to the office very angry about noisy neighbor kids often unsupervised by their parents and how many times he has complained without seeing anything done by the management. His apartment is next the only playground on the property and kids also live near him. All I could do is thank him for his information on the noisy neighbors and insure management was investigating. On my drive home that night I asked God for him to have a peaceful diversion from the problem. I prayed, Lord give this person some serenity and a break from his frustration; like Your Holy Spirit gives me when I’m walking my dogs in the country.
A few weeks later I saw the guy in the parking lot talking happily to others so I went up and ask how it was going. He said, “Hey, I had a God-thing happen to me. I was walking my dog in the park
[a few miles away from our apartments]
when I saw a lady with a dog like mine. I went up to her and realized it was a friend from High School I hadn’t seen in years. We had a great conversation . . .” He went on to say, that only God could have made that chance meeting occur and that they both have the same breed of dogs!
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its ruling stating the majority opinion on what they believe is the Constitutional definition of marriage. It was determined by a 5 to 4 vote that the Constitution requires that same-sex couples be allowed to marry and that states may no longer reserve the right only for heterosexual couples.
The purpose of this email is to share talking points and media interview tips with you prepared by the LCMS Communications Department. This will assist you in speaking the truth in love should you be contacted by local newspaper or television news station for a response to this ruling.
Later today, Synod will also issue a statement and send church workers a letter from Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison. This letter will contain resources pertaining to a marriage policy for LCMS congregations, a Bible study, and other resources that provide a biblical understanding of God’s gift of marriage between a man and a woman. A great deal of other information will also be provided with pertinent links.
Much of what we are experiencing seems to be the result of the “sexual revolution” of the sixties which has continued on an exponential pace. “Sex” was divorced from marriage, commitment and even psychological connection. We’ve seen the initiation of sexual activity at an earlier and earlier age. Use of pornography – which certainly encourages lust in the mind and heart, which is adultery – is epidemic and leads to further sin. Sex before marriage has led to sex outside marriage, which has led to multiple liaisons, divorce and what’s been called serial polygamy. In a few decades, we’ve gone from “making love” to “having sex.” Yet, interestingly, although this may seem counter-intuitive, more and more “sex” has led to fewer and fewer children.
Not just the ruling today is troubling, but also the undeniable reality that same-sex marriage completely cuts the tie between marriage and children. Some heterosexual couples choose not to have children. Others are unable to have children. With “homosexual marriage,” (and I use the term advisably) we’re applying the label to couples which, by their very nature, are incapable of reproduction – part of God’s original design (Genesis 1:28) – severing the already tenuous connection between marriage and procreation. More importantly, the Bible plainly tells us that this is NOT what God intended … no matter what the President of the United States or the Supreme Court says. Marriage is clearly the union of one man and one woman for life.
As we continue to live and minister in this day and age may we remember that because of God’s great love for us, because of His mercy and grace extended to us in His Word and Sacraments, because of the Holy Spirit’s gift of faith, we are ALL children and servants of the most High God. In eternity we were chosen by Him to live at this particular time for His purposes with the powerful weapons of the Holy Spirit to advance the Kingdom of God. Listen to Paul in the Areopagus in Acts 17:26-28, “From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.'”
We are, by God’s grace, living at the exact time and at the exact place where God wants us to be! We are here as His salt and light to the world (Matthew 5:13-16). Through the Holy Spirit’s encouragement we remember these words of the prophet, Jeremiah: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) and Jesus’ words: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
As we look to our God for His continued protection and guidance, to the Holy Spirit working in the Word and Sacraments, and to our Synod for continued advice as to how we remain the salt of the earth and the light of the world, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25).
God’s peace attend you.
Rev. Dr. David P. E. Maier, President Michigan District, LCMS
We turned around on our way to our vacation at the news of Lori’s mom passing away from complications of dementia. Throughout the grieving we received many thoughtful cards and flowers from our Mt Calvary family. These constant reminders of our Lord’s gracious blessings and hope for eternal peace gave us a view to God’s will for us and the heavenly act of Christian love.