Reaching Out

Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen

Many Are Called, But Few Are Chosen – the Story of my Cousin Roger

We have all heard the Matthew 22:14 verse: “Many are called, but few are chosen.” This always bothered me, because it just didn’t sound fair. If you were called and invited to a marriage feast, why wouldn’t they let you in? Wasn’t the invitation proof that you were already chosen to come to the festivities? And beneath this was the hidden fear that I might not be among the chosen.

“But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.” Matthew 22:11-14

But then I remembered my cousin Roger. One day, I received an official-looking envelope that said “The White House, Washington, D.C.” on the back. I opened it and discovered I was invited to a marriage feast celebrating the marriage of the beloved son of the President of the United States to his fiancée. Still uncertain as to whether it was real, I called the number listed for a RSVP and learned that a large banquet space was available, but many guests were unable to come (“Many are called, but few…”), so they were inviting regular citizens to attend.

A few days later I ran into my cousin Roger, a ne’er-do-well who always had a hard time keeping a job, going from one job to another, and one relationship to another due to his rebellious nature. Roger announced that he too received an invitation to the White House event, and he was going to go, wearing blue jeans and a flannel shirt in defiance of what he called “the formality and pretense” of this event. He was going to show his disdain for authority in a public manner, in spite of my objections.

The big day arrived, and I will always remember the solemnity of the occasion, of guests in their formal attire waiting expectantly at the White House entrance to be formally introduced. When it was Roger’s turn and he stepped forward with his invitation, the person in charge nodded to two large Secret Service agents, who grabbed Roger and immediately escorted him out of the building, ignoring his protestations.

They recognized that he did not grasp the importance of this event, treating it as if it were common. He did the unthinkable; by wearing ordinary clothes, he disrespected the event and the president. He was invited, but because of his insult, he was rejected.

And so it is with the Kingdom of Heaven. God calls many (actually all), but few respond to the invitation by receiving Christ in total humility, repenting of our sins, forgiving others, and seeking the Lord and His will for our lives. Most would rather devote themselves to the affairs of the world, the lusts of the flesh, or even the works of the devil. Perhaps they have some cherished, hidden sin they just cannot give up, or they have been hurt by another person and vow to never forgive them, thus disqualifying themselves for forgiveness from God.

When our time is up and we stand at the entrance to Heaven, even though we have an invitation to the Marriage Feast of the Lamb, if we are not clothed with the radiance of the Holy Spirit and a repentant and joyful heart, we too will be denied entrance to the Kingdom of Heaven. We will be escorted to the outer darkness, enroute to the Lake of Fire. We will have refused to obey the admonition from Hebrews 12:14: “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord,” and will pay for it for eternity.

Time is short, so let us make sure we are properly attired for the Marriage Feast of the Lamb, and reach out to those around us with the love and truth of Christ, that they too may be properly attired and admitted to the most memorable and important event in their lives; life eternal with our Lord in heaven.

To God be the glory


7th Sunday of Easter/Ascension Day 5-21-23

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Sermon for 05.21.23 “An office job”

Easter 7, May 21, 2023
Text: Acts 1:12–26
Theme: An office job
Other Lessons: Psalm 68:1–10;
1 Peter 4:12–19; 5:6–11;
John 17:1–11

A. In the Name of the Father…Amen.
B. The First Reading serves as our sermon text for this morning.
C. Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God our heavenly Father through
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
D. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:

LSB 652:1 Father, We Thank Thee
Father, we thank Thee who hast planted
Thy holy name within our hearts.
Knowledge and faith and life immortal
Jesus, Thy Son, to us imparts.
Thou, Lord, didst make all for Thy pleasure,
Didst give us food for all our days,
Giving in Christ the Bread eternal;
Thine is the pow’r, be Thine the praise.


A. Matthias was called to an office job.
1. By that I mean not that he had a job based in an office to carry out
clerical or administrative work for an organization.
2. Rather, his office job was a position of public authority and service.
B. The Oval Office.
1. The Resolute Desk.
2. They were around long before any President, whether good or bad,
occupied them, and they’re likely to be around long after.
3. The Office of President of the United States is much bigger than anyone
who holds it.
C. Still bigger, Matthias’s office was one of authority and service to
proclaim the name and Word of our crucified and risen Lord and Savior Jesus
1. It was the office of apostle.
2. Apostles were “sent ones,” called and sent out by Jesus Christ to say
what he said, to do what He did, nothing more and nothing less.
3. The qualifications for being in the office of apostle included being an
eyewitness of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
4. In our text for this morning, we hear that two men were put forward to
take Judas’s place in the Office of Ministry and apostleship of Jesus
Christ: Barsabbas and Matthias.
5. After the assembly of believers prayed:
Acts 1:26 (NASB95)
And they drew lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias; and he was added
to the eleven apostles.
D. Today, pastors are called into the apostolic ministry.
1. Pastors are obviously not eyewitnesses to Jesus’ death and resurrection,
but they, like the apostles themselves, are called and ordained to proclaim
a message:
1. to say and do what Jesus said and did, nothing more and nothing less,
2. to use the Lord’s words, not ours, that is, the words of eternal life.
3. That’s why we say Your Pastor Has an Office Job.
1. In this office job, your pastor works in the stead and by the command of
Jesus Christ.
A. Pastors are not in charge of the work being done, nor is it their words
or actions that get it done. Rather, it is God’s Word at work in and
through them.
1. The Brief Statement of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, adopted in
1932, states concerning the public ministry:
A) 31. By the public ministry we mean the office by which the Word of God
is preached and the Sacraments are administered by order and in the name of
a Christian congregation.
B) Concerning this office we teach that it is a divine ordinance; that is,
the Christians of a certain locality must apply the means of grace not only
privately and within the circle of their families nor merely in their
common intercourse with fellow-Christians, John 5:39; Ephesians 6:4;
Colossians 3:16, but they are also required, by the divine order, to make
provision that the Word of God be publicly preached in their midst, and the
Sacraments administered according to the institution of Christ, by persons
qualified for such work, whose qualifications and official functions are
exactly defined in Scripture, Titus 1:5; Acts 14:23; 20:28; 2 Timothy 2:2.
B. You’re not in charge either, and that’s why you don’t determine what the
pastor says in this office.
1. The Brief Statement of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod continues on
to say:
A) 32. Although the office of the ministry is a divine ordinance, it
possesses no other power than the power of the Word of God, 1 Peter 4:11;
that is to say, it is the duty of Christians to yield unconditional
obedience to the office of the ministry whenever, and as long as, the
minister proclaims to them the Word of God, Hebrews 13:17; Luke 10:16.
B) If, however, the minister, in his teachings and injunctions, were to go
beyond the Word of God, it would be the duty of Christians not to obey, but
to disobey him, so as to remain faithful to Christ, Matthew 23:8.
C) Accordingly, we reject the false doctrine ascribing to the office of the
ministry the right to demand obedience and submission in matters which
Christ has not commanded.
2. Both pastors and laypeople say and do things that fall short of the
glory of God.
A) We often speak and act according to our fallen human nature because it
comes so easily to us.
B) But that’s also what gets us into trouble.
1. Judas had to be replaced because he removed himself from office by
following his own greed and sinful agenda
Acts 1:15–19 (NASB95)
15At this time Peter stood up in the midst of the brethren (a gathering of
about one hundred and twenty persons was there together), and said,
16“Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit
foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to
those who arrested Jesus.
17“For he was counted among us and received his share in this ministry.”
18(Now this man acquired a field with the price of his wickedness, and
falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his intestines gushed
19And it became known to all who were living in Jerusalem; so that in their
own language that field was called Hakeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)
C) Our fallen human nature always misses the mark when it comes to God and
His Word.
C. Illustration
1. A child was taught by his dad to play golf.
2. Unfor­tun­ately, his dad’s swing was such that every time he hit the
ball, it sliced.
3. Like father, like son.
4. The child’s swing, passed on to him from his father, was such that every
time he hit the ball, he sliced it just like his dad.
5. Later in life, he took golf lessons and learned the proper swing.
6. It didn’t seem right and felt awkward and wrong, but when he swung the
club as he was taught by the pro, the ball went straight down the fairway.
7. Throughout his life, the golfer sought to swing as he was taught by the
pro, but he often regressed to his old natural swing, only to watch the
ball slice out of bounds.
8. He had to keep going back to that unnatural swing to get it right and
had to practice it throughout his life.
9. It made him a better golfer.
D. Likewise, we, including those in the Office of the Ministry (Acts
1:15–17), have a natural way of speaking and acting that’s corrupted by
original sin passed on from our parents.
1. It’s our “go to” way and results in the slice of actual sin.
2. “Swinging” the Lord’s way is not only unnatural for us—it’s impossible.
3. That’s why God gives us his Word and pastors to preach it.
4. Through it, God in Christ credits to us the perfect “swing.”
5. It comes from outside of us, so it’s something we practice by believing,
that is, receiving, throughout our lives.
2. Your pastor, like Matthias, was put into this office, the office of
Christ, to carry out Christ’s mission for you.
A. He is under orders to preach only God’s Word.
1. The stole he wears reminds him and you of the vow he made at ordination
to teach and preach the Word of God faithfully and administer the
Sacraments rightly in accordance with the Lord’s Word.
A) Illustration
1. As members of the Body of Christ, you have a responsibility to hold your
pastor to the Word of God.
2. You need the Lord’s words, not the pastor’s opinion.
3. Pastor Eugene Peterson, in his book The Contemplative Pastor, relates
how you, as laypeople, might communicate this to me, your pastor.
4. The importance of the pastoral office is what needs to be stressed, not
the pastor himself, and you are to say to him:
a) We need help in keeping our beliefs sharp and accurate and intact.
1) We don’t trust ourselves; our emotions seduce us into infidelities.
2) We know we are launched on a difficult and dangerous act of faith, and
there are strong influences intent on diluting or destroying it.
3) We want you to give us help.
4) Be our pastor. . . .
b) We are going to ordain you to this ministry, and we want your vow that
you will stick to it.
1) This is not a temporary job assignment but a way of life that we need
lived out in our community.
2) We know you are launched on the same difficult belief venture in the
same dangerous world as we are.
3) We know your emotions are as fickle as ours, your mind is as tricky as
4) That is why we are going to ordain you and why we are going to exact a
vow from you.
5) And we know there will be days and months, maybe even years, when we
won’t feel like believing anything and won’t want to hear it from you.
6) And we know there will be days and weeks and maybe even years when you
won’t feel like saying it.
7) It doesn’t matter.
8) Do it. . . .
c) You are not the minister:
1) of our changing desires,
2) or our time-conditioned understanding of our needs,
3) or our secularized hopes for something better.
4) With these vows of ordination we are lashing you fast to the mast of
Word and Sacrament so you will be unable to respond to the siren voices. .
. .
d) Your task is to keep telling the basic story:
1) representing the presence of the Spirit,
2) insisting on the priority of God,
3) speaking the biblical words of command and promise and invitation.
(Eugene H. Peterson, The Contemplative Pastor [Grand Rapids: Erdmans,
1989], 138–39
2. Even Peter could only say what God’s Word said:
Acts 1:20–22 (NASB95)
20“For it is written in the book of Psalms, ‘LET HIS HOMESTEAD BE MADE
21“Therefore it is necessary that of the men who have accompanied us all
the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us—
22beginning with the baptism of John until the day that He was taken up
from us—one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.”
A) Since he only carries out the office of Christ, your pastor’s ministry
is of eternal blessing to you!
1. Jesus says to those who speak his words:
a) Luke 10:16 (NASB95)
“The one who listens to you listens to Me, and the one who rejects you
rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me.”
2. Jesus said in his prayer to our Father in heaven before He died:
a) John 17:3 (NASB95)
3“This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and
Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
b) Eternal life is knowing this Jesus, who won it for you by dying and
3. When you hear your pastor proclaim Jesus’ words:
a) words that forgive sins,
b) words that are spirit and life,
c) you know that you are forgiven,
d) that you are given eternal life.

A. So, if you don’t like what I have preached to you today, that’s fine;
just take it up with the Lord the next time you talk to Him.
1. I only “work” here.
2. To put it another way: I’m in sales, not management!
3. This is an office job that’s good for you and me, even if we don’t
always like what we hear, because it makes believers out of us.
4. Jesus said as he prayed to our Father in heaven the night before His
A. John 17:8 (NASB95)
for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received
them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed
that You sent Me.
5. This office exists to proclaim the Word of God written for us so that,
as John refers to the writing of his Gospel as well as the whole Bible,
this may be said:
A. John 20:30–31 (NASB95)
30Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the
disciples, which are not written in this book;
31but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the
Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.
6. Amen.
B. Let us pray:
LSB 652:2 Father, we thank Thee
Watch o’er Thy Church, O Lord, in mercy,
Save it from evil, guard it still,
Perfect it in Thy love, unite it,
Cleansed and conformed unto Thy will.
As grain, once scattered on the hillsides,
Was in this broken bread made one,
So from all lands Thy Church be gathered
Into Thy kingdom by Thy Son.
Text: © The Church Pension Fund. Used by permission: LSB Hymn License no.
C. The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
D. In the Name of the Father…Amen.


Spiritual Conversations Workshops in June

When Christ came to live among us, he fed and healed people’s bodies, he cast out demons, he taught, and he had SPIRITUAL CONVERSATIONS.

We are delighted to announce that a series of three workshops will be held on Spiritual Conversations on June 7, 14, and 21, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The workshops draw on research from the Barna Group that people talk less about spiritual matters than they used to, but we all can become more intentional in our outreach and actually enjoy sharing Jesus with others when we do. This is a terrific opportunity to learn vital insights to help us carry out the Great Commission, so you won’t want to miss it. The public is invited, there is no cost.

Please click “Confirm Attendance” below if you would like to attend the workshops.

For more information, e-mail –, or contact the church office (501) 372-1023.

Reaching Out

6 Conversational Tips from the Master Himself

The message about Jesus is good news, and is most effectively shared in interpersonal conversations. Conversational evangelism was Jesus’ preferred approach. In John 4, Jesus is walking through Samaria, and stops to sit down. A woman approaches him and He asks her for a drink. They talk and He asks her to go find her husband. She replies she has been in multiple relationships and her current man is not her husband. She asks Jesus a question about the temple, and He tells her people can worship God anywhere. She asks Him about the Messiah, and He says He is the Christ. She runs and tells her whole village to come meet Jesus.
This famous story is a great model for us to introduce people to Jesus. Six things Jesus does with the Samaritan woman that we can emulate:
1) Start Conversations with Anyone
In John 4, Jesus spoke with a Samaritan – the hated enemy of the Jews. She is also a woman, and a Jewish man would never normally speak with her alone. However, Jesus initiates a conversation with her.
TRY STARTING: We all have friends we spend time with. But there are many others we can interact with: people in the workplace, neighborhood, supermarket, or coffee shop. Why not see every person we meet as a potential conversation partner?
2. Adjust Your Life Patterns to Make Conversations Possible
Jesus met the woman while on a journey. He could have walked around Samaria, but walked into it so He could connect with people who need Him.
TRY ADJUSTING: Join a club focused on your favorite hobby, go to a different restaurant, shop at a different store, or sit next to someone new at a public event. If you’re not talking to people who need Jesus, make small changes so that you can. Consider trading a church event for the opportunity to do things with people who don’t know Jesus.
3. Chat about Everyday Life
Jesus began by asking the woman for a drink of water. He didn’t say, “Let Me tell you about the Messiah—He’s me!” He knows any serious conversation is just a hair’s breadth away from the gospel.
TRY CHATTING: Tell them a story about your day. Ask them how their week has been, what they’ve enjoyed eating, reading, or watching. Start light and see where the conversation goes. The worst case is you have an interesting chat.
4. Ask Questions
Jesus suggests that the woman go find her husband. He could have told her she was using romantic relationships in a futile search for meaning. Instead, he asks a razor-sharp question that addresses who she is as a person.
TRY ASKING: Don’t think of yourself as the expert. Until you’ve asked some questions, you may not know how to relate the gospel to their lives.
5. Listen to Questions, Then Answer the Question Behind the Questions
The woman wants to know whether the Jewish temple or the Samaritan temple is the true place of worship. Jesus knows she is asking Him to state whether Jews or Samaritans are following the true religion. Instead, Jesus points her beyond religious places, toward relationship with Himself.
TRY LISTENING: Try not to argue, but get to the core of their concerns. For example, a question about the biblical teaching on homosexuality may really be asking: “Am I welcome in your Christian community?” or “Do you look down on me?” A good way to discern the underlying question<> is to say, “Good question, what do you think?” and then listen to what they say.
6. Share Jesus
The pinnacle of Jesus’ conversation with the woman comes when He tells her that He is the Messiah. She is so amazed, she runs and brings the whole village to come and meet Him for themselves.
TRY SHARING: A helpful question to ask yourself (and the Holy Spirit) is “How is Jesus good news for this person?” Is there a story about Jesus that is relevant to what you are discussing? Is a part of your personal testimony<> helpful? Share it and ask them what they think.
If people seem receptive, then it’s good to give them the opportunity to respond to Jesus. Ask them if they would like to welcome Jesus into their lives. If they say yes, find a quiet corner and pray together. Jesus never had the same conversation twice, so there is no one formula for sharing our faith. But we can draw inspiration from Jesus’ interactions with people. So let us go forth with the love and truth of Christ and witness to all He brings across our path, for time is short, eternity is forever, and we are not guaranteed tomorrow.

Adapted from article by Luke Cawley
InterVarsity Evangelism
To God be the glory


Sixth Sunday of Easter May 14 2023

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Sermon for 05.14.23 “Identity: God’s and yours”

Easter 6, May 14, 2023
Text: Acts 17:16–31
Theme: Identity: God’s and yours
Other Lessons: Psalm 66:8–20; 1 Peter 3:13–22; John 14:15–21

A. In the Name of the Father…Amen.
B. The reading from Acts 17 serves as our sermon text for this morning.
C. Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God our heavenly Father through
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
D. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:
LSB 594:1 God’s Own Child, I Gladly Say It
God’s own child, I gladly say it:
I am baptized into Christ!
He, because I could not pay it,
Gave my full redemption price.
Do I need earth’s treasures many?
I have one worth more than any
That brought me salvation free
Lasting to eternity!
Text: © 1991 Robert E. Voelker. Used by permission: LSB Hymn License no.

A. Where is your identity found?
1. Try asking that question at your next family get together!
2. Is your identity, that is, who you are, a product of what you decide and
do, or is it what you receive from God?
3. To put it another way, is who you are a self-construction, or are you
instead a creation of someone else, namely, God?
B. There seems to be much confusion about this in our world today.
1. A few years ago, in a paper for The Minnesota Review, culture and
gender-studies researcher Whitney Stark argued that physics based on the
laws of Newton is so oppressive because it divides the observed world (that
is, what we can see, hear, smell, taste, and touch) into binary categories,
such as particles versus waves and space versus time—structures that she
believes are arbitrary and lead to oppressive categories in other aspects
of life.
2. She contends, for example, that positive and negative charges observed
in nature encourage people to think in terms of male and female.
3. She believes that conclusions drawn from nature should be suppressed in
the name of social causes.
4. She maintains that individuals should construct for themselves who they
are (Whitney Stark, “Assembled Bodies: Reconfiguring Quantum Identities,”
The Minnesota Review 88 [2017]: 69–82).
5. She is not alone in this line of thinking.
6. This has become part of mainstream thought in our culture today.
a. This is central to what is known as “wokeism” and the cancel culture.
b. If your sole purpose is to see something as offensive, racist, bigoted,
or close minded, you will certainly not have any trouble finding it!
c. If you refuse to buy into the lies that are being sold, then you will be
labeled as:
1. Offensive
2. Racist
3. Bigoted
4. Close minded
5. And you are at risk of being “cancelled.”
C. This type of thinking, however, is disconnected from reality.
1. The fact is that human social and moral life are not arbitrary or
human-made constructions;
2. rather, they are connected to nature:
a. that is, to reality, and ultimately to the reality of God.
3. As the apostle Paul reminds us today:
a. Acts 17:25 (NASB95)
25nor is [God] served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since
He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things;
4. Paul goes on to say that we know who God is because we see Jesus Christ:
a. Acts 17:31 (NASB95)
31because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in
righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof
to all men by raising Him from the dead.”
b. That is to say, first, the identity of God is made known in and through
Jesus Christ and, second,
c. Acts 17:28 (NASB95)
for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have
said, ‘For we also are His children.’
d. In other words, God’s Identity Is Revealed to us and Our Identity Is in
Jesus Christ.
1. Knowing who God is necessary for us to know who we are.
A. Acts 17:22–23 (NASB95)
22So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I
observe that you are very religious in all respects.
23“For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your
worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’
Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.
1. God, to the philosophers of the Areopagus:
a. was a product of human imagination,
b. someone we or others construct for ourselves.
2. This is a form of identity theft, and this is a real problem in our
world today.
a. Someone other than yourself and for nefarious reasons:
1. Gets a credit card in your name.
2. Takes a loan out to get a car in your name.
3. Tries to sell your house without you knowing it in your name.
3. If we don’t know who God is, or if we seek to claim his identity for
a. we will never know who we are,
b. and we will never truly live as God created and redeemed us to live.
4. Paul states very simply:
Acts 17:29 (NASB95)
“Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine
Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and
thought of man.
5. If God is only a product of our imagination, it makes us God, and
therefore our own Creator.
a. But then to whom could we turn for help that’s bigger than ourselves?
6. We often do make God a figment of our imagination:
a. imagining he’ll answer prayers as we want,
b. tolerate sins we hold dear,
c. side with us in politics
d. or help us win personal squabbles.
7. But that isn’t the real God;
a. the real God would remain unknown to us.
b. So where would we be?
c. Would we even care?
2. In Christ, we do know who God is and who we are.
A. Unlike the ancient Greeks, we do know who God is.
1. The Athenians scoffed at the idea of the resurrection since they didn’t
believe flesh was worth raising
a. Acts 17:32 (NASB95)
32Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some began to sneer,
but others said, “We shall hear you again concerning this.”
2. The Greeks pictured their gods:
a. as appearing like humans, but never being humans, that is, flesh and
3. We know our God because he did become human:
a. flesh and blood that was not strange to him, but precious,
b. worth being the sacrifice on the cross for the sins of the whole world.
4. And when we see the man, Jesus Christ (verse 31), in the flesh, we see
God fully.
a. Jesus says in our Gospel reading for this morning:
1. John 14:20 (NASB95)
“In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in
B. Knowing God, then, we do know who we are.
1. We who are flesh like Christ are thus made in his image:
Acts 17:26 (NASB95)
and [God] made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face
of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of
their habitation,
2. We, as Christ’s brothers and sisters, are God’s children, as Jesus is
his Son:
a. Again John 14:20 (NASB95)
“In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in
b. God has called you by name to be his child in and through Holy Baptism.
c. Our Epistle lesson for today declares:
1 Peter 3:21 (NASB95)
Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from
the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the
resurrection of Jesus Christ,
3. We, therefore, have the purpose of being Christ to the world, not a
purpose of our own imagining.
A. John 14:21 (NASB95)
“He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he
who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will
disclose Myself to him.”
1. Witnessing to others (martyria)
a. Before God
b. To the world
2. Showing mercy (diakonia)
a. Regarded by God as dearly loved
b. Sharing that mercy with others.
3. In this Life together (koinonia)
a. This is our confession (who we are)
b. This is our witness (what the Lord wants others to be)
4. We are in Christ and will live forever:
A. John 14:19 (NASB95)
“After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me;
because I live, you will live also.

A. A pall, put on a casket at a funeral, is a reminder that in Holy Baptism
we are clothed with Christ.
1. It is like a bookend to the baptismal garment an infant wears when
baptized into Christ.
2. Both are reminders that in Baptism we are clothed with Christ.
3. We are clothed with his forgiveness, his righteousness, and his life
that conquers death.
B. Often there are symbols on a pall.
1. I’d like you to picture in your minds a pall with a red cross encircled
in gold.
2. This reminds us that the glory of God is seen in Jesus shedding his
blood and dying for us on a cross.
3. Such is his love for us.
4. Somewhat to the side of the cross is a pitcher with streams of water and
blood flowing out of it.
a. This calls to mind the living water of Christ’s love for us that flows
from the font into our hearts and lives and the blood of his life, which we
drink from the chalice.
5. Below all of this are still waters (Psalm 23) that remind us that in
Christ we have a “peace that surpasses all understanding.”
6. Finally, blooming out of the still waters is an Easter lily that in the
cold of winter is dead but with the warmth of the sun blooms anew.
7. In Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, we bloom anew in the glory of God,
never to die again.
8. We have a new identity in Christ:
A. Acts 17:28 (NASB95)
for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have
said, ‘For we also are His children.’

A. God said:
Genesis 1:26–27 (NASB95)
“Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule
over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle
and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the
27God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him;
male and female He created them.
1. Isn’t that interesting? Quantum physics confesses the reality of what
God has created.
2. Our Lord has made you and redeemed you by his name and Word to be who
you are, and it is good.
3. There is no one else like you.
4. To top it off, God loves you for who you are, who He created and
redeemed you to be.
5. You are important to him, and He will be with you forever in Christ.
B. Let us pray:
LSB 725:2 Children of the Heavenly Father
God His own doth tend and nourish;
In His holy courts they flourish.
From all evil things He spares them;
In His mighty arms He bears them.
Text: Public domain
C. The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.
D. In the Name of the Father…Amen.

Reaching Out

Let Us Run the Race That Is Set Before Us – Part II

While standing on the sidewalk at 9th and Rock Street on March 5 and watching the Little Rock marathoners trot by, I heard the sounds of people at a refreshment station and cheers of a young couple with a small child a little way behind me. They showed up to watch the runners and cheer them on. I could hear them clap and cheer on the runners: “Good job! You got this! You’re killing it! Good pace! You’re on your way! You can do it! Way to go! Great costume! I love your hat! Yay! Right on!”

I thought about moving a little farther away where it was a little quieter, but they were such an encouragement to me as well as the runners, I stayed within earshot of their cheers.

After the runners passed by, the couple left with their child. They came to cheer on total strangers – 7,000 of them, and then they left, having inspired many souls to do their best, striving to finish the race that was set before them. Perhaps they were really angels.
Think how it must have encouraged their child. We can just see them cheering on their child as he/she grows up and faces real life challenges: “Good job! We know you can do it! Way to go!”

That’s what the Holy Spirit does for us:
“Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.” Acts 9:31

Every person we meet is facing a life challenge; it may be a lack of finances, failing health, broken relationships, loneliness, despair, or and even the very purpose of life itself. They too are in a race, a race for life – a life filled with love and adventure, of meaning and purpose, a life well lived. But they (and we too) are confronted with obstacles – formidable obstacles beyond their control.

That’s where we too can be encouragers, to cheer them on and bestow them with courage (EN-COURAGE). And the most effective and powerful encouragement is not merely to encourage them to strive harder (because often that is insufficient), but to seek the Lord, His mercy, and His strength. We have a powerful ally that was absent with the marathon cheerleaders – it is the Holy Spirit, who is here to encourage, comfort, guide, and direct us on our life journey.

So our encouragement can be from the Lord and to the Lord:

· “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

· “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

· “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:5-7

One of the marathoners wore a T shirt that read: “Running for Life”. Yes, and the life God is calling us to transcends our physical existence. It is a higher calling and purpose in our lives we can fulfill only through Him, and is:
· a love for us to experience that can transform us,
· a battle for us to engage in that is worth fighting, and
· a story for us to live in that is far bigger and better than we can imagine.

Finally, this is what it will be like when we triumphantly enter the pearly gates of heaven. If we have received Christ as our Savior and repented of all of our sins, we will be welcomed into the Kingdom of Heaven by large throngs of angels, our loved ones, and many other saints rejoicing at our arrival, and welcoming us with great joy and cheers: “Great job! You made it! We knew you would! Great to see you! Welcome home!”

And when we arrive at the throne of God and stand before the sovereign, living God of the universe to give an account for our lives – the race set before us, we will hear Him say: ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; enter into the joy of your Lord.” Matthew 25:23

The Lord brings people across our paths for us to minister to (and be ministered to). These are divine appointments, so let us encourage them with the love and truth of Christ, for time is short, eternity is a very long time, and we are not guaranteed tomorrow.

To God be the glory


June First Sunday Fellowship Potluck

Join us Sunday, June 4th after our 10:30am worship service for a picnic-themed potluck! After the meal, stay and work off some calories by helping us set up for the church rummage sale!

A dish sign up sheet is available in the Luther Fellowship Hall by the coffee maker.

Members and guests are welcome!


Palm Sunday/Sunday of the Passion 5-7-2023

Check out the latest service at YouTube