Monday, November 19, 2018

Hymn Notes: Now Thank We All Our God (CW 610)


One of the hymns we sing at our Thanksgiving service without fail is "Now Thank We All Our God," (610, Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal).  While this hymn is sung with great joy, it was written by a pastor who had endured great heartache.  Consider this history of Pastor Martin Rinkart, author of the hymn.

"Now thank we all our God" is a popular Christian hymn translated from the German "Nun danket alle Gott", written c. 1636 by Protestant minister Martin Rinkart. The melody is attributed to Johann Crüger, who wrote it c. 1647.[1]
Martin Rinkart was a Lutheran minister who came to EilenburgSaxony at the beginning of the Thirty Years' War. The walled city of Eilenburg became the refuge for political and military fugitives, but the result was overcrowding, and deadly pestilence and famine. Armies overran it three times. The Rinkart home was a refuge for the victims, even though he was often hard-pressed to provide for his own family. During the height of a severe plague in 1637, Rinkart was the only surviving pastor in Eilenburg, conducting as many as 50 funerals in a day. He performed more than 4000 funerals in that year, including that of his wife.
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Now_Thank_We_All_Our_God

Despite the bitterness which had afflicted his life, Pastor Rinkart penned a hymn which urges us to give thanks to God in all circumstances.  No matter what our circumstances are, the Lord remains our good and merciful Father in heaven, the giver of every good and perfect gift, and the Savior of mankind.  

Join us this Wednesday, November 21 at 7:00 PM to sing this hymn, to ponder God's promises, and to give thanks to the Lord for all his goodness.

Now thank we all our God
   With hearts and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done,
   In whom his world rejoices, 
Who from our mother's arms
   Has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love
   And still is ours today.

Oh, may this bounteous God
   Through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts
   And blessed peace to cheer us
And keep us in his grace
   And guide us when perplexed
And free us from all ills
   In this world and the next.

All praise and thanks to God
   The Father now be given,
The Son, and Him who reigns
   With them in highest heaven,
The one eternal God,
   Whom earth and heaven adore!
For thus it was, is now,
   And shall be ever more.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Sermon -- 3rd Sunday of End Times (November 18, 2018)

DANIEL 12:1-3

YOU WILL SHINE IN GLORY.

In the name + of Jesus.

     What does a Christian look like?  I suppose your answer will vary depending on what has been going on or who you ask.  If you ask people who despise the Church, they will say that Christianity is about persecuting people who are different.  They will talk about the Crusades or the Spanish Inquisition or some misguided fool who thought it was his God-given job to blow up an abortion clinic.  I'm sure you've heard the charge before: “Christians are a bunch of hypocrites.”  Since some Christians have done horrible things over the years, unbelievers insist that this image represents all Christians.  It is not a fair description at all, but people use this image as the reason they don't want to be Christians.  They insist that they are better and more loving. 
     When you ask Christians what a Christian looks like, our answers might be as flawed as those who hate the Church.  We could look at the worst behavior of an unbelieving world.  It isn't hard to find.  Scripture warns us:  “In the last days there will come times of difficulty.  For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)  We might insist that Christians are better and more loving than that.
     But if we boast about how good Christians are, we might do nothing but heap guilt upon a lot of Christians.  We are all sinners, and sometimes we prove that in rather disappointing ways.  It is like saying, “Real Christians forgive like Jesus does.  Real Christians do not show favoritism or practice bigotry.  Real Christians do not get divorced or twist the truth or withhold charity.”  If we say things like this, then we will all have the same conclusion: “I guess I am not a real Christian, then.”  Now, if you want to talk about what a Christian should look and act like, then it is true.  We are supposed to direct our lives according to the Ten Commandments.  They are God's will for our lives.  They show us the good we are supposed to do and expose the evil we are to avoid.  We should obey them.  But we don't.  Real Christians are still real sinners.  The point is not that we have overcome all sins; the point is that we repent of them and, more importantly, we are forgiven for them.
     The prophet Daniel spoke about what Christians will look like.  He wrote: “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.  And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” (Daniel 12:2-3)  You will shine in glory.  The day will come when you will look like the children of God.  But note the verb tense.  It is future.  You will shine in glory.  You are not there yet. 
     We are the children of God.  This is what we confess because this is what God says.  “How great is the love our Father has lavished on us that we should be called the children of God!  And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1, NIV (c) 1984)  We believe we are children of God because God says so, not because it looks like it or feels like it.  Even if there are days when you feel unbelievably blessed by God, there will be plenty of days when you will be hounded by guilt, regret, and shame.  You will wonder if you really are a child of God, or if God really forgives you.  Others might challenge you: “How can you call yourself a Christian when you act like that!?”  What can we say?  Sins are sins.  Wrong is wrong.  A hypocrite will insist otherwise.  Instead, be honest: Confess your sins.  Amend your wickedness.  Repent.  And flee to Jesus.  He has a word that sustains you.
     You will shine in glory, but not yet.  Now, we live by faith, not by sight.  Now, we take God at his word.  The children of God always come to hear the Father speak tenderly through his Son, Jesus.  This is what the Lord says through the prophet Daniel: “Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” (Daniel 12:3)  You will shine in glory.  Never mind what it looks like now.  God has made you wise for salvation.  He has revealed Jesus to you as your Savior.
     What does God see when he sees you?  God tells you.  “In Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.  For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:26-27)  Through baptism, you have received all that Jesus Christ has done for you.  Jesus did perfectly order his life according to the Ten Commandments.  His enemies could not find fault with him, no matter how much they tried to entrap him or how severely they accused him.  The Father in heaven also declared that with his Son, he was well pleased.  Jesus' holy, obedient life was lived for you.  That is what covers you.  At your baptism, the Lord put his name upon you to mark you as his own.  He has made you a child of God, covered in the righteousness of Jesus, and cleansed you of all sin.  Since you are all sons of God, you are also heirs of the heavenly kingdom.  You are children of the resurrection.  You will shine in glory. 
     While your glory will come when people are raised from the dust of the earth, your place in God's family is already secure now.  You are the children of God because you have God's word on it.  Of course, we also want to live as children of God.  God's Commandments are good.  They direct us to what a good and godly life is supposed to look like.  Jesus has encouraged us, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)  In other words, it is God's will that we already begin to shine and to reflect Jesus' righteousness in our lives now.  The children of God are set apart, and we pray that it would look like it.  This is to God's glory, not ours.
     Nevertheless, our true glory does not come yet.  We still struggle against temptations.  And worse, we still give in.  Then we have to deal with shame, regret, and frustration.  There is a reason we still confess our sins.  We still have them.  We do not look like the children of God yet.  There is a reason we flee to hear God's word over and over again.  We live by faith, and our faith is informed and sustained by God's word.  He continues to declare his love for us, to absolve us of our sins, to feed us with the heavenly feast, and to encourage us to continue in godly living, no matter how much of a struggle that is.  He puts away our shame and regret, and he reminds us that we are his.  Even if you don't feel like it, you are.  The Lord says so, and we take him at his word.  We live right now by faith, not by sight.
     But Daniel's words are also true, for they are the word of the Lord: “Your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book.  And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.  And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” (Daniel 12:1-3)  You will shine in glory, for the Lord has written your name in the Book of Life, just as surely as he has written his name upon you through your baptism.
     What does a Christian look like?  A Christian is one who hears God's word, kneels at his altar, confesses his sins, confesses the faith, and strives to put God's word into action in his life.  How good that looks like to other people, or even to yourself, does not prove anything.  The world may define you by your flaws; the Lord does not.  Salvation belongs to those who are wise for salvation; for they hear God's word and believe it.
     But you will shine in glory.  On the Last Day, you will be raised from your grave, and you will look and act like the children of God he says you are.  You will be forever free from regret and shame.  You will be delivered from struggles against temptation and the frustration of your sins.  You will serve the Lord in perfect obedience and rejoice in doing his will without fault.  You will even be delivered from pain, sorrow, deformity, disability, disaster, and death.  For it will be an everlasting age of glory and peace.  This is your inheritance, for you are the children of God.  That is what you are now; for God has said so.  And soon, you will look like it; for you will shine in glory forevermore.

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen. 

Prayer for All Saints' Day

Every year, we remember the names of loved ones who have died in the Christian faith, praising God for the mercy he has had upon them and thanking God for preserving them in that saving faith throughout their life.  Normally, the names of these departed souls are recalled in a prayer on All Saints' Day, which is November 1.  Since Good Shepherd does not have a specific All Saints' Day service, we transfer this prayer and these remembrances to the 3rd Sunday of End Times which focuses on Saints Triumphant.  This year, we will offer up this prayer on November 18.

Members of Good Shepherd who have been called to eternal rest this past year are automatically included.  Also included in the following prayer are the names of loved ones who have died in the Christian faith between November 19, 2017 and November 18, 2018 which have been submitted by members of Good Shepherd members.


PRAYER FOR ALL SAINTS’ DAY
Almighty God, today we recall with thanksgiving those saints who were taken from us in the Church Militant and carried by the angels to you and the Church Triumphant.  Especially, we give you praise for our departed family and friends who have gone before us in faith and all those who are in our hearts and minds this day:

The names of those who are to be remembered are read.

Ryan Michael Fecho (October 20, 1982 – December 1, 2017), member
Eric James Schuster (March 2, 1951 – December 2, 2017), member
Herbert Helle (March 17, 1939 – December 14, 2017), father of Beverly Onder
Arnold Currey (January 15, 1923 – January 10, 2018), uncle of David Kirvan
David S. Shipe (October 4, 1962 – January 21, 2018), brother of Bob Shipe
Becky Ward (December 4,1953 – March 30, 2018), friend of Dave & Diane Rumics
Pastor Frederick William Casmer (May 15, 1954 – April 19, 2018), brother of Mark Casmer
Larry Leo Luedeman (August 15, 1938 – August 21, 2018), member
Dovie Elizabeth Casmer (November 13, 1923 – September 13, 2018), mother of Mark Casmer
Shirley Ann Belchunas (August 9, 1948 – September 23, 2018), aunt of Vicki Graves
George Jarrett Newton, Jr. (September 8, 1931 – August  26, 2018), uncle of Diane Casanova
Ron Goodline (August 14,1938 – October 21, 2018), brother of Diane Rumics
William Winterstein (March 9, 1928 – November 13, 2018), uncle of Jeanette Schneider

To these, you have granted eternal rest this past year.  We thank you for giving them new life in Christ while on this earth and for sustaining them in true and saving faith throughout their life.  We praise you for finally giving them the fulfillment of your promises of salvation and eternal life.  Strengthen and sustain us in this saving faith so that we may also join with the angels and archangels and all the company of heaven in joyful praise, peace, and rest forever; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Cong: Amen.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Hymn Notes: The Day Is Surely Drawing Near (CW 207)


Among the hymns we sing, there are some that are more solid, more moving, and more comforting than others.  Sometimes, it is an entire hymn that does it.  Occasionally, it is a single verse.

It might seem odd to some that a hymn regarding Judgment Day would provide such a comforting verse, but "The Day Is Surely Drawing Near" (207 from Christian Worship: A Lutheran Hymnal) does just that in stanza 5.  We will sing it this Sunday, but I think it would be worth memorizing and singing throughout the year.

My Savior paid the debt I owe
   And for my life was smitten;
Within the Book of Life I know
   My name has now been written.
I will not doubt, for I am free,
   And Satan cannot threaten me;
There is no condemnation!

Friday, November 16, 2018

Update from Good Shepherd (November 16, 2018)

Greetings!

REGULAR SCHEDULE
Our Divine Services are on Sundays at 10:00 AM.
Thursday services at 3:30 PM are also offered, but call or text to confirm you are coming (248-719-5218).  If no one calls to confirm their attendance, he may not be at the church.

SUNDAY SCHOOL & ADULT BIBLE CLASS
Our Sunday School & Adult Bible Class meet at 8:45 AM.

JESUS CARES MINISTRIES -- Worship at the Cross
Good Shepherd will be offering worship services and a Sunday School class for people with special needs.  These people, precious to Jesus, are often neglected.   This service will be offered on the 2nd Tuesday of the month at 6:30 PM.  Our start date will be Tuesday, December 11 at 6:30 PM.  The service is called "Worship at the Cross," since the word "worship" describes what we are doing better than Jesus Cares Ministries.  (NOTE: Jesus Cares Ministries and Worship at the Cross may be used interchangeably.  While Jesus Cares Ministries offers other programs, for our purposes, they refer to the same thing.)
Finally, in order for this ministry to truly be of service to those who need it, we need to publicize this.  If you know of anyone with developmental disabilities (e.g., Down Syndrome, Autism, et al.), please inform them of our Worship at the Cross efforts.  Word of mouth is usually best received, but you can help us get the word out in other ways, too.  Once again—we begin on Tuesday, December 11 at 6:30 PM.
You can find out more about Jesus Cares Ministries and Worship at the Cross at: http://www.tlha.org/jesus-cares-ministries .

ADULT BIBLE CLASS  — St. Paul's Epistles to Timothy

What does God expect of his church?  What does God desire for worship?  What are the qualifications and responsibilities of a pastor?  These are the questions St. Paul addresses in his letter to protegee, Timothy.  Having trained Timothy for years, St. Paul entrusted Timothy to serve as the pastor of the church at Ephesus.  Paul's instructions teach us what the ministry is supposed to look like.  These instructions still apply to Christ's Church today.
November 18 1 Timothy 2-3       (The pastoral office)
November 25 1 Timothy 4     (Apostasy and Faithfulness)
December 2         1 Timothy 5          (Instructions for the Church)
December 9         1 Timothy 6   (Striving for godliness rather than gain)
December 16 2 Timothy 1-2  (Guard your faith and your teaching)
December 23 2 Timothy 3-4      (Faithfulness in a faithless world)

SUNDAY NIGHT BIBLE SERIES
A latest series for our Sunday Night Bible Series has begun.  The next session will be THIS SUNDAY (November 18) at 6:00 PM.  This series, entitled “Eating God's Sacrifice,” explores the Lord's Supper portrayal in the Old Testament sacrifices.  While the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper flows from the Passover, its roots and forgiveness come from all the Old Testament sacrifices.  After viewing each DVD segment, Pastor Purdue and Pastor Schroeder will lead a discussion about the material which is in the DVD.  All sessions will begin at 6:00 PM.  These are intended to be interactive discussions as well as informational.  Desserts and snacks will be served.  All are welcome. 

OPEN FORUM & VOTER'S MEETING
On Sunday, November 18 after church, we will have an Open Forum to discuss the 2019 budget as well as plans for the coming year.  As we are all members of the congregation, we want all to ask questions, make suggestions, and give input to what we hope to do.
Following the Open Forum, the Voters' Meeting will take place to formally adopt our plans, based on input from the Open Forum.

THANKSGIVING SERVICE
Our Thanksgiving Service will be on Thanksgiving Eve – Wednesday, November 21 at 7:00 PM.  Bring your visiting families and join us!
Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever. (Psalm 118:1) 

HYMNFEST 
On Sunday, November 25, we will have a Hymnfest.  The hymns featured this year will represent Christian hymnody as it progresses through the Church Year – Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, and End Times.  Every year, the Church repeats the life of Jesus who lived, suffered, died, and rose for the salvation of his Church.  He sent his Holy Spirit to gather us together as his family of believers.  By repeating the words and works of Jesus every year, we are reminded of his mercies, strengthened in the faith, and properly focused on what keeps us in the Christian faith.  Our Hymnfest will not only allow us to sing a sampling of these hymns, but we will also consider the stories of the hymn writers, the background of the hymns, or ponder the message in them.

INTERCESSIONS 
Intercessions that are requested prior to the bulletin’s printing will be included in the bulletin.  Requests may be made prior to the service as well.
>   For the family of William Winterstein, uncle of Jeanette Schneider, who died this past week.
>   For Steve Smith, brother-in-law of David Kirvan, recovering from surgery

In our prayers....
While we offer up prayers for specific requests in our services, petitions and intercessions can be offered up throughout the week for continued concerns.  Please continue to remember these in your prayers:
-- For Dale Peterson, father of Jeanette Schneider, who is still recovering from a stroke
– For Andrew Schroeder's continued recovery after surgery
– For the family of  Dave Ziolkowski, uncle of Carol Casmer, who died this past week.

– For Mary Buccilli's continued recovery after surgery


DO YOU LIKE US?
Look for Good Shepherd on Facebook.  Then “LIKE” us for updates and other postings.

God bless you.

In Christ,
Pastor Schroeder

==============================

DIVINE SERVICES
     Sundays at 10:00 AM

SUNDAY SCHOOL
     Sundays at 8:45 AM

ADULT BIBLE CLASS
     Sundays at 8:45 AM

GOOD SHEPHERD’S WEBSITE

PASTOR SCHROEDER’S BLOG


Good Shepherd Evangelical Lutheran Church
41415 W. Nine Mile Road
Novi, Michigan  48375-4306
+   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +
Divine Services -- Sundays at 10:00 AM
www.GoodShepherdNovi.org

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Sermon -- 2nd Sunday of End Times (November 11, 2018)

JOHN 5:19-24

ALL JUDGMENT HAS BEEN ENTRUSTED TO JESUS.

In the name + of Jesus.

     Our Lord has taught us: “The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son.” (John 5:22)  We despise judgment, no matter who is doing it.  Judgment usually means that you have your faults pointed out, only to be looked down upon or rejected for those faults.  When a teenage boy walks down a hallway and sees two or three girls giggling, he assumes that they are talking about him.  He hates it, because he assumes it is ridicule and rejection.  If you go on a job interview, you know that you are being judged.  They are not only assessing your resume, they are assessing your personality, your intelligence, and your ability to work with others.  Their judgment—whether fair or not—determines if you will be employed by them.  If you post a photo of yourself on Facebook and you do not get enough “likes,” you wonder what is wrong with your friends … or with you.  You make judgments about them, assuming that they are making judgments about you. 
     We don't want to be subjected to judgment; we all long to be accepted, praised, and liked.  Still, you will never avoid being judged.  Or at least, you will assume you are being judged.  The way we cope with judgment is to condemn others for doing it.  Even people who have no use for the Bible know this verse: “Judge not, and you will not be judged.” (Luke 6:37)  But it is impossible not to judge.  We assess actions as good or evil.  Murder is bad.  So is lying.  So are drunkenness, fraud, and bigotry.  And even if you insist that you are open-minded enough to tolerate immoral behavior, you certainly recognize sin when it is done against you, and you judge the one who does it.
     Judgment is unavoidable.  Behavior is either good or bad.  Motives are either innocent or evil.  The question that needs to be answered is this: What determines your standard of judgment?  Too often, our judgment is assessed on what we like, what we hate, and what effects us personally.  Last week, a murderer killed a dozen or so people at a night club in Thousand Oaks, CA.  We all agree that this was evil.  But if it happened down the street, our sense of justice would be heightened.  If your brother had been among the victims, you would seek vengeance.  So, our judgment is skewed.  If your friend boasted how he defrauded the IRS, you might laugh with him that he was so clever.  In other words, you would feel like the IRS deserved such treatment and call it good.  If he defrauded you, you would call it evil.  Our judgment is skewed and selfish.
     Not so the Lord.  Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing.  For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.  ...The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son...” (John 5:19,22)  All judgment has been entrusted to Jesus.  And since he is in full agreement with the Father in heaven, he enforces the Commandments justly.  In other words, everyone who is guilty will be condemned accordingly.
     All judgment has been entrusted to Jesus.  He will come again the judge the living and the dead.  He will enforce God's Law.  That is what a fair judge does.  Your judge, Jesus Christ, however, is not a vindictive man.  Even though he has us dead to rights for our sins, he does not delight in vengeance or damning people.  He delights in showing mercy.  And God in heaven is not a tyrant who cannot wait to smite people.  He is your loving Father who desires that you live rather than perish.  The one who has been entrusted with all judgment has also been entrusted with your salvation.  That is why he says: “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life.  He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” (John 5:24)  
     All judgment has been entrusted to Jesus.  If you want to know your verdict at the judgment, listen to Jesus.  Of course, as a just judge, he cannot and does not merely dismiss the Commandments.  The Law must be upheld, and the obedient will be praised for it.  Jesus not only enforces the Ten Commandments, he also fulfills them.  But Jesus credits his holy, obedient life to you.  In your baptism, Jesus dresses you in a garment of salvation.  The robe of his righteousness is yours.  Through Jesus, you are found innocent because he is your righteousness. 
     All judgment has been entrusted to Jesus.  As a just judge, he cannot and does not merely dismiss the charges.  The guilty must be found guilty and pay the price.  So, to be just, Jesus assumed our guilt.  When he was condemned to die by crucifixion, he was also condemned for our sin and guilt.  Having been made sin for us, Jesus died the cursed death of the guilty for us.  Every bitter drop of God's wrath was consumed by Jesus.  Every hellish torment for sin was absorbed by Jesus.  The guilty one was condemned; for Jesus took your guilt and died your death.  In turn, you are declared “Not guilty;” yours has been taken away.  You are redeemed from death and hell; for the Lord does not punish the innocent.
     This is what delivers you from death to life.  Death was destroyed by Jesus when he rose from the dead.  And now you who believe in him and have been baptized into is name have already received your sentence.  The one who comes to judge the living and the dead is on your side.  All judgment has been entrusted to the Son.  Your verdict is full pardon and your sentence is everlasting life.
     Therefore, you do not have to fear your death bed or even a tragic, unexpected end to your life.  You do not have to worry if God likes you or will accept you.  And you do not even have to labor to find a word of praise from God.  He loves you dearly and says so.  He declared it with words and actions.  And he promises: “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life.  He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” (John 5:24)
     The world will still judge you, and many will find fault with you for some reason or another.  Don't let it bother you.  The judgment of sinners is always skewed and selfish.  We are always better at offering criticism than compassion, sarcasm rather than sympathy.  The only judgment that matters is from him who is coming to judge the living and the dead.  The only standard that endures is God's word.  Everything is measured by that.
     So, when you examine yourself by God's standard and find you have fallen short, flee to Jesus to hear your verdict again.  All judgment has been entrusted to the Son.  He who lived for you to fulfill God's Law, and he who had God's Law enforced against him for you—he is your judge, and he is on your side.  So flee to Jesus where he speaks to you.  Confess your sins so that your pastor, in Jesus' stead and by his command, can proclaim: “I forgive you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”  Flee to the altar where Jesus gives you his body and blood and declares: “For you, for the forgiveness of sins.”  Here, he repeats his judgment: You have passed from death to life.
     All judgment has been entrusted to the Son.  He accepts you as his own.  He pardons your offenses and praises you as his redeemed.  He likes you.  He gave himself into death to have you.  And he wants you to dwell with him forever.  Therefore, honor the Son by rejoicing in his verdict of salvation.  And in this way, you also honor the Father who sent him for you.

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen. 

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Manitowoc Lutheran High School Choir at Good Shepherd




Since we are hosting the students from the Manitowoc Lutheran High School Choir at Good Shepherd this weekend, they will be singing in our Sunday service (10:00 AM) as an expression of thanks.  After the service and a quick brunch, they will be heading off to Huron Valley Lutheran High School for the 2:00 PM sacred concert.

LANCER SINGERS

The Manitowoc Lutheran Lancer Singers have had the privilege of making music to the Lord since 1968!  For the past 50 years we have carried the message of salvation out in the Lakeshore community by participating in worship services at our federation congregations, performing in our school concerts, and representing our school at other congregational and civic activities.  We love proclaiming the wondrous works of our gracious God through word and song!

The Lancer Singers are a 24-voice an extra-curricular choir chosen by audition each year from the Manitowoc Lutheran student body.  The Lancer Singers have been extremely successful in the Wisconsin State Music Association district and state competitions.

The past 20 years they have received ratings of 1*and qualified for the state festival.  In April of 2008 the Lancer Singers were selected as the Best Overall High School Choir at the Chicago Festivals of Music.  They have received a gold 1st place rating at the World Strides Heritage Music Festival in Chicago (2012, 2014, & 2016) in the Vocal Jazz Choir category.  Overall, the continuous focus of the Lancer Singers is to sing our Lord’s praises with the gifts and abilities that HE has blessed us with.

        Thank you for allowing us to worship with you here today, and we pray your hearts are moved closer to your Savior Jesus today and every day!

“It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to make music to your name, O Most High, to proclaim your mercy in the morning and your faithfulness every night.” 
Psalm 92:1-2

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Adult Bible Class -- St. Paul's Epistles to Timothy

A new Adult Bible Class series begins this Sunday (November 11).  We will be reading through St. Paul's Epistles to Timothy.  The class begins at 8:45 AM.

        >  What does God expect of his church? 
        >  What does God desire for worship? 
        >  What are the qualifications and responsibilities of a pastor? 

These are the questions St. Paul addresses in his letter to protegee, Timothy.  Having trained Timothy for years, St. Paul entrusted Timothy to serve as the pastor of the church at Ephesus.  Paul's instructions teach us what the ministry is supposed to look like.  These instructions still apply to Christ's Church today.

The schedule for the class is as follows:

November 11 1 Timothy 1-2 (Warnings, blessings, prayers)
November 18 1 Timothy 2-3 (The pastoral office)
November 25 1 Timothy 4     (Apostasy and Faithfulness)
December 2 1 Timothy 5     (Instructions for the Church)
December 9 1 Timothy 6     (Striving for godliness rather than gain)
December 16 2 Timothy 1-2 (Guard your faith and your teaching)
December 23 2 Timothy 3-4 (Faithfulness in a faithless world)

Update from Good Shepherd (November 8, 2018)

Greetings!

REGULAR SCHEDULE
Our Divine Services are on Sundays at 10:00 AM.
Thursday services at 3:30 PM are also offered, but call or text to confirm you are coming (248-719-5218).  If no one calls to confirm their attendance, he may not be at the church.

SUNDAY SCHOOL & ADULT BIBLE CLASS
Our Sunday School & Adult Bible Class meet at 8:45 AM.

JESUS CARES MINISTRIES -- Worship at the Cross
IT IS A “GO!”  Good Shepherd will be offering worship services and a Sunday School class for people with special needs.  These people, precious to Jesus, are often neglected.  
        This service will be offered on the 2nd Tuesday of the month at 6:30 PM.  Our start date will be Tuesday, December 11 at 6:30 PM.  The service is called "Worship at the Cross," since the word "worship" describes what we are doing better than Jesus Cares Ministries.  (NOTE: Jesus Cares Ministries and Worship at the Cross may be used interchangeably.  While Jesus Cares Ministries offers other programs, for our purposes, they refer to the same thing.)
In order to assure that we are prepare for our first Worship at the Cross service, we will have a organizational/dry-run meeting on Tuesday, November 13 at 6:30 PM.  If you are interested or simply would like more information, please join us.  If you are interested but will be unavailable for the meeting, please speak to Pastor Schroeder
Finally, in order for this ministry to truly be of service to those who need it, we need to publicize this.  If you know of anyone with developmental disabilities (e.g., Down Syndrome, Autism, et al.), please inform them of our Worship at the Cross efforts.  Word of mouth is usually best received, but you can help us get the word out in other ways, too.  Once again—we begin on Tuesday, December 11 at 6:30 PM.
You can find out more about Jesus Cares Ministries and Worship at the Cross at: http://www.tlha.org/jesus-cares-ministries .

ADULT BIBLE CLASS  — St. Paul's Epistles to Timothy
What does God expect of his church?  What does God desire for worship?  What are the qualifications and responsibilities of a pastor?  These are the questions St. Paul addresses in his letter to protegee, Timothy.  Having trained Timothy for years, St. Paul entrusted Timothy to serve as the pastor of the church at Ephesus.  Paul's instructions teach us what the ministry is supposed to look like.  These instructions still apply to Christ's Church today.
November 11 1 Timothy 1-2 (Warnings, blessings, prayers)
November 18 1 Timothy 2-3 (The pastoral office)
November 25 1 Timothy 4     (Apostasy and Faithfulness)
December 2         1 Timothy 5         (Instructions for the Church)
December 9         1 Timothy 6   (Striving for godliness rather than gain)
December 16 2 Timothy 1-2 (Guard your faith and your teaching)

December 23 2 Timothy 3-4 (Faithfulness in a faithless world)


SUNDAY NIGHT BIBLE SERIES
        The next session of our Sunday Night Bible Series will be Sunday, November 18.  The series, entitled “Eating God's Sacrifice,” explores the Lord's Supper portrayal in the Old Testament sacrifices.  While the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper flows from the Passover, its roots and forgiveness come from all the Old Testament sacrifices.  After viewing each DVD segment, Pastor Purdue and Pastor Schroeder will lead a discussion about the material which is in the DVD.  All sessions will begin at 6:00 PM.  These are intended to be interactive discussions as well as informational.  Desserts and snacks will be served.  All are welcome.

CHORAL FEST AT HVL
On the weekend of November 9-11, Huron Valley Lutheran High School will be hosting Choral Fest.  It is a gathering of choirs from area Lutheran high schools around the country resulting in a choir of perhaps 200 voices, joining to unite their voices in praise to God.  There will be two concerts given by these choirs.  On Friday, November 9 at 7:00 PM, each high school's swing choir will perform for a Pops Concert.  On Sunday, November 11, there will be a mass choir presenting a sacred concert at 2:00 PM.

BRUNCH FOR MANITOWOC LUTHERAN HIGH SCHOOL (MLHS) CHOIR
        Since we are hosting the students from the MLHS Choir, they will be singing in our Sunday service as an expression of thanks.  After the service, we will be providing a brunch for them before they head off to Huron Valley Lutheran High School for the 2:00 PM sacred concert.
        If you are willing to provide food or beverage for this brunch, please check out the Sign Up Genius link here:  https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c054aafaa2aa0ff2-manitowoc 
        Thanks in advance for your generosity.

OPEN FORUM & VOTER'S MEETING
On Sunday, November 18 after church, we will have an Open Forum to discuss the 2019 budget as well as plans for the coming year.  As we are all members of the congregation, we want all to ask questions, make suggestions, and give input to what we hope to do.
Following the Open Forum, the Voters' Meeting will take place to formally adopt our plans, based on input from the Open Forum.

FOOD DRIVE FOR MARRIED SEMINARY STUDENTS
We have our annual Food Drive again for the married students at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary.  These gifts of food (or money, if you like) help the students keep their expenses down as they study to be pastors for our churches.  By keeping their food bill down, they can dedicate their expenses to rent, books, and tuition, among other things.
If you are willing to provide food, you may supply non-perishable food items, paper products, cleaning products, etc.  (Canned vegetables and cake mixes are not needed; they are supplied by another source.)  This collection will be taken through THIS SUNDAY (November 11).  The truck which delivers the food from all over Michigan will depart from Lola Park Lutheran Church in Redford on the morning of November 13.

CALL FOR NAMES – SAINTS TRIUMPHANT

Every year, we remember the names of loved ones who have died in the Christian faith, praising God for the mercy he has had upon them and thanking God for preserving them in that saving faith throughout their life.  Normally, the names of these departed souls are recalled in a prayer on All Saints' Day, which is November 1.  Since Good Shepherd does not have a specific All Saints' Day service, we transfer this prayer and these remembrances to the 3rd Sunday of End Times which focuses on Saints Triumphant.
  In addition to members of Good Shepherd who have been called to eternal rest, you may submit the names of your own loved ones who have died in the Christian faith between November 19, 2017 and November 18, 2018.  When submitting these names, please included
1.  the name of the deceased
2.  your name
3.  how he/she was related to you
4.  the dates of his/her birth and death, if known
All names given by to Thursday, November 15 will be submitted in the bulletin.  Names may still be submitted as late as Sunday morning, but will not be printed in the bulletin.

HYMNFEST 
On Sunday, November 25, we will have a Hymnfest.  The hymns featured this year will represent Christian hymnody as it progresses through the Church Year – Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, and End Times.  Every year, the Church repeats the life of Jesus who lived, suffered, died, and rose for the salvation of his Church.  He sent his Holy Spirit to gather us together as his family of believers.  By repeating the words and works of Jesus every year, we are reminded of his mercies, strengthened in the faith, and properly focused on what keeps us in the Christian faith.  Our Hymnfest will not only allow us to sing a sampling of these hymns, but we will also consider the stories of the hymn writers, the background of the hymns, or ponder the message in them.

INTERCESSIONS 
Intercessions that are requested prior to the bulletin’s printing will be included in the bulletin.  Requests may be made prior to the service as well.
>   For Mary Buccilli's surgery (11/9) and for continued recovery
>   For the family of  Dave Ziolkowski, uncle of Carol Casmer, who died this past week.

In our prayers....
       While we offer up prayers for specific requests in our services, petitions and intercessions can be offered up throughout the week for continued concerns.  Unless otherwise requested, these intercessions will be listed for about a month from their original prayer date in church.
        Please continue to remember these in your prayers:
– For Roland Schneider, father of Dan Schneider, recovering from injury.
– For the family of Ronald Goodline, brother of Diane Rumics, who was called to eternal rest (10/21).
-- For Dale Peterson, father of Jeanette Schneider, who suffered a stroke this past week

– Thanksgiving for a successful surgery for Andrew Schroeder


DO YOU LIKE US?
Look for Good Shepherd on Facebook.  Then “LIKE” us for updates and other postings.

God bless you.

In Christ,
Pastor Schroeder

==============================

DIVINE SERVICES
     Sundays at 10:00 AM

SUNDAY SCHOOL
     Sundays at 8:45 AM

ADULT BIBLE CLASS
     Sundays at 8:45 AM

GOOD SHEPHERD’S WEBSITE

PASTOR SCHROEDER’S BLOG


Good Shepherd Evangelical Lutheran Church
41415 W. Nine Mile Road
Novi, Michigan  48375-4306
+   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +   +
Divine Services -- Sundays at 10:00 AM
www.GoodShepherdNovi.org

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Sermon -- 1st Sunday of End Times: Reformation (November 4, 2018)


MARK 13:5-11

CLING TO SCRIPTURE ALONE SO THAT YOU WILL NOT BE DECEIVED.

In the name + of Jesus.

     Jesus issued a warning to the Church: “See that no one leads you astray.  Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray.” (Mark 13:5-6)  Now, to be fair, there are not many who are so bold as to claim that they are Jesus Christ.  They can be easily dismissed as liars.  But many come speaking in Jesus' name—and they do not all preach faithfully.  And many are led astray—because they are not listening carefully to the word of God.  See that no one leads you astray.  Cling to Scripture alone so that you will not be deceived. 
     Deceptions are dangerous because they are mostly true and sound good.  Sometimes we even want to believe that they are true.  When a person dies after a long bout with cancer, it is commonly said: “He's in a better place now.”  That is said of everyone who dies, and we want to believe it is true.  Sadly it is not.  Not everyone goes to heaven.  The Scriptures are painstakingly clear on this: Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:16)  
     Now, which one sounds nicer—everyone goes to a better place or whoever does not believe will be damned?  We would rather believe what sounds nice than what is true.  Do not be deceived: There is no salvation outside of Jesus.  There may be nice people outside of Jesus, but there is no salvation there.  This is why we yearn for people to come to church and to hear God's word.  That alone brings saving faith.  Cling to Scripture alone so that you will not be deceived.
     False teachers will come.  They will be friendly, engaging, and popular.  They may even believe what they are preaching.  However, no matter how popular a teaching is, no matter how long it has been around, and no matter how influential the teacher is, every teaching must always be measured by Scripture alone.  Salvation depends upon it.
     Today, we celebrate the Lutheran Reformation, which was ultimately a return to what the Scriptures teach.  It was not a new teaching; it was a rediscovery of the Bible.  But today is certainly not a day to pat ourselves on the back that we have it all figured out.  Jesus' warning still stands: “See that no one leads you astray.  Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray.” (Mark 13:5-6)  False teachers and deception never go away.  Each generation is plagued by them.  Each generation must learn God's truth, defend it, and stand firm in it.  Each Christian needs to cling to Scripture alone so that we will not be deceived.
     What triggered the Lutheran Reformation more than anything was one poor, miserable sinner's deep desire to know that he was truly saved.  He listened to his Church, which spoke in the name of Jesus.  He was told that God's favor was gained by all who did the works which God required.  Now, this sounds right.  The Ten Commandments tell us what God wants us to do.  We know that we are supposed to be good.  No one is opposed to people being good.  If you pay attention to the news, you are praying more and more that people would be good.  But how good do you have to be to be saved?  How many good deeds are necessary?  How do you know if you are doing the right good deeds?  Are you praying enough?  Are your offerings enough?  Is your church attendance good enough?  Are you keeping your life free from enough vulgarity or moral failings?  If your goodness is essential for your salvation, will you ever know if you are saved?  Or can you ever be saved? 
     Cling to Scripture alone so that you will not be deceived and so that you will not despair.  How do we know we are saved?  Well, it is true that holiness is necessary for salvation.  For this is what the Scriptures teach: “Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD?  And who shall stand in his holy place?  He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.” (Psalm 24:3-4)  So, how do we find this righteousness?  Again, to the Scriptures: “But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.” (Romans 3:21-22)  
     The very holiness you need Jesus Christ supplies to you.  While we strive to do good works because we want to honor and thank God, our works do not save us.  Jesus Christ does because he is our righteousness.  Jesus was not merely good; he was perfectly obedient to God's commands.  But he exchanged his righteous life for our guilt.   The Righteous One died for the unrighteous.  Again, to the Scriptures: “For our sake (God) made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)  Jesus Christ has become your sin and has taken up your curse.  You, in turn, have received his righteousness.  How?  Again, to the Scriptures: “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:27)  No matter how much the devil may torment you about your sins, you have the word of God to shut him up.  That word and promise were sealed upon you through your baptism.  God does not lie to you, but continually assures you that your sins are forgiven.  Therefore, you are saved by faith in Christ alone.  Cling to Scripture alone so that you will not be deceived.
     Once Martin Luther took this to heart, he preached it, wrote about it, and sought to bring it to light.  He not only preached God's truth, Luther also wrote scathing words about the pastors and priests who were speaking in Jesus' name that Jesus is a God whose favor is gained by purchasing indulgences, by making pilgrimages to holy places, by praying to the dead, and so on.  There was no word of Jesus being a Savior who died for sinners and forgives them.  Luther was determined that everyone hear God's word of salvation through Jesus and to receive the comfort he had through it.  After several years of upholding God's truth and exposing deceivers, Luther was summoned to appear before the king and governors.  They demanded that Luther retract everything or face the consequences, which certainly meant death as a heretic.  Luther must have recognized that, if he did not retract everything and get back in line with the Church, the Church would be fractured forever.  So, if you want to lay the blame for so many denominations at the feet of Martin Luther, I guess this is where it happens.  But peace and unity at all costs has a great cost.  It meant forfeiting the Scriptures and Jesus' promises to preserve one church organization.
     Luther did not appeal for tolerance.  He did not demand freedom to believe what he wanted to believe.  Luther was captive to God's word.  He was willing to retract anything—as long as the Scriptures would be used to correct him.  He knew that Popes and Church Councils and pastors could err, and that they had.  He knew that he could err, for he was just as human as they were.  But the Scriptures do not lie.  They will never deceive us.  And so he took has stand there, willing to suffer whatever he had to.  As long as he was able to stand on the Scriptures alone, he knew that he was standing firm.
     Jesus commanded us: “See that no one leads you astray.  Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray.” (Mark 13:5-6)  Many come in Jesus' name.  Many claim to preach Jesus' word.  And many follow.  Only those who cling to Scripture alone, however, will not be deceived by clever arguments or persuasive preachers.  Be on your guard.  You will be tempted to concede parts of God's word for the sake of harmony with the world.  As we see the world filled with wars, rumors of wars, famines, earthquakes, and so forth, many will plead with us that our greatest goal will simply be to get along with each other and to work to make things better.  We will be urged to put aside beliefs for the sake of peace and love.  It is attractive and deceptive.  Who despises peace?  Who doesn't want people to get along or to work together for better lives? 
     But peace at all costs has a great cost.  If we have to forfeit portions of God's word to achieve that, then we will choose faithfulness to God's word and the consequences of a petty world.  We will confess what the Holy Spirit has given us—the Holy Scriptures.  And, of course, if you are going to confess what they say, you have to know what they say.  So, if you do not want to be led astray, cling to the Scriptures alone.  Read them.  Learn them.  Come to Bible Class and ask questions about them.  Meditate upon them.  Commit yourself to them. 
     Cling to the Scriptures alone.  Scripture alone assures you of forgiveness.  Scripture alone guarantees salvation.  Scripture alone will never deceive you or disappoint you.  Rather, it delivers you comfort and confidence that God saves you.

In the name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.