Monday, September 28, 2009

St. Michael and All Angels--September 29

"Feasts in honor of angels developed particularly in the East. After the time of Constantine many churches were dedicated in honor of Michael, the only archangel named in Scripture (Daniel and Revelation). Gabriel is the only other angel mentioned by name in Scripture proper, though Raphael and Uriel are named in the Apocrypha. September 29 was the date of the dedication in the fifth century, of a small basilica on the Via Salaria, six miles from Rome, the first church in Italy dedicated in honor of Michael.

The feast which commemorates this event, and which eventually regarded Michael as representative of all angels, gradually spread throughout the West. The Council of Mainz introduced it A.D. 813 and the popularity of the “warrior saint” in Teutonic lands is shown by the large number of churches which bear his name. King Ethelred established the feast in England in A.D. 1019. The term “All Angels” is an Anglican addition at the time of the Reformation."

"The Lutheran Liturgy" by Luther D. Reed, p. 506

Let us pray:
O Everlasting God, Who hast ordained and constituted the services of angels and men in a wonderful order: Mercifully grant, that as Thy holy angels always do Thee service in Heaven, so by Thy appointment they may succor and defend us on earth; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord. Amen.

This Week at Mt. Olive

Good evening, fellow redeemed!

The ministry of angels - this Tuesday being St. Michael and All Angels Day - brings more speculation than anything. Throughout Holy Scripture, we see that the ministry of angels is the ministry of the God of Israel. Never slumbering, always watching over (Psalm 121), bearing up God's people from harm (Psalm 91), fighting against the devil and his angels (Revelation 12), bearing the souls of God's people to rest in their Lord's presence (Luke 16). Instead of speculation, let's rejoice in the ministry of God's angels, graciously provided because of His great love in Christ.

This coming Sunday at Mt. Olive resumes the regular worship schedule - 8 and 10:30 a.m. with Sunday School and Adult Bible Class at 9:15 a.m. This Sunday also celebrates the ministry of the Lutheran Women's Missionary League in the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod. The original mission organization in the LCMS, for many years the LWML as it's known has supported mission endeavors at home and abroad. In many places, prison ministry happens because of the contributions of the LWML. Seminary students, foreign and domestic missionaries, as well as organized mission endeavors receive needed support from the LWML.

Along with LWML Sunday in October comes the Fall Zone Rally at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Bishop, beginning at 2 p.m.

Wednesday night there will be a rehearsal for Guitar Worship (in October) from 7-8 p.m.

Prayer Needs:
Judy Rohde and her family as they mourn the death of her father
Four families transferring into Mt. Olive this week (the Blanc Family, the Sorensen Family, Liz Childs, Gloria Garza)
Those going through Adult Instruction - Ryan Radtke
Those going through Jr. Confirmation: Patrick Martin, Thomas Martin, Dylan Placke, Katlyn Figueroa, Jackson Willougby, Miranda Johnson, August Worley, Trevor Johnson, Andrew Jones
Sr. Youth who began making plans to attend the National Youth Gathering next summer
Those who serve in our armed forces: Michael Baker (Iraq), Edwin Rodriguez (Afghanistan), Andrew Epley (preparing for deployment), Richard Rhode (North Carolina), Dru Blanc and Chris Sorensen (NAS Corpus Christi)

God bless!
Pastor Kevin Jennings

This Week at Mt. Olive:
Monday, September 28
Girl Scout Troop Meeting, 6:30 p.m.
Zumba Aerobics, 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, September 29
Board of Education meeting, 6 p.m.

Wednesday, September 30
School Chapel, 8:30 a.m.
Bible Study, 9:30 a.m.
Choir Rehearsal, 6 p.m.
Zumba Aerobics, 7 p.m.
Guitar Worship Practice, 7 p.m.

Thursday, October 1
Cub Scout Pack 278 Den Meetings

Monday, September 21, 2009

Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost – Proper 21 September 27, 2009

Lessons for Proper 21 (Lutheran Service Book)

Numbers 11:4–6, 10–16, 24–29 ~ God spread His Spirit to the elders of Israel to lighten Moses’ load.
Psalm 104:27–35 (antiphon: v. 24)
James 5:(1–12) 13–20 ~ We must not hinder people in their faith with our self-indulgence and impatience.
Mark 9:38–50 ~ Jesus warned the disciples not to let their jealousy get in the way of the gospel message.

GATHERING THE TEXTS: What Are You Jealous For?
What makes you jealous? Joshua wanted to preserve Moses’ exclusive claim to prophecy. When we indulge ourselves with luxury and time, it does not promote the welfare and faith of God’s people. Jesus’ disciples were protecting their close relationship with Jesus. God wants us to be jealous, not for advantages and privileges we may enjoy, but for his Gospel and the spread of his Kingdom no matter who is spreading it.

PRAYER BEFORE THE SERVICE: “Teach me, O Lord, to follow your decrees; then I will keep them to the end. Give me understanding, and I will keep your law and obey it with all my heart. Amen. (Ps 119:33-34 NIV)

STEWARDSHIP THOUGHT: When we compare the blessings God has given to us with those He has given to other people, we often become jealous or proud. God has given us blessings to share, not to compare.

OFFERING PRAYER: Lord, listen to our heart-felt prayer:
Incline our hearts that we may share
The blessings You have given for all
In service to Your kingdom’s call. Amen.

CONVICTION AND COMFORT: Why is it that we get jealous when we see others prosper? Instead of patiently waiting for the Lord’s results and rejoicing in His work, we carve out our own area of influence and protect our own prestige. God’s word reminds us that anything we do that hinders another person’s faith is harmful to our own spiritual life! Thanks be to God that He so jealously protects His chosen people that He gave His own Son to claim and rescue us even from our own partiality.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

This Week at Mt. Olive

Good evening, fellow redeemed!

Reflecting on the Gospel for this morning from Mark 9, Martin Luther wrote the following (copied from The Memorial Moment of September 14):
"When faith begins, God does not forsake it; He lays the holy cross on our backs to strengthen us and to make faith powerful in us. The holy Gospel is a powerful Word. Therefore it cannot do its work without trials, and only he who tastes it is aware that it has such power. Where suffering and the cross are found, there the Gospel can show and exercise its power. It is a Word of life. Therefore it must exercise all its power in death. In the absence of dying and death it can do nothing, and no one can become aware that it has such power and is stronger than sin and death. Therefore the apostle says 'to prove you'; that is, God inflicts no glowing fire or heat-cross and suffering, which make you burn-on you for any other purpose than 'to prove you,' whether you also cling to His Word. Thus it is recorded in Wisdom of Solomon 10:12 of Jacob: 'God sent him an arduous contest, so that he might know that godliness is more powerful than anything.' God lays a cross on all believers in order that they may taste and prove the power of God--the power which they have taken hold of through faith."

I attended a family reunion yesterday and today. It was great to be able to see all kinds of relatives I hadn't seen in a few years. If you get the chance to do the same, don't pass it up.

Something that missed the bulletin this morning:
Today is Victoria Slinin's 17th birthday! Happy Birthday, Victoria, and God's richest blessings! I hope you have a blessed celebration.

Cub Scout Pack 278 has its first den meetings this coming Thursday night at 6:30 p.m.

Please note the new Choir Rehearsal time: 6 p.m.

Prayer Requests:
Vesper Dobrowski, infant granddaughter of Lou Jander, born 3 1/2 weeks early and having some breathing difficultie
Pastor Gilbert Franke, formerly of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Bishop, Texas, who is retiring
The pastors and churches of Circuit 27
Those who serve in our armed forces, especially Michael Baker (Iraq), Edwin Rodriguez (Afghanistan), Andrew Epley (preparing to deploy), Richard Rhode (North Carolina)
The schools, colleges, universities, and seminaries of the Church
The faith of our children
The baptismal life with which we have been blessed

In Christ,
Pastor Kevin Jennings

This Week at Mt. Olive (I'll send out changes or updates if I learn of any):
Monday, September 21, 2009
Girl Scouts (I can't remember the time - egad!)
Zumba Aerobics, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Board of Elders, 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Choir Rehearsal, 6 p.m.

Thursday, September 24, 2009
Cub Scout Pack 278 den meetings, 6:30 p.m.
STARC (South Texas Amateur Radio Club), 7 p.m.

Looking Ahead:
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Voters Meeting!
9:30 a.m. Worship
10:30 a.m. Sunday School, Voters Meeting
11:30 a.m. Meal, NYG meeting
Jr. Confirmation Instruction, 12 - 2 p.m.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Holy Cross

Holy Cross Day—September 14
Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine. Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die. John 12:20–33
Lift high the cross
The Love of Christ proclaim
Till all the world
Adore His sacred name

Oh the glorious things that those around Jesus saw over the course of his lifetime! The angels of heaven singing at his birth! The calming of the seas and the healing of the sick! The feeding of the multitudes and even the raising of the dead! Any one of these moments and events a sufficient testimony to the Good News that the God of glory and might had chosen to take on human flesh and make his dwelling with man!
And yet it is a very different kind of moment and event that Jesus himself identifies as revealing the glory of God—it is his death on the cross. “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified” he said referring to the sacrifice he was about to make. “It is for this purpose that I have come to this hour.”
Knowing just a bit about the horrors and indignities of death by crucifixion, our old sinful man recoils at the very idea that it is there—in a bleeding, dying man held upon a cross by nails—that the glory of God is revealed. But it is—and thank God that it is so!
Jesus’ miracles reveal the might of God—but it is only his death on the cross that reveals the true glory of God which is his love for a world full of sinners—for you and me. It is only there at the cross that we can know—beyond any shadow of a doubt—what God’s attitude is towards us: that he loves us and has sacrificed what is most precious for us—so that we might be his own.
The glory of God in the Man of the cross is what inspired the Apostle Paul to write to the Corinthians that he desired to know nothing among them except Jesus Christ and him crucified and it is what inspired the hymn-writer to say:
In the cross of Christ I glory
Tow’ring o’er the wrecks of time
All the light of sacred story
Gathers round its head sublime.

Let us pray:
Merciful God, Your Son, Jesus Christ, was lifted high upon the cross that He might bear the sins of the world and draw all people to Himself. Grant that we who glory in His death for our redemption may faithfully heed His call to bear the cross and follow Him, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost – Proper 20 September 20, 2009

Lessons for Proper 20 (Lutheran Service Book)

Jeremiah 11:18–20 ~ When God showed Jeremiah the plots against him, he trusted completely in the Lord.
Psalm 54 (antiphon: v. 4)
James 3:13—4:10 ~ The wisdom of God has no place for selfishness, but fills us with grace and peace.
Mark 9:30–37 ~ Jesus showed the disciples that the greatness of life is measured by the depth of its service.

GATHERING THE TEXTS: Where is the Honor in Being Chosen?
Usually being chosen first is a sign of honor and respect. Jeremiah was chosen to be God’s prophet in a tough time. Even his family plotted against him. James explained that once God has chosen us, we must choose lives of peace, mercy, and service. Jesus showed us what it means to be chosen: He is the first to give his life in service. We have also been chosen for service in God’s family. What a risk -- and what an honor!

PRAYER BEFORE THE SERVICE: Lord God, by choosing me through the water of Baptism and the Word of Your Grace, You have laid some difficult choices before me. Give me vision to see those choices clearly and strength to carry them out willingly so that with humility and joy, I may serve others as I serve You. Amen.

STEWARDSHIP THOUGHT: God has called us to lives of service and has provided us with goods and skills to help others. When we follow Jesus’ example we give ourselves in service.

OFFERING PRAYER: Lord Jesus, You have truly said that life is measured best
When every opportunity that puts us to the test
Is met with grace to welcome little ones by word and deed,
And willing hearts to use Your gifts to ease another’s need. Amen

CONVICTION AND COMFORT: It is because of our selfish ambition that we quarrel about who is the greatest and justify our desires with unspiritual, demonic wisdom. It was because of that attitude on the part of leaders in Jesus’ day and those attitudes in our own hearts today, that Jesus made Himself servant of all, and let Himself be delivered into the hands of men. It is through His sacrificial service that Jesus has rescued us from our own greed and handed us over to God’s grace and mercy, that we may live it out in our service to the poor and burdened of this world.

Prayer Request

We want to remember our brother in Christ Kevin who had a bit of a health scare on Sunday. He did not have a heart attack but a firm diagnosis is still to come. Please remember him in your prayers.

This Week at Mt. Olive

Good afternoon, fellow redeemed!

This Gospel for today from Mark 9 is a great lesson for us as Christians. Like the father of the demon-possessed boy, unbelief lies always close at hand for us and for all God's people. We may hold up our faith as a standard, but the truth is one small instance can bring on the darkness of unbelief in a split second. As the father of the child confessed his faith, as well as his weakness of unbelief, he was really revealing to Mark's readers, to us, where his trust was located. You see, the casting out of the demon from the boy wasn't dependent on the man's faith; it was done solely by the Lord Christ. There was nothing in the man at all, for it was in the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ that the demon-possessed boy would receive his deliverance. Jesus' words to the disciples at the end of the text, that this kind only come out by prayer, sheds light on the puny trust these disciples had in their Master. In His words, Jesus calls all to believe that He alone is able to bring about deliverance from sin, death, and even the devil.

Many of you are no doubt wondering about my condition. I'm at home and I'm tired. During the communion liturgy at early service this morning, I endured pains going up the left side of my chest and through my left shoulder. The pain was sufficient so that I could not take a deep breath in order to project as I usually do. After a while of this, I finally finished the prayer and the service. Many of you were gathered at Mary's office as I was wheeled into the ambulance and taken to the hospital. The good news that there is no indication of a heart attack. This was confirmed by EKG, blood enzyme tests, and a chest x-ray. The not so definite news is that this doesn't rule out any heart disease. My instructions are to call my doctor and undergo a stress test (again) to rule out the heart (again).

My thanks to Pastor Childs, Sean, Mike Johnson, Mike Shumway, Kim, Dawn, and a whole host of others whose names escape me. I praise God for your concern and for your help in making sure God's gifts were still given to His people this morning.

I do have a question, though: If anyone could give me an update on the progress in Bible Class I'd really appreciate it.

On Rally Day of this year, a list was provided of all Sunday School teachers and their respective levels. I know it's been a few weeks and you probably don't have that list handy. What I do encourage is this: Please remember the Sunday School teachers at Mt. Olive, by name if possible, as they assist in the ministry of the Word. And, please remember the young hearts that receive their teaching, that they may be open to the Holy Spirit's working through the Word these teachers bring.

Wednesday evening will involve two important activities. One is choir at Mt. Olive. The other is the opening rally for Cub Scout Pack 278 at Club Estates Elementary.

The MOSH, that's Mt. Olive Sr. High youth, bowling event went as scheduled. My thanks to Liz Childs and Emily Jirovec in making sure this event happened. I'm still waiting on the play by play of the bowling. I wonder if anyone broke 200? 100? Did anyone ask for the bumpers?

Last week, I gave out a couple of raido programs online that I've come to know and love. Two more email services bring Christ-centered devotions to my inbox each weekday. One is The Meyer Minute, written and produced by Dr. Dale Meyer, president of Concordia Seminary in St. Louis and speaker for Mt. Olive's 50th anniversary. You can read these devotions or subscribe at The second devotional email I get on weekdays comes from Pastor Scott Murray of Memorial Lutheran Church in Houston, Texas. It's called the Memorial Moment. It's a bit longer, containing a Scripture passage, a devotional thought, and a writing from one of the Church Fathers. You can subscribe at

Please remember in prayer:
The Sunday School at Mt. Olive
The Church Council, meeting tomorrow night, that they would continue to delight in God's Will
The Church throughout the world as she proclaims the Word of Christ
The baptized, that they may hold securely to their Lord Jesus
Those who serve in the armed forces of our nation, especially Michael Baker (Iraq), Edwin Rodriguez (Afghanistan), Andrew Epley (preparing to deploy to Iraq), and Richard Rhode (North Carolina).
The President, Congress, our governor, and all magistrates, that they would be guided in the ways of justice and truth

God bless!

This Week at Mt. Olive
Monday, September 14
Church Council, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, September 16
8:30 a.m. School Chapel
9:30 a.m. Bible Class (Mystical Experiences begins this week)
6:30 p.m. Choir

Sunday, September 20
No Confirmation Class, as I have a prior commitment.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost – Proper 19 September 13, 2009

Lessons for Proper 19 (Lutheran Service Book)

Isaiah 50:4–10 ~ The Lord’s servant had an encouraging word to speak, but was met with reviling ridicule.
Psalm 116:1–9 (antiphon: v. 5)
James 3:1–12 ~ The words we speak, whether good or bad, have great power to help or harm others.
Mark 9:14–29 ~ With a sharp word, Jesus rebuked an evil spirit, and it released a boy who had been deaf.

GATHERING THE TEXTS: What’s on the Tip of Your Tongue?
Isaiah spoke for the Lord’s servant who brought a new word of encouragement every morning, but was met each day by opposition and ridicule from those who would not listen. Jesus demonstrated to the disciples that even a deaf spirit hears and obeys the word spoken by the Son of Man. St. James pointed out that our tongues, although they are only a small part of the body, can drive us to destruction or lead us in giving praise to God.

PRAYER BEFORE THE SERVICE: Lord Jesus, let me hear Your powerful word to heal and strengthen me. Give me an encouraging word to bless my friends and neighbors. Let me speak words of praise to glorify Your name that all may know Your gift of love and mercy. Amen.

STEWARDSHIP THOUGHT: Words at our command can help or harm our neighbors, just as we can use the material blessings God has put at our disposal either to bless or to oppress.

OFFERING PRAYER: Lord, Your Word made flesh brought teachings we should heed!
In these gifts flesh out our words with loving deeds. Amen.

CONVICTION AND COMFORT: We often subscribe to the idea that “words can never hurt me.” Although we have all known hurt enough from things others have said, we still think the careless, and at times malicious, use of words is no big deal! When recognize that we have failed to speak healing words to the hurt and disconsolate, God’s Word in Christ is a mighty power to redeem us from the bondage of our own sentence of destruction.

Winkel Tomorrow

I want to remind you that our circuit winkel with circuit 28 will be held tomorrow at St. Paul-Raymondville. I have one more spot in my car if anyone would like to ride along. I will leave from Kingsville at 7:30 A.M.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

This Week at Mt. Olive

Good evening, fellow redeemed!

It wasn't the text of sermon this morning, but the text from Mark 7 about about the Syro-Phonecian woman and her demon-possessed daughter continues to be one of my favorites. In this text, our Lord Jesus Christ reveals the great love and mercy of God. The woman is a Gentile, and she knows God's choosing of Israel. Yet, her trust isn't in arguing a loophole or her own worthiness for Jesus' attention. Rather, her trust is in the overflowing mercy of God. The great lesson of the text really informs our prayer life. How many times have we gone to our Lord, seeking something puny. Yet, what's the testament of Scripture: My cup overflows! God's answer to our prayers is overflowing, providing more than we could even think to ask or ever deserve. Why? It's all for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ.

If you haven't noticed, we're doing the Children's Message again. I'm following a basic outline of the Lord's Prayer right now, both in the school chapel services and the Children's messages. This week's text was the first petition, Hallowed be Thy name. This coming Sunday, the text for the Children's Message will be the second petition, Thy Kingdom come. To prepare your children, and maybe yourself, take a look at the second petition and explanation in the Lord's Prayer.

You may have also noticed a slight change in the worship liturgy. We'll continue that change, plus a bit more in the communion liturgy, until the end of the Church Year.

Tuesday night, the Lutheran Women's Missionary League meeting schedule picks up again. The LWML, as it's known, meets at Mt. Olive at 6:30 p.m. As a side note, each year the LWML in the U. S. contribues millions of dollars to missions both here and abroad.

This coming Sunday, September 13, the Adult Bible Class begins a new series on the Muslim faith. It's an A/V series and will combine a video and discussion each week.

Jr. Confirmation kicks off again this week, beginning Sunday at 12:30 p.m. I'll be using a curriculum this year that employs both an online component and class participation, along with Bible study and study of the hymnal.

Saturday, September 12, will be the second of a post-high school group just formed this year (we still need to come up with a name). We'll meet at 6 p.m. at the church and go from there!

Sunday, September 13, the Sr. Youth (MOSH) will meet for bowling! Watch for a time change, as we'll need to arrange a time that works with the bowling alley schedule. A blast later this week will also give some cost figures.

"I was listening to a radio program earlier..." You've probably heard me say that either in a meeting or in Bible Class or even in worship. There are two primary programs I listen to, and both have free downloads. One is called Issues, Etc. This program is hosted by Rev. Todd Wilken and comes from Collinsville, IL. This is a confessional Lutheran program that addressed many of the currents in church and society with a Lutheran response. It can be heard (or downloaded to your MP3 player) at

The second program is called The Whitehorse Inn. This program tends to be a bit more broad, but does include a well-known Lutheran apologist on its regular panel. It comes from the Los Angeles area, addressing many of the currents in church and society from a conservative Christian point of view. This program can be heard or downloaded at

I will be out of the office on Tuesday for this month's Circuit Conference.

One last note: I try to keep current with email addresses, but I don't always succeed. If you know of someone who is not on the list, please feel free to forward the message. Then, please give me a reply with the address I need to include.

Prayer Needs:
Elvira Michalk, hospitalized
Kathy Jennings, undergoing a back treatment this week
All the baptized, that they may confess their faith in the Triune God boldly
All pastors, as they get back to the task of instructing young people
The President, the Congress, and all our nation's leaders, that they may govern with wisdom and integrity
The Church throughout the world, that our Lord would keep His people from the evil one
The whole Church, as we pray together, "Come quicly, Lord Jesus!"

God bless!

This Week at Mt. Olive:
Church Office and School are closed
7 p.m. Girl Scout Troop Meeting

6:30 p.m. Lutheran Women's Missionary League

8:30 a.m. School Chapel
9:30 a.m. Bible Class
6:30 p.m. Choir (watch for any special announcements - depending on how Kathy's feeling after her treatment)

6:30 p.m. School Night of Scouting for Pack 278

6 p.m. Young Adult Bible Class

Looking Ahead:
8 a.m. Divine Service
9:15 a.m. Sunday School (invite your neighbors!)
and Bible Class
10:30 a.m. Divine Service
12:30 p.m. Confirmation Instruction
TBA MOSH (Sr. Youth)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Family Altar

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deuteronomy 6:4-7

I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy. I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:3-7

The new school year is back in full swing and if your schedule is anything like ours, it seems as if there are more things to do than there are hours in the day. Knowing how tired so many of us are and how hectic our schedules are, I hesitate to add anything else. But I will. Daily time spent together as a family in God’s Word.

When I think about the families of St. Paul’s, I rejoice. So many fine parents and wonderful children! So many of you who are regular in worship on Sundays! Such a large percentage of folks who attend Bible class and Sunday School and small group bible studies! How thankful to God I am for your commitment to God’s Word!

And yet I also know that there is only a small percentage of folks in our congregation, especially among the young families with children, who make it a regular practice to have devotions in the home with the entire family.

Dear friends in Christ, believe me when I say that I am sympathetic with your busy schedules—I am! But I also want what is best for you and your families. With the apostle Paul I want to be able to rejoice in the knowledge that faith in Jesus Christ is being passed on from generation to generation in your family.

Family devotions are vital in this regard. It is so very important that our children see that faith in Jesus is not just something for Sunday morning, not just something that is verbalized in the words of the liturgy, but something that sustains us from day to day, influences every moment of our lives, and forms the basis for so much of our conversation as a family.

The easiest way to get started is to have a Bible and a devotional book sitting on the kitchen table so that after breakfast or after supper the family can join together and hear God’s Word; commit their cares and concerns into his mighty, loving hands; and rejoice that the crucified and resurrected and ascended Jesus is present with us in our homes—forgiving us and renewing us in his love day by day.

I am praying that, by the power of the Holy Spirit, family devotions would become more and more a part of the lives of the people of God at St. Paul—that the Good News of Jesus Christ crucified and risen for the sins of the world would be a daily source of comfort and hope and peace for your family!