Monday, October 26, 2009

This Week at Mt. Olive

Yesterday was the annual celebration of Reformation - a celebration of our heritage as Lutherans. Here's some Reformation vocabulary that might come in handy.

Justified - Sometimes it's called "just as if I'd never sinned," but I think the jingle sells it short. Imagine being in a capital trial in a courtroom with all evidence pointing to the accused, which is you. Things aren't looking good for your future, since the death penalty seems certain. The judge bangs his gavel and says, "Acquitted." The judge is almighty God. The accusation is that you are guilty of all sin. You have been declared "not guilty" of a crime for which you are most certainly guilty! You're free!

Grace - The Latin terminology for this word is "Favor Dei propter Christum", the favor of God on account of Christ. Because Jesus took your sin (your rebellion against your heavenly Father) upon Himself and went to the cross and crucified it there, God the Father has determined that there is no longer any reason not to look on you favorably. Instead, you might say God smiles on you because of Jesus.

Faith - Faith is that which grabs hold of Jesus' death and resurrection and holds on for dear life. But, what is faith? The old Lutheran guys really did us a favor in defining faith. Faith is knowledge (we need to know certain things about Jesus - look at the creeds and you'll see them), assent (all those things you know about Jesus, you believe they're true), and trust (because of these things you know to be true, you trust Jesus to be your Savior).

This is what the reformers said was the article by which the church stands and falls: Justification by grace through faith.

In recent years, I've become really tired of the words "saved" and "salvation," mainly because they get misused a lot. Yesterday, in the sermon, I used a different word: RESCUE. We have been rescued from ourselves, really, and delivered into the household of almighty God. That's the Reformation!

Saturday evening, Mt. Olive will host a "Trunk - Treat" night, sponsored by the young adults group. Set up your car between 6 and 6:30 p.m., and then join in the fun of handing out treats and some information on Mt. Olive until about 8:30 p.m. Don't want to drive over but want to participate? Treats - the store bought, wrapped kind - will gladly be accepted, and the kids will most definitely eat them!

Looking ahead, on Sunday, November 8, Mt. Olive Sr. High youth (MOSH) will sponsor a Chili Cook Off that includes a talent-no talent night. A few door prizes will be given. Stir up your best pot of red, get a group together for the talent competition, and come help the Sr. Youth get to New Orleans! Rumor has it that Carnac the Magnificent may make an appearance again.

In recent weeks, we've included Edwin Rodriguez, one of our members who has been stationed in North Carolina and deployed to Afghanistan, in our prayers. Last week, Jessica, his wife, let me know that Edwin was on his way home. Praise God!

Prayer needs:
Those who serve in our armed forces (Michael Baker - Iraq, Edwin Rodriguez and Richard Rhode - North Carolina, Ryan Radtke, John Sorensen, and Dru Blanc - NAS Corpus Christi)
The President of the United States, the Congress, all judges and magistrates, and government at all levels, that we may lead a peaceable life in all godliness and quietness
Those who till the earth during this harvest season
Our baptismal faith and that of our children, that we would all be kept safe and secure in the holy arm of Christendom
The Church throughout the world, that we would remain faithful in our confession of the Triune God

God bless!
Pastor Kevin Jennings

This Week at Mt. Olive:
Monday, October 26
Girl Scouts Cadettes, 6:30 p.m.
Zumba Aerobics, 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, October 28
School Chapel, 8:30 a.m.
Bible Study, 10:30 a.m.
Choir, 6 p.m.
Zumba Aerobics, 7 p.m.
Guitar Worship practice, 7 p.m.

Thursday, October 29
Cub Scout den meetings, 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, October 31
Trunk - Treat night, 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Theme Thoughts for All Saints' Day

Lessons for ALL SAINTS (Lutheran Service Book) November 1, 2009

Revelation 7:(2-8) 9-17 ~ John saw the multitude of saints in glory serving the Lamb at His throne.
Psalm 31:1-5 (antiphon Rev. 7:14)
1 John 3:1-3 ~ God loves us so much that He called us to be His children, and made us His for eternity!
Matthew 5:1-12 ~ Jesus revealed the true nature of blessings in the Kingdom of God.

"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!" (Isaiah 43:1) With these words, God reminds us that we and those believers who have gone before us are saints (that is "holy ones") because of His action. No other truth brings as much comfort. If sainthood were up to us by good works, our hope would be uncertain at best and futile at worst. We would be lost for sure and there would be no celebration today. Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord, Jesus Christ. (1 Cor. 15:57)

PRAYER BEFORE THE SERVICE: Gracious and eternal God, be with me in suffering and in death to strengthen and comfort me by your Holy Spirit. Keep me in the true faith and give me peace and joy in the assurance of the resurrection of the dead and the glory of life everlasting through Jesus Christ, your Son, my risen Lord. Amen.

STEWARDSHIP THOUGHT: Because we know that our citizenship is in heaven where we have an everlasting inheritance, we are free to be generous with the earthly goods God places in our care. Our use of these blessings should bring eternal blessing to the lives of the poor, the meek, the mournful, and those who seek justice.

OFFERING PRAYER: Blessings abound in the power of Your Word;
Blessed are we in Christ Jesus, our Lord.
Grant that these offerings we bring may secure
Blessings eternal for meek and for poor. Amen.

CONVICTION AND COMFORT: We do not recognize the saints of God because we see things from earth’s perspective and our point of view, where joy and wealth and power and fame are the blessings we seek. Surely the Lord knows who His saints are because He has clothed them with the robe of Christ’s righteousness. When we are known by Him, we are called children of God – and called to be His children. Then opportunities to serve become blessings, and even persecution becomes a sign of our identity as a saint of God’s grace.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Mt. Olive Update

Good afternoon, fellow redeemed!

Just an update and reminder:
Car wash, sponsored by the Jr. Youth, with those going to NOLA, tomorrow beginning at 10 a.m.

Oktoberfest tomorrow evening at 6:30 p.m. at the home of Bob and Charlene Westrup

I'm also looking forward to our annual Reformation celebration Sunday morning. We'll be singing great hymns of the faith, and the sermon text is Romans 3:19-28, giving us the theme of Getting Serious.

Look forward to seeing you all this weekend.

God bless!

Vicar Jim Autry Installed

Trinity Lutheran, West Sinton, has received authorization from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, to install Jim Autry as Vicar. Jim has been serving in Word and Sacrament ministry at Trinity as a Deacon, under the authorization of Texas District President Ken Hennings. Now Jim is enrolled in the four year Specific Ministry Pastor program at Concordia Seminary. He has nearly completed the first of 17 courses, administered via the internet. Students are on the web, live with their instructor and classmates for weekly 2 hour sessions. Each course is 10 weeks long and follows the same calendar as the residential program of the seminary.

The SMP program vicarage begins at the same time as the student begins his course work at the seminary. It is defined as a “concurrent-deferred” vicarage, meaning that the student serves his vicarage while he engages in his theological education in the ministry situation in which he will serve as a Specific Ministry Pastor. Periodic reports are made by the student and the supervising pastor to the Director of Vicarage.

Each SMP Vicar has a Pastor-mentor, who upholds the student in faith and life through encouragement, support, and prayer; mentors the student in formal studies on a regular basis; works with the student to contextualize course content to his life and ministry; provides feedback on the student to the Seminary and District. The SMP student is expected to meet with his mentor weekly for 2 to 3 hours of discussions and work focused on the week’s learning material.

As Jim’s Pastor-mentor, I will preach at Trinity, West Sinton, on Sunday, Oct 25, and install him as SMP Vicar at the regular 9:30 a.m. service. You are certainly welcome to attend if you able. I urge all our congregations in Circuit 27 to have a prayer for Vicar Autry and Trinity and the ministry that they share under the Spirit’s guidance.

Monday, October 19, 2009

LWML Zone Rally In-Gathering

Twenty First Sunday after Pentecost – Proper 25

Lessons for Proper 25 (Lutheran Service Book) October 25, 2009

Jeremiah 31:7–9 ~ The remnant of Israel will cry out to the Lord as they return from exile.
Psalm 126 (antiphon: v. 5)
Hebrews 7:23–28 ~ Jesus, our High Priest, was appointed by God’s covenant to be our intercessor forever.
Mark 10:46–52 ~ When Bartimaeus received his sight, he joyfully followed Jesus, the One who had healed him.

GATHERING THE TEXTS: O Lord, Save Your People!
Jeremiah brought hope even to the exiles of the northern kingdom of Israel. The remnant would be restored with tears of joy; even the most vulnerable would be brought back by God’s merciful hand. The writer to the Hebrews pointed to Jesus as the eternal Priest who intercedes for His people and sacrificed Himself to save them from the power of their sins. While He was on this earth, Jesus responded to the cries of the vulnerable, like Bartimaeus, who called out, “Son of David, have mercy on me.” When his sight was restored, he followed Jesus joyfully.

PRAYER BEFORE THE SERVICE: O Lord, have mercy on me! You have rescued me from spiritual darkness by giving me eyes of faith to see Your light. Grant me also, a joyful spirit, that I may follow You along the pathway of Life, always trusting Your power to rescue those who are vulnerable to the dangers of this world. Amen.

STEWARDSHIP THOUGHT: Our merciful God responds to the needs of those most vulnerable to the dangers of life. When we call out for help, He hears and answers, as He did with blind Bartimaeus. We also respond with the help we can provide to those in need around us.

OFFERING PRAYER: Lord, save Your people in their need,
And save us from the power of greed,
That all these gifts may bring You glory
And work to spread salvation’s story. Amen.

CONVICTION AND COMFORT: Because we are beset by many problems in life and blinded by our own sin, we need intercessors to call out for us and to encourage us, “Take heart; get up, he is calling you.” Without prophets to gather us and support us, we lose heart and cannot trust in God’s promised redemption. God has provided more than a prophet and a greater Priest! His own Son intercedes for us on the bases of the gift of His life, offered up for us, once for all, to give us life and hope and make us well for all eternity!

This Week at Mt. Olive

Salvation - that's a word used a bunch around the church. But, what is salvation? What does it mean to be saved? The deliverance of sinners from the punishments of hell that they so rightly deserve, and the deliverance of those same sinners to the household of God the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ by the working of the Holy Spirit - that's what salvation is.

In the Gospel for yesterday (Mark 10:23-31), Jesus' disciples were perplexed. Righteous men obeyed the commandments, who worked hard and enjoyed the fruits of that labor, would find it difficult to enter the kingdom of heaven. The disciples rightly asked, "Who, then, can be saved?"

Jesus' response is one for the ages: "With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God." That includes the impossible: the salvation of sinners, the deliverance of sinners from the punishments of hell into the household of God. That's the promise for all who believe, one sealed by the Holy Spirit who works our faith. God does the impossible: He becomes man, and suffers, dies, and rises (Mark 10:33-34) for all sinners.

For with God all things are possible! So often that passage is quoted to support the notion of God working the impossible to help me balance my checkbook, escape the ravages of cancer, find a spouse, pass an algebra test, and so on. Is it God working? I won't say no! But we dare not short God His due: He has done the impossible - saving sinners! Recalling this impossible task, we praise God for all the things we think of God doing when He does the impossible.

Two major events mark the calendar this week, and both are on Saturday, October 24.
At 10 a.m., and continuing into the early afternoon, the Jr. Youth and those going to the National Youth Gathering in New Orleans will be offering a car wash. Tickets are still available. The suggested donation for the car wash is $5 - what a deal! And, I promise somehow to have the old disco song "Car Wash" playing at least once - the young people have graciously volunteered to put on a dance to it, even though they don't know it, ... yet.

At 6:30 p.m., the Fellowship Committee is hosting an Oktoberfest at the home of Bob and Charlene Westrup. Presale tickets for $10 are still available. If you're interested in attending, please contact a member of the fellowship committee (Charlene Westrup, Stephanie Waterman, Nancy Cox). And, there will be sauerbraten (almost as fun to say as it is to eat!).

Each week, Mt. Olive hosts two Bible study opportunities for adults. On Sunday morning, the class meets in the Fellowship Hall. The current topic is a Christian introduction to the Muslim faith - we have a few weeks left. The second opportunity is Wednesday morning at 9:30 a.m. in the Overflow. The current topic is The Unexplainable, and we're currently in the lesson on dreams.

Looking ahead, a Trunk Treat night is in the works, sponsored by the Young Adults. This is an opportunity for the people of Mt. Olive to serve the community! Look for a bulletin insert this coming Sunday with more details.

Last night, the Jr. Youth enjoyed a night of fun and, well, messiness. It was Fear Factor Game Night last night! Activities involved shaving cream, water balloons, whipped cream, sprinkles, peanut butter and cheerios. Just look for the pictures on the Youth Bulletin Board in the narthex.

Please Remember in Prayer:
Those who serve in our armed forces (Michael Baker - Iraq, Edwin Rodriguez - Afghanistan, Andrew Epley, Deysi's husband - preparing for deployment, Richard Rhode - North Carolina, Dru Blanc and Chris Sorensen - NAS Corpus Christi)
The family of our school director, Noelia Torrez, as they mourn the death of her father
Those who are studying in schools, college, universities, home schools, seminaries, and the like, that God would bless those who teach them and their own learning.
All Christians, that they may rejoice in the faith of their baptism.

In Christ,

This Week at Mt. Olive
Monday, October 19
6:30 p.m., Girl Scouts, meeting in The Overflow
6:30 p.m., Zumba Aerobics, in the Fellowship Hall

Tuesday, October 20
6:30 p.m. Board of Elders meeting

Wednesday, October 21
8:30 a.m., School Chapel Service
9:30 a.m., Bible Study
6:00 p.m., Choir
7:00 p.m., Zumba Aerobics

Thursday, October 22
6:30 p.m., Cub Scout Pack 278 Den Meetings

Saturday, October 24
10 a.m. - 2 p.m., Jr. Youth Car Wash in the Parking Lot
6:30 p.m., Oktoberfest at the home of the Westrups

Grace Alone-Faith Alone-Christ Alone-Scripture Alone

Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Romans 3:19-28
Grace Alone—Until the day we die, we will struggle to believe the simple words of Holy Scripture, “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight.” We think that surely my good deeds, my obedience to the Law of God, my acts of mercy and generosity must count for something when it comes to my salvation. The truth of the matter is that they reveal something entirely different about us than our worthiness in God’s sight—they reveal that we are sinners who stand guilty before God. Our good deeds are often motivated by false, selfish motives. Our obedience to the law is woefully incomplete. Our acts of mercy and sacrifice are few and far between. No, if we are to be saved, it must be by God’s grace alone.
Faith Alone—While the bible clearly teaches again and again that Christ has atoned for the sins of the world—for all the sins of all the people in every time and place--this Good News must be believed personally and individually if we are to receive the benefits of forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation that come from his bloody propitiation for us all on Calvary’ cross. Universalism, the belief that all will be saved, even without faith in Christ, is a lie. God is the “justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”
Christ Alone—Faith saves, not because it is the act of believing--in and of itself--and not because of its depth and sincerity. Many, many people around the world have a deep and abiding faith—in lies—they are sincerely wrong. Their faith will not save them. Faith saves only because of its content. The faith that saves, of which the Bible speaks, is faith in the person and work of Christ—that his blood has atoned for the sins of the world, including my own. Faith is the gift of the Holy Sprit that simply receives the finished work of Jesus Christ in his holy life, bloody death, and glorious resurrection as my own salvation from beginning to end.
Scripture Alone—That we can believe this Good News and be saved is only because God, in his mercy, has revealed it to us in the pages of Holy Scripture. “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets.” The Good News contained in the three Reformation “sola”s: Grace Alone, Faith Alone, Christ Alone, was not Luther’s invention. It was not even original to Paul. It was and is and always will be the single theme of all of Holy Scripture from beginning to end, that: “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Articulus Stantis Et Cadentis Ecclesiae*

It is taught among us that we cannot obtain forgiveness of sin and righteousness before God by our own merits, works, or satisfactions, but that we receive forgiveness of sin and become righteous before God by grace, for Christ’s sake, through faith, when we believe that Christ suffered for us and that for his sake our sin is forgiven and righteousness and eternal life are given to us. For God will regard and reckon this faith as righteousness, as Paul says in Romans 3:21-26 and 4:5. Augsburg Confession Article IV

On the night in which our Lord was betrayed into death, he offered up to his heavenly Father a prayer for all believers in every place and time. This prayer is known as the great high priestly prayer of Jesus. In one part of the prayer he prayed thus: Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name--the name you gave me–so that they may be one as we are one.

Jesus intended (both then and now) for His Church to be one–without sinful divisions. And yet at this moment there are hundreds, if not thousands, of divisions within the visible Church. This month we will celebrate an event, the Reformation, that is seen by many to be the cause of this sinful division. What do we Lutherans have to say about this? Are the differences we have with other Christians substantial enough to cause us to remain separate?

Regrettably, I believe that they are. I say this with a great deal of pain in my heart for, whenever I hear someone confess Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, I see a fellow believer, no matter what their denomination. So why is there division among Christians?

The central question of all of Holy Scripture is this: What must I do to be saved? This is not only the central question of Holy Scripture but of our human existence. Faced with my own sinfulness and the holiness of God, how can this chasm be bridged?

The answer of course is the perfect life of Jesus and his sacrificial death on the cross. Or to state it in the form of the biblical answer to the question we initially asked: What must I do to be saved? Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved!

That we Christians are saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus apart from the good works which will follow such saving faith is the *article on which the Church stands and falls. Our gracious God has declared us right in his sight through faith in the person and work of Jesus. The Lutheran Church correctly and faithfully teaches this wonderful Good News! Other churches do not.

Some churches teach that our works (even if it is just a decision) must be added in to earn, at least in part, our salvation. Other churches teach that the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross was not for all people but only for some. The simple Good News of forgiveness of sins and salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus is obscured in these churches. The Lutheran Church is truly the evangelical church–the Church of the Gospel.

This is not an opportunity for sinful pride or hostility towards other Christians but rather an opportunity for thanksgiving to God for graciously preserving this Good News in our midst. With the deepest humility we speak forth this Good News to the world and to our brothers and sisters in Christ in every Christian Church, seeking reconciliation through the Truth of God’s Holy Word.

We endeavor to live out the reality of our forgiveness in Christ by showing forth with our lives Christ’s love and mercy to all people, especially to other Christians. And we pray, along with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, that the divisions in the Church would be healed.

Refuge of Hope

At the LWML Zone Rally on October 4th, there was a very interesting presentation regarding a new pro-life ministry in Corpus Christi. It is called Refuge of Hope and offers free pregnancy tests and educational support in a confidential setting. The phone number is 361-241-5300 or 1-877-211-0580. Their website is

Meetings and Events of Interest

Face to Face
Alzheimers Support Program Presented by:
Nestor H. Praderio, MD

A Learning Experience for Families & Caregivers of the Elderly

Topic: "Nursing Home & Assisted Living Placement"
We will have a board of "Ask the Expert Panel" for any questions.

Group meeting. Wednesday, Oct. 28th, at Drs. Regional Hospital 6:30 PM
Conference Room (behind the hospital) 3315 S. Alameda
For info call 361-887-9600 or (800) 288-0026.

2nd Annual "Coastal Bend Walk for Memory". Nov. 7th. Cole Park Amphitheater
8 AM. Registration, Walk begins 8:30 AM. 2 Mile fitness walk. Information
booths about Alzheimers services and facilities in Coastal Bend area. For
info call 361-985-0555 or 826-3150.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost – Proper 24 October 18, 2009

Lessons for Proper 24 (Lutheran Service Book)

Ecclesiastes 5:10–20 ~ We hoard the things that are hardest to give up until we find greater satisfaction in God.
Psalm 119:9–16 (antiphon: v. 14)
Hebrews 4:1-13 (14-16) ~ God’s rest has been prepared for us by Jesus, God’s own Son, who completed our work.
Mark 10:23–31 ~ When our heart is fixed on riches, it is impossible to embrace the wealth of the Kingdom.

GATHERING THE TEXTS: When Things Disturb Your Rest
God rested after He created this world. We can rest in Him because Jesus has finished our work of redemption. Unfortunately, our lives are often so busy with possessions that, like a troubled insomniac we find no rest at all. As King Solomon observed, “Whoever loves money, never has enough.” But Jesus pointed out that with God, even the rest of His Kingdom is possible for those who otherwise cannot enter His rest. When the love of God in Christ possesses us, it displaces the love of all those other things. “Come follow Me, . . . and you will find rest for your souls.”

PRAYER BEFORE THE SERVICE: Gracious and loving Savior, give me a joy in following You that is greater than my love for all the things in my life. Then I will rejoice in sharing Your blessings and Your love with those who are oppressed and lost. Amen.

STEWARDSHIP THOUGHT: God calls us to follow Jesus who used all the earth at His disposal to accomplish the work of our salvation and open the door of His eternal rest to us. We cannot rest until all have heard Christ’s invitation: “Come, follow Me.”

OFFERING PRAYER: O Lord, our lives are filled by all the things we love the most,
And often they crowd out the love we owe to You alone.
Grant that the call to follow You may be our humble boast,
And blessings greater far than gold or jewels, will be our own. Amen.

CONVICTION AND COMFORT: When we measure the worth of our lives by the amassing of fortune, we find ourselves restlessly striving for wealth and possessions in this world. Our greatest worth and wealth is found in being possessed by God’s love in Christ Jesus. Because He has purchased us with His life’s blood, we can rest comfortably in His grace, and spend our live – and our fortunes – joyfully, in sharing the wealth of the Gospel with others.

This Week at Mt. Olive

In the Gospel for yesterday (Mark 10:17-22), Jesus is greeted by an earnest man who kneels before Him, eager to know what else is needed to make his spiritual life complete. Jesus tells the man what he is lacking: Go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and come, follow me. The man went away in sorrow, because he had great possessions.

But, in the middle of the man's questioning of Jesus, Mark records that Jesus, when looked at the man, "loved him." Even though the man would walk away, rejecting Jesus' plan for life, in spite of the man's refusal to look to the true God, in spite of the man's rebellion, Jesus loved the man. There's a common theme here. As Jesus was crucified, He cried out, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." Why would this perfect Man ever do such a thing as that? He loved them.

Episode after episode can be underlined in the Gospels in which Jesus is cursed, rejected, spat upon, and even put to death. Yet, in every one of those episodes, Jesus refrains from calling forth ten legions of angels. Why? Because He loves them.

Fast forward to today, and there is still Jesus' love. Our weeks are full of screw ups and failures and rebellion against our Lord, yet Jesus still comes to us with His Word of forgiveness, giving us Himself. Why? Because He looks at us, and He loves us. His love is not brought about by us, but from Himself.

Oh, don't get me wrong. There will be plenty who will not see the Pearly Gates of heaven. They reject their Lord over and over again. They tell the true God to leave them alone. Yet, that never stops the Lord Jesus Christ from looking at them and loving them, earnestly desiring that they repent and live in faith.

This week, as we live in God's love, make it a special point to pray: Pray in thanksgiving for God's great love shown to you in your baptism. Pray in thanksgiving that your Lord has kept you safe and secure in the holy Christian Church. Pray that, when your last hour comes, your Lord will deliver you from this veil of tears and to Himself in heaven. Pray that, as you live your Christian vocations this week, in word and deed, you proclaim the great love of Christ. And, finally, pray that there will be willing ears and hearts to hear you.

Two major functions are approaching rapidly, both happening at different times on October 24. Beginning in the morning, Jr. Youth and those going to New Orleans will be holding a car wash. Tickets are available for a suggested donation of $5. I have it on good authority that someone will be present with the "Car Wash" CD, and that some of the washers will dance.

The second major function occurs in the evening of October 24: Mt. Olive's own version of Octoberfest. Tickets are $10 before the event and $15 at the door. Included in the menu is one of my favorites: sauerbraten.

This week at Mt. Olive, the Girl Scouts will be meeting in the Fellowship Hall. Their special meeting will include lessons in marketing.

Also meeting this week is the Guitar Worship group, in preparation for this coming Sunday, will rehearse Wednesday at 7 p.m. About once every six weeks or so, Mt. Olive celebrates the Divine Service with guitar music - traditional hymns accompanied by some not so traditional instruments.

Every year about this time, those involved with the Boy Scouts of America are going about, selling some of the best popcorn you will ever eat. If you're interested in this, please see Brandon Rhode or Michael Jennings (both of Pack 278), Andrew Jones (Troop 255), Jonathan Jennings or Matthew Catherman (Troop 3).

I will be in and out of the office tomorrow, hopefully getting in at least nine holes with my son.

Remember in Prayer:
Those who serve in the Armed Forces: Michael Baker (Iraq), Edwin Rodriguez (Afghanistan), Richard Rhode (North Carolina), Rob Vadney (Ft. Campbell), Dru Blanc, Chris Sorensen, Ryan Radtke (all of NAS Corpus Christi).
Those who serve in law enforcement, emergency response, and keeping us safe in daily life
Those who serve in the medical fields during this time of increased influenza
All the teachers of the Church and those who are commended to their teaching
All missionaries of the Church, both here and throughout the world

God bless!
Pastor Kevin Jennings

This Week at Mt. Olive:
Monday, October 12
School classes are not in session, but Extended Care is running and the Church Office will be open
Girl Scouts, meeting in the Fellowship Hall, 6:30 p.m.
Zumba Aerobics, meeting place TBA, 6:30 p.m.
Church Council, Pastor's Conference Room, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, October 14
School Chapel, 8:30 a.m.
Bible Study, 8:30 a.m.
Choir, 6 p.m.
Zumba Aerobics, 7 p.m.
Guitar Worship Practice, 7 p.m.

Thursday, October 15
Cub Scout Pack Meeting, Fellowship Hall, 6:30 p.m.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost – Proper 23 October 11, 2009

Lessons for Proper 23 (Lutheran Service Book)

Amos 5:6–7, 10–15 ~ The people of Amos’ day used power to deprive the poor rather than promote justice.
Psalm 90:12–17 (antiphon: v. 1)
Hebrews 3:12–19 ~ Through confidence in Christ we encourage one another and share in His eternal rest.
Mark 10:17–22 ~ Eternal life is an inheritance given to family members; it is not deserved or bought.

GATHERING THE TEXTS: It is a Matter of Inheritance.
“What must I do to inherit eternal life?” The man asked Jesus, as if inheritance depends on performance. Even in the Prophet Amos’ day, riches were thought to be an indication of God’s favor. The wealthy used that misconception as an excuse to oppress the poor. It also explains the disciples’ amazement at Jesus’ words: “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” Inheritance is a matter of sharing in Christ and encouraging one another to draw near to God with confidence in Him. By His grace God extends His household to us through Jesus Christ because “with God all things are possible.”

PRAYER BEFORE THE SERVICE: Dear Father in heaven, You have made me and claimed me. You have given me all that I have. Help me remember that the greatest gift is a place in your family. Help me use all my possessions in ways that are appropriate for a child of Your kingdom. Amen.

STEWARDSHIP THOUGHT: The greatest inheritance is given us through the Father’s will and consists of eternal treasures. The riches of this world that God gives us are best used to promote justice and bring the poor into God’s kingdom of grace.

OFFERING PRAYER: Lord, in Your mercy let us seek
to right the wrongs that crush the meek.
Now bless these gifts to gracious ends
that we may win eternal friends. Amen.

CONVICTION AND COMFORT: As in Amos’ day, so today, not only in the legal system but also in daily life, we turn power to our advantage and make the goal winning rather than seeking justice. We think we can use the same tactics to win blessings from God instead of bringing blessings to the poor and oppressed in God’s kingdom. But God gives the blessing of His eternal rest as an inheritance to those who are His children because they believe in the One He has sent to finish the work we are unable to do.

This Week at Mt. Olive

At the end of Sunday's Old Testament Lesson in Genesis 2, Moses records, "And the man and the woman were both naked and felt no shame."

Shame - that element that used to be in abundant supply in our society and now isn't so plentiful. Think of the things that cause shame, besides being naked: scoring low on a test, being rejected by a girl or boy, losing a job. More shameful, though, are the things that affect our relationship with God: our sinfulness, our attempts at covering up our sinfulness, and the like.

But, it's an even greater shame that heals our relationship with God and takes away the shame of our rebellion and sin. The greater shame that takes away our shame is the shame of the cross - the shame the sinless Jesus endured as He was mocked, condemned, crucified, and died.

Coming this next summer, the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod holds its triennial convention in Houston, Texas. As required by the synodical constitution, Circuit 27, also known as the Coastal Bend Circuit, elected pastor and lay delegates to represent us: myself as pastoral delegate and Rebecca Kieschnick of Trinity Lutheran Church, West Sinton, as lay delegate.

Tuesday morning, Mt. Olive will host the monthly Circuit Conference or "winkel" for the pastors of our circuit.

The suggested activity for Young Adults this month is attending an Ice Rays game this coming Saturday (against Laredo). According to the web site, the least expensive tickets are $11.50. If you are a young adult and would like to attend, please give me a call at the church office.

Also this month, the Young Adults are planning to serve the community around Mt. Olive with a Trunk Treat night on October 31. Look for more details and how you might also participate!

Mt. Olive's Jr. Youth, as well as those planning to attend the National Youth Gathering next summer, will host a car wash on October 24. Presale tickets are available, and the suggested donation is $5 per car.

Mt. Olive's version of Octoberfest will be held on Saturday, October 24. I've heard rumors that there will be some really good sauerbraten to be had.

Special Prayer Needs:
Those who are ill or hospitalized, especially Ruth Prytz
Those serving 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)
The pastors of our circuit and the circuit counselor, Pastor Eckert
The mission work of the Church throughout the world, that eager voices would faithfully proclaim Christ, and that eager ears would hear them
Students in our schools, especially those preparing for graduation during this school year

God bless!

This Week at Mt. Olive:
Monday, October 5:
Girl Scouts, 6:30 p.m.
Zumba Aerobics, 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, October 6
Circuit 27 Conference, 9 a.m.

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

Thursday, October 8
Cub Scout Den Meetings, 6:30 p.m.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Circuit Forum

The Circuit Forum to elect delegates to the synodical convention will be held at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Corpus Christi, Texas on Saturday, October 3, 2009 at 9;00 A.M.