Tuesday, October 30, 2012

This Week at Mt. Olive

Good evening, fellow redeemed!

Jesus answered them, Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

With these words from John, our Lord Jesus tells us of His all sufficient work at the cross.

The Jews who questioned Jesus didn't understand their slavery to sin and their need for freedom.  Their claim of the freedom through the line of Abraham actually revealed their idolatry in which they held to their own favorite subject:  themselves.

Only Jesus brings us into the house of the Father.  This great work He does at the cross, shedding His innocent blood to redeem lost and condemned creatures like you and me.  Only through Jesus, as we cling to Him by faith, are we freed from the power of sin, death, and the devil, and brought into the household of God.

Prayer Concerns:
Jan Wilson and her family, at the death of her brother-in-law, Roy
Pat Walker and her family at the death of her father
Jackie Steele, Sue Catherman
Those who serve in our armed forces and their families:  Rob Vadney (Ft. Campbell, KY)
Ruby Rieder, Ann Cleveland, Burt and Doris Nelson, Ellie Reiners, Walter and Pearly Theiss
The whole Church, both in heaven and on earth, as she rejoices and confesses Jesus Christ and Him crucified

This Week at Mt. Olive:
Things return to a bit of normalcy this week.

Trunk - Treat returns to Mt. Olive on Wednesday evening.  Bring your candy, decorations, and join us in having a bit of fun and sharing with the community around us.  Trunk-Treat begins at 6:30 p.m.

This Week at Mt. Olive:
Monday, October 29
6 p.m.
Zumb-ahhh Aerobics (Fellowship Hall)

Tuesday, October 30
4:30 p.m.
Adult Information

6 p.m.
Jr. Confirmation Instruction (Commandments 7-10)

Wednesday, October 31
A Blessed Reformationtide to all!
8:30 a.m.
School Chapel - 8th Commandment

9:30 a.m.
Bible Class - Job

6:30 p.m.
Trunk - Treat in the Parking Lot!

Thursday, November 1
A blessed All Saints Day!
6 p.m.
Zumb-ahhh aerobics (Fellowship Hall)

God bless!

Rev. Franke's Theme Thoughts

All Saints’ Day                                                                                                                                                    November 1
Lessons for ALL SAINTS
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.

GATHERING THE TEXTS:  From Death to Life
"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.

CONVICTION AND COMFORT:  We do not recognize the saints of God because we see things from earths 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 Christs 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 Gods grace

Rev. Franke's Theme Thoughts

Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost                                                                                            November 4, 2012
Lessons for Proper 26     

Deuteronomy 6:19 ~ Gods commands guide our thoughts and our actions at home and away.
Psalm 119:18 (antiphon: v. 5)
Hebrews 9:1114 (1522) ~ Jesus won an eternal inheritance for us, cleansing us from our sin by His blood.
        Mark 12:2837 ~ When Jesus judged a scribe who evaluated His teaching, everyone was silenced.

GATHERING THE TEXTS: Gods Covenant and Inheritance of Grace
God has placed us into families where His commands may be passed on through our children to guide our living together.  They also pass judgment on our lives where we fail to live in His love and with love toward each other.  To free us from that condemnation, God has sent the Christ, Davids son and Davids Lord, Who has made us inheritors of Gods grace in the family of His love by establishing a new covenant with us through the shedding of His blood.

PRAYER BEFORE THE SERVICE:  Loving Father, You have guaranteed an inheritance of grace to me by the blood of Your Son.   As You have included me in Your eternal family, so may I be guided in word and deed, as I come and go through all my doings in this world, until I receive the blessing You have prepared for all Your children in the world to come.  Amen.

STEWARDSHIP THOUGHT: God has blessed us with resources in a land of plenty.  How we use them is a measure of our love for God and neighbor.

OFFERING PRAYER:      You call us, Lord, to live by Your commands;
                                                You bless us with the bounty from our lands.
                                                        Provide us with Your love that we may be
                                                        Channels of Your grace for all to see.

CONVICTION AND COMFORT:  We know Gods commandments of love and readily use them to evaluate the lives of others, but we only come close to the Kingdom of God because we fail to keep His will in our own living.   Thanks be to God,  He has drawn us into the holy place of His love and made us heirs of His grace through the new covenant established by the sacrificed blood of the Christ. He is the One who has defeated all His enemies and is seated on the throne of Gods mercy.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Rev. Franke's Theme Thoughts

Reformation Day                                                                                                           October 31, 2012
Lessons for Reformation Day       

Revelation 14:6-7 ~ God sent a messenger to proclaim the eternal gospel.
        Psalm 46  (Antiphon: Psalm 46:1)
Romans 3:19-28 ~ Gods law uncovers our sin; His grace proclaims our justification.
        John 8:31-36 ~ Gods Son sets us free indeed!

GATHERING THE TEXTS:  The Gift of God's Grace
God's grace is our refuge and fortress.  We are not able to do anything to get into God's good graces; he has brought us there!  In Jesus, God has given us a new way to be brought to justice.  Our sentence is carried out through the blood of God's own Son, and we are set free from condemnation.  In the new covenant of Jesus' blood, God forgets our sins and promises us eternal life as heirs of his kingdom!

PRAYER BEFORE THE SERVICE:  Gracious God in heaven above, through Christ you came to me in love; help me always know your grace and in it see your loving face.  Amen.

STEWARDSHIP THOUGHT: God showers us with His richest blessings for this life and for eternity, even though we have done nothing to earn or deserve them.  He has put them into our care so that we may share them with others who need to know Gods great mercy in life and His love in Christ.

OFFERING PRAYER:      Our life, our love, and wealth, O Lord,
                                                We dedicate to You.
                                                Sanctify us for Your work
                                                In all we say and do.

CONVICTION AND COMFORT:  We want life to be fair, but we have a way of interpreting lifes circumstances  so that we do not see our own failings and even deny our slavery to sin.  The law of God holds us to account for all our sins.  Suddenly we realize it is not justice that we need, but mercy.  God, by His grace, has meted out justice on our sin and at the same time, has given us His own righteousness!  Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ His Son!

Rev. Franke's Theme Thoughts

Twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost                                                                                                        October 28, 2012
Lessons for Proper 25     

Jeremiah 31:79 ~ The remnant of Israel will cry out to the Lord as they return from exile.
Psalm 126 (antiphon: v. 5)
Hebrews 7:2328 ~ Jesus, our High Priest, was appointed by Gods covenant to be our intercessor forever.
        Mark 10:4652 ~ 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 Gods 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 salvations 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 Gods 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

Monday, October 22, 2012

This Week at Mt. Olive

Good evening, fellow redeemed!

Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot.  Ecclesiastes 5:18.

Work is usually a mixed blessing.  Sometimes the job is a joy and delight.  Sometimes it isn't.  But, as "the Preacher" who is king in Jerusalem tells us, work, toil, is a gift of God.  If you don't believe it, ask someone who is unemployed.

I sometimes wonder if we don't pray enough for those who have fallen on hard times - those who are unemployed, those whose employment barely makes ends meet, if at all.

"Give us this day our daily bread..."  Lord, give us those things which support this body and life.  Lord, help us care for those who are in need of daily bread, who are in need of the blessing of work.

Prayer Concerns:
Jackie Steele, Sue Catherman, Lucinda Rodela
Pat Walker and her family at the death of her dad
Those who serve in our armed forces and their families:  Rob Vadney
The homebound:  Ruby Rieder, Ann Cleveland, Burt and Doris Nelson, Ellie Reiners, Walter and Pearly Theiss

I will be out of the office until Thursday morning.  If you have emergency, please contact your elder.

God bless!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Let Us Use Our Time Wisely!

Ephesians 5:15-20 As most of you know, this month I celebrated a birthday--and not just any birthday—but my 50th birthday.  I look back on 50 years of life and give thanks to Almighty God for his blessings and tender mercies—most especially for the blood-bought gift of forgiveness that I have in Jesus—because I really need that gift!
I confess that I have made some serious, sinful mistakes in my life.  As I reflect on my life, I feel like there were some wasted years and some missed opportunities.  I made some foolish decisions. 
Having lived half a century, I know that I have almost certainly lived the majority of my life so that the time I have left, is less that what I have already lived.  And that inspires me to make the most of these years I have left—whatever they are.
Fifty years marks a milestone in any life, but we don’t have to wait on a milestone to:  take stock of our lives, confess our sinful foolish failures, and resolve to do better in the future. 
Each of us has that God-given, grace-filled opportunity today as we hear our heavenly Father call us to use our time wisely.  The Bible says:  Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise…
It’s about this time every year when Harriett and I say to one another:  “Good grief!  Where did the year go?  It seems like it was just yesterday that we were beginning a new year and here it is already time to start thinking about the holiday season!” 
So much of our lives seem to just slip away and we don’t even know were it went.  I would hate to add up all the hours I have wasted watching Gilligan’s Island, Laverne and Shirley, and I Love Lucy!
That is why we need this reminder from God to think carefully how we walk—in other words, to be thoughtful about our lives.  Time is short and eternity is long and even Christians are not immune to letting life pass them by without having really being thoughtful about the direction of their lives.
The Bible uses the word “walk” to describe our life of faith and that’s a good word picture.  When we go for a walk, we’re not going to get very far if we are walking in the dark.  We want to make sure that we don’t trip or fall down a hole.  We don’t want to wander “off-track” and get lost before we even reach our destination. 
That’s the way it is in our life of faith.  We want our journey guided by the light of Christ.  We don’t want sin to trip us up.  We don’t want to wander off the narrow way and miss our destination of heaven.  And so we have to think carefully about our life of faith and journey to heaven and make sure that we are using our time wisely.  The Bible says:  make the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
            Paul looked around the world of his day and said that the days are evil.  Can you imagine what he would say about our time?!  Yes, the days are evil but God has graciously and providentially ordered our lives so that these are the days we live in and we are not to simply go along with the flow.
I remember taking the rowing merit badge when I was a boy scout.  I learned to row on the Brazos River which would not have normally proved to be a problem except that summer had been wet and the current was strong.  And so when we pushed off from the bank in our row boats we were immediately swept down river.  It took a lot of work to make that boat go in the right direction.
So it is in our Christian lives.  It is much easier to go with the flow of time and get swept along with the evil of the days.  It’s a struggle to do the right thing.  But we are called to go against the current and make the BEST use of time. 
The King James Bible says it better:  that we are to REDEEM the time and use it for something good.  We are to lay hold of our days and claim them for Jesus Christ and live our life for him.  The Bible says, Whatever you do, in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.  
I have no idea whether I will live to be 51 or 101 but what I do know is that I have this day to live for Jesus:  to be strengthened by his grace—to bear witness to him with my life—to prepare for that day that will not end.  And so do you!
Yes, the days are evil—but that doesn’t have to mean that MY days are evil and in fact they must not be!  Instead, we claim each and every day of our lives for the Lord Jesus Christ and make them his own by doing his will.  The Bible says:  Do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
            The days are evil and life is short and I know that I have made some foolish choices.  Perhaps you have too.  I cannot count on the world to lead me in the right direction.  I cannot count on myself to use my time wisely.  And so, where can we turn so that our life is marked by wisdom rather than foolishness?  To the Bible!  We learn the will of the Lord from the Word of the Lord.
            God’s will for you first and foremost is that you believe in Jesus as your Lord and Savior.  The Bible says:  These things are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and believing have life in his name.  This is God’s will for you:  that you would live with him as his child here on earth and forever in heaven. 
God cares for you.  You are his child.  He has done everything in his power to bring you to himself and keep you close to him all the days of your life.  Don’t you think that your heavenly Father then also cares about your work life and your emotions and your marriage and family?  Of course he does! 
That is why he has revealed his perfect will for every part of your lives.  We have the wisdom of Almighty God at our fingertips in the Bible but to our great shame we rarely seek it out. 
When I think of some of the sinful, foolish mistakes I have made over the last fifty years I cringe—and even more so because I know that God has something to say about those things if I had only listened.
We cannot get the guidance we need from the world or from our friends or even from our own intellectual resources—it is found only in the Word of God and so we need to renew our commitment to be students of the Word of God so that in every situation and decision we can say:  this is the will of God!  And that applies even to what we count as the joys and blessings of earthly life.  The Bible says:
Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart,
The Bible does not forbid the consumption of alcohol.  A good meal with a glass of wine is one of the earthly blessings that God bestows upon his people.  But again and again the Bible condemns drunkenness, listing it among those sins that will keep people out of heaven. 
And so the rule for he Christian is that if alcohol cannot be consumed in moderation (and many people cannot) we must abstain completely.
To abstain from anything that our flesh wants seems like a terrible imposition—as if God is robbing us of the joys of life.  Nothing could be farther from the truth!  Instead, God wants us to be filled with the Spirit rather than spirits.  He has created us and redeemed us by his Son and given us the Holy Spirit to enrich our lives and make them infinitely better than they would be without him. 
That’s what the gift of music does for us—it makes our life richer and more beautiful and deepens our faith—which is why our music in church must not only be beautiful but also truthful and faithful to the Word of God. 
For thousands of year believers have been using the language of the psalms as their hymnbook and there are a number of our hymns that are simply the psalms given a metre and set to music. 
But whether our hymns and songs are ancient or modern they are ultimately sung to the Lord, the praise of our hearts for who God is and what he has done for us.  The Bible says that we are to:  give thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
            When I look back at my life over these last fifty years I confess that there are a number of failures—there are times what I acted foolishly—times when I did not use my time on earth in Godly wisdom.  Perhaps the same is true for you.
But what stands out even more vividly than my failures is the goodness and graciousness of God.  He has made me his child and kept my in faith and provided for all my needs of body and soul.  The same is true for you.  In gratitude for the life that comes to us through Jesus Christ we are called use our time wisely:  grounded in the Word—filled with the Spirit—and thankful to God.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

This Week at Mt. Olive

Today's Gospel in Mark 10 presents us with a dilemma.  The man who approaches Jesus is confident he has kept what we normally call the Second Table of the Ten Commandments, those dealing with service to our neighbor.  "All these I have kept from my youth," the man replied to Jesus' quizzing on the commandments.  Jesus then tells the man the one thing lacking:  "Go, sell all you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me."

Jesus' quizzing reveals something tragic in the man.  It's easy for us to identify the man's shortcoming in the First Table, commandments 1-3.  Yet, by failing in commandments 1-3, what happens?  He cannot care for the poor, his neighbor, and thus fails in the Second Table, too.

The man evidently was an expert in the Law, making most of our attempts to know God's Law to be rather puny.  If he's in trouble, we've failed equally in the keeping of the Law.  There is nothing for us on which to stand.  What is our only hope?

It's the one who stands before the man, the called good because He is God.  It's Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the main theme of the book of Mark.

Lord Jesus Christ, in our frailties we fall far short of keeping even one dot of the Law.  Bring us to Your mercy to see Your forgiveness and, having received Your grace, bring us to care for the poor and downtrodden - our neighbor.  For Your mercy's sake.  AMEN

Prayer Concerns:
Sue Catherman - recovering at home
Pat Walker's father
Lucinda Rodela, Kaitlin (friend of Jeremy Kots)
Stephanie Dube and Derek Wilson who were married this past week
Those who serve in our armed forces and their families:  Rob Vadney
Ann Cleveland, Ruby Rieder, Burt and Doris Nelson, Ellie Reiners, Walter and Pearly Theiss
The Long Range Planning process Mt. Olive begins next Sunday
Our brothers and sisters in the faith at Faith Lutheran Church, Aransas Pass, and Pastor Jim Sturgis

Don't forget the Long Range Planning meeting on Sunday, October 21, after late service.  Lunch is being ordered.

Trunk Treat Night will be held this year on Wednesday, October 31.  Look for a beginning time in the next couple of days.

I will be out of the office Monday after about 11 a.m. for Jury Duty.

This Week at Mt. Olive:
Monday, October 15
6:00 p.m.

6:30 p.m.
Board of Elders

Tuesday, October 16
4:30 p.m.
Adult Information

6 p.m.
Jr. Confirmation Instruction

7 p.m.

Wednesday, October 17
8:30 a.m.
School Chapel - the Sixth Commandment

9:30 a.m.
Bible Study - Job

7:30 p.m.
Why Does It Matter (Barnes and Noble), Topic to be announced

Sunday, October 21
8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
Divine Service

9:15 a.m.
Sunday School, Bible Class

Noon - 2 p.m.
Long Range Planning

4 p.m.
Hymn Festival, St. Paul, Bishop

God bless!

Rev. Franke's Theme Thoughts

Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost                                                                                                             October 21, 2012
Lessons for Proper 24

Ecclesiastes 5:1020 ~ We hoard the things that are hardest to give up until we find greater satisfaction in God.
Psalm 119:916 (antiphon: v. 14)
Hebrews 4:1-13 (14-16) ~ Gods rest has been prepared for us by Jesus, Gods own Son, who completed our work.
        Mark 10:2331 ~ 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 Christs 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 Gods love in Christ Jesus.  Because He has purchased us with His lifes 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.