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getting out the WORD - the 3rd sunday after epiphany
Written by Pastor Bob   
Wednesday, 24 January 2018 09:51

the PRAYER...
Almighty God, by grace alone you call us and accept us in your service. Strengthen us by your Spirit, and make us worthy of your call, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

the READING...
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news."

Mark 1:14-20

the DEVOTION...

"When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ
said, 'Repent',
he willed the entire life of believers
to be one of repentance."

That's the first of the ninety-five that started it all, for us. "Explanations of the Ninety-Five Theses" followed four months later and Luther elaborated. Basically, he wrote, there are two ways of understanding repentance. The one is in the Latin 'be penitent'. Literally, it means to regret. It's saying, "I'm sorry and I'll never do it, again." That's how most of us have come to understand it. The other way - and the more original - is rooted in the Greek word for 'changing ones mind' or "changing the way one thinks." It's more what Paul has in mind when he writes, "Be transformed by the renewing of your mind!"

Well, this week, Jesus says, "Repent." It's the only time in Mark he does that! But he's not talking about the guilt and shame, the things done and undone kind. Instead, he's saying, "Change the way you think about the world! About the way you think it all works!" Instead of looking at life from the vantage-point of punishment and reward, every moment of every day, think about life from the perspective of love! Pure, fatherly, divine goodness and mercy! No worthiness! No deserving! God loving us! Totally! Completely! And that love changing us! Changing the way we think! Over and over! Again and again! Always and forever! Our whole life long!

Bob Barndt, pastor

 
getting out the WORD - the 2nd sunday after epiphany
Written by Pastor Bob   
Monday, 22 January 2018 13:07

the PRAYER...
Thanks be to you, Lord Jesus Christ, most merciful redeemer, for the countless blessings and benefits you give. May we know you more clearly, love you more dearly, and follow you more nearly, day by day praising you, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

the READING...
When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, "Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!"

John 1:43-51

the DEVOTION...
Discipleship is one of the big - if not the biggest -topic being discussed in the church, today. The conversation began sometime in the Eighties when we realized the church was shrinking and getting grayer. And since then, "making disciples" has become the mantra of congregations and denominations across the U.S. And so, we say our prayers and read our bibles and do service projects and, of course, invite everyone around us to "come and see!"

But this week's gospel serves as a reminder that it may not be as complicated as we tend to make it. Discipleship doesn't begin with an invitation! It doesn't begin with curiosity! It begins with Jesus! Before Nathanael ever saw Jesus, Jesus sees him! Before Nathanael spoke, Jesus speaks! Before Nathanael ever went and saw, the Word had become flesh! We're nothing more than the echo and reflection of what god has already done! No. It's not discipleship that will "save" the church. That's Jesus' job!

Bob Barndt, pastor

 
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