St. Paul's Weekly Update
Introduction & Notes
No Need to Lure
Have you ever heard of phishing emails? They are scam emails that are trying to trick you into giving your personal information away. You might say they are "fishing" for your information. People who come up with these phishing emails, or phone calls, or texts, seem to be getting craftier and craftier (and their spelling has improved!) as they try to lure you in to their schemes.
In the gospel reading for Sunday, Jesus goes fishing for people--but he isn't very crafty about it. He doesn't try some phishing schemes, tricking people so he can blackmail them into following him. Nope. He simply walks up to Simon and his brother Andrew, and says, "Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." And just like that, he caught them!
He caught us in the same way. None of us were lured into church or into believing in Jesus. He simply came to us in the gospel and in baptism and said, "Come, follow me, I am your Savior." And through the Holy Spirit's power we swallowed the message hook, line and sinker.
That makes you a fisher of men, too. But don't worry--you don't have to come up with just the right phishing scheme or lure to get someone to believe in Jesus. Let Jesus' straight-forward words do the work, words like the words he preaches at the start of the Gospel reading: "Repent, and believe in the gospel." Pray this week that the Holy Spirit use you to fish for people through the simple gospel message.
Worship & Bible Class
-- Sunday Worship is at 8:00am and 10:30 (mask-optional), with Bible Class and Sunday School in-between.
-- Monday night worship (mask-required) is at 6:30pm.
-- The livestream of Sunday 8:00am can be found here (Sunday Bible study livestream can be found there as well). See worship preparation below to get the hymns and readings ready (or find bulletin here)
-- Private communion always available by appointment. Don't let anything separate you from God's means of grace! Call the office or call/email Pastor Naumann (412-0232); Pastor Buelow (412-0458)
--Wednesday Bible studies continue! Both studies are still in the church basement for now. Civil Government continues in the morning, and Jeremiah will continue in the 7pm class (find materials by clicking here). Join today at 10am or 7pm in the same way--through the Zoom app, meeting ID: 813 9931 8006, passcode: 011081, or click: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81399318006?pwd=ZW5JR3BDL3d1RzNTZzNTZDlreEVrZz09
Worship Preview for Sunday
The worship notes with study questions and answers below taken from wels.net/worship-help
Epiphany 3: Jesus is Revealed by the Preaching of Repentance
Is God calling you today to sell everything you have, give it away, and move to a foreign country to be a penniless missionary? His Word does not say that. God does call some people to public ministry. He sends some far from home. He gives some of his ministers hard assignments. Note: He calls all believers by our baptisms to be ready to leave anything for him. He left everything for us. He gave his holy life for us.
First Lesson – 1 Kings 19:19-21
Elisha seems to have been from a wealthy family; he plowed with twelve yoke of oxen. Still, what did Elijah call Elisha to do?
Elijah called Elisha to leave behind his family and former duties and to become Elijah’s successor as God’s prophet.
What did Elisha do before leaving his family?
He slaughtered his yoke of oxen and burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat.
What example is God giving you here?
God is giving you an example of full dedication to his call.
Supplemental Second Lesson – Acts 13:1-5
Which of the seven men in Antioch is now known as Paul?
Saul is now known as Paul.
How did other believers set apart Barnabas and Saul for the work to which God the Spirit had called them?
The other believers set apart Barnabas and Saul for public ministry elsewhere as missionaries by fasting, praying, and laying hands on them. (We do similar things today.)
Gospel – Mark 1:14-20
What message did Jesus proclaim?
Jesus preached: “Repent and believe the good news!” Here Jesus uses the “repent” in a more narrow way, referring only to sorrow over sin.
Did Jesus preach his message of repentance by himself?
No. He began to call his disciples to proclaim that message too. What faith they showed by dropping everything and following Jesus!
Hymns: 250, 463, 772, 85
Order of Service: CW p. 15
Devotional & Bible Reading Options for the New Year
The new year is a great time to start a new Bible reading routine! Choose a book of the Bible and read when you can, or set aside a particular time and place every day, or listen on your commute etc. A couple options are below:
--The God's Story of Salvation plan from the Forward in Christ magazine. You won't read ever verse or chapter, but you will grow in faith as you read chronologically through sections of the Bible and see God's grace in each account. It's not too late to get started! Go online to forwardinchrist.net/bible-readings-2021 .
The New Year is also a great time for starting some new faith-strengthening books. Northwestern Publishing House has several new books that will help you defend and share your faith. For teens, try "Who am I? Understanding Your Identity in Christ Through Facts not Feelings." For practical ways to share God's Word, try "Speaking Boldly: Sharing God's Word Everyday." The short book "I Know That I Know," by Pastor Jacob Behnken just up the road in Midland, reassures Christians that God has given them saving faith in Christ with numerous illustrations from the Bible. Visit nph.net or call 1-800-662-6022.