St. Paul's Weekly Update
Why I Am a Lutheran
I have a book that's called, "Why I Am a Lutheran," but you don't even need to read the book to find out why because the subtitle already gives the answer. Before I give it away, I'll give a hint--look at the picture of the stained glass windows above.
They are the windows from the front of St. Paul's sanctuary. Notice what window is in the center of the five windows, and really at the center of the whole building. You might not recognize it because it is behind the altar, but that is the one that gives the answer to Why I Am a Lutheran. It has the cross of our Savior on it, and above it, if you can see it, is the slain-but-victorious lamb from Revelation 5, who is worthy to open the seven seals on the scroll of salvation history. And don't worry--we didn't put the altar in front of that window to cover up the cross, because in the middle of our altar is a statue of Jesus, beneath him is a golden cross, and on the altar beneath Christ comes to us in his flesh and blood.
So why am I a Lutheran? Why are you a Lutheran? The subtitle of the book is spot on. It could really be the subtitle of our church: Jesus at the Center. Jesus is the center of the Bible & the center of salvation history. And by his grace, he is the center of our church (even our windows!) and your faith.
Prayer of the Day for Sunday:
Almighty God, we confess that we deserve to be punished for our evil deeds. But we ask you graciously to cleans us from all sin and to comfort from all sin and to comfort us with your salvation; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Worship & Bible Class
--We welcome the Michigan Lutheran Seminary Concert Choir for our upcoming Sunday services! Our special commemoration for the anniversary of the building focuses on the stained glass windows and Christian Education. How fitting, then, to welcome singers from one of our called-worker training schools! We will also have a presentation by Pastor/Admissions Counselor Ross Chartrand between services. You might learn something new about the school down the road!
-- 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.
-- Midweek Lent Worship is at 3:30 & 6:30 (both mask-optional), 6:30 livestreamed. This week we welcome Pastor Patrick Ernst of St. John's, Frankenmuth, as our guest preacher under the theme: Hands of the Passion--Hands of Repentance (Tax Collector).
-- The livestream of Sunday 8:00am and the Midweek 6:30pm services 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)
-- Keep in your prayers:
Mrs. Janna Needham, who is holding the call to serve as part-time 2nd grade teacher here at St. Paul's;
Mr. Sam Korth, who received a call to serve as 5th grade homeroom teacher (departmentalized upgrades), music coordinator, and adult choir director at St. Stephen’s in Beaver Dam, WI.
God bless you as you serve Him!
Worship Preview for Sunday
Worship helps from https://wels.net/serving-you/devotions/worship-helps/
Fourth Sunday in Lent:
Jesus Must Be Lifted Up On the Cross
A drowning man will not complain about the size of the boat that comes to rescue him. Yet today’s first lesson shows us people complaining not long after God had freed them from slavery in Egypt. Note in each lesson how God shows his heart of grace―undeserved love that rescues sinners.
First Lesson – Numbers 21:4-9
Which flaws of human nature led to the painful, in some cases deadly, lesson of venomous snakes?
The snakes came when people got impatient, complained, and were not thankful. They even criticized free daily food. It started with a lack of trust and love for God. (“You brought us… to die in the desert.”)
God could have saved the people without having them look at something. What did he want to teach them (and us) by having them look at the snake on a pole?
By putting the snake on the pole, God said: “trust me.” God found a way to heal their soul and body at the same time. Their main problem was spiritual—lack of trust—and God taught them to trust his promise. Sure enough, anyone was bitten who looked at the bronze snake lived.
Today we don’t look at a snake on a pole to save us. Where does God direct us to look?
God has us look at his Son in baptism’s waters and his body and blood, united with bread and wine in his supper.
Second Lesson – Ephesians 2:4-10
Find five different words or phrases in this precious section that highlights God’s goodness.
Five key phrases which emphasize God’s goodness: his great love for us, who is rich in mercy, riches of his grace, his kindness to us, it is the gift of God.
Find four different words or phrases Paul uses to emphasize that no part of the rescue is our doing.
Four key phrases, emphasizing that we cannot save ourselves at all: “We were dead in transgressions,” “not from yourselves,” “not by works,” and “no one can boast.”
If our good works have no part in paying for our eternal life, why do we still do good works? (See 2:10.)
Good works result when people realize the great gift God has given them. A living fruit tree will naturally bear fruit; so also, a person who realizes he has received eternal life at the cost of God’s own precious blood will then respond to that love with love for God and others. The reason God created us was to produce fruits of faith and love.
Gospel – John 3:14-21
How is Jesus like the bronze snake of today’s first lesson?
Both the snake and Jesus were lifted up. Both were lifted up so many could look, see the solution promised by God, and be saved. Both required no payment or effort. Instead, both called dying people to look with trust to the only savior for their problem.
What is the criterion for God’s judgment? When does this judgment take place?
Whoever believes in Jesus shall not perish. God’s criterion is that you trust in Jesus. This judgment is already valid, not just a future “will be so,” but already “is condemned.” Believers already cross over from death to life. (See John 5:24.)
Simple Devotion Plan for Lent & Other Devotional Material
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Week of Lent 3 (March 8-13)
M: 1 Peter 1:13-21
Tu: Mark 6:7-13
W: Luke 22:24-30
Th: Luke 4:38-44
F: 1 Corinthians 4:9-16
S: Isaiah 49:1-6
Week of Lent 4 (March 15-20)
M: John 6:22-29
Tu: 1 Kings 19:1-8
W: Mark 12:28-34
Th: John 6:47-59
F: John 12:20-26
S: John 8:21-30
Week of Lent 5 (March 22-27)
M: Hebrews 7:23-27
Tu: John 7:1-13
W: John 13:31-35
Th: Hebrews 10:1-10
F: John 11:47-55
S: Exodus 32:30-34
Week of Lent 6 (March 29-31, then Holy Week)
M: 1 Peter 2:21-24
Tu: 1 Timothy 6:12-14
W: Jeremiah 15:15-21
Lord’s Prayer and possibly other prayers:
Monday: Missions; Tuesday: Congregations & Schools; Wednesday: Families; Thursday: Country & Work; Friday: The Suffering & Those Who Care for Them; Saturday: For Jesus to Bring us Quickly to the Joys of Heaven
The Lord bless us and keep us, the Lord make his face shine on us and be gracious to us, the Lord look on us with favor and give us peace. Amen.
Other Devotional Materials:
Occasional Videos on our Facebook page lining up with the devotional plan above.
WELS Daily Devotions: https://wels.net/dev-daily/
Family devotions: https://wels.net/family-devotion/
Jesus' Passion: 40 days of Bible readings with one of our Seminary professors can be found at forwardinchrist.net or on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/watch/109950283839877/132177868707885/