Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Daily Readings for SUNDAY, January 21, 2018 - Third Sunday after the Epiphany

Jesus Calls Simon and his brother Andrew
Mark 1:14-20

Sunday Readings
(Revised Common Lectionary Year B)

Opening Sentence
I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.
~ Isaiah 49:6b

Prayer of the Day (Collect)
Give us grace, O Lord, to answer readily the call of our Savior Jesus Christ and proclaim to all people the Good News of his salvation, that we and the whole world may perceive the glory of his marvelous works; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

Confession and Forgiveness

Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor.
God is light; in him there in no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him, yet walk in the darkness, we lie and son not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
~ John 1:5b-8

Most holy and merciful Father, We confess to you and to one another, that we have sinned against you by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart and mind and strength. We have not fully loved our neighbors as ourselves. We have not always had in us the mind of Christ. You alone know how often we have grieved you by wasting your gifts, by wandering from your ways. Forgive us, we pray you, most merciful Father; And free us from our sin. Renew in us the grace and strength of your Holy Spirit, for the sake of Jesus Christ your Son our Savior. Amen


The Lessons

First Lesson: Jonah 3:1-5, 10
The word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time, saying, "Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you." So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days' walk across. Jonah began to go into the city, going a day's walk. And he cried out, "Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!" And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth. When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.

Psalm: Psalm 62:6-14
6   For God alone my soul in silence waits;
truly, my hope is in him.
7   He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my stronghold, so that I shall not be shaken.
8   In God is my safety and my honor;
God is my strong rock and my refuge.
9   Put your trust in him always, O people,
pour out your hearts before him, for God is our refuge.
10   Those of high degree are but a fleeting breath,
even those of low estate cannot be trusted.
11   On the scales they are lighter than a breath,
all of them together.
12   Put no trust in extortion; in robbery take no empty pride;
though wealth increase, set not your heart upon it.
13   God has spoken once, twice have I heard it,
that power belongs to God.
14   Steadfast love is yours, O Lord,
for you repay everyone according to his deeds.

Second Lesson: 1 Corinthians 7:29-31
I mean, brothers and sisters, the appointed time has grown short; from now on, let even those who have wives be as though they had none, and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no possessions, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.

Gospel: Mark 1:14-20
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news." As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea-- for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, "Follow me and I will make you fish for people." And immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.


Here ends the Lessons


Click HERE to read today's Holy Gospel Lesson message

The Apostle's Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen

Closing Prayer

Oh Heavenly Father, in whom we live and move and have our being, we humbly pray you so to guide and govern us by your Holy Spirit, that in all the joys, occupations, and cares of the week to come, we may never forget you, but remember that we are ever walking in your sight. In Christ’s name, I pray, Amen

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.
~ Numbers 6:22-27


Let us bless the Lord. Alleluia!
Thanks be to God! Alleluia!

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The New Revised Standard Version Bible may be quoted and/or reprinted up to and inclusive of five hundred (500) verses without express written permission of the publisher, provided the verses quoted do not amount to a complete book of the Bible or account for fifty percent (50%) of the total work in which they are quoted. The Collects, Psalms and Canticles are from the Book of Common Prayer, 1979.

"Faithful Followers" Sermon for for SUNDAY, January 21, 2018 - Third Sunday after the Epiphany


Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news." As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea-- for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, "Follow me and I will make you fish for people." And immediately they left their nets and followed him. As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.
~ Mark 1:14-20


"Faithful Followers"

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Last week we read in the Gospel of John how Jesus had begun to call his disciples. We learned of his call to Andrew and Simeon, and to Philip and Nathaniel, the one under the fig tree. Today we read in Mark, how he called these men, who believed in Him, into a new and different life. We will see how in faith, they followed Jesus, and how we, church, in and by faith follow Him also.

Jesus had been baptized by John in the Jordan, and there received the anointing of the Holy Spirit, who descended on Him as a dove. At His baptism, the Father said, “This is my beloved Son, listen to Him.” And so Jesus enters into His ministry on this earth, proclaiming the Gospel.

And that is where our reading today in Mark picks up. John who had baptized Jesus had been arrested by Herod. This Herod was the nephew of the King Herod at Jesus’s birth, who had killed all the baby boys of Bethlehem. Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (verse 14). Here we see two things. First, that Jesus is proclaiming. This is the beginning of His work, as the Father had said, “Listen to Him.” Second, His message is a message of repentance and of the kingdom of God, very similar to the message of John. John had just been arrested by King Herod. It would seem foolish to follow one who was proclaiming the same message that got John arrested. To keep proclaiming that message, the one that got John thrown in prison, one would either have to be fool or on a mission from God. There was little reason to follow such a proclaimer. To be a follower was dangerous. Following might get you arrested, too.

Now Jesus is walking along the shore of the sea of Galilee. This was a busy place for fisherman and merchants and the like. And He sees Simon and Andrew, and says “Come Here, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” And right away, they do. They put down their nets, and follow him.

Just down the shore there was a boat. In it was a man, Zebedee, with his two sons, James and John. They had finished fishing and were mending their nets. Jesus called out to James and John, and they too, stopped what they were doing, and came and followed Jesus.

We see that Simon, Andrew, James, and John followed Jesus. What does it mean to be a follower? First, the follower is not the leader. And in fact, it takes a leader to have a follower. Two leaders are not leaders. They will tangle and rub against each other. And two followers are not followers. They are just lost together. The follower follows behind the leader. The leader decides to stop or go, turn left or turn right. The follower, as long as he is following, does not get to decide. He cannot just do it my way. The follower is not independent, not his own boss. It is the leader who leads, who decides, and who is responsible. The follower must be willing to surrender the right to make his own decisions over to the leader.

Second, because the follower is behind the leader, the follower does not get to see what lies ahead. Only the leader knows that. The follower simply walks in the path and footsteps of the leader. The follower cannot see ahead, he can only see the leader.

What does this tell us about following? Following is an act of trust. Following is faith in action. To be a follower, one must trust the decision-making to the leader. And to be a follower, one must trust the decision the leader has made. The follower follows because he trusts the leader. And when he stops trusting the leader, he will soon stop following. Following and trust are tied together. The follower has faith in the leader, and a faithful follower will follow his leader. Why? Because he has faith in the leader.

Well, now, what about those disciples? Jesus called the disciples to a life of faith, a life of faith in Him. Notice how when He called, they came right away? Now, how is that? Remember, Jesus was proclaiming repentance and the kingdom of God, just as John had done. You can see where that had gotten John. And the danger was the same for those who followed such a proclaimer.

A follow would have to decide: This Jesus was either a fool, or He was true, and on a mission from God. Yet these disciples came right away. How did these disciples come so quickly? They came because of the call of Christ. Christ called them. His Word, His call gave them faith, faith in Him. By that faith, they knew that He was true. They knew He was not a fool, but on a mission from God. And by that faith – that trust – they followed Him. They could not see what all lie ahead, but they trusted Jesus. In the past, they made the decisions about fishing. But now Jesus would make the decisions. They had faith and trusted Jesus. Their following was a result of their faith. It was their faith in action.

What about us? What about you and me? Jesus has called us, Church. He has called us to a life of faith in Him. Do we ever feel that life is out of control? Yes. And it is. Life is out of our control and in the control of Jesus. He is leading. He has called us to trust Him and to follow Him. What happens when we are not content to be the follower, and try to be in control of our own lives? We get all tangled up. How, then, do we follow Jesus? By trusting Him. To follow Him we need not work harder at following, we need only trust Him. How do we trust Him? By faith. Faith which He gives us through His Word.

What about our lives? What will this year bring? Or what will tomorrow bring? We do not know. We cannot see ahead. But we have One who can and who does. Jesus sees what is to come. We need only follow. And to follow we don’t have to see the future, we only need to see our leader, Jesus. And we do see Him. We see Him by faith. We see Jesus by faith when we hear His word. We see Him by faith in His body and blood. We see Him by faith when He receives our prayers.

Just as the disciples, it can be dangerous to follow Jesus. And just like them, we must decide whether this Jesus, who calls us to repentance and into the Kingdom of God, whether this Jesus is a fool, or on a mission from God. And how do we know? By faith. The faith we have received from the Apostles, the faith we have received from God by His Word. He has called us by His Word. And by faith we believe. We know that He was and is on a mission from His Father. We know that Jesus is true.

Like the first disciples, we follow Jesus by faith. We cannot see the future. But we see our Savior. We can and do trust Him, with our lives now, and in His forever kingdom. We follow Him by believing. We have been called to be His people, His followers. We need not work harder at following Him, doing it in our strength. Rather we follow by believing and trusting Him. We have believed His word and repented. And faithfully we follow, day by day, step by step, trusting Him to lead us. For His kingdom, the kingdom of God, is at hand.

Let us pray:
Almighty God, our hope and strength, without you we falter. Help us to follow Christ and to live according to your will. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen


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New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The New Revised Standard Version Bible may be quoted and/or reprinted up to and inclusive of five hundred (500) verses without express written permission of the publisher, provided the verses quoted do not amount to a complete book of the Bible or account for fifty percent (50%) of the total work in which they are quoted. Sermon contributed by Rev. David Roth, Zion Lutheran Church, Owensville, Missouri on Jan 24, 2015.

Prayer of the Day for SUNDAY, January 21, 2018


Almighty God, our hope and strength, without you we falter. Help us to follow Christ and to live according to your will. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Amen

Verse of the Day for SUNDAY, January 21, 2018


Mark 1:17 (NIV) “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”

Read all of Mark 1

Listen to Mark 1

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Un Dia a la Vez -


Días difíciles

Jesús dijo: Vengan a mí todos ustedes que están cansados y agobiados, y yo les daré descanso.
~ Mateo 11:28 (NVI)

Sé que levantarse y encontrarse con un día lleno de situaciones, problemas familiares, quizá hasta problemas de dinero o la incertidumbre de estar un día más sin trabajo te puede frustrar y llevar a renegar y pelear contra Dios. Mi consejo es que no pelees contra Él. Como hijo de Dios, tienes todo el derecho de decirle cómo te sientes, pero no cuestionarlo y mucho menos maldecir tu vida.

Tal vez te parezca repetitivo, pero es cierto. Este es el día que Dios creó para ti, y algo que alegra el corazón de Dios es que a pesar de tu situación, de tu problema, puedas alegrarte y gozarte en el día que te levantas hoy. Recuerda que no eres el único. Todos tenemos días de angustia, pero no todos tenemos la misma actitud ante la adversidad. De modo que nuestra actitud y nuestra fe sí cambian por completo el panorama.

Descansa en Él y dile: «Señor, aunque no entiendo lo que estoy viviendo, quiero decirte que me alegraré y me gozaré este día. Y esperaré confiadamente en ti. Amén».

Un Día a la Vez Copyright © by Claudia Pinzón

Standing Strong Through the Storm - ENDURE HARDSHIP AS DISCIPLINE


ENDURE HARDSHIP AS DISCIPLINE

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?...No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

As we see in Hebrews chapter twelve, once we “keep our eyes fixed on Jesus,” we will be aware of how we should then live. Now he teaches us about the value of hardships and discipline that does not seem helpful but in the end produces a harvest of righteousness and peace.

Alexander was on his first research trip to Cuba for Open Doors. He asked a Cuban pastor what his needs were. He expected the response to itemize the many material needs that the churches in Cuba obviously lacked.

“The first thing we need is your prayers,” he replied, “to know the Body of Christ is with us.” Then he went on to list their tremendous need for Bibles, teaching aids, Sunday school materials and printing supplies. Then he concluded with the statement that they could use anything and everything. “If you send us just a bar of soap, we’ll be grateful,” he confessed. “We'll praise God for it!”

Alexander says, “I felt a big lump in my throat as I thought of all the Bibles, literature and freedoms I enjoyed. Yet even with all my blessings, my testimony was not as strong. So I struggled to articulate my feelings. ‘Pastor,’ I said, ‘I can only begin to sense and imagine the difficulties you have encountered.’”

The pastor’s eyes became misty and he softly responded, “Oh yes brother, we have been through the most difficult years. Yet we don’t fear persecution. As a matter of fact, we welcome it because it purifies us!”

Freddie Sun spent years in prison in China because of his Christian faith. Prison was literally a trial of fire for him. He worked in a factory making tee-joints from pig iron. Every day he loaded and unloaded the furnace which fired up to 2700 degrees Fahrenheit. In the midst of this hell on earth, God spoke to him. “I have put you in this high-temperature furnace. Don’t worry—you won’t melt. But your impurities will be removed so you can become a useful tee-joint!”

RESPONSE: Today I will receive God’s discipline with the awareness that it is refining me to be more like Jesus.

PRAYER: Lord help me to accept hardship as Your discipline for my life. I look forward to the harvest of righteousness and peace.

LHM Devotion - January 21, 2018 "The Fine Art of Encouragement"

https://www.lhm.org/dailydevotions/default.asp?date=20180121

Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries

"The Fine Art of Encouragement"

Jan. 21, 2018

For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with Him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

It was only a few weeks ago that Alabama played Georgia for the national football championship.

As you can imagine, it was an important game. The college which wins the title will find it easier to raise money, get free publicity, and recruit top-of-the-line players in the future. Students who do well in such a game will find the path to big money in the NFL has been smoothed out considerably.

Alabama's quarterback, Jalen Hurts, had managed to win an impressive 25 of the 28 games he had started. To do exceptionally well in this championship game would be icing on the cake of Hurts' college career. Unfortunately, things didn't go as he had hoped. When halftime came, Alabama was behind 13 to 0.

When the second half began, Hurts was replaced by freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. He did a spectacular job. He managed to recharge the Alabama team and, in overtime, pull off a win for that grand, old university.

But Hurts? What about him who had been replaced? How would he feel about the demotion?

The cameras kept zeroing in on him to see if his face would register some "sour grapes." They didn't. On the contrary, Hurts seemed loudest in shouting encouragement to his replacement. After the game, many of the sports reporters interviewed Hurts. They all asked questions, which gave him the opportunity to take some shots at his replacement.

Hurts refused to take those shots.

Instead of criticism, Hurts said things like "He's good for stuff like this" and "He has the 'it' factor. I'm so happy for him and so happy for the team." Now don't get me wrong Hurts is still a first-class quarterback. It's just that he's an even better man -- and an even better encourager.

From what I'm able to see, being an encourager is pretty much a dying art, and those who encourage are an endangered species. Today it is far more fashionable to disparage and to deride; it is more news worthy to complain, to criticize, to condemn, and to censure. Sadly, Christian churches and denominations are not immune from the sad and sinful habit of taking cheap shots at others.

Now understand, the administration of the law is a necessary thing. We dare not go about spreading whitewash everywhere and pretending there is no such thing as sin. Sin is real, and so is our obligation to point it out and bring people back to the forgiveness the Savior has won for us.

Yes, pointing out sin is our job, but so, as Paul points out, is encouraging and building up those who need it. And how can we tell if someone needs to be encouraged? That's easy. We do it for all and work under the assumption that if they don't need to be encouraged, they will tell us.

Now I'm not a prophet, but I think you'll have to wait a long time before you meet such a person.

THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, it's easy to point out the specks in the eyes of others. Let us, as much as we are able, help others get rid of the specks which cloud their vision and then, when the specks are gone, help them clearly see the Savior who has done all which is necessary to save us. In the Redeemer's Name we pray. Amen.

Use these devotions in your newsletter and bulletin! Used by permission; all rights reserved by the Int'l LLL (LHM).
It was only a few weeks ago that Alabama played Georgia for the national football championship.

Notre Pain Quotidien - Promesses et promesses

https://www.ministeresnpq.org/2018/01/21/promesses-et-promesses/

Promesses et promesses

Lisez : 2 Pierre 1.1-9
La Bible en un an : Exode 1 – 3 ; Matthieu 14.1-21

[Lesquelles] nous assurent de sa part les plus grandes et les plus précieuses promesses, afin que par elles vous deveniez participants de la nature divine. (V. 4)

Ma fille cadette et moi avons un jeu que nous appelons « Pinchers » (Pincées). Quand elle monte l’escalier, je la pourchasse et j’essaie de la pincer. Les règles à suivre : Je ne peux la pincer (gentiment, bien entendu) que lorsqu’elle est dans l’escalier. Lorsqu’elle est rendue en haut, elle est en sûreté. Parfois, elle n’est cependant pas d’humeur à jouer. Et si je la suis dans l’escalier, elle me lance fermement : « Pas de pincées ! » Ce à quoi je réponds : « Pas de pincées. Promis. »

Or, cette promesse peut sembler insignifiante, mais quand je fais ce que je dis que je ferai, ma fille commence à saisir une chose au sujet de mon caractère. Elle fait l’expérience de ma constance. Elle sait qu’elle peut me faire confiance. Tenir parole, ce n’est pas grand‑chose. Reste que les promesses – ou les honorer, devrais‑je dire – sont ce qui maintient la viabilité des relations. Elles jettent les fondements de l’amour et de la confiance.

Je crois que c’est ce que Pierre voulait dire en écrivant que les promesses de Dieu nous permettent de « [devenir] participants de la nature divine » (2 P 1.4). Lorsque nous prenons Dieu au mot, en croyant ce qu’il dit de lui‑même et de nous, nous découvrons son amour pour nous. Cela lui donne l’occasion de nous révéler sa fidélité, si nous croyons qu’il dit vrai. Je suis heureux que la Bible soit riche de ses promesses, ces rappels concrets de ce que « ses compassions ne sont pas à leur terme ; elles se renouvellent chaque matin » (LA 3.22,23).

La Parole de Dieu nous révèle son amour pour nous.

par Adam Holz

© 2018 Ministères NPQ
« Pas de pincées. Promis. »