Join us for worship through the Christmas Season;
Come out and support individuals who struggle with addictions by going to a Baseball game. On August 16th the Joliet Slammers are playing the Southern Illinois Miners at 7:05PM, with a fireworks show afterwards. For every ticket that is sold, Our Savior is donating $5.00 to Stepping Stones Treatment Center. Stepping Stones Treatment Center has been helping people overcome addictions in Joliet since 1971.
Invite a Friend. Invite a Coworker. Invite your Neighbor. How? On the give them a flyer located on the table by the church office, or to order online share with them this link; http://oslc-slammers-2013.eventbrite.com by email, by Facebook, by Twitter…, and don’t forget to come out yourself.
*Orders must be received by August 9th in order to get the tickets before the game.
This year we are putting together a photo directory. Every family will receive a free 8×10 portrait and a picture direcory. Lifetouch is donating a portion to the Lutheran Church Carities Comfort Dogs for everybody that comes to get their pictures taken. There is no obligation to purchase anything so please make time to come and get your picture taken for our directory.
Schedule portrait session online by clicking here or signup Sunday at Church.
Click here for information regarding the photo session.
And they sang a new song, saying,
“Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.”
Sixteen years ago I sat in a Doctor’s office and got some life changing news. My then two year old son was autistic and would probably never graduate from High school. This was do to the severity of his autism. This May 31 2013 He will in fact get his High school diploma and will do it with honors to match. This is a major achievement in his life and one that I am proud to witness. It did get me to thinking about other achievements in the lives of God’s people. Graduation time is here and we mark the passage of one event to another with great celebrations. Regardless of what you have accomplished whether it is graduating to the next level of school, earning that college degree or other such milestones like confirmation, or getting married; these moments are times of reflection for us all. I think back on what my son has done and am amazed that he pulled it off. Soon I will witness the next stages in his life and the accomplishments of them as well. I also look for the accomplishments in my own life like turning 50 (still five years away) and wonder.
Our lives are filled with achievements, some small and some big. Each of us is growing in faith and learning more about the mission and purpose God has for our lives. This is important because there awaits a crowning achievement for us all. Someday we will all stand before the Lord and hear those wonderful words; “well done faithful servant” [Mathew 25:23] and the invitation to the feast of the lamb as well.
So if this spring is a time for celebration of a major event, Congratulations. I salute you on this major step. Still let us look forward to the crowning achievement in our lives of eternity with our Lord Jesus Christ. Not because of all things we have done, but or what Christ has done on the cross for us.
Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!
(Psalm 46:10 ESV)
Ever ask that question; Why is God being so quiet? On the big scale we ask this about all the disasters and tragedy in the world. Why doen’t God do something? In our personal lives as well. OK in my personal life. I am sure there is not now nor will there ever be struggle in your life. You get my point. We all have those moments when we wonder where God is. There is an answer. Still, you may not want to hear it. Why is God being so quiet? He’s not. You are just not listening properly. God is at work behind the scenes instead of out front. God has rarely spoken in a big voice. Most often he speaks in different ways.With a quiet voice or the actions of other people or with no voice at all but in His word. God is not quiet. He is very active and working in the lives of the people of the world. He just speaks in a whisper. So if it seems like He is not doing anything or being too quiet we need to ask a few questions.
- Are we being quiet enough to hear Him? I mean it. Turn off the tv, computer, cellphone and the other things that seem to dominate our modern lives and really listen for the voice of God.
- Are we really listening? In the history of the church few people have heard the voice of God speaking to them. Most often it’s in the actions of people and things all around us. So you have to listen to the wind and read his Word and watch the actions around you.
- Are we acting on what is being said? God is not being quiet in these times as much as we are. God uses people to acomplish his mission on earth. So when it comes to disasters and tragedies all around us. Get involved. How you may ask me? I don’t know. But pray about it and ask God how he can use you to speak for him.
So we started this devotion by asking, Why is God being so quiet? Turns out it’s the wrong question. The correct one is, why are we?
Today I want to talk about carts and horses. When it comes to our plans that is. You see lately I have been thinking about direction in my life. I have wondered what God has in store for me, for my wife and children. This got me to thinking. Are we doing things in the proper order? I wonder about that sometimes in my own life. Sometimes it seems like I am asking God to bless my plans for my life and not to show me His will for it instead. That’s what I mean by carts and horses.
How about you? Does it seem like you want God to bless your ideas or are you following the plans God has for you? We know He has plans for you. Plans to give you a hope and future. (Jeremiah 29:11 ) So how do you know the difference? How can we discern the difference between our ideas and God’s?
To start with let me say that it can be done: with prayer. Yes prayer. By asking God to show us His will and erase any desire we have that is not in accordance with it. This is
something that I am doing and still working on. When I am asked to do something big I ask for a week to pray about it. If they can wait the week then I pray about it and come back to them. If they can not then the answer is always no. Another thing you can do is talk to a trusted friend or pastor. Most people want what is best for us and a fellow believer because they know God and us they can put things into proper perspective. Lastly in prayer ask God for His will to be done not our will.
No I am not saying that this is a easy task. But seeking God’s will should be first in our mind when it comes to major choices that we have to make. So today I challenge each and every one of you to seek first God’s will and then to follow it. Put the horse in front of the cart.
‘I was born and raised down in Alabama; On a farm way back up in the woods; I was so ragged the kids would call me patches………’ lyrics that begin a famous song by artist, Clarence Carter. I remember patches too – the kind your mother would sew on your clothes when you wore a hole in the knees of your pants, or the elbows of your shirt. My brother and I spent most of our time on knees and elbows; so mom was kept pretty busy patching our clothes – a task not high on her list of things to do, as I recall from the occasional swat after a particularly nasty rip!
Sometimes it seems we follow a ‘patches’ theology – the thought that if we patch-over the sin in our lives, the hole doesn’t exist anymore! God does not call us to a ‘patches theology’ – as Christians we are not called to patch our old way of life, but to be made new again by the power of the Holy Spirit. Paul says this in 2 Corinthians: ‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.’
If you take an old, well-worn garment that has a hole and patch it with a piece of new material that has never been washed, your patch will rip a larger hole in the garment. Hebrews 12 says : ‘let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.’ Lord, by the power of Your Holy Spirit, create a new heart and renew a right spirit within me! Galatians 6:14-16 ‘May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation. Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, even to the Israel of God.’
‘Moses led the Hebrew slaves to the Red Sea where they made unleavened bread, which is bread made without any ingredients…. Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the ten commandos…. He died before he ever reached Canada but his commandos made it…. Solomon had three hundred wives and seven hundred porcupines….. He was an actual hysterical figure as well as being in the Bible. It sounds like he was sorta busy too.’
While it’s sometimes funny to read what little kids write about their Biblical knowledge, it’s sad when we as adults have the same concepts. Paul, in 1 Corinthians 3 talks about ‘spiritual food’ in terms of milk – something you give infants: ‘Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly—mere infants in Christ. 2I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it.’ The idea is that we are to progress from ‘milk’ to ‘solid food’ – we are to grow spiritually in our understanding of God’s Word. These words are recorded in Hebrews 5: ‘In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.’ I encourage you to make the commitment to read, and study your Bible and your catechism so that you are always prepared to give an answer for the hope that you have. Psalm 119: ‘I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path. Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws.’ Joshua 1: 8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Read the Book, read the Book, read the Book, Book, Book! It is Light, and it is Life!
For the past 28 years, I have had the privilege of putting up the Manger scene every November and taking it down every January. (Sometimes, when it was 5 below zero, or raining or snowing cats and dogs the ‘privilege’ part was a little questionable!) I took-over from my friend and elder-partner, Bob Weber – now home with the Saints in Heaven. Someday, someone will take-over for me. (You may consider that a request for help!)
Once, when we put up the Manger, I lost my wedding ring and we searched the straw for hours, trying to find it, but to no avail. Miracle of all miracles, when we took it down in January, with 12 inches of snow on the ground, we found my ring! God is Good! But, where else would you expect to see a miracle, if not at the Manger of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
When we see that manger, it is a reminder of 2 important truths. It Reminds us that THE BIBLE’S ACCOUNT OF JESUS BIRTH IS LITERAL AND RELIABLE and that CHRIST WILL LIVE WHERE ROOM IS MADE FOR HIM. Here in the manger is visible proof that God does keep his promises, that God loves each of us and all the world. God is faithful and loving! 1 John 4:10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
O holy Child of Bethlehem, Descend to us we pray!
Cast out our sin and enter in; Be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels and great glad tidings tell;
Oh, come to us, Abide with us, Our Lord Immanuel!
November 13, 1909, Cherry, Illinois (Mendota-area). 259 men and boys die underground in a coal mine fire; the 3rd largest mining disaster in America’s history. Eight days later, 21 are rescued. This month marks the 102nd anniversary of that tragedy. (Google the Cherry Mine disaster for the details, or read Karen Tintori’s Book ‘Trapped The 1909 Cherry Mine Disaster’ for an amazing account of the story.)
Kathy and I drove out to Cherry for the 100th anniversary of the event. Not much to see anymore except the waste piles from the mine, and an old foundation or two. Some signs document the event, but not much else; not much else except the cemetery. It is an odd thing to walk thru that cemetery and see the gravestones of those mostly-Italian miners; row after row of tombstones with the same death-date. Some of the bodies weren’t recovered for months, but nevertheless their markers carried the same date. This cemetery was created because of that tragedy – and originally was for the miners-only; although today, many of their descendants are buried there with them.
Just as in the days of Noah when almost all of mankind was wiped out – literally on the same day – we look forward to a future date when this world and all life in it will end. 1 John 2:17: ‘The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.’ Those 21 survivors of the Cherry Mine fire, trapped in darkness for 8 days, described their feelings upon seeing the light for the first time after they were rescued, as if they were viewing the Glory of Heaven itself. They talked in terms of re-birth; or new birth – given a second chance at life. As we recount our blessings this Thanksgiving Season, let us put our personal relationship with a loving God who called us into His marvelous light, at the top of the list. We were dead, but now are Alive in Christ! Praise God from whom all blessings flow; praise Him all creatures here below. Praise Him above, you Heavenly hosts; praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost, Amen!