Our Christian Home

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WEEKLY DEVOTION MAY 17

Tuesday, MAY 17, 2022

Pastor Bruce Kischnick, Grace Lutheran Church, New Albany, IN

“To the Top and Back”

READING: Psalm 125 – Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people both now and forevermore. The scepter of the wicked will not remain over the land allotted to the righteous, for then the righteous might use their hands to do evil. Do good, O Lord, to those who are good, to those who are upright in heart. But those who turn to crooked ways the Lord will banish with the evildoers. Peace be upon Israel.

Last weekend I had a little vacation with my daughter Christa and her family, my son Dan and his family, Becky, and my brother Larry. We journeyed to Eastern Kentucky and visited the Red River Gorge near Campton. We had a great time. On Mother’s Day we all went see “Natural Bridge”. It’s an arch of stone about 150 feet high that’s the result of erosion and the forces of nature. It’s worth seeing but getting there was “half the fun”! You see to get there you have to take a trail that was muddy and slick from the rains of the night before. You start at the parking lot, go down about 40 stairs to the creek bottom, cross a suspended bridge that bounces with every step, and wind your way to the ascent. Then you go up hundreds of stairs, both wooden and stone. You struggle upwards over an ever-ascending trail that winds back and forth across the hillside. In places you pass steep drop-offs without guardrails. You keep straining you neck upwards hoping to see the top, but not yet. Keep walking, keep climbing, keep panting until you need a break.

The scenery is spectacular, but you can’t see it well through your tears. The smell of pines and springtime is wonderful, but you can’t savor it because you are gulping air. Other people pass you on their way back, some smiling at your misery, others trying to encourage you. You keep putting one foot in front of the other, knees and back complaining. Your goal is to reach the top, to stand on top of Natural Bridge and survey the scene, and then to enjoy the “easy” downhill stretch to your car.

Finally you see the arch of stone! It is awesome! You climb until you’re under it only to find out that now you have to traverse “Fat Man’s Misery”. It’s a cleft in the rock just wide enough to go through sideways. No one can pass anyone in it, so you have to make sure no one’s coming in the opposite direction before you climb some more. Then, finally, you’re there, standing on the Bridge looking out at the marvels of topography you can see before you. Pictures are taken. Comments exchanged. Then it’s time for the “easy” part – going back down. Only to your horror you find that going downhill is at least as uncomfortable as going uphill! “Will it ever be over?” you wonder. Then it is! Back at your car, sore and exhausted, you affirm it was all worth it (but you don’t care to ever do it again!).

It occurred to me that life is a lot like that hiking adventure. You set goals for yourself. You get an education. You find a career or a job. Perhaps you find a spouse, maybe have some children. You work your way along, achieving things, experiencing things, gaining knowledge, gaining position. You reach your peak, able and strong, survey the vistas for a time, but then comes the downhill portion of your life. To your horror it’s a least as difficult as was the climb upward. Often it’s worse. All along you have an eye on your destination: HOME! To be where the Lord is, that’s home. You’ve been journeying toward it all along. It was always the goal, always the aim. This journey we are on isn’t easy. Many people join us on it, some for significant portions of it, some just a short while. Sometimes we feel overwhelmed. Sometimes we feel lonely. Sometimes we just have to sit down and rest for a while. But always there is the journey: a gift, but also a burden.

Psalm 125 above is one of the “Psalms of Ascent”. These were Psalms the pilgrims would chant as they climbed the road from Jericho in the Valley of the Jordan to the Holy City at times of Festival. They were coming to the House of the Lord to worship and celebrate before heading back down to make their way home.

It was Easter that gave us the assurance that when finally our journey is over and we lay down to rest, our destination will be at hand. The “house not made with human hands” awaits us. Our place before the throne of God is reserved. Our new life will unfold with wonders beyond our imagining, surrounded by our loved ones and the saints of God. This earthly journey we’re on is training for and preparation for our “homecoming”. It has steep ascents, exhausting stretches, and an often-painful downhill leg, but when we reach HOME, it will have been well worth the effort. There we will rest in the arms of the Lord, safe and at peace, forever in Christ Jesus. Amen.

PRAYER:

ANNOUNCEMENT(S):

1) Please keep our CONFIRMANDS in your prayers. This coming Sunday they will have their CONFIRMATION DAY (May 22). Pray that God will bless, equip, and encourage them for this important event in their young lives.

2) There’s a BUS EXCURSION planned for May 25. We’ll leave at 9:00 AM for St. Meinrad Archabbey for a tour, then lunch at the Overlook, and a stop to watch the turtles run at Turtle Run Winery. Your only costs are you lunch and any purchases you make. Sign up outside the office, or call Karen and ask her to do that for you.

Youtube Video: https://youtu.be/6SPQLpksTPA

pastork@glcna.com — (502) 797-7407

PRINTABLE PDF: WDMay17.PDF

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WEEKLY DEVOTION MAY 16

Monday, MAY 16, 2022

Pastor Matthew Woods from Grace Lutheran Church in New Albany, Indiana

“Navigating Other People’s Ruts”

This weekend I got to spend some time with my son, Josh. We went four-wheeling. A little back story. Josh had inherited a couple of four-wheelers from his father-in-law. Neither were running. Once loved and ridden often they were eventually parked and stored and a time came when the machines started having things to fix. The list of things to fix on the machines were intended to be fixed sooner than later. And time had given way to a lot of more pressing matters like caring for spouse, children, and work. So later got later and later until the machines became like dusty museum pieces in the barn. Fast forward years later. When Josh’s father-in-law saw the gleam in Josh’s eyes for the four-wheelers it wasn’t long before they were at my house getting some updates. Josh had them running in no time. He even painted the little one black in gold in honor of Daniel’s graduation from Purdue. The bigger, red four-wheeler is the one that he rides the most and is the more powerful and stable of the two. This was the one that he rode with me this past Saturday.

Then came number three; an old Polaris 425. Bought it for 200 bucks from a guy at work who also had let it become a museum piece that needed lots of fixing. It sat in one place in the yard with a tarp over it so long that the grass stopped growing there. It needed tires, rear shocks and struts and a good tune up and viola it was running too. He bought it for me so that “Dad could go riding too.” So, I went halfzies with Josh on all the repairs. And today I got to ride it with my son, Josh at a place in Kentucky called The Dirty Turtle.

It was about a hundred-acre place in Kentucky with lots of hills and trails. We had lots of company there; motor cycles, other four-wheelers, and lots of side-by-sides (which are basically small versions of what we used to call dune-buggies.) The trails were a bit more challenging than I first expected. Many of the hills were way to steep for me to even consider, like black diamonds which are the toughest and most difficult. Many signs marked some of the tougher trails and warned the riders that the trail could be considered extreme. My brakes got a serious work out even on the hills that we did take. The trails that we rode were hard enough; lots of rocks, big enough to break things. And there were ruts, lots and lots of ruts.

The ruts were left mostly by side-by-sides which are like small cars. The ruts were made when the ground was obviously much softer and wetter. And they were on every single trail: some places were a foot and a half deep. This weekend the ground was dry and it was tough and the ruts were fixed and unyielding. The most challenging part of riding my four-wheeler was dealing with other people’s ruts. I was constantly had to work to keep from getting into the ruts. Most of the time I did well. I would stratal them, go around them, but I couldn’t always avoid them. The ruts I couldn’t avoid or fell into often forced my front tire, and therefore, my steering to go in a direction I didn’t want to go. Other people’s ruts were all over the trails. Those ruts pretty much meant I had to adjust my own riding experience to avoid them or overcome them.

Other people’s ruts will cause those around them to struggle. The challenge is to stay out of other people’s ruts. Consider now portions of Mark 7.

5 So the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?”

8 You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”

9 And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ 11 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God)—

12 then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. 13 Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”

The traditions of the Pharisees were ruts that made the path for others harder to navigate. The path I speak of is the way of faith in Jesus. The traditions affected the parents of the Pharisees. If they were in need the tradition of Corban would allow the Pharisee to look the other way an ignore their need. It was a rut created to avoid paying mom and dad’s bills. But it would be mom and dad who fell into the ruts their sons had created; ruts they could not escape. The ruts created obstacles for parents making basic living harder to navigate. Jesus points out the hypocrisy of Corban. He also says that it has nothing to do with the fourth commandment; “honor your father and mother.”

We cannot always avoid the ruts others create. If our spouse decides to go on a diet, we may have to endure it too. If our children are in a rut in school, with a string of bad grades, we, as parents often adjust our schedules and our efforts to help steer the child in a better direction. Many a mom has been up late the night before for projects due the next day. If our neighbor does not mow his grass that often, nor keep up the yard very well that may actually cause some strife and more work for the one who keeps a carefully manicured yard. If we struggle to get motivated to go to church our children will also be caught in that rut. By now you get the idea. If we are affected by other people’s ruts it means that we are likely traveling on the same trails—unavoidably tied to them.

The four-wheeling experience poses some interesting thoughts at this point. When I saw the ruts, I could have turned around and left. I didn’t because that would have meant missing out on sharing the experience with Josh. I would suggest that we start by remembering that our loved ones are not ruts but people we love and care about. On the trail it was nice stop and take in trees, hills, and streams all around as well. Ruts may not be going anywhere but neither are all the things worth seeing either. A rut is not the only thing that defines our loved ones. What’s more getting out of a rut of any kind usually means the Lord’s grace must do the work. It is the Lord’s job not ours to change people.

Removing ruts on the trail was not my job. My job was to navigate the ruts and while doing so find the blessings of the ride with my son. Likewise, it is sometimes the case that being with the ones we love means also having to endure some painful ruts. But we still get to decide how to navigate those ruts. First, be realistic about which ones you can handle. Some hills were well beyond my machine or its driver to handle. And my body was really sore from all the hard riding and rough trails. In Mark 7 it was pretty easy for the disciples not to wash hands in the traditional Pharisee way. This tradition was easy to avoid like some of the ruts on the trail. However, when the disciples were arrested for preaching the Gospel, they simply navigated the situation the best they could with God’s help. For us sometimes the ruts of others cannot be overcome and sometimes they can be. But you always have the choice on when to apply the brakes, or push on the gas, and where and when to turn. Eventually we get to some ground with very few ruts; level and smooth and less challenging. And it becomes quite enjoyable.

Finally, we will do well to avoid creating or deepening our own ruts which can and do affect others; especially our families. David denied his sins with Bathsheba. For the better part of a year, David fell into a rut. He pretended that it was all okay—”nothing to see here”. David became like the four-wheeler—broken, set aside somewhere with things that needed fixing but never really getting around to it. David’s decisions did great damage to the kingdom and his example led to great strife within his family. Our sins may not be as deep or linger so long as David’s with Bathsheba but we do well to remember that we always have an impact of some kind on those closest to us. Everyone has ruts. Those who are along for the ride will feel their impact at some level.

When Josh and I finished our four-wheeling the other day we were both tired and sore. The impact of the rough trails has been felt even now while I film this devotion. Interestingly, the more we road the trails the more confident we became and the better we got at navigating the rocks, hills, and ruts. Perhaps the same may be said of how we handle ruts our loved ones leave behind for us to navigate. Like Paul’s thorn in the flesh perhaps the grace of God is somewhere in those ruts too.

Pastor Matthew Woods

John 3:30

PRINTABLE PDF: WDMay16.PDF

Youtube Video: https://youtu.be/p9LvghLzRx4

matt.woods@glcna.com — (502) 523-9327

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VBS

PASTOR WOODS NEEDS YOUR HELP WITH BUILDING THE VBS SET.
EVERY WEDNESDAY 3 PM UNTIL 8 PM
GIVE US AN HOUR OR TWO,
IF YOU DON’T HAVE ALL DAY

2022 Grace Lutheran VBS June 26-29th

“JESUS”

“Since you are precious in My sight, Since you are honored and I love you, I will give other men in your place and other peoples in exchange for your life.”

—- Isaiah 43-4

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VBS VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!

SIGNUP TO VOLUNTEER FOR VBS.
We need volunteers to commit to helping with Bible Lessons, crafts, skits, group leaders and helpers. Background checks and safety training are required. If you already completed them last year, they are still valid and you will not need to complete it again. This means that volunteers will also have to preregister by June 10. Contact Rosie with any questions at rebling@glcna.com or call at 502-523-1474.

2022 Grace Lutheran VBS June 26-29th

“JESUS”

“Since you are precious in My sight, Since you are honored and I love you, I will give other men in your place and other peoples in exchange for your life.”

—- Isaiah 43-4

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER TO VOLUNTEER!

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WORSHIP SCHEDULE

8th Grade Confirmation (10:30)
Saturday, May 21 — *5:00 pm
Sunday, May 22 — 8:00 & *10:30 am
Saturday, May 28 — 5:00 pm
Sunday, May 29 — 8:00 & 10:30 am
*Communion

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CHILDREN’S MINISTRY NOTES


Grace Notes started as a children’s version of the confirmation level Sermon Notes. It has grown to two full pages front and back with Bible verses according to the weekly church readings, pictures illustrating stories or verses, a prayer box, and puzzles. Grace Notes are part of the Grace Packs (single use church bags) available on Sundays.

Grace Notes are an awesome way to build on the online service as an opportunity for devotion and discussion.

Grace Online – Children’s Bible Lessons!

FOLLOW THIS LINK TO THE CHILDRENS MINISTRY PAGE!

Children’s Ministry Contact Information
Email: sabrina.haug@glcna.com
Phone/Text: 502-386-6371
Facebook: Grace Lutheran Children’s Ministry
Web: www.glcna.org – click Children’s Ministry in right-side Index

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NEWS & TIDBITS at the top right box

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at the top right box

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For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works so that no one can boast. — Ephesians 2:8-9
https://glcna.org/wp-admin/admin.php?page=cgmp-documentation
 

Welcome to the Grace Lutheran Church and School web site. There is a variety of information here regarding our congregation and our beliefs. Lutherans are Bible-believing, sacramental Christians who trace their roots back to Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation. There have been Lutherans since 1517, particularly in Germany and Scandanavia. Lutherans in America followed large immigrations from Europe in the 1840’s and 1850’s.

The congregation at Grace was founded in 1927 in a small room over a pool hall on State Street in New Albany. The congregation moved to Tenth and Oak, then to Charlestown Road, before building its current facilities on Klerner Lane in 1974. The congregation now numbers just over 1100 souls. We worship at 8:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. on Sundays and at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday evenings. The pastors are Rev. Bruce Kischnick and Rev. Matt Woods.

 

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Rev. Bruce Kischnick, Senior Pastor

pastork@glcna.com — (502) 797-7407
 

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Rev. Matt Woods, Associate Pastor

Matt.Woods@glcna.com — (502) 523-9327

 
 

Rose Ebling, Part-time Interim Youth Director

rebling@glcna.com — (502) 442-1474

 
 
 

Sabrina Haug, Children Ministry

Sabrina.Haug@glcna.com 
 
 

Helen Bohannon, Music Director

Helen.Bohannon@glcna.com

 
 

Georgianne Weathers, School Administrator (812) 941-1912

E-Mail: Georgianne.Weathers@glcna.com
preschool@glcna.com
www.gracelutheran.school

 
 

Karen.Meredith, Church Secretary

Karen.Meredith@glcna.com