WEEKLY DEVOTION AUGUST 4
Tuesday, August 4, 2020
Pastor Bruce Kischnick, Grace Lutheran Church, New Albany, IN
READING: Psalm 16:1, 2, 7-8 – Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge. I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.’ I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me, because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Weather forecasting has made great advances over the last 20-30 years. New technologies and new weather modeling make it possible for big weather events to be forecast with much more accuracy than in times past. They’re not perfect, but much better than before. Take hurricanes, for instance. Satellites allow for meteorologists to spot tropical depressions which morph into tropical storms that can spin up into hurricanes that threaten various places. They can give six, seven, eight days warning that something may be headed your way, and people can evacuate to safer places.
Tornadoes can be forecast with greater accuracy than ever before. Doppler radar allows for spotting “hooks” that can spawn twisters. The weathermen can warn people in its path to go to safer places. Blizzards can also be forecast and warned against. Heavy lightning the same. Big rains, ditto!
But there is one natural phenomenon that to this day has baffled every expert when it comes to predictions and early warning: earthquakes. One minute you are eating your breakfast; the next moment the ceiling falls on your head. There is no early warning. There is no predicting it. One moment, all is well; the next, “…all kinds of shakin’ is going on!”
In thirty years of ministry to people, I find the same is true for all kinds of trouble and affliction that can befall human beings. One moment, everything is fine; the next, someone runs a stop sign and T-bones you. One moment, you feel fine; the next, a terrible pain stabs its way into your consciousness. One moment, all is well; the next, the telephone rings and you learn someone you love has died. One moment things are normal; the next, nothing is ever “normal” again.
These things can’t be predicted or foreseen. They are life-altering events that shake us to our core and change everything. We couldn’t see them coming, but once they hit us, we find ourselves in the center of the storm. What do we hang on to? What helps us withstand the upheaval and its after-effects?
The Psalmist has the answer. He says, “I keep the Lord always before me.” To me, that has always meant that I keep the Lord in the very center of my life. I try to see everything that I experience, for good or for ill, through the lens of God’s grace, mercy, and promises. I try to keep the Lord in the center of all I do, not so much that I can reach out and take hold of him when my world shakes, but better that HE can reach out and take hold of me! I need him there, in the middle, as the center-pining of my life, as the support and the guidepost of my living. Then when something rocks my world, I have his assurance that he’s right there where he’s always been, in the center of my life.
The Psalmist goes on to say, “Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” That word, shaken, carries with it the connotation of “being shaken to pieces, being utterly undone” as when a terrier shakes the life out of a rat. The Psalmist says that whatever might come, because the Lord is there with him, he will not be reduced to hopelessness and despair. He will have the strength to deal with the “earthquakes” of life with faith, trust, and confidence in God’s providence.
Just this past week I met with or talked with three families and several individuals who had experienced just such “earthquakes” in their lives. Accidental death, sudden natural death, diagnoses of life-threatening ailments, and other challenges that suddenly appeared in their lives, changing the trajectories of their hopes and expectations. And, in every case my counsel was to keep the Lord at the center of their lives. To trust that even when they could not see the way ahead clearly, that God would be going into their future with them. Together we can say as the Psalmist does, “Keep me safe, O god; for in you I take refuge.” Amen.
Youtube Video: https://youtu.be/c3aV1yjnSiw
firstname.lastname@example.org — (502) 797-7407
PRINTABLE PDF: WEEKLYDAug4.PDF
The Red Cross will be at Grace on Thursday, August 6 from 3:00-7:00 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall for those who are interested in donating blood. To make an appointment, please call 1-800-733-2767 or go to redcross.org, click Give Blood and follow prompts from there. Who Can You Help by Donating Blood? Every day, blood donors help patients of all ages: accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those battling cancer, trauma victims, sickle cell patients, and those with chronic diseases.
COVID-19 Rules for donors, volunteers, and staff members:
All donors, volunteers, and staff members are required to wear facemasks. If you do not have one, one will be provided to you. Temperatures will also be taken as soon as you enter the room. All beds and health histories will be spaced 6 feet apart to ensure social distancing. Everything will be wiped down after each use.
If you have any other questions, please contact Melissa at (502)-888-7713
WEEKLY DEVOTION August 3
Monday, August 3, 2020
Pastor Matthew Woods from Grace Lutheran Church in New Albany, Indiana
“Trust is the Hardest Part”
The Christian faith is formed by three main ingredients; knowledge, acceptance, and trust. Knowledge and acceptance, I may talk about another time but for today we will focus on trust because trust is the hardest of the three ingredients for a Christian. For now, let’s just say, we may know Jesus and the Bible. We may accept Jesus as Savior and His Word as truth. But trust requires action and a willingness to put ourselves in the Savior’s hands. All three ingredients are integrated and dependent on the other ingredients for faith to be healthy. All three ingredients are essential to following Jesus and all are directed by the Holy Spirit.
So, what happens when trust is strained or maybe even broken? What do you do then? To consider this question let us turn to Mark 9:14-29.
14 When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them.
15 As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him.
16 “What are you arguing with them about?” he asked.
17 A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”
19 “You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”
20 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.
21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”
“From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”
26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.
28 After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
29 He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”
The boy’s father expresses a line I have used myself. “Lord I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief.” Doubts creep in because trust has been eroded. I believe this father has worked hard to help his son long before we meet him at this scene in Mark 9. Perhaps, as long as this father noticed the boy’s symptoms this father likely has done anything within his means to help his son. Nothing has worked and no solution has come from the religious leaders, the teachers of the Law, who only wanted to argue about the sinfulness that must have brought this about (See John 9). The disciples prove nothing either because they couldn’t drive out the demon. Everything seems to have flopped. This father is full of doubts and Jesus literally becomes his last hope.
“Help my unbelief” comes usually after many disappointments, some of them self-inflicted—imagined outcomes like I shared last week only to be punctured by the reality. Who could blame us for doubting? What do we actually trust in the news, especially in the realm of politics? Will science really flatten the fear of Covid? We hear about solutions to Covid but how many vaccines have cured a cold or flu? Or on a normal day how many unknown numbers pop up on our phones that we actually answer or trust? How many things that promise us better health actually want to help us or are we just getting another false advertisement? Recently I have been hearing about Johnson and Johnson being sued because their baby powder causes cancer. Baby powder? What!? That’s been on our shelf since I was a baby. Good grief! Can anything be trusted? Thankfully Jesus is not just anything.
As I share this with you, I have been given the sad news that my old Ford F150 has ended its 215,000-mile career as my faithful workhorse. That means we are looking for a different car. As I begin my search for a different vehicle (someday another truck) I am left with the same feeling I get every time I seek to buy a car. I wonder if the vehicle I end up buying will actually perform or will I just inherit someone else’s problems. Research always finds the horror stories and they plague my mind like peanut butter on the roof of a dog’s mouth. I can’t afford to be one of them. But here we go again. Doubt. My old truck was a trusted vehicle. I knew its problems. I was familiar with its issues and knew how to deal with them until I couldn’t anymore. A newer car is fun but also for me filled with uncertainty until I have driven the thing for long enough to feel it has proven itself.
The father of the boy has most likely made an investment of money and time to help his son to no avail much like the woman in Matthew 9. (Consider the woman with the bleeding issue. She went broke trying to get better. Matthew 9:20–22, Mark 5:25–34, Luke 8:43–48).
Ironically, the disciples couldn’t heal the boy either it seems for the same reason. Jesus seems frustrated by it when He says, “You unbelieving generation, how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you?” The disciples seem to doubt too. And when Jesus says, “only with prayer” we get a little inside scoop. The disciples may have relied too much on their own skills and their own authority to cast out the demon. We believe in Jesus but a little extra money won’t hurt. We believe in Jesus but more exercise will make me healthier. We believe in God’s Word but certain passages don’t really fit our lifestyle. We believe in Jesus but my future feels more certain with a good 401k. I believe in Jesus but working hard to be a “good person” will ensure I have a place with Him. We believe in Jesus but often try to subsidize our faith, help God help us, as Abraham once did with Hagar. In the end trust is a hard thing to have. But let us remember after the resurrection trust in Jesus was unshakable for those same disciples.
So, what’s the key to trust? It’s not a secret. Trust is built on relationships and reputation. The depth of our relationship with Jesus has the greatest effect on trust. While everything else that lets us down is of this world and flawed Jesus is not of the world and neither is the kingdom He is offering us. Jesus never tries to sell us anything nor force His will upon anyone. He simply invites us to follow Him and makes and hides nothing about the cost of being His disciple. Yet Jesus says, “Trust in me” to His disciples and to all His followers in John 14. The actions of Jesus on the cross and in the way He loved people of all angles of life reveals a person who wants us to trust in Him. His reputation is a 2000 year old message of love. The grace of God is unique from all messages or religions of the world. Jesus came to give His life for our sin that we might also come to know the resurrection. There is nothing like it.
After almost 25 years of marriage one of the most defining parts of the relationship I have with my wife is one of trust. She has demonstrated nothing but faithfulness to the care of her family, her devotion to me, and in the way she strives to expend her energy for all of our sakes. I watch the way she handles crisis and frustration and see the character of a godly wife. She is lovingly sacrificial and naturally puts us before herself. If I am to brag, I brag about her. I strive to do the same for her but she makes me feel like I am always getting the better end of the deal. I am literally the man I am today because of the relationship I have with her. She has chosen to trust in me and I in her. Love is certainly a big component to our marriage but trust is essential. Trust has been built through a life together.
Like a marriage, a life together with Jesus is what builds trust; built on the thick and the thin and in the better days and the worse. It’s the milestones and the epic falls. If you want to trust the Lord consider leaning in more than you have. The closer you get to the Lord the better the chance to overcome our unbelief. Start with prayer and be as honest and open as you want to be in those prayers. Start with the way you love others; try something sacrificial, something that is generous. And perhaps stop trying to define how God is supposed to behave and Let Jesus do what Jesus does. Let Him lead for a while and let the Word of God have a voice in the way we follow Jesus. Remember the disciples trusted Jesus with their lives and they went through a lot worse than most of us in the way they suffered for Jesus and died for the Gospel. They literally depended entirely on the Lord for the things they needed and received the kingdom of heaven. They trusted in God and so can we. So, if your trust has waived in Jesus I invite you to please try again. In Jesus. Amen.
And now the Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face to shine on you and be gracious to you. The Lord look on you with His favor and give you His peace. Amen.
Pastor Woods — John 3:30
PRINTABLE PDF: weeklydAug3.PDF
Youtube Video: https://youtu.be/PbOsbms1O1c
email@example.com — (502) 523-9327
Sunday School and Grace-on-Wednesday
Due to the ongoing concerns and unknowns regarding COVID-19, Sunday School and Grace-on-Wednesday will not be able to meet for the next several months. Both staff and a number of parents have raised concerns about health issues that remain unclear.
We will, however, be producing weekly video lessons that will include live-action skits, puppet plays, music, and the like. These will be available at our website beginning in September.
7th & 8th grade Confirmation classes will be meeting after Labor Day. We will meet jointly in the Fireside Room with precautions. They and their parents may expect letters to arrive in early August, with details. Obviously, as we see progress in virus control, or as a vaccine becomes available, we will re-address the situation
Coming in September – Virtual Classes
It has been decided to continue in a virtual mode with Wednesday night classes and Sunday School. Children’s Ministry and the Youth Ministry are working together to provide videos with skits, music, and a Bible story. Details are still being worked out. Keep watch in the News & Tidbits, the church website and app, and the Grace Lutheran Children’s Ministry Facebook page. There is also a GLCNA Children’s Ministry YouTube channel which houses the Summer Grace videos. If you have any questions, please contact Sabrina.firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information (Your Bulletin) check out
NEWS & TIDBITS at the top right box
For more Devotions check out RECENT DEVOTIONS
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SERVICES IN THE BUILDING AND ONLINE!
PLEASE, we ask that you do not attend if you are older than 65, have any illness or underlying health condition that makes you more vulnerable to the virus, or if you are feeling unwell, or are just not comfortable yet, we encourage you to stay at home and watch us online. Online Sunday services are a new addition and will remain indefinitely. For those planning to attend, we encourage you to wear a face mask, refrain from hand shaking and hugging. We will sanitize everything before and after services. We also will be spacing people apart in the Sanctuary. (No Sunday School or Bible Classes, just yet. More on that later). No VBS for 2020
Saturday, August 1 – 5:00 pm (No Communion)
Sunday, August 2 – 8:00 & 10:30 am (Communion at 8:00)
Saturday, August 8 – 5:00 pm (Communion)
Sunday, August 9 – 8:00 & 10:30 am (Communion at 10:30)
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
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.
email@example.com — (502) 797-7407
firstname.lastname@example.org — (502) 442-1474
Helen Bohannon, Music Director
Georgianne Weathers, School Administrator (812) 941-1912
Karen.Meredith, Church Secretary