Commemoration of Isaiah

Today is set aside to commemorate the Holy Prophet Isaiah.

Isaiah son of Amoz is considered to be the greatest of the writing prophets and is quoted in the New Testament more than any other Old Testament prophet. His name means “Yahweh [the Lord] saves.” Isaiah prophesied to the people of Jerusalem and Judah from about 740 B.C. to 700 B.C. and was a contemporary of the prophets Amos, Hosea, and Micah.

Isaiah was a fierce preacher of God’s Law, condemning the sin of idolatry. He was also a comforting proclaimer of the Gospel, repeatedly emphasizing the Lord’s grace and forgiveness. For this he is sometimes called the “Evangelist of the Old Testament.” No prophet more clearly prophesied about the coming Messiah and his saving kingdom. He foretold the Messiah’s miraculous birth Isaiah 7:14; 9:6, his endless reign 2:1–5; 11:1–16, and his public ministry 61:1–3, but most notably his “Suffering Servant” role and atoning death 52:13-53:12.

The apostle John’s description of Isaiah, that Isaiah saw Jesus’ glory and spoke of Him John 12:41, is an apt summary of Isaiah’s prophetic ministry. The seraphim’s refrain of, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, Isaiah 6:3” during his call into the prophetic ministry Isaiah 6 is the basis of many Christian hymns and liturgical pieces.

Source: Aardvark Alley.

A collect for today from Blog of the Ninja Pastor:

Lord God heavenly Father, in the earliest days after the Fall, you immediately proclaimed to our first parents the promise one day of a savior. Through the mouth of your servant Isaiah you reaffirmed that promise and foretold His virgin birth. O Father, we thank you for sending to us your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ our Lord. We thank you that sent Him to be our own suffering servant, that all our sins and sufferings were laid upon Him. Let the words and the example of Isaiah point ever and always to Your Son Jesus Christ, that we might be given faith to receive the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation that He won for us on the wood of the cross. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Be Prepared!

A sermon on Acts 13:38-49, preached at the LCMS International Center Chapel by Rev. Dr. Rudolph Blank.

Be prepared! That’s what we hear on the News during these days of extreme heat in Saint Louis. Drink a lot of water, wear light clothes, do not over exert yourself and stay out of the direct sun. When I first came to Missouri as a student in the summer of 1954 the temperature hit 115 in St. Louis and 117 in Clayton. I wasn’t prepared for that. It’s not a good idea to be unprepared. Our text from the book of Acts also calls us all and especially our new missionaries to be prepared. To be prepared for what?

Be prepared to find doors of opportunity for the proclamation of Christ and his cross. Such a door of opportunity opened for Paul when he arrived at Antioch in Pisidia and was invited to address a synagogue full of diaspora Jews and god-fearing gentiles. Antioch in Pisidia was the home town of Sergius Paulus, the roman proconsul whom Paul had befriended in Cyprus. It is quite possible that the apostle’s friendship with Sergius Paulus helped open some of those doors of opportunity among the governor’s friends and relatives in Antioch. Be prepared for the Spirit to open for you similar doors of opportunity to proclaim Christ wherever you find yourself.

If you read through Paul’s inaugural sermon in Antioch you will observe that it is peppered with one Old Testament quotation or allusion after another. These were Scriptures the Jews of Antioch had studied many times – Sabbath after Sabbath, year after year without fully understanding them. They searched these Scriptures, as Jesus said, because in them you think you have eternal life. In his Antioch sermon Paul shows his listeners how all of these Scriptures point forward to Jesus. They point to his death, his resurrection and his ascension to the right hand of the Father. Right there in the prophesies of the Old Testament Paul pointed his listeners to Christ crucified. Some time later the apostle writes: O Galatians, It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified”. Be prepared, like Paul, to use your windows of opportunity to point to Jesus.

Read the rest: Witness, Mercy Together – Sermon on Acts 13

Higher Things: Four Conferences in 2012

Higher Things, an LCMS Recognized Service Organization, is hosting four conferences next summer.

Registration is open for four Higher Things youth conferences next summer — June 26-29 at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C.; July 3-6 at Northwest Missouri State University, Maryville, Mo.; July 10-13 at Concordia University, Irvine, Calif.; and July 17-20 at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada.

The theme for all four conferences is “Twelve” — calling to mind the significance of that number in scriptural references and to celebrate the 12th anniversary of Higher Things.

So what’s the significance of “Twelve”?

“The theological part of the ‘Twelve’ theme is amazingly wonderful,” said Higher Things Conference Coordinator Sandra Ostapowich. “It’s a good number from the Scripture; it’s all over the place. God likes twelves.”

Ostapowich continued that what makes next year’s conference theme “special to Higher Things is that 2012 will be our 12th year of doing Higher Things Conferences.  It’s our 12th birthday.”

“The Lord has to have twelves,” added Higher Things Conference Executive Rev. George Borghardt. “He doesn’t stop at 11. He always goes 12. Think of the tribes in the Old Testament, the apostles in the New Testament and the 144,000 in Revelation [Rev. 7:4-8, which mentions 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes]. Twelve is a huge number in the Scriptures.”

“Everything we do at Higher Things is about Christ, daring young people to be Lutheran and teaching them to receive Christ in His Word and Sacraments,” said Borghardt. “Twelve is the perfect theme for 2012 because it was the Lord’s number first.”

In case you’re wondering if a Higher Things conference is the right choice for the youth of your congregation, consider this.

“Our all-inclusive conferences are both a great value and a great opportunity,” said Higher Things President Rev. William Cwirla. “They allow the kids to spend four days together on a college campus, hang out together, make lots of friends and be immersed in great Lutheran teaching and worship. We dare the young adults of our churches to be genuinely Lutheran, and they have a great time rising to that challenge.  That has been our satisfaction over these past 12 years.”

Click here for more information on the Higher Things conferences and to register.

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Sharing the Gospel

In the 21st century the Good News is being shared via Twitter.

There are two things to remember when publishing the entire New Testament across the Internet via Twitter, as a Grayslake church recently did:

Each segment is limited to 140 characters — as any tweeter knows.

And you have to do it backward — otherwise Jesus doesn’t get born until the end.

It took Lord of Glory Lutheran Church member Kyle Martin eight months and 7,358 posts to reach his own Holy Grail.

By the end of January, he had finished tweeting the New Testament of the King James Bible on the church’s Twitter page, twitter.com/lordofglorylcms.

Martin said he got pretty sick of counting 140 characters of Bible verses backward — especially in the Book of Matthew, where some names take up a big chunk of Twitter real estate, reaching lengths of up to 30 letters.

Inputting the lines in reverse order was necessary because Twitter shows the most recent post at the top of the page.

Very cool.

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