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ASL Reflection

Pentecost Monday

June 1, 2020 • Pastor Alexander Lange

Today’s Reading: John 3:16-21 Daily Lectionary: Numbers 22:1-20; Luke 22:1-23 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. God gave up His only Son because He loves the world. Yes, Jesus took away the sins of the world. He didn’t merely die for the elect. Because of His death, God’s vengeance has been stayed, and He forgives every sinner. Yet not all the world will be saved. Many sinners will perish eternally. Many sinners will be condemned. Faith is necessary for salvation. People will only be saved if they depend on the Savior. Jesus gives eternal life to them, and trust in Jesus alone receives that eternal life as free gift from Him. A king could pardon every criminal in his kingdom and the guards could open every prison cell at his command. Unfortunately, such grace will do the prisoner no good if he refuses to believe the good news, crosses his arms, and stays in his cell. I can buy my entire Confirmation class bottles of soda. Unfortunately, some students might be too proud to accept this free gift or they might be skeptical. “Are we allowed to drink soda in class? Is he trying to trick us?”Their thirst won’t be quenched unless they trust me and receive the gift. In other words, justification is both objective and subjective at the same time. It is an objective fact: Jesus Christ died for you and His blood cleanses you from all your sins. The Word of Absolution objectively delivers that forgiveness right to you—into your ears and soul! Justification is also subjective. It is received by every individual believer through faith in Christ alone. Thankfully, the same God who sent Jesus to die for your sins also sent the Spirit to you in the waters of Holy Baptism. Through parents, pastors, and other Christians, the Spirit delivers the Gospel to you. Through your pastor, parents, and other Christians, the Gospel and the Word of forgiveness come to you, and the Spirit continues to work on you to strengthen your faith. In fact, the faith that believes in Jesus and trusts what He done for us at Calvary and in His Gifts—that faith is a free gift of the Holy Spirit. Through His work you receive Jesus’ salvation, trust Him, and are justified. Through the means of the Spirit—Word, water, Body and Blood—You believe in the crucified and raised Jesus, and “whoever believes in him is not condemned” (John 3:18). In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. O God, who gave Your Holy Spirit to the apostles, grant us that same Spirit that we may live in faith and abide in peace; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for Pentecost Monday)

ASL Reflections

Thursday of the Fourteenth Week after Trinity • September 17, 2020 • Pastor Mark Buetow

Today's Reading: Galatians 5:16-24 Daily Lectionary: 2 Chronicles 36:1-23; Colossians 4:1-18 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5:25-26) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Paul's lists of the works of the flesh is not exhaustive. I'm sure you could have a lot more sins listed there. But the works of the flesh all have one thing in common: They are selfish. They are all about pleasing ourselves. They are about putting ourselves first and ahead of everyone else. Lust, coveting, anger, and all the rest are all about giving me what I want no matter who gets hurt. Those desires, along with the idol we make of ourselves, need to be crucified with Christ and drowned by the Spirit in Baptism. The gifts of the Spirit, on the other hand, are self-LESS. They put God and others first, ahead of ourselves. That's why there are fruits of the Spirit. The Spirit grows in us those fruits, those gifts and qualities which are from Jesus. By His life and death and resurrection, Jesus never once put Himself first. His first thought was always to glorify the Father and to save us. That selflessness that saves is the very heart of the gifts the Spirit gives to you so that, by the Spirit living in you, your selfishness is crucified and your selflessness cultivated. The Christian life is one of putting others first. That means putting our Old Adam down every day. Our world is pretty much built on the idea of making ourselves number one. Christ came to put others ahead of Himself. To put you first. You're first in Jesus' way of doing things. And His living in you, means that others are first in your way of doing things. This is our baptismal life: Each day we acknowledge the idolatry of self and remember that it is drowned in our Baptism. Each day the Spirit raises up our new creation to glorify God and love others. That's growing fruit in you for the blessing and benefit of those around you. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Grant that Your Spirit's help To me be always given Lest I should fall again And lose the way to heaven. Grant that He give me strength In my infirmity; May He renew my heart To serve You willingly. ("How Can I Thank You, Lord" LSB 703, st. 4)

ASL Reflections

The Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity • September 13, 2020 • Pastor Mark Buetow

Today's Reading: Luke 17:11-19 Daily Lectionary: 2 Chronicles 32:1-22; Colossians 1:1-23 "Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?" And He said to him, "Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well." (Luke 17:18-19) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Do we think the other nine lepers weren't grateful or thankful that Jesus healed them? I'm sure they were! I'm sure they were ecstatic that they didn't have leprosy anymore. But Jesus isn't asking why they didn't come back to say "Thank you!" He's asking why only one came back to "give glory to God." To "give glory to God" isn't just being polite and minding our manners, and saying, "Thank you." To give God glory is to recognize that the Son of God in the flesh is God with us and He's the most important thing we need. What this Samaritan realizes that the others don't seem to, is that if Jesus can heal leprosy, He can save sinners. He realizes that he doesn't just need Jesus to make his nasty flesh disease go away. He needs Jesus for everything, to be His Savior from sin and death. We often do this: We cry out to the Lord to save us, fix us, help us, rescue us, deliver us. Then, when things are better or back to the way we want them, we sort of tuck Jesus away until we need Him again. The Samaritan realizes he needs Jesus all the time! His example teaches us to repent of being like those guys who just get what they want and then off they go. The Samaritan teaches us that Jesus is the true High Priest who heals us and pronounces us clean from our sins. That's because the Son of God doesn't just cleanse leprosy, but He also takes away our sins. By His Cross and empty tomb, and His water, Word, and Body and Blood, He pronounces you clean. When He tells the Samaritan, "Your faith has saved you," it's the same as if He says, "Your Jesus has saved you. And I'll always keep saving you. Stick close!" And He always will. Now go: your faith, your Jesus, has saved you. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Keep, we implore You, O Lord, Your Church with Your perpetual mercy; and because the frailty of mankind without You cannot but fall, keep us ever by Your help from all things hurtful and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for the 14th Sunday after Trinity)

ASL Reflections

Saturday of the Thirtenth Week after Trinity • September 12, 2020 • Pastor Mark Buetow

Today's Reading: Introit for the 14th Sunday after Trinity (Psalm 84:1-2a, 4, 10b, 11b; antiphon: vs. 9-10a) Daily Lectionary: 2 Chronicles 31:1-21; Philippians 4:1-23 For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness. (From the Introit for the 14th Sunday after Trinity) In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Where would you like to be on Sunday morning? In church? Under your covers? At a friend's house? Somewhere else doing something fun? The psalmist thinks there's no better place to be than in God's house. He'd rather be a doorkeeper (like an usher at church?) even though that's a little job in the temple, than be where the wicked are. For Christians now, this psalm isn't just about going to a particular building. The Temple is Jesus. To desire the Temple is to desire Jesus. Better to be where Jesus is than anywhere else. After all, where else can you have your sins washed away? Where else will the Lord's herald proclaim your divine pardon? Where else will you enjoy a feast of salvation that promises eternal life? Nowhere else but where Jesus is! Tomorrow, these words of the psalms, sung in the Introit, will drag us into God's house and lift up our heads and open our ears to the wonderful gifts that Jesus gives when we are there with Him. His Word, water, Body, and Blood, the good news of His death and resurrection to save you and the world, the joyful fellowship of fellow sinners who have been redeemed by Jesus: All these things await you in the Lord's house when you go to worship. That's better than any other place you can go! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. This day God's people meeting, His Holy Scripture hear; His living presence greeting, Through bread and wine made near. We journey on believing, Renewed with heav'nly might, From grace more grace receiving, On this blest day of light. ("O Day of Rest and Gladness" LSB 906, st. 3)