The Daily Lectionary – July 27, 2016

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; Romans 14:13–23; Matthew 26:57–68

Confronted by our sin against others, sometimes all we can do is remain silent. Our shame is too great for words; the hurt we have caused cannot be erased by speaking. We all suffer from the same condition. Ever since Adam and Eve took a bite of the forbidden fruit, humans have struggled under the weight of sin and disobedience. We continually find ourselves at odds with one another, leading people astray with our lies, and cheating others because of selfishness. When faced with the realization that we are indeed guilty, there is nothing left that we can say except, “Lord, have mercy.”

Jesus stood before Caiaphas, as Isaiah prophesied, “like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth” (Isa 53:7). He did not remain silent because of guilt, but because his actions would speak louder than any words uttered by human lips. Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world remained silent before false testimony so that he might save even those who accused him wrongly. Living without sin, the Son of God offered his life and died the death we deserved so that we might live.

Prayer: We give you thanks O Lord our God, for your mercy and grace that is through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Today’s devotion was written by David Nuottila, Pastor of Union Lutheran Church in Salisbury, NC.

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The Daily Lectionary – July 25, 2016

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Joshua 7:1–13; Romans 13:8–14; Matthew 26:36–46

A restaurant was recently featured in the news for offering a unique discount. It was not a discount for students or seniors. Instead, if the server observed a customer praying over their meal they received a fifteen percent discount.

St. Paul writes, “Clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 13:14). Praying (in public or private) is one way to clothe ourselves in thanksgiving and praise to God. Outward expressions of our Christian faith are not for the purpose of drawing attention to ourselves. But, when we engage in holy conversation with God (in public or private), we embrace and display an important garment modeled for us by Christ himself: Love of God and love of neighbor. Whereas an unexpected restaurant discount is always a nice surprise, a debt paid in full because of God’s love for us is worth a lifetime of gratefulness. And it is one-size-fits-all.

Prayer: Let our light so shine before others that they may see our good works and glorify you, our Father, in heaven. Amen.

Today’s devotion was written by Ken Reed, Pastor of Concordia Lutheran Church, China Grove, NC.

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Sermon Audio / Video for July 24, 2016

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Sermon audio and video from around the Carolinas Mission District

Pentecost 10C

Lord, Teach Us to Pray – Luke 11:1-13
Pastor David Nuottila
Union Lutheran Church – Salisbury, NC

Prayer brings us into a relationship with God – Luke 11:1-13
Pastor Dieter Punt
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church – Troutman, NC

Reflections on Thomas à Kempis – Luke 11:1-13
Guest speaker Fr. John Leahy
Reformation Lutheran Church – New Bern, NC

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The Daily Lectionary – July 24, 2016

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Joshua 6:15–27; Acts 22:30–23:11; Mark 2:1–12

Do we carry the burdens of our brothers and sisters in Christ? Do we find ourselves willing to be a person that one can depend upon to be a reliable partner to assist in good times or bad? As Christians, we need to take an honest look at our lives, and evaluate if we are willing to go to extreme measures to enable those who long and seek for the Risen Savior Jesus, to see and hear him in Word and Sacrament.

While taking a spiritual formation class, my professor asked her students to write down those four people you would call upon to help when in struggle. Alongside that, we were asked to write the “things” in our lives that are causing us to become “paralytic.” The common consensus in answers all came back to the problem of “self-centeredness.”

When we seek Christ, we pray for God to make us less “egocentric” and more “humble.” By doing so, we are blowing the trumpets of Gospel truth, tearing down the walls of our personal Jericho of me, myself, and I. We must boldly proclaim the truths of God’s saving power through Jesus, by the movement of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Prayer: Gracious Father, help us be servants to others and help us faithfully proclaim your message of love and hope that is only focused on their own needs and not your glory. Amen.

Today’s devotion was written by Joshua Morgan, Pastor at Advent Lutheran Church in Kings Mountain, NC.

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The Daily Lectionary – July 23, 2016

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Joshua 6:1–14; Romans 13:1–7; Matthew 26:26–35

I am troubled by this question: How often do we deny Christ? In our Reading from Matthew, we learn of Peter’s denial but in reading between the lines we learn that Peter, and according to John that he and another disciple, had followed Jesus when he was taken away, while the other apostles had fled, fearing for their own safety—a different kind of denial.

Now if we have not made certain that our neighbor knows Jesus, have we not, by omission, denied Christ? For Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” It would seem that the same would apply when we see someone on the corner and we do not offer assistance or food. A similar scenario would be if we do not try to make sure that the children in the projects have adequate food or school needs met. In these cases we have behaved like the other disciples.

We should go to all extremes to make sure that we are serving Christ, our true King, as we obey and respect those God has instituted in the governments of the earth.

Prayer: Precious Lord, send your Spirit to instill in us the desire to do all that we can to serve you by serving our brothers and sisters who are in need. Amen.

Today’s devotion was written by Ron Hamm, Pastor at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Blythewood, SC.

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Summer 2016 SC Flood Recovery Mission Opportunity

Historic rainfall and flooding from hurricane Joaquin devastated the Midlands of South Carolina last fall. Many families are just now beginning to recover, but is estimated that 2000 families in the Midlands area still have not been able to secure the resources needed for rebuilding. But you and your congregation can help these families rebuild their lives and share the hope and love of Jesus Christ.

St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Lexington, SC is now available to host volunteer flood recovery teams. Rebuilding projects will be coordinated through St. Bernard Project and the United Way of the Midlands Flood Recovery Group (Scroll down to “Volunteer Opportunities Calendar”). All skill and ability levels are needed. Host site information and the team application and rules are available below. Contact Pastor Paulette McHugh at 803-359-2470 or office@stpeterslexsc.org for more information or to schedule your team. Please pray for the recovery effort, and thank you for supporting this mission and ministry.

Hosting Info Sheet

Volunteer Team Application & Rules

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The Daily Lectionary – July 22, 2016

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Joshua 4:19–5:1, 10–15; Romans 12:9–21; Matthew 26:17–25

There seems to be so much evil in our world today. Violence, exploitation, oppression, persecution, and injustice seem to be the new norm. Many news media sources, movies, and electronic games perpetuate this rampant cycle of hatred.

Christians are called to break the cycle of hatred. Rather than following the way of the world and returning evil for evil, God expects us to bless our persecutors and repay our enemies not with hatred and vengeance, but with acts of kindness and humble service.

This task of the Christian vocation is most certainly difficult to accept and even more difficult to put into practice! We would prefer to hold on to our bitterness and anger, nursing our victimhood with the indulgence of self-pity. But Christ calls us, as he calls all his disciples, to learn from and follow his example. He calls us to let go of the pain of hatred to which we so selfishly cling, so that we may open wide our hearts and our arms to love and serve all people—both those who love us and those who wish us ill. Through the love of Christ, evil shall never triumph over good.

Prayer: Loving Lord, Help us to love and serve all people in your name, that through our deeds of humble service, we may faithfully and boldly proclaim the good news. Amen.

Today’s devotion was written by Paulette McHugh, Associate Pastor, St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Lexington, SC.

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The Daily Lectionary – July 21, 2016

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Joshua 3:14–4:7; Romans 12:1–8; Matthew 26:1–16

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed…”

Human life, it was once assumed, had a given form. But now children are taught to resist being identified in any way that they themselves have not chosen. We must not, for example, assume children are straight or gay, male or female. An article in Slate complained about the obstetrician who, holding a newborn aloft, dared to announce: “It’s a boy.” Only freely chosen preferences may give form to a human life. Our society stands ready, whether at birth or baptism, to overrule prior claims to life’s meaning. The world ironically demands conformity to its denial of form.

But in the anarchy of coerced formlessness into which the world is plummeting, Jesus was born. He is the form of human life. What it means to be truly human—kneeling humility, blood-pouring passion, extravagant freedom, radiant joy—becomes visible only in him. Thus the form of human life is beyond us. But we are baptized to be like him, baptized beyond what we ourselves might choose. And this reaching beyond ourselves, what is this but the eternal form of human life?

Prayer: Father, transform me into the image of your Son. Amen.

Today’s devotion was written by Gary Blobaum, Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, in Sumter, SC.

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Sermon Audio/Video for July 17

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Sermon audio and video from around the Carolinas Mission District

Summer Sermon Series 2016 – Luther’ Small Catechism
2nd Article of the Creed – God our Redeemer
Is 53 & Mark 15
Pastor Dieter Punt
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church – Troutman, NC

Choosing the Good Portion – Luke 10:38-42
Pastor David Nuottila
Union Lutheran Church – Salisbury, NC

Multi-Tasking – Luke 10:38-42
Guest speaker Fr. John Leahy
Reformation Lutheran Church – New Bern, NC

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The Daily Lectionary – July 20, 2016

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Joshua 3:1–13; Romans 11:25–36; Matthew 25:31–46

Sometimes one thinks, “I wish I had received the gift that he got.” Either the gift received was not one desired or the thought is, “I should have gotten that gift instead of him.” Usually, these are the immature thoughts of children.

The children of Israel had such thoughts about God’s gift of mercy to the rest of the nations. How dare God give to them what seemed rightfully Israel’s alone? He dared because he is both wise and merciful to all. His mercy defies our understanding. This is for our benefit. Yet, some in the churches end up doing much the same as the ancient Israelites. “How dare a person like that come to church?” might be overheard in the parking lot.

Israel may have hated it that Gentiles were given such a precious gift but it is the Father’s gift to give. He is Lord of all the earth, and with it, all its peoples. He first gave good gifts to Israel, but now gives salvation to all. The mature response is to thankfully receive the gift given, not to berate the other’s gift—and especially not to criticize the giver of all good gifts.

Prayer: Lord, help me be grateful for your gifts to others. Amen.

Today’s devotion was written by Mark Ryman, Communications Coordinator for the NALC.

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