A generous grace — this week at ELC

vineyardThis week we begin a series of Jesus’ parables with the ‘parable of the vineyard. 

This parable reminds us of God’s generous love, which is given out of grace, not because of hard work or merit.

Worship with Holy Communion this week:

Saturday – 5:00 p.m. in the chapel

Sunday – 8:30 a.m.  Traditional Worship

9:30 a.m.  Sunday School

10:30 a.m. Contemporary Worship

Devotions for the week:

March 1, 2015                                                     “Laborers in the Vineyard”

“[The landowner said,] ‘Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” Matthew 20:15-16

Study: Our sense of fairness is challenged in this parable. Many of us have been raised to believe we get what we earn. To imagine someone else might receive what we receive for having earned far less challenges our sensibilities. But what if we are not the laborer who has earned a day’s wage? What if we are the laborer who cannot possibly work hard enough or long enough to earn a day’s wage? Perhaps Jesus was teaching here that God offers love more abundantly than anyone can possibly earn.

Read: Follow the parables and teachings of Jesus, as Jesus challenged followers to do more for God’s kingdom.

Sunday, Matthew 20:1-16, Laborers in the Vineyard

Monday, Psalm 16:5-8, Psalm

Tuesday, Matthew 16:1-12, Teachings of Jesus

Wednesday, Matthew 16:13-23, Jesus Foretells His Death

Thursday, Matthew 17:9-27, Teachings of Jesus

Friday, Matthew 18:10-14, Parables of Jesus

Saturday, Matthew 19:1-30, Teachings of Jesus

  • What is God’s role in the parables Jesus told?
  • What would happen if Jesus’ idea of abundant generosity was played out in your community?
  • What difference does it make to your life that you have been given abundant, unearned, generous love from God?

Do: Notice how practicing abundant generosity changes you. Perhaps be an extravagant tipper this week

Bless: Generous God, our hearts are sometimes stingy. Speak love to us in the reading of your word. Amen.

How often should I forgive? This week at ELC

Forgive[1].250w.tnJesus offers abundant forgiveness and instructs his followers do to the same. How does our life show the abundant grace of God first given to us?

Worship this week:

Saturday – 5:00 p.m. in the chapel

Sunday – 8:30 a.m. Traditional Worship

9:30 a.m. Sunday School

10:30 a.m. Contemporary Worship

 Devotions for this week:

February 22, 2015                                                       Forgiveness                        

Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.”

Matthew 18:21-22

Jesus often used parables to teach people about God and God’s kingdom. In today’s parable, Jesus taught that forgiving others makes sense in light of the abundant forgiveness God has extended to us. Jesus suggested that reconciliation is more important than being right. His suggestion to forgive 77 times was not to limit forgiveness to a specified number of times, but to suggest that we forgive an unlimited number of times.

Follow the parables and teachings of Jesus, as Jesus challenged followers to do more for God’s kingdom.

Sunday, Matthew 18:15-35, Forgiveness

Monday, Psalm 32:1-2, Psalm

Tuesday, Matthew 13:24-43, Parables of Jesus

Wednesday, Matthew 13:44-58, Parables of Jesus

Thursday, Matthew 14:1-12, Death of John the Baptist

Friday, Matthew 14:34-15:20, Teachings of Jesus

Saturday, Matthew 15:21-39, Teachings and Miracles of Jesus

  • What is the kingdom of heaven like? How might Jesus’ parables be told using images from today?
  • In our litigating society, how does culture view justice? How does it view forgiveness? What might happen if people practiced forgiveness over blame and the need for restitution?
  • Who stands in need of your forgiveness? What would it take to make you ready to forgive?

Bless: Gracious and loving God, soften our hearts as we hear your word today. Give us the will and the power to be forgiving. Amen.

“O Lord, throughout These Forty Days” — Ash Wednesday Worship

AshWednesdayDoes forty days sound like a long time?  It probably depends on many things.  If you’re trying to complete a huge project, it may seem like a short timeline, but if you’re waiting for something exciting, it might seem like a long time.

The season of Lent is a little of both.  If we take seriously the call to turn from our sins, it may seem like too short a time to exact any real change, but if we’re awaiting the celebration at the end, it may seem a long way away.  Join us each week for Lenten worship as we look at both our shortcomings,  and God’s promise, and  see how we might grow and change through this journey.

Ash Wednesday worship – with the imposition of ashes and Holy Communion:

Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. in fellowship hall  (followed by soup luncheon)

Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in the Sanctuary (preceding by potluck supper at 6:00 p.m.)

 

Glory and discipleship – This week at ELC

TransToday we witness both the glory of Christ, and the cost of faithfulness to God’s kingdom. May we be filled with a vision of God’s glory, and follow even when it is costly for us.

Worship with Holy Communion this week:

Saturday – 5:00 p.m. in the chapel

Sunday – 8:30 a.m. Traditional Worship

9:30 a.m. Sunday School

10:30 a.m. Contemporary Worship

Devotions for the week

February 15, 2015                                                           Bearing the Cross/Transfiguration

 Jesus’ transfiguration is a bit of a mystery. Yet we can still learn from it. Jesus’ appearance changed right before the disciples’ eyes; light shined from his face and his clothing became dazzling white. God’s glory shined through him that day.

Jesus spoke with Moses and Elijah. Moses represented the law, and Elijah represented the prophets. Their presence suggests that Jesus came to fulfill the law and the prophets. Jesus was the one they had been waiting for.

Follow the teachings of Jesus, which occur shortly before his transfiguration.

Sunday, Matthew 16:24-17:8, Bearing the Cross; Transfiguration

Monday, Psalm 41:7-10, Psalm

Tuesday, Matthew 12:1-14, Teachings of Jesus

Wednesday, Matthew 18:1-9, Who Is the Greatest?

Thursday, Matthew 12:15-32, Teachings of Jesus

Friday, Matthew 12:33-50, Teachings of Jesus

Saturday, Matthew 13:1-23, Parables of Jesus

  • What are some common themes in the teachings of Jesus? How do the teachings turn the world on its head?
  • What actions or behaviors are taboo in your community? How would your community respond if Jesus came and performed those actions? Why would Jesus behave in a manner contrary to social norms?
  • What truths do you hold dear, that could stand to be challenged? (In other words, have you ever considered that you might be wrong?) What would happen if you gave others the opportunity to be right?

Bless: God who transfigures, enlighten us in your word this day. Let us hear your voice in new ways. Amen.