Quaker poet and abolitionist John Greenleaf Whittier wrote, "Of all the sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these: it might have been." The most tragic thing about much of history is that it could have been so different. Because the Israelites turned away from the Lord their history was filled with disaster. Let Psalm 81 show you how the history of your life can be different. The First Commandment is, "You shall have no other gods." How different the history of our lives would be if we could nail that. Thank God, Jesus was nailed for our failure to keep the first commandment. Receive his grace in Word and in body and blood today. It’s God’s way of removing the sadness of "what might have been" and changing our history to, "satisfying you with honey from the rock." (Ps 81:17)
To receive 250-word devotions on Psalm 81 this week, Monday – Friday,
go to st-andrew-online.org/devotions.
Psalm 1 taught us that the key to knowing God is to delight in his Word. What is it? Psalm 119 describes it as his law, decrees, commands, and statutes. It’s permanently relevant for every time and place; more than that, it’s trustworthy. It’s perfectly suited for our needs. In God’s Word, though, we receive more than a set of abstract rules. We receive an expression of God’s own character and nature. That means knowing Psalm 119, or the whole Bible for that matter, isn’t an end in and of itself. We know it in order to seek him with all our heart. Let’s do that together in this time of worship.
To receive 250-word devotions on Psalm 119 this week, Monday – Friday,
go to st-andrew-online.org/devotions.
Are you ready to marvel at the love of God? God’s love has been displayed throughout history through his great acts of mercy and deliverance and his power and patience. As we dig into Psalm 145 this weekend, King David helps us see the greatness of God and the variety of ways God reveals the depth of his love, patience, and grace for each of us!
To receive 250-word devotions on Psalm 145 this week, Monday – Friday,
go to st-andrew-online.org/devotions.
Probably the last subject anyone wants to bring up at a family picnic or company outing
is . . . wait for it . . . SIN. Yeah, probably not going to happen. So why does God bring it up? For the same reason he reveals anything to us: for our benefit. Today, benefit from God's revelation in Psalm 32—one of the seven "penitential psalms." Sin is real, but there's a treatment for it and an antidote to it that makes it not only possible but a welcome subject to discuss. May God bless your worship today.
Do you like multiple-choice tests? Or do you often find it difficult to choose one best answer? Here's the trouble with making one choice—the other options go away. And we don't like that. There's something good about that other option, whether it’s a test answer, a job offer, a romantic interest, etc. But finally, you have to make one choice. So did David. The Spirit inspired him to write in Psalm 27 about One Thing he wanted more than anything else. Read Psalm 27 this week, pray it, repeat it, and think about it. Then come together with the people of God at St. Andrew to grow into the person God is calling you to be and to see the one thing you need and get it.
Sign up to receive 250-word devotions this week, Monday – Friday, on Psalm 27 at st-andrew-online.org/devotions.
You drive the same route to work every day. Then one day you notice a building or sign you’ve never seen before. It’s been there for years, but you’ve gotten so used to it you didn’t even notice it. Worship can be like that. The “Old, Old Story,” as the hymn goes, can become just the old story. Psalm 147 calls us to worship actively and meaningfully. May God bless you through his Word today.
Sign up to receive 250-word devotions this week, Monday – Friday, on Psalm 147 at st-andrew-online.org/devotions.
What gets you down? It's ok to admit it, even “glass-half-full” people get down. Even spiritual giants get down. Psalm 42 and 43 form a single message from God. They help us understand the condition of being downcast, how it happens, and what can help. You haven’t come to a therapist’s couch, but to the living God who delivers the downcast. You say you feel like you’re on top of the world and don’t need that? Good for you. Just wait. The Spirit who delivered the words of these two psalms is delighted you’re receiving his truth for today and for the future.
Effective teachers employ different strategies because they know some learn better by talking, some by personal research, some by memorizing steps, and others by creating their own way. God is the ultimate teacher. In Psalm 91 he employs a variety of pictures to help you know how deeply he cares for you. Undoubtedly, some of those pictures will be more meaningful to you than others. Start your meditation on Psalm 91 today, but let it continue all week: re-read it, read it to someone, read one verse and stop to pray about it, write one verse on a three by five card and keep it with you all day, commit to talking about a verse with someone, etc. Find your way to let God teach you through Psalm 91.
Welcome to Summer in the Psalms. Today: Psalm 1. We’re all sinners, but the Bible distinguishes between righteous and godless. God sees as righteous those who have faith in Jesus and serve him. He calls ungodly those who reject Jesus. We’ll let God be the judge of all but we’re here to receive from him the righteousness of Jesus and receive his blessing. Happy are those, Psalm 1 promises, who do. We’re glad you’re with us to pursue a life of blessing from God. If we can further help you, please let us know on your Connection Card.
Sign up at st-andrew-online.org/devotions to receive, Monday through Friday, a 350 word devotion on the same psalm we’ve studied in our worship services.
Today we kick off our new series, Summer in the Psalms. Struggling with guilt? Overwhelmed by personal illness or struggle? Or maybe you've been consumed by illness or struggle of a family member or friend. Psalm 103 is known as "one of the most beautiful Psalms of comfort" as it points our eyes to our Savior and his love and forgiveness for each of us. May God bless our journey through the Psalms this summer! Be sure to get your Summer in the Psalms booklet, and to sign up for the devotions (st-andrew-online.org/devotions).
Truth is truth whether you know it, believe it, or feel it. The truth is, fire is hot. You know that. Put your hand near it and you believe it. Let a coal fall onto your hand and you appreciate what it means for fire to be hot. It’s the same truth, but what was objective became subjective, personal. You, worshiper of Jesus, are only a worshiper because the Spirit lives in you. You first believed in Jesus at your baptism. Now, as the Spirit works the truth of God deeply into your heart, what is objective becomes personal truth. So, we pray, "Spirit of God, fill us." The result, though, is profound and needed and most welcome. We’re glad you’re here to receive it.
Today we have the joy of celebrating Jesus' ascension into heaven. So much of his earthly ministry was dominated by his humiliation, but today we see and marvel at his power and authority, and we’ll learn what it means for our hearts and lives today.
What a bold vision, to say we want to bring hope to the world. It is a bold vision, but it isn't our vision. It’s God's mission. So many are hurting, broken, and trying to find meaning in promotions, relationships, and life. Today we see God's design for bringing Hope to this world—real Hope that gives life and meaning to our lives. The world is a big place, but it is also as small as our relationships, neighborhoods, workplaces, and community involvement. Today we will learn of God's vision for our own little world.
God’s vision for us is that we grow in the grace and in knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He gives us his Word and sacrament to accomplish his vision. Those things come to us in all sorts of ways but most often through each other. In short, we need each other to grow. Some of our togetherness happens here. Much of it happens in families. Today, get a glimpse of what God sees as the future for your family. Let it inspire you to adore him, trust him, and shape your families’ life around him.
Welcome to church. Or, more accurately, welcome to the place where the church gathers. You see, in the Bible, the word church is never used for a building. It’s used to describe those whom God has called out of darkness into his wonderful light. Those people want to get together and, unless you have the largest living room I’ve ever seen, that’s why we need this building, too. We’re glad you’re with us today to let God teach us his vision for us: church.
Ask people, "What is the church here to do?" and imagine the variety of answers you’d hear. Their answers would vary as much as answers to the question, "What's your favorite song?" St. Andrew doesn't answer the second one, but we have to answer the first one—not just because it helps us pull in the same direction, but because Jesus gives us his answer. You could call it hope, because we all need hope for our future. On Sundays in May, we'll be asking the Spirit to paint for us God's vision for our future. We’re glad you’re with us and ask the Spirit to bless you through the gospel of Jesus you encounter today.
Have you ever joked about your birthday "week?" Let the celebration continue all week long. Maybe even call it your birthday month! When it comes to Easter, it's no joke. Jesus' resurrection gives us something to celebrate every day. But, like your birthday, we set aside one day a week to have cake and light candles. Okay, so we don’t have cake today, but we do light candles. We’re glad you’re part of our continuing celebration of Jesus’ resurrection today. He is risen! He is risen, indeed!
A message of hope, purpose, and life based on Mark 16:1-8 by Pastor Randy Hunter.
A devotion based on Mark 15:33-39 by Pastor Randy Hunter
A devotion based on Mark 14:12-26 by Pastor Kelly Huet
What do you learn from Jesus' triumphant entry on Palm Sunday? What details fascinate you? What questions do you have? This weekend as we celebrate Palm Sunday, we are confronted with two radically different reactions to Jesus. As we witness the various reactions, we are confronted with our own reactions to Jesus.
Shakespeare wrote in The Tempest, "Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows." Today a common extension of that is "politics makes strange bedfellows," meaning politicians form peculiar associations to win more votes. In Mark's record of Jesus' burial we find a most unusual association: a pagan, women and a Pharisee. What is it about Jesus that draws together people who would otherwise never hang out together (like the one you’re sitting in now)? Let Mark's record help you answer that. We have three weeks left in our year and a half study of the Gospel of Mark. To get daily devotions on these culminating crucifixion and resurrection accounts, sign up at st-andrew-online.org/mark.
Our journey through the Gospel of Mark is about to come to a close. The entire book has been pointing to the events of the next few weeks. We’ve been seeing and following Jesus, learning who he is and what he has done for us! We've seen Jesus heal the sick, give sight to the blind, make the lame walk, and raise the dead. The picture today, though, is that of humility and punishment as he is mocked for not freeing himself. Why did they mock him? Why did he endure it? As we gather today we will hear from Jesus his answer.