Have you ever confided in someone about a worry and he or she responded, "That'll never happen. Don't worry." Oh really? Unless that person was God, how can he or she know that a car won't roll off that car-carrier ahead of you and crash into you? Or for you spring-breakers who escaped to a warm beach, that a shark won't venture into shallow waters and gobble you up? Or that your portfolio could shrink to half its current value? Or . . . or . . . or . . . "Don't worry. that will never happen," might be the best response some can offer, but it's shallow. Or how about this: "Sure, that could happen. In fact, most of the things we worry about could happen." Where's the comfort in that? God's message in Daniel 10 is, "Sure it could happen, but redirect your fear to something and someone even more terrifying—and to something and someone even more trustworthy. Welcome to God’s house and God’s people where together we untangle God's beautiful and helpful truth.
A Lenten devotion by Mr. Mark Kjenstad, Minister for Nurture.
Ham prayer – As in the pork product? Yes, that ham. Well, not really, but 2500 years ago, a man addressed the God of heaven with seemingly incompatible components. Find out what kind of mnemonic the holiday meat can be to help us pray the way Daniel did.
A Lenten devotion by Mr. Steve Pelischek from Wisconsin Lutheran Chapel.
Have you ever dreamed something terrifying but awakened with great relief that it wasn't real? What was scary wasn't real, so really . . . not scary. But what if the terrifying thing is real? Our God doesn't deal in make-believe. He knows the most frightening things that happen, could happen, or will happen to us. And he has some good news that makes it not scary. Confused? So was Daniel when he received the dream we'll study in Daniel 7. But when it was over, oh my, was he relieved. We’re glad you’re here to enjoy that same kind of relief.
A Lenten devotion by Pastor Clinton Kreuziger.
The name Daniel means in Hebrew, "God is my judge." The name fits. Read Daniel 6 and learn how Daniel cared little if his friends judged him for his talent, if King Darius judged him for his faithfulness to God, or if the lions judged him as tasty. God was his judge. He knew it and he lived like it. You have names like his. Jesus, in his sermon on the mount, declared you are salt, you are light, and you are blessed when people falsely speak evil about you. Why? You're his. But you're not alone. We’re glad you’ve gathered with us today to revel in our identity, praise God for it, and learn together how to live like it.
A Lenten devotion by Pastor Jon Bilitz from Wisconsin Lutheran Chapel.
Power can work in opposite ways. Computers are described as powerful when they can handle intensive processes to create useful content. But a storm that destroys everything in its path might earn the same description: powerful. Which direction does God’s power go? How does it affect you and others around you?
A Lenten devotion by Pastor Randy Hunter.
With all the things going on in our world and in our lives, can pride really be that much of a problem? In a way, no. There’s a biblical kind of pride. But there’s also a ruinous kind of pride. Today, the Spirit will show us the difference between them through the inspired record of
Daniel 4. Today we also celebrate the Festival of Transfiguration. On a hill outside Jerusalem, Jesus demonstrated that of all the people on earth, he was the one who could be proud! But instead, he went on to humble himself to death on a cross. May the Spirit bless you as you encounter the Son of God in our worship today.
The three men in the fiery furnace is one of the most familiar Old Testament stories. You can read it in Daniel 3. But don't misread it. The Lord didn't promise them and he hasn't promised you that he will deliver you from every fire in this life. He may or he may not give you promotion and prosperity. But he has promised you the gift of eternal life and glory far beyond anything this world can offer. The three men in the story ended up in the furnace because they believed that and were willing to risk their lives for it. You can, too, even if you never have to risk your life for it.
You are in many groups. Some of them are just facts. You can’t change your blood type or your eye color. You are in other groups by choice. You decided your hobbies. You joined particular social circles. Life has a lot of room for overlap, but when these groups clash, which is the most important? Daniel 2:24-49, the description and interpretation of Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, identifies the most important group to be part of.
Can a Lutheran have a spiritual experience? Can we even talk like that? The record of God's dealings with mankind, the Bible, includes dreams from the first book to the last. So it’s not surprising we'll encounter dreams throughout our study of the Book of Daniel. We come to the first in chapter two. Whether you’re here today out of curiosity or seeking a spiritual experience, we’re glad you’re with us. If we can serve you in any way, please contact us.
Read the Bible and you'll encounter dozens of banquets—not the hot dish potluck kind, but the real deal. In some places, the Bible even describes heaven as a banquet. Isaiah wrote, "The Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine—the best of meats and the finest of wines" (Isaiah 25:6). Yet when Daniel was offered a banquet we would gladly settle into, he refused. Why? Read Daniel 1 this week, then gather with your brothers and sisters to determine which banquets to refuse and which ones to enjoy. Salivate over the banquet Jesus prepares for you.
The book of Daniel in the Old Testament was written over 2,500 years ago about events that took place on the opposite side of the world. Yet, the book is about us. It teaches us how God is in control over all things, how believers can deal with a pagan culture and authorities in a pagan culture and how he gives gifts to his people so they can serve him. The book is about us . . . and the grace of God. We'll spend the next few months, until Easter, asking the Spirit to bless us through our study of the book of Daniel. This weekend we find Daniel taken into exile away from God's people and enduring pressure to conform. How will he hold up? How will you? We’re glad you’re with us to receive grace…and hold up under pressure.
You won't find Epiphany greeting cards, and you won't receive Epiphany gifts. We won't blow noisemakers and raise a glass to toast the celebration. Epiphany comes and goes rather silently. But we who find value in a "church year," annual reminders of key events of Christ's life for us, treasure the Festival of Epiphany. The word means "made known." God has made his grace known in Christ not just to the descendants of Abraham and not just to us, but to the whole world. More than that, he's entrusted to us the mission to tell others what Jesus has accomplished for all. It's why we're church. How fitting that this Epiphany weekend, we will install Pastor Clinton Kreuziger as Pastor for Service and Outreach of St. Andrew.
Another year of God’s grace to a sinful world has passed; 365 days of forbearance, an untold number of transgressions forgiven . . . every day. Who can count the stars in the sky, the sand on the seashore, or reckon the crimes of a lifetime? Wisdom can. Psalm 90 is a wisdom psalm written by Moses that assesses man’s stock in life. Moses reveals the tension that God’s people experience as they live their lives. God is eternal, yet we are dust, and to dust we will return. Sin brought death and separated man from life in eternity with a righteous God. That which is holy, blameless, and true endures forever, but we are none of those things. How can we measure the expanse that divides us . . . let alone bridge the gap? We cannot, but God can. God has. God will in Christ, the wisdom of God. The faith he has placed in our hearts looks back to his reconciliation in Christ and sets its hope on the future where all the labors of faith will flower and endure. We’re glad you are joining us, as we unite with God’s people in every generation of time, to receive wisdom and life eternal from our Creator and Redeemer.
New parents have throughout history heralded the birth of a child in different ways: a town When a friend describes someone as, “a straight-shooter,” or says, “you know where you stand with her.” You know your friend means you can trust that person. Christmas is God’s message to you, “You can trust me.” He took a long time to keep his promise to send the Savior, but he did. He is taking a long time to keep his promise to return to earth in glory, but he will. Don’t confuse your agenda of what you want him to do for you with faith in his agenda of what he wants to do for you. You’d be selling yourself way too short. Let Christmas show you what he has in store for you, in his time. We’re so glad you’re with us today to worship God for his faithfulness.
New parents have throughout history heralded the birth of a child in different ways: a town crier, community bulletin board, local paper, U.S. mail, and more recently Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat. But Jesus, a unique baby, received a unique kind of birth announcement. May the Spirit who filled the shepherds with faith, fill you with the same faith through his grace as you encounter it today.
Pregnant women know what it's like to have a baby in the womb give a good kick. Two thousand years ago, a woman named Elizabeth was miraculously pregnant with John the Baptist. Her relative Mary was in the same condition, only with an even more miraculous baby: the Son of God. The Bible says that when the two pregnant women met, John gave Elizabeth a good kick in the diaphragm. The Holy Spirit was at work in that baby already. From that baby's kick, Mary grew in her faith in what God was up to. He was convincing Mary that she could trust his promises. Today, the Spirit uses the gospel in word and sacrament to do the same for us: convince us that we can trust his promises. Welcome to the Spirit’s presence in God's house. May his Good News in word and sacrament strengthen your trust in his promises.
Have you noticed more lights on these days? We light candles and put up lights as reminders: Jesus is the light of the world. The world is filled with darkness: ignorance of God, sinful habits, and the resulting ease with which we end up consumed with ourselves. Jesus comes and turns on a light so we can see our sin, confess it, receive forgiveness from him, and turn away from it. That's peace. This weekend, we learn from an upright man named Zechariah. He showed faithfulness, unfaithfulness and, because of God's grace, faithfulness. Come, all you unfaithful, [all of us] and find light and peace.
An interviewer asked a British philosopher, "What’s wrong with the world?" He replied, “I am.” He got it right. It’s been that way since the fall. But Jesus came to the fallen and made us right. And when he returns, he’ll make the broken world whole again. As you worship with other broken believers, cling to God's promise this Advent season—Christ is born for you.
What does it take to finish well? The answer to that question depends on who you are and what you're finishing: an athlete finishing a competition, a student finishing a degree, or a musician finishing a piece. Think bigger. What about your life? It's a long life. What are you going to do to finish well? The book of Acts ends with little attention to how the apostle Paul finished his life. Paul's life isn't the point of Acts. Jesus' life is. Yet, we know from letters of Paul how he finished. Today we’ll gather around God’s Word to us in 2 Timothy 4 and learn how to finish well.
If the book you're reading has drawn you in and made you feel like a part of the story, "The End" makes your heart sink. What? No! You knew it was coming. You felt the pages in your right hand getting thinner. And you vow to read the sequel or watch the next season as soon as it's available. You've held the Acts of the Apostles study book in your hands for two years. You've felt it getting heavier on the left side and lighter on the right side. Now here we are: "The End." Gather with your fellow Acts sojourners today to thank God for the gifts he's given us in this book and to find ourselves in its ending.