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?
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.