Sunday, February 25, 2007

It is Written

This weeks story comes from Luke 4:1-13. Christ was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness after his baptism. There the devil tempted him.
We are all tempted and like Adam and Eve we fall, sometimes very easily! But Christ never fell, even when he was tempted directly by Satan. Nor did he rely on anything he could come up with: Christ only quoted scripture to Satan.
We too can rely on that same Word, we can rely on Scripture Alone and rest well in faith in Jesus Christ.

Click here to download and listen to: It Is Written.

Illawarra Lutheran Parish
25th February 2007
Lent 1

Prayer of the Day
Almighty and merciful God, your Son fasted in the desert and was tempted as we are, yet without sin. Protect us when we are tempted and help us to resist the devil by trusting in your Word. We ask this throught Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Today's Readings
Deuteronomy 26:1-11
Romans 10:8b-13
Luke 4:1-13

Major & Minor Festivals This Week.
None this week

Thought for the Week
The Devil said to him, "If you are God's Son, order this stone to turn into bread." But Jesus answered, "The scripture says, 'Human beings cannot live on bread alone.' " Luke 4:3-4

Photo credit: 'From Ephesus' by Emin Ozkan, Izmir, Turkey.

Monday, February 19, 2007

That's My Boy!

Hello Everyone!
If you're a parent, are you proud of your children? Jesus took his disciples Peter, James and John up on a mountain to pray. This prayer was really a meeting with Moses & Elijah to discuss Jesus' upcoming death in Jerusalem.
Peter tried to fill the moment with some useless prattle, but God's shadow covered them and spoke in no uncertain terms "This is my Son, whom I have chosen---listen to him!"
When we are proud of the way our children do a good job, we want others to know it too. How much more then does God want us to listen to his perfect son?

Download and listen now: That's My Boy!

Illawarra Lutheran Parish
18th February 2007
Transfiguration Sunday

Prayer of the Day

Almighty and loving God, we thank you for revealing your son Jesus in glory before he suffered and died. Give us faith to recognize him as your dear son and strengthen us to suffer with him until we come to share his glory. For he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Todays Readings
Exodus 34: 29-35
2 Corinthians 3:12 to 4:2
Luke 9: 28-36

Major & Minor Festivals This Week
Ash Wednesday
21 February
In the Western Christian calendar, Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent. It occurs forty-six days before Easter, but Lent is nevertheless considered forty days long, because Sundays in this period are not counted as days of penance. It falls on different dates from year to year, according to the date of Easter; it can occur as early as February 4 or as late as March 10. Ash Wednesday can fall on Leap Day only during a leap year for which April 15 is Easter Sunday. The next time Ash Wednesday will fall on Leap Day will be in 2096, the first such year since the 1582 adoption of the Gregorian Calendar.

At services of worship on this day, worshippers are blessed with ashes by the celebrating minister. The minister marks the forehead of each participant with black ashes, in the shape of a cross, which the worshipper traditionally retains until washing it off after sundown. The symbolism echoes the ancient Near Eastern tradition of throwing ash over one's head signifying repentance before God (as related in the Bible). The minister offers the worshipper an instruction while applying the ashes. These are three examples:
"Remember, man, that you are dust and unto dust you shall return."
(Latin: Memento homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris.) This wording comes from Genesis 3:19.
or "Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel." or "Repent, and hear the good news."

The ashes are prepared by burning palm leaves from the previous year's Palm Sunday celebrations and mixing them with olive oil as a fixative.

St Matthias
24th February
Though there is no mention of a Matthias among the lists of disciples in the three synoptic gospels, according to Acts 1, in the days following the Ascension of Jesus, Peter proposed to the assembled disciples, who numbered about one hundred and twenty, that they choose one to fill the place of the traitor Judas in the Apostolate:

23.So they proposed two men: Joseph called Barsabbas (also known as Justus) and Matthias. 24.Then they prayed, "Lord, you know everyone's heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen take over this apostolic ministry, which Judas left to go where he belongs." 26.Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.

According to Nicephorus (Historia eccl., 2, 40), Matthias first preached the Gospel in Judea, then in Ethiopia (made out to be a synonym for the geographically quite separate Colchis (now Caucasian Georgia) and was crucified in Colchis. A marker placed in the ruins of the Roman fortress at Gonio (Apsaros) in the modern Georgian region of Adjara claims that Matthias is buried at that site.

(Source: Wikipedia.)

Thought for the Week
"Though I am not naturally honest, I am so sometimes by chance." -William Shakespeare

Photo credit: 'A Walk with Dad' by Crissy Watkins, United States.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Plateau Experiences.

Hi All!
Ever had a 'mountaintop experience' where life finally seems to make sense and everything falls into place? Trouble is, when we come down from the mountain, the reality of life brings us right back down to earth! We feel as humans that we should soar with the eagles but, as they say, that's hard to do when you feel like a turkey!

The disciples were amazed and troubled to find Christ saying that we are blessed if we are poor and woe to the rich! How do we in the western world feel when poverty is such a remote concept to most of us?
Today the 'Prosperity Gospel' is preached far and wide: if you are a Christian, you deserve to be wealthy and indeed you should be: it shows how much 'faith' you have!

Of course, Scripture shows that this is a nonsense. Christ is for us no matter what our social standing, wealth, state of mind, age, colour, sex, etc. Rich or poor, ALL can have eternal life through and ONLY from Christ!

Download and listen to: Plateau Experiences.

Illawarra Lutheran Parish
11th February 2007
Epiphany 6
Parish Picnic Day
Port Kembla

Prayer of the Day
Just and merciful God, you bring down the mighty from their thrones and lift up the lowly and you fill the hungry with good things. Teach us to rely on you alone and to hunger foe what is right. We ask this through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Todays Readings
Jeremiah 17:5-10
1 Corinthians 15:12-20
Luke 6: 17-26

Major and Minor Festivals This Week
None this week.

Thought for the Week.
"It is well to remember that the entire universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others."-John Andrew Holmes

Photo credit: 'Nice' by Marian Chivu, Bucharest, Romania.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Net Income

Hello again!
Do you think you're not good enough for God? Simon Peter thought this when he caught the huge haul of fish after following Christ's order.
Peter like Isaiah before him (and indeed many after him!) he knew who he was talking to and he knew that he fell well short of what was considered pious enough to be in God's 'good books'. (The religous hierarchy had seen to that!)

What do we do when we are elected by God to be saved through Christ? Do we play out our own version of 'Wayne's World', falling to our knees and shouting 'We're not worthy!'? Truth is, we're not worthy....but Christ is.

There's no need to do anything, just be grateful that you were chosen because of Christ's sacrifice. Salvation is the ultimate (and only) free pass to eternal life, paid for by a loving God who wants none to be lost.

Click to download: Net Income.

Illawarra Lutheran Parish
4th February 2007
Epiphany 5

Prayer of the Day
Our Savior Jesus Christ, you died for our sins and were raised from death and you call people to follow you. Make us faithful disciples and use us to draw others to you. For you live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Todays Readings
Isaiah 6:1-8
1 Corinthians 15:1-11
Luke 5:1-11

Major and Minor Festivals this week
None this week

Thought for the Week
The truth is more important than the facts.
Frank Lloyd Wright

Photo credit:'Fishing Net' by Gustavo Francisco, Campinas, SP, Brazil.