Sunday, April 29, 2007

Special Specs.

Hi Everybody!
What deos God see when he looks at His church? We sometimes see so many empty pews; but He see worshippers in both heaven and earth praising Him all at once!

As we read in Rev 7: 9-17, all those who are saved stand before the throne of God, praising Him and serving Him night and day. This is what we are now, redeemed mankind, serving God only because of the indwelled Holy Spirit in us!

Click here to download and listen: Special Specs.

Illawarra Lutheran Parish
29th April 2007
Easter 4

Prayer of the Day
Loving God, we thank you that your Son Jesus is the good shepherd who cares for your people. Open our hearts to hear his voice, to know him as he calls us by name, and to follow wherever he leads. For he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Todays Readings
Acts 9: 36-43
Revelation 7: 9-17
John 10: 22-30

Major and Minor Festivals This Week
St Phillip & St James
May 1
St. Philip
The Apostle Philip was one of Christ's first disciples, called soon after his Master's baptism in the Jordan. The fourth Gospel gives the following detail: "The next day Jesus was about to leave for Galilee, and He found Philip. And Jesus said to him: Follow Me. Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the town of Andrew and Peter. Philip found Nathanael, and said to him: We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and the Prophets wrote, Jesus the Son of Joseph of Nazareth. And Nathanael said to him: Can anything good come out of Nazareth? Philip said to him: Come and see" (John 1:43ff).

St. James

St. James, a brother of the Apostle Jude, was of Cana of Galilee. He is the author of one of the Epistles in the New Testament. He was favored by an appearance of the Risen Christ (I Cor. 15:7). After the dispersion of the Apostles he was made Bishop of Jerusalem. He was visited by St. Paul (Gal. 1:19). He spoke after Peter at the meeting of the Apostles (Acts 15:13). When he refused to deny the Divinity of Christ, the Jews cast him down from the terrace of the temple and clubbed him to death: "When he was ninety-six years old and had governed the Church for thirty years in a most holy manner, the Jews sought to stone him, then took him to the pinnacle of the temple and cast him off headlong. As he lay there half dead, with legs broken by the fall, he lifted his hands toward heaven and prayed to God for the salvation of his enemies, saying: Lord, forgive them for they know not what they do! While the apostle was still praying, a fuller struck his head a mortal blow."

Thought for the Week
"There are two kinds of light--the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures." - James Thurber

Photo credit: 'Light Wheel', Benjamin Earwicker, Boise, Idaho, US

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Business as Usual?

Hi All,
Now the disciple are left with the question: so what do we do now? Thinking there wasn't anything they could do even though Christ had revealed His resurrected self to them. So it was back to what they used to do: fishing.
But Christ surprised them by cooking breakfast for them at the lake's edge. He spoke to them and called to Peter to look after His flock. By this, Peter was told not to go back to business-as-usual but to take on the full-time occupation of spreading the Gospel and looking after people.
Likewise we, as Christians, are called to bring the Word to the world. Ours is a faith for each day of the week. Seek to show it by your words and your deeds.

Click here to download: Business as Usual?

Illawarra Lutheran Parish
22nd April 2007
Easter 3

Prayer of the Day
Almighty and merciful God, you msde the disciples glad by the sight of the risen Lord. Remind us that he is always with us, and that we now share in his resurrection. For he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Todays Readings
Acts 9: 1-6
Revelation 5: 11-14
John 21: 1-19

Major and Minor Festivals This Week
25th April
St Mark
St. Mark, the author of the second Gospel, was the son of Mary whose house at Jerusalem was the meeting place of Christians. He was baptized and instructed by St. Peter. In about the year 42 A.D. he came to Rome with the Prince of the Apostles. There at the request of the faithful he wrote his Gospel about the year 50 A.D. His Gospel is a record of St. Peter's preaching about Our Lord and pays special attention to the head of the Apostles. The Gospel was written for Roman Gentile converts. It rarely quotes the Old Testament, and is careful to explain Jewish customs, rites and words. It excels in portraying the emotions and affections of both Christ and His hearers. St. Mark preached in Egypt, especially in Alexandria and was martyred there by the heathen.

Thought of the Week
"The power of hiding ourselves from one another is mercifully given, for men are wild beasts, and would devour one another but for this protection." - Henry Ward Beecher

Photo credit: 'Red' by Gabriel Bulla, Isla Margarita, Venezuela.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Theistic Practicalist!

Hi All,
Doubting Thomas....we've all heard the term. It's used to describe someone who won't believe something unless they can see it and touch it.

Today, we come 'face-to-face' with the disciple Thomas. He wouldn't believe the other disciples, but as soon as he sees Christ, he utters one of the deepest theological statements on the true nature of Jesus: "My Lord and my God!"

Listen to Pastor John as he delves deeper into the reaction of Thomas in that locked room.

Click here to download: The Theistic Practicalist!

Illawarra Lutheran Parish
15th April 2007
Easter 2

Prayer of the Day
Merciful God, your Son Jesus Christ is the resurrection and the life, who gives hope and joy to those who doubt. Give to us who do not see you faith and life and blessing, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Today's Readings
Acts 5: 27-32
Revelation 1: 4-8
John 20: 19-31

Major and Minor Festivals for the Week
None this week

Thought for the Week
The very first virtue of true religion is intellectual obedience, in imitation of Christ's obedience to the Father, by which He saved us all. In stark contrast, it has often been said that those who wish to feel religious without surrendering their minds and wills to God inevitably become Anglicans or Episcopalians. - Dr. Jeff Mirus

Photo credit: 'Decisions Don't Know' by Steve Woods, Colchester, Essex, UK.

Monday, April 02, 2007

A Risky Royal!

Welcome to Palm Sunday, the beginning of Holy Week. Today is about risk taking. Imagine coming into the capital city of an occupied country with the population proclaiming you as a king!

Jesus is told by the Pharasees to 'keep it down', both by those who were scared of the Roman reaction against the people and those who feared for Jesus if the Romans took action.

Are we afraid to proclaim our King? Does he disturb our life-style? Do we want only a great teacher, where we can pick and choose from His words, are are we just too comfortable in our own world?

Listen to Pastor Johns message about the risks and rewards of proclaiming our King.

Download and listen to: A Risky Royal!

Illawarra Lutheran Parish
1st April 2007
Palm Sunday

Prayer of the Day
Loving Father of all, your only Son came as a servant and was obedient all the way to his death on the cross. Make us humble like Christ, and bring us to be with him in his glory. For he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Prayer Points
  • Give thanks that God sent Jesus to be your King.
  • Give thanks that Jesus rules in our lives through love and forgiveness.
  • Pray for the courage to proclaim Jesus as Lord in difficult circumstances.
  • Pray for Christians throughout the world who suffer persecution for their faith on a daily basis.
  • Pray for the ability to respect other cultures and religions but at the same time holding true to Jesus as the only way to the Father.
  • Pray for those in our community suffering illness: Fritz Tysar, Wolfgang Gutjahr, Helga Schulze, Spodra Muldins, Wendy & Hardy Blaas, Ellie Nassap.
  • Pray for Pastor Peter Ausserwinkler and the German Lutheran congregations in Sydney.
  • Give thanks for the work of Turning Point Ministries and in particular Tanya Paschke and Aimee Macgregor who have touched the lives of so many young people over the years.
  • Pray for the young people who will attend Easter camp this coming weekend that they would be given a deeper understanding of what Jesus has done for them.
  • Pray for safety on the roads during the holidays.
  • Give thanks for those in the police force who help to maintain law and order.
Todays Readings
Isaiah 50:4-9a
Phillipians 2:5-11
Luke 19:29-40

Notes on the Readings.
ISAIAH 50:4-9: This suffering servant song of Isaiah characterises a faithful prophet of the Lord who is both persecuted and hailed before court. The section portrays his life-long daily learning from the Lord, his readiness willingly to undergo spiteful, degrading and violent treatment in obedience to the Lord, and his rock-solid firmness, despite all, to trust implicitly in his ultimate public acceptance as righteous. He can therefore confidently rise above the seeming victory of his accusers. Jesus again fits the conditions of the prophecy.

PHILIPPIANS 2:5-11: St Paul uses Christ as an example of humility for the Philippian Christians. He who existed in full measure as God did not hesitate to lay aside his rights and majesty by assuming human form. This he did in order to undergo the humiliation and curse of human death, thus to serve the greatest need of humanity. After the cross, however, comes the crown. He now exercises every power, prerogative and glory of the Godhead which is his rightful due. Every knee must bow, whether in wondrous gratitude for free salvation, or in facing final judgment upon its persistent rejection. This reading conveys both the humble majesty of the entry to Jerusalem and the purposeful assumption of rejection and the sorrows of his passion.