Monday, March 27, 2017

March 25-27, 2017 Pastor Timothy J. Spaude Text: Matthew 20:20-28 “CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?”


LENT 4

March 25-27, 2017

Pastor Timothy J. Spaude

Text: Matthew 20:20-28



“CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?”

1.     Not when we focus on ourselves.

2.     Only when we focus on Christ.



Matthew 20:20-28 (EHV) Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to him with her sons, kneeling and asking something of him. 21He said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Promise that in your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit, one on your right hand and one on your left hand.” 22But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They said to him, “We are.” 23He said to them, “You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not for me to give; rather these places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.” 24When the ten heard this, they were angry with the two brothers. 25But Jesus summoned them and said, “You know that the rulers of the nations lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26It will not be that way among you. Instead whoever wants to become great among you will be your servant, 27and whoever wants to be first among you will be your slave— 28just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”



          It seems to be building every year, this polarizing of America. From presidents and politics to policing and moral issues it seems more and more that it is impossible for people to have a civil discussion, to be able to disagree without getting disagreeable. And so a husband and wife divorce over the results of an election. And a fitness center in Scranton, PA bans its members from watching national news programs while working out.” Why?” you ask. Too many fights had to be broken up. You find yourself asking, “Can’t we all just get along?” But this nastiness isn’t always just out there on the news, is it? There can be angry yelling and nastiness in the workplace, with our classmates and in our own homes. “Can’t we all just get along?” Sad to say lack of civility and common kindness is nothing new. The sinful nature of human beings is hardwired to inhuman behavior. We see it in the word of God today with Jesus’ disciples. But we also see the solution.

          If any group on earth was going to be able to get along, you would think it would be a group of people led by Jesus. Throw out all your books on leadership and management styles, you cannot improve on Jesus. He is God. He is perfect. His example is flawless. But what do see among His followers? They can’t get along. “Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to him with her sons, kneeling and asking something of him. 21He said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Promise that in your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit, one on your right hand and one on your left hand.” At first glance this does not seem very egregious. A mother wants what’s best for her sons. Is there any mother here today who does not look out for her children? Of course you do. It’s your privilege and your job. But this goes beyond taking care of the needs of children. What the mother of James and John, the sons of Zebedee, wants comes at the expense of others. Give them more honor than the rest of the disciples.

          The response of the other disciples is sadly predictable. “When the ten heard this, they were angry with the two brothers.” Angry. Indignant. Mad. Why? You wanted better for yourselves than us? You think you are greater than we are? Hey, wait a minute. Can’t we all just get along? No. Not when you focus on yourself. Not when your view greatness as having more power, control and prestige than others. Not when your guiding principle is “What’s  in it for me?” Not when your measure of what is good and right or should happen comes through the filter of only if it’s good for me and mine. The sinful nature is hardwired to be selfish, self-centered and focused on self.

          God had a different James tell us plainly (James 4:1-3) “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”  This is why people can’t get along. This why we can’t always get along. By nature we are focused on ourselves.

          But we don’t have to be that way with Christ in our lives.  Look at how Jesus answered the original request. “But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They said to him, “We are.” 23He said to them, “You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not for me to give; rather these places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.” James and John wanted to be active in Jesus’ kingdom. Jesus reminded them that following Him means drinking his cup. Naturally, especially at this time of year, we think of Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane for His Father to take the cup of suffering away from Him. No one else can drink that cup but the God man Jesus Christ who suffered for the sins of the world. There is another way we can think of this cup, a cup that refreshes. While Jesus suffered greatly the Bible tells us in the book of Hebrews that for the joy set before Him Jesus’ endured the cross, scorning its shame. In other words, the cross was awful but it gave Jesus such joy to save sinners that it was worth it to Him.

          Perhaps that’s why Jesus said what He did next. “You know that the rulers of the nations lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26It will not be that way among you. Instead whoever wants to become great among you will be your servant, 27and whoever wants to be first among you will be your slave— 28just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Here’s how we can all get along. Focus on Jesus. Jesus’ disciples needed to learn that greatness in the kingdom of God does not come from grabbing power, authority or prestige for yourself. It doesn’t come from looking out for number one. It comes from serving the needs of others. Like Jesus did. The number one need of all people is to be rescued, ransomed from the eternity in Hell that everyone earns for themselves by sinning. Only Jesus could fill that need. Only He is the perfect Son of God whose loving sacrifice is enough to pay for the sins of the world. So he did it, even though it was not easy, even though the thought of it caused Him to pray in agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.

          Can’t we all just get along? Yes, when we focus on Jesus. When we see what He did for us, His love, His sacrifice our selfish hearts get changed into selfless hearts. Me first is replaced with you first. Please self is replaced with a eager desire to please Jesus and you find you can get along. I see that here at St. Jacobi. Some of you know that thousands and thousands of volunteer hours are put in. For a Bible Class last fall I did a quick count and discovered that 343 different communicant members were serving here in some way. Recently we got almost 9000 pieces of mail ready for three different mailings. That’s a lot of serving. Sometimes when I see you serving I actually remember to say Thank you. Do you know what the most common response that I get when I thank members for serving? No, it’s not “You’re welcome.” It’s “No. Thank you. It’s my privilege.” Now we are talking about work here. You’re drinking the cup. You are keeping your eyes on Jesus. I think that’s why for the most part, we all get along.

          But this isn’t something for us to limit to our church life. We can do it in our home lives and our work lives, our school lives and our play lives. Think of the joy set before you that comes when husband serve the needs of wives and vice versa, when parents serve children and children serve parents. Imagine the difference in a workplace where employers are sensitive to the needs of employees and employees to the greater good of the company. And there was a president many years ago who said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Can’t we all just get along? Yes, when our eyes are on Jesus.

          You know that tells us what our most important task is. If we want our homes blessed, our workplace blessed, our country blessed, then we need the people there able to keep their eyes on Jesus. For your homes make sue Jesus is present daily in devotion and prayer. For your workplace, let your light shine. Pray to be used as a witness. For our country we need to fund and carry out as much Gospel ministry as we can. Only believers can keep their eyes on Jesus. You are. You will. Let’s pray and work for many more. Amen.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

March 15, 2017 Pastor Timothy J. Spaude Text: Luke 23:35-43 REPENT! TURN TO JESUS HE HOLDS THE KEY TO HEAVEN!


MIDWEEK LENT 3

March 15, 2017

Pastor Timothy J. Spaude

Text: Luke 23:35-43



REPENT!

TURN TO JESUS

HE HOLDS THE KEY TO HEAVEN!





Luke 23:35-43 (NIV 1984) “The people stood watching and the rulers even sneered at him.  They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.”  36The soldiers also came up and mocked him.  They offered him wine vinegar 37and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”  38There was a written notice above him which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.  39One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ?  Save yourself and us!” 40But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence?  41We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve.  But this man has done nothing wrong.” 42Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  43Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”



            “Beware the Ides of March!” Those of you who like history or Shakespeare not doubt recognize that famous line from the Shakespeare play Julius Caesar. In the play, and in legend, a seer warned Julius Caesar about his upcoming assassination on March 15th, the day known to the Romans as the Ides of March. If that were true Julius Caesar certainly should have expected an attempt on his life and yet when it successfully came it was unexpected. March 15th, that’s today, the Ides of March and we are gathered to talk about the assassination of someone much more important than Julius Caesar and whose initials are also JC. Jesus Christ. As we gather at the foot of His cross we see what we would expect and what is unexpected.

          First some things we expect. Crucifixion was meant to be a public matter. Rome wanted conquered people to know that defying the Roman empire was not a good idea. You died and you died badly. When violent criminals were crucified the public could watch a measure of justice being served. So it’s not surprising that many people were watching Jesus’ crucifixion. That is what was expected. What was unexpected was the presence of the religious rulers and their reaction. “The people stood watching and the rulers even sneered at him.  They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.” The rulers here are the religious leaders. Did you notice they acknowledged that Jesus had done good. “He saved others.”  One would have expected them to speak up for someone who had done good for others. But that’s not the case. They sneer and mock. Maybe that’s not so unexpected. Sinful human beings have a nasty tendency to turn on and hate those who do good. “What’s the saying? No good deed goes unpunished.

          The soldiers also turned on Jesus.  “The soldiers also came up and mocked him.  They offered him wine vinegar 37and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.” Well that’s not unexpected. While there were good Roman soldiers history records more brutality. I’m going to guess that the kindest and gentlest did not get crucifixion duty. They join in the jeering. That’s not unexpected because sinful human beings have a nasty tendency to prey without mercy on those who appear weak.

          Pilate also mocked Jesus. “There was a written notice above him which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.” This is not unexpected. Pilate had let himself get bullied by the Jewish leaders into pronouncing a death sentence he knew was undeserved. Like a little kid though he showed them. You  made me crucify your king. That’s not unexpected because sinful human beings have a nasty tendency of doing or allowing wrong and blaming others for it.

          It goes on. “One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ?  Save yourself and us!” This is maybe unexpected. Shouldn’t there be a little honor among thieves? Some empathy? No. More mocking. But maybe we should expect that. Sinful human beings have a nasty tendency to throw others under the bus to take the attention off of themselves.

          But then there is that other thief. “But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence?  41We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve.  But this man has done nothing wrong.” 42Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  This is unexpected! In the midst of his own pain this criminal confesses his sins and turns to Jesus. He utters a memorable prayer. “Remember me.” And in a way the thief was not expecting Jesus does. “Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” Today. That very day Jesus gave this criminal heaven and He could do that because He holds the key to heaven.

          Brothers and sisters in this whole account we have seen the expected and the unexpected. We were not surprised to see people turning on someone who had done good, preying without mercy on those who were weak, doing wrong and blaming others and shamefully throwing another under the bus. We aren’t surprised at that because we see people doing that all the time. We see ourselves in the same sinful behavior. But that is exactly why Jesus came and why Jesus stayed on the cross. He was urged to save himself but He didn’t so that He could save others. He made sure the one thief on the cross knew it. He’s made sure in your life and my life that we know it too so we would turn to Him.

          “Remember me,” was the unexpected prayer of the repentant thief who turned to Jesus. But with what we know of Jesus “remember me” is a prayer Jesus can expect to hear from us. “Remember me,” we can pray when death has claimed a mom or dad or spouse and hearts are hurting. “Remember me,” we can pray when sickness has lasted so long we no longer remember feeling good. “Remember me,” we can pray when our lives are in turmoil because of the hurts from the ones who are supposed to love us. “Remember me,” we can pray when loneliness seems to be our only companion. “Remember me,” when guilt from sin overwhelms. And when our own death is imminent what a comfort to know we can turn to Jesus and plead “Remember me.” In each and every case Jesus will and Jesus does. He holds the key to heaven. He is the key to life right now. Turn to Jesus. Amen.








Monday, March 6, 2017

March 4-6, 2017 Pastor Timothy J. Spaude Text: Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7 ON HANDLING TEMPTATION


LENT 1

March 4-6, 2017

Pastor Timothy J. Spaude

Text: Genesis 2:15-17; 3:1-7



ON HANDLING TEMPTATION

1.     Know the Word.

2.     Love the Word.

3.     Use the Word.

4.     When you fall, Run!!!



 Genesis 2:15; 3:1-7 (NIV 1984) The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” 4“You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5“For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.”



          Into the lives of all people comes the temptation to sin against God. It happened to perfect people named Adam and Eve. It happened to the perfect Son of God and Son of Man, Jesus Christ. It happens to you and me too at every age. In 1 Corinthians 10 we are told, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” That’s God’s truth. We will be tempted. We will have a way out. Let’s go to God’s word now and see how to handle temptation.

          God had created a perfect world filled with perfect plants and animals. He made a beautiful garden and called it Eden. Into that garden God placed two perfect people, Adam and Eve. The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” Commandments from God are ways of showing love. God showed love to Adam and Eve by forbidding them to eat what was bad for them. Adam and Eve could show love to God by obeying. It was a beautiful setup.

          But into that perfect Garden in the perfect world that had only perfect people slithered temptation. We don’t know everything we want to know about the Devil. We do know what we need to know. The Devil was originally a created angel. At some point after Creation and before what we are talking about today Satan led an angel rebellion against God. Pastor Waldschmidt and I like to repeat the phrase, “Sin is stupid.” It just doesn’t make sense. Imagine the Devil as a created angel pausing to take in the fact that God has just created him and all things and then somehow going on to think, “You know, I should be in charge here. I should be God. My fellow angels, God has just created us with a word of His mouth. He is that wise and powerful. I think we can take Him!” Sin is stupid. Satan and the angels who followed him were cast away from God’s goodness and love forever.

          Sin is stupid. Evil does evil. So Satan slithered into the garden of Eden in the form of a serpent to tempt Eve and Adam to join him in rebellion against God. “He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” Look at how Eve handled the Temptation. First she knew God’s word. Satan came at her with an attempt to get her to sin and started with confusion. “Did God say you can’t eat from any tree?” Not true and Eve knew it. She knew what God said. “God did say, you must not eat from the tree that is in the middle of the garden.” She knew God’s word.

          She also loved God’s word. Some people get a little nervous about the fact that Eve went on to say, “ and you must not touch it,”  Hey, wait a minute. Isn’t she adding something to God’s Word? She’s perfect yet. Sinless. To me her words show respect. They show love for God’s word. Mr. Serpent. That is forbidden fruit. We are not to eat of it. Why would I want to do anything with it? Eve knew God’s word and she loved God’s word. But Satan didn’t back off. He didn’t go away. He kept on tempting.

          “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5“For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” There’s the lie. There’s the insinuation that God is holding out on you. God doesn’t want you to have fun. He does not have your good in mind. You need to disobey Him.

          At this point we would love to have seen Eve jump up in righteous indignation and say. “No! You don’t talk about my God like that. He loves me and knows what’s best for me.” But she didn’t. “When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.” Temptation entertained is temptation indulged. Eve sinned. Adam sinned. They fell into temptation and they ran.

          When I was a younger boy, my brothers and I discovered early some of the laws of physics and science. On the campus of what is now Luther Prep School were some beautiful crabapple trees. They had apples on them that were somewhere between golf ball and tennis ball on them. What we discovered is that if you took a stout stick about two feet long and stuck an apple on the end you could fling that apple a lot farther and a lot harder than you could throw by hand. And then one of the brothers the Lord gave me got the idea that we could hide behind a bush and launch said apples at cars driving down Western Avenue never suspecting we might actually hit one. The memory is a little fuzzy on who that was but one such apple got launched at one aforementioned cars and hit it square on the side panel.  Thunk went that apple. Screech went the brakes. Run went the boys. The wrong way. We ran away from the driver of the car instead of to him to express our sorrow over a foolish childhood prank. Adam and Eve did the same. You know the rest of the story. How they ran from the God who loved them and blamed each other and God for their own sin.

          Now what can we learn from this about handling temptation? Because remember, God won’t let you be tempted beyond what you can bear but will provide a way out. First, know the Word. You have to know what God says. Do you have your daily habit of reading God’s words yet? Secondly, love the word. Like Eve, have such respect for what God says that you want God’s approval and know He has your best interest in mind. Third, use God’s word. Keep using God’s word. The Devil doesn’t automatically give up. Where we wanted Eve to keep going and sticking to God’s Word, that’s where we need to. Use that word of God as shield that blocks the Devils temptations with a No, Father knows best. And use that word as sword. Get away from me Satan. Resist and he must flee.

             But the most important thing we need to remember is that when you fall, Run! Run the right direction. Not away from God but to Him. Temptations will keep coming. They will be different at different ages. During this Lenten season as we are reminded of what Jesus went through to pay for our sins we will respond with love for Him. We will want to fight hard against temptation and remove pet sins from our lives.  The fact is we will not defeat them all. In weakness that shames us we will fall. And when that happens, Run! Run to Jesus. You will not successfully defeat every temptation but Jesus did for you. You heard about that in the Gospel reading. You heard in the God’s Word in Romans how Jesus’ perfect obedience makes us righteous. When you fall and feel guilt don’t stay away from the Lord and church and the Lord’s Supper, run to the Lord, to worship, to Lord’s Supper. There you will hear God say again. I love you. I forgive you.  Go and sin no more. But when you do, when you fall. I will catch you because I love you.” What an awesome God we get to serve! Amen.

         

Monday, February 20, 2017

February 18-20, 2017 Pastor Timothy J. Spaude Text: Matthew 5:20-37 “SQUIRMIN’ ON THE MOUNT”


EPIPHANY

February 18-20, 2017

Pastor Timothy J. Spaude

Text: Matthew 5:20-37



“SQUIRMIN’ ON THE MOUNT”

1.     Your hatred is murder.

2.     Your marriage harming is adultery.

3.     Your mouth is evil.



Matthew 5:20-37 (NIV 1984) “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. 21“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. 23“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift. 25“Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still with him on the way, or he may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26I tell you the truth, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.    27“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ 28But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.      31“It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.      33“Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.’ 34But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35or by the earth, for it is His footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”

          Have you ever been hit hard, right in the face? I have, by that wall right over there. Sometimes when I come home at night after a meeting and the north wind is blowing I like to take a “warm cut” through the church. Because I’m familiar with the layout of our church and don’t want to waste electricity turning on the lights I walk through in the dark trusting my instincts. One time though I misjudged. I don’t know if I subconsciously shortened my long legged stride or what but all of the sudden, Wham! Smack into the wall. My eyes were tearing.  I saw lights. I learned something that night. I learned that I’m not as good as I think I am at navigating like a bat. I learned I need the light. Well, brothers and sisters as hard as that wall is and is much as it hurt to run into it, the Law of God is harder and it hurts more when you run into it. Today we take up a portion of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount that I like to call Squirmin’ on the Mount. For if you listen with honest ears and read with honest eyes and think about yourself and not others, you will be squirmin’!

          Jesus is talking to people who had been taught that an outward keeping of God’s laws was good enough and that even then there were loopholes, justifications, for breaking God’s laws so that you weren’t sinning. Kind of like how we like to get righteously offended at murder and same sex marriage but maybe not quite so righteously offended at sins common to us. In the Squirmin’ on the Mount Jesus makes clear that the outward righteousness of the Pharisees and teachers of the Law was not good enough. In fact it was sin.

          “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.” As I look out I see murderers. Remember the last time you got mad at someone and wished them harmed or out of your life? Murder. Or the time you got mad because someone else blew it, conveniently forgetting all your mistakes?  “Yes, but that’s not sinful,” you say. Anger might not be, but do you mean to tell me those angry thoughts came out of love? Only one other choice. Hatred. You are a murderer. Are you squirmin yet? Children, you murderers, you call names and make fun of a classmate because of their teeth or their hair or their clothes or how they act? You think it’s funny. God calls that hatred. You are a murderer. Are you squirmin yet? You think it’s OK to yell at your parents or get mad at your teachers and call them names when they discipline you? Hatred. Murder. Are you squirmin’ yet? Your hatred is murder.

          And your marriage harming is adultery. “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ 28But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Technically the word adultery refers to a married person sharing their sexuality with someone other than their spouse. Jesus points out that the law of God is much harsher than that. Any harming of God’s gift of the blessed joining of one man and one woman for life is adultery. Husbands who speak harshly to your wives you are adulterers. Wives who nag husbands are adulterers. Are you squirmin’ yet? Guys whose eyes linger at the models pictures in the checkout line, aduleterers. Porn on the computer, on the phone. Adultery. Are you squirmin’ yet? Friends with benefits. Sexting, suggestive text messages. Are you squirmin’ yet? I’ve never watched the Bachelor or Bachelorette so forgive me if I’m wrong but isn’t the goal there to have attractive men and women showing of their stuff with multiple makeout sessions and portray that as love. How does that uphold marriage? Adultery. Are you squirmin’ yet? I remember in the congregation I served in San Antonio a sweet little old southern belle asking in a Bible Class, “Pastor, just what is lust anyway?” I felt my face flush as I started to explain and think of appropriate examples and then stopped and finally just blurted out, “Well you know what it is!” Yes, we know what it is. Adultery. Are you squirmin’ yet?

          If the realization that you are a murdering adulterer doesn’t do it maybe the fact that you have an evil tongue will. “Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” Before this Jesus had talked about phrases that people use to try to get others to believe them. Let’s think about our phrases. “Oh my…” then you use God’s name. No big deal. It’s so common. It’s also blasphemy and comes from the evil one. Parents should I ask the kids to reveal how many of  you say that? Are you squirmin’ yet? Any other choice words?  What about the way we tell stories that make ourselves look good but others not so much or pass on the gossip not to get anyone in trouble but to do good. That’s evil. Are you squirmin’ yet? We like to think of child molesters as perverts but in the book of proverbs you know who God labels a pervert? A person who uses words to cause division and separate friends. (Proverbs 16:28) Are you squirmin’ yet?

          Now what’s the point? Why did Jesus get so harsh? Why does He tear away from us any pretense that we are good people and expose our sinfulness with such sharp words? Why does He make us squirm? He does it out of love. Like that wall with me the true law of God shows us we are not as good as we think we are. And we need the light of the world, Jesus Christ. Jesus doesn’t just expose us and leave us hanging out to dry like we do to others. He left Himself hanging and squirming on the Mount of Calvary when He paid in full for all the sins His words just exposed. All of our murder, all of our adultery, all of our evil and everything else Jesus took on Himself  and was punished for in full. And Jesus gives us His own righteousness that far surpasses that of the Pharisees and teachers of the Law because Jesus is perfect.

Sometimes it takes a good hard smack in the face for us to learn. I walk much more carefully in here now. Still too cheap to turn the lights on. My prayer for all of us here today is that we learn to walk a little more carefully out of love for Jesus. Yes, our sins our paid for but that’s no reason to keep doing them. It’s reason to stop and fight and show Jesus we appreciate what He has done for us by being more careful with our words, more careful with what we let our eyes see and more careful with what we let into our hearts.  Ours is not to walk in the ways of the world but in the ways of our Lord Jesus Christ. Living by that higher standard is a privilege, not a right. Amen.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

January 21-23, 2017 Pastor Timothy J. Spaude Text: John 1:29-41 “ON LIVING LIVES THAT SAY, “LOOK!”


EPIPHANY 2

January 21-23, 2017

Pastor Timothy J. Spaude

Text: John 1:29-41



“ON LIVING LIVES THAT SAY, “LOOK!”

1.     Lives that attract.

2.     Lives that inform.

3.     Lives that connect.



John 1:29-41 (NIV 1984) “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30This is the One I meant when I said, ‘A Man who comes after me has surpassed me because He was before me.’ 31I myself did not know Him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that He might be revealed to Israel.” 32Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on Him. 33I would not have known Him, except that the One who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The Man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is He who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.” 35The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” 37When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” They said, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are You staying?” 39“Come,” He replied, “and you will see.” So they went and saw where He was staying, and spent that day with Him. It was about the tenth hour. 40Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ).”



          “Why am I here?” I’m guessing that most of you haven’t asked that question about yourself recently even though it’s a very important one. The question of individual and collective purpose has kept philosophers busy and employed for centuries. More recently a presentation I saw pointed to having a purpose in life as one of the key components of wellness. Perhaps if you are up there in years and your body isn’t working well you have asked, “Lord, why am I still here?” If you are wondering I have some Good News from God’s word for you today. As a redeemed and baptized child of God you are here to live a life that says “Look!”

          John the Baptist certainly understood his purpose. I’ve always wondered if John the Baptist and Jesus had any interactions as kids. They were close in age and related. Did they get to play together? Did John see Jesus when He went up to Jerusalem and stayed in the Temple at age twelve? I don’t know. At what point in life did John the Baptist know his God given purpose? We are simply told in all the Gospels that John appeared on the scene, that the word of the Lord came to him and he began preparing the way for the Lord by baptizing and preaching repentance. Take a look at a picture of what John might have looked like—out in the desert, wearing clothing of camels’ hair with a leather belt around his waist, eating a diet of locusts and wild honey, baptizing in the desert. Think about it. By appearance, diet and action John lived a life that said, “Look!” a life that attracted people to Jesus.

          How attractive are you? When you look in the mirror what do you see? Not the mirror in the bathroom at home but the mirror of God’s Word? Do you attract people to Jesus in your appearance, your diet, your actions? Let’s start with appearance, what you wear. Colossians 3:12-14 says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Does that look like you? A Christian who goes around looking grumpy or mad or angry, a Christian who tears others down and uses foul language, does not attract anyone to Jesus. But as one of God’s chosen people you can dress each day with those characteristics that will. How about diet? What are you eating? Are you taking in God’s Words on a daily basis so they change you and shape you and strengthen you? What about actions? Do people see that you prioritize worship, that you pray, that you are a God dependent person? Professor Bivens in our Bible Class has reminded us of the importance of being authentic and transparent. Like John. People look for that and your purpose, like John the Baptist’s purpose, is to a live a life that says Look! Not look at me, but look at the one who changes me. Jesus.

          Attract, then you can inform.  “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30This is the One I meant when I said, ‘A Man who comes after me has surpassed me because He was before me.’ 31I myself did not know Him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that He might be revealed to Israel.” 32Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on Him. 33I would not have known Him, except that the One who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The Man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is He who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ 34I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.” When John the Baptist got the chance he informed. He made sure the people knew the purpose of Jesus Christ. He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

          You and I can do the same thing. When our lives attract people we get the chance to inform. It might be when they notice you are a church goer or when you tell them where your kids go to school or when you are wearing your soon to be released St. Jacobi wear, don’t just tell them wear, tell them why. Because Jesus takes away the sin of the world. It’s OK to let them know you sin. They already do! Tell them how good it feels to be forgiven. Always. Because of Jesus. You don’t have to answer every question others have or try to make Jesus appealing by hinting that the lives of believers are trouble free—they are not. Live a life like John’s that says “Look! It’s Jesus. He came to take away the sin of the world.” And He did just that when He gave His life, sacrificed like a lamb on the cross. We live lives that inform.

          And then hopefully lives that connect. “The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. 36When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” 37When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. 38Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” They said, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are You staying?” 39“Come,” He replied, “and you will see.” So they went and saw where He was staying, and spent that day with Him. It was about the tenth hour. 40Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. 41The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ).” You need to know your purpose. John understood his. He wasn’t interested in having people follow him. They were supposed to follow Jesus. Notice how he connected them. Look! He said. Follow Jesus. It continued with Andrew. He found his brother Simon. He made the connection to Jesus.

          That’s my purpose and your purpose, to live lives that say “Look!” so we can connect people to Jesus. I think that’s pretty obvious for someone who is called Pastor. It’s obvious for a family of people like our family at St. Jacobi. Why our budget is important and our work, how we look to the community. We exist to connect people to Jesus. But it’s your purpose individually and for your families too. It may not be so obvious because you aren’t called Pastor or named after an Apostle but it is just as true. You are here to live a life that says, “Look!” As a worker to your co-workers, parent to a child, children to parents, no matter what role God has a playing we’re here to say Look! Look at Jesus. Because when it comes right down to it, when the buzzer sounds at the end of a life or the end of this world the only thing that matters is Jesus who has taken away the sin of the world. Living lives that attract, inform and connect people to Him is the most important reason you are here. Amen.

Monday, January 9, 2017

January 7-9, 2017 Pastor Timothy J. Spaude Text: Luke 17:11-19 UNCOMMON MERCY LEADS TO UNCOMMON GRATITUDE!


EPIPHANY/364 Days of Thanksgiving Sermon Series

January 7-9, 2017

Pastor Timothy J. Spaude

Text: Luke 17:11-19



UNCOMMON MERCY LEADS TO UNCOMMON GRATITUDE!



Luke 17:11-19 (NIV 1984) “Now on His way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. 12As He was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met Him. They stood at a distance 13and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” 14When He saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. 15One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. 16He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked Him—and he was a Samaritan. 17Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? 18Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19Then He said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”



          Today we begin the Church Year season of Epiphany. Epiphany celebrates and focuses on the many ways Jesus was made known to be the true Savior, especially to Gentiles or non Jews. We are also joining with many of ours sister WELS congregations across the nation in a year long emphasis called 364 Days of Thanksgiving. Both come together today as God’s word has already pointed out how people would be drawn to the light of Jesus, how that message needed to revealed and proclaimed to Gentiles and how Gentile wise men brought gifts for Jesus and his family to use. The message of Jesus still needs to be proclaimed here at St. Jacobi, through our high school and our synod. And that happens when modern Gentile wise men bring their gifts. But something we can never overlook when it comes to Christian living and giving is motive. God wants it to come from a thankful heart. So that we have thankful hearts let’s focus on two things you don’t see every day: 1. uncommon mercy and 2. uncommon gratitude.

As we join Jesus he is heading to Jerusalem to complete His mission as Savior of the world. He came to a village near the border between Galilee and Samaria. Just as he is about to enter the village, ten men suffering from leprosy call out to him from a distance. Leprosy is uncommon today. Cases in the United States are extremely rare. But in Jesus’ day, it was more common. Since untreated leprosy can be spread by contact,  in Jesus’ day, a person who suffered from leprosy would be forced to live far away from other people in what were called leper colonies.

These lepers, though, had heard about Jesus. From a distance they yell out to him.  “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” (Luke 17:13). It would not be uncommon for someone to feel sorry for those who have leprosy. What was uncommon was the mercy Jesus showed. Earlier in his ministry, Jesus actually reached out and touched a man with leprosy to heal him. That was unheard of. They were considered unclean. No one would go near them, let alone touch them. Who wants to look like that? But that didn’t stop Jesus. He told the ten lepers to show themselves to the priest. In those days, the priest was the one who would declare a person clean (or healthy) from leprosy. The priest would declare that person able to return to family, worship at the temple, and rejoin life in society. On the way to the priest, Jesus again showed He was the Messiah as He miraculously healed them. He didn’t just give them a few dollars or say a few sympathetic platitudes. He changed their lives forever. He gave them a new life—a new beginning. The mercy he showed them was uncommon.

Care to differ? Well let’s think about the mercy we show today. We may feel sorry for those who suffer, but what steps do we take to alleviate their suffering? Maybe we will send a few dollars to help those suffering from Ebola in Africa. Few if any of us, would leave our home and job and then fly to Africa to volunteer to be in the middle of the action being with and touching those people. That kind of mercy is uncommon. Maybe we will give a few dollars or some food to a person who is down and out, but how many of us will invite that one into our homes, provide a job, or spend a significant amount of time helping turn that person’s life around? That kind of mercy is uncommon. But that is the kind of mercy Jesus showed—to us. Remember why Jesus came. It was to live with the sin sick that repulsed His holy nature and then to be infected with the sins of the whole world on the cross! Jesus’ mercy is uncommon!

I heard of a church recently that stopped its giving tree. It used to put up a tree where members could bring gifts and toys to be donated to those in need. But they don’t do that anymore. Do you want to know why? The church members got frustrated because the gift recipients weren’t very grateful. Some of them would actually complain about what they received. Can you believe people would be like that?

You better, because we do the same thing--to God.  Jesus showed us the greatest act of love ever by sacrificing everything to win for us forgiveness and heaven. He suffered the whippings and beatings and mocking. He suffered the hellish punishment of his heavenly Father for all of our selfish sins that are all too common in each of us. And how do we so often respond? We fall into the same stupid and selfish sins. We seldom thank Jesus like we should. Yes, there are times we remember to say or sing a quick, “Thank you.” But most of the time we take his love and mercy for granted. And then we have the gall to get upset and frustrated when he doesn’t give us everything we want, when we want it. In spite of all that, our God continues to forgive us, to love us.

Wouldn’t it be better to respond to the Lord’s uncommon mercy with our own uncommon gratitude? After Jesus told the lepers to show themselves to the priest, all ten of the lepers left. Can’t you just picture what it must have been like as the lepers went to the priest? They noticed their joints no longer hurt. Their skin cleared up. They were healed. Can’t you just see them pick up the pace and begin to run? Their lives were completely changed. All ten had won the leprosy lottery! But then one of them stopped in his tracks. He turned around and ran back to Jesus, praising God in a loud voice. He fell at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. We aren’t told anything more about the other nine. We can only assume that they too were thankful. They just didn’t show it. That kind of gratitude is all too common.

Yes, even with us. For example we hear about a 16 year old girl tragically killed as she drove to school after Christmas break. It makes us realize how blessed we are to have people in our lives. We think to ourselves, “As soon as I get home, I am going to tell my children, my husband, my wife how much I love them. From now on, I am going to live each day as if it were their last.” But then a couple of hours pass. We get busy with our lives. By the time we get home, we forget to tell our family how much we love them. Nothing significantly changes. Or sometimes we come to church and the message of Christ’s uncommon mercy moves us. We feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude to God. We may even say a prayer of thanks to him. We think to ourselves about how we are going to change our lives—how from now on we are going to live for God. We imagine all the changes we are going to make. But then we get home and are distracted—by the TV or the bills or housework—and those feelings and thoughts quickly drift away. Nothing really changes.

Look again at the uncommon gratitude of that lone leper. He didn’t even make it to the priest. He could have been arrested for that, but he couldn’t help it. He had to go back to the source. He had to thank his Savior and God in an uncommon way. We can do the same. In 2017 let’s not be content with one day of Thanksgiving. Let’s add another 364! 364 days where we will strive for uncommon gratitude, showing our thanks to Jesus in ways that are above and beyond what everyone else does.  Don’t miss worship. Don’t just give what’s easy and won’t be missed. Don’t be like the millions of Christians who don’t bother to have the daily conversation with God in Word and prayer. Jesus showed He was the Messiah by word and deed. He has labeled us His Epiphany lights to in our time and our community by word and deed show that Jesus is our Messiah. We have a lot of things to be thankful for. We are recipients of uncommon mercy. We can now show uncommon gratitude. What ways will you pick? Amen.

Monday, January 2, 2017

December 31, 2016 Pastor Timothy J. Spaude “GLORIFY YOUR NAME!”


NEW YEAR’S EVE

December 31, 2016

Pastor Timothy J. Spaude



“GLORIFY YOUR NAME!”

1.     Can a child presume to choose?

2.     Can a Father’s love refuse?

3.     This alone shall be my prayer!



Have you ever had it happen that you get a song just stuck in your head, you keep coming back to it? Maybe you have some Christmas ones there right now. Well for the past year I’ve had the hymn we just sang stuck in my head. We sang it as the opening hymn for New Year’s Eve last year and the words, the meaning, the closing phrase just kept coming back to me. Glorify your name! What an honorable motto for us Christians to have stuck in our heads! Indulge me then as we use the hymn “Father, Let me Dedicate,” as our sermon text today.

Verse two begins, “Can a child presume to choose, where or how to live?” And now every parent here goes, “Bah! Yes, they can and do!”  Oftentimes against the advice and rules of parents children will presume that they know better than their parents. They will do their own thing. Yes a child can presume to choose where and how to live. But they shouldn’t, should we? You see the child alluded to in our hymn is not my child or your child but every child of God. Us!

Can we, have we presumed where and how to live? The sad answer is “Yes.” As we look back at 2016 we can all remember some of the times we presumed how to live. Our normal word for that is sin. We the children, told the Father, we knew best. He said, “Do not covet. Be content.” But we presumed to know better. We were dissatisfied. We let our eyes wander. The Father said, “Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouths,” but we presumed to know better. We talked how we wanted, perhaps with foul words to fit in, or stinging words to hurt. Father said, “Respect, obey, honor the authorities I put over you,” and again we knew better than Him. We had the right because they were wrong.

So what do you think our chances are for 2017 of fully following the Father? When after Communion we commit in our hearts to following what God says, of turning away from this sin or that one that we continually fight in our weakness, will we really be able to do it? Sometimes the answer is “Yes.” With the help of the Lord we can cut off and out of our lives some sins. Then others pop up. How can we glorify God’s name with our sin? Listen to a portion of God’s word from Joshua 7:19. “Then Joshua said to Achan, “My son, give glory to the Lord, the God of Israel, and give him praise. Tell me what you have done; do not hide it from me.”

Some of you may recognize that verse from a portion of the story of the conquest of the Promised Land. When God led the Israelites to the Promised Land, their new home, the first time they refused to go in and conquer it. They did not trust God to keep His promise to fight for them. They presumed where and how to live. Their consequence for that sin was wandering around in the desert for 40 years. Moses died. God put General Joshua is in charge and told them to take the land. He would fight for them. The first test of their trust was the great city of Jericho with insurmountable walls. God made Jericho’s impregnable walls pregnable as they fell at His command. God’s command to the Israelites was that they devote everything in the city to the Lord, take nothing for themselves. But a certain child of God named Achan presumed to choose how to live and took some of the plunder of Jericho for himself. He tried to hide his sin. It did not work. Joshua told Achan how he could glorify God’s name after his sin. Confess it.

That’s what we can do in 2017. Our chances of living a sin free 2017 are exactly 0. We are going to fall into sin sometimes out of ignorance, sometimes out of weakness. Sometimes we’ll go running and screaming toward it like we are taking a polar bear plunge! Glorify God’s name. When He lets you know through your conscience or the voice of the Spirit in His word or through a truly loving friend or parent don’t pull an Achan and try to deny or hide. Give glory to God. Glorify His name and freely admit your sin.

Then what. Our theme hymn goes on to say in verse two, “Can a father’s love refuse all the best to give?” Now some who are children here are saying, “Yes, yes they do!” Some are nodding to that to tease their dad who while he is not perfect tries to do his best. Some sadly have experienced a human father who was not just a poor imitation of our heavenly Father, but no imitation at all. An earthly father’s love is supposed to lead him to provide the best for his children. Earthly fathers can’t always do that.

But the heavenly Father can and does. Listen to a portion of God’s word from John 12:23-24.  Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” Jesus spoke these words during Holy Week. He was going to be glorified. How? By His death. He used an interesting picture. For a kernel of wheat to give life it must die. But then it gives life to many. That’s our Lord Jesus. Can a Father’s love refuse all the best to give? Not when it’s the heavenly Father we are talking about. In His great love for us He gave His best, Jesus. Jesus was glorified as the Savior of the world. By His death He gave us life. Our Father gave us His best and His giving continues.

In Romans 8:32 we read, “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” It’s simply heavenly logic. Since God has already given us the best in His own Son Jesus we can count on Him to give us all the rest of the things we need as well. Our hymn writer penned those truths. “Not from sorrow, pain or care, freedom dare I claim.” Sometimes God graciously gives us sorrow, pains and cares because they are good for us. They make or keep us God dependent. They help us let go something we are holding on to too tightly. They make us stronger or purer. Again to our hymn.  ”If in mercy you prolong, joys that now are mine, if on life serene and fair brighter rays may shine, let my glad heart while it sings, you in all proclaim and whate’er the future brings, Glorify your name. If you have for me a cross and its shadow come, turning all my gain to loss, shrouding heart and home, let me think you your dear Son to his glory came and in deepest woe pray on, Glorify your name.” In meaningful words the hymn writer sums up 2017. Our God may pour into our lives all the things that have brought joy so far and many more. He may have a hard road for us to walk just as He let Jesus walk a hard road. No matter what we can glorify God’s name by continuing to trust when things are hard and acknowledging the source when things go well. Glorify your name.

The final phrase that kept running through my head comes from the last part of the first verse. “This alone shall be my prayer: Glorify your name.” Now I don’t know about you but I can say for myself that I did a lot of praying in 2016. I can’t say that my only prayer was “Glorify your name!” There were some “Thank you”s and “I’m sorrys” and a lot of “Helps!” I suspect my prayer life in 2017 will sound similar. And I don’t think the hymn writer meant that “Glorify your name” would be the only prayer prayed but would be the desired year long attitude. What a great resolution to take into our new year. Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16) The Apostle Paul reminded us, “So whether you eat, drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31) With every decision we make we can glorify the Lord, from what we eat and drink or refuse to, how we dress and won’t. The words we choose to use and refuse to use. All of them are opportunities to glorify God’s name. Look for them in 2017.

That’s why I hope the words of this hymn continue to stick in my head. They serve as a great reminder of why I am still here and so are you, to give glory to God. One added bonus for 2016. I recently learned there is going to be an extra second tonight. To keep up with the slowing of the earth’s rotation the official time keepers have added one second to the last minute of 2016. Any ideas on what to do with it? Glorify God’s name! Amen.