It shouldn't surprise us when God's rule in our world doesn't seem to make sense. His kingdom is, after all, a heavenly one. Thankfully, God unlocks the secrets of his kingdom to us using simple, down-to-earth terms. He not only reveals the way his kingdom operates but convinces us of its beauty and wisdom. This week, we hear how the devil seeks to thwart God’s plan for our salvation with temptation and sin. The Lord, however, has a plan and urges us to live with our eyes looking forward to his coming kingdom.
It shouldn't surprise us when God's rule in our world doesn't seem to make sense. His kingdom is, after all, a heavenly one. Thankfully, God unlocks the secrets of his kingdom to us using simple, down-to-earth terms. He not only reveals the way his kingdom operates but convinces us of its beauty and wisdom. This week, we hear how through the Gospel, Christ’s kingdom has the power to bring people to faith and move them to produce fruits of faith—works that keeps his commandments and express genuine love for God and one’s neighbor.
In a recital at Our Savior on July 9, Dr. Brent Nolte performed two pieces: Prelude and Fugue in D Major, BWV 532 by Johann Sebastian Bach, and Symphony V, Opus 42 No. 1, by Charles-Marie Widor.
Dr. Nolte is Music Department Chair and College Organist at Talladega College, where he teaches courses in music theory and performs as organist for several convocations annually. He serves as organist, choir director, and instrumental ensemble coordinator at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Birmingham. Previously, he served Martin Luther College in New Ulm, MN as an adjunct organ and brass instructor.
Dr. Nolte holds a Master of Music degree in Organ Performance from Central Michigan University, where he studied with Dr. Steven Egler. His master’s project, “The Organ Music and Musical Philosophy of Charles W. Ore,” was published in the March 2003 edition of The American Organist. In 2010, Brent was awarded a School of Music Fellowship by the University of Minnesota, where he completed his Doctor of Musical Arts in Organ Performance Degree in 2013, studying with Dr. Dean Billmeyer.
The Secrets of the Heavenly Kingdom Brought Down to Earth
It shouldn't surprise us when God's rule in our world doesn't seem to make sense. His kingdom is, after all, a heavenly one. Thankfully, God unlocks the secrets of his kingdom to us using simple, down-to-earth terms. He not only reveals the way his kingdom operates but convinces us of its beauty and wisdom. This week, we hear how our God holds the key to lasting peace and rest in our lives. It is the rest that we find only in our Savior as he takes our burden of sin and guilt from us and gives us his peace.
Christ promises courage for us as we share the good news of our Savior even in the face of pain or persecution. The Prayer of the Day is one of themost ancient in the Church’s use. It seems to have been suggested by the disasters of the dying Western Empire. As Rome crumbled, the Church prayed for God’s governance that she might worship in peace and joy. Today Christ reminds us that even when that peace and joy are absent, he will give us the courage tocontinue to testify in his name.
While today will slip by for many Lutherans without the fanfare of Reformation Day, June 25 marks the day in 1530 on which God-fearing laymen took their stand for the Gospel and presented their confession of faith before Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Augsburg. You might even call today the birthday of the Lutheran Church! That confession made 487 years ago continues to shape what we believe, teach, and confess before the world today. Centered on Christ and focused on the free gift of salvation that is ours by grace through faith, the Augsburg Confession reminds us of the high privilege it is to confess Jesus Christ. As our lips confess His name and as we worship Him with “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” (Ephesians 5:19), we rejoice that Jesus confesses us before His Father in heaven!
The Harvest is Plentiful but the Laborers are Few (Romans 8:1-10) - The emphasis of today's service is the Compassion and Love of God for this World, love so great that he called ministers of the Word to share his grace and mercy and foretell the coming kingdom of heaven.
The doctrine of the Trinity is not a logical exercise or a dogmatic excursion. It’s central to our salvation. The Triune God is our Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. Lose this doctrine, and as the Creed says, you lose it all. A Jesus who is less than God is also less than Savior. Today we see that Christ has given his church one mission with one means, a mission and means that reflect the nature of the one true God. God sends his church out into the world so that all people would again enjoy the fellowship enjoyed between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Plenty of people have witnessed the church at its worst. Because churches are made up of sinful people, every church has its ugly moments - including ours. That’s why it’s so important for churches to remember Christ’s design for them - a design whose beauty is in its simplicity, a design that keeps the body of Christ working at its best. Today we see that Christ has poured out on his Church one Spirit to work one faith. On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit’s work in the church began. From that day until the last day, the Holy Spirit points every member of the Church to Christ’s saving work for it.
Pentecost is the third great festival of the Church and has been commemorated since at least 217 A.D. The Church dresses in red to remind us of the tongues of fire that marked the Spirit’s gift and the blood of the martyrs which was the seed of the Church. This day culminates the Season of Easter when our risen Lord now empowers his people to be witnesses of the resurrection for the world.
Live in eager expectation of glory! That glory is not dimmed by earthly suffering; rather, such suffering reminds us of the glory that awaits us. First the cross; then the crown. Our light and momentary troubles cannot mute the joy of living in eager expectation of glory. The week that falls between Ascension and Pentecost is one of waiting and expectation for the promised Spirit and the promised glory.
"Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord" goes the old American hymn "Battle Hymn of the Republic." The hopeful and spirited hymn by Julia Ward Howe was written at a time when God's blessing was urgently sought for the nation. So it was for the disciples just before Christ was about to ascend to heaven. "Lord," they said, "will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" But God had a greater blessing in mind. Christ's ascension means His triumph over all humankind, all nations, kingdoms, and powers. He who was crucified, died, and risen, now takes His humanity with Him to sit at God's right hand in power and majesty to return again in glory. We too, lift up our eyes in celebration: "Glory, Glory, Hallelujah!"
The love of God who lives in us leads to a life of obedience. Jesus’ promise of another Counselor is a loaded one: the Holy Spirit gives us the ability to do what Jesus asks. This Sunday’s lessons teach that love for our risen Lord means obedience to his commands. Only Jesus’ promises make that possible.