Tolerance vs. Real Love

We live in an age that endorses every aspect of individual freedom and insists on toleration of a wide variety of ideas. But toleration isn’t always good, especially when one’s eternal salvation is at stake. So, God gives us pastors and parents, friends and family in our lives to show us true love—a love that points out our sin and takes us to our Savior and his forgiveness. In awe of God’s love for us, God calls us in love to reach out to others with God’s Law and Gospel for the sake of their soul!

Cross, then Crown

As children of God, what should we expect from life? As we hear from our readings today, at times our life may be anything but a joy and delight. In fact, as we follow Christ, we can expect hardships and difficulties. Those trials that come into our life because of our faith are the cross that Jesus calls us to carry as we follow him. We may struggle to bear the cross that our God gives us, but he promises not only to strengthen us for our hardships here on earth, but he lifts our eyes to heaven, where the glory that is awaiting us there makes our struggles pale in comparison.

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We Call on One Name

Sometimes before you can move forward, you have to take a step back to get everyone on the same page. Every fall we see it on the football field. It's just as true for the church. Before sending the church out into the world, Jesus reminded them of what Christianity was all about, and, as a result, what they had to offer. This week we see that Christianity builds on a foundation that won’t fall. The name of the Lord is not just a title that distinguishes the true God from false gods, it is the very definition and who he is. By confessing the name of the Christ, Christianity builds on a foundation that won’t fall.

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God Overcomes Our Fears

The Christian answers doubt with faith. Doubt is the unfortunate companion of faith. Today’s lessons show us believers who had faith in God and his abilities to save them, but yet doubted when his plans or purpose failed to match theirs. In each case, it is adversity that fights against faith and allows its unfortunate companion to rear its ugly head. And in each case, the true answer to doubt is not found in the great miracle that removes adversity, but in the still small voice of our Savior God whispering in his Word. Today we hear our Savior God ask us, “Why did you doubt?”, and we see that the Christian answers doubt with faith.

Unlocked: The Kingdom's Providence

The ways of God sometimes confuse more than they comfort. At times we are painfully aware that Christ’s kingdom “is not of this world.” Thankfully, the Lord unlocks the secrets of his heavenly kingdom using simple, down-to-earth terms. He not only reveals the way his kingdom operates, he also convinces us of its beauty and wisdom. This week we hear how God reveals his mighty power chiefly in showing mercy and kindness. God feeds hungry mouths and hungry souls with his gifts of grace. When we bring our problems to Jesus, he will richly supply all we need.  So, as members of God’s Kingdom, we trust our God to provide!

Unlocked: The Kingdom's Worth

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The ways of God sometimes confuse more than they comfort. At times we are painfully aware that Christ’s kingdom “is not of this world.” Thankfully, the Lord unlocks the secrets of his heavenly kingdom using simple, down-to-earth terms. He not only reveals the way his kingdom operates, he also convinces us of its beauty and wisdom. This week our Bible readings show people who have come into great wealth, but yet this earthly wealth only serves to illustrate where true treasure lies. The believer can see the kingdom’s worth as we see that true, spiritual wealth can only be found in God and his eternal blessings for us in Christ.

Unlocked: The Kingdom's Foe

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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. 

Unlocked: The Kingdom's Power

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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.

Organ Recital

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.

Unlocked: The Keeper of the Key

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UNLOCKED:

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.

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Confessing Christ in the Face of Persecution

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.

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