Mission Moments

Epiphany Greetings!

A personal thank you from me to all of you, “My Beloved and Dear Supporters,” who came and continue to come to my emotional rescue through prayers and financial support that enabled the students to return to school for the

second semester, giving them the opportunity to sit for the exams that they were barred from sitting last semester. My deep thanks, and theirs as well. In 2017, you came to my personal rescue of raising my missionary support to

return back to the mission field in Africa, and now in 2018, you came to the rescue of my students to return back to their studies. Your faithfulness and care gives me strength to continue even in the face of the Muslim threats and other dangers.

Snippets:
1) School resumes today for the second semester.
2) Federal and state elections will take place this month and the one following.

Prayer requests:
1) Pray for journey mercies for those students who are still returning to school.
2) Pray for the safety and security of myself and my students this month and next month as the political tensions in the country rise due to the Radical Muslim administration that is bent on retaining power by any means necessary.

Once again, thank you all, individual (s) and congregation (s), who facilitated the huge financial support to offset the school fees for those students who had been asked to leave until their accounts were paid up. They have been permitted to return and take the exams that they missed during the previous semester.

May the Holy Child of Bethlehem, whom the Magi / Wise Men from the East visited and worshiped replenish you all and keep you steadfast / close to the Manger as you worship Him in truth and love. Amen.

Sincerely in-Christ,
Fr. Wokoma

To read more about Pastor Wokoma, or help support Zion’s Missionary in Africa, visit: www.lcms.org/rwokoma

Readings and Sermon: Sunday March 17, 2019

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View the Bulletin for Sunday March 17, 2019
Service Times: 8:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.
Bible Study and Sunday school: 9:20 a.m.

Old Testament Reading – Jeremiah 26:8-15
Epistle –
Philippians 3:17-4:1

The Holy Gospel according to St. Luke, the thirteenth chapter.
At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to [Jesus], “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.”

And he said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I finish my course. Nevertheless, I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following, for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem.’ O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’”

Hymn of the Day Studies for Lent

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Lord, Thee I Love with All My Heart
Second Sunday in Lent| Three-Year Lectionary
Lutheran Service Book 708 | study by Randy Wurschmidt

Introduction

As the young woman lies dying in her hospital bed, the pastor is urgently summoned. He brings with him his well-used Pastoral Care Companion; anticipating that death is imminent, he opens to the “Commendation of the Dying.” Prayers are prayed, psalms are chanted, Scriptures are read; after the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer, he sings the Nunc Dimittis: “Lord, now You let Your servant go in peace…” Then he sings stanza 3 of this hymn: “Lord, let at last Thine angels come…” It is a beautiful and confident way for the Christian to face death, trusting in God’s promise of the resurrection and in the hope of eternal life in heaven. This stanza is famously used as the final chorale in J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion, giving the Good Friday narrative an appropriate ending — not with our Lord dead on the cross, but with the open tomb and death defeated.

❚ Is a Christian’s death different from the death of an unbeliever? Why or why not?
❚ What is the benefit of the pastor being at the bedside of one who is dying?



Exploring the Scriptures

Anyone who is paying attention knows that this life is far from perfect. There are disappointments and heartaches, illnesses and pain. “Change and decay in all around I see,” we sing in another favorite hymn of trust and hope (LSB 878:4). And of course, there is death. Most people think of death as an unfortunate but normal part of life. There may be some vague thought of heaven (never hell!) for the nice people; for some, death means simply disintegration back into the earth and no more. But there is more; there is much more, for Jesus has promised to return on the Last Day and raise the dead. It won’t be just the righteous that He raises, but all people, as we confess in the Nicene Creed: “I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come” (LSB, p. 191). The Athanasian Creed goes even further, stating, “And those who have done good will enter into eternal life, and those who have done evil into eternal fire” (LSB, p. 320), meaning that those who have rejected Jesus will experience weeping and gnashing of teeth in eternal damnation.

❚ Read 1 Cor. 15:12–28. When (or who) is the beginning of death and the end of death, according to verse 21? Why should this give us hope?
❚ Read Psalm 90. How should we consider this life in light of this psalm? Should we put our hope and trust in the things of our life now?


Exploring the Hymn 
Background

The text was written by Martin Schalling (1532–1608), a Lutheran pastor and theologian who was a disciple of the reformer Philipp Melanchthon, author of the Augsburg Confession. Schalling lived during a time of intense religious strife, which reached even outside Germany and throughout Europe. As the Reformation moved forward, the Roman Catholics often fought back, countering with their own documents and creeds. At that time, Germany was composed of many small principalities and kingdoms. It was up to each individual ruler to decide on the religious confession of his territory, leading to many changes as rulers came and went. Unfortunately, these battles of words often spilled out into battles of swords, and many were killed in wars and power struggles during this time.

Even if we were without religious strife, death is still a universal problem in this life, and all Christians should be able to confess the truths sung in this hymn, finding comfort in these words.

❚ What would be some of the challenges for a pastor in a time of ever-changing allegiances? Could you continue to confess the truth even if your job or your life depended on it?
 

Text

In the first stanza, we are reminded that earth’s pleasures are no match for eternal life in heaven, and that the most important thing for us is to be in the presence of God.

❚ Where does Jesus promise to be when we gather for the Divine Service each Sunday?

In the second stanza, we are reminded of the Creed, as you may have learned it from the Small Catechism. In the meaning of the First Article, Luther writes, “I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses, and still takes care of them” (LSB, p. 322). We pray that the devil, the world and our own flesh would not betray us or lead us into temptation or doubt.

❚ According to this stanza, how do we glorify God’s lavish grace? To whom is our own love directed?

Sing the third stanza now, if you have not already. Here we have the heart and soul of this hymn. Jesus said, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” (Matt. 16:26). All roads point to the end. The whole life of a Christian is one preparing for death. And in these words, we confess to what end we have held steadfast: “That these mine eyes with joy may see, / O Son of God, Thy glorious face, / My Savior and my fount of grace.”

❚ Each stanza closes with the refrain, “Lord Jesus Christ…” Compare each of these and describe how, just from the last phrase, each stanza summarizes our life of faith.


Making the Connection

When the Pharisees tested Jesus, asking, “Which is the great commandment in the Law?” Jesus answered by saying, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Matt. 22:36–40). This hymn sums up these commandments very well: We love God because He loved us first and gave His only begotten Son for the forgiveness of our sins; we love our neighbor because God has given us everything we need for this life and the next.

This we do when we share Jesus’ body and blood at the rail with fellow saints. We do this when we receive the forgiveness of sins promised from the cross and forgive those who trespass against us. We love our neighbors when we help them in time of need, pray for and with them, and comfort them with the beautiful hymns of our faith.

❚ In times of distress, have you ever just sat down with your hymnal open and sung? Why or why not?
❚ How does our own selfishness and sin keep us from facing death without fear?
 

In Closing

“We should fear, love, and trust in God above all things,” we confess in the meaning of the First Commandment (LSB, p. 321). As you know, this is easier said than done, because by nature we look to other gods. This is why we need to regularly hear the Word of God, why we need to regularly hear the words of absolution from our pastors, why we need to regularly receive Jesus’ body and blood: to ease our burdened consciences and to strengthen our faith in God and our fervent love for our neighbor. For God has promised salvation to you and baptized you into His life and death. He has assured you that as His sons and daughters, you will inherit eternal life with Him on account of Christ, who covers all your sins in His own righteousness. Therefore, sing this hymn with all boldness and confidence. Sing it now if you haven’t already. And sing it as you journey from this life into death and into life everlasting.
 

Prayer 

Almighty, everlasting God, Your Son has assured forgiveness of sins and deliverance from eternal death. Strengthen us by Your Holy Spirit that our faith in Christ may increase daily and that we may hold fast to the hope that on the Last Day we shall be raised in glory to eternal life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen (Hope of eternal life in Christ, LSB, p. 313).

New Member Profile

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Welcome to our Newest Zion Member
On Sunday, February 10th, Leeann Golish became a member of the Zion church family. If you haven’t had an opportunity to meet her and her family yet, be sure to welcome them!

Leeann and her husband, Brad, live in Cecil with their two children - Joy (4) and Bronco (10 months). They have lived in the area for more than 10 years, and are originally from Monroeville and Johnstown. Leeann is a wedding photographer, and Brad works as an engineer for the United States Postal Service. In their free time, they like to visit with family, vacation at the beach, hike out West, and bike the local trails.


If you’re a new or newer member of Zion Lutheran Church, and you would like to be featured in our “New Member Profile” — please sent a note (and photo) to the Church Secretary so we can get to know you, and you can get to know us.

Chairman’s Corner

Paul Klemash

Paul Klemash

A Bunch of Militants...

The Church Militant. That is who WE were CHOSEN TO BE. We're members of an army of Christian soldiers fighting the good fight against the "foe" as Luther might have written. Here at our church, we want people to hear the Good News and "hearing it" is really a key concept in planting the seed for the Great Commission. By "hearing" the Word, the Holy Spirit is planted and miracles happen. We're fighting the foe with the Truth, the Light and the Word.

Our Militant stewardship supports our ministry, our missions. In the Preschool, Sunday School and Youth Group the battle for young minds is engaged where our Preschool and Sunday School war against the foe throughout the year. Pastor's Preschool Chapel Services and various Bible Classes provides the "armor" of the Word to both our members and non-members. The Church Militant stands in the way of the foe, unwavering. Our mission is to fight the foe and stand together as we hold high the cross, and we're fighting on more than one front.

In Africa, the Church Militant fights night and day for the millions of souls hungering for the Word. When Pastor Wokoma visits us this summer, please be sure to come to see and hear his testimony---news that you helped create as a Church Militant, supporting him in the fight. Rejoice at the victories and double down in the fight for souls. Stay tuned as we move to help Russian LCMS missions who are waging their own fight against a well-entrenched foe.

We are far removed from the front lines of Africa and Russia, yet the call to battle and the cries for help are clear and present. The Church Militant is called to engage and resist the foe regardless how near or far the conflicts. Let us encourage and support each other as we fight the good fight. We're a group of soldiers, but, not just any soldiers. We are the Church Militant and as the ark went before the Hebrews, so shall Christ go before us into the fray, during these days and at the last battle. With Christ we shall never taste defeat---a Church Triumphant awaits! Onward Christian Soldiers!!! Again, you were CHOSEN to be a Militant. We are all baptized into this army for a reason. It is no accident we are: Christians!!! Lutherans. Alive.

Lent and Easter are upon us. The Triumph of Easter is the Christian message! Easter is who we are and what our religion is all about. Celebrate! That's what we'll be doing in our Lenten and Easter Season services. Let's pack the church with all the Militants we can at every service! The price is paid! Salvation is created! The victory won! All Glory, Laud and Honor!

Paul Klemash
Chairman, Zion Lutheran Church, Bridgeville