"The shepherds said to one another, 'Let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.'" -- Luke 2:15b

How Far Is It To Christmas?

Already in September I saw Christmas items on display. I knew then that the countdown of shopping days left would soon begin.

If the shepherds wondered when Messiah would come, it was certainly not with reference to shopping days. But after the angel's announcement, they might have asked how far it was to the Christ at Bethlehem. Since distance is mainly determined by the road one travels, we might profitably ask, "How far is it to Christmas?"

If we travel to Christmas on the double-lane highway of pride and self-righteousness, we will never arrive. There was nothing at Bethlehem to appeal to the proud heart--no royal palace with all the trimmings. Only a nondescript town, an inn, a stable, common people, a Babe wrapped in strips of cloth. And though the Babe was King of kings, yet He "made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant" (Php. 2:7).

This humble Babe was God's Gift to all. Yet He cannot be understood or received by those with proud and self-righteous hearts. Such sinners see no need of a Savior and ultimately do not behold Jesus as God--only a symbol of mushy love and feel-goodism. Bethlehem will have no meaning--beyond fleeting emotionalism--to one who has Satan's snake of pride and self-righteousness coiled in a death grip around his heart. If you travel the big-headed, proud-hearted road to Christmas, you will never get there. Lost, you won't even be tempted to ask for directions.

If we travel to Christmas on the super-highway of materialism, we will never arrive. If Christmas is only a Festival of Spending and Using, it cannot be the Festival of the Father's Loving Gift. If the holy joys of Bethlehem are crowded out by the pleasures of this life, we will have no time to seek the Kingdom of God.

Never-ending consumerism may be encouraged by governments and commercialism by store owners, but a stable was the birthplace of Him who had 'no place to lay His head.' Neither did He care, for the eternal Word came to give mankind the things that the eye cannot see, nor money can buy--forgiveness of sins, peace, and eternal salvation.

The Road Can Be A Trap

If our lives are wrapped up in ourselves, if we insist that our way is the best way, if we live only to buy and possess, then we will never get to Christmas. Know that this road is bedecked with many attractions, among which are King Ahab's '"I-gotta-have-it" Vineyard,' the spectacular real estate of Ananias and Sapphira, Everyman's House of Discontent, and the 'Treasure-Keepers' Mall' owned by a certain young rich man.

This road is a trap for the unwary. It promises happiness but does not even reach the outskirts of Christmas. Its end is a junkyard of broken toys, rusted gadgets, and discarded dreams. Its many owners delight in all they have but then sadly end up begging forever for a single drop of water.

How far is it to Christmas? If we travel the road of humble, repentant faith and joyful adoration, then we will find Bethlehem. In fact, Christmas will find us, for Immanuel is "God with us." Then will be revealed the Babe as Lord and Sacrifice. Then faith will claim the Father's Loving Gift as the only remedy to sin and guilt, alienation and despair. Humble faith will open the precious presents--freedom from the curse and power of sin, death, and Satan. Faith will respond with the voice of angels: "Glory to God in the highest . . . ."

What road shall we take to Christmas? There is only one that leads to Bethlehem, to the Savior. It is the road straight and narrow. It is the Bible road, along which are signposts and encouraging instructions--those truths "which the Lord has made known to us."

"Let us now (so) go even unto Bethlehem." And let our travel dress be--now and for all seasons--robes of righteousness designed in eternity, spun in a manger, splattered red on a hill, and made gloriously white in an empty tomb.

--Pastor David Fuerstenau


We live in distressing times, times of considerable unrest in the world. Terrorists would unsettle us with threats of violence. Anthrax rumors and scares abound.

Great distress has been seen in the world before. It always causes the same nervous reaction among men, even among the children of God. When some spoke to Jesus of the wonder of the temple in Jerusalem, and Jesus responded that all this would be thrown down and destroyed so that one stone would not be left upon another, that was very unsettling for the disciples. They couldn't imagine the destruction of the temple and all of Jerusalem, without it marking the end of the world. Forty years later they would see these things come to pass.

It was shocking for us to see the disaster of 9/11. It is easy to make the same assumption that the disciples had of the temple. We know that when the end comes, these monuments to the greatness of man shall come tumbling down. When the towers had been attacked and collapsed to the ground, the distress in America was intensified.

Our flesh grasps what it can see. Our spirit is led by the Lord to grasp what cannot be seen. And that is where our Spirit-created faith leads us to find our hope. "We do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal" (2 Cor. 4:18).

The Substance Of Our Hope

This Advent season is more than just the four Sundays leading up to Christmas. This is a precious season of the church year in which we are reminded that in the coming of our Savior we have hope in the face of the bleak prospects of this earth.

As we celebrate Christmas we rejoice in one of these precious comings of our Lord to this earth--His coming in the flesh to be our brother, to bear our sin. That coming is the substance of our hope, the fulfillment of so many promises which God had made through the prophets. It lays a rock-solid foundation for our faith.

Jesus comes into our hearts. By this advent of our Lord we receive the assurance of faith that in spite of all the upheaval that surrounds us in the world, in spite of the uncertainty in the economy that causes many to fret, we have no need to fear. "Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you. I will uphold you with My righteous right hand" (Isa. 41:10).

The righteousness of Christ which is credited to us through faith in Jesus sustains us through all the troubling times of life. What a blessing to be upheld by the mighty righteous hand of our Savior-God! No harm can befall us with the Lord as our God!

A wondrous hope still lies before us. When all the world is perplexed and distressed, we continue to look for that day of the Lord's return, His final advent. We look with great hope and expectation. At the end, when for the world all is lost, "Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up our heads, because your redemption draws near" (Lk. 21:27-28).

Yes, our hope of life and eternal salvation, even the redemption of our bodies, is found in the advent of our Lord.

We look for the day of His return with eager anticipation because in it is the deliverance from every evil and from every imperfection that afflicts us in this life.

We look for that final advent of the Lord because it is the final culmination of our salvation, found in the full revelation of Jesus' glory and divine majesty.

--Pastor Theodore Barthels

From Our CLC President--

Teaching our Children To Appreciate Christmas

When the post-Thanksgiving shopping is past, if toy sales are up over the previous year, it is good for the merchants. It also means that many children will have a good Christmas. Sad!

The promotion of Christmas according to the world's standard--the standard by which many people judge what is a good Christmas--is quite easy. One does not have to teach children in this regard. They absorb the ads on TV. They listen to the tales of Santa Claus. They make their Christmas lists. They walk through the toy stores and the malls. They absorb Christmas by osmosis.

Sadly, that is the most that many children know about Christmas, or at least the most they remember. Well-meaning adults who ask, "Did you have a good Christmas?" reinforce this when they ask, "What did Santa Claus bring you?"

We look at Christmas in a different manner. We start from the premise that there would be no Christmas, no Christ-festival, if there had been no Christ. The world, while giving lip service to Christ, in fact uses the birth of Christ to serve its own purpose. The achieved result is that the blessing of Christmas is lost because the Christ of Christmas has been diminished.

The real meaning of Christmas is not absorbed. It is found in Scripture. It is taught!

"But as for you, continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" (2 Tim. 3:14-15). "I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day, greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy, when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also" (2 Tim. 1:3-5).

Christmas Is -- Taught!

It falls primarily upon the parents to teach their children. This responsibility secondarily belongs to the church as assistant to the parents in looking after the spiritual welfare of the children.

Children need to have a clear understanding of sin. Without sin and its condemnation there would have been no need for Jesus to come into the flesh.

The instruction of children will include the teaching of Old Testament prophecy, namely, that in the Old Testament the Heavenly Father prophesied through the prophets about Jesus Christ.

Children are to be taught who Jesus is. He is true God become Man to be our Savior. That is the meaning of the name Jesus.

Children need to know that life on earth is passing, and that the real life is in heaven. Jesus is the only way to heaven, as Scripture clearly teaches.

Children need to be taught of the love of God, and how the epitome of this love was the sending of Jesus Christ into the world so that--when toys are broken, clothes are outgrown, games are over, and life on earth is past and gone--trusting in Jesus, they may enter into life everlasting.

All the trappings and giving of Christmas will come home to haunt those parents who have not taught their children what Christmas really is.

What will be the response of parents to those children who naturally like to ask, "Why?" What will parents say when on judgment day the child asks, "Why did you not teach us what Christmas was really about? Why did you not lead us to Jesus and teach us the gospel?"

The gospel and the message of Christmas--"Unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior"--is not absorbed; it is taught. Therefore, let your Christmas be built first upon the Word, with the Child of the manger as its focus. Then it will be a good Christmas.

Without the Word, a good Christmas is not the best. Do you not desire the best for yourself and your children?

--Pastor Daniel Fleischer

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . . " -- John 1:14

God Is With Us -- Immanuel!

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us . . . " What amazing words! Who can fathom them?

. . . The eternal Word, Who was with God and was God, through Whom all the universe was made, became flesh and blood and dwelt among the people of the earth. . . . The God who holds all things in the palm of His hands was held in the womb and then the arms of a young virgin. . . . The God who possessed all the riches of heaven was born in the poorest and dirtiest place on earth, a feed trough for cattle.

. . . Most amazing of all, God came to DWELL WITH US. . . . The holy God did not come to condemn us, or even to threaten us. . . . He came to dwell with us as one of us. . . . He did not come with thunder and lightning, fire and smoke, and the sound of a loud trumpet, as He did on Mt. Sinai. . . . He came as a little baby who could be adored by all without fear.

. . . Even the angels who announced His birth struck fear, but there was no fear in seeing and holding the Son of God. . . . He came to take our place and endure our punishment so that we could be made one with God. . . . Now--in and through this Child Jesus--God is with us and we are with Him.

No Reason To Fear

Take those words to heart. GOD IS WITH US. These are not just empty words. It is not some dream. When the world tries to take comfort from this without knowing the God who has come to us, it IS just an empty dream for them.

We have heard more people saying and singing "God bless America" in the past few months than we have in a long time. Yet many of those who say it and sing it blaspheme God with their lives and words. They offer worship and prayers to Allah, to Buddha, to the god of the Jews, and to many other false gods and then say, "God bless America." They reject the one and only God who can save them and bless them.

But all those who know the God of heaven and honor the Son He sent truly have God with them. God is with us to bless us, to protect us, to guide and strengthen us, and to save us.

We have no reason to fear the terrorists or any others who may kill the body but cannot harm the soul. He who has power over all enemies--even over death and hell itself--is with us.

Luther describes our confidence so beautifully in Hymn #103 (TLH):

    "Oh, then rejoice that through His Son
    God is with sinners now at one;
    Made like yourselves of flesh and blood,
    Your brother is th' eternal God.

    What harm can sin and death then do?
    The true God now abides with you.
    Let hell and Satan rage and chafe;
    Christ is your Brother--ye are safe.

Luther once said, "It is not enough that we should hear his story if the heart be closed. I must listen, not to a history, but to a gift."

We often lament because of what the world has done with Christmas. It has become so commercialized. But we should not be surprised. The people of this world do not know this Child. They may know the history, that Jesus was born in a stable in Bethlehem. But they have not received this gift. They do not celebrate salvation in God's Son. They just celebrate.

May all our celebrations remind us of this one thing--God is with us!

Christ is your Brother! You are safe! Rejoice!

--Pastor David Reim

Parables Of The Master

Matthew 21:33-46

The Parable of the Vineyard

As His earthly ministry and mission drew to a close, Jesus continued to attempt to gather into the kingdom of God the chosen descendants of Abraham, the Jewish nation. The result--as it had been throughout Israel's history--was a continued rejection of God's grace by His chosen people. Jesus continued right up until the end to call the Jews and their religious leaders to repentance. In chapters 21 and 22 Matthew recorded three parables which were a wake-up call for the nation of Israel. These three parables (the Two Sons, the Vineyard, and the Wedding Feast) all stress the terrible rejection of God's grace by those who were called by God.

This second parable of the vineyard was familiar, not only because of the vineyards which covered the hills of Palestine, but also because this image was familiar to readers of the Old Testament Scriptures. Isaiah used a vineyard as a picture of God's people. Isaiah stressed that, in spite of everything the husbandman (God) did for His vineyard, this vineyard did not produce fruit. "For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, And the men of Judah are His pleasant plant. He looked for justice, but behold, oppression; For righteousness, but behold, a cry for help" (Is. 5:7).

Jesus echoes Isaiah's picture in the parable of the vineyard in Matthew 22. God planted this vineyard, making the nation of Israel His chosen people. The history of Israel was the history of the continued rejection of God by His own people. Throughout the Old Testament, God sent His prophets to call His people to repentance. Not only did Israel refuse to listen to God's prophets, they threatened, beat, and killed His representatives. This open rebellion against the Owner was repeated time after time.

The Owner then decided to send His own Son to these ungrateful servants, saying, "They will respect my son" (Mt. 21:37). The servants plotted together, seized, and then killed the son. Jesus then asked the Pharisees, "Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vinedressers?" (Mt. 21:40) The answer is obvious, "They said to Him, 'He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons'" (Mt. 21:41).

Application Is Obvious

The application is obvious to us. Jesus is laying bare the terrible rejection of the Son of God by the religious leaders of Israel. The application was also obvious to the Pharisees, who perceived that Jesus was speaking of them. This only intensified their opposition and strengthened their resolve to get rid of Jesus at any cost.

Jesus used Psalm 118:22-23 to nail down the message. He said to them, "Have you never read in the Scriptures: 'The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes'?" (Mt. 21:42) God made this rejected and crucified Jesus the chief cornerstone of His Church. In fact, Jesus revealed that the Kingdom of God would be taken from the chosen descendants of Abraham and be given to the Gentiles.

Surely this parable clearly revealed the unbelief and sin of the nation of Israel. Jesus called the Jewish nation and their religious leaders to repentance. History reveals that they did not heed His call. Jesus also reveals the unbelief and rejection of those in the organized church today who are secure in their own righteousness and do not take seriously Jesus' call to follow Him.

This lesson of Old Testament Israel and the vineyard is a serious warning to us. God in His kindness and mercy is calling to us.

--Pastor John Schierenbeck



"Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker." Psalm 95:6

Eleventh in a Series--

The General Prayer and The Lord's Prayer

The General Prayer

The General Prayer is a further offering of the heart as the worshippers are led to thank and praise the Lord for His innumerable blessings. We are assured in Psalm 145:18-19, "The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them."

This General Prayer may include a wide variety of subject matter, or it may more briefly summarize the primary thoughts emphasized in the service. Special prayers are also offered at this time for the sick, for mourners, for newborn children and their parents, for newlyweds, etc.

The Lord's Prayer

Finally, the prayer which our Savior taught us to pray (Matthew 6:9-13, Luke 11:2-4) concludes the second part of our worship service.

The Lord's Prayer is so well-loved and meaningful to worshippers that the danger of recitation without thinking is a concern which every worshipper needs to address. The following may be helpful for us to read from time to time to help remind us of the spiritual meaning in the simple petitions of this prayer (taken from "That I May Know Him," by Oswald Riess).

Our Father who art in heaven: Our Father, God of all love and power, hear us, Your children in Christ Jesus.

Hallowed be Thy name: We bear Your holy name. Let us not disgrace it by false teaching and ungodly living, but do it honor by clinging to Your pure Word and leading a life that glorifies You.

Thy kingdom come: Give us a deep concern for souls. Send out Your saving truth. By Your Word and Spirit work faith in the hearts of men. So let Your kingdom come to many, as it has come to us. And may it not be long until we see You in Your unveiled splendor.

Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven: It is Your will, because You seek our happiness, that we live close to You. Father, Your will be done! Let no one and nothing separate us from You--without You there is no living! Grant also that we may be continually doing Your will, obeying You as gladly as do the angels in heaven. And when You send us sickness, pain, or sorrow, help us to submit ourselves to Your will, knowing that You are only trying to draw us still closer to Your loving Self.

Give us this day our daily bread: Give us each day the things we need for this life. When You give us much, may we be humble and generous. When You give us little, keep us from envy and worry. And for everything, be it much or little, make us thankful.

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us: They are "our trespasses"--we are guilty over and over. And yet they are no longer ours, for You laid them all on Your holy Son. For His sake, Father, forgive us whatever is wrong in our lives. Then, moved by Your redeeming love for us, make us loving and forgiving toward our fellowman.

And lead us not into temptation: When the devil and the forces of evil that are in and around us tempt us to sin, give us the strength to stand firm, to say "no." And, Father, when You test us in the fires of affliction, keep reminding us that such trials are sent only "if need be"; that You want our faith to flow from the furnace like purified gold.

But deliver us from evil: Protect us in soul and body. Keep us from sin and error. Give grace to bear our crosses without murmuring. Speak peace to our hearts. At last, our Father, for the sake of Him who died for us and rose again, grant us a blessed end--an end which is the beginning of glory without end.

For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever: You are our King. To You alone we come in prayer. You alone can do more than we ask or think. You alone shall have all praise forever.

Amen: Our prayer is heard.

    What a Friend we have in Jesus,
    All our sins and griefs to bear!
    What a privilege to carry
    Ev'rything to God in prayer!
    Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
    Oh, what needless pain we bear,
    All because we do not carry
    Ev'rything to God in prayer. (TLH, 457:1)

Following the third hymn, the worship service is concluded with the Collect (short prayer) for the Word or for the Church, and with the Benediction.

(To be concluded)

--Pastor Em. L. Dale Redlin

(One who had been in the audience the day this chapel talk was delivered recommended it to the Spokesman. The speaker was Prof. John Pfeiffer, president of our Immanuel Lutheran College, Eau Claire, Wisconsin)

Chapel Talk on the Terrorist Attacks

Scripture Text: "And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him" (Gen. 4: 8).

    From heaven's throne, O Lord, bend down
    And touch our hearts this day, 
    That we may find the cause for hope 
    Upon our heavenward way. Amen.

Whose fault was it that the World Trade Center was destroyed, the Pentagon attacked, and the airplane crashed into the fields of Pennsylvania?

Does this seem like an easy question?

We say, "Of course, it was the fault of the terrorists, who hijacked the planes." Perhaps we want to point to Osama bin Laden. Some people would even like to get rid of everyone of Arabic descent.

But are any of these answers correct? If, indeed, the fault lies with the terrorists themselves, then we should be safe, because those who flew the planes are dead. -- If the fault lies with Osama bin Laden, then getting rid of him should bring an end to our fears. -- If the fault lies with . . . And we could go on and on.

It is true that our government should bring the guilty parties to justice. All governments should do everything in their power to stop terrorists. However, we should realize that the governments of this world are not going to stop terrorism.

"And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him" (Gen. 4:8).

Since the moment that Cain struck Abel with a deadly blow, terrorism has existed in this world. Actually, it has existed since the moment that Eve "gave to her husband with her, and he ate" (Gen. 3:6).

The root cause of this horror in our country is not a handful of terrorists, nor is it bin Laden, nor the Muslim religion. All of these are fruit hanging from the branches of a deadly tree, and that tree is rooted in the ground of sin.

Every disaster that strikes this world is caused by sin. It is either the result of the sinful acts of men, or it is God's judgment upon the sinful acts of men, or it is God's discipline, teaching His children to avoid sin.

So, whose fault is it? Adam's? Eve's? Satan's? Surely they are at fault. But we need to look beyond them. We need to get at the root. Get rid of sin and you will get rid of terrorism. It's the only way. Every other effort is just stop-gap. It's only temporary. Pluck the fruit off the tree and the tree of sin will produce more fruit.

Whose fault is it? Jesus said, "Do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish" (Lk. 13:4f). The disaster at the tower of Siloam gave Jesus cause to point to everyone.

Whose fault? It's my fault and it's your fault and it's the fault of everyone who sins . . . and that is everyone. If we want to get rid of terrorism, we have to start right here at ILC. We have to start with you and me.

The sin that crouched like a lion at the door of Cain's heart is the same sin that crouches at the door of your heart and mine. . . . "sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it" (Gen. 4:7).

We cannot see this lion as it lurks about the campus of ILC, because it is lurking inside of us. The Apostle Paul writes, "I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind, and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members" (Rom. 7:23). Sin is waging a war within each of us, and we must master it.

Of course, we cannot master sin. We cannot get rid of the sin tree. It is far beyond our ability. This is why our wonderful Creator, who so greatly loves His creation, sent His own dear Son into this world of sin. Christ Jesus took upon Himself all the sins of men--including that of the hijackers--and suffered the penalty for us all. How horribly sad for those who died without knowing this.

We have to get rid of sin. Only in Christ will this happen. Christ has poisoned the root of the tree with His own blood. Those who put their faith in Jesus' blood and righteousness have gained the mastery over sin.

Oh, I do not mean that we never sin, but sin cannot rule us, because we are always turning to Christ for forgiveness and regeneration. We are always finding peace and hope in His blood-stained cross.

Now, instead of resorting to terrorism, we preach the message of peace . . . peace with God through Christ Jesus. We speak to others about the peace that surpasses all understanding.

Especially here at ILC we need to be about the work of training people to proclaim this gospel. Only where the gospel has taken root will the tree of sin be uprooted.

Of course, we know that the vast majority in this world has rejected and will continue to reject this peace. And so terrorism will continue until Christ returns to blot it out forever, and along with it, all sin.

In the meantime, we Christians are the only ones who can really do something about terrorism. This we do by hearing the gospel and by preaching the gospel. Then, one by one, potential terrorists will become peaceful citizens of the kingdom of heaven. God help us to be true anti-terrorists.

Let us pray:

Father in heaven, look upon us with mercy and blot out our sins, for we daily sin much. Turn our eyes to the cross of Christ, where He paid our debt and the debt of all people. Give us the courage and zeal to carry this good news to a world of enemies, that some may be transformed by it and gain their eternal salvation. Grant this for Jesus' sake. Amen.


Immanuel of Mankato, Minnesota sponsored the second CLC Youth Conference at the Shadowcliff Lodge in Grand Lake, Colorado from August 7-11. Forty-nine young people (representing fourteen different CLC congregations) supervised by a staff of twelve (representing seven different congregations) explored the theme: "Faithful Stewards of God's Grace!"

Ten learning sessions were held during the four-day period. They focused on how we might be faithful stewards of the means of grace, our time of grace, our talents in service to one another, our decisions particularly in view of advances in medical science, the proclamation of God's grace, our bodies, our environment, our relationships, and our hearts.

Sessions were conducted by Pastor David Povolny of Mountain View, Calif., Dr. and Mrs. James Sydow of Fridley, Minn., Dr. and Mrs. Bruce Buchanan of Tacoma, Wash., Pastor Delwyn Maas of Phoenix, Ariz., and Ms. Tina Radichel of Eau Claire, Wis. Pastor Maas and Pastor Paul D. Nolting, Mankato, Minn. conducted the morning and evening devotions.

Time was set aside each day for relaxation and fellowship. One day was spent white-water rafting on the Arkansas River, followed by an impromptu theater/talent show. The final evening included a "shout out"--a session in which both the young people and their supervisors could share with each other words of encouragement in connection with contributions each had made to the conference.

Saturday, after leaving Shadowcliff, most of the conference participants proceeded to the Denver area to help our sister congregation, St. Paul's of Lakewood, distribute 4,500 invitations to the neighborhoods surrounding their new church building. The conference was closed with a worship service at St. Paul's on Sunday, August 12. The sermon summarized the conference theme, and the conference choir shared two anthems with the congregation. Conference evaluations both by the students and staff were very positive, as revealed by the following comments:

"I love it so much and I really want one every year because I need this spiritually. It is the best thing I do all year."

"This was awesome; I can't believe how much it helped me to become comfortable with my faith."

"What a fabulous time! I loved being around Christians my age and relating to them in ways I'd never imagined. EXCELLENT!!! I had so much fun!"

"It helped me grow and know myself. It was encouraging to know that all these young people our age have the same ideas and values in a world where we sometimes feel lost."

A third conference is being planned for the summer of 2003.

--Pastor Paul D. Nolting, Reporter


Change of Address

Pastor & Mrs. Karl Neumann
P. O. Box 255
Kimball, MN 55353
Phone (320) 398-2996

French Translator Needed

Pastor Blanchard of our sister church in France will likely be completing a church history booklet in January. Is there anyone qualified and interested in doing a translation of this into English? Contact: Pastor Koenig at davekoenig@aol.com. When the completion date gets closer, more information can also be gotten.

Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation

The Lutheran Spokesman, with a current circulation of 2,260 and a total distribution of 2,375, is owned and managed by the Church of the Lutheran Confession of 201 Princess Drive, Corpus Christi, Texas 78410-1615.

Daily Devotions Insert

Again this year we thank Professor emeritus Paul R. Koch, who compiled the 2002 daily Scripture readings for Home Devotions, together with theme and hymn stanzas.

God bless you, dear reader, in your faithful use of these readings.


A reader wrote to ask a couple questions regarding Pastor Schierenbeck's article ("The wonderful works of God--in our own language!" October 2001, p. 7-8). Acknowledging some lack of clarity, Pastor Schierenbeck responds that it would be more accurate if a couple of sentences had read as follows: "Luther's first translation of the New Testament into German was published in September of 1522. His complete translation of the entire Bible did not take place until 1534." Another sentence on p. 7, the author says, could be clarified to read: "Jerome's Latin 'Vulgate' was the prevalent translation of the Bible available."

The same astute reader mentioned that yours truly in his European trip report (SMORGASBORD, same issue, p. 13) had "removed Salzburg from Austria" and had misspelled "Innsbruck." As we blush, we learn.

--The Editor

Blessed Christmas and New Year!

Since the celebration of the Christmas event twelve months ago, our nation has been attacked on its home shores and has subsequently gone to war to defend itself.

Such events in no way alter the genuinely Christian exchange of greetings and wishes connected with the birth of the Prince of Peace at Christmas, or the assurance of the abiding presence of the eternal God--our Help in ages past, our Hope for years to come.

Seasonal holiday and new year's greetings to you, our readers! Our wishes are wrapped up nicely in the words of Paul Gerhardt's Advent hymn of welcome to the coming King:

    He comes to judge the nations,
    A terror to His foes,
    A Light of consolations
    And blessed Hope to those
    Who love the Lord's appearing.
    O glorious Sun, now come,
    Send forth Thy beams more cheering,
    And guide us safely home. 
    (TLH 58:9)

--Pastor Paul Fleischer, Editor

COVER: Matt Schaser

Daily Bible Readings for home devotions, 2002

Dear reader: This program of Bible readings will bring you into contact with our Lord through His Word as presented by the prophets Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel; by evangelists Matthew, Luke (including Acts), and John; and by Paul's Epistles to the Roman, Corinthian, and Philippian congregations. Other Scriptures appear in lesser amounts. Sundays are missing from this schedule, as indicated by the line below every sixth date; hymn selections are from The Lutheran Hymnal (CPH, 1941).

May the Lord bless you richly with His Spirit as you contemplate His Word during the year of our Lord 2002.

Date                      J A N U A R Y                              Hymn
1     Jerem. 31:10-14     Filled up with blessings                   120
2     Num. 6:22-27        God's Trinitarian blessing                  50
3     Luke 2:21-24        According to the Law                       114
4     Luke 2: 25-35       Jesus for Jews and Gentiles                137
5     Luke 2:36-40        Waiting a lifetime--and well worth it      122
7     Isa. 60:1-6         Like the golden sun ascending?             207
8     Isa. 61:10-62:3     Getting very personal                      126
9     John 1:1-18         God's major orchestration                  508
10    Matt. 2:1-12        Foolish Herod's sinful Christmas           130
11    Eph. 1:3-12         God's telescopic view...                   461
12    Eph. 3:2-12         and His power tools                        394
14    Isa. 42:1-7         Someone's here to see you.                 132
15    Isa. 43:1-7         We can't help ourselves.                   427
16    Luke 3:15-17,21-22  Another chapter in God's book              272
17    Luke 3:23-38        Back to Adam and God...                    369
18    Acts 10:34-38       while Jesus works impartially...           342
19    Acts 10:39-44       as Judge and Substitute.                   202
21    Isa. 61:1-6         What was Isaiah's target?                   48
22    Isa. 63:1-6         God's questions and answers                209
23    Luke 4:1-13         "Jesus, why are You so self-sacrificing?"  381
24    Luke 4:14-20        Jesus was on target.                        74
25    1 Cor. 12:1-11      Diverse gifts for His Church...            229
26    1 Cor. 12:12-31     as headquarters directs us.                236
28    Jerem. 1:4-10       It is God's work to create life.           489
29    Exodus 4:10-17      Our limitations = God's opportunities      485
30    Luke 4:21-32        What makes a Jew upset?                    361
31    Luke 4:33-44        He has better things to do.                339

Date                      F E B R U A R Y                            Hymn
1     I Cor. 13:1-13      The best method is God's method...         530
2     I Cor. 14:1-12      for you and for others.                    360
4     Isa. 6:1-8          Primary: see and hear God!                 249
5     Isa. 6:9-13         Elementary: pay attention!                  16
6     Matt. 13:10-17      Our first blessing is Jesus!               487
7     Luke 5:1-11         Going fishing?                             410
8     1 Cor. 14:13-19     Be thoughtful about others.                464
9     1 Cor. 14:26-40     Yielding to one another is orderly.        477
11    Deut. 34            Moses' pilgrimage was ended.               287
12    Luke 9:28-36        Moses spoke of Jesus' death.               135
13   Ash Wednesday        Joel 2:12-19  'So rend your hearts...!'    140
14    Matt. 6:1-6,16-21   "Show-off" vs. sanctification              398
15    2 Cor. 4:1-6        Let's be reflectors of the Light...        132
16    2 Cor. 5:20b-6:2    as we plead with sinners.                  279
18    Gen. 5:3-8,15       Under His guidance...                      425
19    Rom. 8:18-30        comfort for us convicts,                   427
20    Luke 6:1-10         all 'bent out of shape' by envy.             5
21    Luke 6:17-26        After 'Blessed!' comes 'Woe!'              392
22    1 Cor. 15:35-38,42-50  God plants in our springtime.           370
23    1 Cor. 15:51-58     More previews (and DNA, too)               201
25    Jerem. 17:5-8       Strong words well spoken                    26
26    Jerem. 17:9-16      We all need professional Help.             417
27    Luke 6:27-36        Create in me a clean heart, O God!         288
28    Luke 6:37-46        How's your spiritual power-plant?          330

Date                      M A R C H                                  Hymn
1     2 Cor. 6:11-7:1     Souls can be lost from God...              244
2     2 Cor. 7:2-12       or led to godly sorrow and repentance.     331
4     Deut. 26:5-10       We have reason for thanks.                 384
5     Deut. 26:11-19      We hang onto the blessings.                534
6     Luke 7:36-50        Her repentance needed His defense.         324
7     Luke 9:18-27        Rehearsal for true discipleship            406
8     Rom. 10:1-8         The Law gets paid off.                     377:1-5
9     Rom. 10:9-13        Embarrassed to tell the Truth?             377:6-10
11    Jerem. 26:1-11      Do we see the parallels...                 150
12    Jerem. 26:12-24     between Jeremiah and Jesus?                132     
13    Luke 13:31-35       How depressing it all was to Him!          278
14    Lev. 26:21-33       Pay-back is a monster!                     610
15    Phlp. 3:17-4:1      Enough to make a grown man cry             612
16    Phlp. 4:2-7         In every human situation                   468
18    Ex. 3:1-10          We dare stand in His presence...           149
19    Ex. 3:11-18         as He grants us leave.                     298
20    Luke 13:1-5         Obituary reminders                         590
21    Luke 13:6-9         Pruning time reminders                     594
22    1 Cor. 10:1-13      Pride goes before a fall.                  516
23    1 Cor. 10:14-22     Idolatry/Communion (24:Palm Sunday)        311
25    Isa. 12:1-6         God is the Holy One of Israel!              33
26    Ex. 6:1-8           And holy is His Name!                       51
27    Luke 15:1-10        Once lost -- but found!                    324
28    Luke 15:11-32       Double heartache/double joy!                32
29    Good Friday I Cor. 1:18-31 The message of the Cross            354
30    Rom. 1:1-5,16-17    What IS the good news?                     175
31    Easter Sunday       Review the Easter gospel and hymns

Date                      A P R I L                                  Hymn
1     Ex. 5:1-11          History beats false promises.              204
2     Psalm 27            This is a time for singing.                 18
3     Luke 24:1-11        Assurance brought by angels...             203
4     Luke 24:13-31       and reinforced by Jesus                    194
5     1 Cor. 15:1-11      Eye-witness affidavits                     378
6     1 Cor. 15:12-28     We claim the Treasure.                     187
8     Acts 5:12-21        [This gives us the shivers!]               210
9     Acts 5: 22-32       This straightens us out again...           205
10    John 20: 19-23      as it can straighten out others.           192:1-4
11    John 20:24-31       Not theory...but conviction                192:5-8
12    Rev. 1:4-8          Peek into heaven's living-room...          244
13    Rev. 1:9-18         and see our awesome God!                   199
15    Acts 9:1-10         The storm-trooper gets blitzed.            403
16    Acts 9:11-20        A blind sinner gets healed.                331
17    John 21:1-14        With us at work and at home                353
18    John 21:15-19       Spiritual first-aid treatment              648
19    John 21:20-25       'What about him?' is God's concern.        401
20    Rev. 5:11-14        John received a large, extra bonus.        344     
22    Acts 13:15-25       God raises His hand to bless...             63
23    Acts 13: 26-33      and never compromises on that...           193
24    John 10:22-30       as He displays His credentials...          431
25    John 10:31-42       in support of the prime Commandment.        95
26    Rev. 7:9-17         to get those souls into heaven.            471
27    Rom. 5:6-11         And the Father bought it!                  342
29    Acts 13:34-41       David was referring to Jesus.              200
30    Acts 13:42-52       The book is closed on our case!            371

Date                      M A Y                                      Hymn
1     John 13:12-20       Serving is an awesome privilege.           464     
2     John 13:21-35       His renovating directive to us,            435
3     Rev. 21:1-5         who are new versions of the old...         592
4     Eph. 2:21-22;1 Cor.3:16;1 Cor.6:19;2 Cor.6:16   temple.        467
6     Acts 14:8-18        Idolatry is grossly revolting.             496
7     Luke 24:44-53       Jesus & Father & Holy Spirit!              252
8     John 14:23-29       Love His Word as you love Jesus!           399
9     Ascension Acts 1:1-11  Angels on stand-by for us               212
10    Rev. 21:10-14,22-23    Heaven has no need of a temple.         609
11    Eph. 1:15-23        Where body and Head are united             613
13    Acts 16:6-10        God has His own priorities.                495
14    Acts 16:11-15       The Lord opened doors and hearts.          493
15    John 17:20-26       Proud to be God's child                    428
16    1 John 1:1-10       A message that counts                      371
17    Rev. 22:6-11        Keep the words of this Book!               266
18    Rev. 22:12-17,20-21 Jesus at the door   (19: Pentecost)        343
20    Gen. 11:1-9         A big mistake for the U.N.                 604
21    Rom. 1:18-32        And history repeats itself.                608
22    John 15:26-16:4     The Rescuer salvages us...                 230
23    John 16:5-15        as Jesus' Substitute...                    231
24    Acts 2:1-36         to reverse Babel and...                    224
25    Acts 2:37-47        return us to God.  (26: Trinity Sunday)    428
27    Prov. 8:22-31       How smart is God...                        236
28    Psalm 19            for His universe, Himself, and us?         283
29    John 14:14-21       Do we revere Him...                        237
30    John 16:12-15       for His wisdom?                            242
31    Rom. 5:1-5          He plans even our tribulations.            514

Date                      J U N E                                    Hymn
1     James 1:2-12        Our exercise program                       447
3     Deut. 26:1-11       The duty of first-fruits to the Lord...    441
4     2 Cor. 9:6-15       is replaced by thankful hearts, as...      384
5     Rom. 12:3-8         each uses his personal resources...        400
6     Mt. 25:14-30        over a few things...                       438
7     Eph. 4:11-16        for our mutual benefit.                    434
8     Phlp. 1:10-20       You have done well!                        431
10    1 Kgs. 8:22-32      Worship is a two-way street.               459
11    1 Kgs. 8:35-43      Cycling from bad to good                   322
12    Luke 7:1-10         This army veteran...                       237
13    Rom.15:7-21         was but one among many.                    498
14    Gal. 1:1-10         Then Satan retaliates.                     260
15    2 Cor. 10:1-18      But God knows the truth.                   482
17    1 Kgs. 17:17-24     Blessed are they for whom...               352
18    2 Kgs. 4:1-7        God does daily miracles!                   335
19    Luke 7:11-17        He stoops to our needs.                    516
20    Rom. 4:13-21        From death to life                         380
21    Gal. 1:11-24        No rubber stamp needed                     283
22    Jerem. 9:23-24; 10:1-10  Upset over idolatry?                  492
24    Ex. 19:1-8          The trail of tears                         288
25    Ex. 19:16-25        Who can face God--and live?                289
26    Mt. 9:35-10:8       What a contrast!                           297
27    Mt. 10:16-26        Travel guidelines and danger signals       422
28    Rom. 5:1-5          We leave Sinai behind us.                  432
29    Rom. 5:6-11         Jesus is our replacement DNA.              342

Date                      J U L Y                                    Hymn
1     Jerem. 20:7-13      The burden of being His spokesmen...       482
2     Jerem. 23:1-7       as under-shepherds of His flock            489
3     Mt.10:24-33         You and I claim this status.               400
4     Acts 5:25-40        God's enemies deserve the Truth, too!       60
5     Rom. 5:12-17        Balance on the scales of justice?          383
6     Rom. 5:18-21        Only Christ can tip the scales for us.     385
8     Jerem. 28:5-9       A false prophet is inventive.              260
9     Jerem. 28:10-17     The wooden yoke vs. an iron yoke           260
10    Mt. 10:34-42        Satan ruptures God's family.               532
11    Mt. 11:1-19         From jail to Jesus                          63
12    Rom. 6:1-14         What's your excuse for sinning?            407
13    Rom. 6:15-23        Sin is Satan's control mechanism.          318
15    Zech. 9:9-12        O Jesus, King most wonderful!              361
16    Zech. 13:1-9        God, the divine Terminator                 473
17    Mt. 11:20-24        Fair treatment = intolerable hellfire!     295
18    Mt. 11:25-30        God signs us on with Jesus.                353
19    Rom. 7:1-14         Bound by Law...or by marriage vows?        619
20    Rom. 7:15-25        The old personality won't stay dead.       379     
22    Isa. 55:1-5         God advertises His open house...           278
23    Isa. 55:6-11        to capture our hearts with love.           296
24    Mt. 13:1-17         The world is God's garden plot...          487
25    Mt. 13:18-23        where it is difficult to get a crop.         1
26    Rom. 8:1-17         It's always flesh vs. Spirit...            201
27    Rom. 8:18-25        and the Spirit is our support.             463
29    Isa. 43:14-21       God creates a new thing...                  59
30    Isa. 44:1-8         and showers blessings on us.               427
31    Mt. 13:24-30        We grow unto harvest...                    574

Date                      A U G U S T                                Hymn 
1     Mt. 13:36-43        when the weeds will be removed...          607
2     Rom. 8:26-27        by the Master Gardener at work.            225
3     Psalm 16            Blessings on your growth with God!         564
5     1 Kgs. 3:1-9        Solomon knew his needs...                  395
6     1 Kgs. 3:10-15      and God filled the needs.                  459
7     Mt. 13:44-50        Three parables in a nest                   347
8     Mt. 13:51-58        Can you believe it?                        358
9     Rom. 8:28-30        Golden shocks of grain...                  529
10    Psalm 1             and a golden threshing-floor               414
12    Ezek. 20:21-32      When you shop for a real bargain...        321
13    Ezek. 20:33-44      what do you have in mind?                  317
14    Mt. 14:1-12         Herod shopped in the slums...              272
15    Mt. 14:13-21        and so missed his great opportunity.       367
16    Rom. 8:31-39        'With Him' = never without Him!            367
17    Heb. 9:23-28        Because He is superior in every way        171
19    1 Kgs. 19:1-10      God had a schedule for Elijah...           260
20    1 Kgs. 19:11-18     and gave him the right focus.              261
21    Mt. 14:22-31        Disciples in weakness and strength         270
22    Mt. 14:32-36        Calm with Jesus on board                   281
23    Rom. 9:1-8,30-33    Are you in the picture?                    586
24    Rom. 10:1-21        God has His focus on Jesus(and you)!       507
26    Isa. 56:1-8         They will see and they will come.          415
27    Isa. 29:9-14,22-24  Religiousness that is Satan's work...      265
28    Mt. 15:1-20         and ceremonialism vs. the Gospel           377:1-5
29    Mt. 15:21-28        True religion at Jesus' feet               377: 6-10
30    Rom. 11:1-15        Heaven is a gift...not for sale.           374
31    Rom. 11:16-25       In His orchard God prunes and grafts.      381

Date                      S E P T E M B E R                          Hymn
2     Deut. 31:9-13       Repetition is educationally good!          630
3     Eph. 2:1-10         God does miracles for a baby...            629
4     Mark 10:13-16       as Jesus reminds us...                     300
5     Heb. 11:23-29       and the baby grows to know Christ...       631     
6     2 Tim. 3:14-17      brought to him in the Bible...             628
7     Eph. 6:1-4          by parents who love him/her.               338
9     Ex. 5:22-6:8        'God Almighty' or 'Jehovah?'                21
10    Ex. 6:28-7:7        Our Exodus is coming up.                   660
11    Mt. 16:5-12         False doctrine is Satan's ploy.            269
12    Mt. 16:13-19        Safety in knowing Jesus aright             467
13    Rom. 11:26-36       Disobedience vs. mercy                     519
14    Heb. 8:6-13         Temporary warranty vs. eternal guarantee   428
16    Jer. 15:15-21       Serving God...and sinners                  385
17    2 Cor. 4            Paul's service was a rough-go.             489
18    Mt. 16:21-26        Satan...or Jesus...or sinful self?         421
19    Mt. 17:24-27        We are free in conscience, and free...     389
20    Rom. 12:1-8         to serve one another, mutually...          464
21    Rom. 12:9-21        in Christian love and behavior.            477
23    Ezek. 31:1-11       True theology is not theory.               331
24    Ezek. 33:12-20      Just look at the evidence!                 416
25    Mt. 18:1-14         God managed to fix the problem.            595
26    Mt. 18:15-20        We are in this together!                   412
27    Rom. 13:1-7         Our special Administrator                  517
28    Rom. 13:8-14        Keep up with your investments!              60
30    Gen. 45:3-8         Love covers the multitude of sins.         406

Date                      O C T O B E R                              Hymn
1     Gen. 50:15-21       Retaliation vs. reconciliation             409
2     Mt. 18:21-35        Limits on love...' on debts'               403
3     Mt. 19:1-12         Medical alert! (hardness of heart)         317
4     Rom. 14:1-9         Where God allows freedom,                  453
5     Rom. 14:10-23       we allow it to others (considerately).      14
7     Isa. 45:1-13        God laments human blindness,               318
8     Isa. 48:1-22        yet continues to call and plead.           276
9     Mt. 20:1-16         The Contractor honors His contract,        380
10    Mt. 20:20-28        though we deserve nothing so good.         527
11    Phlp. 1:3-11        Have a safe arrival...                     586
12    Phlp. 1:19-26       after a safe trip.                         608
14    Ezek. 18:1-9        God simply goes by the evidence...         611
15    Ezek. 18:25-32      so God's decision is fair!                  26
16    Mt. 21:18-27        Fig-tree failure and human failures        457
17    Mt. 21:28-32        Wrong words vs. right action?               22
18    Phlp. 2:1-4         Some "if's" for thought                     31
19    Phlp. 2:5-11        What was God thinking?!                    104
21    Isa. 61:10-62:3     Even O.T. folks got the blessing...        500
22    Luke 10:1-16        of being able to witness to Jesus...       501
23    Luke 24:44-53       for His harvest arrangements...            506
24    1 Tim. 2:1-7        that also get us involved.                 496
25    Rom. 10:11-17       God has His salvage operation...           507
26    Rev. 1:5-8          in matters of eternal importance.          244
28    Isa. 5:1-7          Israel, God's pathetic vineyard...          37
29    Isa. 5:24-30        was due to get razed by aliens.            173
30    Mt. 21:33-41        Same theme / new parable...                210
31   Reformation Mt. 21:42-46   with a follow-up for us.             606

Date                      N O V E M B E R                            Hymn
1     Phlp. 3:1-11        Paul had a Ph.D. in Judaism,               380
2     Phlp. 3:12-16       but God gave him a better diploma.         242
4     Isa. 25:1-9         A new life for people renewed...           321
5     Isa. 26:20-27:1     as preview of His return to us.            339     
6     Mt. 22:1-14         A few bad guests get replaced.             367
7     Mt. 22:15-21        Jesus was no Law-breaker.                  579
8     Phlp. 3:17-21       What can make a pastor cry?                413
9     Phlp. 4:4-13        ...and what can make him rejoice?          477
11    Isa. 45:1-7         What God does = history in the making       39
12    Mal. 2:1-2,4-10     What makes God perturbed?                  607
13    Mt. 22:23-33        Is there not life after death?             616
14    Mt. 22:34-46        And Who is David's LORD?                   105
15    1 Thess. 1:2-10     What makes a pastor thankful?               29
16    1 Thess. 2:8-13     ...and what makes him reminisce?            27
18    Lev. 19:1-2,15-18   You should be holy! (details)              412
19    Jerem. 26:1-6       What comes after the 'IF'?                 425     
20    Mt. 23:34-39        LawandGospel (all in one breath!)          266
21    Mt. 24:1-14         Signs of the times--for us, too            269
22    1 Thess. 2:14-20    'That they may be saved'                    49
23    1 Thess. 3:6-13     'Stand fast in the Lord!'                   48     
25    Amos 5:18-24        What good is the Day of the Lord?            9
26    Ezek. 34:11-16,23-24  And the Lord will be their God.          250
27    Mt. 25:1-13         Wise vs. foolish waiting...                655
28    Thanksgiving        Mt. 25:31-46  ...to arrive home.           610
29    1 Thess. 4:1-8      Culled out of the garbage...               416
30    1 Cor. 15:20-28     and then comes THE END.                    187

Date                      D E C E M B E R   (1: Advent begins)       Hymn
2     Jerem. 33:14-18     Our claim to righteousness                 134
3     Jerem. 33:19-26     God doesn't lose His memory.                51
4     Luke 21:20-24       History repeats itself.                    612
5     Luke 21:25-36       Just one heart-beat away!                  611
6     1 Thess. 4:9-12     So we cling (and work) together.           464
7     1 Thess. 4:13-18    The LORD will descend from heaven.         616
9     Mal. 3:1-4          A reader wants to know...                  604
10    Mark 1:2-8          what repentance is all about.              326
11    Luke 1:13-17,59-66  Background on the Messenger                272
12    Luke 3:1-9          A sampler sermon from Baptizer John         75
13    Phlp. 1:3-11        Doctrine hand-in-hand with practice        394
14    Phlp. 1:19-26       Such confidence is elevating.              396
16    Zeph. 3:8-13        A Supreme Court decision                    39
17    Zeph. 3:14-18a      True religion is a two-way street.         411
18    Luke 3:10-18        Practical ways to show love                398
19    James 2:14-26       A season of refreshening love              412
20    Phlp. 4:2-9         His hand is on the doorknob of life.       609
21    Phlp. 3:12-21       Two major goals in life                    413     
23    Micah 5:2-5         God elevates our mediocrity.                77
24    Isa. 9:2-7          A blast of great light                      78
25    Christmas  Luke 1:39-55  Thrice blessed, every one!            272
26    Luke 2:1-20         God orchestrates human events.              92
27    Heb. 2:1-9          Jesus was not a species of angel...        343
28    Heb. 2:10-18        but the divine Template.                   219
30    1 Thess. 4:13-18    The dead in Christ shall rise.             122:1-6
31    1 Thess. 5:1-11      Awake or awakened, we shall live!         122:7-12

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ O Lord Christ, our Savior dear, Be Thou ever near us. Grant us now a glad new year. Amen, Jesus, hear us! Amen.