Jesus said, “Repent and believe in the Gospel.” Repent…to want to do better; to turn away from; to desire to change. Repent. Let the law of God speak to you, convict you, and confess your sins. Repent. Lent has begun. The ashes have been smeared on our foreheads reminding us we are dust, and to dust we shall return. Lent is a penitential season. A time for reflection on our sin. The very sin Christ took upon himself in His baptism and nailed to the cross for our reconciliation with God. There it is….the fulfillment of the Gospel; forgiveness of sins, life and salvation.
It's wonderful to know and believe in the Gospel, for Jesus teaches us that not only is our Father willing to forgive us, but that he has forgiven us all of our sins for the sake of Jesus. After all, Jesus did exactly what God expected of us. In our stead, Jesus suffered God's full judgment and punishment that we deserve because of our arrogant and rebellious breaking of his Law. Because of that, when we pray The Lord's Prayer, we may pray confidently: "Forgive us our trespasses."
- Published: 06 April 2019 06 April 2019
- Last Updated: 06 April 2019 06 April 2019
This Sunday’s entrance hymn is the much-loved “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” Written by Robert Robinson, a Methodist and then a Baptist evangelical preacher around 1760, the hymn first appeared in print in Wyeth’s Repository of Sacred Songs in 1813.
The second stanza of the hymn begins with these words: “Here I raise my Ebenezer, hither by Thy help I’ve come.” I can remember being curious about these words when I first played this hymn as a young boy. “What’s an Ebenezer? Ebenezer Scrooge? No….that can’t be it…” Then I thought, “Our church is on Ebenezer Road…. No, that can’t be it either.”
When you unpack the scripture behind this text, though, it makes a strong statement of faith and relates beautifully to this week’s Gospel lesson, the parable of the prodigal son. I Samuel 7 begins with a warning by Samuel to the people of Israel to return to the Lord, to put away idols and foreign gods, and to serve the Lord only. The Israelites repented. As the fear of an attack from the Philistines approached, they then asked Samuel to pray to the Lord on their behalf. While Samuel was offering a sacrifice and praying, “the Lord thundered with a mighty sound that day against the Philistines and threw them into confusion, and they were defeated before Israel. Then Samuel took a stone and set it up… and called it Ebenezer (which means “stone of help”), for he said “The Lord has helped us hitherto.”
- Published: 01 April 2019 01 April 2019
- Last Updated: 02 April 2019 02 April 2019
The Trials Of Jesus
Like a courtroom drama, a series of witnesses comes forward to give testimony about their experiences with the accused—Jesus Christ. Through their accounts we come to know the truth, that Jesus came to take our place in the defendant’s chair.
- Ash Wednesday, March 6 - “The Voice of Satan” • Matthew 4:1-11 Jesus faces the tempter in the wilderness.
- Week 1, March 10 - “The Voice of Judas” • Mark 14:16, 32-42 - Jesus’ betrayer defends his actions.
- Week 2, March 17 - “The Voice of Annas” • John 18:12-24 - A chief priest discusses Jesus’ arrest.
- Week 3, March 24 - “The Voice of Caiaphas” • Matthew 26:57-68 - The high priest faces off with the Son of God.
- Week 4, March 31- “The Voice of Peter” • Luke 22:54-62 - Jesus’ bold disciple speaks of his weak faith.
- Week 5, April 7 - “The Voice of Herod” • Luke 23:1-12 One king of the Jews testifies against another.
- Published: 31 March 2019 31 March 2019
- Last Updated: 10 April 2019 10 April 2019
The Lent Service this Wednesday is The Voice of Caiaphas” Matthew 26:57-68 - The high priest faces off with the Son of God. Won't you join us? Service is from 2:00pm to 3:00pm. At the 7:00pm service we will be joined by the University A Cappella Choir.
- Published: 26 March 2019 26 March 2019
- Last Updated: 26 March 2019 26 March 2019
The University A Cappella Choir will perform at Pacific Hills Lutheran church on March 27, 2019 at 7:00pm.
About the University A Cappella Choir
Concordia University’s A Cappella Choir has been performing concerts and joining congregations in worship for 75 years. The choir was organized in 1938-39 by Dr. Theodore Stelzer, professor of music and psychology. One of the United States' oldest touring Lutheran college choirs, the A Cappella Choir has performed extensively throughout America (including Hawaii), and internationally in Greece, Italy, France, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, India, Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Spain, Mexico and Australia.
The 72-voice concert choir is chosen by audition each fall. Student membership is comprised of majors from most academic disciplines representing 15 different states and some foreign countries. Over 180 students audition each fall for a position in the internationally renowned concert choir.
- Published: 24 March 2019 24 March 2019
- Last Updated: 24 March 2019 24 March 2019
Looking for a way to help 2019 Nebraska flood victims? Following the weather-related devastation in Nebraska, the Nebraska District office is accepting donations for disaster relief in Nebraska. Go to www.ndlcms.org/disaster-response for more information.
Congregations, schools and individuals may send funds for disaster relief to one of the following organizations as well:
- LCMS World Relief and Human Care Disaster Response
- Orphan Grain Train
- Lutheran Church Charities General Fund
- LCC K-9 Comfort Dogs Ministries
- Published: 19 March 2019 19 March 2019
- Last Updated: 23 March 2019 23 March 2019
Matthew, Kali, Laurel, and Eleanor will serve in Medan, Indonesia with LCMS International. Matthew supports The Indonesian Christian Lutheran Church, by mentoring pastors, providing continuing education, and overseeing translation projects. Pastor Matthew Wood and his family visited Pacific Hills Lutheran Church last November, lead a presentation on his planned work in Indonesia
Update on the Wood Family Deployment
The Wood family house in Saint Louis is empty and up for sale. They have said their good-byes and made their farewells. After 24 hours of travel they made it to Chiayi, Taiwan. In Chiayi, they are getting to know the regional team and making preparations for their arrival in Medan, Indonesia. You can download their full newsletter for more details! There's some BIG NEWS inside. You don't want to miss it.
- Published: 18 March 2019 18 March 2019
- Last Updated: 18 March 2019 18 March 2019
This article written by Pastor David H. Petersen was featured on the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod Blog on 02/13/2018.
Giving up some small pleasure for Lent, like chocolate or coffee, can be a nice way to remind ourselves throughout Lent that it is Lent. When we reach out for those things we remember that we are denying ourselves in commemoration of Our Lord’s suffering.
This isn’t meant to please God or gain His favor. Nor can such a small denial make Lent more meaningful or increase faith. It is simply an attempt to keep ourselves mindful throughout the day that it is Lent. That is a valid Christian desire and discipline.
Curbing the flesh is always good. Cutting calories is probably appropriate for almost everyone reading this, and (though I hate to admit it) cutting caffeine would probably hurt few of us either.
But Lent isn’t ultimately about giving things up. Its purpose is not self-improvement in the conventional sense. Instead Lent is a season of preparation. We are preparing to celebrate Easter and the Church is always prepared in the same way: by repentance.
- Published: 05 March 2019 05 March 2019
- Last Updated: 05 March 2019 05 March 2019
The Lenten season is the fourth season in the church year (after Advent, Christmas and Epiphany). It begins with Ash Wednesday and is the oldest season of the church year. The original period of Lent seems to have been 40 hours. It was spent in fast- ing and contemplation on the sufferings of Christ. Later it became 30 days, then 36, and finally, in the reign of Charlemagne (about 800 AD), 40 days. Lent originally had one purpose — to prepare candidates for Baptism. For hundreds of years, the Baptism itself took place late Saturday evening or early Sunday morning before the dawn of Resurrection Day, during an all-night vigil.
The 40 days of Lent do not include the Sundays. Sundays in Lent — like every other Sunday — were to be “mini” resurrection days celebrating Jesus’ resurrection and not part of the Lenten fast. The 40 days of Lent correspond to Christ’s 40 days in the wilderness. The date of Lent is determined by the date of Resurrection Sunday. The Council of Nicea (held in 325 AD) determined that Resurrection Sunday would be observed on the first Sunday following the 14th day of the paschal moon. Lent probably comes from the old English word for Spring: Lenten (it may also be related to the German word for the time when the days lengthen: lenz).
- Published: 02 March 2019 02 March 2019
- Last Updated: 02 March 2019 02 March 2019
What is the most important musical instrument in worship? If you were in the late service on December 16 or January 27, you heard the organ malfunction and quit playing suddenly in the middle of worship. It actually served as a good reminder for us all – as wonderful of an instrument as our organ is, it is NOT the most important instrument in worship! On those days, our worship went on in spite of the organ malfunction, sometimes with our beautiful piano accompanying us, and sometimes with only our unaccompanied voices.
What’s the most important instrument in worship? You! Your voice - no matter how strong or timid, no matter how in tune or out of tune it may be. The bottom line is this: Christ’s church sings. The Lord himself is our song (Ex. 15:2) and the church sings because God himself sings with us (Zeph. 3:14-17).
- Published: 23 February 2019 23 February 2019
- Last Updated: 23 February 2019 23 February 2019