Sep 20, 2017

Lifetree Cafe - 26 Sept - Forgiving the Unforgivable

Forgiving the Unforgivable - Lifetree Cafe from Lifetree on Vimeo.
He publicly forgave the man who brutally murdered his mother. Find out why during “Forgiving the Unforgivable” next week at Lifetree Café.Join us at Lifetree, Tuesday the 26th of Sept, 630PM, at Hacienda del Lago Restaurant, 14155 E Via Rancho del Lago, Vail AZ 85641. 

Sep 17, 2017

Our Mission: Making Loving Disciples - Part 2


Today marks a new day at Christ Lutheran Vail Church.  Over the last few months, substantial work has been done to clarify and refine our mission and vision.  Our calling from God is to plant seeds, grow the seeds into maturity and to let God’s work bear much fruit in our world.  As we learn about our mission in the world, may God continue to bless our congregation as we fulfill our calling to make loving disciples.


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Devotion - 17 September - Making Loving Dsicples

A brief prayer is offered that you can add to your daily prayers this week. The scripture is from our Sunday Service Bulletin. We continue a seven Sunday series on “Making Loving Disciples”.
Gospel Reading- Luke 10:25-28
25 And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27 And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.
Devotion: Making Loving Disciples
The “lawyer” in the text is likely not a litigator like we might think of today but a scribe or scholar of Mosaic Law. The use of “test” does not necessarily mean hostility but, in translation, he could be just asking Jesus’ opinion. Because the scholar used “teacher” we can believe that he did not think of Jesus as a prophet or the Messiah. Now, rather than answer the question, Jesus used a counter question regarding the Mosaic Law. In this way, the lawyer was not evaluating Jesus’ answer -- it was the other way around! The answer that was given by the lawyer, matches almost exactly what Jesus had said in Matthew 22:37-40 and in Mark 12:29-31. In fact, Jesus also says in Mark 12: 31: “There is no other commandment greater than these.” So, as we try to follow our Great Commission and make loving disciples, love is a major component of our work. We need to be more like Jesus, who loves all! Love works!

We pray: “Lord make me more like you.  Amen”

Sep 13, 2017

Lifetree Cafe - 19 Sept - Is Church Obsolete?

Is Church Obsolete? - Lifetree Cafe from Lifetree on Vimeo.
Church influence and attendance are declining around the country. What’s behind the trend? Share your thoughts during “Is Church Obsolete?” this week at Lifetree Café.Tuesday the 19th of September, 630PM, at Hacienda del Lago Restaurant, 14155 E Via Rancho del Lago, Vail AZ 85641.  

Sep 10, 2017

Our Mission: Making Loving Disciples - Part 1


Today marks a new day at Christ Lutheran Vail Church.  Over the last few months, substantial work has been done to clarify and refine our mission and vision.  Our calling from God is to plant seeds, grow the seeds into maturity and to let God’s work bear much fruit in our world.  As we learn about our mission in the world, may God continue to bless our congregation as we fulfill our calling to make loving disciples.


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Devotion - 10 September - Making Loving Disciples

A brief prayer is offered that you can add to your daily prayers this week. The scripture is from our Sunday Service Bulletin. Today, we start a seven Sunday series on “Making Disciples”. Some of the points in this devotion come from G.R. Osbourne’s Exegetical Commentary on Matthew, pp1079-84.
Gospel Reading- Matthew 28:16-20
16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Devotion: Our Great Commission
I hope you are somewhat familiar with today’s text and what it is trying to tell us to do; and I want to add a few things that you may not have thought about. The first thing is that in the first century as Christianity emerged from Judaism, Jesus wanted to change the way religion works and introduce an organized missionary activity. Judaism had neither a missionary theory nor organized missionary activity before the first century. Their mission was to stay in the Holy Land and witness to the grace of God so that the nations could come to them and be blessed. Thus, the word “Go”, means get out of your comfort zone [the Holy Land] and reach out to the unchurched—I hope you see a parallel for us today in there. Next, “Make disciples” means more than winning new converts. I believe it does involve evangelism (which we sometimes are pretty good at), but this is not quite good enough. I think it means every one that is won to Christ must be “anchored” in Christ and taught how to live right by Christ in day-to-day decisions. It will be nearly impossible to task the Pastor of your church to do this day-to-day teaching and mentoring. Therefore, the hands and feet of “making disciples” must come from all of us, working together. Changes are coming for how people in general are participating in organized religion. We learned today in our sermon, that in our metropolitan area, only about 10% of the residents attend church regularly, and the term “regularly” has slipped from “every Sunday” in meaning. It was also reported today in the sermon that 50% of the churches in the US worship 75 people or less which makes it difficult to hire a full time Pastor.  So, we do have a rich mission field out there, but we must learn how each of us can participate in the discipling process to get it done. It takes time and patience, but if we become God’s hands and feet He will do the heavy discipling lifting. Please hang on for more information over the next several weeks,  and we will make the case for how we together can get this done and start making loving disciples.

We pray: “Lord grant me patience and the desire to learn more about making disciples.  Amen”

Sep 6, 2017

Lifetree Cafe - 12 September - A Safe Place

LTC A Safe Place from Lifetree on Vimeo.
Take a step to prevent child abuse in your community and see the award-winning short film “Muted.” Join us for “A Safe Place” at Lifetree Café Tuesday the 12th of September, 630PM, at Hacienda del Lago Restaurant, 14155 E Via Rancho del Lago, Vail AZ 85641.
 
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Sep 3, 2017

Devotion - 3 September - Bear One Another's Burdens

A brief prayer is offered that you can add to your daily prayers this week. The scripture is from our Sunday Service Bulletin. Today, on the weekend of Labor Day, we conclude our summer sermon series on Galatians with the topic of bearing one another’s burdens.

Epistle Reading- Galatians 6
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor.5 For each will have to bear his own load. 6 Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. 7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. 11 See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand. 12 It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to be circumcised, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 For even those who are circumcised do not themselves keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh. 14 But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which[b] the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16 And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God. 17 From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus. 18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.

Devotion: Bear One Another’s Burdens
Recall that the Galatian Christians were being misled by the Judaizers, and they were trying to obey the Mosaic laws to make sure of their salvation. We all know that life is tough enough without worrying about obeying 600 plus burdensome religious laws. The more the Galatians got loaded down on obeying the old laws the more the Judaizers enjoyed it because they had the satisfaction of knowing they were getting their way. In today’s text, Paul gets right to the heart of the matter in Verse 2.  He is saying take that extra weight off your fellow Christians and help them. That is a simple Law to follow but it requires love for one another to do it. I like the way Paul is hammering home the opposite view of the Judaizers. He is saying “Throw out all those old laws and love and help one another just like Jesus did and how he taught us to do.” I think we should try to live our lives remembering Verse 10: “..as we have the opportunity, let us do good to everyone and especially to those of the household of faith”. I hope you have enjoyed the devotions on Paul’s letter to the Galatians. In the next two months, we will devote sermon and devotion time to discuss how to make disciples, I think that you may make some personal discoveries as we go down that road.


We pray: “Lord help us love one another and do good for everyone.  Amen”

Aug 30, 2017

Lifetree Cafe - 5 September - Getting Past Your Past

Getting Past Your Past - Lifetree Cafe from Lifetree on Vimeo.
How much does your past affect your future? None? A little? A lot? Join us at Lifetree, Tuesday the 5th of Sept, 630PM, at Hacienda del Lago Restaurant, 14155 E Via Rancho del Lago, Vail AZ 85641.

Aug 27, 2017

Devotion - 27 August - You Did Not Visit Me!

A brief prayer is offered that you can add to your daily prayers this week. The scripture is from our Sunday Service Bulletin. Today’s service featured three testimonials from people involved in the Kairos Prison Ministry [please see: www.kairosprisonministry.org]. Their mission is “share the transforming love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ to impact the hearts and lives of incarcerated men, women, and youth as well as their families, to become loving and productive citizens of their communities.”
Gospel Reading- Matthew 25:41-46
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Devotion: You did not Visit Me
The testimonials today emphasized that not only does the Kairos prison ministry uplift the people who are behind bars and some of the corrections people who work there but also the Christians conducting the ministry. I think the idea of a prisoner realizing that there is living God who loves you and is always with you must be a powerful means to counter some of the negatives of a time of incarceration. Then, prisoners realizing that there are people of faith sent by God who don’t know you but yet came to prison to provide help and comfort, must be an awesome feeling. Now, I’d like to briefly talk about verse 44 in our Gospel text today. I believe Jesus is telling them in a way that, sure you helped me – I am your Lord. But you ignored the “little people” and that is the same as ignoring Me. In this verse, we have two categories of adversities:  physical needs [hungry, thirsty, ill] and social deprivation [stranger, naked, in prison]. The first condition would require acts of mercy, the second would require charity. Those who address these situations and attempt to help are following God’s example. Those who ignore these opportunities for Christian acts of kindness are in danger of eternal condemnation.

We pray: “Lord help us recognize personal opportunities for Christian acts of love. Give us strength to boldly act as you have commanded. Amen”