Dec 17, 2017

Devotion - 17 December - The Faith of Mary

A brief prayer is offered that you can add to your daily prayers this week. Today we added straw to the manger to our Nativity scene. Normally you would put hay in a manger for animals, but we used straw. Won’t the animals starve? We will put straw in the manger and then trust in God. Mary needed to trust God and the Gospel text today shows that she really did. The scripture is from our Sunday Service Bulletin. There is an idea in the devotion that comes from Constable’s Notes.
Gospel Reading:  Luke 1:26-38 ESV
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary.28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
34 And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
35 And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore, the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. 36 And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
 Devotion: The Faith of Mary
OK, an angel appears beside you and starts talking to you. Would you be troubled? I think I would be, maybe frightened too. The angel tells her she is Kingdom Royalty, the mother to be of the King of Kings. Wow, how would you react to that? [Note: I am going to need a palace for this job, Gabriel.] The angel also says Mary will remain a virgin. He also gives her a sign of true prophecy in talking about her barren relative, Elizabeth, being with child. Then Mary must have thought it through and realized that there was some bad news in this situation. The shame of a premarital pregnancy could haunt her for the rest of her life. So, Mary is scared and must potentially face a future of shame. What does she do? What would you do? We all need the strength and faith of Mary. She sets an example of the willingness to serve and to trust God that extends beyond the willingness to be used; and to the point that trusting Him will take us way beyond our limitations. With God all things are possible.

We pray: “Lord, thank you for teaching us the value of faith and trust.  Amen”

Dec 15, 2017

Why do some people baptize infants and some don't? Pastor Hook explains.

Dec 14, 2017

Financial Peace University

Christ Lutheran Vail Church will be hosting a Financial Peace University class with Dave Ramsey starting January 9th at 6:30pm.  This class is open to ANYONE who wants to change their life.

Register Here!!

Dec 13, 2017

Lifetree Cafe - 19 December - Mental Illness

Is there a stigma associated with mental illness? Should there be? Join us to discuss this at Lifetree, Tuesday the 19st of December, 630PM, at Hacienda del Lago Restaurant, 14155 E Via Rancho del Lago, Vail AZ 85641. 

Mental Illness - Lifetree Cafe from Lifetree on Vimeo.

Dec 10, 2017

Preparing a Place for Jesus - The Manger

Today we add the manger to the Nativity Scene.  The manger really is just a feeding trough.  It was likely filled with hay for the animals.  But God had a better purpose for the manger.  Something greater is coming.  May God help us see that something great is coming today.

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Devotion - 10 Dec - The Manger

A brief prayer is offered that you can add to your daily prayers this week. Today we added the manger to our Nativity scene. As we did last week, we are preparing for something great to come. The scripture is from our Sunday Service Bulletin.
Gospel Reading:  John 1:19-28
And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22 So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”
24 (Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) 25 They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26 John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, 27 even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” 28 These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
Devotion: The Manger
I’ll bet you are familiar with one of the old classic Christmas carols, “Away in a manger”, it is very popular in English speaking countries. A manger, though, is nothing more than a feeding trough for farm animals. When it became time for the birth of the King of Kings, there was only room in a lowly farm shed or perhaps a stable, for the earth-shattering event that had been predicted by John the Baptizer in our text today. If you think about how Jesus conducted His ministry, He tended to stay away from the elites of the time, and ministered to the poor, misfortunate, lame, and outcasts. He is setting the example that people just like you and me are valuable. Fame and fortune may belong to the elites, but in God’s Kingdom we are all more valuable to God than anything on earth. At Christmas there can be a tendency to think a whole lot about material things. I’d like to point out at least five behaviors we should consider instead of craving material things: 1-Love people not possessions. 2-Do not compare yourself to others. 3-Appreciate what you have. 4-Choose your friends and form relationships wisely. 5-Feed your spiritual life. As we get closer to Christmas I just know that most of us are making gift lists and taking shopping trips [or online purchasing binges]. I wonder if we can pay more attention to what Jesus taught us about the real gifts of life.

We pray: “Lord, thank you for teaching us the value of life.  Amen”

Dec 9, 2017

Faith Tree Rings

In this session, Pastor Hook discusses how faith development is very much like the growth of a tree.

Dec 8, 2017

Still Discipleship

Pastor Hook shares that Christians can come together to do discipleship better.  This often forms a congregation.  However, the goal is still discipleship.