Grace By Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church, Norfolk
The solid foundation
These are uncertain times. No one knows when this pandemic will end, or if another one is around the corner. We cannot know what the future holds, but we can know the one who holds the future. God never promised us a carefree life, but he does promise never to give us more than we can handle, and to make all things work together for good to them that love God.
We are anchored safe and secure, not in the idea that nothing bad can ever happen to us in this life, but in God sending his only-begotten Son to accomplish all things needful for us to be saved. That’s the solid foundation upon which to build. Jesus suffered, died and rose again for us all, so that we would have forgiveness, peace with God, and the promise of eternal life. Nothing can take away what Jesus did for us on the cross. No matter how severe the persecution, pain or loss, Scripture says, none of these things, “shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
“If God be for us, who can be against us?” “Who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?” Jesus already conquered our greatest enemies of sin, death, and the devil. Through faith in Christ, we have the solid foundation that cannot fail. “The rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.”
— The Rev. Wyatt Rosebrock
St. John’s Lutheran Church, Norfolk
In today’s first reading God invites all who are hungry or thirsty to receive food and drink without cost. Jesus feeds the hungry multitude and reveals the abundance of God. At the Eucharistic table we remember all who are hungry or poor in our world today. As we share the bread of life, we are sent forth to give ourselves away as bread for the hungry.
— Randy Rasmussen, pastor
Norfolk Church of Christ, Norfolk
Heaven is near
I have been reminded recently that those who understand the reality, the closeness, and the eminency of heaven, are the ones who possess the most joy, strength and perseverance; they show it in word and deed.
I knew a person battling cancer who told me they were going to be healed; either now or in heaven. That knowledge infused everything she said or did in this life, it was incredible to witness. I’ve seen others facing horrendous situations and yet it is the reality of heaven and their place in it that caused a wonderful and sustaining joy in their lives.
Heaven is near. Jesus was saying it 2000 years ago. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” He was not just referring to a time frame but also its proximity to our lives. Jesus would go on to say the kingdom is in our midst and in us.
The reality of heaven is meant to have a profound impact on our daily lives. We would love to have you worship with us this Sunday and see how heaven works in our lives here and now.
— Jeff Schipper, minister
First Presbyterian Church, Norfolk
We all know that life is a series of ups and downs. We might also say that life events are divided up into the ordinary and the special. When we are young, we are always wanting the special – presents, birthday cakes, travel to fun places, and the like. When we get older, it’s not that we don’t like the special times, but we nevertheless have more of an appreciation of the ordinary, day-by-day things in our lives.
Sometimes, however, the ordinary and the special intersect. Remember when the Israelites were roaming in the desert after being freed from slavery to Egypt? God supplied them with manna – bread from heaven. It was an ordinary substance provided to the people in an extraordinary way.
A similar thing happens in this week’s passage from Matthew, which is the feeding of the 5000. We see a remarkable miracle performed here – a special event if there ever was one. Yet at the heart of it is an ordinary meal that is given to all who hunger and thirst.
This Sunday, we continue worship in the church building with safety measures (including masks). It is also Communion Sunday, so we will be observing the sacrament. The recorded version of this sermon will be on our Facebook page (FirstPres-Norfolk, NE), with the worship bulletin and anthems on our webpage (firstpresnorfolk.com). Let our “ordinary” worship be special in our Lord’s sight.
— The Rev. Brian Johnson