Grace By Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church, Norfolk

‘The meaning of Christ’s first miracle’

In the beginning, God created marriage when he saw that it wasn’t good for man to be alone. God gave us marriage to bless us, to provide for our needs, to give us encouragement, comfort, and strength. God created marriage so that we would have fulfilling relationships and so that we would, “be fruitful and multiply.” Marriage is a gift of God’s kindness, and of his understanding of men and women. God knows what we need.

Jesus performed his very first miracle in order to help a man and wife at their wedding. This shows how highly God regards marriage, and how much he endorses and blesses it. God attended their wedding and provided for their needs when they ran out of wine. Jesus created wine by a miracle so that the joy of their wedding would continue. It was also better wine compared to what they had before. This gives us a picture of who Jesus is and how much he cares for us. It shows that he is there for us too, in our need, no matter how big or small. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

Jesus showed that he is indeed the Savior of the world, and that we can trust him with all our heart. He won’t let us down. In his words we find healing and strength for the future. His grace and mercy overflows for us too. He promises, “Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.”

— The Rev. Wyatt Rosebrock

St. John’s Lutheran Church, Norfolk

Today’s gospel opens with further reflection on Jesus’ baptism. He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world and the one anointed by the Spirit. In the liturgy we come and see Christ revealed among us in word and meal. We go forth to invite others to come and worship the Holy One and to receive the gifts of grace and peace made known among us.

— Randy Rasmussen, pastor

Norfolk Church of Christ, Norfolk

‘Transformation’

How do feel about Jacob in the Old Testament? He lives up to his name which means “to supplant, circumvent, or deceive.” He takes advantage of his brother and swindles him out of his birthright. He was a mama’s boy who, with his mother’s help, cons his brother out of the blessing from his father. He leaves town because his brother swears to kill him. Then he marries into a family headed by a con man, but he is no match for Jacob. While helping run the family business, he takes advantage of an agreement with his father-in-law to increase his own wealth. He wears out his welcome and decides to head back home, where his brother Esau is waiting. Jacob has been a schemer and manipulator all his life. He has one last master scheme to control his vengeful brother. As he gets closer to home, he plans to send his wives and children ahead of himself to either take the brunt of Esau’s anger or in hopes of softening Esau up before they meet face to face. So, Jacob camps for the night while he sends his family and his flocks on ahead to meet Esau. God has other plans for Jacob. While Jacob is alone that night, he encounters the Lord. That meeting will transform who Jacob is and what he does. We’d love to have you with us this Sunday to worship and find out more about the need for transformation in our lives.

— Jeff Schipper, minister

First Presbyterian Church, Norfolk

‘Light and hope’

In light is hope. We feel this acutely in the depths of winter. The days can be long and dark, not to mention cold. But a nice day in the middle of winter, with sun and blue skies, can lift our spirits. Of course, here in Nebraska, a “nice day” in the winter is a relative thing, but you know what I mean.

However, darkness takes many forms. Not only do we encounter physical darkness, but we also deal with spiritual darkness. Sometimes, we can let the darkness of the world affect us and drag us down. We forget that we have a source of light that is always with us in Jesus.

Our scripture this week deals with Israel and her call to the nations. Isaiah offers up a divinely-sanctioned blessing and challenge for the people — to be the light of world not only to the people of Israel, but also to the Gentiles. We cordially invite you to worship with us this Sunday, in the light and hope of our Lord.

— The Rev. Brian Johnson

In other news

OAKLAND — In a battle of unbeatens, North Bend Central's Sydney Emanuel's potential game-winning running jumper just missed the mark, Oakland-Craig's Mya Guzinski grabbed the rebound as the buzzer sounded and the Knights held on for a 40-39 victory.

MADISON — Attorneys and their assistants are a common sight here in Madison County District Court, as one might expect. However, it is not every day an attorney is called to testify against a former assistant.

Rats can drive cars. Not your car or my car. (Their legs really wouldn’t reach the pedals, after all.) Rather, researchers have created tiny cars just for their lab rats and certain experiments and have taught the little critters how to drive.