Grace By Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church, Norfolk
‘The gospel restored’
In Martin Luther's day, the church had enormous power. Death was everywhere with the plague wiping out half of Europe's population. One out of four children did not survive. The people looked to the church for hope and salvation. Unfortunately, the Pope took advantage of the situation. He authorized the sale of indulgences, release from purgatory for so much on the dollar. It was part of a corrupt system. If you read the right books, and say the right prayers, those works get you so many years off from purgatory. You cleans yourself from your sins. Yet, the Bible says, "A man is justified by faith, without the deeds of the law." God had a wonderful plan. Through Martin Luther, God would overthrow the corruption and restore the Gospel to the church.
God enlisted Luther in a spiritual war to, "earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." Perhaps no one knew his sins, and no one longed to be forgiven of them more than Luther. He spent years searching for relief beginning already in childhood. He saw God only as an angry judge who must be appeased by our good works. When he finally discovered free salvation by grace through faith in the Bible, and how the church suppressed this freedom, he was an unstoppable force. On Oct. 31, 1517, he posted 95 theses on the door of the Castle Church to refute indulgences and other abuses, and became instantly famous. Christians everywhere welcomed his Christ-centered teaching. Today we still benefit in many ways from the great Reformation. Above all, we have Christ in our churches and we have him in our hearts through faith in his Word. "By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
— The Rev. Wyatt Rosebrock
St. John’s Lutheran Church, Norfolk
In holy baptism God makes saints out of sinners. In holy communion God forgives the sins of all the saints. In the assembly today we give thanks for all the saints “who from their labors rest,” who have fought the good fight, who have gained the crown. In the same breath we petition our God for the strength to hear and to heed the admonitions of the Lord Jesus in today’s gospel. Recalling that we have been sealed by the Spirit and sustained by the Savior’s body and blood, we keep on keeping on as God gives us breath, to the praise of God’s glory.
— Randy Rasmussen, pastor
Norfolk Church of Christ, Norfolk
‘Purpose, meaning, fulfillment’
How much would you pay, who would you go to, how much time would you invest to find your purpose? Life coaches, counselors, personal trainers, dietitians, motivational speakers, astrologists, financial planners, and others make a living with people looking for fulfillment. What if I told you that I could show you your purpose in life, how to be fulfilled, discover your identity, give meaning to your life, and give you direction all at the same time? Now, what if I told you no money will exchange hands and it will take only twenty minutes? I know it sounds like a scam, a get rich quick scheme ... to good to be true. But your creator, the creator of all the universe has a plan for you that He has already revealed. I have presented this in a somewhat lighthearted manner. But I know that struggle for direction and meaning is real and important. Please be with us this Sunday for worship and learn God's purpose for each one of us. "But now, O Lord, You are our Father, we are the clay, and You our potter; all of us are the work of Your hand." Isaiah 64:8.
Sunday night worship will emphasize praising God in song. The Lord has created us each with an incredible instrument in which to praise Him; it is our voice. Voices are like fingerprints, no two are alike; but the Lord can distinguish each one. Hebrews 13:15 lets us know that when we praise the Lord with our lips, He is pleased.
— Jeff Schipper, minister