Grace By Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church, Norfolk

Christ came to save, not condemn

Peter witnessed God’s almighty power when Jesus filled his boats so full of fish that they began to sink. Because of the miracle, Peter suddenly realized Jesus was the almighty Son of God, all-powerful and all-knowing. His heart sank. He knew he wasn’t worthy to be in God’s presence. “Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” He was right to think that he didn’t deserve to be in God’s presence. However, he was wrong to think that God did not want to be near him. “For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.”

God did not send his son to get even with us, or to punish us for our sins. God sent his only-begotten Son to bear our griefs and carry our sorrows. “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.”

Jesus told Peter to, “fear not.” God is on our side. He is always for us and never against us. Jesus accomplished all things needful our salvation. There is no reason to fear anything, not even death or Judgment Day. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.”

Peter and the disciples, “forsook all and followed Christ.” They believed they had everything they needed in Christ, and in his words. “To whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.”

— The Rev. Wyatt Rosebrock

St. John’s Lutheran Church, Norfolk

God’s word is like the rain that waters the earth and brings forth vegetation. It is also like the sower who scatters seed indiscriminately. Our lives are like seeds sown in the earth. Even from what appears to be little, dormant, or dead. God promises a harvest. At the Lord’s table we are fed with the bread of life, that we may bear fruit in the world.

— Randy Rasmussen, pastor

Norfolk Church of Christ, Norfolk

Far beyond

Think of the possibilities this scripture presents: “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us” Ephesians 3:20. But we ought not to think of God as a genie granting wishes; rather, God is one who can develop in us and bring to us an abundant life we could never hope for or understand ourselves.

This is not a life of hot cars and loads of money. God will provide what we ourselves could never gain: peace, joy, contentment and fulfillment. Please be with us this Sunday as we worship the Lord and learn about His promise in Ephesians 3:20-21.

— Jeff Schipper, minister

First Presbyterian Church, Norfolk

With all the things going on with the pandemic, we’ve picked up a number of new phrases. Among them is “the new normal.” When we are told that we will have to be doing something different for a while, everyone says, “It’s the new normal.” I suppose that this is not always a bad thing, but it can sound rather foreboding, as though something is going to change forever and we will never get it back.

No, we all know that some changes are good for us, even when we are reluctant to adopt them. The Bible is full of changes that occurred to God’s people over the centuries. We are very thankful for these changes.

In this week’s scripture from Romans, the apostle Paul speaks of a change that occurs in believers. The natural person is in a state of separation from God, and is interested only in the things of the world (“flesh”). But those who believe are changed and live a life interested in spiritual things. For them, righteousness (proper connection to God) is “the new normal.”

We will have live worship again this Sunday. Safety precautions (masks, hand sanitizers, distancing, etc.) will be in place. We will also continue the recorded version of this sermon on our Facebook page (FirstPres-Norfolk, NE) and the worship bulletin and anthems on our webpage (firstpresnorfolk.com). Come and worship.

— The Rev. Brian Johnson

In other news

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.

This year’s Madison County Fair continued Wednesday with the 4-H rabbit show in the morning and poultry show in the afternoon, and an important takeaway from Wednesday’s shows was the educational experience.