A Vibrant & Nurturing Faith Community

inviting others to experience the Grace of God

We welcome you to join First Lutheran Church — regardless of your age, race, gender, life experience, complexities and questions. You have a unique story that can only add to the richness of the larger story that makes up the First Lutheran Church family.  We are a church that shares a living, daring confidence in God’s grace. This faith comes through the good news of Jesus Christ and gives us the freedom and the courage to wonder, discover and boldly participate in what God is up to in the world.  There is a place for you here!
 
Located at: 302 S. 10th St., Saint Joseph, MO, 64501  Phone: 816-232-8378  Email: flcsj302@gmail.com

 

 

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This Week's Advent Devotion:
 

During one of our staff meetings on a Monday morning, we examined Psalm 100 with a devotion written by Dr. Charles F. Stanley.  The more we talked about the Psalm, the more we realized how this could be an Advent devotional and not “just” a Psalm of Thanksgiving.  First read Psalm 100:1-5:

“Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing.
Know that the Lord Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting
And His faithfulness to all generations.”
 

Used as a daily prayer, this Psalm will show why we are to make room in our hearts in preparation of the Lord to come.  This Psalm tells us why we are to have peace, hope, and joy, in the Promise of God.  A daily affirmation is commonly used to boost self-esteem when trying to better ourselves in our earthly living.  Christians tend to use prayer as a daily affirmation.  In fact, many times we use prayer to give God our demands of what we think we need to have peace, hope, and joy; because, after all the bible told us he wants us to have these things.

Take this Psalm and pray the words every day.  No matter how you feel that particular day!  Take the time and pray these words and let them form you.  Allow God’s word to form in your heart as you make room and prepare the way this Advent season.   

The End of Advent and the Beginning of a New Year
I missed being able to write the last two weeks of devotions for Advent.  So, allow me to combine the last two weeks and the first week of the Christmas season.  As many of you know, my husband, Scott, passed away on December 8th.  I feel now, more than ever, able to explain the feeling of joy and knowing of the promise given through Christ’s birth.  We are now entering the Christmas season leading to Epiphany.  How do we go forward in the seasons to come?
 

Advent was/is a season of penitence.  That is why the color of Advent was the same color as Lent, purple.  Purple has a penitential nature to it, inviting introspection and repentance on behalf of the believer.  John the Baptist told non-believers and believers alike to prepare the way of the Lord.  As time moved on and the number of believers grew, Advent became a time to prepare our hearts. For as we prepare to see Christ face to face, in the Christmas incarnation and in his promised return to earth, we anticipate both joy and judgment.  Joy, because God sent his Son to earth, as a human, to bridge the gap that separates humanity from its Creator.  But judgment, too, for in coming to us God will confront our sin and brokenness, and pass judgment on the degree to which humanity has been unfaithful to God’s commands and vision for human community.  In the late 20th century, churches started using the color of blue for Advent.  Why?  The deep blue of Advent highlights the expectant nature of the season, and of our faith.  Deep blue is the color of the clear, predawn sky, the color that covers the earth in the hours before the sun rises in the east.  Advent involves more than penitence, and by using deep blue we err on the side of emphasizing the church’s hope-filled and faithful watch for Christ.  The deep blue of Advent is meant to inspire in us the hope of faith, and to encourage us to keep watch for the promised light of Christ to break over the horizon, changing night into day, darkness into light, and filling our lives and our world with a holy and righteous splendor.

I know, because of my faith, I felt joy Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  For selfish reasons: I saw the future of Scott and I living in our five children and knowing he no longer felt the pain of the progressive nerve disease that ravaged his body.  That brings tears of happiness.  But the true joy I felt, came from knowing I must move on, I must live the way Scott and I have practiced the last several years; the way John the Baptist told us to prepare the way.  To know the promise of God was shown yet again when he took Scott from our family.  I never truly understood how Scott touched so many lives through his faith and devotion to being a follower of Jesus Christ until he was gone.  Now, I not only have Jesus’ example of how to live life, but Scott’s as well.

God promised to love us, no matter what.  He promised, through Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection, to raise us up in the life he desires for his children.  Let this help feed the desire in your heart as we live a hope-filled life not just in Advent but throughout the year.