May 23 Foot Washing Graduates

Concordia Seminary Graduates  Staff Photo

Concordia Seminary Graduates Staff Photo

2 Samuel 2:12-3:39;  John 13:1-30;  Psalm 119:1-16;  Proverbs 15:29-30

“When he [Jesus] had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, “Do you understand what I have done for you?  You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am.  If I then, your Lord and Teacher have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.”  John 13:12-15

* * * * *

Last night graduates of Concordia Seminary received their diplomas, but before doing so they were exhorted by the Commencement Speaker, Joseph Gorder, CEO of Valero Energy Corporation, to be humble servants of God; to be willing to be held accountable by wise members of the churches they will serve; and to actively engage team members in doing the Lord’s work wherever they go.  He himself had been “served” by exemplar pastors throughout his business career.  For them he was truly thankful.

Jesus gave the most eye-opening example of servant-hood as he knelt at the feet of his disciples, wiping off the road grime– a job meant for the lowliest servant in a household.  He, the Son of God, whose Word created the universe, humbly did the work of a servant which the disciples would understand only after Christ’s death and resurrection.

They would remember that night in the upper room when their Teacher’s head bowed low before them–and later when this same head bowed its last on the Cross–the Servant Lamb who took their place, paying for the price for their sins before God Almighty.

Jesus knelt before us as well and bids us to follow His example of serving others, that they may know Whom we serve.

Lord Jesus, thanks and praise be to You whose serving brought us life and forgiveness; whose example bids us to do the same out of love and gratitude.  May we always remember who attitude and posture of servanthood that we may follow in your ways to the glory of your Holy Name!  Bless the newly graduated foot-washers and lead them on to their new duties joyfully and in your Name.  For Jesus’ sake we pray, Amen.

“Blessed are you, O Lord;

teach me your statutes!

With my lips I declare

all the rules of your mouth.

In the way of your testimonies

I delight as much as in all riches.

I will delight in your statutes.

I will not forget your words.”

Psalm 119:12-16


November 18 Grant Us Vision And The Will To Do

Photo by Sarah Bryant

Photo by Sarah Bryant

Ezekiel 37:1-38:23;  James 1:19-2:17;  Psalm 117:1-2;  Proverbs 117:1-2

“Know this, my beloved brothers;  let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, for the anger of a man does not produce the righteousness of God.  Therefore, put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted Word which is able to save your souls.  But be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves…If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives this person’s religion is worthless.  Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this:  to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”  James 1:19-22, 26-27

Lord, Whose love through humble service

Bore the weight of human need,

Who upon the cross forsaken,

Offered mercy’s perfect deed,

We, Your servants, bring the worship

Not of voice alone, but heart,

Consecrating to Your purpose

Ev’ry gift that you impart.


Still your children wander homeless;

Still the hungry cry for bread;

Still the captives long for freedom;

Still in grief we mourn the dead.

As , O Lord, your deep compassion

Healed the sick and freed the soul,

Use the love Your Spirit kindles

Still to save and make us whole.


As we worship, grant us vision,

Till Your love’s revealing light

In its height and depth and greatness,

Dawns upon our quickened sight,

Making known the needs and burdens

Your compassion bids us bear,

Stirring us to tireless striving,

Your abundant life to share.


Called by worship to Your service,

Forth in Your dear name we go,

To the child, the youth, the aged,

Love in living deeds to show;

Hope and health, good will and comfort,

Counsel, aid and peace we give,

That Your servant, Lord, in freedom

May Your mercy know and live.  Amen.

~Albert Bayly

Lord God, I especially pray for the people of St. Louis, especially the area of Ferguson, that peace will reign, love prevail, and Your will be done.  Grant healing, desire for cooperation, and true understanding and respect among all.  For Jesus’ sake, Amen.

April 24 Service With A Smile


Photo by Travis Silva

Judges 2:10-3:31;  Luke 22:14-34;  Psalm 92:1-93:5;  Proverbs 14:1-2

“But I am among you as

one who serves.”

Luke 2:27

The disciples were a bit power hungry.  They had just eaten the richest of fare–the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ–given by His own hand in the Bread and Wine.  And they started discussing who among them was the greatest.

Our sinful nature is like that–even though we possess the richest of heavenly fare–the very Salvation of our souls–we wouldn’t mind the spotlight to shine on us or our achievements.

Even though we are filled with the most powerful Spirit in the Universe who can do all things through us, we still want to claim a “higher” place in the world and puff out our chests in pride.

If anyone deserved the Royal treatment it was Jesus.  Yet he was the foot washer, healer, forgiver, listener, server–He was the ultimate sacrifice.  He did not seek the limelight, but found himself in it.  So he served–he gave, he did not demand.  No one could accuse Jesus of being power hungry.

After the Cross–and the Resurrection–the disciples finally understood Christ’s words, “I am among you as one who serves.”

Then they went and did likewise.

God grant that we do the same!

Lord God, please forgive us for our power hungry attitudes–as subtle as they may be .  We know what’s in our hearts.  Thank you that the power of the Cross–the forgiveness of sins–cleanses us from worldly leanings.  Grant that we serve you and our neighbor with a smile–in Jesus’ name!  Amen.

April 3 Stir Me To Mercy


Photo by Marian Trinidad

Deuteronomy 23:1-25:19;  Luke 10:13-37;  Psalm 75:1-10;  Proverbs 12:12-14

“Who is my neighbor?”

“In reply Jesus said:  A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho when he fell into the hands of robbers.  They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.  A priest happened to be going down the same road and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.  So, too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.  But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him he took pity on him.  He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine.  Then he put him on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him.”  Luke 10:30-34


Whir the wings of my

spirit, Lord

and take me where

you want me.


Stir me to mercy.

Open my eyes to

see my neighbor’s


trusting You to



Loving You with all my heart,

with all my soul,

with all my strength,

and with all my mind

means loving

my neighbor as myself.


Just as you have loved me.


Whir the wings of my

spirit, Lord,

and take me where you

want me to be,

for Your sake,

I pray.


March 14 Nothing Is Impossible


Image by Lauren Boebinger

Numbers 21:1-22:20;  Luke 1:26-56;  Psalm 57:1-11;  Proverbs 11:9-11

“I am the Lord’s servant,”  Mary answered.

“May it be to me as you have said.”

Then the angel left her.”

Luke 1:38


Simple faith,

though afraid,

Mary’s life

would change.


Face to face

with Gabriel

words of praise

seemed strange.


“Who am I?

How can this be?

What will happen



Power from God

on High

will plant

the precious seed.


Learn of Elizabeth

of great age,

expects a child

as well.


Go to her,

share you news

and dwell on holy words,

“Nothing is impossible with God.”

Lord God, create in me a willing spirit like Mary’s, so that when you direct me to go and do and serve, I will gladly do so.  May I remember Mary’s boy-child, Jesus, who gave His life as a ransom for me–and who now reigns with you in Heaven.  In the little things of life may I be found faithful as wife, mother, friend, sister, daughter.  And when it seems you’re asking the impossible, may I remember those holy words–“With God nothing is impossible.”  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

“I will praise you, O Lord,

among the nations;

I will sing of you among the peoples.

For great is your love,

reaching to the heavens;

Your faithfulness reaches

to the skies.”

Psalm 57:9-10


March 5 Q & A Time


Image by Kevin Carden

Numbers 4:1-5:31;  Mark 12:18-37;  Psalm 48:1-14;  Proverbs 10:26

“And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which of the commandments is the most important of all?”

  Jesus answered, “The most important is this, ‘Hear O, Israel:  The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  The second is this, ‘You shall love you neighbor as yourself.’  There is no commandment greater than these.”

  “You are right, Teacher.  You have truly said he is one, and there is no one besides him and to love him with all your heart…and to love one’s neighbor as oneself is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

   And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”

Mark 12:28-34


Question:  What would bring the scribe into the kingdom of God?

Answer:  Faith in the Son of God


Question:  What’s more important:  To know all the teachings in the Bible OR to know Him?

Answer: To know Him as your Savior–who gave His life for you–who walks beside you day by day.


Question:  What’s He called us to do:  To follow the rules for living a “good” life OR to follow Him?

Answer: When we know Him, we follow Him and the good that He does, we do by His grace and power.


Question:  Whose voice do you listen to:  The world’s voice to take care of number One (ourselves) or God’s voice to lose oneself and depend on the Savior?

Answer:  By God’s grace,  we listen for our Good Shepherd’s voice and trust Him to lead us through this life.


Lord, enlighten us with the truth of the Gospel–that we fall short of perfection–that we sin daily–that we need what Christ Jesus offers us–forgiveness.  Strengthen our faith and love for You that we may walk in Your ways;  that we might delight in Your teaching; that we might love our neighbors as ourselves.  We pray all this for Jesus’ sake, Amen.

“We have thought on your steadfast love,

O God, in the midst

of your temple.”

Psalm 48:9


February 28 Pedestal Pride


Photo by Kelly Sikkema


Leviticus 22:17-23:44;  Mark 9:30-10:12;  Psalm 44:1-8;  Proverbs 10:19

“And they came to Capernaum.  And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?”  But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest.  And he sat down, and called the twelve.  And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”  And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.”  Mark 9:33-37

Who were the disciples comparing themselves to anyway?  Maybe the three who just saw Jesus transfigured–gleaming bright white on the mountaintop felt themselves having the “edge.”  Maybe the disciple who was in charge of the money coffers deemed himself the greatest.

Needless to say, Jesus knew what was in their hearts and minds.

Jesus,  with his humble posture of sitting among them, embracing a child and using himself as an example, pulled them down from their prideful pedestals.

Jesus would be the least of all and the servant of all when in the near future he would allow himself to be nailed to the cross.  He served all of mankind as our Lamb sacrifice for tour sins.

Lord God, please forgive me when I have nurtured attitudes of superiority;  when I‘ve climbed upon a pedestal of my own making; when I’ve stood on the shelf of “I’m not as bad as….” Lord, you willingly died for my sins of pride and prejudice.  May I remember the cross and you lifted up upon it on my behalf and see myself as I truly am–a redeemed sinner now completely forgiven!  May I gladly identify with you as Servant of all.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

February 7 Investment 101


Photo by Filip Olegeanu

Exodus 26:1-27:21;  Matthew 25:1-30;  Psalm 31:1-8;  Proverbs 8:1-11

“For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property.  To one he gave five talents,to another two, to another one, each according to his ability.  Then he went away.  He who received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more.  So also he who had the two talents made two talents more.  But he who had received the one talent went away and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money.”  Matthew 25:14-18

Two had faith

Two acted

Two reaped more.

One feared

One hid

One had nothing more.

We are blessed to be a blessing!  God may have given us much or He may have given us little.  It matters not the amount.  He has blessed us with faith.  And what matters is that we faithfully use what He’s blessed us with to bless and serve others.

Lord God, “Give us a faithful heart–Likeness to thee.  That each departing day henceforth may see:  Some work of love begun, some deed of kindness done, some wanderer sought and won–something for thee.”  Thank you for giving us the greatest treasure–faith to believe in your Son who gave His life for us.  Help us be faithful stewards of your good gifts as we await your return.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

December 7 No Greater Joy


Image by Boaz Crawford

                   John 3 3-4 Hosea 6:1-9:17;  3 John 1;  Psalm 126:1-6;  Proverbs 29:12-14

“It gave me great joy to have some brothers come and tell me about your faithfulness to the truth and how you continue to walk in the truth.  I have no greater joy than to hear that my children and walking in the truth.”


No greater joy!  Parents, grandparents, pastors and teachers delight when they see those they love, care for, shepherd continue their walk with the Lord–that they live the truth of the Gospel. 

No greater joy than seeing fruit of the Spirit manifested in loving, kind acts;  self controlled lives; hearts at peace; one with the Spirit of God.

No greater joy!  Our God looks at His beloved children and rejoices in their humble service to those around them and unswerving devotion to His Son.

No greater joy!   May it be our aim to share our faith in the One who brings this joy to us.

Lord God, you delight to see us–your children–walking in your truth, walking in your ways, walking with Jesus even when it’s not popular or safe to do so.  Protect us, Lord, from sheep in wolves clothing who would distort your truth, water down your Word, misdirect our devotion.  Forgive us when we’ve listened to the siren song of the world and departed from your ways.  Restore us and place us on the true path once again.  For Jesus’ sake, Amen.


December 3 Love Indeed


Image by Marian Trinidad

Daniel 11:2-35;  1 John 3:7-24;  Psalm 122:1-9;  Proverbs 29:1

“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us,

and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.

But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brothers in need,

yet closes his heart against him,

how does God’s love abide in him?

Little children, let us not love in word or talk

but in deed and in truth.”

1 John 3:16-18

Lord God, open our eyes today to the needs of those around us.  Where we see hurt, let us comfort with our near presence and bended ear;  where we see need, let us open our money purse and give;  where we see fatigue, let us provide relief by giving a helping hand, running errands, doing chores;  where we see loneliness, let us be generous with our time and attention.  Let us respond as you would respond, with love and compassion.  Thank you for laying down your life for us–help us to lay down our lives in service to others.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

“And this is his command:  to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ,

and to love one another as he commanded us.”

1 John 3:23