Good morning everyone:

When the mail arrives do you glance at the return address before opening an envelope? If it reads: “Billing Dept.” do you inwardly cringe and put it at the bottom of the stack? Do you delay reading a certain email until later because you’re quite sure it won’t be good news? Do you find yourself bracing for the worst when the doctor calls or the phone wakes you in the middle of the night? The news in this world of sin is often sad, discouraging, or frightening.

Sometimes people feel the same dread toward God’s news. They think of Scripture as one giant rule book which they had better follow, at least somewhat closely, or risk hellfire. And it is true that God very clearly lays down His holy law for human behavior. The Ten Commandments cover every aspect of our lives, from our relationship toward God to our dealings with our neighbor. The essence of all the commandments, Jesus says, is love. If we do not have perfect, unfailing love, we have fallen short of the righteousness God demands, and we deserve eternal death.

But that is not God’s final word. He doesn’t expose our sin so that He can gloat over our destruction or impose impossible hurdles for us to overcome to escape punishment. He shows us our sin so that we realize our desperate need for help. Far from being a giant rule book, Scripture is really an unconditional love letter to completely undeserving people.

So don’t hesitate to open your Bible. Don’t cringe when the Lord speaks to you. Don’t delay in listening to His Word. It hurts when He points out your sin, but like a loving parent, He quickly puts His arms around you and says, “Don’t be afraid.” “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool” (Is. 1:18). We will gather tomorrow not to “follow the rules” to avoid punishment, but to praise our loving Lord for giving us His perfect righteousness and taking all our guilt upon Himself.

In the sermon text (Lk. 4:14-21), we will hear of Jesus’ visit to His hometown of Nazareth. There He proclaimed news of God’s love in action, news of freedom, good news for us too!

The Sunday School will sing in second service.

The quarterly voters meeting will get underway shortly after second service. Voters and those eligible to become voters are urged to make the meeting a priority. Along with the usual business, the Council will bring their recommendation regarding the calling of a new half-time teacher. Non-voters are also welcome to sit in and observe.

In Jesus’ name,


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