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HOLY WEEK: EASTER 2019

Opening Prayer by Bishop Paul Erickson

    

God of all grace and compassion, we give you thanks for the gifts that give us strength for the journey:   for the gently warming sun & the renewal of your creation; for the surprising ways that you remind us that we are not alone in our journey; and for the hope that guides our path and lets us put one foot in front of the other. 


We ask that you speak to us in this time of Lenten reflection, opening our hearts and challenging our imaginations, that we might discover new ways to tell the ancient story of your love for us in Christ and new ways to love our neighbors and develop relationships grounded in truth, faith, and humility, through Christ our Lord; Amen.   



DEVOTION for Good Friday, April 19, 2019


THE JOURNEYS THAT TAKE US DEEPER

Rev. Jim Bickel, Former Executive Director, Outreach for Hope 


It was Good Friday and we were walking through the neighborhood surrounding Reformation Lutheran Church in Milwaukee. It’s an annual journey, taken every Good Friday by Reformation members and anyone else who wishes to join them. I spent a few minutes talking to a man from Oconomowoc who was feeling the joy of the connection he had with the people of Reformation. 


I asked him how the connection had started. He told me it began by a Mission Partner trip to the Mt. Meru Lutheran Diocese of Tanzania. There he discovered the remarkable faith and witness of brothers and sisters in Christ, in a country on the other side of the world. And it made his own faith grow deeper. 


It got him thinking, “Can I have that same joy and deep blessing through connecting with my brothers and sisters in the central city of Milwaukee, where I know no one?” And so, he made a commitment to get involved in the Partnership his congregation has with Reformation. To his delight, he made the same faith- expanding discovery. 

The journey that takes us deeper into our Christian discipleship comes about by journeys that take us deeper into the body of Christ. Not going deeper is to rob ourselves of the joy our faith is meant to help us experience. It is why the Greater Milwaukee Synod has an Outreach for Hope – so that we can continue to nourish the gift of diverse connections in our Synod, and deepen the joy of our faith. 


We are most connected to God when we allow ourselves to be connected to our brothers and sisters on the other side of the world, in the next county, and in our own cities. 

** * 

Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, give us the courage to step out of our comfort zone and reach out to others we do not yet know, in order to form strong bonds, such as the Partnership between congregations in our Greater Milwaukee Synod. Amen. 


OUTREACH FOR HOPE MINISTRY HIGHLIGHT 

Fourteen of the ministries receiving support from Outreach for Hope are committed to one or more Partnerships with other churches around the Greater Milwaukee Synod. While Partnership members join together in service and provide financial support, members of both churches also grow in cross-cultural understanding. Together, they face issues of racism, gain spiritual benefits and learn to overcome barriers of stereotypes and fear. 



DEAR GOD, GIVE US THE COURAGE...

"We are most connected to God when we allow ourselves to be connected to our brothers and sisters on the other side of the world, in the next county, and in our own cities."  In today's devotion, Rev. Jim Bickel encourages us to step outside our comfort zones to grow on our journey with Christ.



Click below for more daily devotions from Outreach for Hope to guide your journey through Lent, 2019.

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"STRONGER TOGETHER" CROSS-GEN CORNER

An Invitation for Families and Disciples of All Ages to Dig Deeper into the Devotion

Pastor Adam Moreno, Lord of Life Lutheran Church, Kenosha    

    

    

Heads up...for this devotion, you are going to need lots of pencils. So go get some from your book bag or from the junk drawer...maybe pick up a box of pencils from the dollar store on your way home today. Why? Cause we’re practicing our karate skills and learning a lesson about togetherness! 


So you have your pencils...go ahead, someone hold both ends and another person use your hand to karate chop it in half. Did you do it? I would venture to say, most of us can. One pencil is not that hard to break. Now...add a few more. Maybe one for each person in your family. If you are single or have a small family, go ahead and add some for important friends and loved ones in your life. The hope is that everyone will be able to add in four, five, maybe even more pencils. Bunch them together and try to break them...be careful that you don’t hurt your hand. It’s an important warning because a group of pencils is much harder to break than a single pencil. 


Now maybe you are super strong and broke through a big group of pencils...but even if you did, it was harder than just one. Right? Now, think about adding a pencil for everyone who is important in your life, who loves and supports you beyond your family. Teachers, coaches, counselors, work colleagues, friends, teammates, Sunday School teachers, youth leaders, pastors...I pray that you can come up with a long list. Why? Because we are stronger together! 


Like the single pencil, we may see the hardships in this world and not feel strong enough to stand against them on our own. But the good news is that we are not alone! We have other “pencils,” I mean people, in our lives at school, at work, and at church. These people make us stronger and our presence in their lives makes them stronger...strong enough to endure struggles that might break us if we were alone. And together, we’re strong enough to begin to heal the brokenness in the world. You and me and so many more people working together...and let’s not forget the strongest of all. We have God with us all the time! So even when we’re hit with a big karate chop, we won’t break, because we are together with one another and with God...strong and one! 


Prayer: God of Unity, by your Spirit make us one with each other and one with you in whom we find unfailing strength! Amen. 

    



WHO MAKES YOU STRONGER?

    

"We may see the hardships in this world and not feel strong enough to stand against them on our own. But the good news is that we are not alone!"   

                                                         Pastor Adam 



Click below for more daily devotions from Outreach for Hope to guide your journey through Lent, 2019.


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SERMONS