Welcome to Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church!

We give thanks that gracious Lord Jesus Christ has gathered us together here for his Divine Service. Today again our Lord comes to serve us and lavish us with his gifts of life, forgiveness, and salvation. Rejoicing in those wonderful gifts, we sing with David in Psalm 84: “How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts! A day in your courts is better than a thousand Elsewhere.”

​Gloria in Excelsis
   Glory to God in the highest
and peace to his people on earth.

C   Lord God, heavenly King,
Almighty God and Father,
we worship you, we give you thanks,
we praise you for your glory.
Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,
Lord God, Lamb of God,
you take away the sin of the world:
have mercy on us;
You are seated at the right hand of the Father:
receive our prayer.
For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High,
Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father. Amen.


P     The Lord be with you.
C     And also with you.

P     Lift up your hearts.

C     We lift them up unto the Lord.
P     Let us give thanks unto the Lord our God.
C    It is right to give Him thanks and praise.

​​Proper Preface

    It is truly meet, right, and salutary that we should at all times and         in all places give thanks to You, holy Lord, almighty Father,                 everlasting God, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who, having               created all things, took on human flesh and was born of the virgin         Mary. For our sake He died on the cross and rose from the dead           to put an end to death, thus fulfilling Your will and gaining for             You a holy people. Therefore with angels and archangels and               with all the company of heaven we laud and magnify Your                   glorious name, evermore praising You and saying:

Type your paragraph here.


Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of power and mighty:
Heaven and earth are full of Your glory.  Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest.  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.  Hosanna in the highest.

Hymn of the Day

​​Hymn​#744 “Amazing Grace”

1. Amazing grace how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind but now I see!

2. The Lord has promised good to me,
His Word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.

3. Through many dangers, toils, and snares
I have already come;
His grace has brought me safe thus far,
His grace will lead me home.

4. Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail
And mortal life shall cease,
Amazing grace shall then prevail
In heaven’s joy and peace.

5. When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun. 

​​Thank the Lord
C     Thank the Lord and sing His praise; tell ev'ryone what He has done.
Let all who seek the Lord rejoice and proudly bear His name. He recalls His promises and leads His people forth in joy with shouts of thanksgiving. Alleluia, alleluia.

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Distribution Hymn#618 “I Come, O Savior, to Thy Table”

1. I come, O Savior, to Thy Table,
For weak and weary is my soul;
Thou, Bread of Life, alone art able
To satisfy and make me whole:

Lord, may Thy body and Thy blood
Be for my soul the highest good!

2. Thy heart is filled with fervent yearning
That sinners may salvation see
Who, Lord, to Thee in faith are turning;
So I, a sinner, come to Thee.


3. Unworthy though I am, O Savior,
Because I have a sinful heart,
Yet Thou Thy lamb wilt banish never
For Thou my faithful Shepherd art!


4. Weary am I and heavy laden,
With sin my soul is sore oppressed;
Receive me graciously, and gladden
My heart, for I am now Thy guest.


5. What higher gift can we inherit?
It is faith’s bond and solid base;
It is the strength of heart and spirit,
The covenant of hope and grace.


​Text and tune: Public domain

The Words of Our Lord                                           

    Our Lord Jesus Christ, on the night when He was betrayed, took               bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and gave it to

       the disciples and said: “Take, eat; this is My + body, which is given         for you. This do in remembrance of Me.”

       In the same way also He took the cup after supper, and when He               had given thanks, He gave it to them, saying: “Drink of it, all of               you; this cup is the new testament in My + blood, which is shed for           you for the forgiveness of sins. This do, as often as you drink it, in           remembrance of Me.” 

Nicene Creed
C    I believe in one God,
           the Father Almighty,
           maker of heaven and earth
           and of all things visible and invisible.
      And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
           the only-begotten Son of God,
           begotten of His Father before all worlds,
           God of God, Light of Light,
           very God of very God,
           begotten, not made,
           being of one substance with the Father,
           by whom all things were made;
           who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven
           and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary
           and was made man;
           and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate.
           He suffered and was buried.
           And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures
           and ascended into heaven
           and sits at the right hand of the Father.
           And He will come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead,
           whose kingdom will have no end.
      And I believe in the Holy Spirit,
            the Lord and giver of life,
            who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
            who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified,
            who spoke by the prophets.
            And I believe in one holy Christian and apostolic Church,
            I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins,
            and I look for the resurrection of the dead
            and the life + of the world to come. Amen.  

Prayer of Thanksgiving

P  Blessed are You, Lord of heaven and earth, for You have had mercy on those whom You created and sent Your only-begotten Son into our flesh to bear our sin and be our Savior. With repentant joy we receive the salvation accomplished for us by the all-availing sacrifice of His body and His blood on the cross.

Gathered in the name and the remembrance of Jesus, we beg You, O Lord, to forgive, renew, and strengthen us with Your Word and Spirit. Grant us faithfully to eat His body and drink His blood as He bids us do in His own testament. Gather us together, we pray, from the ends of the earth to celebrate with all the faithful the marriage feast of the Lamb in His kingdom, which has no end. Graciously receive our prayers; deliver and preserve us. To You alone, O Father, be all glory, honor, and worship, with the Son and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Hear us as we pray in His name and as He has taught us:


​​P     The Lord bless you and keep you.
        The Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you.
        The Lord look upon you with favor and + give you peace.

C      Amen.​

Old Testament Reading…………......................Ecclesiastes 5:10–20
He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.  When goods increase, they increase who eat them, and what advantage has their owner but to see them with his eyes?   Sweet is the sleep of a laborer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep.

There is a grievous evil that I have seen under the sun: riches were kept by their owner to his hurt, and those riches were lost in a bad venture. And he is father of a son, but he has nothing in his hand.  As he came from his mother’s womb he shall go again, naked as he came, and shall take nothing for his toil that he may carry away in his hand. This also is a grievous evil: just as he came, so shall he go, and what gain is there to him who toils for the wind?  Moreover, all his days he eats in darkness in much vexation and sickness and anger.

Behold, what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him, for this is his lot. Everyone also to whom God has given wealth and possessions and power to enjoy them, and to accept his lot and rejoice in his toil—this is the gift of God.  For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.
A       This is the Word of the Lord.
C       Thanks be to God.

​Gradual                                                                            Psalm 91:11; 103:1         He will command his angels con- | cerning you*
           to guard you in | all your ways.
     Bless the Lord, | O my soul,*
           and all that is within me, bless his | holy name!

​Offertory # 955 “Let the Vineyards Be Fruitful”
Let the vineyards be fruitful, Lord, and fill to the brim
our cup of blessing. Gather a harvest from the seeds that were
sown, that we may be fed with the bread of life. Gather the
hopes and dreams of all; unite them with the prayers we
offer. Grace our table with your presence, and
give us a foretaste of the feast to come.

Text and tune: © 1978 Lutheran Book of Worship. Used by permission: LSB Hymn License no. 110004989


October 10, 2021
Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 23)


Amos 5:6–7, 10–15
“Seek good, and not evil, that you may live.”

Psalm 90:12–17
“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”

Hebrews 3:12–19
“Take care, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart.”

Mark 10:17–22
Jesus and the rich young man


The Learn by heart passage for the week beginning October 17, 2021

What is the Seventh Commandment?
You shall not steal.
What does this mean?
We should fear and love God so that we do not take our neighbor’s money or possessions, or get them in any dishonest way, but help him to improve and protect his possessions and income.

​Hymn#730 “What Is the World to Me”​

1. What is the world to me
With all its vaunted pleasure
When You, and You alone,
Lord Jesus, are my Treasure!
You only, dearest Lord,
My soul's delight shalt be;
You are my peace, my rest.
What is the world to me!

2. The world seeks to be praised
And honored by the mighty
Yet never once reflects
That they are frail and flighty.
But what I truly prize
Above all things is He,
My Jesus, He alone.
What is the world to me!

3. The world seeks after wealth
And all that mammon offers
Yet never is content
Though gold should fill its coffers.
I have a higher good,
Content with it I'll be:
My Jesus is my wealth.
What is the world to me!

4. What is the world to me!
My Jesus is my treasure,
My life, my health, my wealth,
My friend, my love, my pleasure,
My joy, my crown, my all,
My bliss eternally.
Once more, then, I declare:
What is the world to me!

​​Sermon Text: Mark 10:23-31 


Agnus Dei
Lamb of God, You take away the sin of the world; have mercy on us

Lamb of God, You take away the sin of the world; have mercy on us

Lamb of God, You take away the sin of the world; grant us peace

Post Communion Collect

​​​​A     Let us pray.
        We give thanks to You, almighty God, that You have refreshed us             through this salutary gift, and we implore You that of Your mercy             You would strengthen us through the same in faith toward You                 and in fervent love toward one another; through Jesus Christ, Your           Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,           one God, now and forever.

C      Amen

Sunday's Readings and Sermon

​​​​​​​​​​Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church (LCMS)

Holy Gospel……………………………………...........Mark 10:23–31

P       The Holy Gospel according to St. Mark, the tenth chapter.
C      Glory to You, O Lord.

​         Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!”  And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God!  It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”  And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?”  Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”  Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.”  Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.  But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

P     This is the Gospel of the Lord.
C     Praise be to Thee,  O Christ.

Epistle……………....................................................Hebrews 4:1–13 
​​Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it.  For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.  For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said,

“As I swore in my wrath,
‘They shall not enter my rest,’”

although his works were finished from the foundation of the world.  For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.”  And again in this passage he said,“They shall not enter my rest.”

Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted,

“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts.”

For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on.  So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.

Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.  For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.


A    This is the Word of the Lord.
C    Thanks be to God.​



​​P      The Lord be with you.
C      And also with you.

​​P      Let us pray.​

        O God, Your divine wisdom sets in order all things in heaven and on                  earth.  Put away from us all things hurtful and give us those things that are          beneficial for us; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and          reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. 
C     Amen.

  • Children Get In Free! 15:55

  ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​CONFESSION AND ABSOLUTION

The sign of the cross may be made by all in remembrance of their Baptism.
P     In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.
C     Amen.

P     If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
C      But if we confess our sins, God, who is faithful and just, will forgive               our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Silence for reflection on God’s Word and for self-examination.
P      Let us then confess our sins to God our Father.
C     Most merciful God, we confess that we are by nature sinful                              and unclean. We have sinned against You in thought, word, and deed,            by what we have done and by what we have left undone. We have not            loved You with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as              ourselves. We justly deserve Your present and eternal punishment.                  For the sake of Your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Forgive                  us, renew us, and lead us, so that we may delight in Your will and                    walk in Your ways to the glory of Your holy name. Amen.

     Almighty God in His mercy has given His Son to die for you and for His              sake forgives you all your sins. As a called and ordained servant of Christ,            and by His authority, I therefore forgive you all your sins in the name of the          Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.
C     Amen.


​​                          SERVICE OF THE WORD +

Introit                                                Psalm 34:1–4, 17; antiphon: v. 18  The Lord is near to the broken- | hearted*
    and saves the crushed in | spirit.
I will bless the Lord at | all times;*
    his praise shall continually be | in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast | in the Lord;*
    let the humble hear | and be glad.
Oh, magnify the | Lord with me,*
    and let us exalt his name to- | gether!
I sought the Lord, and he | answered me*
    and delivered me from | all my fears.
When the righteous cry for help, the | Lord hears*
    and delivers them out of all their | troubles.
Glory be to the Father and | to the Son*
    and to the Holy | Spirit;
as it was in the be- | ginning,*
    is now, and will be forever. | Amen.

The Lord is near to the broken- | hearted*
    and saves the crushed in | spirit.

  In peace let us pray to the Lord.
C    Lord, have mercy.  

A     For the peace from above and for our salvation let us pray to the Lord.
C     Lord, have mercy.

​A     For the peace of the whole world, for the well-being of the Church of  God and for the unity of all let us pray to the Lord.
C     Lord have mercy.

   For this holy house and  for all that offer here their worship and praise let us pray to the Lord.
   Lord have mercy.

A      Help, save, comfort, and defend us, gracious Lord.
C      Amen.​​

​Pastor Jonathan Bontke

Hymn#907 “God Himself Is Present”

​1. God Himself is present:
Let us now adore Him
And with awe appear before Him.
God is in His temple;
All within keep silence;
Humbly kneel in deepest rev'rence.
He alone
On His throne
Is our God and Savior;
Praise His Name forever!

2. God himself is present:
Hear the harps resounding;
See the hosts the throne surrounding.
"Holy, Holy, Holy!"
Hear the hymn ascending,
Songs of saints and angels blending.
Bow Your ear
To us here:
Hear, O Christ, the praises
That Your church now raises.

3. Fount of every blessing,
Purify my spirit,
Trusting only in Your merit.
Like the holy angels,
Worshiping before You,
May I ceaselessly adore You.
Let Your will
Ever still
Rule Your Church terrestrial
As the hosts celestial.

Text and tune: Public domain


The Lord's Prayer​​

​C   Our Father who art in heaven,
           hallowed be Thy name,
           Thy kingdom come,
           Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven;
           give us this day our daily bread;
           and forgive us our trespasses

           as we forgive those who trespass against us;
           and lead us not into temptation,
           but deliver us from evil.
           For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory                                 
forever  and ever.   Amen.

The Lord’s Supper
Our Belief and Practice

The Lord’s Supper is celebrated at this congregation in the confession and glad confidence that, as He says, our Lord gives into our mouths not only bread and wine, but His very body and blood to eat and to drink for the forgiveness of sins, and to strengthen our union with Him and with one another.  Our Lord invites to His table those who trust His words, repent of all sin, and set aside any refusal to forgive and love as He forgives and loves us, that they may show forth His death until He comes.  Because those who eat and drink our Lord’s body and blood unworthily do so to their great harm, and because Holy Communion is a confession of the faith which is confessed at this altar, any who are not yet instructed, in doubt, or who hold a confession differing from that of this congregation and The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, and yet desire to receive the sacrament, are asked first to speak with the pastor.  Anyone who is not communing today but would like to come forward to receive a baptismal blessing is welcome.  Please cross your arms against your chest to indicate you desire a blessing not communion.

“But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread and drink of that cup.” 1Corinthians11:28

To assist you in preparing to receive the Lord’s Supper Martin Luther in his Small Catechism teaches us to ask ourselves the following questions:

1. Am I sorry that I have sinned against God?
2. Do I believe that Jesus died for my sins and gives me His body and blood in the Lord’s Supper as Scripture says?
3. Do I plan, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to change my sinful life?

Those preparing to receive the Lord’s Supper should be able to honestly answer ‘yes’ to each of these questions.  A more complete examination is found on pages 329-330 of the hymnal - Lutheran Service Book.  Prayers for “Before communing” and “Thanksgiving after receiving the Sacrament”, are located on the inside front cover of the hymnal.

Alleluia and Verse

C   Alleluia, Lord to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.  Alleluia,  Alleluia. 

Thought for Today: The fevered pace of labor and life is refreshed only by the living Christ, who gives grace and forgiveness. These things are abundantly revealed to us in Word and Sacrament on the sacred Sabbath. This is the day we hear the preaching of His Word, receive it, and learn it. Through this Word, we hear the restorative Gospel from Jesus. No other riches on earth can compare to His Gospel—it is the means by which we enter eternity. 

​​​The Readings for this Sunday are printed below.  If you would like to hear the Word of God, go "" and go to the Book and Chapter and Verse.

Pax  Domini                                                               

P     The peace of the Lord be with you always.
C     Amen.

Distribution ​Hymn#619 “Thy Body, Given for Me, O Savior”

​1. Thy body, giv’n for me, O Savior,
Thy blood which Thou for me didst shed,
These are my life and strength forever,
By them my hungry soul is fed.
Lord, may Thy body and Thy blood Be for my soul the highest good!

2. With Thee, Lord, I am now united;
I live in Thee and Thou in me.
No sorrow fills my soul, delighted
It finds its only joy in Thee.
Lord, may Thy body and Thy blood Be for my soul the highest good!

3. Who can condemn me now? For surely
The Lord is nigh, who justifies.
No hell I fear, and thus securely
With Jesus I to heaven rise.
Lord, may Thy body and Thy blood Be for my soul the highest good!

4. Though death may threaten with disaster,
It cannot rob me of my cheer;
For He who is of death the master
With aid and comfort e’er is near.
Lord, may Thy body and Thy blood Be for my soul the highest good!

5. My heart has now become Thy dwelling,
O blessèd, holy Trinity.
With angels I, Thy praises telling,
Shall live in joy eternally.
Lord, may Thy body and Thy blood Be for my soul the highest good!

Tune and text: Public domain

​Prayer of the Church—Ektene Form

Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 24B)

17 October 2021

In peace, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For the Church, that she may proclaim our Lord Jesus Christ boldly, with whom all things are possible and by whose death and resurrection the kingdom has been opened, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For the servants of Christ’s Church, that they would be spared from love of wealth and fear of their difficult task and be steeled to set aside every comfort for Christ’s sake and for the Gospel, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For our homes, that every household would find eternal rest in Jesus and His Word; and for fathers and mothers, that they would be diligent in teaching their children and be preserved from hardness of heart, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For our nation and its leaders, that in true wisdom they would promote honest labor, temporal protection and fitting enjoyment under the sun; that all Christians would serve Christ in their citizenship and callings; and that our hearts would be occupied not with the vanity of riches that perish, but with the true joy of Christ, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For the brokenhearted, the crushed in spirit, the sick and those in need, [especially ________________,] that God would hear the cry of His righteous and deliver them out of all their troubles, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

For all who draw near to God’s throne of grace, especially those who eat and drink the blessed Sacrament this day, that holding fast to our High Priest and His confession, we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need, let us pray to the Lord: Lord, have mercy.

Into Your hands, O Lord, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in Your mercy; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen

October 17, 2021

​The Twenty First Sunday After Pentecost

                The Mission of Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church:

Is to gather together to be built up in God’s word and to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the presence of the Holy Spirit. 

What about The Gospel?

Greetings to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. This pamphlet has been prepared to show you how much we need the Gospel, why it is such good news, how we receive it and how we respond to it.  Why do we need the Gospel?  We cannot really understand how good the message of the Gospel is until we understand how bad our situation is without it.  We are poor miserable sinners. We sin daily and deserve nothing but God’s wrath and punishment.  Without Jesus Christ, our situation would be totally hopeless.  The Scriptures describe human beings as dead in trespasses and sin.  Without the mercy and cleansing of God through the blood of Jesus Christ, there awaits for us only everlasting punishment in hell. Thus, we need the Gospel— desperately!  What is the Gospel?  The word “gospel” is a translation of a Greek word that means, “an announcement of good news.”  The Gospel is the good news that God the Holy Trinity decided not to abandon humanity when Adam and Eve first fell into sin. God decided then and there that sin and death would not have the last word.  He promised to send a Savior.  When the time was right, God sent His Son into our world to be born of the Virgin Mary.  Our Lord Jesus Christ lived a perfect life for us.  On the cross, He received the penalty and punishment for the sins of the whole world, offering Himself as the perfect sacrifice for sin. Jesus rose from the dead, victorious over our ancient enemies: sin, death and the devil. Therefore, each Christian is able with great joy and confidence to declare before the whole world: “My Lord Jesus Christ has redeemed me, a lost and condemned person, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with His holy, precious blood and with His innocent suffering and death.”  What glorious good news! The one, true eternal and all- powerful God came into our world to live, suffer, die and rise again for us. We, who are unholy and unrighteous, receive the forgiveness of all our sins and thus receive the perfect holiness and righteousness of Christ our Savior—as a free gift—purely because of His love for us.  That is good news!  That is the Gospel!  How do we receive this great salvation in our lives today?  How do we personally receive the forgiveness Christ won for the entire world?  How does what happened on the cross nearly 2,000 years ago flow into our lives today?  Here too there is very good news.  God, through His Gospel, offers us forgiveness and help against sin in more than one way.  God is surpassingly rich in His grace.  He gives His Gospel to us through His Word, through Baptism, through the Sacrament of the Altar, and through confession and absolution.  These are the ways God enters our lives today to apply to us personally the great salvation Christ won for the world. The Holy Spirit works through the Word of the Gospel to create and sustain faith in our heart that Christ is the Savior of the world, and thus our Savior too.  The Bible is the Word of God, written down for our learning and edification.  The Scriptures are filled with the good news of Jesus Christ and all that He has done for us.  Through the almighty, Spirit-filled Word, God gathers us into His church, which is truly the mother that begets and bears every Christian through the Word of God.  The Holy Spirit is present, effective and active through the Word when it is proclaimed, heard and meditated upon.  The Sacrament of Holy Baptism is water included in God’s command and combined with God’s Word;or as St. Paul says in Holy Scripture, “The washing of water with the word.”  Through Baptism, we are made partakers of Christ’s death and resurrection.  Therefore, we know that Baptism works forgive- ness of sins, rescues from death and the devil,and gives eternal life to all who believe.  Since Baptism is connected to the Word and promise of God, it is truly a life-giving water, rich in grace—a washing of the new birth in the Holy Spirit.  Christ has provided a special application of the Gospel through confession and absolution.  Confession is admitting our sins to God and receiving His forgiveness from our pastor, as from God Himself, not doubting, but firmly believing that by it our sins are forgiven before God in heaven.  Thus, by divine ordinance, Christ Himself has entrusted absolution to his Christian church and commanded us to absolve one another from sins. The Lord’s Supper is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, under the bread and wine, instituted by Christ Himself, for us Christians to eat and to drink.  In the Lord’s Supper, Christ’s body and blood are given to us as our treasure and gift which sustains our faith and life in Him.  If you are heavy-laden and feel your weakness, go joyfully to the Sacrament and receive refreshment, comfort and strength.  Those who want to be forgiven by God and who want to enjoy His presence in their lives, hunger and thirst for the Word and Sacraments.  With the Psalmist we say, “My soul thirsts for God,for the living God.  When can I go and meet with God?”  God has provided the means to receive Him.  So, Christians hunger and thirst for God’s Word, absolution, the Sacrament, etc.  We have the certainty that God meets us and gives us what we need in His means of grace.  The forgiveness Christ won for the world on the cross is applied to us personally by God through His Word and Sacraments.  What a joy for us to know that where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation.  Thus, we believe that we cannot, by our own reason or strength, believe in Jesus Christ our Lord, or come to Him;  but the Holy Spirit calls us by the Gospel, enlightens us with His gifts, sanctifies and keeps us in the true faith.  In the same way, He calls, gathers, enlightens and sanctifies the whole Christian church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith.  In this Christian church He daily and richly forgives all of our sins, and the sins of all believers.  How does God cause us to respond to His Gospel?  We love God because He first loved us.  Our Lord is at work in us both to will and to do what is pleasing to Him.  Christians look to the Ten Commandments to know what is pleasing to God and wish to serve Him in gratitude for the great salvation that is theirs in Christ.  From the Word of God we learn that God wants us to put Him first,above any other person or thing, to respect His name and not misuse it, to hear and obey His Word.  Children are to honor and obey their parents and others in authority.  We are to look out for the welfare of others, doing nothing to hurt or harm our neighbor.  We are to live sexually pure and decent lives, with husbands and wives loving and honoring each another.  In looking out for our neighbor’s welfare and helping him to improve and protect his property and business, we are also to take care not to lie about our neighbor, but to help, support and defend him in every need, and, finally, we are to be content with what we have been given, and not want what is not ours.  What a joyful privilege we have to serve God and others!  He gives us the opportunity to bear witness to our faith through both our words and our deeds.  How is the Gospel obscured?  The Gospel is obscured by well-intentioned people who want to encourage a life of good works, and end up making Christians think that it is by their works that they are saved. This is a great danger.  Through His Word and Sacraments, Jesus is constantly working in our lives to forgive our sins and strengthen our relationship with God.  God always receives the credit for our salvation.  He is the one working in us.  This is not something we can do.  Our good works are the result of God’s love in our hearts and lives.  Our good works in this life do not save us, only Christ saves us.  Works serve our neighbor and show to the world that we are grateful for God’s mercy in our lives.  Another way the Gospel can be obscured is when too much emphasis is put on an emotional response to the Gospel.  Some Christians believe that unless they have some sort of ecstatic, charismatic experience, or feel some sort of “spiritual high,” they are not really Christians.  It is truly sad that some people look into their own hearts for the security that they are children of God, instead of putting their hope and trust in the objective work of Christ for them, and in the means God uses to come to them—His Word and Sacraments.  If we find ourselves beginning to ask, “Am I doing enough?” or thinking, “It doesn’t matter what I do, for God will forgive me anyway,” then we are at risk of losing Christ and His forgiveness.  We look always to Jesus and put our hope and trust in Him.  He is our Savior.  And, that’s good news!  All blessing, honor, thanks and praise to Father, Son and Spirit, the God who saved us by His grace.  All glory to His merit! O triune God in heaven above, you have revealed your saving love.  Your blessed name we hallow. — Dr. A. L. Barry President The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod