Walk with Grace is back for the Summer of 2019. Join your teammates, share a photo and see if your team will win a prize.Continue reading
This temple talk was shared by Lynn Hess on Easter Sunday.
The children’s names have been replaced with initials, to protect the families.
He is risen! He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!
My name is Lynn Hess. I am the Director of The School of Grace, which is Grace Lutheran Church’s parent participatory preschool, serving children ages 6 months through 5 years.
Please join us on Sunday, May 5th, after the 11:00 am service, to celebrate our extended family and our Annual Art Show and Silent Auction Reception.
During April, as part of our acclaiming Easter, Grace Lutheran Church is conducting an Appeal for The School of Grace Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships for all of our refugee children and for families in need. We have already raised $5000 toward our $15,000 goal for the 2019/2020 school year.
One of my favorite Bible passages is Psalm 133: The Blessedness of Unity, which reads,
“How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!
It is like the precious oil on the head, running down upon the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running over the collar of his robes.
Imagine someone taking their finest oil, warming it and dripping it on your head. The warmth brings comfort, as if God’s arms are wrapped around you.
It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion.
Imagine waking up on a chilly fall morning, stepping outside, barefoot and feeling the crisp cold dew on the grass. Your whole body awakens to the glorious new day.
For there the LORD ordained his blessing, life forevermore.
And here we are, gathered together, in unity, celebrating the gift that God has given to us, life forevermore. Hallelujah!
As you heard, Psalm 133 begins with the words “How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity”. That describes us! We gather together. We live in the unity of the Spirit as brothers and sisters in Christ.
When we celebrate our unity, good things happen. The School of Grace is one of those “things”.
Monday through Friday, the children, parents and teachers gather in the classrooms, greeting their friends, some of whom are typically developing, some have special needs and some are from refugee families. Each class is its own school family. The classes together fit within the family of the preschool. The preschool is part of Grace Lutheran Church’s extended family. We rely on you. Without you, the preschool would not exist.
The School of Grace is an extension of this family.
So I am here to thank you…
On behalf of “W”, whose father was hunted by the Haitian government, I thank you for giving him a place of peace and security within the walls of this building.
On behalf of “C”, whose parents grew up in a Bhutanese refugee camp in Nepal, I thank you for giving her a place where she could learn and play, allowing her parents to go to school and, then start their own business, which continues to be successful today.
On behalf of “D”, whose family escaped war torn Afghanistan and still fears retribution for their extended family, who remain in danger. I thank you for providing a place of peace, where she learned English and quickly made new friends.
On behalf of “N”, whose father and grandfather were killed in Afghanistan. She and her mother experienced joy and hope here at Grace.
On behalf of “S”, who lives with her mother, grandmother, aunts and sisters in a three bedroom apartment. Even in those crowded conditions, they are grateful to be here, away from the country where the mother was persecuted. No one in the family can read in their home language of Swahili, but they are committed to learning to speak, read and write in English. “S”, after a few weeks of enrollment, began singing songs like, “The Wheels on the Bus” and “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”. Her teachers, Kerrie, Jeanne and Reena, were thrilled the day that “S” responded to Kerrie’s questions with an emphatic, “NO!” (because it was in English!)
There are many other children from refugee families, who have grown in our classrooms. They are all grateful. Why? Because, through your prayers, donations and support, you have given them all hope for the future. You have helped the parents see that their children will not live lives of fear, like their parents. Their children will leave The School of Grace ready for kindergarten. Their children have hope and joy in their future.
In fact, “Si’s” father, from Bhutan, told me that he did not start school until he was 13 years old. He said, “You have given my child the gift of education and she is only 3 years old! No one in my family has started school that young. Your teachers love my daughter. My teachers never showed love to me or any of the students. My daughter knows that she is capable and can learn anything she wants to learn. I never had that experience. You have blessed my child.”
So, on this Easter day, as we celebrate our Unity in Christ and the gift of life forevermore, I thank you, again and again, for enabling these precious children, preparing them for kindergarten and blessing them with hope for the future. Most importantly, for loving them as part of this amazing family of Grace.
When your heart beats, it pumps blood round your body to give it the energy and oxygen it needs. As the blood moves, it pushes against the sides of the blood vessels. The strength of this pushing is your blood pressure. If your blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on your arteries (and your heart) and this may lead to heart attacks and strokes.
The only way to tell is to have your BP checked which can be done at the doctors office, a pharmacy, some gyms have BP machines in them, a health fair, or someone you know that is a healthcare professional. You can also purchase a Blood Pressure kit from a local pharmacy and check your BP at home.
The only way to know if you have high blood pressure (HBP, or hypertension) is to have your blood pressure tested. Under-standing your results is key to controlling high blood pressure. A diagnosis of High BP or Hypertension must come from a medical professional and will need to be monitored.
Blood pressure categories: The five blood pressure ranges as recognized by the American Heart Association are:
Less than 120/80 mm Hg
Consistent readings from 120-129 systolic and less than 80 mm Hg diastolic.
3-Hypertension Stage 1
Consistent readings in the range of 130-139 systolic or 80-89 mm Hg diastolic.
4-Hypertension Stage 2
Consistent readings of 140/90 mm Hg or higher.
This stage of high blood pressure requires medical attention. Readings that exceed 180/120 mm Hg.
You and your medical provider will discuss what treatment plan is best for you. Treatment can consist of medications to help control your BP as well as lifestyle changes. If you have high BP you should avoid salty foods. Your physician may ask you to exercise and try to avoid stress. If you smoke it may be advised that you quit. If you have any questions about your medications speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
American Heart Association – Check, Change, Control Calculator Tool
American Heart Association High Blood Pressure Information page.
Our next walk, for the month of April will be on April 6th at 9:00am. This will be a one-way walk with a reward at the end!Continue reading
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!
Upon returning home from the family shopping trip, one of the children wanted to help her mom carry the groceries in from the car. As the child reached for one of the large bags, her mom said; “Let me help you with that.” The child was sure that she could handle it on her own and refused her mother’s help.
With the child teetering up the walkway, the bag’s balance shifted and, in a flash, the items spilled all over the sidewalk. The egg carton opened, and the eggs cracked. The flour bag burst, and flour spilled out everywhere. Even though mom had been afraid that this would happen, the first words out of her mouth were; “Honey, are you okay?”
In the text from Luke, Jesus is saying how much he wants to be there to help us as we travel through our world. God knows, that like that small child, we think that we can do it on our own. We think that we don’t need God’s help and we can handle whatever the task may be. However, far too often we realize that the load that we are carrying is a heavy one that we can’t handle alone and we need Gods help and guidance.
Here is the good news, God gives us the freedom to step out on our own, and when the balance of all of those things that we are holding shifts and it all comes crashing down, God is there like a mother hen, to wrap her arms around us and make sure that we know that we are loved and cared for and forgiven.
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’ “
Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered him, “It is written,
‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’ ” Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you,’and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’ ” Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time. Luke 4 1:13
Have you ever had one of those days?
You know, one of those days where if it could go wrong it did. One of those days where it seemed as if the entire world had decided that on THAT DAY every single person was going to get on your very last nerve. One of those days when the light at the end of the tunnel was in fact the headlight of and oncoming train.We all have had those days, and we read in this text from Luke that even Jesus was having one of those days. He had just come out of the waters of his baptism, and he was driven into the wilderness where he came face to face with Satan. After forty days of fasting and walking, Jesus is met by the one who thought that he was weak and weary and that he would fold.
An Opportune Time
“Have some food…I know that you are hungry…”
“Have some power, Only I can give you real power”
“Become popular, and everyone will worship you…”
But Jesus knew that none of those things were true, and that only God had the real power. So the text tells us that the devil left him until a more opportune time.
Guess what folks? We are that more opportune time. Satan is trying to convince us that we are weak, that we are weary and that we should give up on God and simply follow his lead. He is causing us to have “one of those days” over and over again, so that we will give on on God and enjoy the promises that Satan has to offer.
But here is a fact for you. The battle for your soul has already been won. Jesus’ death and resurrection sealed that deal a long time ago, and you are free to live your life OUT LOUD knowing that no temptation, no matter how great the offer, will ever be able to separate you from the Love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
So shout, “Get behind me Satan!” and walk in the light of the Cross. Because that headlight in not an oncoming train, but it is the Light of Christ, coming after you.
Soon we will start to hear the birds chirping in the early mornings and the days will begin to get warmer – its time for spring. Most people do a spring cleaning of their homes to get rid of unwanted clothing, shoes, old toiletries and spruce up their homes.
Well don’t forget about your medicine cabinet. Be sure to dispose of expired and medications you no longer use properly. There will be a National Prescription Drug take back day on April 27, 2019.
Tips for dropping off unused or expired medication(s)and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines:
- While not required, it is best practice to cross out your name(s) and address with a permanent marker on all medication labels.
- The bottles are not examined when removed from the drop-box and are safely and securely destroyed.
- Sharps (needles) are not accepted at any drop-box location.
- For medications in cartons, remove the outer carton, but leave medications in the original bottles, as it was prescribed.
- Please don’t dump pills into large bags. We discourage this in case someone is stopped by law enforcement. (If you are stopped, they should inform the officer of their intent to dispose.)
- For large drop-off amounts or any other questions, please contact the location nearest you to see specific location criteria.
Medication Drop-off Locations and Times
National DEA Take Back Day 2019 – April 27 2019. Visit their website for additional info and a Collection Site locator.
Then he looked up at his disciples and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. “Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets. “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. “Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry. “Woe to you who are laughing now, for you will mourn and weep.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
What hits you? What word or phrase stands out for you?
This is a portion of Jesus’ sermon on the mount (In this Luke version it is the sermon on the plain), which we call the beatitudes. It has kept scholars and theologians very busy because there is much debate about how to interpret them.
When St. Jerome translated the bible into Latin, the phrases each begin with the word “Beati” which translates in English as “Blessed” or “happy are they”. That’s why they have been called the Beatitudes.
Some scholars think that Jesus’ sayings were an intentional exaggeration to make a moral point while others think that they were standards for the original disciples only.
Martin Luther Reminds Us – We Can’t Keep the Law
Other scholars take this group of sayings as an absolute; a set of characteristics that followers of Jesus must strive for and still others, like Martin Luther, believe that the sayings are law, but a perfect law that we cannot keep.
According to the Luther understanding, Jesus’s intent, was to have the disciples and even the crowds see what they cannot accomplish on their own, and in turn, run to God’s mercy and grace.
Law or Gospel?
The Beatitudes can be read as law or gospel. As law, they are rewards for good behavior. As gospel, they are gifts that motivate good behavior. Consider the difference: The law says IF you are poor in spirit, THEN the kingdom of heaven is yours. The gospel says: BECAUSE the kingdom of heaven is yours, THEREFORE you recognize your spiritual poverty. The law says IF you are merciful, THEN you will receive mercy. The gospel says BECAUSE you receive mercy, THEREFORE you show mercy. The law says IF you make peace, THEN you will be called children of God. The gospel says BECAUSE you are children of God, THEREFORE you make peace.
So what do you think when you hear the beatitudes?
What do you think Jesus is saying to us today?
Let’s talk about this!
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