Welcome 

Grace, mercy and peace be to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! Amen.

What does it mean when Jesus said “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”? (Matthew 16:24)

The interesting things is that it can mean different things to different people, even in different things to the same people when they are in different situations. This doesn’t mean that God’s Word is different or the meaning is changed for our neighbor, but that we are in different places in our lives and situations. Your cross this week may be that you are being treated unfairly at work because your work load was increased for you and not for your fellow worker. It could be that because of your neighbor you have to do something that you don’t want to do…like wearing a mask or have to work with a temporary change in worship, even though you don’t agree with the reasons behind it.

Then there are the big things like putting up with discriminations because of being a Christian or because of your age, color or gender. Or something even more personal such as living with a chronic condition that changes your lifestyle.

Our Epistle from Romans from last Sunday speaks right along with carrying our cross, in ways that we might not expect. Let’s look at some of those verses:

9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. 14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Romans 12:9–18

It takes work…and even carrying our cross to accomplish or to even try to accomplish what the Apostle Paul is telling us here. I have an example in the story of Rev. Richard Wurmbrand living those words and carrying a much bigger cross that I pray I never have to carry.

“In 1948, Rev. Richard Wurmbrand was kidnapped by the Communist government in Romania because of his proclamation of the Gospel of Christ. He would not reject his faith. As a result, he spent the next fourteen years being tortured in prison. Yet it was during these years that Richard’s faith, though tested, grew stronger by God’s grace. What happened there was amazing. He came to pity his prison guard’s dark world. His first three years were spent in solitary confinement. Kneeling on the concrete prison floor, Pastor Wurmbrand prayed to his heavenly Father. The prison guard was all too eager to remind him that praying was against the rules. Richard was dragged out of his cell and beaten, particularly on the bottom of his feet. After he was put back in his cell, the prison guard checked on him through the small peephole in the door. To his amazement, Wurmbrand was back on his knees in prayer. Dragged out of his cell once more, he was beaten severely. This happened a third time and yet a fourth. In total frustration, the prison guard exclaimed, “What is wrong with you? You have nothing! What are you praying for?” Wurmbrand responded, “I am praying for you.” While Communism had stripped the prison guard of all humanity, it was God’s love through a child of God that could restore him.” (Rom 12:14, 21) Rev. David O. Stecker, associate pastor, Emanuel Lutheran Church, New Haven, Indiana

God’s Blessings and peace as we carry the crosses we are called to carry on this earth, looking forward to the eternal life won for us on the cross that our Lord chose to carry for us.

Amen.

 

Announcements 

Public Worship and Weekly Bible Studies Have Resumed

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

I am pleased to share the following joyous news with you. The Healthy Congregation Committee has set the return to a single worship service for Sunday, August 23, 2020, at the regular 10:30 a.m. starting time.

In order to return to a single service, there are some concessions that must be made. If you ae not feeling well, please stay at home until you are feeling better.

Social distancing guidelines will continue. In addition to the Sanctuary, church members and visitors may sit in the choir area, the Narthex, or the Parlor. Due to the increased number of people at worship, face masks need to be worn if possible. In order to accommodate the increased number of people in the sanctuary, it is requested that family groups sit next to each other, while leaving 6 feet to the next church member on either side. Pews will continue to be roped off to maintain social distancing. The committee also asks that we refrain from shaking hands and hugging.

Holy Communion will be offered during the 1st, 3rd and 5th Sundays and Pastor Knobloch will provide those directions at the service. The manner in which the sacraments will be delivered will be different to limit contact. Reverence will be maintained however we will all need to work together and give a little as we adjust to these temporary, small changes.

Sunday School will continue at 9:30 a.m. for the youngest classes. The Young Adults and Sr. Classes are not yet ready to resume due to limits on where those classes can be taught and still observe social distancing.

Please join me in praying for our church family and in praying for continued good public health rates of COVID-19 in Montague County and the City of Bowie.

Of course we also must remember that any increases in COVID-19 cases may cause state or county officials to change the rules and that could impact our worship plans.

Please thank the Healthy Congregation Committee for their work in supporting our Church Elders desire to return to a single worship service.

I look forward to seeing and worshipping along with you on August 23, 2020.

God’s Blessings to you,

Mike Jones, Congregational President

If you do not feel comfortable returning to worship at this time or if you are ill, please continue to worship from home. Our services will continue online with Facebook Live on our Youth Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/St-Peter-Lutheran-Youth-and-Childrens-Ministry-Bowie-Texas-269796823597/ and after the service, the video will be posted as well as an audio recording under the “sermons” tab on this webpage. 

Our service bulletins now contain the complete liturgy, hymns and Bible Readings. The weekly bulletin can be found at:  https://stpetertex.com/weekly_bulletins

Online giving through Tithe.ly is available through the "giving" button in the top right hand corner of this webpage.

CDs and DVDs are also be available by calling the church office.


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