Devotion for Tuesday, October 31, 2023

“After these things I heard something like a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Hallelujah! Salvation, glory, and power belong to our God” (Revelation 19:1)

The last song of this age belongs to the Lord.  After all the wickedness is done, it will be clear that the glory of the Lord is greater.  The wicked may last for a season, but the Lord is forever.  Do not fall into the traps of the wicked in this age.  Be guided by the goodness and mercy of the Lord.  You are invited to be one of the multitude who will shout praises to the Lord and the truth that He overcomes all wickedness.

Lord, I see it and yet, I fall for it too often.  Something wicked tantalizes me and I fall into temptation.  My own resolutions fail.  My own attempts at doing things right end up only partially done.  I want to be with You and walk in Your ways.  I want to be a part of the multitude, but then fall I down and need to start over again.  Help me, Lord, so that I can continue to run the race of salvation.

Lord, in Your mercy and grace, I need all the help You give me.  When I am about to stumble, hold on tight so that I do not fall.  When my mouth could praise You, but is afraid in this world, give me strength to praise You.  When I am lured by the wickedness of this world, let my eyes see things as they really are.  Lead me into Your goodness, Lord Jesus, and help me by Your grace each step of the way.  Amen.

Lessons and Suggested Hymns, Advent – Transfiguration, Cycle B (December 3, 2023 – February 11, 2024)

Lessons and Suggested Hymns, Advent – Transfiguration, Cycle B

(December 3, 2023 – February 11, 2024)


NOTE: LBW – Lutheran Book of Worship (The Green Book)

WOV – With One Voice (The Blue Book)

ELW – Evangelical Lutheran Worship (The Cranberry Book)

LSB – Lutheran Service Book (The Maroon Book)



There are versions of some hymns that are superior in LSB and I recommend using them if possible. Also, there are some superb hymns in LSB that aren’t available in the other hymnals. When I suggest one of the latter, I try to include an alternative from LBW or WOV. I recommend that a license and DVD of downloadable hymns from LSB be purchased if you are looking to expand your hymnody. There are, in ELW, some familiar hymns that have been drastically altered, which I try to note. ELW also has some fine hymns not available in the other hymnals, or has, interestingly, a more “traditional” translation or harmonization.


Color for the day is indicated for each Sunday. Primary liturgical calendar taken from Sola Publishing (, based on LSB. Also, I include the lessons from the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) found in ELW and used in some congregations. It often overlaps the Sola/LCMS calendar lectionary, but when there are differences, I will note them.


Because some of the prayers of confession, as well as offertory and post-communion prayers, provided on certain resource pages lack theological heft or linguistic elegance, I have added some seasonal prayers that you are free to cut, paste, and revise as needed. They are modified from the copyright-free Online Book of Common Prayer, or are my own creation. These are found on the following pages. The regular prayers of intercession will, as usual, be provided weekly in their own Word documents.





A Brief Order of Confession and Holy Absolution for Advent


In the Name of the Father, and of the Son+, and of the Holy Spirit: Amen.


Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor.


Silence may be kept.


Most merciful God, I confess to you with my whole heart my neglect and forgetfulness of your commandments: my wrong thinking, speaking, and acting; the hurts I have done to others; and the good I have left undone.  O God, forgive me, for I have sinned against you. Raise me to newness of life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Hear this promise of Almighty God: He prepares in our hearts a royal highway for his Son’s near approach, and cleanses us from all our sins. He drives away the darkness of sin and death, that we may behold the glory of his Son, the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Spoken Gospel Acclamation for Advent


Alleluia. Come and save us, LORD our God. Let your face shine upon us that we may be saved. Alleluia.


Offertory Prayer for Advent


Holy God, receive these tokens of our love for you. Make them holy, and use them as you desire, for the glory of your coming Kingdom, and for the well-being of the people you long to redeem. This we ask in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.



Post-Communion Prayer for Advent


Almighty and ever-living God, we give you thanks for these heavenly gifts.  Kindle in us the fire of your Spirit. When your Christ comes again, make us shine as lights before his face; who is alive and reigns now and forever. Amen.


Sending Words for Advent


Go in peace. Prepare the way of the Lord. Thanks be to God.




A Brief Order of Confession and Holy Absolution for Christmastide


In the Name of the Father, and of the Son+, and of the Holy Spirit: Amen.


Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor.


Silence may be kept.


Most merciful Father, we confess that we walk in the darkness of sin and not in your light. Sometimes we treat the priceless gift of your Son as an afterthought. And often we do not give the gifts of forgiveness, mercy, and care to those who need them from us. Lead us into the light of your love. Restore to us the joy proclaimed by angels and shepherds at your Son’s birth among us. Amen.


Behold, I bring you glad tidings of great joy: For unto you is born a Savior who is Christ the Lord.  His name is Jesus, for he saves us from our sins. He is called Emmanuel, for he is God with us. For his sake, his Father forgives and blesses you, calls you his children, and bestows his Holy Spirit to guide, strengthen, and sanctify you in all your words and deeds. Amen.


Spoken Gospel Acclamation for Christmastide


Alleluia. The Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us. To those who accepted him he gave power to become the children of God. Alleluia.


Offertory Prayer for Christmastide


Heavenly Father, receive, bless, and use these gifts, given for love Jesus Christ, your gift to us, your Son, our Savior, and our Lord. Amen.


Post-Communion Prayer for Christmastide


Heavenly Father, we thank you for your great gift of love, your Son Jesus Christ. May we who have received his body and blood bear the light of his love into the world, to your glory and for the healing of the nations. Amen.


Sending Words for Christmastide


Go in peace. Christ is born. Thanks be to God. 





A Brief Order of Confession and Holy Absolution for the Epiphany Season


In the Name of the Father, and of the Son+, and of the Holy Spirit: Amen.


Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Let us confess our sins against God and our neighbor.


Silence may be kept.


Most merciful Father, although in Christ our light has come, at times we prefer the darkness of sin. We do not let your light shine in our lives so others may see our good works and glorify you. We are deeply sorry and humbly repent. Forgive us and fill us with your Spirit. Give us the joy of your salvation. Send us out to proclaim your salvation, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Arise, shine, for your Light has come; and the glorious mercy of the Lord shines round about you. In the name of and by the authority of our Savior Jesus Christ, I announce the forgiveness of your sin. May the Holy Spirit strengthen your faith, heal your spirit, and equip you to proclaim the greatness of the Lord until he comes in glory. Amen.


Spoken Gospel Acclamation for the Epiphany Season


Alleluia. Glory to you, O Christ, proclaimed to the Gentiles. Glory to you, O Christ, believed in throughout the world. Alleluia.


Offertory Prayer for the Epiphany Season


Merciful Father, the magi brought gifts to your Son, the Babe of Bethlehem. Graciously accept our gifts, given to glorify and worship Christ our Savior, and to bring healing and hope to the people he came to redeem. Amen.


Post-Communion Prayer for the Epiphany Season


Gracious heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of your dear Son, given to us in this holy Sacrament. Strengthen us, through this gift, in faith toward you, and in fervent love toward one another.  This we ask in the name of your Son Jesus Christ, our Light and our Life. Amen.


Sending Words for the Epiphany Season


Go in peace. Share the light of Christ. Thanks be to God.


December 3, 2023: Advent 1 (Blue or purple)


Isaiah 64:1-9 (tear open heavens and come; we are clay; do not be angry forever)


Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19 (stir up your might and come; do not be angry forever)


1 Corinthians 1:39 (God strengths you; wait for Christ to be revealed)


Mark 13:24-37 (stay alert; lesson of fig tree; parable: master comes unexpectedly)

                OR Mark 11:1-10 (Jesus enters Jerusalem on a donkey)



Opening hymn: The King Shall Come: LBW #33, ELW #260, LSB #348


Or my “Advent hymn” (sung to the same tune)

With glory bright and heavenly peace, come quickly, Lord, again.

With judgment true the earth renew; the gates of life unpen.


God, Father, glory gilds your name; we worship and adore,

We bless and praise, our thanks we raise; your mercy we implore.


O glorious Sun of righteousness, bring healing on your wing.

By your dear grace, reveal your face, unbar our hearts to sing:


Sing, “Glory be to you, O Lord; to you, O Christ, be praise,

God’s Lamb of love from heav’n above, Redeemer of our race.”


Most glorious Spirit, Holy Lord, conform us to the Son,

To rightly praise through all our days what he for us has done.


O glory to the Father, Son, and Spirit ever be!

God, bring your life amidst our strife; Lord Jesus, come quickly.


Hymn of the Day: O Lord, How Shall I Meet You: LBW #23, ELW #241, LSB #355

(if the tune is unfamiliar, use the tune for “All Glory, Laud and Honor,” especially if the Palm Sunday processional gospel is used today. However, the words are also great for Isaiah text and Psalm)


OR O Come, O Come, Emmanuel: LBW #34, ELW #257, LSB #357


Communion Hymn #1: Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus: LBW #30, ELW #254, LSB #338


Communion Hymn #2: My Lord, What a Morning: WOV #627, ELW #438, LSB #986


Closing Hymn: Savior of the Nations, Come: LBW #28, ELW #263 LSB #332





December 10, 2023: Advent 2 (Blue or purple)


Isaiah 40:1-11 (Comfort my people; prepare way of the Lord; here is your God,

                who feeds his flock like a shepherd)


Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13 (righteousness and peace kiss)


2 Peter 3:8-15a (1000 years like a day; end comes suddenly; live in righteousness, peace until He comes)


Mark 1:1-8 (John the Baptist announces One who is greater than he)



Opening hymn: Comfort, Comfort Now My People: LBW #29, ELW #256, LSB #347


Hymn of the Day:, On Jordan’s Banks the Baptist’s Cry: LBW #26, ELW #249, LSB #344

(feel free to teach the choir my version: On Jordan’s banks, the Baptists cry; the Methodists are standing by; the Presbyterians all do sing, while Lutherans a hot dish bring….)


Communion Hymn #1:, O God, Our Help in Ages Past: LBW #320, ELW #632, LSB #733


OR Light One Candle to Watch for Messiah: WOV #630, ELW #240


Communion Hymn #2: The Advent of Our God/King: LBW #22, LSB #331


OR Come Now, O Prince of Peace: ELW #247


Closing Hymn: Prepare the Royal Highway: LBW #26, ELW #264, LSB #343






December 17, 2023: Advent 3 (Blue, purple – or rose, if you can)


Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11 (God has anointed me with his Spirit; clothed me with joy of his salvation)


Psalm 126 (God restored fortunes of Jerusalem; those who go out weeping come back rejoicing)

                (ELW: this, or Luke 1:46b-55, the Magnificat)


1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 (Rejoice; don’t quench Spirit; be holy)


John 1:6-8, 19-28 (John says who he isn’t, there’s one greater than he)



Opening hymn: Rejoice, Rejoice, Believers: LBW #25, ELW #244, LSB #515


Hymn of the Day: Hark! A Thrilling Voice is Sounding: LBW #37, ELW #246, LSB #345.  (The tune used in ELW and LSB is much superior to the LBW tune. Since the tune “Merton”isn’t in LBW, use “Omni Dei,” used for For the Bread Which You Have Broken)


Communion Hymn #1: Soul, Adorn Yourself with Gladness: LBW #224, LSB #636


Communion Hymn #2: Hail to the Lord’s Anointed: LBW #87, LSB #398

(Can also sing this hymn to tune of LBW #369, “The Church’s One Foundation. In fact, if you use it during communion, or have a congregation unfamiliar with the hymn, I’d recommend it.)


Closing Hymn: People, Look East: WOV #626, ELW #248


OR There’s a Voice in the Wilderness: ELW #255


OR, Hark, the Glad Sound!: LBW #35, LSB #349, ELW #239








December 24, 2023: Advent 4 (Blue or purple)


2 Samuel 7:1-11,16 (David won’t build God’s house; God promises David’s house will endure)


Luke 1:46b-55 (Magnificat) (ELW alternate: Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26)


Romans 16:25-27 (Mysteries long hidden now revealed; final blessing)


Luke 1:26-38 (Annunciation of Gabriel to Mary)



Opening hymn: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel: LBW #34, ELW #257, LSB #357

(if you didn’t use this the 1st Sunday in Advent. Or, heck, even if you did!)


Hymn of the Day: My Soul Now Magnifies the Lord: LBW #180, ELW #573, LSB #934


OR I Will Greatly Rejoice in the Lord: LSB #929, Chanted Canticle


OR The Angel Gabriel From Heaven Came: WOV #632, ELW #265, LSB #356


Communion Hymn #1:, O Jesus So Sweet, O Jesus So Mild: LSB #546


OR O Little Town of Bethlehem: LBW #41, LSB #361, ELW #279


Communion Hymn #2:, Lo, How A Rose E’er Growing/Blooming: LBW #58, ELW #272, LSB #359 (ELW and LSB use the familiar words and harmonization)


Closing Hymn: Let Our Gladness Have No End: LBW #57, ELW #291, LSB #381


OR My Soul Proclaims Your Greatness: ELW #251






December 24, 2020: Christmas Eve (white/gold)


Isaiah 9:2-11 (Those in darkness have seen a great light; unto us a child is born)


Psalm 96 (great is the Lord; bring offerings, all nations!)


Titus 2:11-14 (God’s grace revealed in the flesh, gives strength

to be upright, pious)


Luke 2:1-20 (The birth of Jesus and visitation of the shepherds)



Opening hymn: O Come, All Ye Faithful: LBW #45, ELW #283, LSB #379


Hymn of Praise:  Hark the Herald Angels Sing: LBW #60, LSB #380, ELW #270


Hymn of Day:, From Heaven Above to Earth I Come: LBW #51, ELW #268, LSB #358


OR Holy Child Within the Manger: WOV #638  (a nice Marty Haugen piece)


Communion Hymn #1: ‘Twas In the Moon of Wintertime: LBW #72, ELW #284


OR Once in Royal David’s City: WOV #643, ELW #269, LSB #376


Communion Hymn #2: I Am So Glad Each Christmas Eve: LBW #69, ELW #271


Communion Hymn #3: Infant Holy, Infant Lowly: LBW #44, ELW #276, LSB #393


Hymn during candle lighting: Silent Night, Holy Night: LBW #65, ELW #281, LSB #363


Closing Hymn: Joy to the World: LBW #39, ELW #267, LSB #387






December 25, 2020: Christmas Day: The Nativity of Our Lord (White or gold)


Isaiah 52:7-10 (Beautiful on mountain are feet of those announcing peace, salvation of God)


Psalm 98 (Sing a new song, all creation; God judges with equity, righteousness)


Hebrews 1:1-12 (God speaks to us through his Son, who is greater than angels)


John 1:1-14 (The Word is made flesh!)



Opening hymn: Angels, From the Realms of Glory: LBW #50, ELW #275, LSB #367


OR Break Forth, O Beauteous Heavenly Light: LSB #378


Hymn of Praise: Angels We Have Heard on High: LBW #71, ELW #289, LSB #368


Hymn of the Day: Of the Father’s Love Begotten: LBW #42, ELW #295, LSB #384


OR A Great and Mighty Wonder: LSB #383 (tune is “The Church’s One Foundation”)


Communion Hymn #1: The First Noel: LBW #56, ELW #300


Communion Hymn #2: In the Bleak Midwinter: ELW #294


OR Go Tell It on the Mountain: LBW #70, ELW #290, LSB #388


Closing Hymn: The Bells of Christmas Chime Once More: LBW #62, ELW #298







December 31, 2023: 1st Sunday after Christmas (White or gold)


Isaiah 61:10—62:3 (I will exult in God, who has clothed me with salvation;

Zion will shine with the vindication of God, and all nations will see it!)


Psalm 111 (God has sent redemption; the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom)

                (ELW: Psalm 148)


Galatians 4:4-7 (God sent his Son under the law, adopts us as children so we may say Abba)


Luke 2:22-40 (The Holy Family in the temple)



Opening hymn: Good Christian Friends, Rejoice: LBW #55, ELW #288


OR LSB #386, Now Sing We, Now Rejoice: (same tune as above, different lyrics)


OR O Sing of Christ: LSB #362 (easy English folk tune)


OR Cold December Flies Away: LBW #53, ELW #299


Hymn of Praise: Let All Together Praise Our God: LBW #47, ELW #287, LSB #389


Hymn of the Day: In His Temple Now Behold Him: LBW #184, ELW #417, LSB #519 (if LBW tune is unfamiliar sing this to Regent Square, #50, Angels from the Realms of Glory, which is the tune ELW uses. The LSB tune, “Westminster,” is a wonderful English melody used in WOV for “Christ is Made the Sure Foundation.” 3 nice choices.)     


Communion Hymn #1: What Child is This: LBW #40, LSB #370, ELW #296


Communion Hymn #2: Infant Holy, Infant Lowly: LBW #44, ELW #276, LSB #393


Closing Hymn: O Lord, Now Let Your Servant: LBW #339, ELW #313


OR Lord, Bid Your Servant Go In Peace: LSB #937


OR my hymn paraphrase of the Nunc Dimitis

(sung to “The Bells of Christmas Chime Once More” or to “From Heaven Above to Earth I Come”)


Lord, let your servant go in peace, your faithful Word you have fulfilled.

This Word made flesh I now embrace: the sure salvation you have willed!


With my own eyes I see the lamp of glory giv’n to Israel,

The light for nations lost; the peace that makes your wounded people well.


Glory and praise, blest Trinity, dear Father, Holy Spirit, Son,

Your light no darkness overtakes, while endless ages ever run! *************************************************

Saturday, January 6, 2024: The Epiphany of Our Lord (White)


Isaiah 60:1-6 (Arise, shine, for your light has come! Israel gathered in; nations come and worship)


Psalm 72: 1-15 (Give the King your justice, O God; may he rule with righteousness)

ELW: Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14


Ephesians 3:1-12 (Gentiles are now fellow heirs, sharers of the promise of salvation in Christ; Paul’s ministry is to disclose this mystery to all people)


Matthew 2:1-12 (Magi worship infant Jesus)



Opening hymn: Bright and Glorious is the Sky: LBW #75, ELW #301


Hymn of Praise: Let All Together Praise Our God: LBW #47, ELW #287LSB #389


Hymn of the Day: O Chief of Cities, Bethlehem: LBW #81 good sung to “From Heaven Above to Earth I Come”


OR The Star Proclaims the King is Here (LSB #399) (same theme as “O Chief of Cities,” same meter, so if THIS tune is unfamiliar, you can also sing it to “From Heaven Above”!)


OR As With Gladness Men of Old: LBW #82, ELW #302, LSB #397


Communion Hymn #1: Brightest and Best of the Stars of the Morning: LBW #84, ELW #303, LSB #400


Communion Hymn #2: We Three Kings of Orient Are: WOV #646


OR When Morning Gilds the Skies: LBW #546, ELW #853, LSB #807


Closing Hymn: O Morning Star, How Fair and Bright: LBW #76, ELW #308, LSB #395





January 7, 2024: Baptism of Our Lord (white)

Note: churches may dither, transfer, or combine this feast with the epiphany. This church year has compressed some festivals!!


Genesis 1:1-5 (God creates light)


Psalm 29 (the voice of the Lord upon the waters)


Acts 19:1-7 (baptism in name of Jesus)


Mark 1:4-11 (the Baptism of Jesus)



Opening hymn: Thy Strong Word Didst Cleave the Darkness: LBW #233, LSB #578


Hymn of Praise/prior to baptism or renewal of baptismal promises:

I Bind Unto Myself Today: LBW #188, ELW #450, LSB #604


Hymn of the Day: From God the Father, Virgin-Born: LBW #83, LSB #401

(Why, yes, I can suggest a familiar tune. Thanks for asking! The Doxology; From Heaven Above To Earth I Come; or Lord Keep Us Steadfast In Your Word will all work. Depending on whether you have already used the first two elsewhere in the season, the latter might be a good choice.)


OR When Jesus Came to Jordan: WOV #647, ELW #305


OR Remember and Rejoice: ELW #454 (very familiar tune)


OR Christ, When for Us You Were Baptized: ELW #304 (ditto!)


Communion Hymn #1: Praise and thanksgiving Be to God Our Maker: LBW #191 (tune is familiar – Father Most Holy, Merciful and Tender)


OR We Were/Are Baptized in Christ Jesus: WOV #698, ELW #452 (A piece of trivia: Ouilmette, the tune name, is the old French/Indian name for Wilmette, the town on the north shore of the Chicago area where my brother and sister-in-law live. Just thought you’d like to know.)


OR Wash, O God, Our Sons and Daughters: WOV #697


Communion Hymn #2: O Worship the King: LBW #548, ELW #842. LSB #804


Closing Hymn: Hail to the Lord’s Anointed: LBW #87, ELW #311. LSB #398








January 14, 2024: 2nd Sunday after Epiphany (Proper 1)


1 Samuel 3:1-20 (the call of Samuel to be a prophet)


Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18 (I am fearfully and wonderfully made; you knew me in the womb)


1 Corinthians 6:12-20 (the body made for the Lord; you are a temple for the Holy Spirit)


John 1:43-51 (Jesus calls Philip and Nathaniel)



Opening hymn: Open Now Thy Gates of Beauty: LBW #250, ELW #533, LSB #901


OR Wondrous Are Your Ways, O God: LBW #311 (paraphrase of psalm, but tune wanders a bit.)


Hymn of the Day: I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light: WOV #649, ELW #815, LSB #411


OR “Come, Follow Me” the Savior Spake: LBW #455, ELW #799, LSB #688


OR Speak, O Lord, Your Servant Listens: LSB #589 (Ties Old Testament and Gospel together!)


Communion Hymn #1:, Take My Life, That I May Be/and Let It Be: LBW #406, ELW #583, 685; LSB 783/4


Communion Hymn #2: Blessed Assurance: WOV #699, ELW #638


Closing Hymn: The Spirit Sends Us Forth to Serve: WOV #723


OR God’s Word is Our Great Heritage: LBW #239, ELW #509, LSB #582







January 21, 2024: 3rd Sunday after Epiphany (Proper 2)


Jonah 3:1-5, 10 (Jonah preaches, Nineveh repents, God has mercy)


Psalm 62:5-12 (God judges all justly; trust in him)


1 Corinthians 7:29-31 (the time as short; live accordingly)


Mark 1:14-20 (time fulfilled, Kingdom near, repent; I will make you fishers of men)



Opening hymn: Christ Be My Leader: LSB #861 (tune is Lord of All Hopefulness)


OR O Christ Our Light, Our Radiance True: LBW #380, ELW #675

O Christ, Our True and Only Light : LSB #839


OR Christ, Be Our Light: ELW #715


Hymn of the Day: “As Surely As I Live,” God Said: LSB #614


OR O God of Light: Your Word, a Lamp Unfailing: LBW #237, LSB #836


OR Spread, O Spread, Almighty Word: LBW #379, ELW #663

Spread the Reign of God the Lord: LSB #830


Communion Hymn #1: I Love to Tell the Story: LBW #390, ELW #661


Communion Hymn #2: Rise Up, O Saints of God!: LBW #383, ELW #669


Closing Hymn: Lord of Light: LBW #405, ELW #688









January 28, 2024: 4th Sunday after Epiphany (Proper 3)



Deuteronomy 18:15-20 (I will raise up a prophet, put my words in his mouth; listen to him alone)


Psalm 111 (God is faithful and just; praise him for his righteous deeds)


1 Corinthians 8:1-13 (Caring for brethren with weak consciences; eating food offered to idols)


Mark 1:21-28 (Jesus drives out a demon in Capernaum on Sabbath)



Opening hymn: Rise, Shine, You People!: LBW #393, ELW #665, LSB #825


Hymn of the Day: “Away From Us!” The Demon Cried: LSB #541 (Don’t panic; it’s same tune as “In Christ There Is No East or West”)


OR Hope of the World, Thou Christ of Great Compassion: LBW #493 (Do NOT panic if you think the congregation will struggle. You can sing this to hymn #84, “Brightest and Best of the Stars of the Morning,” a perfectly fine Epiphany hymn tune to boot!)


OR You are Mine: ELW #581 (It’s easier than it looks, honest!)


Communion Hymn #1: Son of God, Eternal Savior: LBW #364, ELW #655, LSB #842


Communion Hymn #2: O Savior, Precious Savior: LBW #514, ELW #820, LSB #527


Closing Hymn: O Jesus, King Most Wonderful: LBW #537, LSB #554


OR Praise, Praise! You Are My Rock: ELW #862 (a sprightly Herb Brokering hymn)







February 4, 2024: 5th Sunday after Epiphany (Proper 4)


Isaiah 40:21-31 (Those who trust the Lord will renew strength, rise like eagles)


Psalm 147:1-11,20c (The Lord cares for creation, lifts up downtrodden)


1 Corinthians 9:16-23 (Paul became all things to all people so some may be saved)


Mark 1:29-39 (Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law, then many people)



Opening hymn: Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation

(LBW #543, ELW #858 (#859 is politically correct version!), LSB #790


OR I’m So Glad Jesus Lifted Me: ELW #860


OR Voices Raised to You We Offer: ELW #845, LSB #795 (Nice Herman Stuempfle hymn.)


Hymn of the Day: Hail to the Lord’s Anointed: LBW #87, ELW #311, LSB #398

(Yes, I know I selected this during Advent. See if anyone remembers! 😊 )


OR Praise to the Lord, All of You, God’s Servants: ELW #844


Communion Hymn #1: Let All Things Now Living: LBW #557, ELW #881


Communion Hymn #2: Jesu, Jesu, Fill Us With Your Love: WOV #765, ELW #708, LSB #980


Closing Hymn: When To Our World the Savior Came: LSB #551

(tune is “Lord, Speak to Us, That We May Speak”)


OR Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee: LBW #551, ELW #836, LSB #803








February 11, 2024: Transfiguration of Our Lord



2 Kings 2:1-12 (Elisha sees Elijah being taken up into heaven in fiery chariot)


Psalm 50:1-6 (Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth)


2 Corinthians 4:3-6 (God shines in our hearts, gives light of knowledge of his glory, seen in face of Christ)


Mark 9:2-9 (The transfiguration of Christ)



Opening hymn: How/Tis Good, Lord, To Be Here!: LBW #89, ELW #315, LSB #414


Hymn of Praise: Holy God, We Praise Thy Name: LBW #535, ELW #414, LSB #940


Hymn of the Day: Swiftly Pass the Clouds of Glory: LSB #416


OR In Thee is Gladness: LBW #552, ELW #867, LSB #818


OR Jesus On the Mountain Peak: ELW #317


OR I Want to Walk as a Child of the Light: WOV #649, ELW #815, LSB #411


Communion Hymn #1: Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise: LBW #526, LSB #802


Communion Hymn #2: Beautiful Savior: LBW #518, ELW #838, LSB #537


Closing Hymn:  Alleluia, Song of Gladness: WOV #654, LSB #417 ELW #318


OR Alleluia! Sing to Jesus: LBW #158, LSB #821, ELW #392


OR O Wondrous Type/Image! O Vision Fair: LBW #80, ELW #316, LSB #413




Devotion for Monday, October 30, 2023

“And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all who have been slaughtered on the earth” (Revelation 18:24)

Many who have stood up against the wickedness of the world have been slaughtered.  Blessed are they who are persecuted for the Lord’s sake.  But God does not exonerate the wicked who have done this.  To You who are persecuted, remember that vengeance belongs to the Lord.  To you who are lukewarm, be warned, the day of wrath will come upon us all.  That is why it is called the great and terrible day.

Lord, it depends upon which side of the equation I live my life.  Either I am under Your grace and walking the narrow path, or else I am following what is right in my own eyes.  Lead me, Lord, on the narrow way and clear my mind to see clearly the distinct division between the goodness of Your law and the grace I need to live as one who seeks righteousness.  Keep my eyes clear to see the deceptions of this age.

Lord Jesus, in the power of Your Holy Spirit, by grace, I need to be led step by step in the way You would have me go.  Guide me now and always by Your grace to see the boundaries of the narrow path so that I do not stray off it.  Lead me today and every day to be intentional about my journey of faith.  Guide me in Your goodness and mercy to know that You alone are my Savior.  Amen.

Devotion for Sunday, October 29, 2023

“[A]nd the light of a lamp will never shine in you again; and the voice of the groom and bride will never be heard in you again; for your merchants were the powerful people of the earth, because all the nations were deceived by your witchcraft” (Revelation 18:23).

The once mighty will fall. The crafty people who deceive with trickery will rule no more.  The ingenious who deceitfully lead astray masses of people will go down to the pit.  The glamorous are glamorous only for a while. Their influence is fleeting.  The merchants who count their wealth go down to the pit and their wealth gathered goes to another.  Do not look to these as your example.  Look to the saints who have been faithful and follow their lead.

Why do I listen to the “beautiful” people who give opinions about everything? Lord, shut my ears from the advice of the wicked.  Close my eyes to the wicked people who would lead me astray.  Shut my ears to not hear the enticements of the wicked one.  Let me not toil for things that do not matter.  Turn my heart to You, O Lord, so that I may grow as You have created me to grow in Your likeness.

Lord Jesus, I can do none of these things without You.  You have purchased the grace I need with Your own shed blood.  Help me in the power of Your Holy Spirit to be wise and discerning.  Lead me according to Your goodness this day to see through the wickedness of this world.  Guide me now and always, looking to You alone as the source of my being.  Guide me, Lord, into true living.  Amen. 

Devotion for Saturday, October 28, 2023

“And the sound of harpists, musicians, flute players, and trumpeters will never be heard in you again; and no craftsman of any craft will ever be found in you again; and the sound of a mill will never be heard in you again” (Revelation 18:22)

Music was created by the Lord.  Craftsmanship skills are a gift of the Lord.  Musical instruments have been used to call God’s people to worship.  It is not the things themselves, but what wickedness has done to pervert the use of these things.  All these things in this age that are perverted, we see in abundance.  In eternity, the perversions will be no more.  You shall have no other gods before the Lord God Almighty.

Lord, it is second nature to me, and I do not think about the reality of how these things which You have created are perverted.  Guide me away from such things.  Grant me eyes to see and ears to hear so that I may clearly understand what is detestable to You.  Do not lead me to be a zealot but do lead me to be discerning about these things and fervent for righteousness.  Let me not fall into the pit of wrath that comes upon the wicked. 

Lord, where my heart is not pure, purify it.  Where I use the gifts You have given for my own glory, change my focus so that all I do is used for Your glory instead of mine.  When I hear fine instruments, let them call me to You.  Although I must live in this age of wickedness, change the direction of my heart to look to You always.  Only in You is there eternity.  Only in You is there hope.  Grant me the hope of eternity through faith in You.  Amen.  

Devotion for Friday, October 27, 2023

“Then a strong angel picked up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “So will Babylon, the great city, be thrown down with violence, and will never be found again” (Revelation 18:21).

Have we not been told in the word of God that it would be better to have a millstone around our neck and be tossed into the sea than to cause one of the Lord’s little ones to stumble?  How many, conforming to the thinking of this world, stumble, and lead others in stumbling?  Think carefully, for the ways of the Lord are eternal and He is jealous of His righteousness.  His righteousness will prevail against all the wiles of the wicked one.

Lord, open my eyes to see, my ears to hear, and my mind to understand what is before me.  All these things have been true throughout the ages.  People have not changed, nor will they.  Things will not get better.  This world is doomed, but it keeps promoting the lie that we are getting better.  Lift up my countenance, Lord, to live according to the eternal principles You set in place in the beginning.

Lord, You have given me the words of eternal life.  You have filled me with hope through faith, by Your grace.  Lead me today and every day in the wonder of Your grace and mercy.  According to Your loving kindness, help me simply and humbly to come to You and live as You have given me a new life to live.  Lead me in the eternal way according to the words of eternal life that You have given me.  Amen.

Devotion for Thursday, October 26, 2023

“Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, because God has pronounced judgment for you against her” (Revelation 18:20).

Judgement has already been pronounced.  Oh, the world may be heading quickly in the direction she has been moving, but judgement is already pronounced.  The wages of sin is death.  The world buys and sells, for its god is the fleeting wealth of this age.  But the God of all creation, to whom all things belong, has already declared that the judgment of this age will be finally pronounced.

Lord, I live in this age, and I buy and sell according to its rules.  I am constantly worried about things.  Yet, You tell me to live without anxiety.  This dichotomy conflicts my heart.  Once again, I need saving.  How wicked and deep are the wiles of the wicked one.  Deeper still and more glorious the salvation of the One who made all things.  Join the saints and know His wise and good judgements.

Lord Jesus, You are the Savior, and we all need saving.  By knowing Your judgements, I learn how to live as Your disciple.  Teach me Your judgements so that I may know where to draw the line between Your ways and the ways of the wicked one.  Guide me, Lord, in all Your ways so that I may live in the fulness of Your Holy Spirit and walk according to all that You have commanded.  Amen.  

Devotion for Wednesday, October 25, 2023

“And they threw dust on their heads and were crying out, weeping and mourning, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, in which all who had ships at sea became rich from her prosperity, for in one hour she has been laid waste!’” (Revelation 18:19)

The wealth of this world is temporary.  From the fiat money to the things which wear out, nothing will last.  Wealth in this age is an illusion.  Come to the place where true wealth is given freely.  Well, maybe not entirely free, for you must submit yourself and work hard to take it all in, but it is yours for the asking.  Run with the world and leave it with nothing or walk with the Lord and leave prepared for eternity.

Lord, I can see this clearly.  I’ve been to enough funerals, and I can see it.  But I am in a trap and run the worldly race anyway.  Help me, Lord, to understand, take it in, and live according to Your goodness and mercy.  You have the words of eternal life and we both know what sin has done to my soul.  You know better than I.  Let my life not be laid waste but uplifted in You so that I live according to Your will.

Lord Jesus, in all areas of my life, I need Your salvation.  You alone can wash away my sins.  To the core of my being, it needs to be washed away.  Guide me Lord in the way You know I need to go.  According to the Father’s will, Holy Spirit, conform me to Christ.  I am a child of God in the making, not a wealthy-of-this-world person of my own making.  Lead me as I need to be led and keep my eyes upon You.  Amen.

Devotion for Tuesday, October 24, 2023

“And every shipmaster and every passenger and sailor, and all who make their living by the sea, stood at a distance, and were crying out as they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, ‘What city is like the great city?’” (Revelation 18:17b-18)

I’ve sailed on a cruise and enjoyed it, but I often wonder if this verse does not specifically address, in part, the attitude of cruising.  During the pandemic, cruise ships were sitting idle and the money to run them was burning up at the dock.  Many lamented at not being able to continue living a carefree life.  The city is the symbol of those who think in these terms and do not think about the things of the Lord.

Lord, You have created us for Your purpose.  What makes us feel good only satisfies for a moment, so this cannot be the satisfaction itself.  There is something else that calls us forward.  Help me to see You, for I believe You are the something else for which we were created.  Lead me up and out of the vain pursuits of this life.  Its baubles and beads are pretty for a moment, but they distract.  Guide me into Your goodness and keep me there.

Lord Jesus, You came into this world with nothing and left the same way.  Or is that an illusion.  All authority and power are Yours and You came with the call to those who would believe to follow You.  One by one, and one day all, the faithful will stand before You and receive the inheritance of eternal life.  Lead me, Lord, so that I may be counted among the faithful.  Guide me in this life to live whole-heartedly for You.  Amen.

Letter from the Director – October 2023


I am a Phoenix Symphony groupee. I feel very fortunate to live in a metropolitan area that has a symphony orchestra of the quality of the Phoenix Symphony. On September 30 I went to a performance which featured Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana.” HERE is a link to a video of that composition.

Even if you are not a fan of classical music, I am sure you recognize its dramatic opening, entitled “O Fortuna.” It has been used dozens of times in movies, TV shows, commercials, and even football games. The major theme of this mighty work is the unpredictability of life. The Roman goddess Fortuna and her “wheel of fortune” make sure that the outcome is always outside of our control. The text is based upon a manuscript by the same name that was compiled between the eleventh and thirteenth centuries. The concert notes for the evening said that the theme “clearly resonated with the medieval authors who lived in a violent, disease-ridden world over which they had so little control, just as it resonated in Orff’s Germany in the grips of the Nazi regime on the march toward war, and still resonates amid today’s disorienting turbulence.” The piece ends with the same pounding timpani and spine-chilling choral harmonies as it began. “O Fortuna” – the fateful wheel of fortune is still spinning recklessly and out of control. It is a profoundly moving and disturbing musical composition.

My wife often accuses me of anticipating the “worst possible scenario.” I told her that “Carmina Burana” is worst possible scenario on steroids. But then, because I am a Lutheran pastor, it got me to thinking of the way that Martin Luther viewed God and the world before he discovered the Gospel. If God is an angry judge whom I am completely unable to satisfy, then how could I have a view of life and the world that is any less frightening and any more hopeless than the perspective of “Carmina Burana”?

But fortunately Martin Luther found in the writings of the apostle Paul the Good News that we can be “justified by (God’s) grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3: 24). Instead of feeling and fearing that the world is against me, God is angry with me, and life is out of control, I can say with the apostle Paul, “If God is for us, who is against us?” (Romans 8: 31). None of the powers of this world “will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8: 39). Therefore, we can be “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” because we can know for sure that our labor in the Lord is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15: 58).

I am thankful to God for the Reformation. Because of the Gospel and Martin Luther’s rediscovery of the Gospel I do not have to approach life with the attitude of “Carmina Burana.”

* * * * * * *


In my Summer Letter from the Director I gave a very detailed account of how Bishop Yehiel Curry of the ELCA’s Metropolitan Chicago Synod committed egregious acts of abuse of power, threatening, bullying, and intimidating against a retired pastor rostered in another synod and lay leaders of a congregation in that synod. A link to that letter can be found HERE.

As I communicated in my August Letter from the Director, on March 15 I wrote to Ms. Judith Roberts, senior director for ELCA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and co-convenor of a task force for addressing the disciplinary concerns of leaders of color. A press release dated March 10 had told of how her task force had made a presentation to the February 28-March 4 meeting of the ELCA’s Conference of Bishops. I told her about the situation with Bishop Curry and St. Timothy Lutheran Church. I described how leaders who are not people of color had been bullied by a synodical bishop, who is a person of color. A leader of color had been the perpetrator rather than the victim of harassment and discrimination.

The next day she wrote back. She said, “Thank you for sharing your concerns, and we will certainly take them into account. The Churchwide Organization takes misconduct complaints against synod bishops seriously; if you believe that a synod bishop has engaged in misconduct, please direct that concern to the Presiding Bishop.”

I knew that I could not write to Bishop Eaton right away. I had to wait until after the three sons of the former pastor who had been maintaining the property and providing leadership and stability for the congregation were safely out of the parsonage. When they were safe, I sent an account of the events at St. Timothy to five ELCA leaders – Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton; Imran Siddiqui, vice president of the ELCA; Tracie Bartholomew, chairperson (at the time) of the Conference of Bishops; and the two members of the task force who made the presentation – Judith Roberts and Bishop Paul Erickson of the Greater Milwaukee Synod. I never heard from any of them.

After an October 4 news release told about a follow up report from the task force to the September 26-30 meeting of the Conference of Bishops, I again wrote to Ms. Judith Roberts. I told her why I had not written right away and then said, “I never heard from anyone, even though you said that ‘the Churchwide Organization takes misconduct complaints against synod bishops seriously.’ And now that Bishop Curry has been elected chairperson of the Conference of Bishops, I doubt that there is any chance that I will be heard.”

I then added, “The only conclusion I can come to is this. Even though the ELCA claims to be an organization that pursues justice, it does not wish to hear and will not hear anything other than the preferred narrative. Even though the ELCA says that it wants to reach out to those on the margins, it will not reach out to those whom it has marginalized. Even though the ELCA desires the role of speaking truth to power, it refuses to realize where it is the power that truth needs to be spoken to.”

I concluded, “The October 4 news release said that your task force has ‘considered a process for community healing and grief.’ The ELCA has caused great grief. It does not seem to have any concern or interest in helping to bring about healing. The recent events in the Sierra Pacific Synod give the impression that it is only if enough people are able to create a big enough groundswell for long enough that the ELCA will stop and take notice and deal with where it has caused great grief, pain, offence, and damage.” I then thanked her for hearing my concerns.

I am very glad to be able to share that on October 12 I received a very cordial response from Ms. Roberts. She said again, “Any concerns related to a synod bishop and issues of abuse are to be directed to Bishop Eaton.” Therefore I will write – again – to Bishop Eaton. Stay tuned.

* * * * * * *


HERE is a link to our You Tube channel. In the top row you will find both our Video Book Reviews as well as our CORE Convictions Videos on various topics related to Biblical teaching, Lutheran theology, and Christian living. You will find these videos in the order in which they were posted, beginning with the most recent. In the second row you will find links to the Playlists for both sets of videos. Many thanks to Pastor Nathan Hoff for his CORE Convictions Video, which we are featuring this month. A link to his video can be found HERE.



Martin Luther described a simple way to pray in a letter to his barber, Peter. It is a spiritual treasure:…/R2R_ASimpleWaytoPray.pdf.

In this video Pastor Nathan Hoff gives us a tutorial in the Way of Word and Prayer, which is part of the spiritual practices at his congregation, Trinity Lutheran Church in San Pedro, California. As very young children we learned to speak by listening to our parents. In the same way Pastor Hoff and the people of Trinity Lutheran use the Moravian Daily Text to respond to God’s Word in prayer. In this video he shows us how he used the Scriptures passages for September 20 as an example of first hearing the Word of God and then praying. The Moravian Daily Text can be found at

Eugene Peterson encouraged this form of praying when he said, “Prayer is answering speech.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer agreed when he added, “We do not pray from the poverty of our own hearts, but from the riches of God’s Word.”

In addition to serving as pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church, Nathan has taught extensively at such places as Mount Carmel Ministries in Alexandria, MN, Canadian Lutheran Bible Institute, Master’s Institute Seminary, The Awaken Project, and the World Mission Prayer League.

More information regarding Trinity’s Rule of Life, which includes a commitment to the Way of Word and Prayer, can be found at www.trinitysanpedroorg/rule of life.

Grateful for the Gospel,

Dennis D. Nelson

Executive Director of Lutheran CORE