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Ash Wednesday

Series III, Cycle A
Take joy in your salvation and be willing to obey God as the Spirit prompts you.

God above all, you have created us from the ground up and in Christ came to our turf, to show us again that the earth is yours and you have made all things to be good. Your own Spirit infused life into the lifeless so that the human race should be distinct not in its physical properties but in its ability to control behavior individually and socially, Forgive lack of self-control, for abuse of what you have created for the good of all. May such fasting and penitence as we may practice enable us to balance things out and to bring the spiritual and the physical into equilibrium, following the example of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Hear the Good News! God appointed the sinless Christ to share our sin in order that in union with him we might share the goodness of God. Friends, believe the Good News. In Jesus Christ, we are forgiven.

Having received God's grace in Christ, do not let it be wasted, but express it to others enriching them as well.

Distinguished and distinguishing Spirit, grant us wisdom, so that both our fasting and our charitable actions are inconspicuous. Then only you will know what we have done and we will be content with your private reward. Amen.

Maker, Sharer and Shaper of the human spirit, we are thankful that we have not been cast in stone that cannot be reshaped. You forgive our failures and give us further opportunities to restore some of the beauty of your image. We can be thankful even for the trouble and suffering that brings us closer to you in prayer. Then at least we may recognize our need to depend on you. We welcome this Lenten season as a time of personal renewal. Amen.

Eternal God, Ruler of time and space, we offer to you an expanded portion of our time and increased concentration of our attention during this Lenten season for our own growth in grace and in love for your family. Amen.

PSALM 51:1-17
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love:
according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you alone, have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are justified in your sentence
and blameless when you pass judgment.
Indeed, I was born guilty,
a sinner when my mother conceived me.
You desire truth in the inward being;
therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence,
and do not take your holy spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and sustain in me a willing spirit.

New & Featured This Week


David O. Bales
John Fitzgerald
“Peter’s Painful Memories” by David O. Bales
“The Promise” by David O. Bales
“Name Change” by John Fitzgerald

Peter’s Painful Memories
by David O. Bales
Mark 8:31-38


Arley K. Fadness
“For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake and for the sake of the gospel will save it.” (v. 35)

Good morning boys and girls,

How many smiling faces do I see this morning? If you held a mirror up to your face what would you see? A frumpy frown, a peculiar pout, a sassy sneer, or a Sunny Smile? Let's make today a Sunny Smiling Sunday. You're on camera. Everybody smile. Click.

The Immediate Word

Christopher Keating
Mary Austin
Dean Feldmeyer
Ron Love
George Reed
For February 25, 2018:
  • Much more than a promise by Chris Keating -- God’s promise to Abraham and Sarah is a promise received and a promise believed. It’s much more than a typical and easily broken promise. Like the voices of some of the young people from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, they choose to believe now is the time to move forward in faith.

Emphasis Preaching Journal

Mark Ellingsen
Bob Ove
Derl G. Keefer

Genesis 17:1-7 15-16
I heard this joke and thought it was funny and perhaps had a point.

 "Where are you going mom?" asked the youngest of five children.

"I'm going to a surprise party, my dear," answered the mother.

"Are we all going, too?"

"No, dear. You weren't invited."

After a few moments' of deep thought, the child spoke again.

"Hey mom, then don't you think they'd be lots more surprised if you did take us all?"

Mark Ellingsen
The Second Sunday in Lent was typically devoted to the theme of “remembering” [Remiscere]. The texts for this Sunday would have us remember the spiritual roots of our faith – especially the grace of God and its nurturing, surprising character.

The Village Shepherd

Janice B. Scott
There was an interesting drama series on television recently about a family who had given up conventional suburban life to run a market garden in the country.

As well as the parents, there was a grown-up son and his fiancee, a daughter home from university, and a younger daughter aged about twelve. The son married his fiancee and they set off on their honeymoon, but on the way home from the wedding, the father had a road accident and was killed.


Richard A. Jensen
We will treat these texts as one. In examining them we have entered what many commentators believe is the central section of Mark's story: 8:22„10:52. The immediate context for this central section of material is the climax of the section that precedes it: Mark 6:35„8:21. We need to say a few words about 8:1-21, as it is omitted from the lectionary. Mark 8:1-9 is the story of the Gentile feeding of the multitude with bread which we have discussed in an earlier chapter. The response to Jesus' feeding of this second multitude is ironic and filled with comedy.

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