One of the great psalms that I love is Psalm 116. Here are the first seven verses:
I love the Lord, for he heard my voice;
he heard my cry for mercy.
2 Because he turned his ear to me,
I will call on him as long as I live.
3 The cords of death entangled me,
the anguish of the grave came over me;
I was overcome by distress and sorrow.
4 Then I called on the name of the Lord:
“Lord, save me!”
5 The Lord is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.
6 The Lord protects the simplehearted;
when I was brought low, he saved me.
7 Return to your rest, my soul,
for the Lord has been good to you.
Beautiful verses, aren’t they? I’m zeroing in today of that one word from verse 6, “simplehearted.” What an unusual description of the way God wants us to be! The Lord’s in control, and our God is always at work on our side. So why should our hearts not be simple? Trusting? Humble? Turning to God with a childlike faith? I know, it’s not easy to live like that in these crazy, mixed-up days of the pandemic, with so many uncertainties looming around us constantly. But I challenge you make a sincere effort, and to pray for God, your Protector and Savior, to help you live in a more “simplehearted” way. That’s God’s wa!
The Good Book says, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25). Let me encourage you today to be faithful and active in your worship life. God doesn’t need you and me to worship him, as much as you and I need to worship him. If you’ve fallen into the habit of giving up worship, pick one of the three following worship options in our church.
1. Online worship. Each Sunday, a video recording of Hope's 8:00 AM service is available on the church website (www.hopelutheranwf.org/worship-resources, click on "8AM Live Stream Recorded Service"). You can also watch a live-streamed version of the service at 8:00 AM or 11:00 AM (click on www.hopelutheranwf.org/live-stream).
2. In-person worship. We’re holding four services each weekend in the sanctuary at Hope. Everyone’s wearing masks, social distancing guidelines are in place, and singing is limited; and, yet, we’re still worshipping! We’re communing with our Lord and his family, receiving his grace, hearing his Word, praying for his help and direction, and keeping our focus on his mission. For those who’ve been at worship in the past six weeks, there’s no need to keep signing up. We have you on our lists! For those who wish to resume in-person worship at Hope, advance scheduling is necessary, as we're functioning with reduced capacity in the sanctuary. We'll make room for everybody, and no one should feel they need to stay home just to make room for others. Please call the church office or send an email ( ), by Friday at noon, so that we can make plans for the upcoming weekend's worship services.
3. Ten-person Communion services. Recognizing that some of our Hope members are not going to be able to resume in-person worship services in the near future, we continue to offer ten-person Communion services during the week. Advance sign-up is required (www.hopelutheranwf.org/worship-resources, then click on "sign up for communion services”), and feel free to attend on a weekly basis. Services are normally held on Wednesday evening or Friday morning. Guests are asked to call the church office to speak to one of the pastors before attending.
MAN OF GOD
“But you, man of God … pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, endurance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:11-12). At our services this weekend, we’ll be welcoming our new vicar, Drew Thompson. Drew and his wife, Katie, arrived in town on Wednesday from their home state of Texas. Although his year of pastoral internship has been shortened by a couple of months, and our congregational life is much changed these days, I have no doubt that the people of Hope will be a positive formative influence on Drew, as a future pastor in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. Like our former vicars, Drew is a third-year student at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. He’ll return to the seminary next summer for his final year of academic training prior to ordination and placement in a congregation. Welcome to Vicar Drew and Katie!
Every Christian should be guided by these words from Scripture: “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 8:7). We are truly blessed here at Hope with many cheerful givers! Thanks to all of you who are faithfully making your regular church offerings, whether by mail or electronic giving or in person. Your support of Hope’s ministry is helping to keep our church moving forward, as we proclaim and live the Word and love of Christ. For more information on electronic giving, check out www.hopelutheranwf.org/donate.