Monday, March 28, 2016

A message of Hope

I found the Easter Message from the Pope to be one a great hope and joy. I find this especially wonderful in the light of all of horrible things happening in the world at this time.

"To those in our society who have lost all hope and joy in life, to the elderly who struggle alone and feel their strength waning," he said, "to young people who seem to have no future, to all I once more address the words of the Risen One: 'See, I am making all things new… To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life' (Rev 21:5-6)." Pope Francis concluded, saying, "May this comforting message of Jesus help each of us to set out anew with greater courage to blaze trails of reconciliation with God and with all our brothers and sisters."

you can read the whole message here.

Terry Bruce

Sunday, March 27, 2016

He Is Risen - Become Who you are

Happy Easter - He is Risen

Pdf Handout
Bible Verses: John 20:1-18

The Empty Tomb
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”

So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.

They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”

“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.

He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).

Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Mary The Fortress

We, like Mary, the Fortress, stand at an empty grave, with tears flooding our eyes, blinding us from the truth.

Wipe your tears, look up and into the eyes of Jesus.

You are not worthless You are heavenly royalty
You are not a bum You are a child of God
You are not worthless You are God’s masterpiece, the crowning jewel of creation
You are not no good You are the image of God and a towering fortress

Go and be set free to be who you are…

Pastor Dave 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Good Friday Prayer Stations

Good Friday March 25th 2016 7am to Midnight
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church
405 Ridge Ave
East Pittsburgh Pa

See Map

Lenten Journey

My Lenten Journey did not go as planned.
…I didn’t cut out the things from my life that I had hoped to cut out.  Not a one of them.
…I didn’t add any of the disciplines I wanted to add.  Not one time.

However, this was one of the more powerful Lenten Journeys ever for me.  It was in the not not doing the things that I had planned (and in the not doing the things that I had planned) that I learned one of the best lessons of Lent.

Jesus doesn’t care about my Lenten disciplines or lack thereof!

The Lenten disciplines do not, in any way, contribute to my salvation.  That has been done for me in Jesus Christ.  We spend 40 days trying to be dour and all serious, when the truth is, I already know the end of this story.  Jesus wins!

The Lenten disciplines are not bad.  They are personally beneficial. Yet, failing to do them in no way risks my relationship with God.

The good news that I learned by my lack of Lenten discipline is that Jesus really does love me as I am, and that I can, in no manner, contribute to the gift of his love and salvation for me.

Pastor Dave

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Holy Week Schedule

Holy Week Schedule

Sunday March 20th
- 10 am Combined Worship Service
- 11 am Mission Festival

Tuesday March 22nd
- 7 pm Evening Prayer

Thursday March 24th - Maundy Thursday
- 7 pm Holy Communion

Friday March 25th - Good Friday
- 7am to Midnight Interactive Prayer Stations
- 10 am - Stations of the Cross
- 7 pm - Stations of the Cross

Sunday March 27th
- 9:30 am Traditional Easter Celebration
- 11:15 am Contemporary Worship

Interactive Prayer Stations
Come at your convenience for an opportunity that will deepen your connection with God. Immerse yourself in 8 interactive prayer stations that will engage all of your senses in the deepening of your prayer life.

We really do need each other

pdf of Sermon handout

go to the 40 days Community resource page  to get all the materials you will need for the bible study

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Share the Love

What does it mean to love? Some Christians claim that they would be willing to die for others, but would you really?  Being truthful, there are only two people in this world for whom I would die, and if you are reading this, you likely are not one of them.  If a bus is about to hit you, rest assured, I will shout a word of warning, I will scream as you are hit, and will cry at your funeral, but that is the best I have to offer.

In I John 3:16, the apostle tells us that we ought to lay down our lives for each other.  We interpret that to mean “die” since that is the length to which Jesus went for us.  However, there is only one death, that of Jesus, that really means anything for the future of the world and its salvation.  I don’t think the purpose of love is to die for each other.  The purpose of love is to LIVE for each other.

A more accurate interpretation is that we are to invest ourselves and commit ourselves to the lives of others.  Therefore, to really love each other means that we are to invest ourselves in each others’ lives.  We can’t invest ourselves in each other if we are dead, disconnected from or dismissive of others. So… if you want to love others, LIVE. Stop dismissing others because they do not share your values.  Don’t categorize people into groups of “them” and “us,” or limit who you will love based upon your evaluation of who is worthy. Invest yourself in the lives of those around you, live and love.

Love says, “I see you, I hear you, I know you are there, and I am here to help.”

Pastor Dave

Sunday, March 6, 2016

God is NOT out to get you

God is NOT out to get you!  God knows all of your faults, warts wrinkles, good and bad, and STILL wants to love you and be with you.  What does that tell you about the value that God places upon your life?

Some religious leaders have tried to manipulate you into believing that you are somehow an awful person who is being evaluated as to whether your life measures up to God’s standards. If your pastor or church makes you feel as though you do not measure up, I have a word of advice: find another congregation!  On the flip side, if you are feeling somewhat superior to others, if you believe there is an “us” and “them” in life, you are the one who needs a heart transformation.

How does God really see us?  According to I John 1, the apostle acknowledges that we all sin.  Interestingly, he uses the Greek word Hamartia for sin, which is an archery term meaning to miss the target.  Sin is not about disobeying some arbitrary category of behaviors, rules and regulations.  Sin is about relationships.  We daily miss the mark in our relationships, because life is messy, people are different.  What hits the mark with one, may miss the mark with another.  The only way to hit the target is to practice and to depend upon the guidance of a great coach: the Holy Spirit.

Therefore, God wants to shine a light upon our lives and expose our sin not to shame us, call us out, or make us feel guilty.  God wants to help us get better, to be better at loving each other.  There is no room for loathing and self-hatred in the Christian life. If you fail in your relationships today, admit it, get back up and keep going.  Another opportunity to practice is right around the next corner.

Pastor Dave

What does it mean to love

Pdf of Handout

go to the 40 days Community resource page  to get all the materials you will need for the bible study