Saint Paul's Lutheran Church of Irvine

Tomorrow February 24th, 2013 at Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church of Irvine: “And You Would Not” (Luke 13:34)


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Jesus said, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!" (Luke 13:34) It is hard to imagine, but Jesus is expressing deep sorrow and His heart is broken as He mourns. His passion at this point was already well under way. At the same time, He knew what was awaiting Him as He continued in His saving mission. He knew what was going to happen to Him in Jerusalem. And yet, He continued on. In doing so, Jesus proves that He loves those who hate Him. And with the greatest compassion and commitment to save, He longs -- yes He longs -- to gather us no matter the hardness of our hearts, no matter the sins we struggle with. To see such longing and such love, however, is to see the power of the Gospel. This Gospel by the power of the Holy Spirit working through it is what creates faith in us. May we respond to His cry in faith and may we be gathered to Him tomorrow morning as He gathers us to Himself through His Word and Sacrament!
Some reminders and announcements:
1. Our 3rd Evangelthon is tomorrow after Bible Study. Thus far we've knocked on 455 doors and have extended 107 personal invitations. This is also our fund raiser for the junior high and high school youth to attend the 2013 "From Above" Higher Things Conference in Tacoma, WA from July 16-19 this summer. Please sponsor our youth so that they may raise as much money as possible to cover their registration ($350.00 for each of the 10 participants) and to cover their transportation cost which will approach $500.00 for each participant. We need your help!
2. Our first and very well-done (thanks Angela!) newsletter went out via email on February 13th and was labeled: "Saint Paul's Lutheran Church of Irvine NEWSLETTER: Here it is! Check it out!" If you can't find it in your email, let me know and I'll be happy to send it to you again!
3. Pastor's Issues, Etc. radio INTERVIEW is archived and you may listen to it at any time on your computer. Just go to and then highlight the option "listen" on top of page and then highlight "On Demand Archives" and then scroll down to interview #2 on 2/20/13, you'll see my picture with the title "Why We Need The Lord's Supper." It is a short 25-minute interview, but I think you'll enjoy it.
Here is an excerpt from tomorrow's sermon:

“And You Would Not” (Luke 13:34)

Rev. Dr. Alfonso O. Espinosa

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. We see the genuine humanity of our Great God and King Jesus in these words from Luke 13:34: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!” It is important to note dear Christians that this text is very appropriate for the Lenten season that leads us to consider Christ’s passion and suffering for us. It comes out here in a powerful manner: Jesus is mourning.


The repetition of the word “Jerusalem” is an expression of deep mourning. It is like King David mourning over his son Absalom. When the death of Absalom was announced to David, the Word of God records, “The king covered his face, and the king cried with a loud voice, ‘O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!’” (2nd Samuel 19:4) But what you have to understand – if you remember the account – Absalom was trying to kill his father David; he wanted to take the kingdom away from his own father. Absalom was bent against his own father and wanted to destroy him. David about all of this, but when he learned of his son’s death, David cried, “O my son Absalom, O Absalom, my son, my son!” David’s commander of the army, Joab, confronted David as he mourned and said, “you love those who hate you.” (2nd Samuel 19:6) Joab did not understand David, but David was a man after God’s own heart. (1st Samuel 13:14)


In the same way, God incarnate, the Lord Jesus Christ mourned for Jerusalem: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it!” It is important to understand that Jesus was not merely recounting the history that had occurred up to this point, the fact that the prophets who had been sent to her were indeed persecuted and in some cases murdered. The Lord, however, was also anticipating the fact that Jerusalem was about to do the same thing to Him!

In Your Service and To Christ's Glory,
Dr. Espinosa
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Today at Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church of Irvine — the First Sunday in Lent, February 17th, 2013 — “Temptation” (Luke 4:1-13)


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,


In the 6th petition of the Lord's Prayer we pray "and lead us not into temptation." This does not mean that we ask the Lord that we never be tempted (see the actual definition from the Catechism below), but that we would not be overcome by temptation. Along the way we must come to realize that we are never called to resist on our own and without the grace and help of God. Instead, we pray that the Lord Himself would help us when temptation comes. What is the basis for our confidence in asking Him to help? The simple answer is because Christ and Christ alone overcame temptation. He is the victor over temptation for us. Here is an excerpt from this morning's sermon:

1. Thus we pray in The Lord’s Prayer: “And lead us not into temptation.”


What does this mean? “God tempts no one. We pray in this petition that God would guard and keep us so that the devil, the world, and our sinful nature may not deceive us or mislead us into false belief, despair, and other great shame and vice. Although we are attacked by these things, we pray that we may finally overcome them and win the victory.” (Luther’s Small Catechism, explanation of the 6th petition of the Lord’s Prayer)

2. Some of us, however, feel defeated before we even begin the fight. A mother once told her little boy that she was going to the grocery store and that he was not to touch the jam! Upon returning, the mother noticed the jam all over the little boy’s fingers and on the corners of his mouth. “Didn’t I tell you when Satan tempts you that you should tell him to get behind you?” his mother quizzed him. But the little boy explained, “Yes mommy, but as soon as he got behind me, he pushed me right into it!”

3. We can relate. We know better, but we can all say with St. Paul in Romans 7: “…I do the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7:15)


Part I: Away from trying to deal with temptation through our own will power and such, instead let us run to Christ!


  1. The problem is that too often we convince ourselves that the key to overcoming temptation is our own self-discipline. In other words, “we have to be stronger.”
  2. But none of us can withstand the assault. The devil is stronger than we are period.
  3. There is only One who has stood against him successfully: The Lord Jesus Christ!
  4. So when tempted, flee to Jesus!
  5. Notice in the book of James -- at chapter 4 verse 7 -- where we are taught to resist the devil, the command is qualified by the part just prior to your resisting. Scripture says, “submit yourselves therefore to God.” That is, we are to return to Christ. Otherwise any so-called “resistance” is only wishful thinking!
  6. We must understand that temptation is not for us to defeat. Rather, believe in the Gospel and confess the truth of what the Gospel reveals: Jesus defeated temptation FOR YOU!
  7. The temptation in Luke 4 (and the other Gospel parallels) is extremely important for our Lenten season. Lent is not for you to embark on 40 days of making yourself better, but 40 days of having Christ before your eyes of faith, the ONLY ONE who faced and defeated all temptation! On account of His victory over the devil, Jesus said he saw the devil fall from heaven like lightning (Luke 10:18). Jesus saw his defeat. Thus it is Christ’s victory we must cling to in temptation.
  8. But too often our sinful pride takes over and we want to imagine that we can muster up the strength to be our own saviors. This is delusion.

I hope to see you God's house.

In Your Service and To Christ's Glory,

Rev. Dr. Alfonso O. Espinosa

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Tomorrow at Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church of Irvine, February 10th, 2013: “We Would Rather Build Houses” (Luke 9:28-36)


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,


Tomorrow is the last Sunday in the season of Epiphany and we will celebrate the Transfiguration of Our Lord!

The Law will focus on the great comfort we take in realizing the glory of our Savior, Jesus Christ to the extent of a sinful reaction: we want to soak it in, bask in it, hide in it, and shut down in it. This self-centered reaction is carried on to the extent that we become inactive in bearing the cross, doing the Lord’s work in the world, and caring for our neighbors. We would rather build a house to enclose the glory we know (Luke 9:33). In this way, we also avoid all suffering. We forget that the purpose of the Transfiguration was to strengthen and encourage the Lord Himself who entered our weakness and His disciples for “his departure. (Luke 9:31)” This was not the time for house-building, but the time to be girded and prepared for the Passion of Christ. The glimpses of glory are shown to us not so that we would sit on it or in it, but to strengthen us to go forth and to “listen” (Luke 9:35) to the Son and to follow Him no matter our cross. Lent cannot be endured without this encouragement; without this background knowledge of glory. But when the Holy Spirit keeps the greater reality of glory before our eyes of faith, then we are empowered for the battle until we see the Lord face-to-face…in glory!

During the service we will also receive our newest members to Saint Paul's, we are blessed to be receiving eight (8) new members to the congregation and all of them are adults. One of them will be confirmed into the LC-MS and to Saint Paul's...this promises to be an exciting day.

Here is an excerpt from tomorrow's sermon:


“We Would Rather Build Houses”

(Luke 9:28-36)

Pastor Espinosa

            Grace to you and peace from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen. The Transfiguration of our Lord is perhaps the most glorious of all of the epiphanies of Christ which we celebrate. In this epiphany our Lord most certainly once again revealed His divine glory when He was shown in “dazzling white” while being flanked by Moses who had lived about 1450 years before Jesus was ever born and Elijah who lived about 850 years before Christ came from The Virgin. Both of these prophets appeared from heaven and stood there speaking to Jesus about -- as the Scriptures say -- “his departure” (Luke 9:31). The stunned disciples Peter, James and John were so amazed at what they witnessed that when St. Peter finally opened his mouth to speak, his words betrayed the incapacity of the human heart to absorb the glory of God.


            And yet even at that, the disciples did not see the full and unrestricted glory of God – as I proclaimed a few weeks ago – since God does indeed hide Himself for our own good. If the disciples had witnessed the full glory of Jesus, they would not have lived to tell about it. They got to see in accord with what was most likely the limit of their capacity to see, but even this was dumb-founding to them as proven once again by Peter’s words.


            But why all the fuss? Does it seem to you dear Christian like a lot of extra pomp and circumstance? Haven’t the Scriptures up to this point already clearly revealed that Jesus is the true Savior? Surely we already know this by now through the revelation of the Star of Bethlehem, the Baptism of our Lord, His first miracle at the wedding of Cana, and indeed His manifestations in and through His Holy Bride The Church and in and through each and every one of Her members who have been given a manifestation of the Holy Spirit for the common good (1st Corinthians 12:7). It appears that the Lord has had ample occasion for us to get the point. So it just might seem that the Transfiguration of Our Lord is a beautiful and yet somewhat superfluous religious climax to reinforce the theme of Christ’s epiphanies. And if we left it at that, we would be committing a grievous error. The Transfiguration is so much more than that.

Come and hear about the "much more"!

In Your Service and To Christ's Glory,

Pastor Espinosa

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Tomorrow at Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church of Irvine February 3rd, 2013: “Demons and Sickness Rebuked” (Luke 4:31-44)


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The Holy Scriptures teach that Christ -- the God-man and our Savior -- had the power of God to "rebuke" fevers, demons, wind and waves. How does this rebuking power apply to us and all of the problems we face? This is what we will proclaim about tomorrow. We will reveal how this power is already yours and how it is often misapplied and misunderstood (towards great spiritual damage I might add). The right application, however, is more than encouraging.
Please keep these things before you:
Tomorrow, you're invited to a Super Bowl party at my (and Traci's) home at 21986 Mae Circle in Lake Forest at 3:30 pm (come a little early).
Just call Traci to let us know if you're coming and what you might bring at:
Our home number: 949-305-6195
Traci's cell number: 281-627-2646
ALSO: we have adult Bible Study tomorrow and start a brand-new chapter as we study Christ's incarnation.
ALSO: new member Sunday is Sunday, February 10th. I'm excited to inform you that the Lewis family (Tom, Melodee, Nick, and Cambria) are joining us via transfer from St. John's Lutheran Church, Covina, CA (LCMS)!
Finally, and very importantly, please consider this message from our wonderful organist and choir director Karissa Lystrup:
Dear St. Paul's Members:
As we head into the Lenten season, I'd like to ask you to prayerfully consider a way in which you may use your gifts to God's glory. Under the blessing of Pastor and the Parish Council, I am organizing a choir to assist in worship services during Holy Week. Choir will meet for a one-hour rehearsal after each Wednesday Lenten Vespers services. We will be preparing music to complement the Divine Service for Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Prior choral experience is wonderful, but not required. All ages are welcome. If you have questions about choir, please feel free to contact me either after service on Sunday, by email ( or on my cell at (714) 420-0291.
In Christ's Service,
Karissa Lystrup
I hope to see you in God's house tomorrow morning!
Here is an excerpt from tomorrow's sermon:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. In today’s Gospel Jesus uses one word three different times. It is the word in the original language epitimao, and it means to rebuke, denounce, express strong disapproval (the idea includes having authority to do all of this; and when that authority is expressed, it is done in the form of a command that metes out that authority and puts everything in its proper place, or to mete out in due measure; things can only go so far under the authority of the one who has the power and the right to establish the boundaries). It is a very important word that is immensely appropriate for the epiphany theme. When Jesus speaks this way, He speaks as only God can speak. And in using the word the way He does in our Gospel, Jesus shows that His authority extends both to the spiritual and physical realms.


  1. In Luke 4:35 and Luke 4:41, Jesus rebukes demons. That is Jesus has the power and authority to mete out and control the boundaries of demons, and the good angels for that matter.
  2. In Luke 4:39 Jesus rebukes (remember same word) the fever of Peter’s mother-in-law (that’s right the first “pope” was married, had a wife; in fact church tradition records that they had children, but this is another sermon); the point here is that Jesus rebukes and controls what happens here on earth, even things like fevers.


And I would like to make our list even more thorough by reminding you of what Luke 8:24 says when Jesus and the apostles were in a boat and the boat started to be overcome by water. The panicking disciples woke Jesus up and the Word of God records: “[He] rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was calm.” Once again, the same word is used.


The Lord Jesus Christ proves in the Word of God that He controls the spiritual realm (all angels and demons must bow before Him); and He controls the physical realm, not only the wind and the waves, hurricanes, tropical storms, tsunami’s, tornado’s, earthquakes, but He also controls the physical aspects of our body (good health, cancers, cataracts, fevers, lupus, diabetes, celiac, ms, Alzheimer’s, all of it). Be sure you maintain an enormously vital biblical distinction: these things Jesus does not cause. No, we can thank those fallen angels and human beings (like us) who rebel against God for that. It is not God’s fault that we rebel, it is ours. God does not cause these things, but once these things are released, make no mistake about it, the Lord Jesus Christ is in complete control of all of it. Jesus says in Matthew 28:18: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”


In Your Service and To Christ's Glory,


Pastor Espinosa

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