Saint Paul's Lutheran Church of Irvine

Tomorrow Sunday November 1st 2015 at Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church of Irvine: “Our Shepherd Through Tribulation” (Revelation 7:9-17)

Divine Service: 9:30 am

Bible Study for adults, high school, and Sunday School for junior youth and little children starts at 11:00 am. 

Location: Crean Lutheran High School in Irvine: 12500 Sand Canyon Ave., Irvine, CA 92618

Directions: Exit Sand Canyon from the 405 or 5, head East towards the hills, cross Irvine Blvd., turn right on Saint’s Way (this will put you on the campus of Crean Lutheran South High School…we worship in the event center/gym)


Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Today is Reformation Day. This is the day of the return to the Gospel — that we are saved through faith alone in Jesus — and it is ALSO (this evening) All Holy Saint’s Eve. This is an important time in the life of the Church, in the life of Faith.
In Christian freedom, there are many things we can do when the rest of the world celebrates its own day called “Halloween,” having lost the true meaning of the night. It is now a night that besides having Christian roots, is now associated with the culture’s strange romance with the entertainment value of being frightened; however, it also mixes the night with occult themes, the things of darkness and things belonging to the realm of the devil and demons. It is a confusing time and in some cases, a dangerous time. Be careful dear Christian.
In Christian freedom, some Christians may dress up and despise the evil one; ignoring the enemies desire for more attention. Instead, snubbing him and making the day about having fun as Captain America or your favorite candy! Other Christians might distribute with candy, tracks or pamphlets on the Gospel. Others focus on the liturgical themes and offer special prayers of thanksgiving for the saints who have gone before us. Back at St. John, Covina when I served there as pastor from 1991-1996, we held a family event in our school (pre-school – 8th grade) gym on All Hallow’s Eve. It included a costume contest. I became known as the pastor who was also known as Batman in a pretty sharp costume (ah yes, the glory days)!
But in getting back to the theme tonight — the real theme, the holy theme — we celebrate the promise of eternal life, the glory of heaven, our certain inheritance, but we celebrate esp. the lives of Christians in glory. This is the reason we gather in Divine Service and pray with (not to) angels, archangels, and all the company of heaven. We believe, teach, and confess in the communion of saints.
Remember to keep the definition of “saint,” the biblical definition: “holy one,” one who was given the gift of faith in Jesus Christ. In Christ, this one is made holy (declared holy). They are holy in Jesus, the HOLY ONE. Thus St. Paul wrote to the Christians in Ephesus: “To the saints in Ephesus…” they were living, breathing Christians — like you — and St. Paul called them “saints.” This is what “saint” means. You are — therefore by the definition of God’s Word — a saint. You are a holy one baptized into Christ, given the gift of faith from God having worked through the Word and Sacraments. You are holy in Christ. God sees your sin no more since Jesus covers it!
By virtue of God’s declared holiness upon us, our hearts and minds are full of thanksgiving and having been given the gift of the Holy Spirit (through Word and Sacrament), we eagerly seek to serve God as we love Him and serve our neighbors as we love them. Let us love people tonight on this All Hallow’s Eve. Let us show all the love of Jesus. If you hand out a candy, consider doing so with the declaration: “Jesus loves you!” It’s your house, your candy…go for it!
Tomorrow morning is quite special. It is our annual prayer of thanksgiving to God for the saints who have gone before us, loved ones who died in Christ. We will pronounce their names and have a tolling of the bell connected to each name. If for some reason you missed submitting names, you may give a name or names to Pastor Mueller or myself BEFORE the service and we will add them to the prayers!
“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. for this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” — 1st Thessalonians 4:13-18
I hope to see you tomorrow in God’s house!
In Jesus’ Love,

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