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Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

Today's Focus: Christian Leaders Spend Time Alone with Jesus   Christ, the Great Shepherd, appoints leaders in his church, both pastors and other congregational leaders. He does this so that his people will not be "like sheep without a shepherd" (First Lesson; Gospel). Moses prayed that a leader would succeed him. God appointed Joshua, "a man in whom is the spirit of leadership" (First Lesson). Christian leaders need to spend time alone with Jesus in his Word (Gospel). In their personal devotional time, Jesus strengthens the leaders' faith so that they in turn can encourage the faith of those they lead.

 
Eighth Sunday after Pentecost

Today's Focus: Jesus Calls Us out of our Comfort Zones   When Jesus sent the disciples out to preach, he told them to take "no bread, no bag, no money in your belts" (Gospel). They were to trust God to provide for them through the people who welcomed them into their homes. Jesus also warned that they would face rejection. This must have been outside their comfort zone! Jesus also calls us out of our comfort zones to share the gospel with our friends, relatives and neighbors. This will require trust in God and willingness, at times, to face rejection. But love for people and a longing to see their salvation drives us out of our comfort zones to "risk security" (Hymn) and share the gospel.

Seventh Sunday after Pentecost

Today's Focus:  Don't Let Familiarity with the Word turn into Contempt for the Word   The people of Jesus' hometown were familiar with Jesus, but the devil used this familiarity to keep them from seeing who Jesus really was. We are very familiar with the message of God's word, but sometimes the devil can use our familiarity with the message to tempt us to become indifferent toward the message or ungrateful for it. But the Scriptures that many of us have known since infancy are the same Scriptures that make us wise for salvation (Second Lesson). Therefore God's Word is never stale, but always sweet like honey to our taste (First Lesson).

Sixth Sunday after Pentecost

Today's Focus: Jesus Overcomes Grief  Sometimes God allows grief to come into our lives, but today in his word God promises you: "Though he brings grief, he will show compassion" (First Lesson). "Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning" (Psalm). Jairus and his wife were overcome with grief, but Jesus changed all that. Because Christ has "destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel," we will be able to say forever "You turned my wailing into dancing" (Psalm).