November 19, 2017 is Pentecost 24A, Proper 28A 

Dear Leaders,

Judges 4:1-7   - Read the whole chapter to get the context. Israel did evil, so God turned them over to Canaan who had 900 chariots with iron-rimmed wheels. They cried out to the Lord. Deborah the prophetess, who sat under her date palm tree settling disputes, summoned Barak, telling him to gather 10,000 troops, for God would deliver General Sisera and his chariots over to them.


Zephaniah 1:7, 12-18    - silent before the Lord, for the day of judgment is almost here. I will punish those entrenched in sin. It won't be pretty. Neither silver nor gold will deliver them from the Lord's angry judgment. Their blood will be poured out like dirt.

Psalm 123   - Four verses: my eyes look up to you enthroned in heaven, like a servant to a master. Show us favor. We have had our fill of humiliation.


Psalm 90:1-8, (9-11), 12  - Lord you have been our protector through all generations. You make us return to the dust. To you a thousand years is as a day. (The days of our lives are 70, maybe 80. They pass quickly, then we fly away.) Teach us to number our days, consider our mortality that we might live wisely.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11  - no need to instruct you about the times. You know the Lord will come like a thief in the night. So stay awake, and sober as children of light. Put on the breastplate of faith and love and the helmet of hope for salvation.

Matthew 25:14-30  - The parable of The Talents. Three slaves steward 1, 2, and 5 talents. When the master returns to settle accounts, two have earned 100%. The one who buried his talent is scorned.

Prayer of the Day
Righteous God, our merciful master, you own the earth and all its peoples, and you give us all that we have. Inspire us to serve you with justice and wisdom, and prepare us for the joy of the day of your coming, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.

Gospel Acclamation
Alleluia. Abide in me as I a- | bide in you;
those who abide in me | bear much fruit. Alleluia. (John 15:4, 5)

Life's ROI: Risk or Paralyzed by Fear?

Last week we heard the first of three great parables from Matthew 25:

2.  November 19, 2017: Matthew 25:14-30 - The Parable of the Talents

3.  November 26, 2017: Matthew 25:31-46 - The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats
This Sunday's gospel is Matthew 25:14-30. Matthew 25 is part of the last of five great discourses in Matthew's gospel. It is sometimes called the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 23-25), so called because Jesus delivered it from the Mount of Olives (Matthew 24:3). In last week's post I opined about the Augusta Victoria Hospital, located on the Mount of Olives where Jesus might have been speaking these parables. There are 800 olive trees on the Lutheran World Federation's property on the Mount of Olives. Your church can plant a tree on the Mount of Olives. The ELCA is supporting a housing project on the Mount of Olives. Christians have been leaving Jerusalem. The Christian population has fallen from 30,000 to 10,000 since 1946. The dramatic settlement of East Jerusalem combined with the demolition of Palestinian homes has led to a housing crisis. The project has been delayed due to fact that Israeli authorities have not issued building permits, but in time 84 apartments will be built on LWF property, God willing.

In Matthew 24 we have Jesus' description of the end times, and the persecution/tribulation that Christians will endure before the final victory. Some see this as a prediction of the Roman persecution and the destruction of Jerusalem, while others see this as a cosmic battle at the end of time. The Left Behind series parlayed this into a fictional series playing on the idea of the rapture, a concept that faithful Christians would be preserved from this persecution and taken to heaven before the tribulation. This theology emerged in American evangelicalism after the 17th century and is rejected by traditional Lutheran and Catholic theology.

This week we read the Parable of the Talents. David Garland ( Matthew: A Literary and Theological Commentary ), says,

The parable of the wise and the wicked stewards (24: 45-51) and the parable of the talents (25: 14-30) give more precision to what it means to watch and be ready. Vigilance is not a passive waiting and watching but consists of active, responsible service. When Christ returns, he will not ask if one had the date right but "What have you been doing?"


Yours in Christ, 

Bishop Michael Rinehart

December 18 - 19
Candidacy Retreat

January 12 - 22

January 25-29

April 3 - 19

April 22


Michael Rinehart is Bishop of the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, a community of over a hundred congregations, campus ministries, retreat centers, and other agencies.

Serving as bishop of this synod since 2007 is an honor, a challenge, and a joy. It has given him the opportunity to work with many gifted pastors and committed people of faith. We are creating communities that make disciples who serve the world in Jesus' name.