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    1st Sunday after Epiphany
Lord's Baptism


Texts & Discussions:
Isaiah 43:1-7
Psalm 29
Acts 8:14-17
Luke 3:15-17, 21-22



Call to Worship

L: It is the Lord, our God, who has saved us and lifted us up!
P: Let us remember our baptism; let us remember our Lord.
L: God in His great mercy has appointed a Savior to go through a baptism of great suffering and death in our stead.
P: Let us remember our baptism; let us remember our Lord.
L: Come, let us worship the Lord, our God, and give him praise for our salvation!




Children's Messages


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Sermon Excerpt:

God’s Precious People
Isaiah 43:1-7
Rev. Randy Quinn

Before reading text, let me ask you a question. How many times have we lived in fear of the words that follow “but”?
You did a great job, but . . .
I wish I could hire you, but . . .
Your tests for cancer came back negative, but . . .

Since our text for today begins with “But now thus says the Lord” (Is. 43:1), we might want to cower as we listen to what God has to say. So let me give you the context before reading the scripture lesson.

The people of Israel have been in exile. Depending upon how you read the story, they were taken away because of a failure to live up to their end of the covenant. The people had forgotten who they were and whose they were. Their leaders had sought other gods, other comforts, other guides; and the people followed their lead.

The people of Israel were scattered to the far corners of the earth. Their homes were destroyed, the temple was torn down. Life as they had known it was over. It is in that context that Isaiah offers words of hope. The “but now” is a transition from bad to good, not good to bad. Listen now to the good news from Isaiah today.

Read Isaiah 43:1-7

Given the context in which these words were spoken, the profound love of God becomes quite evident. Isaiah wants us to know that judgment is not the last word, mercy is. God’s gracious acceptance of us comes – not from what we have done right but – from the heart of God who sees us as precious. We are so precious, in fact, that God will do whatever it takes to restore the loving relationship we once had with God – even if it means offering his own son as a ransom.

It’s the prophet’s version of the bumper sticker sentiment, “If you feel far away from God, it’s important to remember that God hasn’t moved.”
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