Rev. Norman Sulaica, Jr. grew up in San Antonio, Texas. He attended Texas Lutheran University in Seguin, TX and Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, OH.
Pastor Norm, his wife, Laura, and their four children joined the Our Savior Family in 2003.


OUR SAVIOR LUTHERAN CHURCH
PASTOR NORM'S MESSAGE
Grace and peace be unto you from our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus the Christ. Amen

“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.” --- 1 John 1:3 8:28

Our nation faces a crossroad. Do we affirm the need for law which affords us safety? Or do we dismiss the law and those who enforce it which allows for anarchy, danger, and uncertainty?

Presently, a zone in Seattle has formed which offers to us a micro-view of a lawless environment. Over several days, shootings, stabbings, and reports of rape have occurred. This social experiment illustrates some of the danger communities face.

God is very much aware of our need for guidance and structure. Thus, on Mount Sinai, God gifts His people with the Ten Commandments. This gift does not offer a means for eternal salvation but rather graces us with a mode to develop communities which look out for one another’s wellbeing. Through God’s law, our Creator promotes governance to establish peace. Another truth about God’s law is that it reflects our words and actions.

Like a mirror it reveals our good choices and unfortunately our poor sinful decisions. As a mirror, it reminds us our need to seek God out, so that we can be set free from the bindings of wrongful choices. We seek our Savior, Jesus. We return to the foot of the cross, humbling kneels, and asking for his forgiving love. God’s law reveals to us our intentions. It also reminds us of our need to be set free from sin.

There is yet another role the law plays in our daily journey in this world. God’s law guides us in developing and strengthening relationships with our friends, family, and church family, but most importantly it provides relational building with God. The Rev. Martin Luther was so moved by offering a new understanding to the “Do Not” commandants of the Ten Commandments. You know them: ‘You shall not kill’, ‘You shall not commit adultery’, ‘You shall not steal’, and ‘You shall not bear false witness’. Luther moves our attention away from the idea of not doing to the reality of doing. He writes about stealing, “We should fear and love God, and not take our neighbor’s money or property, nor get it by false wares or false dealing, but help him to improve and protect his property and living.” Taking these actions to preserve our neighbors stuff, moves us toward the direction of building and sustaining healthy relationships with those in our lives. Thus, we exemplify our love for God by sharing deeds and words of love by lifting up our neighbors, friends, family, church family, and importantly God. Keeping God’s law are acts of love!

God Be with You,

Pastor Norm 
DAILY DEVOTIONALS

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DAY 30
Psalm 66:8-20

8 Bless our God, O peoples; let the sound of his praise be heard, 9 who has kept our soul among the living and has not let our feet slip. 10 For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried. 11 You brought us into the net; you laid a crushing burden on our backs; 12 you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance. 13 I will come into your house with burnt offerings; I will perform my vows to you, 14 that which my lips uttered and my mouth promised when I was in trouble. 15 I will offer to you burnt offerings of fattened animals, with the smoke of the sacrifice of rams; I will make an offering of bulls and goats. 16 Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul. 17 I cried to him with my mouth, and high praise was on my tongue. 18 If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. 19 But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer. 20 Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me!

The psalmist proclaimed that the Lord daily bears our burdens. Not only did the Lord lead his people out of slavery in Egypt, but he provided for their every need. In war with those who desired to conquer Israel, the Lord defeated foreign armies. All of this was done by God even when the people were unfaithful.

How is God’s faithfulness not dependent upon human faithfulness?

How many times do we see this truth repeated in the scriptures?

Let us pray …We give to you the burdens in our soul, Heavenly Father. Set us free in Jesus name we pray. Amen.

Pastor Norm

​DAY 31
1 Peter 3:13-22 Suffering for Righteousness Sake

13Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.

18For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, 20because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. 21Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

If there was one attribute that characterizes Christians, according to Peter, it would be hope. One of the gifts that goes hand in hand with the promise of forgiveness and new life is hope for the future. This is not hope based on our capacity to improve our situation. Instead, it is the hope that comes from knowing our lives are in the hands of our merciful Father.

Being able to account for that hope when confronted by nonbelievers is part of our witness. We are reminded that when we give an account of what we believe, we are to do so with gentleness and reverence. The hope that inhabits us is not of our own making. It is the Spirit’s work upon us.

• If you were asked, how would you explain the hope that is in you, given all the darkness that fills the world?

• How is hope linked to faith? How is hopelessness or despair linked to faithlessness?

Let us pray…Gracious God, my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; no merit of my own I claim, but wholly lean on Jesus name. Amen.

Pastor Norm
DAY​ 32
John 14:15-21

15{Jesus said,} “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. 18I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.”

Jesus’ words of assurance to his disciples strike at the heart of one of our deepest fears as human beings: the fear of being abandoned, to be left as an orphan. Jesus had just finished telling his disciples that he was going to suffer and die at the hands of those who found his teaching intolerable. The disciples had every reason to feel that they would soon be alone. Certainly, these men who had left behind their normal lives to follow Jesus on his path had to be a bit worried about these words. Jesus had become the one they trusted for guidance and support. He was the one they depended on to lead them in right paths. He had become like a father to them. And then he told them he was soon going to die.

· What evidence do you see in our world that being “orphaned” is one of our most basic fears?

· What does it do to our sense of belonging to be abandoned by those we love?

Recognizing their fear, Jesus assured his disciples that he was not orphaning them. He was sending someone in his place who would look after them. The Holy Spirit will abide in them and keep them in his Word. He will counsel and support them in their daily lives.

All too often, the sin in us tempts us to attribute to the Spirit those things which are actually our own will and desire. But Jesus assures us that the work of the Spirit is to show us who God is. The Spirit is revealing God’s gifts to his chosen ones. These gifts are visible to the eyes of faith, even when they are obscure to the world.

· What are some of the ways we try claim our plans as the work of the Spirit?

· What are some of the ways we try to claim the work of the Spirit as our own work?

Let us pray…Heavenly Father, thank you for not leaving us alone to the ways of this world. Free us from sin and temptation. Set our hearts centered in You. In Jesus name, we pray. Amen.

Pastor Norm
DAY 33

  Sixteenth century Reformer Martin Luther wrote almost 500 years ago about responding to pandemics. Historians tell us that healthy people did all they could to avoid the plague. They fled the cities leaving behind their sick and dying. The shops were closed, and doctors refused to see patients, but Martin Luther refused to leave. He chose to stay and minister to the sick, literally living his life in the shadow of death.

  With the COVID-19 changing how daily life looks, we have much to learn from Martin Luther. In a letter entitled, “Whether one may flee from a Deadly Plague,” he explained the importance of caring for our neighbor. He wrote these wise words that can help inform the way we approach things happening in our world right now.

  “I shall ask God mercifully to protect us. Then I shall fumigate, help purify the air, administer medicine and take it. I shall avoid places and persons where my presence is not needed in order not to become contaminated and thus perchance inflict and pollute others and so cause their death as a result of my negligence. If God should wish to take me, he will surely find me and I have done what he has expected of me and so I am not responsible for either my own death or the death of others. If my neighbor needs me however I shall not avoid place or person but will go freely as stated above. See this is such a God-fearing faith because it is neither brash no foolhardy and does not tempt God.”

  Luther’s Works, Volume 43 p. 132

  Luther does not encourage his readers to expose themselves recklessly to danger. His letter constantly straddles two competing goods: honoring the sanctity of one’s own life and honoring the sanctity of those in need. Luther makes it clear that God gives humans a tendency toward self-protection and trusts that they will take care of their bodies. He defends public health measures such as quarantines and seeking medical attention when available. In fact, Luther proposes that not to do so is to act recklessly.

  An offering of help and kindness during a time that can be isolating for families can help bind us together. Martin Luther defined godliness simply, as serving God. For Luther, the way to serve God was to serve our neighbor. We have all experienced the paradox of gifting: that it is more blessed to give than to receive.

  Psalm 41:1 Blessed is the one who considers the poor. In the day of trouble, the Lord delivers him.

  Prayer: Lord, give Your people Your peace that we may shine brightly in a dark world. Grant us the courage to live faithfully even during hard times. Show Your mercy and heal those who are suffering in Your fallen creation. Most of all Lord, come. Restore the world You have made and make all things new. We pray that Your will would be done. Amen.

  Karl Arnst
  Assisting Minister

DAY 34
Acts 1:12-26

12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. 13 And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. 14 All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

15 In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said, 16 “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.” 18 (Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. 19 And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20 “For it is written in the Book of Psalms, “‘May his camp become desolate, and let there be no one to dwell in it’; and “ ‘Let another take his office.’

21 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” 23 And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

The fulfillment of Scripture is a recurring theme in the book of Acts. All sorts of things that might appear to be random or contrary to God’s plan are understood to be in accord with Scripture and part of God’s plan. In this episode, Judas’ betrayal of Jesus and his eventual death are understood as fitting into God’s overall plan of salvation. Luke does not explore here the relationship between divine necessity and human responsibility. He simply states that Judas’ actions were a fulfillment of Scripture.

What significance do you find in the differences between this recollection of Judas’ death and the version in Matthew 27:3-10?

If Judas’ actions were part of God’s plan, how can Scripture say he was responsible for what he did?

The remaining eleven determine that they must replace Judas so that their number will again be complete. They have clear requirements for the replacement. (Note that these requirements rule out Paul, whose story will fill half of the book of Acts).

Why do you think it was so important to replace Judas?

What do the specific qualifications the eleven were looking for tell us about what they considered important?

Eventually, it will become important for believers to be able to witness to what they have not seen. As time passes and the church grows, the witnesses of the Gospel will include people who never heard Jesus teach, never witnessed a healing, never saw him risen from the dead. But for now, the eleven find it important for the replacement to be a first- hand witness, and they determine that the best way to choose between the two candidates is through the casting of lots. They assume that God will make his will known in this way.

Do you think there is any significance to the fact that we never hear another word about Matthias?

Let us prayer … Gracious God, we face a historical reality that does not favor You or the Your church. Instill in us your wisdom, words, and deeds, so that we may serve to bring Christ to our family, friends, and neighbors. May we be a reflection of Christ. In Jesus, we pray. Amen.
Pastor Norm
DAY 35
Psalm 68:1-10
1Let God arise, and let his enemies be scattered; let those who hate him flee before him. 2Let them vanish like smoke when the wind drives it away; as the wax melts at the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God. 3But let the righteous be glad and rejoice before God let them also be merry and joyful. 4Sing to God, sing praises to his Name; exalt him who rides upon the heavens; Yahweh is his name, rejoice before him! 5Father of orphans, defender of widows, God in his holy habitation! 6God gives the solitary a home and brings forth prisoners into freedom; but the rebels shall live in dry places. 7O God, when you went forth before your people, when you marched | through the wilderness, the earth shook, and the skies poured down rain, at the presence of God, the God of Sinai, at the presence of God, the | God of Israel. 9You sent a gracious rain, O God, upon your inheritance; you refreshed the land when it was weary. 10Your people found their home in it; in your goodness, O God, you have made provision for the poor.

The psalmist celebrates the righteous judgment and the abundant gifts that the Lord gives. He looks out for the needy and protects his people from their enemies. His love for orphans and widows is a defining characteristic of his nature.

Why is it important to praise the Lord for his goodness and equity?

Does it help us to appreciate the Lord when we think about his works?

Let us prayer … Christ Jesus, our Savior, you reached out to feed the hungry and heal the sick. May Your example guide our choices this day. In Jesus, we pray. Amen.
Pastor Norm
DAY 36
1 Peter 4:12-19; 5:6-11

12Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 15But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” 19Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

6Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 8Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Peter is clear about telling believers that they will suffer for the faith. Jesus suffered and so shall we. He was insulted, persecuted, and killed so why would those who love and follow him think it would be any different for us? Peter explains that suffering such as this, for Christ’s sake, should not cause us to be ashamed. Instead it brings God glory.

No one asks to suffer, to be sure. But how does our suffering for Christ indicate our faith in him?

Peter urged believers to cast all of their concerns on Jesus who protects them from the prowling enemy. We are to resist the devil and be aware of his tempting ways even as we await future glory in Christ.

How often do you think about Satan prowling around like a roaring lion seeking to eat you alive?

How does that drive you to the comfort of Jesus?

Let us prayer … Saving Messiah, our lives are burden these days from stressful relationships, work, and covi-19. Please our burdens and gift us with Your graceful peace. In Jesus, we pray. Amen.
Pastor Norm
DAY 37
1 Peter 4:12-19; 5:6-11

12Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 15But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. 16Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 17For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18And “If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” 19Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

6Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 8Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 10And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Peter is clear about telling believers that they will suffer for the faith. Jesus suffered and so shall we. He was insulted, persecuted, and killed so why would those who love and follow him think it would be any different for us? Peter explains that suffering such as this, for Christ’s sake, should not cause us to be ashamed. Instead it brings God glory.

No one asks to suffer, to be sure. But how does our suffering for Christ indicate our faith in him?

Peter urged believers to cast all of their concerns on Jesus who protects them from the prowling enemy. We are to resist the devil and be aware of his tempting ways even as we await future glory in Christ.

How often do you think about Satan prowling around like a roaring lion seeking to eat you alive?

How does that drive you to the comfort of Jesus?

Let us prayer … Saving Messiah, our lives are burden these days from stressful relationships, work, and covi-19. Please our burdens and gift us with Your graceful peace. In Jesus, we pray. Amen.
Pastor Norm
DAY 38
John 17:1-11

1When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 5And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed. 6I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. 8For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.”

Today’s gospel reading is from Jesus’ prayer on behalf of his disciples. It comes just before Jesus’ arrest, trial, and crucifixion. In it we see Jesus’ request of the Father, his will for his followers and his faith that God the Father will protect and sustain them. It may seem rather strange to hear Jesus asking to be “glorified.” It does not fit neatly with how we tend to think of Jesus, as humble and self-denying. We also have in our ears the witness of the other gospels, and Jesus’ desire to have the cup pass from him if possible. But here we see Jesus calling upon the Father to glorify the Son, with a clear sense that what has taken place and what is about to take place are not to be avoided. In glorifying the Son, in raising him from the dead, the Father will be glorified because the world will see who he really is.

Is Jesus, after all of his self-giving, now seeking his own gain? In what way does Jesus show the nature of true glory?

Throughout this prayer, the events of the past, present, and future are brought together in this “hour.” Jesus spoke of future events as if they had already happened (“I am no longer in the world”) and past events (being glorified in his followers) as not yet complete. Jesus’ prayer is on our behalf too, and not just for those near him. Jesus appealed for unity among his followers, the same unity that is shared between God the Father and God the Son. It is Jesus’ will that his followers would be one, as Father and Son are one.

What do you think it means for a diverse people to be “one”? In what sense are the Father and the Son “one”? How does that help us understand what Jesus is talking about here?

Let us prayer … Heavenly Father, Jesus prays for us. He seeks Your protection to bring safety to our lives. Through Your Son, you do just that. Fill us with Your joy and peace, so that we can bring to others Your holy love. In Jesus, we pray. Amen.

​Pastor Norm
DAY 39
Every day, every moment, we are given choices. From the moment we wake up we have choices. Will I get up? Or will I hit the snooze button? Or not hit the snooze button and just go back to sleep? After I get up, do I eat cereal for breakfast? Or bacon and eggs? All day long we have choices, some small, some big, but we are making decisions, choices, all day long. Every waking moment.



Most of the time we are in control of the choices, but not always. There are larger forces in play. Like the child who has a choice in which chores to do. “You may do the laundry all week, or the dishes all week.” It’s not a choice of doing chores or not, it’s a choice of which chore do you want to do.

We have big choices and small choices to make. The biggest choice we make is whether we believe. Do we choose to be one of God’s children? We have the opportunity each day to “choose this day whom you will worship?” Hopefully we all respond as Joshua did “As for me and my house, we will worship the Lord.”

Even though we believe, and worship, and pray. There are things we cannot control. We cannot control pandemics, we cannot control the cattle market, or international trade, or the weather.

What we can control is our personal response, our personal actions. In the face of larger forces, we can choose to be bitter or fearful, retreating under the covers all day,—or grateful and optimistic.

We can choose every day to get up, suit up, and show up! We can choose each day to embrace the challenges ahead, and be grateful for the opportunities we have each day. And we can choose to act on those opportunities!

Let’s pray——Father, You are the most powerful, omnipotent, force in our lives, and in this world. We thank You, and praise You, for wanting us to be part of Your life. We humbly ask for Your help and guidance each day as we boldly act to show You and Your love to others in these trying times. Amen.


Assisting Minister

Richard Galloway
DAY 40
Numbers 11:24-30

24Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord. And he gathered seventy men of the elders of the people and placed them around the tent. 25Then the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the Spirit that was on him and put it on the seventy elders. And as soon as the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied. But they did not continue doing it. 26Now two men remained in the camp, one named Eldad, and the other named Medad, and the Spirit rested on them. They were among those registered, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp. 27And a young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.” 28And Joshua the son of Nun, the assistant of Moses from his youth, said, “My lord Moses, stop them.” 29But Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” 30And Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp.

Sometimes our desire for good order in the church causes us to butt heads with the Holy Spirit. While Moses gathered up the elders of Israel and they received the gift of prophesy through the Holy Spirit, two men stayed behind in the camp. Eldad and Medad didn’t join the gathering of elders, yet the Spirit came to rest upon them, too. They prophesied right where they were, in the midst of the camp.

This was not how things were supposed to go. There was a meeting and a plan — and Joshua didn’t think this sort of thing should be allowed. He wanted Moses to stop the two men. But Moses recognized that the Word they were given to speak was a Word the people in the camp needed to hear. Rather than seeking to restrain the gifts of the Spirit, Moses celebrated the gift God had given these two men.

• What are some ways we seek to restrain the work of the Spirit for the sake of good order? On the other hand, how can lack of concern for good order in the church lead to problems?

• For us, as Christians, how do we properly discern when a word of prophesy comes from the Spirit and when it is of a different origin?

Let us prayer … Send your Spirit to us, O God. Gift us with the talents necessary to share the awesome saving message of Jesus Christ. People need Him. Make us your instrument. In Jesus, we pray. Amen.

Pastor Norm 
DAY 41
Acts 2:1-21

1When the day of Pentecost arrived, {the disciples} were all together in one place. 2And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

There is tremendous power in wind. It can erode the land. It can slam doors and bend crops to the ground. When violent and out of control, wind can destroy everything in its path. This everyday occurrence, one we often don’t even take note of unless it is gusty and violent, is also one of the most powerful forces in nature.

In Acts, the coming of the Holy Spirit wasn’t a little breeze or one breezy gust. As the disciples were gathered together trying to figure out what to do next, the Holy Spirit came upon them like a tornado. The Spirit filled that room and shaped everything it touched.

As the disciples spoke, their words were received in countless languages. The fear and trembling that had filled them since Jesus had ascended into heaven was replaced with confidence in the message they had been called to share. The story of a lowly carpenter’s son who had suffered a violent death became THE story of God’s deeds of power. That wind that rushed through that house and impacted their lives changed everything!

The power of the Holy Spirit made it possible for the disciples to do the work they were called to do. It made their message understandable to the crowd that gathered for Pentecost, and gave them the faith and courage to take on a mission for which they had no particular training. That same Spirit is at work among us still, shaping our reality and inspiring our witness.

• Are the gifts of the Spirit reserved for magnificent displays like Pentecost? What are some everyday miracles you have noticed, or failed to notice before?

• What are some ways you see the Holy Spirit at work in your context our community and our congregation?

Let us prayer … Spirit of God enter our lives. Fill us with the gospel message of Jesus, Our Savior. Direct to share God’s saving grace with others. In Jesus, we pray. Amen.

Pastor Norm


DAY 42
John 7:37-39

37On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” 39Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

Jesus speaks to those who realize their spiritual thirst, who know they are not righteous in and of themselves. To thirsty souls, his words are a comfort; to those who are “full of themselves,” Jesus’ words seem presumptuous. But we know that all are thirsty, whether they realize it or not. So, we preach that the Spirit of the Lord is ready to fill the thirst in us. The promise is that the Spirit is being unleashed upon believers. Those who belong to Christ will be filled with the righteousness of his living water.

• In what ways does faith quench our thirst? In what ways does faith make us thirsty for more?

• Why must we look to Christ for righteousness and not to ourselves?

Let us prayer … Heavenly Father, the world is like a dessert that dries up our spirituality in You. Send Your Spirit upon me so that my thirst for you can be quenched. In Jesus, we pray. Amen.

Pastor Norm
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