Good Friday


Good Friday Worship Service ~ April 7th at 7 PM

“I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”  ~ Luke 23:43

There were three crosses on Calvary. Jesus was crucified between two criminals. As Isaiah prophesied, “He was numbered with the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12). At first both of those condemned criminals joined with the crowd in taunting Jesus. Matthew 27:38-44

But on that dreadful day as time passed and one of those crucified men observed how the innocent Jesus willingly endured the injustice of vicious words and atrocious deeds, a great change took place in his heart. When the other thief continued to taunt Jesus, he rebuked him: “Don’t you fear God since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” (Luke 23:40-41)

The condemned man openly confessed that he was guilty of the crimes he committed and justly deserved the punishment he was receiving. As he faced an imminent death, his spirit must have shuddered to think of standing before God whose holy judgment would condemn him to a death far worse than crucifixion. But there was Jesus right next to him. Jesus, his Savior! “Remember me,” he pleaded for Jesus to rescue him from the death he deserved from God. The repentant man placed his full trust in Jesus to save him from the judgment of eternal punishment, from hell itself.

Oh, what sweet words came from the lips of Jesus: “Today you will be with me in paradise.” Jesus comforted the man that when his eyes closed in death that very day, he would not stand before God fearing his wrath. Instead, he would walk with God as his friend sharing in the joy of his eternal blessings. The man would have life eternal with his Savior and all believers in the glory of heaven.

These words of Jesus from the cross bring us great comfort, too. Guilty of sin, we deserve the judgment of God to be separated from him in the everlasting suffering of hell. But that is why the center cross on Calvary is so important. God laid our eternal punishment on his Son. Trusting in him as our Savior, we have the assurance of eternal life with him in the glory of heaven! He will remember us and fulfill his promise to take us there.

Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me!

~ Henry Francis Lyte (1847)

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Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday Worship Service ~ April 6th at 7 PM

The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
~ 1 Corinthians 11:23b-26

Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.  After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
~ John 13:3-5

Prayer: Dear Savior, before you performed the ultimate act of self-giving by offering your life as a ransom for the world, you also gave us a lasting testament of your loving sacrifice in Holy Communion. You, who came not to be served but to serve, washed your disciples’ feet as a parting token of your attitude of willing humiliation. Teach me to treasure this blessed sacrament and your holy example. Move me to serve others as you served. Amen.

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Delay not! Delay not! O sinner, draw near!
The waters of life are now flowing for you.
No price is demanded, the Savior is here;
Redemption is purchased, God’s promise is true.

~ Thomas Hastings 1784-1872

Palm Sunday

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the warhorses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.
~ Zechariah 9:9,10

God, our Heavenly Father, spoke through the prophet Zechariah. He foretold Jesus’ memorable entrance into Jerusalem on what we now call Palm Sunday. He exclaimed, Rejoice greatly…Shout..! This message built up hope, joy and excitement for the coming King and Savior.

Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. What kind of king rides on a lowly donkey? What kind of king seeks to proclaim peace to the nations–an extended peace without a single weapon of war?

Jesus did! Jesus rode into Jerusalem on that Sunday, knowing that he would face death on Friday. Jesus, the King, meekly entered Jerusalem for the proud and pompous. Jesus, the perfect One, rode on for the disobedient and defiant to face the punishment our sins deserved, so that he could win and proclaim the peace of God’s forgiveness.

So, rejoice greatly and shout! Your King came for you. And your King still comes to you through his Word to proclaim his peace and fill your heart with his joy.

Prayer: King Jesus, let the peace which you won for me rule my heart and mind. Let it overflow in joy in my life as well. Amen.

Ride on, ride on in majesty! Hark! All the tribes hosanna cry.
O Savior meek, pursue your road, with palms and scattered garments strowed.

Ride on, ride on in majesty! In lowly pomp ride on to die.
O Christ, your triumphs now begin o’er captive death and conquered sin.

Ride on, ride on in majesty! The angel armies of the sky
look down with sad and wondering eyes to see the approaching sacrifice.

Ride on, ride on in majesty! Your last and fiercest strife is nigh.
The Father on his sapphire throne awaits his own anointed Son.

Ride on, ride on in majesty! In lowly pomp ride on to die.
Bow your meek head to mortal pain, then take, O God, your power and reign.

Henry Hart Milman (1827)

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Perfect Salvation

My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.
~ 1 John 2:1

God, who created all things, made Adam and Eve in his own image, and intended them to be perfect. But when sin entered God’s world, it was no longer perfect. God’s family became corrupted by sin. Only by holding onto God’s promise to send a Savior, were they rescued from eternal damnation.

That Savior came as God promised: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:16-17)

After living a perfect life, Jesus took the punishment of the sins of the entire world upon himself while on that torturous cross. He died and was buried. Then, with the sins of the world paid for, Jesus rose again to life and returned to his rightful place in heaven. There he now speaks to the Heavenly Father in our defense. When we sin, Jesus does not point to our good works as if they could somehow cancel out the sins that we have done. Instead, he reminds the Father of his perfect life and sacrifice for us.

One day soon, each of us will have to give an accounting to the Lord God Almighty, who rightfully demands perfection. Thankfully, the good works of Jesus Christ the Righteous One, which through faith in him are credited to our account, is all the evidence needed to be perfect before the Father.

Jesus Christ offers to everyone full and free forgiveness through faith in him. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. (Mark 16:16)

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I cling to you as my only hope of standing firm on the day of judgment. Until then, keep me from sin so that I do not bring shame on your holy name. Amen.

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Sunday Schedule

Living Hope is assisting other WELS churches in the Omaha area until their pastoral vacancies are filled. Pastor Helwig, Pastor Schell, and Pastor Jeske have worked out a schedule so that all congregations will be served with Word & Sacrament. It is a blessing to be able to help our fellow believers!

Living Hope’s new schedule will continue until notified:

8:45 AM Worship Service
10:15 AM Sunday School & Bible Study

Living Hope’s Calendar with Service and Sunday School times.

Omaha Area WELS Churches

Christ’s Clear Words of Truth

[Jesus] then began to teach [his disciples] that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. …Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
~ Mark 8:31,34

When Jesus spoke, he spoke the truth plainly. His words were spoken out of love for believers. He wanted us to know with undeniable certainty the depth of his love.

Jesus spoke of his death that would win complete forgiveness for every sin, “The Son of Man…must be killed.” He would humbly set aside his glory and unwaveringly go to the cross where he would be crucified and die for us.

Jesus also spoke words of triumph! “…after three days rise again.” Even as Jesus prepared to journey on the road to the death-cross on Calvary, his lips delivered a message of light and life.

In the Bible, Jesus speaks the truth plainly to us. We can trust him when he lovingly calls us to follow him. He does not promise that following him will make our life comfortable and carefree. Rather, he tells us plainly that there will be a cross to carry. His selfless love for us, inspires us to deny our own sinful, selfish ways and follow him.

One day, because we believe in him and follow him, we will enjoy the eternal victory his death and resurrection won for us. We know this is true, for he has clearly told us so! “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:1-3)

Prayer: Dearest Jesus, you are the way and the truth and the life. Thank you for your words which inspire me to deny myself and to gladly follow you. Amen.

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Having It All

Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
~ Psalm 73:25-26

Jesus’ story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31 is a great illustration of the truths in our verse for today.

Jesus explained that the rich man lived in luxury every day. From an earthly standpoint, that man had it all.

Lazarus was a beggar covered in sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. However, from an eternity standpoint, it was Lazarus who had it all!

Jesus explained that when Lazarus died, he was carried to Abraham’s side in heaven. Lazarus shared the same faith in his Savior as Abraham and so he shared the same eternal destination as Abraham. In heaven, he no longer hungered, thirsted, or lived with sores, but lived with his Savior forevermore!

How about the rich man? This man, who “had it all” on earth, lacked what he needed for eternity. He had no faith in his Savior and so when he died, his soul experienced torment and agony in hell.

Which of the two men truly had it all? Which life would you desire?

If we are honest, we must admit that we can be short-sighted and earthly-minded at times and wish for the life of that rich man. But take a look at Lazarus in eternity! We often waste time and energy pursuing earthly desires and being worried about temporary things that the second we die mean absolutely nothing.

One day our lives on this earth and even the earth itself will pass away. But the life which our Savior died and rose to give us for eternity will not. He is our strength each day through faith in him. He is our portion forever!

Prayer: Lord, I love you with all my heart. You are my greatest treasure now and forever.

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