January 5-11, 2020

Jesus appears as the Christ, the Anointed One. The titles “Christ” and “Messiah” both mean “The Anointed One,” and they describe how God prepared Jesus for his mission. Since the days of Othniel (Judges 3:10), the Spirit of the Lord empowered God’s heroes to do his saving work. At his baptism, God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and with power and declared this son of Mary to be the Son of God—the one anointed to be the Savior of mankind.

This week’s readings focus our attention on Jesus’ baptism and the blessings that we receive through our baptism.

Here is this week’s “Together in the Word” for your personal and/or family devotional use.

May God continue to grow your faith, as you hear and study his Word this week!

Your Brother in Christ,
Pastor Wagner

December 29, 2019 – January 4, 2020

The twelve days of Christmas (the twelve days between Christmas and Epiphany) continue this week. The Festival of the Epiphany of our Lord, observed on January 6th, is the second oldest festival celebrated by the Church, dating to the second century. The Eastern Church commemorates the birth of Christ on this day, but the Western Church remembers it as the “Gentile Christmas” and celebrates Jesus who appeared as the Word for the world. The season of Epiphany (the Greek word for “appearance”) recalls how Jesus appeared to be the Son of God and the Savior of all people. Jesus appears as Savior of the Nations.

This week’s readings bring to mind the Lord’s faithfulness as we close out another year of his grace and lead us to rejoice that Jesus came to be the Savior of all – our Savior!

Here is this week’s “Together in the Word” for your personal and/or family devotional use.

God bless your celebration of the start of a new year this week. And may God continue to grow your faith, as you hear and study his Word this week!

Your Brother in Christ,
Pastor Wagner

December 22-28, 2019

What a marvelous mystery. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. God has come to help and save his people. That is the joy of our Savior’s incarnation. That is the center of this week’s celebration.

As we prepare for worship next weekend, we marvel at how God cares for his sons. He cared for his son, the nation of Israel—though they were rebellious. He cared for his Son, Jesus—though Herod raged against him. He even cares for his newly adopted sons—though we do not deserve it. God cared for us by sending his Son to deliver us from the corruption of sin and transform us into sons just like Jesus. That work of Christ gives us peace that only sons can have.

Here is this week’s “Together in the Word” for your personal and/or family devotional use.

God bless your celebration of your Savior’s birth this week. And may God continue to grow your faith, as you hear and study his Word this week!

Your Brother in Christ,
Pastor Wagner

December 15-21, 2019

God will come to save his people, just as he promised. He saves them through the virgin born Son of David who is also the Son of God, Immanuel. Today the Church prays for God to come in power to take away the burden of our sins. Since the Garden, there has been only one promised plan to do that: God would take on flesh and blood. Immanuel comes—God in the flesh—exactly as promised to save his people.

Here is this week’s “Together in the Word” for your personal and/or family devotional use.

God bless you, as you hear and read his Word and grow in faith this week!

Your Brother in Christ,
Pastor Wagner

December 8-14, 2019

The coming of Christ in history and his return at the end of time proclaim the good news of God’s mighty deliverance. Our hearts rejoice as we hear Isaiah describe our deliverance. James tempers our joyful anticipation of our Lord’s return with patience as we undergo daily trials. We take comfort in Jesus’ words of consolation to John the Baptist. Jesus is God’s chosen Deliverer.

Here is this week’s “Together in the Word” for your personal and/or family devotional use.

God bless you, as you hear and read his Word and grow in faith this week!


Your Brother in Christ,
Pastor Wagner

December 2-8, 2019

John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, fixes our attention on the need for true preparation for the Lord’s coming. Such preparation means repenting— recognizing how our sins have offended God and trusting him for the forgiveness he gives us in Christ. Jesus, the only Savior brings peace to a troubled heart.

Here is this week’s “Together in the Word” for your personal and/or family devotional use.

God bless you, as you hear and read his Word and grow in faith this week!


Your Brother in Christ,
Pastor Wagner


About “Together in the Word”

As Christians, we regularly hear encouragement from God’s Word to continue to hear and read and study God’s Word. We are commanded to let the Word of Christ dwell in us richly (Colossians 3:16) and to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). But how?

A good place to start is with your fellow Christians every Sunday morning. Come and be fed with God’s Word not only in worship but in our weekly Bible study, in which we dig deeper into God’s Word together. We learn from each other and grow together. If you aren’t regularly attending our Sunday morning Bible study, please join us next Sunday at 9:15.

But what about when you aren’t at church? If you’ve wondered where to begin with personal bible study or family devotions, you’re not alone. I’ve been there too. That’s why I’m sharing these resources with you.

I’m calling it “Together in the Word” because I hope this is something we can all do together. Every week, I’ll share with you a simple order of service to use for your personal or family devotions. It will include Scripture readings, prayer suggestions, a hymn of the week, portions of Scripture and the Catechism to commit to memory, and readings from the Lutheran Confessions. They’ll both tie into the church year (including readings and a hymn from the coming Sunday) and help us walk through the Bible and the Lutheran Confessions together.

To fully use “Together in the Word,” you’ll need three tools: (1) a Bible, (2) a Christian Worship hymnal, and (3) a copy of the Book of Concord (my recommended translation would be Concordia: the Lutheran Confessions).

As you use “Together in the Word,” it is designed to be flexible. I understand that not every individual or family will be able to use everything that is included. That’s okay. Please don’t let that prevent you from using any of it. If you are currently spending 5 minutes/day or less in personal or family devotions, the whole thing may seem overwhelming. Maybe start out just using a few of the pieces of “Together in the Word,” slowly expanding or adjusting as you see what works for you. (Also, if you already have a system or set of tools through which you are daily growing in faith as you dig into God’s Word and respond in prayer before your Father’s throne, you don’t have to give that up. If something in “Together in the Word” can help you further, great!)

I plan to make “Together in the Word” available on this blog every week for you to download for your own use. In addition, I will make printed copies available at Riverview Lutheran Church.

This is something new for Riverview. The timing is intentional. We are beginning a church year. Let’s begin right now to grow together. Let’s learn together. Let’s pray together. Let’s commit God’s Word to memory together. Let’s encourage one another. And as we do, we’ll not only be engaged in an important part of the mission of our congregation. I am confident that we will also be blessed tremendously both individually and as a congregation, because God promises that his Word never returns to him empty (Isaiah 55:11).

Please contact me if you have any questions about “Together in the Word.” I also welcome your feedback: What do you find most helpful about it? How are you or your family using it? What would be more helpful?

God bless you, as you hear and read his Word and grow in faith!

Your Brother in Christ,
Pastor Wagner

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