https://ascensionpgh.com/advanced-due-date-calculator/

Holy Saturday is the odd day of Holy Week.  It is a day when seemingly nothing happened.  The Gospels are largely silent about this day, the Sabbath Day whose coming pressured the faithful to rest Jesus’ body in the grave as quickly as they could.  I do think that we know something about this day.  It was likely a day of grieving.  A heart stopped beating. He breathed his last. A son, a teacher and a friend died.  The family and friends of Jesus were empty on this Holy of Saturdays.  The realization that life as they knew it was over was overwhelming.    

That Saturday was also a day of worship.  “They saw the tomb where Jesus’ body was placed. Then they went back to prepare burial spices and perfumes. They rested quietly on the Sabbath, as commanded.”  Luke 23:55-56.  So they went to church. . . and they waited.  We can identify with their grieving and waiting – we too are grieving the loss of life as we knew it. Maybe normal will never return. We are also waiting for this COVID-19 pandemic to ease and for life to return to normal.  We have a lot of trouble waiting for things.  We are generally not very patient as people. We have fast food, drive up windows, and self-check out lines because we don’t want to wait.  We can get in our cars and go anywhere, anytime; see who we want to see, when we want to see them. 

It should not surprise us that waiting is the hardest part of faith.  Yet waiting is an act of faith.  We do not wait as the aimless whose restless hearts live in anxiety and fear.  We wait upon the Lord.  We know this Lord as the one who loved us that He gave His only-begotten Son who was born in our flesh and blood to suffer and die in our place upon the cross.  We are not waiting for the unknown but for that which we know in the promise of Christ.

On this day the Church has historically welcomed new people to the faith through baptism and confirmation.  The dark night of Holy Saturday gives way to the bright morning of Christ’s resurrection and this has been a symbolic moment rich in imagery and meaning for the newly baptized and confirmed.  You might say that the whole life of the baptized is a life of waiting, of joyful expectation not complete until we close our eyes this side of glory and awaken them to see Jesus face to face.  Some have recently lost loved ones and hopefully will be comforted by the thought of the fulfillment of the baptismal promise given to those loved ones so long ago.  We think of our wait for the blest reunion with those who have gone before, who died in Christ.  We think of the restless character of the soul searching for place and belonging that is not stilled or met until we rest in Christ.  Yes, whether you like it or not, Christian life involves much waiting.

Easter is not a surprise ending for us but the ending we know and for which we hope.  This day is sort of like the children waiting for Christmas morning to see what gifts were brought.  We wait because we know there are gifts given, blessing awaiting us, and a future prepared.  Such a wait is not drudgery even when it may seem long.  It is how we anticipate in this life the promise of the life to come.  So wait with me. . . what is to come is beyond imagination and far beyond our expectations — what God has prepared for those who love Him.  And it all starts with an empty tomb.  Shhhhhhh…. Easter is coming!

Sermon Recap: True Followers

What Does it Mean to Follow Jesus?

We are called to be followers of Jesus. What’s involved in being a true follower? We must follow in loving obedience to God’s authority. Put His will ahead of our own wants and desires. We submit to a life of humble service. Free from arrogance and pride, we seek opportunities to serve others in the various situations of our lives. Everyone can serve someone somewhere. Finally, we follow with steadfast faithfulness to Jesus. If we commit to following Jesus, He will help us to become transformed more and more into His likeness!

Ascension online giving now supported by Vanco

Ascension Lutheran Church has signed up with a new payment provider called Vanco, which specializes in non-profit organizations. This not only allows for online donations via credit card or ACH payment, but also allows for automatic weekly or monthly donations.

The fees associated with ACH payments, which draw from your checking account, are even lower than credit card payments, so we would encourage members to try it out! You can create a new account in minutes. For those interested, please visit our web page on Giving:

https://ascensionpgh.com/giving/

Pearl Harbor Day, 2019

From Pearl Harbor to Calvary

On Sunday, December 8th, 2019, please join us for church service and hear a special message about the incredible story of Captain Mitsuo Fuchida, the man who led the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, but later discovered the grace of God, and became a Christian evangelist in the most unlikely of stories.

For those interested to read more about this story, take a look at this article:
https://www.christiantreasury.org/content/mitsuo-fuchida-forgotten-story-faith

Welcome, Pastor Martin Lee!

Ascension Lutheran Church is pleased to announce that Pastor Martin Lee has accepted the call to serve as our Intentional Interim Pastor. For those who would like to know more about Pastor Lee, he has provided a brief biography which can be found below.

Biography

I was born into a bi-racial family and named after Martin Luther King Jr., who of course was named after the first Martin of the Reformation.  By the age of 7, I had lived in seven foster homes and was then adopted by two incredible Lutheran school teachers. God is good. I attended Lutheran schools from Kindergarten through 12th grade.

I received a BA degree from Concordia University, Ann Arbor, MI and a Master of Divinity from Concordia Theological Seminary, Ft. Wayne, IN, and am a doctoral student at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO.  While a student at Concordia Theological Seminary, I also studied at the US Navy Chaplain’s Candidate School and graduated from the officer’s school in Newport, RI. Since graduating from college, I have been a professional church worker in ten different churches (four with schools) over the last twenty-six years.  I have served in small, program, large, and corporate sized congregations; in positions varying from youth ministry to senior administrative pastor.

My first call out of seminary was to a “mission” congregation in southern California requesting me to seek outside employment. I was hired by UBS PaineWebber, where I had oversight of a large portfolio of private investments, including many non-profit endowments. I have served in the securities industry providing financial planning advice, developing planned gifts for churches, and developing estate and retirement benefit plans for church workers over the last 20 years.  I also serve as the financial and recording secretary on the Intentional Ministry Conference (IMC) Board of Directors.

In 1994, I married Anne R. (Lockwood), who is an estate planning attorney. Together we have been blessed with five children: Kyle (23), Kelsey (20), Justin (18), Rachel (16), and Katie (12).  I enjoy spending time with my family, running, landscaping, and reading. I also love spending time with God’s people, and am passionate about working with congregations in times of transition.

 


 

 

 

Be Still!

God has given us many good things to do while we are in the world but our commitments often exhaust us and make us lose focus on what is most important. To restore and rebuild our exhausted hearts, minds and spirits, God calls us to rest in His presence. He calls us to come to Him and He’ll bear our burdens. He’ll remind us of our glorious, eternal future and bring perspective to our chaotic lives. Take time this week to be still and focus on Christ every day. You WILL feel less burdened, less anxiety, less worried and less irritable. He promises!

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday, February 14, 2018, marks the beginning of the season of Lent. Lent is a time when many Christians prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. Ash Wednesday emphasizes two themes: our sinfulness before God and our human mortality. The service focuses on both themes, helping us to realize that both have been triumphed through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Join us for worship services today at 1pm and 7pm. There will be free pre-service meals at 11am and 5pm.

What’s Your Why?

What’s Your Why? Everyone has a Why. Why do you get up in the morning? Why do you exist? Your Why is the purpose, cause or belief that inspires you to do what you do. The Apostle Paul reminds us in Romans 12 of our collective “Why” — “God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense” — G.R.A.C.E. Christ carried all of our pains, our ugliness — all of the things wrong with us. God piled all our sins, everything we’ve ever done wrong, on him and him alone. He took the punishment for us and made us whole. His sacrifice for us is our Why. Inspired by that, what then do you do? That’s where our current Whole Life study takes us next. There is one thing for certain: when you think, act and communicate starting with this Why, you can inspire others.  Join us on Sundays at 9:30 for worship and family education immediate to follow.

Passover Seder Meal – March 28th, 2018

We are excited to announce that we will celebrate Jesus in the Passover on Wednesday evening of Holy Week, March 28, 2018. We will start serving dinner at 6:00 pm. Those who cannot make it at six can be served up until the presentation begins.

At 7:00 Abraham Sandler, Congregational Leader of the Rock of Ages Messianic Jewish Congregation, will lead us in the ritual of the Seder with an emphasis on seeing Jesus in the Passover.

More information on Pastor Abraham can be found at http://www.rockofagesmjc.org

Ascension Music Team Kicks Back!

After a busy holiday season of singing, the members of Ascension’s Choir and Praise Team kicked back for a party. Lots of ’80’s songs were belted out and many, many lyrics were forgotten but a good time was had by all! Thanks to the Candreva’s for being wonderful hosts!