Lutheran Church News

Sunday, January 20, Pastor Ralph Mineo will offer a message titled “Why Do We Care?”

St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, North Baltimore
This Sunday, January 20, Pastor Ralph Mineo will offer a message titled “Why Do We Care?” based on John 2:1-11 at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in North Baltimore at 10:15 a.m.  Sunday School for all ages begins at 9:00 a.m.  Plan now to join us.  

St. John’s Lutheran Church, McComb
“Why Do We Care?” based on John 2:1-11 is the topic of Pastor Ralph Mineo’s sermon for January 20, at St. John ‘s Lutheran in McComb at 8:00 a.m. A joint adult Sunday School with the McComb United Methodist Church begins at 9:15 a.m.  We hope you will worship with us.

Count Your Blessings

… they had an argument. One of them slapped the other in the face.


Pastor Ralph J. Mineo

There’s an old story: two friends were walking through a desert. At one point on the journey, they had an argument. One of them slapped the other in the face.

The one who received the slap was hurt, but without saying a word, wrote in the sand: “TODAY MY BEST FRIEND SLAPPED ME IN THE FACE.”

They continued walking until they found an oasis. They were overjoyed as they jumped into the pool of refreshing, cool water. But the one who had been slapped got stuck in the mire and started to drown. His friend saved his life.

After recovering from the near-drowning, the one who was saved wrote on a stone: “TODAY MY BEST FRIEND SAVED MY LIFE.”

The friend who had slapped and saved his best friend asked him, “After I hurt you, you wrote in the sand. Now you write on stone. Why?”

The friend replied: “When you hurt me, I wrote it in sand, where winds of forgiveness would erase it away. When you saved my life, I engraved it on stone where no wind can ever erase it.”

This story gives us a great model to include God’s gift of forgiveness into our daily living. The sad truth is this: we often tend to do the opposite. We carve hurts and pains in stone. We hold grudges. We return again and again to the hurts.

It takes real wisdom, and a strong Christian heart, to even WANT to carve the hurts and pains in sand. It takes real faith to embrace the winds of forgiveness. It takes commitment and connection to God’s grace to let these winds flow through our lives.

An age-old song reminds us: “count your blessings.” Based on this story, we might translate that: “carve your blessings in stone.” It’s so much better for us to daily remember our blessings.

Remember this: our greatest blessing is Jesus, Lord and Savior! Carve THAT in stone! Carve all your blessings with it. Even when pains and hurts get carved in stone (sometimes it can’t be helped), our faith in Jesus will be the strongest carving on our souls. Jesus’ death on the cross and his resurrection has made it true!

Lutheran Church News

“Fire Starter” is the topic of Pastor Ralph Mineo’s sermon for January 13

St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, North Baltimore

This Sunday, January 13, the Sunday we celebrate the Baptism of our Lord, Pastor Ralph Mineo will offer a message titled “Fire Starter” based on Luke 3:15-17, 21-22 at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in North Baltimore at 10:15 a.m.  Sunday School for all ages begins at 9:00 a.m.  Plan now to join us.  

St. John’s Lutheran Church, McComb
“Fire Starter” based on Luke 3:15-17, 21-22 is the topic of Pastor Ralph Mineo’s sermon for January 13 the Sunday we celebrate the Baptism of our Lord, at St. John ‘s Lutheran in McComb at 8:00 a.m. A joint adult Sunday School with the McComb United Methodist Church begins at 9:15 a.m.  We hope you will worship with us.

Who Do You Listen To?:

You can listen to the voice of darkness, Satan, or choose to listen to the Holy Spirit. – a devotion by Ann Elaine Broughton


Who Do You Listen To?:

a devotion by Ann Elaine Broughton

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, no one can snatch them out of my hand” (John 10: 27-28 NIV).

Who do you listen to? I know there might be some people who are reading this who listen to an inner voice that says: “You are stupid”, “You are fat” “You will never amount to anything”, “Nobody loves you”, You will never succeed”. If you are a Christian you need to know that these words are not what Christ would want you to dwell on. You are an heir to the kingdom of God. “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:16-17 NIV).

You can listen to the voice of darkness, Satan, or choose to listen to the Holy Spirit. Satan is spoken of in the Bible as being the darkness. Jesus spoke to Paul about this. “I am sending you to them (Gentiles) to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me” (Acts 26:17-18 NIV). Satan would love for you to wallow in misery and self-condemnation. But the Holy Spirit within you will fill your soul with hope and peace. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13 NIV).

When you start saying negative things about yourself, you are in darkness. When Jesus was being tempted by Satan, he rebuked him. Jesus said, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only” (Matthew 4:10 NIV). I would suggest that you say the same thing to the devil.

“Away from me, Satan. The Bible says I am an heir of God. You have no authority over me because I am sealed with the Holy Spirit”.  You must be the one to change your thinking. Nobody can do that for you.

Dear Lord,

Please help me when my thoughts are full of negativity about myself. I know it is only the devil trying to convince me I am worthless. I know that he is wrong. Help me to immediately rebuke him, and believe the truth that only you can give me; that I am a child of God. Let your light in me shine before others so that they will see your love through my actions.

In Jesus’ name, Amen

Lutheran Church News – Jan. 6

“A Journey of Faith” based on Matthew 2:1-12 is the topic of Pastor Ralph Mineo’s sermon on Epiphany Sunday,


St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, North Baltimore
“A Journey of Faith” based on Matthew 2:1-12 is the topic of Pastor Ralph Mineo’s sermon on Epiphany Sunday, January 6,  at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in North Baltimore at 10:15 a.m.
The members of the 2019 Church Council will be installed.
Sunday School for all ages begins at 9:00 a.m. Plan now to join us.
St. John’s Lutheran Church, McComb
“A Journey of Faith” based on Matthew 2:1-12 is the topic of Pastor Ralph Mineo’s sermon on Epiphany Sunday, January 6,  at St. John ‘s Lutheran in McComb at 8:00 a.m.
The members of the 2019 Church Council will be installed.

A joint adult Sunday School with the McComb United Methodist Church begins at 9:15 a.m.  We hope you will worship with us.

Lutheran Church News

“Dedication to God” is the topic of Pastor Ralph Mineo’s sermon on Sunday, December 30….

St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, North Baltimore

“Dedication to God” based on Luke 2:41-52 is the topic of Pastor Ralph Mineo’s sermon on Sunday, December 30,  at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in North Baltimore at 10:15 a.m.  Sunday School for all ages begins at 9:00 a.m. Plan now to join us in worship.  

St. John’s Lutheran Church, McComb

“Dedication to God” based on Luke 2:41-52 is the topic of Pastor Ralph Mineo’s sermon on Sunday, December 30,  at St. John ‘s Lutheran Church in McComb at 8:00 a.m.  A joint adult Sunday School with the McComb United Methodist Church begins at 9:15 a.m.  We hope you will worship with us.

Lutheran Church News for St Luke’s and St John’s

December 23, “Endings and Beginnings” based on Luke 1:39-55 is the topic of Pastor Ralph Mineo’s sermon…..

St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, North Baltimore
“Endings and Beginnings” based on Luke 1:39-55 is the topic of Pastor Ralph Mineo’s sermon on Sunday, December 23,  at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in North Baltimore at 10:15 a.m.  The fourth candle of the Advent Wreath will be lit at the opening of worship to celebrate the Fourth Sunday in Advent.  Please join us.  Sunday School for all ages begins at 9:00 a.m. Plan now to join us on Christmas Eve at 9:15 p.m. for our Candlelight/Communion Worship Service.  

St. John’s Lutheran Church, McComb
On the Fourth Sunday of Advent, December 23, “Endings and Beginnings” based on Luke 1:39-55 is the topic of Pastor Ralph Mineo’s sermon.  The fourth candle of the Advent Wreath will be lit at the opening of worship to celebrate this Fourth Sunday in Advent. A joint adult Sunday School with the McComb United Methodist Church begins at 9:15 a.m.  Christmas Eve Worship at St. John’s is at 7:00 p.m.

“And the WORD Became Flesh”

When our souls whimper and whine, when we’re needy to the depths of our being, when we’re afraid of the darkness, God has given us someone to turn to…..

A devotion by Pastor Ralph J Mineo

There’s an old short story I think about every Christmas.

One night, a young child was afraid of the dark. “Mommy, Mommy,” the child called out. The mother quickly went to the child’s room. She tried to comfort her child, and eventually said, “Remember this: God is with you.” The child whimpered and whined: “But… but… but I want someone with skin on.”

The child wanted, even needed, a real person!

God knows our fears and struggles. God knows all the needs of the human heart. God knows our need to be cared for and loved by someone with skin on!

So, God sent his Son, Jesus! This is the foundation of the Christmas message, the annual celebration we’re so close to.

Jesus is God with skin on! Jesus is one of us. Jesus left his heavenly throne of glory and power to become human, eventually to sacrifice his life for our salvation.

At the beginning of John’s Gospel account, we hear: “The Word became flesh.” The foundation of our faith is that Jesus is truly divine and truly human. Jesus is God with flesh. Jesus is God with skin on.

So, when our souls whimper and whine, when we’re needy to the depths of our being, when we’re afraid of the darkness, God has given us someone to turn to: God with skin on, Jesus.



Christians are called to be the “Body of Christ” in the world around us. Christians are called to embody the presence of God. Together, as disciples of Jesus, we are God with skin on.

We do that by the way we live, by serving others, by bringing God’s love to others. Our calling as believers is to comfort others in their times of darkness. This comfort isn’t always having answers or advice. Very often it means being present with others in their darkness. Sometimes it’s called the “ministry of presence.” We could also call it “the work of God, with skin on.”

This kind of ministry, being there for others, often takes planning. It always takes energy. Why not plan today to be God with skin on for someone in darkness!

What a holy thing to remember this Christmas and always: God planned for us. God’s eternal energy and love became flesh for us and for our salvation. Rejoice! Spread this joy – to the world!

Lutheran Church News

December 16, the congregations will participate in a multi-generational worship service “Christmas Together”

St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, North Baltimore

On the Third Sunday of Advent, December 16, the congregation will participate in a multi-generational worship service “Christmas Together” based on 1 Peter 1:22, 4:7-11 at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in North Baltimore at 10:15 a.m.  The third candle of the Advent Wreath will be lit at the opening of worship to celebrate the Third Sunday in Advent.  Please join us.  Sunday School for all ages begins at 9:00 a.m. Plan now to join us on Christmas Eve at 9:15 p.m. for our Candlelight/Communion Worship Service.  

Christmas Together

St. John’s Lutheran Church, McComb

On the Third Sunday of Advent, December 16, the people of St. John’s Lutheran Church (McComb) and the McComb United Methodist Church (MUMC) will join together for a Christmas program, “Christmas Together,” based on 1 Peter 1:22, 4:7-11 during worship. The children, youth, and leaders will be attending and presenting at BOTH services on December 16 at 8:00 a.m. at St. John’s and 10:30 a.m. at MUMC.  The third candle of the Advent Wreath will be lit at the opening of worship to celebrate the Third Sunday in Advent. A joint adult Sunday School with the McComb United Methodist Church befgins at 9:15 a.m.  Christmas Eve Worship at St. John’s is at 7:00 p.m.

A Christmas Devotion

The first to hear the news of the Christ child were the shepherds.

Shepherds Worship Baby Jesus: a devotion by Ann E. Broughton

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:8-11 NIV

The first to hear the news of the Christ child were the shepherds. The scripture says that they hurried off to find the baby, and then they went and told everyone about what the angels told them. Maybe the angels told the news to the shepherds because Jesus would become our shepherd. These shepherds bent their knee to worship the Christ child and later they would be saved through this little baby when He grew up to be the great Shepherd. Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—-just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10:14-15 NIV).

He sacrificed His life to save us from the enemy (Satan) and death. Just like a shepherd who would lay down his life for his sheep, so did Jesus become the ultimate sacrifice for our sins.  Jesus is our shepherd who loves us. “He tends his flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young” (Isaiah 40:11 NIV).


 I like to imagine Jesus holding me close to His heart when I am having struggles or when life’s burdens threaten to overwhelm me. I picture myself in His arms safe and sound, away from the enemy(Satan) and secure in His love. Jesus calls us by our name and leads us.”He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them and his sheep follow him because they know his voice” (John 10:3-4 NIV).

We are referred to in scripture as the sheep…”We all like sheep have been led astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6 NIV). Jesus is our shepherd calling us by name while we wander in the wilderness of sin and hopelessness.It is up to us to listen to His voice and run to his arms to receive his forgiveness and grace. In order to hear His voice we need to be still long enough to meditate in prayer.

This is a busy season and sometimes it is easy to be all caught up in the shopping and parties and forget about the baby Jesus the shepherds went to see.Let us remember why we celebrate Christmas and listen to our Shepherd’s voice.He is calling to all of us to serve Him.

Dear Lord, Thank you for sending us Jesus as our shepherd. Help us to listen to His voice and come running to Him when we are lost. Let us never go so far away from Him that we can’t hear His voice anymore, because it is then that the enemy will sneak up on us and steal away our peace. Thank you for saving us and holding us close. May we remember that the baby born on Christmas became the shepherd who sacrificed himself so that we can live forever.

In Jesus’ name,
Amen