“SURPRISE!”

An Easter devotion by Pastor Ralph J. Mineo

An Easter devotion by Pastor Ralph J. Mineo

I get surprised all the time, especially by God. It’s not unusual for me use an expression like this when God surprises me: “The Holy Spirit slapped me up side of the head to get my attention.” This happens most often when I make a firm decision, but God has something else in mind.

Such divine nudges don’t really hurt, but they ARE surprising. Truth be told, this happens all the time. Sometimes, part of the surprise is realizing I’ve relied too much on myself. Trusting God, relying on God, is basic to the call of being a follower of Jesus.

So, God shows up and surprises! There’s nothing more beautiful in this life when God shows up!

In a few days, no one will be surprised it’s Easter Sunday. Not really. But the first Easter was a HUGE surprise! The first disciples weren’t expecting the resurrection. Jesus died on the day we call “Good Friday.” He really, truly, actually died. As an ancient Christian hymn (quoted by Paul in Philippians chapter 2) says, “he was obedient to death.” Jesus died.

The first disciples weren’t waiting around to see it happen! They certainly wouldn’t bring embalming spices for a dead body if they were expecting a resurrection. No, death happened. When they arrived at the tomb, they were surprised by LIFE! They were REALLY surprised!

We have many images of resurrection, eternal life, heaven: pearly gates (some envision St. Peter there to greet them), clouds and angels, golden streets (as in the Book of Revelation), a huge mansion with many rooms (as described by Jesus), and so on. It’s very helpful for our human minds to have practical images of heaven. That’s why they’re in the Bible for us. They help our finite minds focus on the infinite gift. But we should never forget that every human image falls short of what the reality will be. We can’t fathom eternity!

There’s a popular contemporary song by Lutheran composer, John Ylvisaker, titled “Borning Cry.” God is the speaker, promising to be with us at every moment of life’s journey. When the song talks about the moment of death, we hear God say, “I’ll be there with just one more surprise.” I LOVE that phrase! It’s my favorite phrase to use about eternity, “just one more surprise.”

Just as the resurrection of Jesus was a surprise to the first disciples, our entrance into eternal life will be nothing less than a huge, glorious, divine God-surprise! No matter how much we think we have it figured out now, it will be a divine surprise.

In the meantime, as we journey through our lives, God gives us glimpses of the eternal surprise. God gives us holy moments and experiences. God is all about surprising us!

I close with a blessing: May God’s Holy Spirit slap you up the side of the head this Easter, and SURPRISE you with amazing grace, love, forgiveness, healing, peace, joy, and all that you need to appreciate God’s gift of eternal life.

Crowd-Pleasing Easter Brunch

Elevate your holiday brunch beyond an egg casserole with a Spiral Ham with Red Wine and Citrus Glaze as the centerpiece for your table.   


(Family Features) Easter is a time to celebrate with friends and family. You can create a crowd-pleasing brunch with affordable, high-quality ingredients, wine and tablescape decor.

Elevate your holiday brunch beyond an egg casserole with a Spiral Ham with Red Wine and Citrus Glaze as the centerpiece for your table.

Finish the meal with a Mini Blueberry Chocolate Tart for a dessert that’s perfect for spring. Combining sweet and fruity notes, this treat can leave your guests craving more.

Find ingredients for these recipes at ALDI, which offers high-quality, fresh and affordable foods to help you put together a vibrant spread. From brunch essentials and beverages to fruits, veggies, snacks and more, you can make Easter pop. Plus, there are chocolates, candy and flowers to add a splash of color to your table or any Easter basket.

Find additional recipes at ALDI.us.

Spiral Ham with Red Wine and Citrus Glaze

Recipe courtesy of Rebecca Gallop (@adailysomething) on behalf of ALDI
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10-12 minutes per pound of ham

Ham:

  • 1          Appleton Farms Spiral Cut Double Glazed Brown Sugar Ham (about 4 pounds), reserving liquid

Glaze:

  • 1/2       cup Intermingle Red Blend wine
  • 1/4       cup Nature’s Nectar orange juice
  • 1/4       cup Specially Selected 100% Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1/2       cup Simply Nature Organic Light Brown Sugar
  • 1          tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1          dash salt
  • 2          tablespoons Burman’s Dijon Mustard
  1. To make ham: Heat oven to 325° F. Place ham in roasting pan on rack. Pour reserved liquid over ham and cover tightly with foil. Bake 10-12 minutes per pound.
  2. To make glaze: In small pan, combine wine, orange juice, syrup, brown sugar, rosemary and salt. Heat to boil then lower to rapid simmer until mixture begins to thicken and reduce, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and whisk in mustard.
  3. When ham is 10 minutes from being done, remove from oven and increase temperature to 400° F. Remove foil and brush ham thoroughly with glaze.
  4. Place ham back in oven, uncovered, about 10 minutes, or until ham reaches internal temperature of 140° F.
  5. Remove ham from oven and let sit 10 minutes. Slice and serve.

Mini Blueberry Chocolate Tart

Recipe courtesy of Chef Michelle, ALDI Test Kitchen
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 17 minutes
Servings: 12

  • 1          Bake House Creations Pie Crust
  • 1 1/2    tablespoons Sweet Additions Stevia No Calorie Sweetener
  • 1          cup fresh blueberries
  • 1          Choceur Dark Chocolate Bar (2.64 ounces), chopped
  1. Heat oven to 400° F. Cut 1-2 sheets of parchment paper into 5-by-5-inch squares. Line each cup of 12-cup muffin pan with one square of parchment paper.
  2. Roll out pie crust and cut 12 circles, 2 inches each, with cookie cutter. Press each circle into lined muffin cup.
  3. In medium bowl, combine sweetener, blueberries and chocolate. Divide mixture among pie crusts.
  4. Bake 17 minutes until chocolate melts. Allow to cool and serve.

SOURCE:
ALDI

Palm Sunday at St. Luke’s Church

Pastor Ralph Mineo will offer a message titled Imitating Christ….

St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, North Baltimore, Palm Sunday, April 14, 2019, 10:15 a.m.

On Palm Sunday, when we celebrate Jesus’ triumphant entrance into Jerusalem, Pastor Ralph Mineo will offer a message titled Imitating Christ, based on Philippians 2:5-11.  Please join us as we continue our journey through Holy Week.

St Luke’s Church Offers Wednesday Evening Lenten Worship

A Fellowship Meal of soup & sandwiches is served @ 6:15 p.m. with worship following at 7 p.m.

St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, North Baltimore,Wednesday, April 10, 2019,
7:00 p.m.

Pastor Ralph Mineo will offer a message titled Doing the Will of God, based on Matthew 7:24-27.  The message is based on “The Sermon on the Mount.” 

A Fellowship Meal of soup & sandwiches is served @ 6:15 p.m. with worship following at 7 p.m. 

Lenten worship begins at 7:00 pm

Please join us as we continue our journey through Lent together.

Sunday Worship News for St. Luke’s Church

Pastor Ralph Mineo will offer a message titled I’m a Blessed Child of God….

St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, North Baltimore, Sunday, April 7, 2019, 10:15 a.m.

On this Fifth Sunday in Lent Pastor Ralph Mineo will offer a message titled I’m a Blessed Child of God, based on John 12:1-8.


Please join us as we continue our journey through Lent together.

Perseverance: A devotion by Ann Elaine Broughton

Life is certain to lambaste you some time with a situation that will drive you to your knees. Will you persevere and remain faithful?


Perseverance: A devotion by Ann Elaine Broughton

“And not only this, but we also exult in tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance proven character; and proven character; hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:3-5 NIV)

Have you ever exulted in tribulation? It is tremendously difficult to do, but according to scripture if you do, you will be blessed. At the moment I have many Christian friends who are persevering through chemo treatments in order to be healthy again. Thinking about week after week of treatments seems so daunting, but all of my dear friends know the Lord, and are persevering through it with peace and complete faith that God is in control. You see they can do this because they know their lives are secure in Gods love and eternal life is very real to them. They have the hope that is spoken of in the above verse. They are wonderful witnesses of how faith in God can help you get through serious tribulations.

Do you have the faith required to meet tribulations head-on with a firm belief that God is in control and will see you through it? You know troubles happen to all of us. Life is certain to lambaste you some time with a situation that will drive you to your knees. Will you persevere and remain faithful? It is so important to keep a close relationship with the Lord at all times. Pray to Him as if you are praying to a friend. Ask Him to show you where you can serve Him. Ask Him to show you where you need to improve in your Christian walk. Praise Him for the many blessings he has given you. Read the Bible daily and glean from it ways to have a stronger faith in God.

I have personally gone through many trials. I have been driven to my knees in tears, but as I cried out to God, he always gave me the peace I needed to persevere through my trial.  Trust me, the peace of God is very real. One of my favorite verses that I refer to when I am in a trial is, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV)

Dear Lord,

I know that trials will come in my life. Help me to trust you. Help me to persevere through my tribulation knowing that you will never leave me or forsake me. Help me to be a witness to others during my trial, so that they may see your peace in me. Thank you for the peace that passes understanding.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen

St. Luke’s Wednesday Evening Lenten Worship

Please join us as we continue our journey through Lent together…..

St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, North Baltimore, Wednesday, April 3, 2019, 7:00 p.m.

Pastor Ralph Mineo will offer a message titled Single-minded Discipleship, based on Matthew 7:1-12.  A Fellowship Meal of soup & sandwiches is served @ 6:15 p.m. with worship following at 7 p.m.  Message based on “The Sermon on the Mount.”  Please join us as we continue our journey through Lent together.