Resources for your time with God

Introduced during a time of COVID-related church closures and restrictions, our devotional pages under the Church@home banner have been very popular with many readers. But spending time with God throughout the week isn’t only a blessing when we can’t get to church on a Sunday. It’s an important boost for our faith every week. Therefore, you’ll continue to find support for your devotional life on these pages – and the LCANZ has plenty of other resources which we’ll highlight for your information, too.



A kingdom of followers by Neil Bergmann

Jesus went out to the lake with his disciples, and a large crowd followed him. They came from all over (Mark 3:7).

Read Mark 3:7–19.

How good are you at sharing responsibility and delegating tasks? I admit that I’m not very good at this. I prefer to do things myself rather than trust others to do a job the way I like it. Surprisingly, when a task is just too big to do alone, and I have to rely on others, they always do a much better job than I would have! Also, when we do stuff as a team, it is much more enjoyable.

Imagine then what it was like for Jesus during his earthly ministry. Everywhere he went, crowds appeared and were hungry for his message of forgiveness and the physical and spiritual healing he offered.

But Jesus’ time was short, and he needed helpers to spread the word and continue his work after he had gone.

How could Jesus trust his disciples to continue his work when they continually seemed to miss the point of his preaching? Yet, it is what Jesus did and continues to do.

As children of the light and followers of the risen Christ, we are called to join in proclaiming the good news – the coming of the kingdom of God, here and now, on earth as in heaven. Jesus knows that we need help, and so the Holy Spirit comes to guide our words and our actions.

Jesus knows that we won’t do a perfect job, maybe not even a good job, but he still invites us, over and over again, to join his mission to proclaim his kingdom through word and action.

In today’s reading, Jesus ‘called to him those whom he wanted, and they came to him’ (verse 13). He wants us and calls us today. Will you come to him?

Lord, fill me with your Spirit so that I may answer your call, come to you, and help to proclaim the good news through word and action. Amen.

An invitation you can’t refuse by Pastor Reid Matthias

For many are invited, but few are chosen (Matthew 22:14).

Read Matthew 22:1–14.

Let’s face it – weddings can be a drag.

The fact that, in Jesus’ parable, the invitees to the prince’s wedding don’t want to come to the banquet resonates deeply in the 21st century. Be honest, like me, you’ve been to a wedding that is entirely about the photos. Or there is the professionally created video montage of a beautifully decorated bridal party placed in awkward poses with just the perfect lighting. The rest of the invitees engage in multiple hours of polite, if not painful, conversation with long-lost relatives or semi-inebriated friends of the bridal party.

I might be sounding curmudgeon-ish, but to me, that’s the way the invited guests sound in Jesus’ parable.

Maybe one invitee to the wedding asks another, ‘Are you going to the king’s banquet?’

The reply: ‘I thought about it, but the big game is on Saturday night. Oh, and I promised my spouse I would clean the boat this weekend. On Sunday, the kids have a birthday party to attend and …’

‘I know’, says the first. ‘It’s just one more thing … We’re just too busy.’

As the invitees do everything in their power to avoid attending the banquet (including killing the king’s servants), Jesus ends this parable with, ‘Many are invited, but few are chosen’.

In the 21st century, theologically, we might understand this parable is directed to the Jews who choose not to come to the king’s party and the Gentiles who are given the next go. In the 1st century, though, no one would turn down the invite. Thus, it’s a strange moral of the story. It feels like it should read, ‘Many are invited, but few accept’. Right? But chosen?

When someone is chosen, they are selected for a purpose or mission. Perhaps the invitation to the kingdom of heaven is an invitation to participate in God’s banquet celebrating Jesus’ love for the entire world. Perhaps Christians have been chosen to serve rather than simply attend.

What does your invitation look like? Are you too busy? What do you think you have been invited and chosen to do?.

King of the banquet, thank you for the invitation to celebrate and participate in Jesus’ work of bringing about the kingdom of heaven. Amen.

To receive the LCA daily devotion each morning in your inbox, go to and select Daily Devotions from the Churchwide list after entering your email address. These can also be printed off from the LCA website at


Week Sunday readings
3–9 DEC Isaiah 64:1–9 Psalm 80:1–7, 17–19 1 Corinthians 1:3–9 Mark 13:24–37
10–16 DEC Isaiah 40:1–11 Psalm 85:1,2,8–13 2 Peter 3:8–15a Mark 1:1–8
17–23 DEC Isaiah 61:1–4, 8–11 Psalm 126 1 Thessalonians 5:16–24 John 1:6–8,19–28
24–30 DEC 2 Samuel 7:1-11,16 Psalm 89:1–4, 19–26 Romans 16:25–27 Luke 1:26–38
31 DEC–6 JAN Isaiah 61:10–62:3 Psalm 148 Galatians 4:4–7 Luke 2:22–40
7–13 JAN Genesis 1:1–5 Psalm 29 Acts 19:1–7 Mark 1:4–11
14–20 JAN 1 Samuel 3:1–10 (11–20) Psalm 139:1–6, 13–18 1 Corinthians 6:12–20 John 1:43–51
21–27 JAN Jonah 3:1–5,10 Psalm 62:5–12 1 Corinthians 7:29–31 Mark 1:14–20
28 JAN–3 FEB Deuteronomy 18:15–20 Psalm 111 1 Corinthians 8:1–13 Mark 1:21–28

For more prayer and devotional resources, including a listing of daily Bible readings for each day of the church year, go to

Lutheran Tract Mission also provides the readings in a booklet, which can be accessed electronically at or as a printed booklet through the LTM office (phone 08 8360 7222) for a donation of 20c per copy.  


3–9 Dec: The millions of Australians and New Zealanders living with disabilities on the International Day of People with Disability (3 Dec)

10–16 Dec: That the world’s leaders would act with respect for the wellbeing of all citizens on United Nations Human Rights Day (10 Dec)

17–23 Dec: Graduate General Ministry Pastors Jacob Fabich and Thomas Kitson, due to be ordained this month (3 and 17 Dec)

24–30 Dec: All people to know the Christ-child, whose birth we remember and celebrate at Christmas, as our Lord and Saviour

31 Dec–6 Jan: For a new year filled with hope and opportunities to share the joy of the gospel with those around us

7–13 Jan: Organisers, leaders and campers preparing for or enjoying youth gatherings across the LCANZ

14–20 Jan: All students, teachers and school staff in Australia and New Zealand, as they prepare for the new school year

21–27 Jan: Reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Aboriginal Australians on Australia Day (26 Jan)

28 Jan–3 Feb: Specific Ministry Pastors Jordan Bennett, Charlie Uebergang, Julian Mazzeo, Matthew Schubert, Timothy Chen and Malcolm Willcocks, who have been ordained in recent months

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by Jonathan Krause

As the world struggles to respond to the hurt and loss of the Israel-Gaza crisis, the promise of new life is a blessing we need more than ever.

And keen gardeners, Paul, Claire and Rex from South Australia, know all about blessing others through new life. The trio knows not only how to give new life to a veggie or flower patch but also how to use their gifts – and the produce that results – to bring new life to more people through Australian Lutheran World Service (ALWS).

For more than 20 years, these wonderful ALWS supporters have been planting and propagating, loading and unloading, and smiling and selling through chilly mornings and windy afternoons at weekend markets and local shows to sell plants to raise money to help people through ALWS! Paul’s wife, Annette, was a key part of the team until she was called by God last year to walk his heavenly garden.

These green thumbs have now ‘grown’ more than $500,000 with their hard work.


Thousands of kilometres from Paul’s hothouses on the Fleurieu Peninsula, south of Adelaide, there are hothouses at Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya, which are supported by people like Paul, Rex and Claire through ALWS. There Ayenai grows capsicum, kale, spinach and tomatoes, along with outside crops of maize, pumpkin, butternuts, onions, watermelon and sorghum. She sells surplus produce to local cafes and supermarkets after she has made sure her children have enough to be healthy, strong and fit for school.

You can support Ayenai and others like her through the new season of ALWS Gifts of Grace.


Our theme this year for ALWS Gifts of Grace is ‘See your love grow’. And you’ll be able to do exactly that with gifts like:

  • Veggie seeds ($11)
  • Irrigation ($9)
  • A school food farm ($756)
  • Banana seedlings ($7)
  • A mushroom farm ($330)

The theme Bible verse for Gifts of Grace has a beautiful promise of what we can grow together, as we help bring new life to people the world forgets:

‘God will provide rain for the seeds you sow.

The grain that GROWS will be abundant’ (Isaiah 30:23).

That’s not all that’s growing. Your Grace Cards this year each have a seed diamond that can be planted (after being hung on the family Christmas tree) to produce forget-me-not flowers!

For more gifts and to order go to or phone 1300 763 407.

Jonathan Krause is ALWS Community Action Manager.

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by Anne Hansen

Sometimes what you don’t say can be more effective than a multitude of words. A smile or a word of concern can bring more people to see Jesus in you just by who you are!

Lutheran Tract Mission has many resources to help in your subtle mission. Leaving a tract in a letterbox with the words ‘Thinking of you’ or an activity sheet for a fussy child waiting for their parents – these small things can express so much.


Most Christian churches, schools, aged-care facilities and other institutions have websites. But how many times is Jesus mentioned on your website? Does it actively share the gospel? Lutheran Tract Mission has developed a subtle way to refresh your website and highlight gospel resources or a message of good news – a digital spinner. The digital spinner is free to add to any website. Just contact me at and I will create a link to get you started. You can choose from our 950 resources to put on your spinner, and it can be updated at any time, according to the church season or for any activity you may have.

Some of our Lutheran schools and congregations have already taken up this offer – see them on our website:


Lutheran Tract Mission has many Advent and Christmas resources designed to share Jesus, ‘the reason for the season’. These include a downloadable Advent devotional, stand-up and magnetic nativity sets, children’s activity books and sticker calendars and tracts, Find these and more at

Anne Hansen is Lutheran Tract Mission Development Officer.

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The 12 days of Christmas mark the period between the birth of Jesus and the visit from the wise men. For Christmas, LCA International Mission has provided Australian and New Zealand families with a resource they can use with their children during the 12 days of Christmas.

Entitled ‘Joy to the World – 12 Days of Christmas Around the World’, it shares insights into ways Christmas is celebrated among our partner countries and churches. It aims to encourage families to spend time reflecting on the true meaning of Christmas.

The booklet also includes activities for readers to do and pass on to friends and relatives who aren’t Christian. So, this is designed to be both a faith-building and faith-sharing resource.

There are three parts to each day (and country) in the booklet – firstly, information about Christmas in that country; secondly, a Bible verse and a few words about the verse; and, thirdly, a craft, activity, or recipe to do or make related to the country and/or the Bible verse. The Bible verses tell the story of Jesus’ birth as you go through the booklet.

‘Joy to the World – 12 Days of Christmas Around the World’ is a reminder that Christmas is not just about carols, decorations, beautiful lights or the gifts that we give and receive. It is about Jesus Christ. Jesus’ birth fulfilled God’s promise that he wants to bring us into his loving arms forever.

Order your booklet by emailing or by phoning 08 8267 7317, or download one at  

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LCA International Mission’s Soul Food cookbook is a great Christmas gift and family and community resource. A book of recipes from countries where the LCANZ’s partner churches are based, it contains instructions and ingredients to make 23 dishes from Cambodia, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Myanmar, along with colourful photos. By ordering your copy (or copies), you support ministry done through hospitality among LCA International Mission partner churches, with all proceeds helping our overseas partners to share the gospel.

Order your book or some extra copies to give away for a donation of $20 per copy, plus postage.

For more information or to order, contact Erin Kerber at or phone 08 8267 7317.

You can also watch a video about the book, which features testimonies from our overseas mission partners at  

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Needing Christmas resources? LCA Music Resources Volume 4: Songs of the Church for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany contains 100 hymns and songs, in a spiral-bound hard copy or individual digital downloads. Available at

  • The LCANZ Worship Planning Page ( includes resources to help with worship preparations this time of year.
  • The Commission on Worship is calling for songwriters and composers to contribute new songs and liturgical settings. For more details:
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by Jodi Brook

Grow Kids from Grow Ministries now has another year’s resource available, with the launch of its Lectionary Year B content.

Designed as a teaching curriculum, Grow Kids has many components from which to choose. A thoughtful choice of menu items will help to provide the best experience for your group. Users can tailor sessions to suit their audience. For example, the creative response is a suggestion; if you have a better idea, make whatever tweaks and changes you need to meet the needs of the children in your group.


If you are looking for a Sunday school curriculum. Grow Kids can help with that, too. And should you need a school classroom devotion, you can use the story of the week, the prayer and the blessing for your students. There are excellent background notes about the Bible story to help understand its context. The delivery of these stories ranges from a simple re-telling to a creative drama.


Perhaps you would like to focus on Luther’s Small Catechism. With Grow Kids, children can be introduced gradually to the basic teachings of the Christian faith. Each session has a Catechism Spotlight. In this menu item, a specific portion of Christian teaching, which relates to the story and the focus of the week, is covered.

Grow Kids provides a catalyst for creativity and joy in learning about Jesus. It can be used, too, for Messy Church – it has the Bible story, a craft and everything in between.

For more information or to order Grow Kids – Year B, go to

 Jodi Brook is the director of Grow Ministries. 

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by Tania Nelson

The Lutheran Media 2024 calendar is full of stunning images from competition-winning photographers from Australia and New Zealand. Thank you to all who entered the competition. Your photos have produced an inspiring and hope-filled calendar.

Apart from spectacular photography, each day features a Scripture text based on the lectionary readings. Significant days for New Zealand and Australia are also listed.


  • Gift a Lutheran Media calendar to a friend, neighbour or family member. When they use the calendar, they will find a Bible verse that complements the image each month. Pray that the messages touch their heart.
  • Read the daily Scripture verses in your devotional time. Reflect on the reading and turn your thoughts into prayer and action.
  • Read the gospel reading (listed each Sunday) before weekly worship.
  • Find out about the significant days listed. For example, 24 August is the Feast Day of St Bartholomew. Find out about St Bartholomew (and the other significant people and days listed in the calendar).
  • Each month includes a suggestion related to Lutheran Media and its work. Pray for open ears and hearts so that Messages of hope brings Christ to those seeking hope.

The 2024 calendar has proven extremely popular but limited copies may still be available to order. Call Lutheran Media on 1800 353 350 to inquire.

Tania Nelson is the manager of Lutheran Media.

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