About friartuc

Senior Pastor of Concordia Lutheran Church, San Antonio, Texas

How can we help?

HarveyBeloved Concordia Family and Friends,

Hurricane Harvey has wreaked havoc on the Coastal Bend area of Texas.  The remnants of the storm have been referred to as an “800-year flood event.” (Think about that.  800 years ago, it was 1217 AD!)  There are so many that have been and are being impacted by this storm.

While we, here in San Antonio, sit in relative safety, it is heavy on my heart to encourage all of us to help and use our blessings to bless those so powerfully afflicted.  When I say, “help,” I am thinking of three specific ways.

Immediate ways to help

Pray.  

  1. Pray for those who are in danger, those who are stranded, and the hundreds, if not thousands, of first responders and citizens who are working tirelessly to provide rescue and relief.
  2. Pray for this storm to move on!  I know that the forecasts say that it isn’t going to happen, but … God is able.
  3. Pray for those who will see and hear of all the needs associated with this storm.  Pray that our response will be unprecedented as we move into action and demonstrate the heart of Jesus as we love our neighbors.

Give.

Your donations will help to provide the funds necessary to begin the recovery process and provide for basic needs.  There are many ways to give, but here are a couple of simple and powerful ways:

    • Make a donation to Concordia.  We have established the J2e3 Disaster Relief Fund for this purpose.  100% of the funds collected will be passed along to those in need in the Coastal Bend and Houston areas for Hurricane Harvey relief. CLICK HERE.
    • Make your donation to the Disaster Relief Fund of the Texas District.  The district has also pledged that 100% of the funds collected will be applied to the needs here in Texas.  CLICK HERE.

Please be aware that most agencies that receive gifts for disaster relief keep a percentage of what is received for administrative costs. 

How to help in the weeks ahead

Sign up.

Other than first responders and local volunteers, no one is able to enter the most affected areas at this point.  We are coordinating with congregations and agencies in the Coastal Bend and Houston areas to be ready when our physical assistance will be welcomed and possible.  At this point, there are two types of needs …

  1. People who are willing to help with preparations here in San Antonio.  You don’t have to leave San Antonio to provide wonderful help by preparing supply kits to distribute to the affected areas.
  2. People who are able, when the opportunity presents itself, to consider making the trip to these areas to provide the physical help that is needed.

So that we are able to act quickly, please consider signing up by clicking this link and letting us know some basic information so we can be in touch with you.

I am grateful for your generosity in time and treasure as we step up to this opportunity and help meet the needs of our brothers and sisters.  Thank you for shining like stars in the universe as we hold out the WORD of Life!

Sincerely,

Pastor Bill Tucker

Hurricane Harvey and the weekend of 8/27/2017

Beloved Concordia Family,Screenshot 2017-08-25 11.31.02

We have some CRAZY weather in store for this weekend!  wanted to share a few details of our plans for the weekend at Concordia.

Hurricane Harvey Update As I’m sure you’re aware, Hurricane Harvey is expected to make landfall around Corpus Christi early tomorrow morning as a Category 3 storm.  Because of the slow-moving nature of this storm, flooding across the Coastal Bend and even in San Antonio is possible and, in many places, expected, along with widespread power outages.  I wanted to share with you some updates on the preparations we are making at Concordia for this weekend.

Safety First First and foremost, I want you to stay safe!  Do not risk trying to travel through low-water crossings or driving in severe weather to get anywhere, including Concordia.  At home, make sure you’re prepared for power outages with plenty of water, non-perishable food items, along with batteries for flashlights and radios.   Make sure also to unplug all small appliances to protect them from power surges.  My prayer is that everyone takes the proper precautions necessary to ride out this storm so that everyone is safe.

Worship and Streaming We will have worship this weekend at our regularly scheduled times:  Saturday at 6 pm, Sunday at 8, 9:30, and 11 am, and Vespers at 5 pm on Sunday.  We have already made plans for our services to continue, even if we do not have power.  If you are not able or are not planning to join us this weekend on campus, please stream our Sunday morning services at Concordia.cc.  You will also be able to stream the services via Facebook Live, if you prefer.

In the very worst-case scenario, you can always watch a previous worship service at ConcordiaOnline.cc.

Sunday School and Adult Bible Class Move-Up Sunday, when we move children up to the next grade level of their Sunday School class, was scheduled for this weekend, but has been postponed.  We will update you soon on the new date for Move-Up Sunday.  Sunday School and Adult Bible Class will be held as long as we have power and there are not issues with standing water in buildings.

School and Child Care As of now, our school and child care centers will be open on Monday.  Depending on the weather and the flooding this weekend, this may change.  We will post any updates or changes on our website and will send them to local TV and radio stations.  Our school administration will also be sending out email updates to parents. 

Pastoral Emergencies If you have a pastoral emergency, you will be able to reach someone by calling the church office at 479-1477.

Updates  Please check Concordia.cc or our social media pages on Facebook and Twitter for continued updates.  You can also sign up to receive instant updates by texting “Concordia” to 51555.

Pray!  Please join me in prayer that God would protect everyone through this storm.  As Hurricane Harvey approaches the Texas Gulf Coast, its potential for damage and destruction is HUGE!


Heavenly Father, Your Word reminds us that, even in the midst of storms, we are always in Your care.  We pray that, as Hurricane Harvey approaches land, You would protect the people and property of this region and that, as You see fit, You would turn this storm in a way that minimizes damage.  

 To those who are frightened, give peace.  To those who ride out the storm, grant safety.  To those who evacuate, provide not only a place to stay, but preserve for them a place to return.  

Be with the police officers, the firefighters, the EMS personnel, the governing officials, the health care professionals, the refinery workers, and any others who, by virtue of their vocations, are called to remain in the adversely affected areas.  We thank You for their willingness to serve and we pray that You would protect them.  

 Thank you, kind Father.  We know that, even when a powerful storm strikes, You are bigger and stronger than any storm.  Help us to always remember that Your Son, Jesus, is with us through EVERY storm.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

 

Just a couple more weeks in our Summer Sermon Series … Genesis!

This weekend we continue our look into Genesis and Joseph’s life in Chapter 40.  After being thrown into a cistern, Joseph eventually winds up in prison in Egypt.  But even in prison, Joseph seeks to serve God by helping others.  During our worst times, do we seek to help others, or are we only focused on ourselves?

The weekend’s message is titled, “Two Dreamers.”  It is based on Genesis 40:1-8.

Some time later, the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt offended their master, the king of Egypt. Pharaoh was angry with his two officials, the chief cupbearer and the chief baker, and put them in custody in the house of the captain of the guard, in the same prison where Joseph was confined. The captain of the guard assigned them to Joseph, and he attended them. After they had been in custody for some time, each of the two men – the cupbearer and the baker of the king of Egypt, who were being held in prison – had a dream the same night, and each dream had a meaning of its own. When Joseph came to them the next morning, he saw that they were dejected. So he asked Pharaoh’s officials who were in custody with him in his master’s house, “Why do you look so sad today?” “We both had dreams,” they answered, “but there is no one to interpret them.” Then Joseph said to them, “Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams.”  Genesis 40:1-8

I can’t wait to see you this weekend!  May God bless you and keep you.

Pastor Bill

Who will be greatest?

serve.pngIn my daily Bible reading (using the Word for Today schedule), I was looking at Matthew 20 this morning.  Beginning in verse 20, James and John’s mother goes to Jesus with a request for her sons.  They want positions of power in Jesus’ kingdom.  Jesus tells the sons and the mother that they have no idea what they are asking, but that they will, in fact, share in His “cup” of suffering.   When the rest of the disciples hear about this request, they are angry … because they want those same positions of power.  That’s when Jesus makes a statement that we all need to take to heart.

Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, 28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” 

My question today (of myself and you) is, “Where is your heart?”  What I mean is that we all have places and situation where we have power and authority.  How do we handle those opportunities?  The temptation to “lord it over” others and exercise authority for our own benefit is powerful. 

 But I love the words of Jesus, “It shall not be so among you.”  We are of a different spirit and mentality through Christ.  Our first instinct should be to serve those around us (like Jesus), rather than desiring to be served.  That takes some practice.  But it helps to remember, Ephesians 2:10. We have been re-created in Christ as a divine masterpiece!  In fact, God has planned our re-created life around good works that serve others and model the grace and love of Jesus.

 So, let’s take up Jesus’ challenge.  Let’s seek real greatness through service and servant-hearted leadership.  Let’s show the world that we follow the King through our loving kindness to others.

“Super Moon!”

img_1007“Super moon!”  Scientists tell us that this is the best view of the moon we will have between now and 2034!  That is quite a while.  I hope you have had the chance to enjoy this rare spectacle, but if not, here are some great pictures taken by friends and one from the internet.

What really caught my attention with regard the “Super Moon” is the is that the moon is really no different today than it was in 1948 (the last time it appeared this big) or than it will be in 2034 (the next time it will appear Supermoon.jpgthis big).  It is actually the coincidence of a full moon with the closest approach that the moon makes to the Earth in its orbit.  The technical term is the perigee-syzygy of the Earth–Moon–Sun system.  So in short, it really isn’t about the moon at all!

The reason why that is so interesting to me is that it reminds me of the way that we have a tendency to misconstrue things.  Especially when it comes to faith.  We often think of Jesus as coming closer to us at particular times and being more distant at others.  As if the circumstances in our lives, behavior, heartaches, or struggles could “move” God closer or further away.  That simply isn’t true!  Jesus doesn’t img_0997change.  “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) On top of that, Jesus’ last word before He ascended into heaven was, “I am with you always.”  (Matthew 29:20)  That means that He isn’t moving back and forth, He is right there … next to you … right where you need Him.

So when we feel like God/Jesus is far away, what is really going on?  Well, sometimes our ability to perceive the spiritual truth is clouded by the physical and emotional realities around us.  Sometimes, we have allowed our hearts and minds to be filled with other thoughts and priorities and have drifted (in our perception) away from God.  Sometimes we just aren’t listening.

img_1008So what can we d0?  I would suggest three things.  1)  Pray.  Just because you feel like there is a distance between you and God, don’t stop praying.  Keep it up!  And in addition to telling God what you need, be sure and allow some quiet moments to listen.  2)  BE IN THE WORD!  God makes the promise that wherever His WORD is, He Sprit is there, also.  Read the Bible.  If you want to know where God is at this very moment … FOR SURE … He is waiting for you in the pages of Scripture.  Not as a story to read, but as a living and active friend and leader and “lover of your soul.”  Finally, 3) Trust. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5, 6)  Don’t let your short term struggles distract you from the truth.  The one who called you to faith will NEVER abandon you.  Trust that.  Believe that.  Write it down and read it over and over again!  God loves you with an unconditional and everlasting love.

A Prayer for Our Nation

USA.jpgGracious Heavenly Father,

As our nation moves forward in the wake of a contentious election, I pray You would bless our land. Guide the leaders we have elected (and each of us as individual citizens) by Your strong and faithful hand. No authority exists that is not ordained by You. You raise up rulers and depose them. Lead and guide our nation during this fragile time.

Restore our unity as a country and our love and respect for one another. Draw us back to Yourself as You did so often for the people of Israel. Let humility, service, kindness, and generosity prevail in place of arrogance, lawlessness, selfishness, and anger. Help the hearts of all Americans to be moved to put the needs of others above their own.

By the power of Your Holy Spirit, grant that our leaders heed your Word and follow the way of truth. Grant them wisdom, courage, and conviction to make good decisions, even during difficult times. Surround them with wise and faithful counselors and advisors. Help them, in the midst of the cacophony of voices and opinions, to hear the voice of Your Spirit.

Father, there are threats that linger today – threats of terror attacks, threats of violence and discord, threats of upheaval in the markets and in our economy. Lord, thwart any coordinated plans against the good order and peace of our United States. Allow clear and reasoned responses to all of the election results to prevail among us. Protect us, Abba.

In the days ahead, allow the witness of the Christian Church to shine brightly with Your love to our nation and world. Help us, no matter what, to keep our eyes focused on Jesus. Help us, by Your Spirit, so that our words and actions reveal that we are disciples of Jesus. Help us to remember daily that we, Your Church, are the hope of the world.

We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.