No one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.  Romans 3:20


The name of Leopold Loyka is not a household name. Nevertheless, Leopold Loyka is the man who made one of the most consequential wrong turns in human history.  Leopold was a chauffeur and a prestigious one at that.  His job was to serve as the official driver for a high-ranking official from Austria, a man by the name of Franz Ferdinand. In June of 1914, Ferdinand decided to visit Sarajevo, a city that harbored hostility toward Austrian rule.  As Leopold drove the car through the city with Ferdinand as his passenger, he made a wrong turn.  When he stopped to correct his mistake, it so happened that he passed directly in front of a man who very much wanted to see Franz Ferdinand dead.  The man seized his chance and shot Ferdinand to death.


The assassination of Franz Ferdinand of Austria was the spark that started World War I.  World War I, in turn, set the stage for World War II.  In all, 77 million people perished. And it all began with a wrong turn.


There is another wrong turn in human history that has even greater consequences. It is the false assumption that we can make our own way into God’s favor.  It is the false assumption that we can chart our own course into a right relationship with God.  Such thinking is not only wrong-headed and self-absorbed; such thinking also has consequences that are fatal, and eternal.


Enter Jesus.  Jesus did far more than chart a safe course. He created a path where none had existed.  The path was himself.  He alone was the way. As our substitute, he lived and died on our behalf.  Through faith in him, God’s favor is ours, forgiveness is ours, peace is ours, life is ours. And not just for a while, but forever.  Through faith in Jesus, we will one day arrive safe and sound in our heavenly home.


Prayer:  Lord Jesus, forgive all of the wrong turns in my life — all of the times I have turned away from you.  Turn me again and again toward you until I see you face to face in the heaven you are preparing for me.  Amen.


Just so you know, the devotion above was the daily devotion at on this past Sunday.  I didn’t copy this because I’m lazy, but to show you what is available.  You can sign up to have them sent to you each day by email.  Subscribe at


A Chapter A Day


I pray that many of you have begun the a-chapter-a-day Bible reading program.  This week we’re reading through Matthew 1-7.  Next week it’s Matthew 8-14.  There are “study guides” for these chapters.  They are on the bright yellow folded sheets in the narthex.  I’ve also attached copies of them at the end of this email. 


Thursday Morning Bible Study


We begin our study of Paul’s letter to the Philippians, tomorrow at 9:00 AM in the church basement. 


Volunteer Opportunities

  1. The Living Nativity which WELS congregations have hosted in Riverside Park during the Rotary Lights is the major outreach effort of the WELS in this area.  Help is still needed:
    • Painting
    • Set up
    • Refreshments - We and St. John's in Caledonia are on deck for Friday, November 29.
  2. Our Early Learning Center is the major outreach effort of our congregation.  Volunteers are always needed.


Please check out the clipboards on the coffee table in the entryway to see how you could help! 


Home Visits

Sue and I are continuing our home visits of First Lutheran members.  We know many of you are only available in the evening.  Normally, we are available to visit on MondayTuesday, and Thursday evenings.  If you are free on one of those evenings in the upcoming weeks, please call the church office at 507-895-4775 or send an email to  Sue and I look forward to getting to know you a bit better.  


Please Pray For…


Our Early Learning Center – that we are able to find and keep the staff that we need to continue this work, and that the Lord gives us a new director quickly through the calling process. 


Yours in Christ,


Pastor Rieke