“The High Price of Truth”

“The High Price of Truth”  Mark 6:14-29
The 8th Sunday after Pentecost (B)  7/8/18
Pastor Mark H. Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL

They are the foundation of any solid relationship. And the closer the relationship, the more important, critical and essential they are. Be it in a marriage, in the life of a family, certainly in a church family, and any lasting friendship.

I am speaking about the elements of trust and truth. Over the past several weeks in our worship services and the sermons preached, we have been considering one’s trust in the Lord and now in the Gospel text before us, it is all about having and living in God’s Truth.

The fact of the matter is… as with so many other things in our life… the issue really is black and white… very clear cut. Not that you would know it by the world, our society and prevailing culture.

Simply put – there is truth and there are lies. The one, singular… truth… the other, plural… lies… and many of them. As there are countless shades of gray, so there are countless shades of lies… with none of them being true white. In one way or another, they are off color, tainted and tinted.

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“Whether They Hear or Refuse to Hear”

“Whether They Hear or Refuse to Hear”  Ezekiel 2:1-5
The 7th Sunday after Pentecost (B)  7/15/18
Pastor Mark H. Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL

For a moment, let me take you back to Good Friday… to our Lord’s crucifixion where St. Matthew tells us that Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:50-54)

It was quite a revelation to them. The One who was just crucified… the One who died right there before their eyes was the very Son of God. He who openly preached and taught in their midst. He who was categorically rejected by both Jew and gentile. Jesus Christ, truly the Son of God… He who is also our ever-living Prophet, Priest and King. Indeed, the greatest of the prophets! He who spoke the Word of God and is that very Word incarnate… the very Word made flesh… the very Word betrayed, mocked, beaten and crucified.

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“In the Midst of It All”

“In the Midst of It All”  Mark 5:21-43
The 6th Sunday after Pentecost (B) 7/1/18
Pastor Mark H. Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL

“It doesn’t work. Praying to Jesus doesn’t work. It doesn’t help” many will say… “certainly not all of the time if any of the time one calls upon Him.”

And they will list off the people whom the Lord did not heal… including themselves possibly… as well as individuals… loved ones… whom they asked be spared from dying and this, to no avail.

So… you have those who will completely dismiss the Gospel text before us as pure fiction… and those who cannot come to terms with it… with the seeming incongruity of our Lord’s actions as to who gets helped and healed and who does not.

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“The Wind and the Waves”

“The Wind and the Waves”  Mark 4:35-41
The 5th Sunday after Pentecost (B)  6/24/18
Pastor Mark H. Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL

Lord do you not care that I am going through this horrendous experience? Do you not care that I am suffering, in pain or in anguish? Do you not care that I mourn the loss of a loved one? Do you not care that I see no way out of a particular situation? Do you not care that I am sinking in despair, “sinking and taking on water” much like that boat the disciples were on?

“Do you not care?” That is what the Twelve asked as they woke our Lord up from what clearly was a sound sleep. Really Peter? James, John… all of you? You are asking the very Son of God,  God incarnate, God in the flesh, God with you, God right there  with you in the same boat, He who is the Alpha and Omega… if He cares?

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“Always of Good Courage”

“Always of Good Courage”
2 Corinthians 5:1-10
The 4th Sunday after Pentecost (B)  6/17/18
Pastor Mark H. Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL

Thanks be to God that we have before us for our consideration this morning a much-needed perspective, a clear perspective, and most importantly, a true one, recorded here in St. Paul’s second letter to the Church at Corinth.

Not that this isn’t the case with the apostle’s other letters or all of Holy Scripture for that matter. In it all, through it all, we are given the one perspective that matters in your life and mine… namely, God’s… that which is perfect and divine… that which is and will be. Guaranteed… sure and certain.

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“Our True Family”

“Our True Family” Mark 3:20-35
Pentecost 3 (B)  6/10/18
Pastor Mark H. Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL

One would expect it from the world and those who are of the world… the “worldly” if you will. But it is another thing when the source of opposition in your life and mine… in what we are doing… what we are seeking to do as Christians… comes from one’s own family… from one’s own flesh and blood.

The truth is, every Christian will experience opposition that will literally hit home… emanate from the home or close to home… from one’s own family… loved ones who are blinded by sin and unbelief… whose understanding of God’s Word is marginal twisted and skewed… those who have been spiritually led astray or have led themselves astray.

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“Treasures in Jars of Clay”

The Second Sunday after Pentecost (Series B)
“Treasures in Jars of Clay”
June 3, 2018
Text: 2 Corinthians 4:5-12

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

There is an old Jewish parable about a man who was raising his daughter to place a great deal of importance upon her physical appearance, her beauty and her charms.  Once she even asked her older Rabbi, who had seen better days, “Why would the Lord give such wonderful treasures in such an ugly vessel like you?”

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