“Never Say Never”

The Third Sunday of Easter (C)
“Never Say Never”
May 5, 2019

Sermon Text: Acts 9:1-20

Peace be unto you from our risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In a world filled with surprises… with unusual twists and turns… we have all learned to some degree, never to say “Never.”

For sure, difficult times and tragic events happen. But we also know… should know… that so do miracles and so many surprisingly wonderful things as well… thanks be to God.

The unexpected… unanticipated… unbelievable occurs more often then we think.

Our first lesson for this Sunday, taken from the Book of Acts is a perfect example of this. Who would have ever thought that this man, Saul of Tarsus, would become a Christian… a member of “the Way” – as the early Christians were then called?

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“Christ is Still the Lord of His Church”

Easter 2 – (Series C)
“Christ is Still the Lord of His Church”
April 28, 2019

Sermon Text: Revelation 1:4-18

So it wasn’t long after we celebrated the wonderful Feast of Easter and Christ’s resurrection from the dead that we were treated to the news of the bombings of churches in Sri Lanka by militant Muslims that killed over 250 people and injured hundreds more.  Not long after that, insult was added to injury as the media in lockstep treated the attacks as an attack on humanity in general, and not an attack on Christians in particular just as they were celebrating the high feast in our Church Year.

If we have been in careful study of the words of Christ, we should not be surprised by any of this.  “You are IN the world, not OF the world,” He said.  “If they hated me, they will hate you,” He promised.  We in the western world have been somewhat spoiled over the past few centuries.  We have grown up watching respectful news reporting and the kind thoughts of society around us towards our worship and activities.  Our schools and places of work give us holidays for our High Feast days.  But over the course of thousands of years, taking the whole world into account, what we have experienced is the exception to the rule.  Generally speaking, from Abel being murdered by Cain to Noah and his family being saved all by themselves to lonely Old Testament Israel in the middle of the Middle East to Rome’s persecution of the first Christians to Christians in the 20th century being martyred by the tens of thousands by Muslims in Africa and Communists in Russia and China to what we see today, the true people of God have been an outnumbered, misunderstood, and persecuted minority.  We should not be surprised by what we are seeing, for it is really just a sad return to what is normal in the world.

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“Always Remember!”

The Resurrection of the Lord – (Series C)
“Always Remember!”
April 21, 2019

Sermon Text: Luke 24:1-12

 Grace, mercy and peace be unto you from our victorious Savior, Lord and King… Christ Jesus. Amen.

We read:

“Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” (Luke 24:5-7)  So far our text.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

“Remember how He told you.” These are the words of God’s angels to the Lord’s disciples then… and the very same words to all the faithful now… to you… to me.

Remember how He told you all that would happen… all that would be done to affect your salvation… to bring about your freedom from sin, death and the devil.

Remember… and remember well. And such has been our good pleasure to do just that this past week… Holy Week. To follow our Lord into Jerusalem. To hear Him preach and teach in the temple. To be with Him in the upper room as He celebrated the Passover which has now become the Holy Supper, the Lord’s Supper in which He gives us His flesh… His blood… to eat and drink for the forgiveness of our sins and the fortification of our souls.

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“He Earnestly Desired”

Maundy Thursday
“He Earnestly Desired”
April 18, 2019

Sermon Text: Luke 22:7-20

Peace be unto you from the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, Christ Jesus. Amen.

“And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him. And he said to them, ‘I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.’” (Luke 22:15)  So far, our text.

Dearly Beloved of the Lord,

One can hardly overstate the sense in the original Greek where our Lord says that He “earnestly desired” to eat the Passover meal there in that upper room on the night He was betrayed. He so wanted to partake of the same. He craved the same.

Yes, He had partaken of the Passover meal all of His life here on earth. But this meal was different. This meal was special because it takes place before His Passion.

“I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer,” He said.

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“The One Who Serves”

The Sunday of the Passion (C)
“The One Who Serves”
April 14, 2019
Luke 22:1-17

Peace be unto you from the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, Christ Jesus. Amen.

Dearly Beloved of the Lord,

I know that you join me, first, at the start of the Lenten Season and then again, at the start of Holy Week, truly desiring to make the most of this time. To not let it pass without due consideration and retrospection. To, in any way we can with the help of the Holy Spirit, make this time more meaningful for us than ever before.

But how does that happen? How do we do that? To understand the all-important aspects and impact of Christ’s Passion? And that includes the concept and reality of “servanthood” in that it plays a key role in all of this.

From the outset, let’s be clear about a few things. Holy Week is all about God serving man. It is all about the Son of God dying for all mankind. There is no greater service… no greater love than this. Not then… not now… not ever.

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“So with His Servants, So with His Son”

The Fifth Sunday in Lent (C)
“So with His Servants, So with His Son”
April 7, 2019

Sermon Text: Luke 20:9–20

Peace be unto you from the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, Christ Jesus. Amen.

Dearly Beloved of the Lord,

Look what is before us this morning… the perfect text and perfect timing… and this of no surprise in that our Lord does all things well… all things perfectly.

As we observe the Fifth Sunday in Lent, we know that time is growing short and our Lord’s Passion looms in the not too distant future. So, in preparation of the same… in preparation of Him going to the cross for you, me and all the world, He shares this parable.

What a most amazing one it is for in short order Christ here summarizes all of history, the entire time from the fall of mankind in the garden to His entering Jerusalem, there to suffer and die for us.

“A man planted a vineyard and let it out to tenants” (Luke 20:9)

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“The Patience of a Father”

The Third Sunday in Lent (C)
“The Patience of a Father”
March 24, 2019

Sermon Text: Luke 13:1-9

Peace be unto you from the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, Christ Jesus. Amen.

Friends in Christ,

Take a moment, if you will, and reflect on how patient you have been this week. Consider how patient you have been at home… at work… at school… at the store… in traffic. How patient you have been toward family members… your spouse, children, relatives as well as friends, colleagues, and even perfect strangers.

Those who exhibit great restraint… we oftentimes say that they have the “patience of a saint.”  Are people saying that of you? I thought I would ask because I know the answer regarding myself and it isn’t always… many times… what I want to hear.

In our Gospel lesson for today, we have for our consideration, not the patience of a “saint”… but rather the patience of a “father”… our heavenly Father.

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