“Preparing Our Hearts and Homes – Our Advent Journey”

“Preparing Our Hearts and Homes – Our Advent Journey”
Midweek Advent Series
“The Lighting of the Candles”
December 5, 2018

Sermon Text: John 8:2-19

Grace, mercy and peace be unto you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

There is something about evening time. As darkness comes over the land, so does peace and quiet… at least significantly more so than during the hustle and bustle of the day… the workday or school day.

With the sun now setting very early, we see lights going on much earlier – street lights, car lights, home lights and, of course, Christmas lights. And although much progress has been made in the way of artificial lighting in making it appealing, it simply does not “hold a candle” to natural firelight… candlelight… with its warm glow.

We in the Christian Church certainly know about candlelight. It has been used in worship for thousands of years. And for good reason. Make no mistake about it… the use of candles… the lighting of candles… was not the idea of man. Its importance and symbolitry were not either. They are divinely prescribed and used.

Continue reading ““Preparing Our Hearts and Homes – Our Advent Journey””

“Our Living Bread”

“Our Living Bread”  John 6:35-51
The 12th Sunday after Pentecost (B)  8/12/18
Pastor Mark H. Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL

It has been said many times that one of the great benefits and blessings of the lectionary of our Lutheran Church, both the three year and the one-year series, is the continuity and connection between and among the readings of Holy Scripture. This is true regarding the readings on any given Sunday as well as the readings many times from Sunday to Sunday.

I say this because once again we see how today’s Gospel text comes on the heals of last Sunday’s and what Pastor Meyer preached about.  Namely, our Lord showing Himself to truly be the Messiah, the Savior of the Word… and this, in Word and deed.

Mighty in Word and deed, including the miraculous feeding of the five thousand and how news spread about this Jesus… how the people followed Him… pursued Him… but many, for the wrong reason.

Continue reading ““Our Living Bread””

“How Can These Things Be?”

“How Can These Things Be?” John 3:1-17

The Holy Trinity (B)  5/27/18

Pastor Mark H. Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL

A rather unusual but true fact regarding Christians, regardless of what age and era we live here on earth, is that we “marvel” a lot.

And this, in addition to marveling about so many aspects of God’s creation… so many earthly and worldly things that are truly amazing… truly a sight to behold.

No. What the Christian man and woman marvels most is about the divine… things not of this world… things far above and beyond both the world and the worldly mind… our minds.

Continue reading ““How Can These Things Be?””

“The Spirit’s Power”

“The Spirit’s Power”   John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15
The Day of Pentecost (B)  5/20/18
Pastor Mark H. Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL

It was one of the most closely guarded and best kept secrets. Not even the Vice President of the United States knew about it. That is, until he suddenly became President after the death of Franklin Roosevelt. I am, of course, referring to President Harry S. Truman and what was known as “the Manhattan Project.”

It “officially” began on December 28, 1942, combining a number of research efforts that were already underway, including those at our own University of Chicago by two scientists, Enrico Fermi (and yes, that is where the Fermi Lab gets its name) and Leo Szilard. The goal – weaponize nuclear energy… and do it quickly. U.S. Intelligence had heard for some time that Adolph Hitler had a team of scientists working on the same.

Two and half years later, on July 16, 1945, in a remote desert location near Alamogordo, New Mexico, the first atomic bomb was successfully detonated. It was ironically known as the “Trinity Test” and it sent an enormous mushroom cloud some 40,000 feet into the sky and released energy equivalent to around 21 kilotons of TNT.

Continue reading ““The Spirit’s Power””

“It is All They Need”

“It is All They Need” John 17:11b-19
The Seventh Sunday of Easter (B)  5/13/18
Pastor Mark H. Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL

One simply does not tire of hearing, reading and considering our Lord’s high priestly prayer to the Father, His Father, Our Father. It says so much, reveals so much, regarding the divine and perfect relationship of the Father to the Son and the Son to the Father. It says so much, reveals so much, regarding the Father and Son’s relationship to us. It says so much, reveals so much about our Lord’s saving mission here on earth… all for us, done for us, accomplished for us and what now takes place in the days that remain until our dear Lord and Savior returns to us on the last day which draws ever so close.

Continue reading ““It is All They Need””

“It all Comes Down to This”

“It all Comes Down to This”  John 15:9–17
The Sixth Sunday of Easter (B)  5/6/18
Pastor Mark H. Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL

If we had just the one verse, we could easily misinterpret… be confused and uncertain as to what our Lord meant… as to what He was referring to when He said… “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.”

It is pretty amazing and quite shocking what people believe “abiding in Christ’s love” is all about. More than just a few would argue that it is up for self-interpretation… that it is different for everyone because you know what? We are all different and our differences are all good. God simply wants us to abide in love… to be loving and caring. Leave it at that.

That certainly sounds good from a worldly point of view. And it works well with those who seek to have it both ways… to be a Christian… to appear “Godly”…. and to, at the same time, embrace the things of this world.

Continue reading ““It all Comes Down to This””

“Abide with Me”

“Abide with Me” – John 15:1-8
The Fifth Sunday of Easter (B)  4/29/18
Pastor Mark H. Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL

Just when you think you pretty well know and understand something, you realize “O my goodness, there is more here than meets the eye… more here than what I first thought… much more, in fact!”

And if this is true in a worldly sense, it is infinitely more so in a spiritual one. Today’s Gospel text is a perfect example. You know it well, but maybe not all that well.

On the surface, it is easy to understand… the concept of our Lord Jesus Christ being the one true Vine and we the branches. But what we may miss is that there are certainly others out there… vines that is… to which people can and do attach themselves to… seeking to draw spiritual nourishment and strength… having no idea that the connection is anything but good and wholesome, but rather toxic and deadly.

Continue reading ““Abide with Me””