“No Profit to Be Had”

The Second Sunday in Lent (B)
“No Profit to Be Had”
January 21, 2018

Sermon Text: Mark 8:34-38

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

Dearly Beloved of the Lord,

Not too long ago, we discussed in one of our weekday Bible studies, an amazing book, “Tried by Fire” by William Bennett, in which he brings before the reader many of those who lived the Christian faith, suffered for the Christian faith, died for the Christian faith and are now in glory with their Savior, Jesus Christ… who they would not abandon… who they willingly confessed to be their Lord even, with their very last breath.

It was, to say the least, a humbling book… a humbling and sobering look at so many of our brothers and sisters who remained faithful unto death and received the crown of eternal life…

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“The Wilderness Days”

The First Sunday in Lent (B)
“The Wilderness Days”
February 18, 2018

Sermon Text: James 1:12, Mark 1:9-15, Psalm 91

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

Dearly Beloved of the Lord,

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12)

So writes St. James in our appointed epistle text. Blessed is the man, the woman, the teenager and child who remains unmovable, unshakeable, un wavering when faced with trials and tribulations… when under fire… when under great pressure.

There is certainly enough of that to go around… the trials and tribulations … the fires and pressures of life. And this is true of everyday life for everyone, but then add on to that the trials and tribulations… the pressures and the coming under fire for being a Christian… for holding to the Christian faith… for remaining steadfast on the Word of God and the confession that Jesus is Lord.

Put quite simply, “It ain’t easy.” Because of what we face out there… in the world… in the wilderness… the “WILDER-ness” of this life which is only getting worse, crazier by the minute… insane even.

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Who Knows? Perhaps He Will Relent…

Ash Wednesday
February 14, 2018
Joel 2:12-19
Who Knows?  Perhaps He Will Relent…

 What do we really know about the character and the nature of Almighty God?  Does He fit into a little box of what we expect and want from a god?  Is He what we demand Him to be?  Or is He Whoever He is – I am Who I am – regardless of what we want or what we believe to be true?

The prophet Joel spoke the Lord’s sure Word to His people.  Historically, less is known about the situation surrounding Joel than that of any other prophet of the Bible.  We don’t know when Joel lived, who was king, what the specific sins of the Lord’s people were, or what external threats faced God’s people at that time.  The text would seem to indicate the onslaught of a plague of locusts, among other things, with all the related natural consequences – loss of all vegetation and crops, drought, the devastation of all existing food stores – but even that could be just a metaphor for an invading army.  The scope of the judgment even hints at the fact that this was not primarily something that occurred in Joel’s day, but is rather a prophecy that mainly looks far away, into the future, to the final judgment of all mankind.  The text is just not specific and clear on these points.

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“The Passion Perspective”

The Sunday of the Passion

“The Passion Perspective”

April 9, 2017

Sermon Text: Matthew 26 & 27

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,

Who doesn’t like a good movie now and then? It is a great source of entertainment. Add some buttered popcorn and a few other goodies and what more do you need?

With some movies, it makes sense just to wait until they can be rented or streamed at home. No big deal. But for cinema spectaculars, they just have to be seen… need to be seen… on the big screen. In some cases, even in an Imax theater. Talk about up-close and bigger than life!

In some of the same ways, my friends, it wouldn’t do it justice if the entire passion of our Lord was seen, viewed, considered via anything less than a way that lets us take it all in… indeed… up-close and true to life… the actual  account of the saving of all mankind as recorded in God’s Word in vividness and detail unsurpassed.

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“This Illness Does Not Lead to Death”

The Fifth Sunday in Lent

“This Illness Does Not Lead to Death”

April 2, 2017

Sermon Text: John 11:1-45

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,

How many times have we heard something and realized that it does not make sense. Well, maybe we heard it wrong. But then, upon learning that we had not, we are at a loss as to what to do… how to make sense of it all.

How many times in our dear Lord’s ministry here on earth… in His time here on earth… did He say things, proclaim things that simply did not make sense to those who first heard it… as well as those who still hear it today, but do not have as our Savior said, “ears to hear” … spiritual ears… ears opened and minds enlightened by the Holy Spirt.

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“Blindness and Sight”

The Fourth Sunday in Lent

“Blindness and Sight”

March 26, 2017

Sermon Text: John 9:1-7, 13-17, 34-39

There is an old story about Sherlock Holmes and Watson camping out overnight.  Somewhere in their journeys they have to sleep out in a field and they rig up one of these old-fashioned tents where you just put a couple of supporting posts in the ground, lay a tarp over them, and then stake the tarp in the corners and you’ve got a tent.  So they do this and they go to sleep.

In the middle of the night Holmes pokes Watson and wakes him up.  Watson asks, “What’s going on?”  Holmes answers, “Watson, look up, what do you see?”  Watson replies, “Oh, it is a beautiful night sky.  I can’t remember the last time I saw so many stars!  And I see a planet over there, and another planet not too far away from it, and on other side of the sky the moon is only half full but it is still so bright!  I can see the outline of the galaxy sweeping across the sky.  And it all reminds me how grand and awesome our universe is, and how insignificant I am in the midst of it all.  I am in awe of its beauty and I am humbled.”

Holmes replies, “Watson, you fool, someone stole our tent!”

Two people can look at exactly the same thing and see totally different things.  Depending on your perspective, you might say that Watson saw what was really important in seeing the big picture and his tiny place in it.  Or you might say that Holmes saw what was really important and focused on the practical, the here and now.  If one of these things is more important to you, you might say that the person who missed that and saw the other thing was blind.

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“Where Do You Get that Living Water?”

The Third Sunday in Lent

“Where Do You Get that Living Water?”

March 19, 2017

Sermon Text: John 4:5-26

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,

To say the least, she was intrigued by what this Jew had to say to her. Amazed first that he even spoke to her. A man speaking to a woman who was not his wife or kin and this, out in public. And then there was the fact that Jews did not speak to Samaritans and vice versa.

No surprise really because who we are talking about here is our Savior, Jesus, who out of great love and mercy breaks down, breaks through, ignores and abolishes all barriers that stand in the way between Himself and us and in this case, between Himself and this woman.

A woman that He cares greatly about as is seen in what He does and says here… His concern for her spiritual welfare… her eternal life… and those, all those, who she will speak with and tell about this Jesus… not to mention those, all those, who have heard and will hear this account down through the centuries to the very end of time… that which we are considering right now under the gracious guidance of God the Holy Spirit.

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