“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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“Come, You Who Are Blessed By My Father”

The Last Sunday of the Church Year (A)
“Come, You Who Are Blessed By My Father”
November 26, 2017

  Sermon Text:    Matthew 25:31-46

 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,

Jesus said, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.” (Matthew 25:31)

Even being just that, the “Son of Man” … flesh of our flesh… Christ our Savior saw with crystal clarity what was to come. He knew perfectly what will soon be… the reality of it all for you, me and all the world.

Jesus Christ, true God and true Man, lays it all out for us in the glorious text before us this morning. It is hard for our limited minds to fully picture and appreciate the grandeur and the majesty of this moment… this cataclysmic event that can happen at any time… that will happen, marking the end of time.

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“Thankful, Come What May”

A Day of Thanksgiving
“Thankful, Come What May”
November 23, 2017

Sermon Text:  Philippians 4:6-20

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,

Again, a blessed Day of Thanksgiving to you all! In one sense, what really needs to be said? Here? Now? It is a day of giving thanks, right? Enough said? And for those who are already giving thanks that this might be the end of my sermon, think again.

It is just that one of the great qualities of the Christian faith… the Christian life… the Christian man and woman, teenager and child is, in fact, being thankful, truly thankful… not now and then … but always… constantly and continuously.

And this from having been taught the same… how one is brought up… in the home and in the church. We have been taught to be thankful, brought up to be thankful and yes, that includes our fathers and mothers teaching us to say “Thank you” when we were given something.

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“Once the Bridegroom Comes”

The Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost (A)
“Once the Bridegroom Comes”
November 12, 2017

Sermon Text: Matthew 25:1-13

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,

So, how many of us have jumper cables in our cars, flashlights in our homes, and take at least one extra set of clothes on a trip, beyond that which we know we will wear? You know… just in case. Just to be ready… to be prepared.

And here, it is interesting to consider the differences among people in regard to their level of preparedness. Looking at the extremes, on the one hand, you have men and women who like to live on the edge… to live without the use of “a safety net” so to speak. Be prepared? Why? It seems that when they were fearfully and wonderfully made in their mother’s womb, somehow the “preparedness gene” was left out.

On the other end of the spectrum, you have people who have an overabundance of this gene and then some. You may be one of them or you at least know of a person like this (and this is not the time to being looking around you). We are talking about people who make preparedness an art form and take such to entirely new levels.

Just Google the word “prepper” and you will have before you a wide variety of sites that will amaze you as to the degree, the lengths that people will go, the steps that they will take to be prepared for any and every possible scenario.

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“Hope in Jesus”

All Saints’ Day
“Hope in Jesus”
November 5, 2017

Sermon Text: 1 John 3:1-3

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

Dear Fellow Saints in Christ,

The power to direct thoughts… to direct hearts and minds… is held by many. Not that they possess such power equally or that they all wield the same masterfully, but it is nevertheless frequently employed in our day and age as it has been in all of the days past.

And we could easily use up the precious time we have this morning considering all of the wrong ways, evil ways, diabolic ways in which thoughts have been misdirected… all of the ways hearts and minds have been led astray. But we are not about to do that. Not today. Not this most blessed and holy day in the life of the Christian Church. Not on All Saints’ Day.

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“The Games People Play”

The Twentieth Sunday after Pentecost (A)
“The Games People Play”
October 22, 2017

Sermon Text:  Matthew 22:15-22

Peace be unto you from our Triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Dearly Beloved of the Lord,

Oh, the games people play. I am not talking about sports, although some certainly make a sport out of it. I am not talking about board games, although one would think the person playing games would get bored doing it and just stop it… “cease and desist” if you will.

It gets old and… as is often said… life is too short to play games with people, be it at work, school, home, wherever and whenever. Just come out with it. Just tell it like it is. Just let your thoughts and opinions… your desires and intentions be known in a straightforward and matter of fact way.

But it is not that easy to do when one’s thoughts and opinions, desires and intentions are not good… are not right… are, in fact, downright sinister and evil… wicked even.

Then “playing games” becomes a handy tool to ensnare someone… to entangle them in one’s plot of deceit. St. Matthew tells us, “Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle [Jesus] in his talk.” (Matthew 22:15)

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“A Dress Code”

The Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost (A)
“A Dress Code”
October 15, 2017

Sermon Text: Matthew 22:1-14

Peace be unto you from our Triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Dear Fellow Redeemed,

The Lord our God does not depict it one way, but rather in several ways to help us, His beloved children, understand His relationship to us. That which is of His own doing and making… and this out of pure Fatherly love shown toward us. We are the object of His affection… the “apple of His eye.” He who is the creator of this vast universe, this earth and everything in it. It is all for us… made for us… for which we give unceasing thanks and adoration.

What we have before us this morning in our Gospel text is truly one of the most wonderful ways in which the Almighty explains the divine relationship between Himself and us… one that has us seeing the Father, God our Father, as a king who gives a wedding feast for his son. His Son, the Bridegroom. His Son, Jesus Christ.

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