“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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“Very Perceptive”

The Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost (A)
“Very Perceptive”
October 8, 2017

Sermon Text: Matthew 21:33-46

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

Dearly Beloved of the Lord,

In last week’s Adult Bible Class, we reviewed the glorious Creation account as recorded in Genesis, chapter one. What an amazing world God created. And in regard to all that He made, He saw and it was good.

Today, in our Gospel lesson, Jesus says to the chief priests and the elders, “Hear another parable. There was a master of a house who planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a winepress in it and built a tower and leased it to tenants, and went into another country. (Matthew 21:33)

The “vineyard,” my friends, is the world and the people of the world that the Lord our God created. And you and I know that a vineyard is planted, managed and maintained for one reason… to bear fruit, produce fruit. Fruit that will then go to the winepress which the “master of the house” also includes on site.

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“By What Authority?”

The Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost (A)
“By What Authority?”
October 1, 2017

Sermon Text:  Matthew 21:23-27

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

Dearly Beloved of the Lord,

One of the great mistakes that we make in our everyday lives is taking things out of context. We hate it when someone does this to us, in regard to what we have said or done and the same holds true if the shoe is on the other foot.

We can also take events and incidents out of context and especially historical ones, whether it is related to our family, our country or the world. This can be very costly as we are now seeing and reaping relative to many things happening in the United States.

Too many people are ignorant of historical facts and yet will speak about them as if with authority and take action based upon them in what they believe is a righteous way.

Or… they will take a historical fact and, again, remove it from the entire context in which it happened, leaving them with a jaundiced view and vision from which to act or react.

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“One Spirit, One Mind, Striving Side-by-Side”

The Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost (A)
“One Spirit, One Mind, Striving Side-by-Side”
September 24, 2017

Sermon Text:  Philippians 1:12-14, 19-30

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

Dearly Beloved of the Lord,

“I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ.” (Philippians 1:12,13)

So writes the Apostle Paul, who with great determination and drive takes the glorious Gospel message from one place to another around the northern Mediterranean Sea ports and surrounding cities, towns and villages.

He has one goal, one mission, one objective now in his life… to preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified. And he does it well. Some might say too well because of what the message of Christ will always result in… namely opposition and persecution. Due to Paul’s relentless pointing to Jesus and the cross, he will endure countless beatings, countless blows landed upon him and more than once, it will land him in prison… in chains.

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