Showing posts from December, 2008

Ponder Anew What the Almighty Can Do

It strikes me that there is always the danger that the story of Jesus’ birth can become commonplace for people, especially adults. We remember dozens of Christmases past, perhaps quite fondly for some—associating it with good memories with family or friends, beloved traditions, moments of unexpected generosity. Or perhaps some don’t have such fond memories about Christmas. Maybe family were never very close, or quarrels broke out with the holiday stress, or maybe a loved one passed away, as often seems to happen around the holidays. For some Christmas means it’s time for the obligatory worship service, perhaps so as not to lose the sense of reminiscing that surrounds this holy day. But regardless of how intensively or extensively we celebrate Christmas, and whatever our Christmas traditions may be, it is all too easy to overlook the significance of Jesus’ birth. All too easily does it become sentimentalized as a cozy, dreamlike story that serves merely to reawaken nostalgia and holid

Sermon on Luke 1:26-38, for the 4th Sunday in Advent. "Jesus: the Forever-King"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. I want to draw your attention to a common theme between our Old Testament and Gospel readings today. The theme of God’s promise to establish a “house” for David. In order to make the connection more clear, I’m going to read the few verses that were left out, 2 Samuel 7:11-16: “I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you.

Podcasting Sermons Experiment Part Deux

Hello all, I've switched to Podbean for my pocasting service, which was the one originally recommended to me. It seems to have a clean format and easy to use. I gave up on GCast after many failed attempts to get my files on the site. Feedback is always welcome! -Josh

Sermon on Isaiah 40:1-11, 2nd Sunday in Advent, "The Word of the Lord Endures Forever"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. The sermon text is Isaiah 40:1-11, beginning with the words: “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.” The prophet Isaiah carries this message to a people harassed by warfare with enemies, laboring in the darkness of uncertainty, mourning underneath their sorrows’ load. They were a people living with the guilt of their sin and disobedience to God, facing the punishment and penalty of their sin. Whether they lived before, during, or after the captivity in Babylon, or under the harsh rule of the Romans, many things conspired to quench the hope of God’s people. God’s people were waiting—they were waiting for the Advent, or coming of the Lord, who’d comfort them in their cheerless circumstances. This season of Advent, we wait with them, saints of the Old Testament. But now we’re waiting for the second Advent or coming of our Lord, and sharing in His same message of comfort, even as we’ve circumstances that would tr