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Showing posts from April, 2009

Updates on Blogroll

Aloha,
just a quick note for any readers that may have perused my links to other lutheran blogs before. I haven't checked or updated almost any of them for probably 3 years. I thought it was about time, and checked them to see how many were broken, expired, etc. To my surprise, there were several that had been taken over by ridiculous advertising, and had none of their original content. Some had all kinds of strange videos, one was completely turned into Japanese advertisements for snack foods, and other unusual things. Other blogs are now defunct or whatever, so I removed a bunch. I didn't add any new ones, simply because I have so little time to read blogs that I don't even know what's happening on some of those I used to read infrequently. Of course, I claim no endorsement of the blogs I listed,either. Nothing personal if any of the links are gone. Just pared it down. :) Happy blogging!

Sermon on Luke 24:36-49, for the 3rd Sunday of Easter. "Jesus Speaks Peace to Our Fears!"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. When Jesus reentered the world of the disciples for the first time after Easter, He was entering a world of fear. Their hopes and expectations had been dashed by Jesus’ crucifixion and death, and it appeared as though mankind’s greatest enemy had stolen their greatest hope. In the Gospel for today, we’ll look at how Jesus enters our world of fears and speaks peace to our fears. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

The disciples were gathered to talk about these things, after several of them and the women had seen the resurrected Lord. Even with these eyewitness reports, there was still an uneasy fear and apprehension that gripped them. They weren’t quite ready to fully believe this, or even understand what it all meant. We’re often in their company. Even with the knowledge of the resurrection, both for Christ and for our eternal hope, we’re gripped by…

Tired Truths?

Have you ever heard someone use the expression, “Tired Truths?” What did they mean by it? Or what were they referring to? I was reflecting on this phrase, and thinking of how some might apply it to the Christian church. I could hear someone saying that the church always just recites the same old “tired truths” again and again. The church doesn’t say anything new, or innovative or different. It’s the “same-old, same-old.” You know: confessing the creeds, talk about sin and humanity’s separation from God, talk about God’s Son sent as our Savior and the need to trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of sins. “Jesus died on the cross for you.” I suppose the complaint might be that these are the same “tired truths” we’ve always heard. This is no kind of attitude to have toward the truth.

But as I reflected on that phrase, I began to realize that there really is no such thing as tired truths. On the contrary, there are only tired people who are not brought into the vitality of THE TRUTH. The Tru…

Sermon on 1 John 1:1-2:2, for the 2nd Sunday of Easter, "Propitiation for our Sins"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. I have to admit that as a pastor, when I see a big, unfamiliar, theological word in our readings, like “propitiation,” it’s just too juicy to resist. These words grab our attention if for no other reason than they are so uncommon and strange. But this word is pregnant with meaning, and has a rich and personal meaning to tell us about the significance of Christ’s death on the cross. I owe special credit to Pastor Steven Starke, a brother in the ministry whom I haven’t met, but who’s a prolific hymn-writer for our new hymnal, and whose excellent sermon on this topic did much to motivate my message today. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Propitiation. Not the word you want to get stuck with in the spelling bee. Probably a word we don’t run across in our average reading, and one that none of us use in our everyday conversation. Archaic? Irrelevant? Bu…

Sermon on Mark 16:1-8 for Easter, the Resurrection of Our Lord. "He Will Swallow Up Death Forever."

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia! We’re here this Easter morn because we believe that death isn’t the end. We’re here because there’s One who has truly conquered death, as witnessed by the women at the tomb, the twelve apostles, more than 500 disciples at one time, His unbelieving brother James, and lastly Saul of Tarsus, the persecutor of the church, later known as Paul. We’re here to celebrate how Jesus has conquered death for us, for we live on in this hope and promise. Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia! Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Easter is God’s answer to our greatest enemy. For death is the great leveler of mankind. Death steals from our joy; it robs us of those we love; it leaves life and ambition unfinished and incomplete. Death spares none, and makes no distinction between the rich or poor, the young or old, n…

Sermon on Matthew 27:24 for Good Friday, "I Joy to Call Thee Mine"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. On this Good Friday, we turn our eyes to the bitter suffering and death of Jesus Christ for our sins. The sermon is based on the Passion of Jesus, and Matthew 27:24, “When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!” Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Seeing Christ crucified may generate all kinds of mixed emotions for us. Some of those are best expressed in the words of the hymns we sing today. Perhaps it is sheer horror at the wickedness of men, in their abuse and mistreatment of Jesus. A wicked mob of people shouts to crucify an innocent man, with the shouts and cries of people today mixed in with them, “This man was no Son of God!” Whippings from the cruel scourge, that alone cou…

Sermon on Mark 14:12-26 and Exodus 24:3-11 for Maundy Thursday. "The Blood of the Covenant"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. On this night we remember Maundy Thursday, the night on which Jesus was betrayed, and celebrated His Last Supper with the disciples. The sermon will be based on our Old Testament and Gospel readings, which link together the blood of the old covenant, and the blood of the new covenant. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Why are these two passages so closely linked, since the time and place of their occurrence are so different? Approximately 1,500 years apart, with Moses speaking to the 12 tribes of Israel at the base of Mount Sinai in the desert, while Jesus is speaking to the 12 disciples alone in the upper room of a home in Jerusalem. At first there seems to be little similarity—but notice one uncommon phrase that appears in both readings. “The Blood of the Covenant.” These words only infrequently appear together in the Bible. When Moses first spo…

Caution about purchasing Study Bibles

This was recently brought to my attention by the editor at Concordia Publishing House, Rev. Paul McCain, concerning the upcoming CPH project "The Lutheran Study Bible" based on the ESV translation:

UPDATE: Further comparison is available at this link http://cyberbrethren.com/2009/04/03/two-lutheran-bibles/
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As many of you are aware, Concordia Publishing House has been working hard at producing and publishing The Lutheran Study Bible. This work began nearly six years ago, and the title of the Bible was announced publicly a long time ago. We learned a year or so ago that the ELCA was producing a Bible and that they decided to call it: “Lutheran Study Bible.” The ELCA Bible is now in print. I encourage you, particularly if you are a pastor, to advise your folks that the ELCA Bible is not The Lutheran Study Bible by CPH. The two Bibles are quite different in content, style and purpose. Most significantly, the ELCA Bible takes a different approac…

Sermon on Mark 15:1-47, for Palm Sunday. "Palms or Thorns for a King"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Palm Sunday or the Sunday of the Passion is a day of real contrasts. As the first day of Holy Week, the week of Jesus’ betrayal, arrest, crucifixion, and death, it starts the week on a joyful note of praises. But a week that quickly turned to great gloom and despair. It seems so disjointed, that Jesus’ week would start with such a joyful celebration and the triumphal procession for a King, but by the end of the week that the crowds would have turned so decisively against Him. They began the week with palms for their King, He ended it in thorns. The significant days of Holy Week are Palm Sunday, which we just celebrated with the Palm Processional into the sanctuary. Maundy Thursday, the night when Jesus celebrated the Passover meal with His disciples, instituted the Lord’s Supper, and was betrayed. Good Friday, the day of Jesus’ crucifixion, death, and burial. On Holy Saturday, Jesus lay buried in the tomb. A week…

Sermon on Matthew 26:57-68 for Lent 6, "If you are the Christ, the Son of God..."

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. The 6th and final part of our sermon series on “Questions about Jesus they don’t want answered” is really as much a demand as it is a question. The high priest Caiaphas says, “I adjure you by the Living God, tells us if you are the Christ, the Son of God!” A man appointed to be the mediator between the people of Israel and God, used his office of high priest to thunder against the very Son of God. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Under the cover of darkness, the ruling council of the Sanhedrin convened, as Jesus had been betrayed and arrested at night. With unmasked intentions they pursue a way to put Him to death. The frustrating part was how to condemn an innocent man. There were no charges that could stick—so they gathered false witnesses that broke the 8th commandment to slander Him. Twisting His words, they claimed He was going to destroy the…