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Showing posts from May, 2009

Sermon on 1 John 5:9-15 for the 7th Sunday of Easter, "This is the Testimony"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Today we have the privilege (in our 2nd service) of seeing two of our youth take a significant step of maturity in their Christian walk. They have undergone instruction in the Christian faith, and will publicly confess that this faith that the church confesses is their faith also. They’re embracing and confessing the faith into which they were baptized. As I preach on the text from 1 John today, I want you to recall your own baptism and confirmation, or if you were received into faith as an adult, to remember your baptism and profession of faith. As you remember these things, consider your new identity in Christ, and how He’s called you to use the gifts He’s granted to you. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Our reading today centers around the word “testimony.” The first verse reads: “If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is grea…

Sermon on John 15:9-17, for the 6th Sunday of Easter, "You Did Not Choose Me"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. For all the talk that we make of having free will in our lives, and in whatever earthly choices we may apply it to, Jesus makes it clear with one irrefutable statement, that when it comes to being in Christ we have no such free will. “You did not choose me, but I chose you.” Here at Jesus’ words, we lay down any pretensions that we sought after God, and humbly acknowledge that He has chosen us and called us by His grace alone. We confess together with the Scriptures that “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God” (Rom. 3:10b-11). Today we look at the Gospel reading, and what it means that Jesus has chosen us to go and bear fruit. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Hear it again: Jesus says to His disciples, “You did not choose me, but I chose you.” Yet is this what we hear, believe, or say? More often than not, we rev…

Evangelism Equipping

On the blog of a fellow LCMS pastor, Rev. William Cwirla, is a somewhat humorous, but perceptive 7-step “program” for how we as Christians should prepare ourselves for evangelizing (spreading the Gospel!). The 7 simple steps are listed below:

Rev. Cwirla's 7-Step Evangelism Equipping Program™
1. Talk to people about sin and Jesus' death and resurrection wherever and whenever you can.
2. Don't worry that people will think you're weird, you are.
3. When possible, invite them to church and hang with them through catechesis to their Baptism.
4. Practice talking sin and Jesus with folks in your congregation, most of whom are Christians already, but hey, if you can't talk about sin and Jesus in church, where can you?
5. Memorize the small catechism so you'll have something intelligent to say and don't just blather on and on about yourself.
6. Don't worry about failure; God works through that too.
7. No ifs, ands, or buts when it comes to faith in Jesus or it isn'…

Sermon on John 15:1-8, for the 5th Sunday after Easter, "Jesus the True Vine"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. The sermon text is the Gospel from John 15. Here Jesus teaches us about what it means to be pruned and to grow and bear fruit, and how this relates to trials in life and our Christian growth. He shows how the Father prunes us of dead growth, and how Jesus Himself is the Vine, from which all believers gain nourishment, health, and the ability to bear fruit. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

The pruning of a plant always involves some trauma. Though the plant isn’t conscious and can’t “feel” the sharp pinch of the pruning shears or the cut of the blade, it oozes sap from the open wound. A tree may scar and leave behind a stump where the pruned branch once was. Sometimes pruning seems so radical that the plant hardly looks like it will survive or grow back. Other times the pruning is more delicate and aimed to direct the growth of the plant. I think o…