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Showing posts from 2010

Sermon on Luke 2:1-20, for the 1st Sunday after Christmas, "To Us a Child is Born!"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, may the Holy Trinity grant you Christmas joy! Amen.

The Christmas carol “From Heaven Above to Earth I Come” retells the Christmas story from the perspective of the angels speaking to the shepherds, and then the shepherds’ response as they go and see this wondrous birth, and find out what it means for the whole world. Verse 8 reads as follows: “Welcome to earth, O noble Guest, Through whom the sinful world is blest! You came to share my misery That You might share Your joy with me.” Welcome to earth, O noble Guest…Jesus received a majestic welcome from angel choirs; a less-majestic, but no less joyful welcome from peasant shepherds come to adore Him. Jesus was a heavenly visitor, a noble guest. But He while He was a stranger to the world, He wasn’t totally unexpected. He was known by many prophetic titles. By many promises He was long-expected. But not till He was born was His personal name Jesus revealed.

Before Chris…

Sermon on Matthew 1:18-25, for the 4th Sunday in Advent, "Craving Good News"

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. Christmas is nearly here, and we’re in the last week of preparation—the last week of Advent, awaiting Jesus’ coming. As you hear the Christmas story read this Sunday from the Gospel of Matthew, how does it strike you? Is it the first time you’ve heard it? The 21st or 51st? Have you lost track of how many times you’ve heard the story, or is it still fresh and new to you at each hearing? Does the world of the first Christmas seem so tranquil, perfect, and far away that it doesn’t relate to your celebration of this years’ Christmas? Or is the story alive and real to you today?
Perhaps for some, the world of the first Christmas seems almost like a sleepy village in one of those snow-globes. The quiet, little town of Bethlehem, shrouded in mystery and holy glow, thousands of years distant in a faraway land. The story evokes memories of childhood and stirs warm emotions, but it’s closed off …

Sermon on John 1:43-51, for midweek Advent 3, "From Jacob's Ladder to Jesus"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. So far in our Advent series we’ve looked at two types of Jesus. Types, remember, are Old Testament people, places or events that foreshadowed something later and greater. First we saw how Adam foreshadowed Jesus, who is the Second Adam. Second we saw how the test of sacrificing Isaac was a foreshadowing of Jesus’ own death. Today, the type isn’t a person but a thing—Jacob’s ladder.

You heard in the Genesis reading about Jacob’s dream when he was fleeing from his twin brother Esau. He slept on a stone, and saw a vision of angels ascending and descending on a ladder that extended from heaven to earth. At the top of the ladder he saw the LORD God who told him, “I am the LORD, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac.” God reaffirmed Abraham’s blessings to Jacob his grandson. Promised the inheritance of the land of Canaan; that they would become a great and blessed nation; and that through his offspring a…

Sermon on Isaiah 35:1-10 & Matthew 11:2-6, for the 3rd Sunday in Advent, "Streams in the Desert"

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. A recent article in Time magazine called desertification “the greatest environmental challenge of our times” (Land of Hope, 12/13/10). Desertification is when good land is turned into desert. The hot sands and wind of a desert can overtake good land, and scorch it, making it a virtually useless wasteland. In the Bible, the desert is a place of isolation or rebellion, of judgment or testing. The chapter before our reading from Isaiah 35, describes God’s judgment on the nation of Edom, near Israel. That nation would be turned into a desert and a wasteland. When God first brought the Israelites to their land, He promised they would flourish if they obeyed His commands, but that He would punish them if they scorned Him and His commands. The punishments would grow worse the more they rebelled and didn’t listen, until the land became a desolate wasteland (Lev. 26). Psalm 107 talks about God t…

Sermon on Genesis 22:1-18, for midweek Advent 2, "From Isaac to Jesus"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Last week we began the Advent sermon series by talking about types, which are people or events, for example, that foreshadow a greater reality. Adam, as we saw, is a type of the Second and Greater Adam, Jesus Christ, who’s death undid the effects of Adam’s sin. In the second sermon of our Advent series, we’ll see how Isaac, the son of Abraham, foreshadowed Jesus, especially when Abraham was tested to sacrifice Isaac. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

It’s often said that no parent should ever have to see their own child die. This is truly an unspeakable tragedy. Yet in the midst of a sinful and uncertain life, this does happen far too often. It’s a grief we’d never wish on anyone, but one that God our Father endured Himself for our sake. Other people who’ve experienced this great loss in their own lives, have often found comfort in the fact that Go…

Sermon on Romans 15:4-13, for the 2nd Sunday in Advent, "With One Voice"

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

A runner strides along the racecourse, pushing toward the finish line. The marathon is a grueling race, and the frequent splashes of water on the face, and cool hydration for the body are life in this contest. The mind reduces to one single focus—finishing the race. The rhythmic pounding of legs against pavement makes the knees feel weak and wobbly as the runner grows weary. Then all of a sudden the runner hits “the wall”—the point where their body and mind conspire to convince them that they can’t possibly go any further. Their strength reserves and energy are exhausted, they’ve reached an insurmountable obstacle, and the only rational choice is to give up. Marathon runner Jerome Drayton put it this way: “To describe the agony of a marathon to someone who’s never run it is like trying to explain color to someone who was born blind.” But a great many marathon runners have pushed through…

Sermon on Romans 5:12-21, for midweek Advent 1, "From Adam to Jesus"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. In the sermon series for Advent, we will look at how the birth and coming of Jesus Christ was foreshadowed and pictured through various examples, peoples, and events, that we call types or shadows. What is a type or shadow? It’s related to prophecy. Prophecies are the God-given messages spoken by His messengers. They explained events both past, present, and future, usually emphasizing the need for repentance and God’s promised actions. Of course Christ, as the coming Savior, is the most frequent subject of prophecy, and Jesus is like the golden thread that runs through all the tapestry of Scripture. A prophecy is spoken or in writing. A type or shadow would be more like an object lesson or even a prototype. It could be a person or event that prophetically alludes to or foreshadows some greater person or event. But this type or prototype is always something inferior to or less than the final reality it points to. …

Sermon on Colossians 3:1-17 for Thanksgiving, "Put on Love"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. When it comes to naming the things we’re thankful for, usually the top of the list are food, shelter, and clothing. This Thanksgiving I want us to especially be thankful for our clothing—but as you’ll see, I don’t mean your physical clothing. In the reading that you heard from Colossians, the Apostle Paul describes our new life as Christians. He talks about putting off our old self with its sinful practices and desires, like one would take off old or dirty clothing. Then he pictures us putting on the virtues of Christ, like a person dressing in new clothing. On this Thanksgiving Eve, we’ll look at how we’re to dress in the virtues of forgiveness and thankfulness, but above all else, dear Christians, we’re to put on love. It’s my prayer this Thanksgiving that you all are dressed in Christ’s love. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

As Christians, ther…

Sermon on Romans 13:11-14, for the First Sunday in Advent, "God's Time is Son-Rise!"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. For church-goers, today marks the beginning of a new year, as we begin the season of Advent, in preparation for Christmas. As we enter this new year, we consider what Paul says in Romans 13: “You know the time…” Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Do you know the time? What time is it? In the reading, St. Paul tells us that “you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep.” Hopefully now that you’re at church, and you’re listening to me, you’re not still asleep, right? So can you tell me what the time is and what hour Paul is talking about? It’s helpful to know that there are two different ways that the New Testament writers speak of time. There’s the ordinary kind of time, called chronos in Greek. As in “chronological.” Chronos is the kind of time you’d be talking about if you asked someone on the street what time it was, and th…

Colossians 3:12-17, Wedding Sermon

(A wedding sermon I preached a few years ago)


Colossians 3:12-17
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

P: This is the Word of the Lord
C: Thanks be to God

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. The basis for the message t…