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Showing posts from February, 2010

Sermon on 1 Peter 1:22-25, for Lent 2, "I'm Being True to Myself"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Last week we talked about how life is better when we entrust it into the hands of our God. Tonight I invite you to reflect on the question of “identity.” Is our identity something that we create ourselves, and that’s subject to and shaped by the changes and chances of life? Or is our identity something graciously given to us by God, that anchors us and shapes who we are? Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

You’ve probably heard people say before, “I’m being true to myself!”. Usually it comes in somewhat of a defensive mode, when someone’s defending their actions. “Hey, I’m just being true to myself.” It sounds like “I’m doing my own thing, and if you don’t like it, that’s fine with me.” But how can you say you’re being true to yourself unless you know your true identity? In today’s world it would seem that more than ever, our identity is up for grabs…

Sermon on Luke 4:1-13, for the 1st Sunday in Lent, "Devil's Food?"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Welcome again to Emmanuel for our Children’s Sunday. I pray that God’s Word may richly bless you and your families today. Today’s Gospel lesson tells of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness. This took place immediately after Jesus’ baptism with water and the Spirit in the Jordan River. It was the beginning of Jesus’ public teaching ministry in the land of Israel, that lasted about 3 years before His death by crucifixion. This lesson is very important for us, because it shows us an example from the life of Jesus where He underwent temptation to sin. Of course these weren’t the only temptations Jesus faced—as the reading says at the end, the devil departed from Him until an opportune time. The devil was watchful for the right opportunities to resume his tempting. Today we learn from Jesus how to face temptation, and how He faced temptation for us. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord …

Sermon on 1 Peter 2:13-25, for Ash Wednesday, "Life's Better in my hands!"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. In our western, American culture, we have a great admiration for the icons of “rugged individualism.” There’s something that appeals to us about the pioneer spirit of those who forged their way westward across our country, and were tough, self-reliant individuals. They took their destiny into their own hands. In the wild West some of them even took the law in their own hands. But whatever the merits of self-determination may be, individualism pushed to its extreme can lead us into isolating ourselves from others in our community. It can lead us to pursue things harmful to us, against God’s guiding. The mindset of many today is that “life is better in my hands.” When I’m at the control seat, things will be better. As we contemplate our reading from 1 Peter tonight, I want us to see why those words: “Life is better in my hands” are better heard coming from God than us. It’s better for us to hear God’s calling, and …

Sermon on Luke 9:28-36 for the Transfiguration of our Lord, "The New Exodus"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. On this day of Transfiguration, we finish the season of Epiphany with one final miracle that reveals Jesus as both God and man. The three Gospels that record the transfiguration, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, each tell us that Moses and Elijah appeared together with Jesus when He was glorified on that mountain. All three tell us that they were talking together while the disciples Peter, James, and John were looking on in dazed awe. But only Luke records for us the topic of their conversation. Today we’ll explore what this holy conversation was about. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

So what occasioned this strange encounter on the mountaintop? Jesus had set this time aside for prayer in seclusion. It’s a lesson we’d do well to follow. If the very Son of God regularly set aside time for prayer, how much more should we? I personally know, and perhaps you…

Sermon on Luke 5:1-11, for the 5th Sunday after Epiphany, "Captain or Lord?"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Recently the poem “Invictus” was prominently featured as the title of a movie about Nelson Mandela. These famous lines from that poem gave inspiration to Nelson Mandela while he spent years in a South African prison: “It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll. I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.” Those last words, “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul,” capture the strong emotion of what many people feel about their life and destiny. I am the captain of my soul. I set the course for life, no one else is my master; I answer to no one. In today’s Gospel reading, we’ll see that Jesus leads us to a very different conclusion about who’s ultimately in control of our life, and who rules the soul. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Thank God that the saints in Scripture were no flawle…

Sermon on Luke 3:15-22 for the Baptism of our Lord. "Living a New Life!"

A sermon by Pastor Scott Benjamin of Resurrection Lutheran Church, Detroit, MI. Preached at Emmanuel Lutheran Church of Maui, 1/10/10.


With the start of another year, the news magazines run their traditional obituary page--listing all the famous people who died in 2009. People like Michael Jackson, Ted Kennedy, Patrick Swayze, and Ed McMahon. Everyone on the page had been a part of this world, but are here no longer.
An interesting way to begin a new year: To list all of those who would have no earthly part of the new year, because their earthly life has ended. They are all dead and buried.

The Church on the other hand, is celebrating Epiphany and the Baptism of our Lord. The Light which came into the darkness 2,000 years ago and brought new life to all who believe in Jesus Christ as the Savior, continues to bring new life to all people.
The movie stars, and politicians listed in the obituaries for 2009 all came from men. They were all purely human. The light that comes from the m…

Sermon on Luke 4:31-44, for the 4th Sunday after Epiphany, "What is this Word?"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Evil can be frightening in its power, and unexplainable to us humans. Watching too much of the evening news can numb you with the frequency of acts of violence, crime, accidents and disasters. Often we feel powerless to do anything about it. But in today’s reading we witness One who boldly took on the powers of evil and commanded them to stop with a simple Word of rebuke. Jesus Christ, who could command the storms and waves with His rebuke, here commands the demonic forces of evil and the various sicknesses and diseases that people had. Jesus’ Word carried a whole different power and authority than we’re used to seeing. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Jesus was fearless in the face of evil. He came teaching and preaching in His home region of Galilee, and there in the synagogue, a place of worship, He encountered a demon-possessed man. Perhaps it…