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Showing posts from April, 2010

Sermon on Revelation 2:12-17, for the 4nd Sunday of Easter, "Easter Letters: Pergamum--Hidden Manna"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Today is part three of our sermon series, “Easter Letters,” and is on the letter to the church of Pergamum. Last week we heard about the church in Smyrna, whose believers faced difficult persecution, poverty, slander, and even death, but were called to endure and not be afraid as they trusted in their conquering Lord. Today in the letter to the church of Pergamum, we find a church that is in the midst of a hotbed of false worship to other gods, and the temptation to live a worldly and impure life. They are called to repentance, and victory with their Lord who fights with them against temptation and idolatry. He promises to the conqueror, to eat of the hidden manna. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

The introduction of Jesus in this letter to Pergamum immediately strikes us as fierce. “These are the words of Him who has the sharp, two-edged sword.” …

Sermon on Revelation 2:8-11, for the 3rd Sunday of Easter, "Crown of Life!"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Today we continue our “Easter Letters” sermon series with part 2: the letter to the church of Smyrna. Last week we heard about the church of Ephesus, which was commended for its faithfulness in testing the apostles and teachers, but was called to repentance for their lovelessness. The reading today addressed a church that is undergoing intense persecution, and is warned to stop being afraid. To the faithful, there is promised the Crown of Life. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

The first verse of the letter to Smyrna shows the theme of resurrection, as it describes the words of Jesus who’s “the first and the last, who died and came to life.” Our crucified and risen Lord speaks this word to the churches. This verse is a good example of why it’s important to pay careful attention to the titles and names given to Jesus or to God the Father. These titl…

Sermon on Revelation 2:1-7, for the 2nd Sunday of Easter, "Easter Letters: Ephesus--Eat of the Tree of Life!"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia! Dear saints in Christ, the joyful celebration of Easter only just begun last week! It continues for the next several Sunday’s of Easter, leading up to the day of Pentecost, 50 days after Jesus’ resurrection. For these seven weeks of Easter until Pentecost, I’m going to preach a sermon series created by myself and Pastor Hazel from Trinity Lutheran Church on Oahu. Our series is titled: “Easter Letters” and each week will focus on one of the seven letters to the churches in Asia, in the book of Revelation. Today’s epistle from Revelation 1 provides the preface to each of those letters. We call them “Easter Letters” for several reasons: because the Risen and Ascended Lord Jesus speaks these letters to His church; because they speak to the eternal hope of Christian joy, because they speak of living faithfully in the present day challenges of this world, and finally becau…

Sermon on Luke 24:1-12, for Easter, "Death's Greatest Failure!"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

When you think of the greatest blunders or failures in history, what comes to mind? Do you think of certain individuals who set out with great plans and were met with disastrous failure? Their names probably didn’t stick around so long, precisely because of what they didn’t accomplish. Though some have rebounded from devastating failures to great success. When you think of famous failures, do you think of great projects that went awry? The supposedly unsinkable Titanic, that struck an iceberg and sank in the Atlantic? Perhaps in Bible history, the failed attempt to build a monument to human glory, the Tower of Babel. Perhaps you would name famous failed inventions or marketing ideas, or even famous failures in battle or war.

Some failures are tragic, others are humorous. Some are memorable, some are not. But rarely are failures celebrated. But today, on the day of o…

Sermon on John 19:30, for Good Friday, "Beginnings and Endings...and Beginnings"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. The death of Jesus Christ has a power and gravity all of its own. It has a way of wrenching us out of our own existence, our busy worlds, our self-absorbed lives—and plunking us right down in the middle of holy history. (paraphrased, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together, 53-54). Refocusing our attention on Christ crucified on the cross. In all other parts of history that we might choose to study or consider, we’re more or less spectators on the outside looking in. We played no active role, we merely witness what history has recorded. But the Good Friday story pulls us right out of our particular time and place and sets us down nearly 2,000 years ago outside the ancient walls of Jerusalem, and shows us that we are participants in this story.

Here we stand, at a hill far away, beneath an old, rugged cross. A scarred and ugly hill, marred by bloodstains of criminals; the wind scraped by the harsh gasps of suffering. Fa…

Sermon on John 13:1-35, for Maundy Thursday, "Finding Ourselves"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. In the last several weeks, we’ve talked about how God shows us that a self-seeking and self-centered life isn’t God’s desire for us. We’ve been called to “Life Together”—a caring community of believers who are willing to hand our lives over to God’s leading and His purposes as we extend that care and concern to others. Tonight, we’re going to consider how Jesus’ last supper with His disciples helps us to learn about what it means to be followers of Jesus, and the impact of our witness and message. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Take a moment to recall when the last time was that you shared your Christian faith with another person. Perhaps a stranger, perhaps a friend or even a family member. What did you say, and what was their response? Perhaps it was someone living a worldly life, and you’re faced with the uncomfortable fact that it’s not a Go…