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Showing posts from September, 2010

Sermon on Luke 16:19-31, for the 18th Sunday after Pentecost, Children's Sunday, "Important News"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Welcome again to our Children’s Sunday, and I want to thank our children for their beautiful singing, and for your support and encouragement for them today. Today I want to talk to you about Important News. Several questions to think about: What is important to me? Am I listening to important news? How would I recognize important news? What do you do with important news once you’ve heard it? As we consider some of these questions, we’ll be looking at the story Jesus told about the rich man and Lazarus. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

So what is important to you? God? Your children? Your family? Your possessions? Your life? The things that are most important to us are the things that we give our greatest time, attention, and effort to. They’re the things that we want to protect and keep safe, or the things that give us protection and security. So …

Sermon on Luke 16:1-15, for the 17th Sunday after Pentecost, "The Merciful Master"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Today’s Gospel reading may strike us as very unusual, because Jesus commends the dishonest manager. We’re familiar with the Bible warning us not to “learn the way of the nations” (Jer. 10:2), or that we should not be “conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of [our] mind” (Rom. 12:2). We’re used to Jesus teaching us not to follow the sinful example of the world and it’s desires. So why does Jesus commend this man who mismanaged his master’s possessions, and what application to our Christian life is Jesus getting at? Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Before we can get to the application of the parable, we first need to understand what happened, why the master praised the manager, and what exactly he was praising the manger for. Because there is a big difference between the master commending the dishonest manager for acting cleverl…

Sermon on Luke 15:1-10, for the 16th Sunday after Pentecost, "The Lost are Found"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Today’s Gospel reading paints pictures of God for us, to describe how the lost are found, and the spontaneous eruption of joy that happens in heaven when lost sinners are found. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

A woman sits alone in a crowded restaurant, staring at the happy faces and animated conversation of other customers, wondering where her joy and laughter has gone. In the few years since her father died, she’s felt disillusioned and angry at God and unable to find peace. Somewhere else, in a high school classroom, a student wears a dark look on his face and buries himself in angry music to hide his pain and toughen himself against emotion. Growing up in a house where his parents just don’t care, his behavior has gotten worse and worse at school, and now he wonders if he’ll get caught and kicked out for drug possession. A few miles away in a…

Lord, Thee I Love With All My Heart

In the past month I’ve done a number of funerals and memorials, one for a former member Joan, who used to attend in Lahaina, and another for Janet, who was a frequent vacationer in Lahaina. A month or so earlier we said goodbye to Ben, who was a member here in Kahului. While these departures and farewells from loved ones are often difficult and sad, it is a great privilege to share the blessed good news with families who are mourning the death of loved ones. The knowledge that Jesus Christ defeated death and opens the way of everlasting life for all who trust in Him, is the sweetest comfort one has in the bitter loss of a loved one.

I want to share in this article a hymn that is probably not very well known, but has come to be my personal favorite. It’s words are perfectly fit for a funeral. In our Lutheran Service Book (LSB), the hymn number is 708: “Lord, Thee I Love with All My Heart.”

Lord, Thee I love with all my heart; I pray Thee, ne’er from me depart, With tender mercy cheer m…

Sermon on Luke 14:25-35, for the 15th Sunday after Pentecost, "Count the Cost"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Our message today comes from the Gospel reading, Luke 14. It would be hard for us to ignore the obvious importance of this passage to our congregation’s own building program and the plans that we have laid ahead for a potential new church and school campus. Jesus advises that if one is planning a major undertaking, like building a tower or some other major project, they should first count the cost and be sure that they will be able to complete it. Make sure that the necessary resources are available and that they have the strength to carry the project through to completion. Today we’ll consider what Jesus taught about counting the cost. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

One could look at our campaign to build the new campus in Waikapu as simply a business matter, like any other company or business planning an expansion. Get the right workers on the…

Sermon on Hebrews 13:9-16, for the 14th Sunday after Pentecost, "Leaving the city, Going to the City"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Our sermon text is a portion of Hebrews 13:9-16,

“Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them. We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”

The reading …