Showing posts from February, 2011

Sermon on Matthew 6:24-34, for Preschool Sunday, "Chains of the Heart"

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. Today I want to welcome all of our preschool families and children, and thank the children for their excellent recitation of the Bible verses for today, and for their beautiful singing! The verses they recited for you are the focus of my message today, and that whole Gospel reading from Matthew 6 addresses us in a common area of our lives. That is anxiety and worry. While not everyone is a chronic “worrywart,” always anxious about something, I suspect that there are few of us who can avoid the trap of worrying altogether. Worry and anxiety rob us of confidence, sleep, peace, and even of health. How many of you have been stressed out or lost sleep over the family budget, especially in our current economic times? Or dealing with a crisis at work or in the family? Or facing difficult health concerns? Jesus teaches us in this reading that we shouldn’t be weighed down by the worries and the

Sermon on 1 Corinthians 10:14-22, for the 7th Sunday after Epiphany, "The Lord's Supper 2"

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. Today is part two of our sermon teaching series on the Lord’s Supper. Last week I informed the congregation that in March, we’ll begin offering the Lord’s Supper every Sunday. I spoke about how Christ gave us the Supper and instructed us to do it often, in remembrance of Him, and how this gift of love for us is Jesus’ own body and blood. Last week I referred to this understanding of the Lord’s Supper as the “real presence” or “bodily presence” of Jesus. Today I will answer the question, “Is this Lutheran understanding of the “real presence” the Biblical one—that is to say, the Christian one?” That is the essential question—because by “the Lutheran understanding” of a particular teaching, whether the Lord’s Supper or otherwise—we don’t mean something new and unique and apart from Christianity. If it were, we certainly couldn’t call it a Christian or Biblical teaching. When we as Luther

Sermon on Matthew 26:26-29, for the 6th Sunday after Epiphany, "The Lord's Supper, 1"

This Sunday I would like to announce to the congregation an important change that will be coming to our worship services, and over the next few Sunday’s I’m going to do a teaching series of sermons to explain and prepare us for that change. The change is that beginning in March, when we start the season of Lent, we’re going to move to having the Lord’s Supper available every week. The exceptions will be when we have Preschool or Children’s Sunday services, or combined outdoor services, etc. Presently, the elder’s will be responsible for the additional communion setup, though we welcome new volunteers from our church members to be trained to help in communion setup. I’m very excited to bring this change to the congregation, and believe that it will be a source of blessing for us as we gather each week to receive God’s two holy treasures for us: the Word and the Sacrament. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. In today’s serm

Sermon on Isaiah 58:1-14, 5th Sunday after Epiphany, "True or False"

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. In the Gospel reading Jesus talks about how our witness as Christians is like salt or light—and that our witness is voided or lost when we don’t have salt in ourselves, or if our light is hidden or obscured. The reading from Isaiah 58 shows examples of how that happens, and how our witness can be undermined or voided. Since the reading only included verses 3-9a, I’m going to read to you the whole chapter of Isaiah 58. The chapter talks about how the Israelites were expecting God’s blessing in return for their fasting. Fasting is when you refrain from eating for a period of time to give greater attention to God and His Word. Listen how God describes the hypocritical and self-centered kind of fasting that they were doing, with the sincere and self-giving kind of fast that He desired, that turned outward in concern for others. “Cry aloud; do not hold back; lift up your voice like a trumpet