Showing posts from March, 2012

Sermon on Mark 10:35-45, for the 5th Sunday in Lent, Children's Sunday, "Ransomed for a Reason!"

Sermon Outline:  1.       James’ and John’s bold-faced request—sit at the right and left hand. Go-getters, ambitious, passionate; seeking power, glory. Didn’t sit well with the other 10 disciples. Know or learn from experience that a sure-fire way to alienate co-workers, friends, or others from you is to be arrogant and self-promoting—seek to grab power, put yourself over them, etc. Jesus calms the disciples and uses this as a teachable moment for them all. 2.       Way of the world vs. way of the kingdom of God. It’s dysfunctional. Putting our interests and quests for power first, makes for conflict, hurt feelings, etc. And passive-aggressive manipulation is no better, because it just puts our interests first in a “sneakier way.” Jesus compares this self-seeking to the ways of the politicians of His day, who were domineering in their power, or “threw their weight around” to show who’s in charge. Same today. Endless cycle of it in politics and news, as one party blames the other

Sermon on Jonah 3:1-5, Lent 5, Jonah, The Survivor Series: Part 5: "The God of the Second Chance"

The following Lenten series I will be preaching on is adapted from Dr. Reed Lessing's series on Jonah the prophet. Dr. Lessing is professor of Old Testament at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO.              After a somewhat less than graceful exit from the belly of the whale, Jonah was back on terra firma . And it was no time to rest or to hatch another escape plan—that have proven to be fruitless (267). God had work for Jonah to do, and he was to get right to it. God was persistent in His call, and wasn’t going to let up. Perhaps we can recall times when we’ve had a less than graceful course-correction in our lives, and were humbled, somewhat unsteady on our feet, and back to facing the call that God has for us. Because of God’s grace, we are given a second chance—we are renewed for His service yet again. Jonah obeyed at last the command to “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.”             In verse three, almost all tr

Sermon on Numbers 21:4-9 & John 3:14-21, for the 4th Sunday in Lent, "The Cross for you!"

Sermon Outline: 1.       Most famous Bible verse, John 3:16—back up two verses and Jesus explains His cross in relation to the bronze serpent, Num. 21:4-9. Grumbling against God and Moses > God sends serpents > people repent > God sends a cure. Bronze serpent—likely detestable for them to look at—yet God’s Word attached to it made it their cure. Look to it and live. So why does Jesus match His cross to this story? Look to Him (believe in Him) when He is raised up, and live. Cross is detestable to many. See there our own sin. Romans meant it to be degrading to the crucified, deterrent to the public. 2.       Sin is our poison, burning wounds, consciences. All “snake-bitten.” Poison is fatal—there is only one cure—Christ crucified. Jesus became “snake-bitten” for us. Old-fashioned remedy for snake bite—suck the poison, draw out the poison. But when the “fangs” of the serpent, the devil, struck Jesus and tried to poison the perfect Son of God, He died. He absorbed all the p

Sermon on Jonah 2:1-10, Lent 4, Jonah--The Survivor Series: Part 4: "Praying in the Belly of the Great Fish"

The following Lenten series I will be preaching on is adapted from Dr. Reed Lessing's series on Jonah the prophet. Dr. Lessing is professor of Old Testament at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO.  One tribe of Native Americans had a unique practice for training young braves. On the night of a boy’s thirteenth birthday, he was placed in a dense forest to spend the entire night alone. Until then he had never been away from the security of his family and tribe. But on this night he was blindfolded and taken miles away. When he took off the blindfold, he was in the middle of thick woods. By himself. All night long. Every time a twig snapped, he probably visualized a wild animal ready to pounce. Every time an animal howled, he imagined a wolf leaping out of the darkness. Every time the wind blew, he wondered what more sinister sound it masked. No doubt it was a terrifying night for many. After what seemed like an eternity, the first rays of sunlight entered the interior of the forest.

Sermon on Exodus 20:1-17, for the 3rd Sunday in Lent, "A Sinner's Prayer and Hope"

Intro: This sermon is a reflection on how we might examine our lives according to the Ten Commandments. Not every sin may be your own, or my own, but as Luther reminds us: it is not hurtful to acknowledge and confess our sin, but rather we should say from our hearts “O Lord God! I’ve done this sin.” Although you may not have committed a certain sin that another has done, neither have they committed the same sins as you. Any cry of superiority from one to another is cancelled out. So as you hear this sermon, reflect thoughtfully on your own sin, acknowledge and confess it before God, gladly welcoming His forgiveness, knowing that in Christ your sin is no longer counted against you. But don’t be deceived to think God won’t know if you harbor sin in your heart. Self-righteousness has no place before God. Also reflect on the goodness of each commandment—and the yet-still-greater goodness of our Savior Jesus Christ, who nailed our every debt to the tree of His cross, that we might be for

Sermon on Jonah 1:1-17, Lent 3, Jonah-The Survivor Series: Our Providing God

The following Lenten series I will be preaching on is adapted from Dr. Reed Lessing's series on Jonah the prophet. Dr. Lessing is professor of Old Testament at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO.  Consider Fallon, Nevada. The EPA has found that Fallon’s water system delivers more arsenic to its customers than any other large town water system in America. Folks there even joke about it: “Arsenic? It only bothers you if you’re not used to it.” One resident who has lived in Fallon all his life, jests, “Arsenic is no biggie. I’ll die of something. It’s called life. Once you’re born, you start dying.” The arsenic levels remain high, not because people like drinking arsenic, but because they don’t want to pay for the solution, a $10 million treatment plant. One local official said, “This is Nevada. They don’t want to feel government is intruding in their lives.” Talk about being obstinate! These people would rather serve arsenic-laced water to their children than allow the government t

Sermon on Mark 8:27-38, for the 2nd Sunday in Lent, "Savers become losers, but losers gain a Savior!"

Sermon Outline: 1.       Today’s Gospel, Peter learns what it means for Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of Man, God’s chosen Savior. Jesus sets out the way of the cross; suffering, sacrificial living. Peter has a thing or two to say about this, rebuking Jesus. We think very much like Peter most of the time. Peter wants to shape Jesus’ mission to align with his thinking—manmade thoughts, and gets a sharp rebuke. We also have our preconceived ideas of how our life should turn out. 2.       Jesus challenges all of His disciples (us included) to accept the way of the cross both for Himself and His followers. “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? For what can a man give in return for his life?” 3.       Peter’s/our view: save Jesus’ skin, a fr