Showing posts from July, 2012

Sermon on Genesis 9:8-17, 9th Sunday after Pentecost, "Remembered by God"

Sermon Outline:   1.       Rainbows—borrowed as a symbol for all kinds of things, logos, movements, even Emmanuel Lutheran’s logo. But what’s the true meaning and message of the rainbow? Setting the stage—why the Flood (widespread violence and wickedness on earth—sound like today?); yearlong destruction, Noah and family disembarking, God’s unconditional promises to Noah and all creation: physical blessings, not spiritual or a promise of eternal salvation. 2.       God’s covenant never again to destroy all the earth by Flood. Few today fear a global flood, but the threat of catastrophes certainly on our minds—tsunamis, earthquakes, wildfires, end-of-the-world movies. Our share of violence today—feel somewhat insulated (in US), but tragedy breaks through our sense of security—Colorado, terrorist attacks; other countries where danger is a part of everyday life—not safe to worship in many places in Nigeria—bombings, suicide attacks, gunmen, fires. 3.       Violence is deeply imbedd

Sermon on Ephesians 2:11-22, for the 8th Sunday after Pentecost, "What is the Church?"

Sermon Outline:  1.       Monuments of time and history: Great Wall, Pyramids, or Brooklyn Bridge. Took a lot of “blood, sweat, and tears” to build them. Mammoth designs and dangers in construction often meant the injury or death of the workers. Impressive; standing many hundreds or even thousands of years, but time and weather endlessly wear away at them and age them. With ongoing maintenance the effects of time might be stalled—but eventually, even the great monuments of time will succumb to rubble and dust. 2.       Another structure: far surpassing all others in glory—the Christian Church. Built for the glory of God, not the glory of man. Stretching through time and to eternity—a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to build. Not talking about bricks, mortar, stone, and wood. Not about church buildings. That’s not the “Church” I’m talking about. Living structure, living stones, members of the body of Christ. Jesus’ blood, sweat and tears builds it. Different from earthly structures

Sermon on Mark 6:14-29, for the 7th Sunday after Pentecost, "Keeping a Clear Conscience"

Sermon Outline:  1.       Intro: “to go against conscience is neither right nor safe.”--Luther  “my conscience is captive to the Word of God.” Herod Antipas is a prime example of how it is neither right nor safe to go against conscience, and why God gave us our conscience to listen to it and  God’s Word; rather than competing voices and interests that would move us to sin. Paul’s example: “I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man.” (Acts 24:16) 2.       What is our conscience? Inner voice that testifies (gives witness) to God, and the knowledge of right and wrong. Some describe it as our “moral compass.” Romans 2:15 is key: “They [Gentiles] show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them.” Shows two things: 1) work of the law is written on our hearts, so conscience bears witness. We know what is right, and that it is demanded of us. Can’t pr

Sermon on Mark 6:1-13, for the 6th Sunday after Pentecost, "Taking Offense at Jesus"

Sermon Outline:  1.       Jesus’ visit to His hometown wasn’t what you might expect. Family visit, warm welcome, reunion of friends and neighbors. Left a young man, a carpenter; returned grown, now a teacher (!) filled with astonishing wisdom, and performing mighty works! Same guy? Little kid from down the street? Now with a band of disciples, teaching in the synagogue about the kingdom of God, and repentance. Sizing Him up against the little kid they remembered, wondering who does He think He is? The Son of God? Well, yes, He is! They took offense at Him. Scandalized . Stumbled over. 2.       As one author put it: “The people were also scandalized by Jesus’ lowly origin. They found it difficult to believe he was any better than they or his family were. In their opinion he was nothing more than an ordinary craftsman. Their physical knowledge of Jesus prevented them from having a spiritual knowledge of him” (J.A. Brooks). So it was difficult for neighbors and even family to honor

Sermon on Lamentations 3:22-33, 5th Sunday after Pentecost, "Waiting on God"

Sermon Outline 1.       Only reading from Lamentations in our calendar of readings. The highlight or crown jewel of comfort in an otherwise dark and gloomy book. Context helps set the contrast, and fuller appreciation of the hope Jeremiah expresses. Not spoken in a vacuum, or out of a bright, rosy, easy life. Much sounds despairing. But there was legitimate reason for the gloom! 2.       Jerusalem was under siege for two years, as the Babylonian army surrounded them and cut off all food supplies. When the food finally ran out, and they were weak from starvation, the Babylonians broke through the city wall and began destroying the city, setting fire to all the buildings. Worst and most devastating, they looted and burned down the Temple of the Lord. Everyone who was not killed by the Babylonian army was taken prisoner and made a slave for life in Babylon. Only a few of the very poor inhabitants of Jerusalem were left to farm the land. Jeremiah had prophesied from the Lord that thi