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Showing posts from May, 2014

Sermon on 1 Peter 3:13-22, for the 6th Sunday of Easter, "The Gift of Good Conscience"

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen. Today in our reading from 1 Peter, the phrase “good conscience” appears twice. Once it’s in the context of a Christian living out their faith in Jesus and doing good, while suffering persecution or opposition—yet being able to have a good conscience. The second time it’s about our appeal to God in baptism for a good conscience. Today we’re going to see what this Scripture tells us about the gift of a good conscience, and how to keep our conscience clear. Have you noticed nowadays how even non-religious people are very aware of guilt? It’s no surprise that they often try to deal with it in a variety of ways that are very different from the Christian answer to guilt—which in short, is forgiveness in Jesus Christ. But it shows that guilt is very troubling for people. Sometimes we perceive that it originates from inside us; while other times we blame others for imposing guilt on us (isn’t …

Sermon on 1 Peter 2:2-10, for the 5th Sunday of Easter, "Royal Priesthood"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Last week’s sermon highlighted the personal love and individual care that we have in Jesus, our Good Shepherd; in whom I lack nothing. This Biblical reality is very comforting for us as Christians, but it is also very easy for us to hear, because it fits well with American individualism. But if we limit ourselves to a personal, individual description of the faith, we put blinders on ourselves to the vast importance and beautiful descriptions of our corporate life together as Christians. Perhaps harder for us to hear is that God intended us for community and interdependence. The Christian is part of something much greater than themselves, and greater than their individual relationship with God; we are the body of Christ. Or as Peter describes it in our reading today—a spiritual house, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, etc. All are plural descriptions of the church, not singular. How does this instruct us to live out ou…

Sermon on John 10:1-10, for the 4th Sunday of Easter, "The Shepherd"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. If we were to ask the kids at church, “If you could be an animal, what kind of animal would you be?”, we’d get a variety of fun answers. Maybe a dinosaur because it’s huge and fierce. Maybe an eagle that could soar above everything in the sky. Maybe a cheetah because it’s so fast. Maybe a dolphin that could play in the ocean. Probably a sheep is not too high in the rankings for most kids. Probably not what we would choose for ourselves. Sheep are not particularly glamorous creatures. Not fast, strong, or fierce. Rather, they don’t have very good eyesight, are prone to get stuck or be in trouble, and are relatively defenseless. But Psalm 100:3 joyously announces to us,“Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” We are the sheep of His pasture, and He made us! So God why is it such a wonderful thing? Why would anyone want to be a sheep? Bec…

Sermon on Luke 24:13-35, for the 3rd Sunday of Easter, "Let's Talk Story"

Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia! But on that evening of the first Easter, when reports of the empty tomb were circulating among the beleaguered disciples…two disciples were already headed home to Emmaus, shaking their heads in disbelief and gloom, as they left the hotbed of Jerusalem behind. A familiar phrase here in Hawaii is “talk story.” It’s when friends have a conversation about what’s going on, or catch up on old times. Almost everyone “talks story” about whatever is meaningful or important to them. Unless we don’t feel we have someone we can confide in or trust, most people want to share with someone, what’s going on in their lives. Perhaps to lay down a burden, to share a grief, perhaps to hear a word of encouragement, love, or concern. Sometimes we talk story about things that are sad or confusing; sometimes we talk story about things that are joyful, exciting, or fill us with hope. For some people it comes more naturally then others; and certain people have a n…