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Showing posts from June, 2014

Sermon on Romans 7:1-13, for the 3rd Sunday after Pentecost, "The Resurrecting Christ", Part 2

Note: The following sermon is part 2 of  a 13 part series on Romans 6-14, adapted from the Series "God's Greater Story" by Rev. David Schmitt of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. 
   In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Last week we began our sermon series on Romans in chapter 6; how we have been Baptized into God’s Greater Story through Jesus’ death and resurrection. We learned that we are dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. This gives us a new identity in Christ Jesus, where we live not under the law, but under grace. Paul explains in 7:4, where Paul says, “My brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.” We now belong to Jesus Christ, who has been raised from the dead and now raises us to new life also. He is the “Resurrecting Christ,” who in the power of His resurrection continues to ra…

Sermon on Romans 6:1-23, for the 2nd Sunday after Pentecost, "Baptized Into God's Greater Story", Part 1

Note: The following sermon is part 1 of  a 13 part series on Romans 6-14, adapted from the Series "God's Greater Story" by Rev. David Schmitt of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. 

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Have you ever caught your reflection in a window? You saw your image transposed on a busy scene on the other side of the window, or perhaps behind you? Maybe it made you seem small and insignificant; maybe it made you seem larger than life. Today you’re invited to catch your reflection in the waters of Holy Baptism, as St. Paul pictures our new life in Christ Jesus, begun in baptism, and how it draws us into God’s Greater Story. A story that pulls us in from various places in life. Some of us are struggling with loneliness or depression. Some have just started a job, while others are going away to college. Some may be celebrating joys, others may be carrying sorrows. Regardless of where you are in life, where you’ve been or wh…

Sermon on Genesis 1:1-2:4a, for Trinity Sunday, "It was very good."

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit—the God who by His almighty power and spoken word created the heavens and the earth! Amen. The Creation account in Genesis 1 & 2 is such a rich passage that we can only scratch the surface in a single sermon. It answers the deep questions of our existence, “How did we get here? And who are we?” The simplest answer is, God created us, and we are His creatures. To be a creature means that we were specially created by our Creator—we are not self-made, we are not accidents of nature, we are not eternal—we have a beginning and an end. That relationship of creature to our Creator is a very important one, and to scratch the surface of this reading, we’re going to reflect on what was “very good” about God’s original creation and mankind’s place in it, and what is very good about our relationship as creature to Creator. We’ll contrast that to what went wrong, and how God in Jesus came to restore the good in creation. As God s…

Sermon on Acts 2:1-21, for the Festival of Pentecost, "The Spirit's Harvest"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Today we celebrate the festival of Pentecost, which began as an Old Testament festival of harvest. While we might think of autumn as the time for harvest, the festival of Pentecost marked the ending of the late spring barley harvest and the beginning of the wheat harvest, as these grains were the first crops to bear fruit, and people were to give their first and best as offerings to the Lord. Today we don’t pattern our lives so much by the cycles of planting and harvesting, of summer and winter. Especially here in Hawaii, where produce can be grown year-round; especially in our modern age of international food markets and grocery stores, where you can get tomatoes or apples or just about anything else, almost any time of year. We notice some local fruits or vegetables are best “in season,” but unless you watch carefully, you probably don’t notice much about those seasonal cycles. And with food coming in from all …

Sermon on 1 Peter 4:12-19, 5:6-11, for the 7th Sunday of Easter, "The Christian on Trial"

Grace, mercy, and peace to you, from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen. Last week we heard in 1 Peter 3 about the Christian living their life with good conscience, despite persecution and opposition for their faith. The theme continues in today’s reading. We’ve talked before this year about how we don’t experience persecution anywhere on the order of how millions of Christians in foreign countries do today, or early Christians. Yet Peter almost took it for granted that persecution was a basic reality of Christian life. Our reading opens with, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” This challenges us to consider why we don’t experience more persecution. Is it because we enjoy a period of relative peace in our country? Or do we see warning signs that the “goodwill” toward Christianity is fading in society? Or does it tell us we aren’t speaking up or witnessing …