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Showing posts from October, 2017

Sermon on Romans 3:19-28, for the 50th Anniversary of Emmanuel Lutheran Church of Maui, and the 500th Anniversary of Reformation Day, "To God Alone Be Glory!"

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen. Today is a joyful day, a day to praise God and sing aloud; to give all the glory to God alone for His great salvation! God, by His grace and favor, has blessed Emmanuel Lutheran Church, with 50 years of sharing the Good News of Jesus on this island of Maui. 50 years of worshipping together as a family in Christ, 50 years of baptisms into God’s family, 50 years of prayer and intercession for this community, 50 years of preaching Jesus Christ. So many blessings have developed from the work of the Holy Spirit among us. Not to our credit, but to God’s credit, to His glory alone. 50 years of sharing the Gospel Truth that we are loved by God, we are forgiven freely by Jesus Christ as a gift, and that Jesus has called and blessed us into service toward others.             And bigger than our tiny corner of the globe, we also celebrate the worldwide blessings of 500 years of the Lut…

Sermon on Matthew 9:1-8, for the 19th Sunday after Trinity, "Your Sins are Forgiven"

“I could tell you the story of my life before I met Jesus—how I was paralyzed, and who I was before that incredible day when Jesus said my sins are forgiven, and then healed me. But my story is not really so important in the big picture. And besides, I don’t know your story either. I don’t know the sins that marked your life, the doubts or fears, or the physical illnesses and challenges that may face you. All I know is that meeting Jesus changed my life forever. I was one of hundreds of people healed by Jesus—but far more important than our names and backstories was what Jesus did for us, and who He was.             I wouldn’t even be telling you this story if it weren’t for my friends. They had incredible faith in Jesus, that He would heal me. It’s hard to find friends like that, who would stop at nothing to help you when you were truly in need. You have to imagine, that when they carried me on that mat to the crowded house where Jesus was teaching, I began to lose heart.…

Sermon on Matthew 22:34-46, for the 18th Sunday after Trinity, "Commander and Savior"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Last Sunday, if you were here, we had a bulletin quote from Luther, that whether God’s Law or man’s law, the law should never bind further than love goes, and that love should be the interpreter of the law. “Where there is no love these things become meaningless and the law begins to do harm. The reason for enacting all laws and ordinances is only to establish love, as Paul says, Romans 13:10 ‘Love therefore is the fulfilment of the law.’” Luther’s reflection and St. Paul’s comments both echo Jesus’ words today. He shows the Law is given that we might love. Jesus sums up the whole of God’s law in two great commandments. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”             If…

Sermon on Luke 14:1-6, for the 17th Sunday after Trinity, "Day of Rest and Gladness"

·The first part of our Gospel today is a confrontation between Jesus and the Pharisees about the Sabbath. It’s not His first bout with them. First it was a complaint about His disciples eating grain on the Sabbath. There Jesus asserts that He is the Lord of the Sabbath. Then, a second time, He heals a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath, and again, they were closely watching Him to find a reason to accuse Him. Like our reading, Jesus ask them (ch. 6): “I ask you, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?” Then, in chapter 13, it gets even more heated as Jesus heals a woman at the synagogue who was crippled by an evil spirit. This time, the ruler of the synagogue rebuked Jesus for this act of mercy, saying: “There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” The Lord answered: “You hypocrites! Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and le…

Sermon on Ephesians 3:13-21, for the 16th Sunday after Trinity (1 Yr Lectionary), "Know the Surpassing Love of Christ"

Grace, mercy, and peace to you, from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. Today in our reading from Ephesians 3, a tender scene unfolds between the Apostle Paul, and the church in Ephesus, to whom he is writing. In the book of Acts, we learn that this congregation was especially dear to Paul’s heart, as he spent three years there, the longest we know of any of the mission churches he served. And the tenderness of the scene is that Paul appeals that they not lose heart or be discouraged because of his suffering, and he is bowing his knees in prayer to God the Father, praying for their strength. He is already confident of their sincere faith, but now is boldly praying for growth in their spiritual maturity, knowledge, and resilience to suffering and tests. I could say the same, that I’m confident of your sincere faith, and also pray, as do all pastors, for your spiritual growth. Paul’s suffering was that he was writing this letter from prison. As often in his…