Showing posts from November, 2017

Sermon on Psalm 42, for Advent 1 Midweek, "Hope in God"

* We had a wonderful service of Evening Prayer, at which I preached this message, and we sang many beautiful variations of Psalm 42 and hymns inspired by it or echoing themes of it. Our sermon hymn was "As the Hart" by Dewey Westra, from the Genevan Psalter, and we also sang "When Peace Like a River" (It is Well with my Soul), and "The Night Will Soon Be Ending". I wish I had made a recording to share with you the beauty of the singing! Truly stirring, with rich words of Scripture as the foundation.  In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Advent is a season of waiting and hopefulness, symbolized by the blue that adorns the altar, as we long for our coming King. Perhaps it seems out of place to you that in a season of hope, I would choose such a seeming “downer” of a Psalm to open our series. But we’ll see that in the midst of all that darkness, the Psalmist still directs us to hope in God . Psalm 42 trembles and pace

Sermon on Matthew 25:1-13, for the Last Sunday of the Church Year, "Parable of the Ten Virgins"

abbreviated sermon outline--for full sermon listen to the audio on Last Sunday—waiting for Christ Picture of long delay—so long all fall asleep. The delay of Christ impacts people differently. The faithful wait with joy and expectation while faithfully living out the callings their Master has given them. Use their talents, serve the fellow servants according to Master’s instructions, living in faith and love. Others: mock and scoff at Christ’s promise to return—disbelieve, persecute the faithful. Others: neglect their talents, do nothing. Others: abuse fellow servants, and gifts of Master. Others: live immoral lives careless of His return. These are the category of those whom Jesus will tell “I never knew you” Parable shows the wise and foolish. Does not seem to be speaking about unbelievers outside the church, because all ten are waiting for the Master’s return. Luther—the foolish are the hypo

Sermon on Psalm 95, for Thanksgiving Eve, "Come Into His Presence with Thanksgiving"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Psalm 95 is one of the most beloved Psalms in worship, and the first 7 verses are often called the “ Venite” —Latin for the first words, “ Oh Come!” . It’s an invitation to worship, and invitation to come before God with songs of praise and with thanksgiving. This Thanksgiving it’s especially worth reflecting on why we come into God’s presence with thanksgiving. The invitation Oh Come reminds us that our hearts are often far away from God, and rather than being near to Him and filled with thanksgiving and song, our hearts are often filled instead with grumbling, ungratefulness, worry, fear, or anything else that might keep our hearts from true thankfulness. The Psalm actually recalls the time when the Israelites grumbled and complained against God—doubting that He would give them water to drink—so shortly after He had miraculously fed them with the manna—bread from heaven. The Psalm refers to the places where t

Sermon on Proverbs 8:11-22, for the 23rd Sunday after Trinity, "The Wisdom of God"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Today we are going to dive into probably the most interesting chapter in the whole book of Proverbs, both in this sermon and also in the Bible study hour. You’ve heard that Jesus teaches that all of the Bible points to Him (John 5, Luke 24). But what that means or how certain books point to Jesus is not always so easy to figure out. Proverbs appears at first to be a long list of mostly disconnected wisdom sayings. As we’re learning in our Bible study on Proverbs, that’s a major over-simplification. But you’ll have to join us for study to see why! But Proverbs 8 is so important, because early Christians immediately recognized that it was pointing to Jesus. The connection comes out rather clearly when you’ve read the whole New Testament carefully. An extensive web of Bible verses join the idea of Wisdom to Christ—including things Jesus Himself said. The connection from Wisdom personified in Proverbs 8, to Jesus C

Sermon on Matthew 18:21-35, for the 22nd Sunday after Trinity (1 YR), "Forgive as God Forgives You"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Today Peter addresses Jesus on the question of forgiveness, and seems to be testing the upper limits of what God expects or requires of our forgiveness. Shall I forgive my brother 7 times? From the perspective of our sinful flesh, 7 times seems pretty generous and patient. But Jesus replies, “ I do not say to you seven times, but seventy seven times ” or “ seventy times seven ”. There is disagreement about how it’s translated. But whether 77 or 490 times, Jesus’ point is clear—don’t keep score of the sins committed against you, and don’t seek for an upper limit of forgiveness. Do not keep track, but forgive generously and without limit, as God has done for you. Jesus then tells a parable of forgiveness that begins with the debt a person owes, amounting in what today would be hundreds of millions or billions of dollars—or perhaps the equivalent of a couple hundred thousand years of work, at a laborer’s wage. Jesu

Sermon on Matthew 5:5, for All Saints' Day, "Blessed are the Meek"

·          Some months ago—mentioned “doorway and exit” to the Sermon on the Mount. The Beatitudes are the “doorway” to understanding Jesus’ teaching in the sermon.   ·          9 Beatitudes. Simple structure: Blessed are_____, and how they will be blessed. 1st & 8th form bookends: “ Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven .” And “ Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven . ” Only repeated blessing, and only present tense—theirs is. All other blessings are future tense—they shall… What does this mean? Kingdom of heaven delivers both present and future blessings. “Now but not yet” of Jesus’ blessings. Final note: first 8 are “they” (3rd person), but the 9th switches to “blessed are you”. Who are these blessed ones? They are you, the church: believers in Jesus. ·          The Beatitudes, give us Christ-colored glasses, not rose-colored glasses; to see our own life in light of Jesus Christ and