Showing posts from May, 2018

Sermon on John 3:1-16, for Trinity Sunday (1 Yr lectionary), "We can be born again!"

Sermon outline: ·          We just had our school Spring Musical, “Nic’ at Night” about this same story! Beautiful singing and great telling of the story of Nicodemus. “Secret disciple”. That changed when he and Joseph of Arimathea, boldly buried the body of Jesus after His death on Good Friday, and were no doubt among the faithful who saw Him after His resurrection. Refrain from song: John 3:16 means, “we can be born again!” ·          Pharisees—strict laws, Jewish leaders, many on the Sanhedrin, or ruling council of 70. Most would become fierce opponents of Jesus; Sabbath law, forgiving sins and making Himself equal to God, calling God His Father, making Himself equal to God. Saul was a Pharisee, persecuting Christians, before his conversion and becoming the Apostle Paul. This is why the secret visit—going against the group. Made his discipleship open when he buried Jesus. ·          Musical—talked about the temptation to “hide” our discipleship, or be “secret disciples”. Enc

Sermon on John 14:23-31, for Pentecost (1 Yr Lectionary), "He Brings Peace to His Home"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Gregory the Great, a theologian of the early church, once said the truth is not known unless it is loved. You could be brilliant and know all about the Bible, but if you don’t also love the Truth of God, you don’t really know it. Knowing Christian truth is not so much a test of your Bible knowledge, or your smarts—but rather loving Jesus and His Word. Loving His truth means you recognize it is good; that you want your life to follow that truth, even as you recognize your sins and mistakes, you love what is good and desire it. On the other hand, a person who does not love or keep God’s Word doesn’t truly know it. A twisted view of God or of life, can lead someone to know the facts, but not love God or His truth. Perhaps we mistakenly fear that God is not love; against the witness of the Bible. Maybe a person is captive to the power of sin in their life, and they resent the truth, because they don’t want God’s

Sermon on 1 Peter 4:7-11, for the 7th Sunday of Easter 2018 (1 YR lectionary), "Who am I?"

            In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Today’s reading from 1 Peter asks the question of how are we to live our lives, while the end of the world is in view. And by that, I mean that ever since Jesus ascended into heaven, we await His coming return at any time. Our attitude should be “always ready.” Today I want you to reflect on this question as we wait for the coming end: “Who am I?” The answer wraps us up in our identity in Christ, our future in Him, and who we are to be here and now.             When the apostle Peter declares to us from the pages of Scripture that the “ end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded, for the sake of your prayers ”—what’s our reaction? Does a 2,000 year old warning seem to lose its urgency? Do we scoff and say: “ Where is the promise of [Christ’s] coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation ” (2 Pe

Wonder -- (a church newsletter article based on the movie)

This past weekend I saw an excellent, family-friendly movie, that I highly recommend, called “Wonder.” It’s a fictional movie about a young boy who is born with numerous facial deformities, including cleft palate, and the enormous challenges he and his family face upon his integration to mainstream schools in the 5 th (or 6 th ?) grade, after years of homeschooling and protection. He had undergone numerous surgeries, and so his face was significantly scarred—such that children stared at him or bullied him. Despite the weighty topic, it manages to be a very humorous movie, as little by little the boy, “Auggie” overcomes his fears, learns how to cope with the cards life dealt him, and to make friends. It’s a very uplifting movie, but there’s another aspect about it that made me want to write this newsletter article. In the movie, you naturally sympathize with the boy and his family’s struggles. But through the storytelling technique of the film, and how it rotates through the pers

Sermon on 1 Timothy 2:1-6, for the 6th Sunday of Easter (1 Yr lectionary), "How Wide is the Love of Christ"

Ephesians 3:18–19 By faith, “may [you] have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge .” Amen. Every Sunday, in almost any Lutheran Church Missouri Synod church (I can’t speak for others), prayers are offered for “the whole people of God in Christ Jesus, and for all people according to their needs.”   Those include prayers for the spread of the Gospel, and those who do it—pastors, teachers, missionaries, etc. Prayers for those suffering from famine, war, violence, or natural disasters, as our brothers and sisters in Puna on the Big Island, or the North Shore of Kauai. Prayers for the sick and the suffering, in our congregation or others—including friends, family, neighbors, and others. Prayers to bless those who do good and restrain those who do evil. And almost always prayers for our governmental leaders—our president, governor, legislators, public safety workers, judges, et