Showing posts from November, 2018

Sermon on 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11, for the Last Sunday of the Church Year, "Biblical Sobriety"

Grace to you and peace. Amen. Our readings from last week and this go right in order in 1 Thessalonians. Today Paul continues to explain Christ’s 2 nd coming, the “day of the Lord.” Last week he talked about the hope of the resurrection from the dead on the last day, and the circumstances of Jesus’ return. Today Paul describes the suddenness and surprise of Jesus’ return, and calls us to readiness. Paul warns us to be ready with an illustration of drunkenness vs. sobriety. “ So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. 7For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. 8But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.” If you’re in the dark, asleep, or drunk, you can be caught off guard. You can’t be as watchful and ready. You’re not ready for a quick response. Your senses and self-control are dulled. With the holidays around an

Sermon on Psalm 8 and 19, for Thanksgiving Eve, "The Glory of God's Creation"

Psalm 8: 1 O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. 2 Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. 3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, 4 what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Psalm 19: 1 The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. 2 Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. It would be impossible to overstate the glory, the perfection of God’s handiwork, how much speech and knowledge are revealed about God by His creation. The heavens, the work of His fingers, the moon and stars, set in their place, and this earth, our home. Impossible to overstate the sheer testimony of God’s greatness revealed in all these things, and how miraculous our life and

Sermon on 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, for the 25th Sunday after Trinity (1 Yr), "Hope in the midst of grief"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. The seasons of the church year are changing, and we are coming to the end of one year, and the beginning of the season of Advent in a couple of weeks, as we anticipate Christmas. The end of the church year focuses on Christ’s and coming judgment of the living and the dead. Today’s reading from 1 Thessalonians 4 is often heard at funerals, but also gives us some basic information about Jesus return. Paul begins by saying that “ we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep.” When Paul says “ uninformed”, he’s obviously hinting that they have some basic shortcomings understanding death and the end times. One idea in the church seemed to be that some were afraid they had missed Jesus’ return and that He had already come. Today some shortcomings and confusion might include ideas about reincarnation and multiple lives, or ideas about a resurrection without a physical body, or that we tur

Sermon on Isaiah 51:9-16, for the 24th Sunday after Trinity (1 Yr lectionary), "Waiting for the Lord's Arm"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. In Isaiah 51:5, just before our reading, God tells His people that His righteousness and salvation are near. He says that His arm will judge the peoples, but that His people wait for God’s arm. God’s arm is His power and might to act, to save, to deliver. So they are waiting on God’s action, His deliverance, and where our reading begins in verse 9, they are crying out to God: “ Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord !” They are calling on God as if He is late, or asleep, or has forgotten them. In times of trial and difficulty, like the exile the Israelites endured, it’s a common feeling to wonder where is the “arm of the Lord?” In times of our distress, in times when we cry out to the Lord and seem to hear no answer, we too wait for the Lord’s arm. Anxious for His help, crying out for Him to act, our faith is tested. Faith is not tested or strengthened by ease and comfort, but by bearing the cross. I

Funeral sermon, Isaiah 42:3, Romans 6:11, "Alive in Christ!"

** This funeral message was given after one of our church family took her own life. The names have been removed for family privacy. We, along with many others urge those who are experiencing suicidal thoughts to reach out to someone and ask for help--a pastor, teacher, mentor, friend, counselor. There IS HOPE, though depression can often cloud us from seeing it. Do not be ashamed to ask for help. The Lord be with you!** In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. [Names of family]…when Jesus was going away from His disciples, He said: “ Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid .” (John 14:27). Today let’s explore and absorb His peace, peace that is unlike anything the world can give—Jesus’ transcendent peace. With that peace in our hearts we need not be troubled or afraid. Because today our hearts are weighed down by a raw grief—our beloved sister