Showing posts from August, 2020

Sermon on Romans 11:33-12:8 (esp. Romans 12:1-2a), for the 12th Sunday after Pentecost 2020 (A), "Launched from Grace to be a Living Sacrifice"

  Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen. ·          In Romans 11 and 12 Paul gushes at God’s bottomless grace. universal disobedience of humans >>> but God showed His grace to all mankind unexpected, unnatural to show mercy to rebels or love your enemies; but this is just what God did in sending Jesus. He reached down and pulled us up out of our sin, to make us His dear children. o    zero in on Romans 12:1-2a, but first let’s launch from 11:35. No one could ever put God in our debt. God never “owes us” anything. §   Human indebtedness: kindness, money, saved life: “I owe you my life” or “I owe you my undying thanks”, etc. Our position before God… owe our life and undying thanks, but the tables can never be reversed. nothing so dramatic that puts God in our debt. §   100% pure gift of God’s grace. Not earned or deserved in any way. Salvation and forgiveness are never our wages

Sermon on Psalm 28, for the 11th Sunday after Pentecost 2020 (A), "If You be silent to me..."

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen. Does God really hear or answer our prayers? Why does it so often seem like He is silent, or deaf to our pleas? Our Introit, Psalm 28, explores this common fear. David, some 3,000 years ago, cried out this theme, found in all the other readings as well. The fear of rejection, silence, unanswered requests…these themes show up all throughout the Bible. We’re not the only ones. It’s the common experience of faith. Faith lives in this tension between the invitation to trust God and call out to Him for help, and His seeming slowness or inaction. Faith lives in this real tension between our present struggles and how and when God will respond.             It’s the Canaanite woman’s struggle in our Gospel reading, Matthew 15. She is crying out for help for her daughter. At first Jesus won’t even answer, then His disciples try to push her away, then when she persists, Jesus puts her off with an

Sermon on Matthew 14:22-33, for the 10th Sunday after Pentecost 2020 (A), "Eyes on Jesus"

  Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen. Last week we left off with Jesus feeding the 5,000. Now at last Jesus gets to pray alone, filling that deep spiritual hunger to reconnect with God. Keeping our eyes on Jesus, we do well to pray with Jesus and reconnect with God in prayer, for the health and nourishment of our soul. Prayer is 24/7 reconnection to the God Who loves us and knows all our inmost thoughts and struggles, Who graciously invites us to pray, “Our Father…” When Jesus finishes praying the disciples are several miles offshore, fighting a heavy wind on the Sea of Galilee. In Job and Psalms, we read that God “ alone stretches out the heavens and trampled the waves of the sea” (Job 9:8) and “The crash of your thunder was in the whirlwind; your lightnings lighted up the world; the earth trembled and shook. Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen” (Psalm 77:

Sermon on Matthew 14:13-21, for the 9th Sunday after Pentecost 2020 (A), "Life in 3D"

Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen. Lately I’ve been listening to the podcast “Word without Walls” by one of my New Testament professors, Dr. Michael Eschelbach. He describes two conflicting worldviews: worldly thinking vs. Biblical Christianity. He calls the worldly way of thinking a “one dimensional” world or “Red Pyramid” world, because it’s ruthlessly competitive and gets bloody as everyone tries to climb up the pyramid by stepping on others. It only sees our 1D material life and what we can get out of it. It’s blind to any spiritual dimensions of life. Just this flat material world where we compete for scarce resources and opportunity, and sin and selfishness rule. We all recognize this “1D” way of living. It’s promoted everywhere. The Biblical worldview, he calls the “Green V” or 3D world. A life that is supported and sustained by God, and pours out from God’s bottomless resources of goodness, blessing, and love,