Showing posts from September, 2020

Sermon on Philippians 2:14-16, 17th Sunday after Pentecost 2020 (A), "Children of God"

              Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen. Our verses today from Paul’s prison letter to the Philippians echo Moses’ farewell speech to the children of Israel. Both Moses and Paul were at the end of their life and ministry. Moses had spoken God’s law one last time to Israel. Then he warns that if they forsake God’s commandments and turn back to other gods, they would no longer be God’s children because they’re blemished—a crooked and twisted generation. Paul echoes these words in his letter to his beloved Philippians: “ Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain .”             Paul calls children of God to grow into who you a

Sermon on Matthew 20:1-16, for the 16th Sunday after Pentecost 2020 (A), “Better than fair”

  Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen. “BUT IT’S NOT FAIR! SHE GOT MORE THAN ME!!!” “BUT IT’S NOT FAIR! HE GOT THE PROMOTION I DESERVED!” “BUT IT’S NOT FAIR! LOOK HOW PERFECT AND EASY THEIR LIFE IS AND LOOK AT MINE!” “BUT IT’S NOT FAIR! I’M ALWAYS LAST!” “BUT IT’S NOT FAIR! I DID MORE WORK, BUT THEY GOT PAID THE SAME!” “BUT IT’S NOT FAIR! THEY DIDN’T EVEN STUDY AND GOT A BETTER GRADE THAN ME ON THE TEST!” I’m sure you can add to this list. Nothing can make us feel greedy, grumpy, whiny, jealous, or even just plain angry than perceiving some sort of unfairness. Truth be told, our eyes don’t always see the full picture. Glossy magazine or internet ads push all our buttons for lust, jealousy and greed. Our friends or even a stranger’s postings and photos only show us a “picture perfect slice” of their life. Our constant comparisons leave us dissatisfied and resentful. We cry “foul” all the time, but we make pretty poor umpi

Sermon on Matthew 18:21-35, for the 15th Sunday after Pentecost 2020 (A), "Forgiveness from the Heart"

  Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen. In today’s parable, “The Unforgiving Servant”, Jesus teaches about forgiveness. Forgiveness was a major theme in May, from John 20, where Jesus commissioned His apostles to spread His word of forgiveness to those who repent, and to withhold forgiveness (or bind sins) for those who do not repent. Matthew 18 today, is one of the major passages in the Gospel where Jesus deals with forgiveness and unforgiveness. In the parable, a servant is forgiven an enormous debt. A debt that would have taken several lifetimes over to be able to repay. There is no way on earth that he could ever repay it, but he begs for mercy from his master and gets more than he bargained for…in an incredibly good way! While the servant was hoping for an extension or some leniency, instead his debt is cancelled in full. This unforgettable and undeserved act of generosity spoke volumes about his master. How could it

Sermon on Romans 13:1-10, for the 14th Sunday after Pentecost 2020 (A), "Under God"

  Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen. Today I want speak to you from Romans 13, our epistle reading, because it’s that time of year again where politics loom close in many people’s minds, election battles heat up, and everyone gets “hot and bothered.” Romans 13 is that passage that clearly lays out a Christian’s duty toward the government, and the government’s duty before God. I need to preface my sermon with several “boundary line” statements (in no particular order), so I’m not misunderstood. Number 1: I am your pastor, not a politician, and my role is to preach God’s Truth and the Good News of Jesus Christ, not to advance anyone’s politics or party from the pulpit. Number 2: In it’s proper place, God’s Word is “upstream” from politics and culture, meaning that it should influence your life and your values and morals, before the river of politics and society branches “downstream” from God’s Word. God’s Word critiques

Sermon on Matthew 16:21-28, for the 13th Sunday after Pentecost 2020 (A), "Set on the Things of God"

  Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen. Just last week we heard in Romans 11:33, “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” Since God’s wisdom and ways go far beyond our knowing or understanding, there are many things in life that just don’t make sense to us. We often grapple to understand His plan in our lives. The disciples likewise grappled with God’s mysterious plan surrounding Jesus’ death on the cross. It was a turning point in human and salvation history. Jesus tried to prepare them. In Matthew 16:21, Jesus brings it up for the first time. The Gospels record three distinct times when He openly told them about His coming death and resurrection. Listen again: “ From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the t