Showing posts from December, 2020

Sermon on Luke 2:22-40, the 1st Sunday after Christmas 2020 (B), "Ready to Go!"

  “ To us a child is born, to us a son is given—Christ our Lord!” Amen. “Is everyone ready to go? Piling into the car to leave the house is always a test of readiness. Do you have your mask? Your lunch? Your backpack? Your water bottles? Your shoes? More than once, the answer was an irritated “YES!!”, and we drove away, only to find out 10 or 15 minutes later that the true answer was “NO!” You can multiply the example in a thousand different ways, with your own “ready to go?” moments, and the worry before a trip whether you packed everything before heading to the airport, or the stress after you left and realized what you forgot. “Ready to go” can mean you have everything with you, or your state of mind where you’re mentally ready to leave without delay. Today in our Gospel we face elderly Simeon, who joyfully, truthfully, and sincerely announces he’s “ready to go!” He had long waited for God’s redemption to draw near. Faithful in his watching and prayer, God specially revealed to h

Christmas Day Carols and Meditations on the words of prophecy and John 1:14

  O Come All Ye Faithful Adore Him is the repeated refrain. We come this Christmas adoring the Christ child. To adore this child is to place all your loving affection on Him. Cherish Him as precious. Fall on your knees before the Christ child and pour out your loving affection on Him. He is precious and dear to us. The Holy Spirit supplies this holy devotion and focused love; the Spirit who continually spotlights Jesus for us to trust and believe.   Genesis 3:14–15 (ESV) 14 The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. 15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”   Isaiah 7:10–14 (ESV) 10 Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, 11 “Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven.”

Sermon on Isaiah 9:6, Christmas Eve 2020, "The Christmas Names of Jesus"

  In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Seven centuries before Jesus’ birth, it was a time of failed foreign policies, untrustworthy alliances, threatening armies, and people living in the gloomy shadow of death. Intense war and conflict. Oppressive rule and heavy burdens. Darkness over the land. For all our difficulties, we don’t have half the trouble they faced in ancient Israel, leading up to their exile. However, Isaiah foresaw a light piercing through the darkness of national and political chaos, wars and wicked kings. A great light to break oppression, and joy to shine on the people. “ The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined.” While our troubles might pale in comparison to Israel’s, we are at least familiar with walking in darkness . Not only is December the darkest month of the year, but a great number of people experience the “holiday blues” or “seasonal

Sermon on 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24, for the 3rd Sunday in Advent 2020 (B), "The Will of God"

  People beloved by God! Grace and peace to you! I have often focused these last 6 months on themes of fear, anxiety, and uncertainty. I sense it’s widespread today, and whether your anxiety and blood pressure rises with the news and ongoing pandemic, or someone who ignores the news but has enough trouble in your daily life alone—we need God’s constant reassurance that He’s with us and in control. Not unique to these times, we often wonder and pray after God’s will. We look at our personal situations and try to discern the future. What’s God doing in my life? What’s next for me? Where is this or that going? How do I know God’s will in all these things swirling around my life, big or small? Well, I’ve got news for you today. I have the inside scoop on God’s will for your life. You want to know what God’s will is in all of this? We heard it loud and clear in 1 Thessalonians 5. God’s will for you in Christ Jesus is that you “ Rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all ci

Sermon on Mark 1:1-8, 2nd Sunday in Advent 2020 (B), "Prepping"

  Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen. This new church year we’ll spend a lot of time in the Gospel of Mark, the shortest of the four Gospels, but no less meaty or nutritious with Jesus’ good news. In fact, the opening words are: “ The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God .” Straight to the point and purpose; Mark’s style. Early tradition identifies him with John Mark in the book of Acts, a missionary companion of Paul and Barnabas and a friend of Peter (Acts 12:12, 25; 15:37). Some early church fathers, the first generation after the apostles, tell us that John Mark wrote his gospel by interviewing Peter and recording his experiences. To-the-point, Mark skips long introductions and brings us straight to the adult Jesus at the start of His ministry, being proclaimed by His cousin John the Baptist. Let’s take a minute to reintroduce ourselves to John the Baptist. With hindsight, we can see him as the las