16
Jul
2017

Live Caught for the Lord’s Service

Sermon on Luke 5:1-11, for the 5th Sunday after Trinity (1 Yr. Lectionary), about the call of Peter, the miracle catch of fish, the call to discipleship, and Peter's unworthiness. How does Jesus come to us in our sin? What use does He have for our gifts? Why does He ask for our help? How do we react like Peter to the Lord's commands? 

I also have composed a hymn to accompany this passage, printed below:

 

Into a Net that Christ Prepares

Text: Joshua V. Schneider

Meter: CM (86 86)

Melody: MCKEE (LSB 653 In Christ there is No East or West)

 

Into a Net that Christ Prepares

A world of sinners swim

His Gospel promises He shares

And whole, encircles them.

 

Though nets may strain, they will not break

His church, it firm shall stand,

For this confession it shall make:

“Christ is Living God and Man!”

 

Before His holiness we cry:

“Have mercy, Lord, on me!”

And on our knees hear His reply,

“From all your sins be free!”

 

“Caught live for purposes my own,

Gifts I bestow on you;

Are to be used as I have shown,

Serve them as I have you.”

 

Beholding Christ with unveiled face,

His image we will take;

Drawn upon our service He will trace,

To live for other’s sake.

 

Into the world the Gospel casts

The joy of Christ’s new life!

Releases us from dreadful blasts,

Of sin and bitter strife.

 

God’s kingdom prospers by His grace

We’re sent by His command

Catch men and women, every race

Drawn by His nail-marked hand.

 

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10
Jul
2017

Merciful as Your Father

Sermon on Luke 6:36-42, for the 4th Sunday after Trinity, about Jesus' teaching on mercy and forgiveness, and how we are not to judge or condemn. What does the parable about the blind man and the log and the speck mean? What is the hypocrisy we are so prone to? How do we become merciful after the example of our Father and Jesus our Teacher? What is the positive side of our responsibility to help restore and lead others away from sin? How is this different from judging or condemning? 

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3
Jul
2017

Miracle Moms and Spirit-filled Sons

Sermon on Luke 1:39-45, the Visitation (1 Year Lectionary), about the visit of the pregnant Virgin Mary to the pregnant Elizabeth, and the joy and the movement of the Holy Spirit that occurred on that encounter. What does this teach us about preborn infants and their relation to the Holy Spirit? What does it show about the presence of Jesus, as it relates to faith, the Spirit, and joy? In both the people in the story, and in us today? What is the core essence of faith? When do humans become "spiritual vessels", capable of receiving the Holy Spirit and His action upon us? 

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26
Jun
2017

Bold Confessors

A Sermon on Psalm 119:46 & Psalm 46:1-3, 7, which is the Introit for the Presentation of the Augsburg Confession (June 25, 1530). This is a sermon about confessing God's Word and Truth before kings, as the German princes boldly did, and how confession and unity in the church comes from a deep confidence in and love for God's Word. A brief history of the presentation, and reflection on how they were living out the confidence in God and His Word that is expressed in these Psalm verses. How radical was their trust in God? What did the princes have in common with many before them who confessed the faith at risk to their lives and safety? What is the foundation of the Christian church, and what does that mean over against it's enemies? 

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19
Jun
2017

God is Love

Sermon on 1 John 4:16-21, for the 1st Sunday after Trinity (1 Year lectionary), by guest preacher Pastor Stephen Becker of Greenhaven Lutheran Church, Sacramento, CA. A sermon about what it means that God is Love, and His command for us to love one another as He loves us. What is the nature of love? Is it an attitude or feeling? What does it require of us? 

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16
Jun
2017

The Fire of Holiness

Sermon on Isaiah 6:1-7, for Trinity Sunday, 1 Year Lectionary, about Isaiah's terrifying encounter with the Holiness of the Living God, and how God mercifully intervened to atone for the sins of Isaiah. What existential crisis faced Isaiah, Israel, and faces us? How does God resolve this, in light of His holiness? What does the image of fire relate to us concerning God's holiness? 

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5
Jun
2017

Babel and Pentecost

Sermon on Genesis 11:1-9 & Acts 2:1-21, for Pentecost, 1 Year Lectionary, about the contrast between the Tower of Babel and the miraculous Pentecost. How are these two accounts, in many ways a reversal of each other? Whose name was exalted? What was God signalling through this miracle? 

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31
May
2017

God Vindicates His Name

Sermon on Ezekiel 36:22-28, for the 7th Sunday of Easter (1 Year Lectionary), "Exaudi" Sunday ("Listen!"). A sermon about the grace-filled agenda that God sets in Ezekiel 36 for the restoration of holiness and honor to His Name, after it had been "profaned" by the people of Judah among the nations. What does it mean to vindicate? To profane? How do we bear God's name for good or ill, honor or dishonor? How are we "sprinkled clean?" Given a new heart and spirit? What does this passage prove about the way that God works for His people by grace, and not for their reward? 

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22
May
2017

Ask !

Sermon on John 16:23-30, for the 6th Sunday of Easter (1 Yr lectionary), Rogate Sunday (Ask!). A sermon about Jesus' promise that "whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you." What does Jesus promise mean? How do we address our doubts and worries about this? What does it mean to ask in His name? How can we experience the fullness of joy that Jesus promises to deliver? What does it mean to love Jesus, and be loved by Him? Why is this a love worth dying for? Is that how we are saved? 

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15
May
2017

Spirit of Truth

Sermon on John 16:5-15, for the 5th Sunday of Easter, Cantate (Sing!), in the 1 Year lectionary. A sermon about Jesus' farewell discourse, His sending of the Holy Spirit, and what the "convicting" work of the Holy Spirit is about. How does the Spirit convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment? Who is the "ruler of this world?" How does the Spirit of Truth speak freedom to us, through the cross of Jesus? 

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8
May
2017

Who is Like God?

Sermon on Isaiah 40:25-31, for the 4th Sunday of Easter (1 Year Lectionary, Jubilate (Shout for Joy!) Sunday. A sermon about God's conversation with His people about how He is an incomparable God (starting back in verse 9) and the immeasurable greatness of His creation and our inability to comprehend it all or to judge or advise Him. How many stars are in the universe? Why is this significant, and what does it have to do with God's care for us? Why is it an ancient thought to think that God has forgotten us? What is His response? How does He lift us up as on eagle's wings? 

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1
May
2017

Known by the Good Shepherd

Sermon on John 10:11-16, for Misericordias Domini (Mercy of the Lord) Sunday, the 3rd Sunday of Easter (1 Year Lectionary), about how Jesus is the Good Shepherd. What does the Shepherd imagery in the Bible tell us about God, us, and bad shepherds? What does it mean to be "known" by Christ as the Father knows Him? 

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24
Apr
2017

Confessing Thomas

Sermon on John 20:19-31, for the 2nd Sunday of Easter, 1 Year Lectionary, Quasimodo Geniti Sunday ("Like Newborns..."), about the resurrection appearances of Jesus to the apostles and then Thomas, and how seeing the risen Jesus with His scars helped Thomas overcome his doubts and give a great confession of the faith! What doubts and skepticism do people face todaay about the resurrection? What misunderstandings about the nature of Jesus' resurrection does this help clear up? How do we navigate between the opposite extremes of an unrelenting skepticism (that ultimately can't be consistently upheld), and a gullibility or naivete about faith? Where is the right middle mark, and how does faith in Jesus fulfill that? 

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17
Apr
2017

I know that my Redeemer Lives!

Sermon on Job 19:23-27, for the Resurrection of Our Lord, Easter Sunday; about the resurrection faith of Job in the midst of his trials and sufferings. A faith that confessed his hope in the resurrection of the physical body and his Redeemer, who would one day stand upon the earth. What other longings did Job express that are also fulfilled in Christ Jesus? How does the book of Job answer the question of why the righteous serve God, even in the midst of suffering? Why is this sentence: "I Know that my Redeemer Lives" of such great comfort to believers?

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10
Apr
2017

The Mindset of Christ

Sermon on Philippians 2:5-11, for Palm Sunday, about the "mindset of Christ" as He chose to be a servant for our sakes, becoming obedient even to death on the cross. How do we "have this mind in ourselves, which is ours in Christ Jesus?" What is so amazing about this servant mindset of Jesus, and what He accomplished?

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