Sermon on Luke 7:11-17, for the 16th Sunday after Trinity, about the raising of the son of the widow at Nain, Jesus' miracle. Why do some people try to "get rid of God" because of the suffering they see and experience in this world? Why does that not make anything better? What truth do Christians cling to, about God's presence and relation to our suffering? How does this miracle comfort us, who do not receive a personal miracle like they did in the reading? What was different about the raising of this boy, and Jesus' own resurrection from the dead? How does having "God in the picture" bring real hope in the midst of suffering?
Sermon on Proverbs 4:10-23, for the 14th Sunday after Trinity (1 YR lectionary), about the two paths that are laid before us in the Bible. What is the difference between the two paths? How do we get on the path of uprightness, or the path of life? How do we get off the path of sin and evil? How does Jesus relate to this passage?
*Hello! Apologies to anyone who has had recent difficulties with my website. Apparently a bug was redirecting traffic away from my home page. I think that's fixed now. God bless!*
Sermon on Galatians 3:15-22, for the 13th Sunday after Trinity (1 Yr lectionary), about God's two covenants (to Abraham and Moses/Israel) and how they relate to each other and us today. Which covenant is greater? Why do we need to drive away the "spirit of the Pharisee?" What is the difference between the two covenants, and what was the purpose and fulfillment of each?
Sermon on Isaiah 29:17-24, for the 12th Sunday after Trinity (1 Yr lectionary), about Isaiah's prophecy of great reversals that would happen in God's kingdom, and how this prophecy finds fulfillment in Jesus' ministry. How do we recognize injustice? What does God do about it?
Sermon on Luke 18:9-14, for the 11th Sunday after Trinity (1 Yr lectionary), about the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, and the lessons it teaches in self-righteousness vs. humility, and what attains God's verdict of "justified." What is this verdict about? How does God show His mercy? How is our relationship to God and also our fellow man changed by a proper kind of dependence on God? What is the right and wrong kind of confidence with which to approach God?
Sermon on 1 Corinthians 10:6-13, for the 9th Sunday after Trinity (1 Yr lectionary), about how we should wrestle with difficult passages of scripture. We affirm the wholeness and integrity of God's Word, and understand that we need to hear even the more difficult passages, as they may expose our personal sins, or challenge us where we need it. What sins were Israel committing in these examples? How did God (and Moses) respond? What do we learn about God's judgment and grace from these, and also about Christ's intercession for our sins? Why is it worth it to wrestle with Scripture? Also recommended for further reading: "The Executioner's Redemeption" by Rev. Timothy Carter, about his own journey of prayer and wrestling with God's Word.
Sermon on 1 Kings 19:11-21, for the 5th Sunday after Trinity (1 Yr lectionary), about God's encounter with the prophet Elijah on Mt. Horeb (Sinai). Elijah has fled Queen Jezebel, after winning the contest with the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel, and is feeling despair, defeat, and self-pity. How does God respond to Elijah, and provide a gentle contradiction to lift him up? What does this have to do with how we answer the question: "What are you doing here?" and when we face times of hopelessness, loneliness, despair, or struggle? How is the question also a call to action?
Sermon on Luke 1:57-80, for the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, about Zechariah and Elizabeth's naming of their son, and the prophetic song that Zechariah sung over his newborn when the Lord opened his mouth from 9 months of silence. What are the main themes of the song? What truth framed the life and ministry of John? How was the kingdom of God "on the move" in John's day?
Sermon on Luke 15:1-10, for the 3rd Sunday after Trinity (1 Yr Lectionary), about the parables of the Lost Sheep and Lost Coin, or rather the parables on the faithful redeeming love of God, who faithfully retrieves what is lost. Also a reflection on the fact that God has made a "way home" for us by repentance from our sins. How do these parables reflect the heart of God? How did Jesus live out this redeeming love on earth? How is this a model for our father's to imitate? Happy Father's Day, by the way, to my dad and all other fathers out there. I hope this may be an encouragement not only to fathers but to all men, women, boys and girls to rejoice in God's redeeming love, and also to rejoice in the unique ways that God has made us male and female.
Sermon on Luke 14:15-24, for the 2nd Sunday after Trinity (1 Yr Lectionary), about Jesus' parable of the banquet and the guests who wouldn't come. What is astonishing about the refusal of the guests? What does it say about their attitude toward the host? How do people run from God's generosity today? What is the blessing of coming into His feast? How broadly does He open His invitation? Why does He explain that some of them will need to be "compelled" to come in?
Sermon on 1 John 4:16-21, for the 1st Sunday after Trinity. What does it mean to say that "God is Love?" What is "perfect" and how does the Bible use the word? What is different about God's love than how the world often describes it? Whose love comes first? How does that instruct our growth in love? How does love to God relate to love for our brother? How can we know that God is perfecting His love in us?
A graduation address for the 8th Grade Graduates of Emmanuel Lutheran School, based on Proverbs 3:1-12 (with reference to Job 28). What is the "treasure mine" that Job describes, and how does it relate to Proverbs 3? How do we gain those treasures? Why are some treasure mines abandoned? Why should we never abandon the treasure mine of God's Word? What is the attitude that benefits from wisdom and learning? How does discipline fit into loving relationships?
Congratulations to all our grads, and blessings on High School!
Sermon on John 3:1-16, for Trinity Sunday (1 Yr lectionary), about Nicodemus' secret visit to Jesus to ask questions about discipleship. What does it mean to "be born again" or "born from above" or "born of water and the Spirit"? How is the mystery of the Trinity revealed to us in the actions of the three persons of the Trinity in our salvation? What are temptations to hide our discipleship, and what does Christ call us to instead? How do we see or understand the work of the Spirit and the kingdom of God?
Sermon on John 14:23-31, for Pentecost Sunday (1 Yr Lectionary), about Jesus' teaching to His disciples just prior to His death. Why do loving God and keeping Jesus' Word go hand in hand? Why does a person not really know the truth unless they first love it? What does it mean that God wants to make His home with us, and what does Christ bring to that home? What peace mission was Jesus sent on, and how is His peace different from that of the world?
Sermon on 1 Timothy 2:1-6, for the 6th Sunday of Easter, on how and why the church prays, and what it teaches us about the wideness of Christ's love. How does that knowledge shape our hearts, eyes, prayers, and actions? How does Jesus reorient our identity away from the things that artificially divide us, and create a new unity among us? What is a ransom, and how has Christ paid a ransom for us?