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Making the Best Use of the Time

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“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15–16). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! The voice came from behind the stall in the men’s room: “So what about the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit?” Pete chuckled to find himself in such a significant conversation while standing in a public restroom. Yet he finished drying his hands and stood outside the stall and answered, “Well, that’s the one sin in the Bible that God talks about which won’t be forgiven. It’s amazing to think that God will forgive any sin we could commit, except for the sin of persistently shutting out the work of the Holy Spirit,” he went on. “But when you think about it, you’re shutting out the very One who is able to bring you to faith.” We shake our head and smile when we hear about that conversation. It is true that God works through common encounters. B…

Teaching His Children to Get Along

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“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:1-2). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! This is every kid’s favorite time of the year, isn’t it? Summer! When you can sleep late, hang out with your friends, do as you please. Freedom from all the rules of school and the schedules everybody else makes for you. I hope you guys have been enjoying it! And we won’t talk about the number of days left until… Of course, it’s a good time of the year to be an adult, too—and largely because it’s such a great time for children. I love watching kids at play, at the pool, tee ball, family vacations, Vacation Bible School, just interacting with each other at home when they’re not tied down with homework. It is interesting to watch children interact, isn’t it? Sometimes they cooperate with one another so well, s…

His Steadfast Love Endures Forever

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“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever” (Psalm 136:1). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! We use the English Standard Version for our weekly readings. One of the things that struck me when I first started using the ESV is how many times the phrase “steadfast love” is used to describe God and His actions. I had never noticed that phrase before. And there is a good reason. While the ESV uses the phrase “steadfast love” 208 times, it’s never used in the New International Version that I used for over 20 years. The NIV has the words kindness, love, or mercy instead. But steadfast love is a better translation. For the Hebrew word here is not the general word for “love.” It is a word that has the connotation of undeserved love and mercy, and it often refers to deeds of love and mercy that are a fulfillment of a covenant, a promise of God to His people, generally sealed with a sign. …

A House Not Made with Hands: A Sermon for the Funeral of Paul Brockberg

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“For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Corinthians 5:1). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! Like the psalmist, I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord!” That is, to say, I was glad to hear that the visitation yesterday and our service today would be here at St. John’s. It is good and right that we should be at this house of the Lord. Every time that I would visit him, he would ask: “How are things going at the church? How was attendance last Sunday? Was Jeff there? Bryan? Got many kids in Sunday School?” It’s easy to understand why this house of the Lord would be important to Paul. This was the place in which he was baptized, confirmed, and married, Paul’s children were baptized and confirmed here at St. John’s. Paul served as a Sunday School teacher, church officer, and elde…

All the Preparations Are Made: Sermon for the Funeral of Sarah Jane Morman

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Click here to listen to this sermon. In the sermon text, Jesus was Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! Dear Patricia and Richard, members of Sarah’s family, friends, neighbors, and members of Our Saviour’s congregation, At times like this, we are reminded of two days that are particularly and especially before us. One of those two days is the day of the funeral—today. As you well know, there have certainly been a great number of things to do and decisions to make since a week ago Friday when the Lord took Sarah to Himself in heaven. There have been numerous preparations in order that the grave site committal could take place and for this funeral service. Fortunately, Sarah had been preparing for this day and service. She wrote most of her own obituary (although since she was much too modest, Patricia had to add a few things like the variety of sports she played: tennis, bowling, and an industrial baseball league just a step below the one like in “A Leagu…

The Mystery of the Will of God

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“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace, which He lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of His will, according to His purpose, which He set forth in Christ” (Ephesians 1:7–9). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! “Listen, I tell you a mystery”—so Paul writes the Corinthians concerning the resurrection of the body. Today, in our text from his letter to the Ephesians, Paul also tells us a mystery, a mystery made known to us by God. This is not a different mystery, but the same one, for it has its substance and its solution in Christ Jesus. From Sherlock Holmes to Miss Marple, from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to Agatha Christie, the characters and authors of mysteries are part of our culture. Even those who usually write in other genres often try their hand at mystery writing, learning the difficulty of keeping th…