Posts

Who Was the Neighbor?

Image
Click here to listen to this sermon.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! Jesus told this story: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Jesus asked the young man who wanted to define “neighbor”: “Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the ma…

A Pair of Paradoxes

Image
Click here to listen to this sermon. “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load” (Galatians 6:2-5). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! If you check out this text closely you might notice that it contains some apparent contradictions. Verse 3 says “Bear one another’s burdens,” but at the end of the same paragraph it says, “For each will have to bear his own load.” Then, in verse 4 we read, “Let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone,” but at the beginning of the last paragraph the author asserts, …

Are You Ready for the Journey?

Image
Click here to listen to this sermon.
As they were going along the road, someone said to [Jesus], “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” To another He said, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:57-62). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! About few years ago I read about a place called “Eden by the Sea.” A Lutheran pastor and his wife started a ministry in which they invite pastors and their families to come to Hawaii for a time of rest and relaxation. They have some very fine accommodat…

Declare How Much God Has Done for You

Image

The King Was Dead; Long Live the King!

Image
Click here to listen to this sermon. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! If you read the bulletin carefully, you may have noted the title of this sermon: The King Was Dead; Long Live the King! It is a slight variation on the traditional proclamation made following the accession of a new monarch to the throne: “The king is dead; long live the king!” This seemingly contradictory phrase is used to simultaneously announce the death of the previous monarch and assure the public of continuity and governmental stability by saluting the new monarch who has immediately assumed the throne at the moment of the predecessor’s death. In this case, I’m using the past tense on the first phrase to emphasize an important point that Peter makes in his Pentecost sermon: “This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised Him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not pos…

Built on the Rock the Church Shall Stand

Image
Our theme for the 125th anniversary of Trinity Lutheran Church is “Built on the Rock the Church Shall Stand,” based upon the hymn of the same name. Admittedly, it is not a very original theme—other congregations, including this one, have used it before—but it is hard to think of a more appropriate theme. Trinity Lutheran Church in Jasper, Minnesota is built on rock. The building itself literally rests on the quartzite rock that is so abundant in the area. The foundation of the church building is made of this rock. More importantly, Trinity Lutheran Church in built upon the Rock, Christ Jesus Himself. He is the foundation of His Church of which this congregation is a part, and we are to build upon Him and His Word. Throughout her long history, the faithful pastors and parishioners of this congregation have proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ crucified for sinners in this community—in good times and in bad.
As I write this article, news has just come out of a huge fire at the famous…

Listen to the Gracious Heart of Jesus

Image
Click here to listen to this sermon.
[Jesus said:] “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word, that they may all be one, just as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You have sent Me” (John 17:20-21) Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! According to John, it was the last thing Jesus said in the upper room on Maundy Thursday. After teaching His disciples many things about Himself, the world, and things to come, Jesus concludes His last evening with His disciples in prayer to the Father. And He concludes His prayer with the words in this text. As the saying goes, you can learn a lot about a man by listening in on his prayer. I would submit to you that you can learn so much more listening to the prayer of a man who knows that he will soon die. And Jesus is headed to meet His death. In the next verse after our Gospel, John tells us that Jesus goes w…