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Showing posts from September, 2012

God-pleasing Worship Begins and Ends with Mercy

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The text for today is our Gospel, Luke 17:11-19, which has already been read. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Jesus is continuing His journey to Jerusalem, traveling along the border between Galilee and Samaria.Just as He is about to enter into a village, ten leprous men come out to meet Him.Observing the strict rule concerning infection, they do not come all the way to Christ, but stand at a distance, crying out: “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” Some translations have the word, “pity,” rather than “mercy.”But mercy is a better word.In a recent Bible study, we discussed the difference between mercy and pity.We decided “pity is feeling sorry for someone; while mercy is actually doing something about it.”That’s why it is more accurate to say the lepers ask Jesus for mercy, rather than merely pity.They know that not only will Jesus empathize with their plight, but He also has the power to do something about it. But why should He?Wha…

Your Lying, Cheating, Cold Dead Beating, Two-timing, Double Dealing, Mean Mistreating, Unloving Heart

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Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. If you look in the worship folder you’ll notice the sermon title listed as “Blame It on Your Lying, Cheating Heart,” a play on the lyrics of the Patty Loveless country hit from almost twenty years ago. When Maxine asked me, that was the working theme I was using.I’ve since had time to refine it.Now it’s “Your Lying, Cheating, Cold Dead Beating, Two-timing, Double Dealing, Mean Mistreating, Unloving Heart.” I know; it’s a pretty long title for a sermon.But it seems fitting for our Gospel for today, where Jesus gives a rather extensive list of sins.Beginning with sexual immorality, Jesus combines twelve kinds of evil thoughts and actions in a dreadful litany of vices.The first six are in the plural form and describe behaviors.The last six are in the singular and have more to do with attitudes.These twelve vices leave no doubt as to the wretched impurity of the human spirit. Let’s hear those words of o…