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Showing posts from August, 2013

Strive to Enter through the Narrow Door

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The text for today is our Gospel lesson, Luke 13:22-30. Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! It’s a common question, one often discussed by Jewish teachers during the day of Jesus’ ministry and the focus of speculation in our own day: “Lord, will those who are saved be few?”Some of the rabbis taught that all Israelites would have a share in the world to come; others, that only the spiritually elite (like them) would make the cut.Jesus’ answer is quite different, a sobering warning that should cause everyone to think—especially us who consider ourselves Christians. You see, once again people are asking the wrong question. And they are concerned about the wrong person.“Instead of being so concerned about an abstract ‘How many?’ Jesus says, “You strive to get in.”Instead of wondering about others, check yourself.Will you be saved?Will you enter the kingdom of God?Will yo…

Calling for a Division of the House

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The text for today is our Gospel lesson, Luke 12:49-53. Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I know for most of you “parliamentary procedure” is a dirty word.But I must confess I am a fan of Robert’s Rules of Order.I’ve actually taught courses for Jaycees and judged state FFA parli pro contests.Well done parliamentary procedure really does make for shorter, more orderly meetings, assuring that while the majority opinion prevails, the rights of the minority are also protected. One of the more interesting parliamentary procedures originated in the Roman Senate.Ordinarily, the Romans used voice vote.But if there was a vote that was disputed or considered too close to call, one of the members might rise and call for a division of the house.Those who were voting divided themselves up—the “ayes” on one side of the house and the “nays” on the other side. The call for a “division of the house…

Have No Fear Little Flock, the Kingdom Is Yours

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Click here to listen to this sermon. Downloadable mp3 files are available upon request..

The text for today is Luke 12:32: “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! The last time we sang our sermon hymn at St. John’s was for my installation.As we planned the service Pastor Boeder mentioned he was using a shepherd theme.“What I’d really like to do is sing ‘Have No Fear Little Flock,’” he said.“Do you think the members of St. John would be offended?”I said, “No, this is a little flock.I know that.They know that.And from a worldly standpoint there are many things to fear: the devil, the world, and our own sinful nature rage against us.Without God’s provision no church is going to be around for long.I think it would be very appropriate.” St. John’s is a little flock.Just look around… about 30 souls here in the pews.That’s a little flock by any standards!But not all that diff…

Striving after the Wind? Or Led by the Spirit?

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The text for today is Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14, & 2:24-26. Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! In the opening words of his book, Lutheran Theology, Steven D. Paulson makes this thought provoking statement: “Lutheran theology begins perversely by advocating the destruction of all that is good, right, and beautiful in human life.It attacks the lowest and highest goals of life, especially morality, no matter how sincere are its practitioners.” He goes on to say “Luther said the ‘sum and substance of,’ Paul’s letter to the Romans ‘is to pull down, to pluck up, and to destroy all wisdom and righteousness of the flesh’” (p.1). As I prepared for today, the thought occurred to me that the Preacher of our text must have been Lutheran.No, he didn’t hold potlucks in the church basement with egg coffee, casseroles, and lime jello.But led by the Holy Spirit, he did seem to understand that “the first task of theology is to witne…