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Showing posts from May, 2014

The Defense Never Rests

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For a number of years, I’ve had a Bible verse on the signature line of my email account. I chose that verse as a sort of mission statement. I think it sums up my calling as a pastor and also to share the faith in my daily vocations as husband, father, neighbor, co-worker, friend, etc. So it is really no coincidence that that it happens to be our text for today
“But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!
Pastor Terry Jones drew worldwide attention when his small congregation (about thirty members) staged a “trial” of the Koran on March 20, 2011 in Gainesville, Florida. News of that event incited riots in Afghanistan and allegedly provoked an attack on a United Nations facility that killed seven people.
Jones then planned…

The Way and the Truth and the Life

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Jesus said to him, “I Am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! Our text for today, is one of the best-known passages of what Martin Luther calls “the best and most comforting sermon preached by Christ while on this earth.”1 In chapters 14-16 of his Gospel, St. John records and transmits the words spoken by Jesus after the Last Supper on the night in which He is betrayed. With this sermon, Jesus wants to comfort and strengthen His disciples both against the present sadness occasioned by His departure, and also against the suffering they will endure because of the devil, the world, and their own conscience as they go out into the world as heirs of His kingdom and His ambassadors. Jesus’ predictions of His own suffering and death have greatly troubled the disciples, so He speaks to calm their fears. He encourages them to continue …

Knowing the Voice of the Shepherd

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Click here to listen to this sermon.
The text for today is our Gospel lesson, John 10:1-10, which has already been read.
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!

Are you good at recognizing voices? My first boss, Ralph Korn, was exceptionally good at it. Someone he hadn’t seen for twenty years or so could call him and he’d know immediately who it was. God certainly knew what he was doing when he gave Ralph that gift. Even as Ralph’s eyesight was failing as a result of multiple sclerosis, he would still recognize most everyone when they came into the feed store as soon as they said, “Hello.”
Since that time, I’ve discovered that recognizing voices is a skill that can be learned and practiced. The trick is to really focus on that voice and listen for distinguishing traits. The more you hear that voice and the closer you listen, the more distinct and recognizable that voice is to your ear.
In our Gospel lesson for today Jesus speaks to the Pharisees. He has just …

The Living and Abiding Word of God

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Click here to listen to this sermon.
The text for today is our Epistle lesson, 1 Peter 1:17-25.
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!
Once upon a time there was a beautiful little village nestled in a valley between two mountains. In the center of the village was a well. The well provided water to all the inhabitants of the village. People came from all over the world to drink the cool, clean, crisp water that was drawn daily from the well. Countless people remained in the village and made their homes there. They loved the water.
The one well was sufficient for the people of the village. No other wells graced the cobblestone streets of that mountain town. There was no need. No one ever suggested that they might like some other well more. The well was sufficient to satisfy all their needs, and it seemed that no matter how many people came to dwell in the village there was always enough water. Whenever anyone went to the well, from the smallest child to the m…