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Showing posts from September, 2015

Scandalous Savior, Scandal-less Faith

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[Jesus said:] “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched’” (Mark 9:42-48). Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! The last few weeks we’ve been reminded over and over how slow Jesus’ disciples are in getting the Good News of Jesus Christ. Jesus foretells His death and resurrection, and Peter gets up in Hi…

The Perfect Love Story: Sermon for the Wedding of Logan & Samantha Moeller

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Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! The way they looked at each other and held each other’s hand as they walked through the mall told a story in itself. I would guess them to be well into their 80s. But what you noticed was not so much their age as their obvious concern for one another. Occasionally, she would glance at him with a twinkle in her eye as if to say, “You are my man and I love you.” He, in turn would smile a well-practiced smile and with only a look reply, “I know, and I love you, too.” It was obvious they were partners, friends, and lovers. As this nameless couple walked side-by-side their love told a story for anyone who would take the time to watch. It was a story without words. If words were necessary, they could doubtless fill many chapters, recalling times of challenge and joy, struggle and success. As I sat on the bench and watched, I couldn’t help but find myself imagining their story, filling in…

God Gives More Grace

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Click here to listen to this sermon. “But He gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble’” (James 4:6). Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! A farmer had a wonderful, faithful dog. It was a fine animal in every way—strong of body and of heart. The dog’s coat was shiny and well groomed. It was gentle—forgiving of the toddler who inadvertently stepped on it tail or purposely pulled its ears, but ferocious in defending the barnyard from uninvited visitors. Whenever any of the family came outside, the dog would come to them eagerly bounding, its tail wagging so vigorously that its entire hindquarters moved with it! But, the dog had a secret—a dark, ugly secret. It lived a double life. For you see, it acted one way around its master, and another way when it thought that no one was watching. Each night, after the last of the lights in the farmhouse were extinguished, the dog would leave its station and take to the …

I Believe; Help My Unbelief

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“Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, ‘I believe; help my unbelief!’” (Mark 9:24). Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! I’m sure most of you have heard the phrase, “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” It describes someone who is so caught up with the minutiae of the moment that he ends up not fully understanding the situation. The same thing happens to people when they fail to look at a passage of the Bible in its broader context—they miss important details. The incidents described in today’s Gospel place us in the middle of a larger series of events. Examining those actions and events before and after is very helpful as we seek to plumb the depths of Jesus’ teaching. In the passage following our text, Jesus is quietly traveling through Galilee. He takes advantage of this momentary privacy to repeat the prophecy of His own death and resurrection. His disciples listen in silence. They don’t under…

Ephphatha!

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“And they brought to [Jesus] a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged Him to lay His hand on him. And taking him aside from the crowd privately, He put His fingers into His ears, and after spitting touched his tongue. And looking up to heaven, He sighed and said to him, ‘Ephphatha,’ that is, ‘Be opened.’ And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly” (Mark 7:32-34). Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! Jesus is in the Decapolis, a region heavily influenced by Greek culture laying east of the Jordan River and southeast of the Sea of Galilee. He’s just come from Tyre and Sidon, where He healed the daughter of a faithful Syrophoenician woman. Jesus is healing and preaching to the Gentiles, emphasizing that He is not just the Savior of the Jews, but of all people. Jesus had been here once before (Mark 5:20). That time the people had begged Him to leave when they suffered the …