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Showing posts from September, 2016

You Must Forgive Him!

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“If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him” (Luke 17:3b-4). Grace and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ! Well, it’s another text on forgiveness. Doesn’t Jesus ever get tired of talking about forgiveness? And the thing is, whenever Jesus talks about forgiveness He always seems to ask the impossible. Just listen again: “If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.” But that’s not our first reaction when someone sins against us, is it? We want to attack right back. Even the score. By whatever means necessary. No matter how long it takes. “You sin against me; I’ll sin against you. Yell at me; I’ll yell louder. Push me and I’ll shove back harder. …

Are You Listening?

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“Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ And [the rich man] said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’” (Luke 16:29–31). Grace and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ! Are you listening? That’s a question many are asking voters as Election Day approaches. Are you listening? Are you paying attention? Do you know what the candidates really stand for? Do you know which candidates are closest in line with your values? Are you informed enough to vote? To help us listen, the airwaves are flooded with political ads and sound bites in the news. Ironically, it seems the more we hear about the candidates the more we don’t listen because they annoy us. Still, I suppose most of us would say that sometime before November 3rd we really sh…

The Shrewd Steward and the Merciful Master

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Click here to listen to this sermon. Grace and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ! The parables of our Lord are wonderful teaching devices, not least of all because they make us think. And our text for today is certainly one of the most difficult to understand and interpret. But one of the characteristics of parables is that they contain a “crack” or something unusual that makes the reader realize that this is not a story that comes from human experience. For human experience cannot teach us the “knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven.” In this text, the obvious jarring note is the reaction of the master who, instead of raging against his steward, “commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly.” It is difficult to see how we might reconcile this with a righteous, holy God. But that is our task as we explore this parable from Luke 16:   “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting hi…

The Miracle and Means of Life 2.0

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“Then [Jesus] came up and touched the bier and the bearers stood still. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” And the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother” (Luke 7:14-15). Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! Our readings for today are full of miracles. We begin in the little town of Zarephath, where the prophet Elijah dwells with a widow and her son. This is Old Testament time, famine and all, where mortality rates are terribly high and death is all too common. In this case, the widow’s son becomes sick and dies. He was all that she had left—both for family and for her livelihood. Now, he’s gone. So the widow cries out to Elijah, “What have you against me, O man of God? Have you come to me to bring my sin to remembrance, and to kill my son?” (1 Kings 17:18). The widow’s anger is understandable. She has just lost her only son! She instinctively lashes out at someone just to seek some measure of…

The Lost Sheep Speaks

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“So [Jesus] told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance” (Luke 15:3–7). Grace and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ! Good morning! My name is Hamartolos—a Greek name that means “The Sinner.” That’s me! I’m the lost sheep from Jesus’ parable. From the time I was a little lamb, I’ve always been independent and tough. A rugged individualist, you might say. My Mama called me “stubborn,” but I argued I was not stubborn, just…