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Showing posts from 2017

The Secret of Contentment Is Christ

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Click here to listen to this sermon. “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:11-13). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! What a joy it is to be with you today! This has become one of my favorite holiday traditions. This marks the 8th consecutive year that I’ve had the privilege and pleasure to preach and worship with you saints at Christ Lutheran Church. We have come this day to give the Lord our thanks and praise, and rightly so, given this is a National Day of Thanksgiving. But more than that, we have come to receive from the Lord through His means of grace. In this Word, given through the apostle Paul, the Lord has something very special for us, a treasure that mo…

Thankful Even for the Detours of Life

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Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! It’s not good for a pastor to talk about himself too much in a sermon. The sermon can easily degenerate into a grade school-like essay: “What I Did During My Summer Vacation” or given the holiday we are observing this evening: “What I Am Thankful For.” Or it can turn into a Joel Osteen pep talk on how to have your best life now if you just follow my example. But today, I’m going to make an exception and tell you a little about myself. I pray that by doing so, it will help you view your own life’s detours from a Scriptural perspective. A few years ago, I would not have expected to be standing here today, a full-time pastor of a new tri-parish. I was in my ninth year as pastor of a congregation that had been steadily growing in faith, wisdom, membership, and ministry; and I was looking for many good things to come in the years ahead. But as Thomas รก Kempis is credited with writing in …

Not as Those Who Have No Hope

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Click here to listen to this sermon. “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! In the wake of last Sunday’s mass shooting in Texas, some B-list celebrities found proof of the powerlessness of prayer. One tweeted, “The murder victims were in a church. If prayers did anything, they’d still be alive.” Pastor Hans Fiene responded, “People of goodwill can certainly disagree over the merits of gun control legislation, just as we can disagree over how long we should wait after a tragedy to discuss its political ramifications. However, we should all recognize that pointing to a couple dozen warm corpses and saying, ‘Fat lot of good your Jebus-begging did you’ is an act of profound ugliness. “It’s also an act of profound ignorance. For those with little understanding of and less regard for the Christian faith, the…

A Solemn Promise from God and before God: A Sermon for the Wedding of Greg & Jessi McCormick

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Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! Greg and Jessi, In a few moments, you’ll promise yourselves to one another, according to God's holy will, “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish” until death should part you. It’s a heavy, solemn promise—I would say it’s the most serious promise that you will make in your life. That is why, as we just heard a few minutes ago, “marriage is not to be entered into inadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, deliberately, and in accordance with the purposes for which it was instituted by God.” It’s a difficult promise to keep, an impossible promise for you to keep perfectly on your own. For your marriage is, as is the whole institution of marriage, under fire from many directions. Satan seeks to undermine your marriage and marriage in general, because He knows God’s Word describes a good marriage as the closest picture of Christ’…

Good Enough to Be a Saint

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Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! Today, we observe the Festival of All Saints. We remember those who have gone before us, suffering persecution and even dying for the faith. We remember those saints who have, by the grace of God, served the Church and world with lasting contributions. We remember those loved ones who have now entered eternal rest. And we consider our own qualifications for sainthood! What does it take to be a saint? In our Gospel lesson today, Jesus recites the “Beatitudes,” qualities of those who are blessed to be saints. This is an important passage of Scripture, and one that carries with it great joy and blessing. However, it is also one that is often twisted and misunderstood to lead us to despair. Therefore, we examine these Beatitudes first according to the Law; then we will examine them in light of our Savior, the crucified and risen Lord Jesus Christ. But before we enter into a study of the …

Grace: God's Gift for Clean Consciences and Godly Living

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“For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith” (Romans 3:22b-25a). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! Five people are on the roof of a tall, burning building. Their only way out is to jump across a 25-feet wide alley to a nearby building. One person jumps ten feet. Another jumps four, another 12, another eight. One real athlete even jumps 22 feet. But in the end, there is no difference. All fall short of their goal and die. That, my friends, is a picture of our spiritual life. By nature, we’re all trapped in the dangerous hold of sin, which threatens to take away our life and destroy our soul. None of us can make the great leap from sin to righteousness. Oh, by human standards some may look better than others. Bu…