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Showing posts from 2018

My Eyes Have Seen Your Salvation

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Click here to listen to this sermon. “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation” (Luke 2:29–30). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! For many, it’s over for another year—the celebration of Christmas. After the parties, the food, the gifts, and the services, the days after Christmas are characterized by leftovers, crumpled wrapping paper, and a distinct lack of energy. The holidays are winding down; now comes the rest of a long, cold winter. Where do you go from here? What do you have planned? Plans aside, what will happen to you as 2019 begins and continues? There may be lots of good in store: Grandchildren, a promotion, true love, stability, graduation. There may be unwanted troubles: strife at work or unemployment, family disagreements, a call from the doctor because he wants to run some more tests, a death in the family—maybe even yours. What will happen to you from here? You ha…

The Christmas Story According to St. Paul

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The Beauty of Christmas

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A Gift for the King ~ Children's Christmas Eve Service

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Click here to listen to this sermon. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! In the popular song, the little drummer boy tags along with the Magi to see Baby Jesus. Arriving at His house in Bethlehem, the Magi fall down in worship, offering Him fine gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. But the little drummer boy is sad because he has no gift to bring that’s fit to give the King. So here we are this evening—in His house, bringing gifts for the King. So, what sorts of gifts have you brought Him? Did you, perhaps, dress up in your nicest clothes to honor Him? Dressing up for God’s house is a good and worthy practice, to be sure—a way of remembering whose presence you are entering. But I’m sure the shepherds were just as welcome when they arrived to meet Baby Jesus in their everyday work clothes. How about offerings? Offerings are gifts, too. Offerings of money—that’s what we usually think of, but of course, there are other things. Time is a good gift. Money …

The Decrees of Dust Men and of Divine Messengers

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The Lord Is in Your Midst: What the Prophets Longed For Advent Series

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Surely His Salvation Is Near

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Who Can Endure the Day of His Coming?: What the Prophets Longed For Advent Series

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Bear Fruits in Keeping with Repentance

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Click here to listen to this sermon. He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits in keeping with repentance” (Luke 3:7-8a). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! The world gets ready for this season on one level, Christians on another. The world gets ready for just one great big blockbuster of a day on Christmas, kind of an annual consumer feeding frenzy, indulging itself in stuff and more stuff. Then when it’s over, it’s over. And all that’s left of Christmas on December 26 is a credit card hangover, a big pile of wrapping paper, and trips to the store for returns and after-Christmas sales. Not so in the Church. For us, when Christmas comes, it stays. It lingers on through Epiphany, the Gentiles’ Christmas, and all the way clear through till Lent. We continue to ponder the great glad news that God has become man to redeem all humankind out from under …

The Lord Is Our Righteousness: What the Prophets Longed For Advent Series

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A Not-So-Sentimental Journey

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Click here to listen to this sermon. And as [Jesus] rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. As He was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of His disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (Luke 19:35-38). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! Have you ever felt like you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time? Or like you know where you are but can’t figure out how you got there? So it seems today? Everything is out of whack. It’s December, and it’s Advent, the preparation for Christmas. We expect to be transported to Bethlehem, to a manger, surrounded by animals. Instead, our Gospel takes us to Jerusalem with Jesus riding on a donkey. Strangely enough, the traditional Gospel for the First Sunday in Advent is the same as that of Palm Sunday…

Ready for the Master's Return

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Click here to listen to this sermon. [Jesus said:] “It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning—lest he come suddenly and find you asleep” (Mark 13:34-35). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! The last Sundays of the Church Year bring eschatology, the study of the last things, into focus with the lectionary’s emphasis on death, the final judgment, and the promise of the new heaven and the new earth. These Sundays bring us to the conclusion of the Nicene Creed, “And He will come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead.” We have said those words so often, but what do they mean? Truth be told, we are often more concerned about the judgment that comes from other human beings. We fret…

It's Hard to Bow Down with a Full Belly

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Click here to listen to this sermon. “Then one of [the lepers], when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving Him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” And He said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:15-18). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! It’s hard to bow down with a full belly. Pregnant women coming to the communion rail know this. Middle-aged men trying to pick up a scrap of paper from the floor know this. And on days like tomorrow (today), with Thanksgiving dinners, there will be a lot more people who experience this firsthand. But that’s just from the physical aspect. I would submit to you that it’s hard to bow down spiritually with a full belly, too. What I mean is that it is easier to turn to the Lord…